Andrea Zittel

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Andrea Zittel (born 1965) is an artist based in Joshua Tree, California.


  • You have to learn to feel confident about the prospect of failing, because it's so inevitable.
    • quoted in Art Is the Highest Form of Hope & Other Quotes by Artists by Phaidon (2016)
  • I am fascinated at how the things that set us free are also the same things that oppress us; you could say that the concept of the deserted island is both our greatest fantasy and our greatest fear.
  • It’s good to have space to think. It’s in the empty moments when you’re the most creative.
  • One of the problems that I have with the way the art world is structured is that there is this idea amongst artists that they have to wait for permission or validation. It makes no sense to me. It’s so interesting when you find artists who are making work, and who are putting it directly in the world.

Interview (2010)[edit]

  • If you look at the larger historical evolution of architecture and domestic spaces, our homes are increasingly segregated and compartmentalized. It was the norm when I was growing up for each child to have his own bedroom. This is something that is historically quite new. I often wonder if it is the reason why it’s so difficult for adults of my generation, and those since, to cohabitate or have close interpersonal relationships. I believe that we have become so successfully individualized that it is difficult for us to live collectively.
  • How to interface with the public is an ongoing problem in my work. I am always looking for a function that my work can play. There has to be a reason for it.
  • Really good art simultaneously reveals both good and evil. It brings up complicated questions rather than proposing smug answers.
  • Much of the movement for sustainable living is just another form of commoditization, which simply creates new levels of desire. I see many advertisements for people to get new and expensive eco-friendly products, but little of the current mentality has to do with thinking about actual needs. Do you really need a car? Do you need all the clothes? Do you need a new computer every two or three years?

Interview (2008)[edit]

  • What I was responding to more directly was the idea of having limitations. And that's something I have come back to in my practice. There's a lot of rhetoric about freedom out there, but ultimately, most people feel more free when there are certain parameters, and I think we are really unaware of that. We are always trying to abolish parameters and abolish rules. But actually, rules can be constructive sometimes. They can catalyze creative impulses.
  • There are so many versions of communes; it's not just one thing. But I don't think shared-property communes work. I think shared-labor communes work, versions of that that make sense.
  • I think what I'm trying to say with my work is that when you look at all of the norms and assumptions about daily living, how many of these are arbitrary and made up? I'm trying to show there are other ways of doing things, not just my way or that way. (I'm showing) there are oppositional ways of living, and I'm breaking that open a bit but with the assumption that people would see the flaws in my proposal and maybe come up with their own.
  • What I've been seeing going on -- and it's exciting that it might be changing even though it will be painful -- is this whole culture driven by consumption on every level. Not just monetary consumption, but consumption of experiences and time. I feel that as a culture that most of us are incapable of slowing down and having a real experience. You keep thinking that if you get another house or take another vacation or that if you make more money, that it will free you up. But it becomes a larger and larger web of entrapment.
  • Teaching is a way for me to have dialogue with other artists who are completely engaged.
  • the hard part is the demand for travel, the demand to produce, and you know, (the demands) of getting too caught up in the art-world hierarchy and not keeping track of what the real goal is. I think everyone struggles with that.
    • about teaching and being an artist

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