November 17, 2015


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Keep Things Clean And Simple
Artist, New York City

Cream coloured smart phones and crispy white Frosties; bright copper laptops and sweet chocolate Crunchies; new shiny tablets tied up in white string: these are few of my favourite things. Such common guilty pleasures are what make up the foundations of New York-based artist Rachel Lee Hovnanian’s art. Through her multidisciplinary body of work, she aims to reveal our technological indulgences along with another sweet addiction all people share: sugar. The artist’s dark yet humorous video and installation art explore notions of narcissism, beauty obsessions and intimacy as well as society’s alienating addictions to modern technological advances and media. In her previous exhibitions, one could expect mice, sugary cereal boxes like Frosties and Fruit Loops and stabbed teddy bears depicting the death of soft toys as they become substituted by (you guessed it) technology.

Rachel Lee Hovnanian’s art foci also happen to be integrated in her lifestyle and fashion sense. She is a woman who loves getting back to the basics by keeping it simple and technology free. Find out how she does it in this style talk as she explains why barefoot>shoes and why her early morning regimes exclude smart phones.
Portrait of Rachel Hovnanian wrapped in electrical cord

What does your ideal working outfit look like?
Barefoot, white shorts and a white tee shirt in the summer. I wear an indigo painting smock I picked up at March in San Francisco – it’s a cooking smock.

What’s best: heels or flats? Which brand or style?
If I could be barefoot everyday that would be perfect. But in the summer, I like flats that are very comfortable from Figue. If working with something heavy to protect my feet, then my Armando cowboy boots from South Texas fit great.

What’s your favorite art-related blog or app?
I love my Artforum app and I share it with everyone.

What was the last thing you bought and loved?
I just bought the book Air Guitar by Dave Hickey.

What is/are your personal style signifier(s)/identifier(s)?
Keep everything simple and clean designs are a must.

What’s your necessary extravagance?
Sable brushes from Peredvizhnik art store in Moscow.

s3-Hovnanian, Rachel Lee_Perfect Baby Showroom_2014_Wallpaper, extension cords, baby dolls, metal, acrylic, wood, neon light, foam, cotton fabric, LED lights, cereal_Dimensions Variable_(Detail view #4)

Three things/products you always need to have in your purse?
I carry a small packet of chili pequins from South Texas to add to certain foods when eating out, my CitiBike Fob and peppermint lip balm from Bigelow Pharmacy.

What’s your ultimate beauty secret after long working hours?
My beauty secret actually begins early before the working day with my husband. It involves French press coffee, no technology, the two of us talking about each other or about our children, then off to Modo Yoga together.

What in the art world are you most excited about at the moment?
I was fortunate enough to speak at an art school in Moscow. It was exhilarating to meet the students there. Though our relations with some countries may be in flux, art students transcend political challenges. I have shown my work at the Dubai Art Fair. It was very exciting last year to have been noticed and chosen as one of the pieces included in the Royal Family’s Collection.

Most sexiest art person?
Louise Bourgeois.

Where are you off to next?
In December, I will be speaking at the New York Academy of Art. Then, I’ll be off to Art Basel Miami.

s10-Hovnanian, Rachel Lee_They're Gr-r-reat_2014_Cereal boxes, acrylic, crushed glass, wood_46 x 44.625 x 4 in

Where is your next art trip/travel going to be?
Antwerp, Belgium.

In your eyes: what is the most arty city?
Mexico City.

Someone you have in mind to call the perfect artworld gentlemen?
Architect Enrique Norton: he is an enormously talented gentleman.

Which artists should we have on our watchlist?
I’m working now on a new series of paintings, please keep an eye out for my work.

Instagram: @rachelleehovnanian
Website: rachelleehovnanian.com
Photos: by Rachel Lee Hovnanian