AVENUE’s back-page column asks New York notables our version of the questionnaire made famous by Marcel Proust
Chances are if you pay attention to cultural happenings around the city, you have seen one of the public art projects that Katie Hollander has overseen. One of them is Kara Walker’s A Subtlety, a highly publicized Sphinx-like piece, released in 2014, that many Manolo-clad Manhattanites trekked to Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Factory to see. Now this dynamic leader takes on a new role as Creative Times’ executive director, a nonprofit public arts organization. Her first project as director will be another event that is sure to make art crowds flock to Brooklyn: Duke Riley’s Fly By Night, which for six weeks in May will feature dozens of pigeons flying above the East River at dusk with LED lights, emerging from a converted historic boat.
What was your earliest New York memory? Sitting on my stoop in Brooklyn. I grew up in Carroll Gardens and later moved to Park Slope. I spent a lot of time outside playing stoopball and hopscotch and jumping rope with my friends on the block.
What’s your present state of mind? I am excited about my new role as executive director of Creative Time. This spring, we’ll bring artist Duke Riley’s Fly By Night to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which will feature a massive flock of pigeons flying in elegant harmony above the East River at sunset in a transcendent union of public art and nature.
What’s the coolest thing in your home right now? My 9-year-old daughter reading Harry Potter to my 6-year-old son, cuddled up in bed. What’s your biggest extravagance?
What’s your biggest extravagance? I love having people over and preparing large, family-style meals. On New Year’s Eve, it was a full-course Moroccan lamb couscous feast, cooked in a tagine from Morocco given to me by a friend.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Trust your gut. I’m a very rational person, so I tend to rely on facts to make decisions. Working at Creative Time, I’ve learned that you can’t always predict the future, and sometimes you just need to listen to your gut.
Name a work of art (or book) that changed your life. There have been so many, but one of them was Key to the City. The project bestowed the key to New York City to everyday citizens in an all-day ceremony in the middle of Times Square. It questioned to whom the city belongs, and cemented in me that public art can have a real impact on our lives and our communities.
Who is your favorite dinner companion? My husband.
What’s your signature drink? Red wine in the winter, rosé in the summer.
What do you collect? Challenges. Working at Creative Time is just one challenge after another, but that’s what makes it such an exciting dynamic place to be.
What are some of your favorite New York discoveries? The incredible people I get to meet. Through our commissions I’ve had the opportunity to work with dedicated, diverse and inspiring New Yorkers. And that’s the beauty of this city.
Who is the most interesting New Yorker you know? All the amazing artists I get to work with that keep this city vibrant and continue to challenge the status quo.
What three things can you not live without? My laptop, my keys and my MetroCard.
What keeps you up at night? I try not to let much keep me up at night.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A kid again.