Meet a Lab Assistant: Max Braverman
Position: Lab Assistant
Sun Sign: Gemini
What do you do at LATITUDE and how long have you been on the staff?
I've been at LATITUDE for just over a year. A good friend told me about LATITUDE after I moved here a year and a half ago and after the dust settled I sent in my application!
Tell us about your art making practice. What ideas, materials, or people sit at the center of the work you do.
I find that in order to understand yourself and the work that you make, you need to view the world through the lens of history. In my work I think about the birth of the middle class and the world becoming smaller as a result of trade routes, and the way the world was forever altered in the 15th and 16th centuries as a result of both. Through the innate rebellion of the painters subversion of the church through the creation of luscious sensual imagery, to the way the Still Life must be viewed today as early symptoms of Imperialism and global oppression. Recently I have been thinking about how the orange is the perfect metaphor for the importing of goods to the western world, and how their main export back to the east was oppression.
Punk saved my life at an early age. It was a place I could go to be myself and get away from issues in the outside world. I found my community and thrived. Playing in multiple bands and meeting like minded people from all over the world allowed me to explore who I am and what I cared about.
In my ancestral homeland Boston, I ended up with a minimum wage job taking boarding photos of people as they went on harbor cruises, one day a thick fog rolled in over the city, and I just started shooting. I became obsessed with the spontaneity of the act and the idea of capturing images. This as well as some encouragement from friends and family led me to WeeGee, the crime scene and street photographer from the turn of the century. I was blown away by his ability to capture a moment as a tableau in the instant, especially while maneuvering a 5 pound camera. After taking a few night school classes I enrolled full time at MassArt and furthered my studies. I found all the frenzy and urgency of punk frustrating and hard to capture until I found the Baroque movement. The seductive and luscious urgency portrayed in Caravaggio and many others paintings pushed me in a direction I did not expect. I started to become exacting and precise in my process, and thought out "made" photographs as I started recreating Baroque paintings with punks in them.
List three things that changed the way you look at/think about/or make art.
What art, film, music, food, etc are you currently into?
Anouk Kruithof, Jeff Wall, Matthew Connors, and Erwin Wurm have been HUGE influences on me. I'm not sure if anything ties them together, but if it were a Venn diagram the keywords would be compassion, humor, intent, and craft. I have been listening to several things recently. Una Bèstia Incontrolable has been on heavy rotation on my record player for the last couple years, they are a heavy psych/punk band out of Barcelona. Beyond that I have been listening almost exclusively to a podcast called The Adventure Zone. It's a Dungeons and Dragons live game cast featuring three (adult) brothers and their father. Its hilarious, and I highly recommend it, even if you don't like/understand the compulsion to play D&D. As far as food goes, I'm on an odd diet right now that restricts my food intake to very simple things, but within those parameters I find that there is plenty of room to explore and create.
What’s your favorite prized possession?
Right now, probably my pressure cooker or the gear I just picked up to create food photographs.
View a selection of Max’s work below: