Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Oral history interview with Valerie Jaudon, 2009 Oct. 8-Dec. 22

Sound recording, master: 1 sound disc, 3 WMA files (# min. if 60 or less; if over 60: #hr.,#min.) digital; 2 5/8 in.

An interview of Valerie Jaudon conducted 2009 Oct. 8, Dec. 15 and 22, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's U.S. General Services Administration, Design Excellence and the Arts oral history project , at Jaudon's studio in New York, N.Y.

This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Hear recording @ Smithsonian


Valerie Jaudon. Photo: © 1992 Iraida Icaza

Many styles come and go, faster than we can digest, to fully understand the significance of any particular point of view. Valerie Jaudon has been painting for 20 years, insistently transgressing the restrictions of modernism. Her unyielding commitment to employ the decorative, starting with Pattern and Decoration, a movement which later influenced younger artists such as Phillip Taaffe, has resulted in a new body of work which juxtaposes diverse systems of geometry. The result is an unexpected combination of the lyrical and the static, where the geometry is utilized to construct the image of calligraphy. Jaudon’s intuition intervenes at each logical moment, subverting the viewer’s expectations. To Jaudon, such an effect is a way to re-open painting as an experience—to see, rather than be seen.

Shirley Kaneda What was it like growing up in Mississippi?

Valerie Jaudon It’s an entirely different culture. There are very few people. There aren’t large industrial centers, there aren’t even small industrial centers, there aren’t urban centers. It has a historical backbone—the Civil War. The Civil War is its world history; it’s American history, it’s everything. It was a closed society. The whole society spoke in codes. The whole language was coded.
SK What made you leave, decide that you wanted to come to New York?
VJ The ‘60s. Growing up there in the ‘50s and into the ‘60s, made it very difficult to be proud of Mississippi. You know what it was? It was television and the international news. My hometown in the delta was very cultured. That meant they didn’t have the Ku Klux Klan, they kept them out. Well, they kept them on the outskirts. Watching the national news during the Civil Rights Movement and seeing Mississippi and Alabama on the national news was a real education. There were things that were never talked about, never written about. There was no access to other ideas. There was no other way to think at all. But once you could see segregation: watch those little girls being sprayed with fire hoses to keep them out of school… I remember thinking, “That’s me, they’re just like me.” It doesn’t take much, just common sense to see that it’s not right, it’s not justified, it’s not legitimate.

Read full interview @ BOMB 

Valerie Jaudon 

By René Paul Barilleaux

"This exhibition catalog is the most complete overview to date on the I work and career of Jaudon. This abstract painter of international renown is among the significant artists originally linked to the Pattern and Decoration movement. Her vividly-colored works employ intricate designs and geometric patterning. This study includes an interview with Jaudon, traces the course of her work over two decades, and shows how it, as the author states, "pushes the language of abstraction". This catalog accompanies an exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art (24 May 1996 through 3 August 1996)."

Limited preview - 1996 - 96 pages

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