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Art & Life with Norberto Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Norberto Rodriguez.

Norberto, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born as Norberto Rodriguez on May 31, 1975. Only the first day of school ever, I became Bert Rodriguez. At an early age, Bert discovers he has a natural talent for music + art. From late high school on, Bert pursues a successful career as a fine artist. At the height of his career, Bert almost dies in a terrible hit + run accident. Bert’s career takes a back seat while healing from his injuries. In 2011, Bert moved to Los Angeles, CA. to pick up where his career left off. After several years of deliberation + internal reflection, Bert commits suicide. I woke up on my 41st birthday in a museum to Bert’s life. I considered leaving the world behind on a “Search for truth”. After several years of deliberation + internal reflection, I decided against it. Now every moment I’m alive is art, and I’m hoping to teach others how to experience life the same way.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’ve always had trouble trying to explain what I do because every day, I discover some new idea that seems to open up other ways of seeing what I do which makes it harder to explain. I guess that’s life, or it’s art. I don’t know anymore. 🤦🏻‍♂️

In 1995 I married a complete stranger for the duration of one calendar year. In 2008, for the Whitney Museum in NY, I created the month-long performance project where guests were invited to spend 45 minutes with me in a seamless white cube designed on the inside to mimic a therapist’s office. I’ve hired private eyes to follow members of my family around, I’ve given free foot massages in public, I’ve performed with my mother and father in Paris + a ton of stuff in between.

Recently, I opened my entire life to the public for the second time, as a living museum called the Museum of Meaning. I’m developing an academy called A School of Thought, a company called IP Division + working towards expanding my practice beyond traditional fine art to include stand up + illusionism. I’m also the subject of a feature-length documentary which is supposed to be coming out next year called Making Sh*t Up.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my work as kind of like data collection. Sometimes I make things with that data (like traditional art “things”) but, most of the time I just share the raw data as documentation. It seems like what I’ve been doing through my work is take bits of life + frame them as art in order to think about them differently. Like using a microscope to look deeper into something but, I’m the microscope + life is the subject.

It’s also like I’m using my life to make history’s largest self-portrait. Which I’m improvising as I go along + sharing when I can. Also, it’s for sale. Also, there’s a chance I’m learning something about life that might benefit us all to know. I’ve succeeded in making every moment of my life art + now I’m hoping to continue my work + show others how they can experience life the same way. I’m 99% convinced it’s the key to saving us all.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Honestly, I could talk about this for days. Despite what it might seem like in the news + online, I think it’s a great time to be alive + the best time to be an artist. Without going too deep down the rabbit hole, I’d say there’s a huge shift coming in terms of what an artist actually is, what an artist actually does + how they can / should actually serve culture. I think in order to be a great artist now, it has almost nothing to do with the things you make + everything to do with who they are as a human being. What are their intentions? Do they just want my money so they can keep making their bullshit or, do they genuinely see the world in a way that no one else sees? Do they have an interesting perspective or insight into our lives that help us understand ourselves better? How much do they care? How much do they really mean it? It’s never been easier to be an artist because of technology but, to really put in the hard work to have something of actual value to share with the world is always gonna be hard. I think the best thing anyone can do to help art + artists thrive is to start holding artists + creatives, in general, more accountable for what their sharing with the world + support the ones that are doing it more for us than themselves.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Well, I’m either performing/doing exhibitions wherever they’ll let me or hosting my own events at the Museum of Meaning in Los Angeles. You can make an appointment to visit or become a member. You can also become a student at A School of thought + spend some time with me learning the art of life. You can hire my company, or shop my online store. Also, you can follow me on social @norbertoinc + share your thoughts with me while I share my ongoing story. That really means a lot to me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All images ©NOR(BERT)O inc

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