Year in review: top 10 art interviews of 2022, chosen by Wallpaper* arts editor Harriet Lloyd-Smith

Top 10 art interviews of 2022, as selected by Wallpaper* arts editor Harriet Lloyd-Smith, summing up another dramatic year in the art world

American artist Helen Pashgian as part of one of the top 10 art interviews of 2022
William Kentridge in his studio in Houghton, Johannesburg, a purpose-built space designed in 2000 by Pierre Lombart and Briget Grosskopff
(Image credit: Nico Krijno)

In 2022, it was business as (un)usual in the art world. 

Frieze Seoul and Paris+ par Art Basel made triumphant arrivals on the scene, while FIAC departed in a fog of uncertainty. The 59th Venice Biennale offered a heady fusion of surrealism and activism, controversy engulfed Documenta fifteen, and climate change crusaders doused multifarious liquids over a range of priceless art. Christo’s final posthumous work was unveiled, the crypto crash set the world of NFTs on fire, and Damien Hirst set fire to 1,000 of his paintings via live stream. 

In 2022, we were never short of talking points. But as we know, the only way to get under the skin of the art world is to talk to those shaping it: the artists. Here are 10 Wallpaper* art interviews that defined the year.


1. The year of Cecilia Vicuña 

Portrait of Cecilia Vicuna at Guggenheim New York

Portrait of Cecilia Vicuña at Guggenheim New York

(Image credit: Tina Tyrell)

In 2022, Chilean artist, poet and activist Cecilia Vicuña had what is known as a moment. In April, she was honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 59th Venice Biennale; she was the subject of a major survey show at the Guggenheim in New York; and is now dominating Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall for the 2022 Hyundai Commission. We visited the artist’s New York studio earlier this year to discuss reclaiming oppressed histories with vigour, resilience and love. 


2. Thomas Struth and Chris Levine on photographing Queen Elizabeth II

Lightness of Being by Chris Levine, 2008

Lightness of Being by Chris Levine, 2008

(Image credit: Chris Levine)

In September 2022, Britain – and the world – lost Queen Elizabeth II. During her remarkable 70-year reign, few were given the opportunity to photograph her; even fewer rose to the occasion with a portrait that held such longevity in the public imagination. Two artists honoured with this career-defining moment were Chris Levine and Thomas Struth, who looked back on the making of their portraits in interviews with us to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 


3. Yayoi Kusama: ‘Painting helps me to keep away thoughts of death’

Portrait of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama

Portrait of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama

(Image credit: Yusuke Miyazaki. © Yayoi Kusama)

In November, legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama opened her major retrospective at M+, Hong Kong (on view until 14 May 2023). As she told writer, Megan C Hills: ‘I fight pain, anxiety, and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art. Painting helps me to keep away thoughts of death for myself. That is the power of art.’


4. Wolfgang Tillmans on 35 years of shaping photography

Self-portrait of photographer Wolfgang Tillmans

Self-portrait of photographer Wolfgang Tillmans for the November 2022 Issue of Wallpaper*

(Image credit: Wolfgang Tillmans)

At the opening of Wolfgang Tillmans’ major retrospective ‘To Look Without Fear’ opened at MoMA, Wallpaper’s US Editor Pei-Ru Keh interviewed the acclaimed photographer. He described 35 years of activism, breaking conventions and capturing ‘the weight of existence’ through the everyday. ‘I want to lay reality bare,’ he said. 


5. Anish Kapoor in Venice: gore, glory and blackest black magic

Portrait of Anish Kapoor in 2021

Portrait of Anish Kapoor, 2021

(Image credit: George Darrell)

We visited the south London studio of Anish Kapoor ahead of his major two-venue retrospective during the 59th Venice Biennale. There, the Turner Prize-winner introduced the world to his much-anticipated Vantablack sculptures, which use technology that absorbs 99.8 per cent of visible light. 


6. Es Devlin’s spiritual ode to biodiversity at Tate Modern

Es Devlin stands in front of Come Home Again, commissioned by Cartier and installed in front of Tate Modern

Es Devlin stands in front of Come Home Again, commissioned by Cartier and installed in front of Tate Modern

(Image credit: Photography: Matt Alexander / PA Media)

Acclaimed artist and stage designer Es Devlin is used to being in the limelight, but even by her standards, Come Home Again, a multisensory public installation commissioned by Cartier on the Tate Modern riverside, was a project of great prominence. Wallpaper* magazine editor TF Chan visited Devlin in her London studio to understand the full scope of this space for education, contemplation and conservation action.


7. Cyprien Gaillard on chaos, reorder and excavating a Paris in flux

Portrait of French artist Cyprien Gaillard in his Berlin Studio

Portrait of French artist Cyprien Gaillard in his Berlin Studio

(Image credit: Oliver Helbig)

We interviewed French artist Cyprien Gaillard ahead of his major two-part show,

‘Humpty \ Dumpty’ at Palais de Tokyo and Lafayette Anticipations, coinciding with the inaugural Paris+ par Art Basel. Through abandoned clocks, love locks and asbestos, the epic show, on until 8 January 2023, dissects the human obsession with structural restoration. 


8. Carrie Mae Weems on nurturing a new generation of image making

Rolex Arts Initiative: Carrie Mae Weems and Camila Rodríguez Triana’s collaboration, plus a new cycle

Carrie Mae Weems with her Rolex protégée, Camila Rodríguez Triana, photographed in Weems’ studio in Syracuse, NY, in June 2022. In the background are artworks from Weems’ All the Boys series 

(Image credit: ©Rolex/Arnaud Montagard)

To round off a year of art moments in our December 2022 issue, acting editor-in-chief Bill Prince spotlighted the collaboration between pioneering American artist Carrie Mae Weems and emerging talent Camila Rodríguez Triana as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. 2023 will be a big year for Weems, with her first solo exhibition in a UK institution opening at London’s Barbican in June. 


9. William Kentridge: ‘art must defend the uncertain’

William Kentridge in his Johannesburg studio

William Kentridge in his studio in Houghton, Johannesburg, a purpose-built space designed in 2000 by Pierre Lombart and Briget Grosskopff

(Image credit: Nico Krijno))

For our October 2022 Legends Issue, Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation, profiles William Kentridge, South Africa’s most influential contemporary artist ahead of his recent major exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. Nwagbogu explored how Kentridge’s work holds a mirror to the limits of human intervention in society, not just in South Africa but worldwide. 


10. Helen Pashgian: ‘making art is like a divine itch’

Portrait of Helen Pashgian

Portrait of Helen Pashgian in her Pasadena studio

(Image credit: William Jess Laird)

For more than 60 years, Pasadena-based artist Helen Pashgian has toyed with the limits of optical perception and material perfection – ‘making art is like a divine itch’, she told us. A pioneer of California’s Light & Space movement, her hyper-polished spherical sculptures trap light and radiate colour, as Hunter Drohojowska-Philp discovered when she visited the artist’s Pasadena studio. 


Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.