Documentarian Sophie Chahinian Is Making a Film About Robert Longo and Spending Time by the Pool

We caught up with the filmmaker at her home.

Sophie Chahinian. Photo by Robert Longo. Courtesy the Artist Profile Archive.
Sophie Chahinian. Photo by Robert Longo. Courtesy the Artist Profile Archive.

Sophie Chahinian, a filmmaker and the founder of the Artist Profile Archive, which produces documentaries on contemporary artists for museums and galleries (David Salle and Marnie Weber have been among the subjects), has the kind of art-filled abode many of us dream of. And what better place to spend time than in a well-appointed home?

We caught up with Chahinian about how she spends her relaxation time, what she’s working on next, and what she’s always got the fridge stocked with.

What are you working on now?  

I am the founder of the Artist Profile Archive, a multi-media platform that produces short documentaries on contemporary artists. We just launched a new video on Modernist Virginia Jaramillo for her first solo museum exhibition at the Menil Collection in Houston. I’m also working on new short films on Marnie Weber and Alexandra Grant, as well as a longer format documentary on Robert Longo to accompany his exhibition “A History of the Present” opening at East Hampton’s Guild Hall on August 7.

It’s Friday night and your favorite restaurant is packed. What’s your backup plan? 

Takeout from 1770 House in East Hampton. You might think as a fine dining option they don’t do takeout, but they do, and it’s fantastic. The chilled pea soup is perfect on a warm summer night and their burgers are the best in town.

It’s Sunday and your calendar is completely clear. How do you spend your morning?

Tennis and then lounging over iced coffee by the pool with my partner in ALL: art, love, and life. To me, there’s no better way to refresh and recharge before the week ahead.

You’re on a desert island and you can only stream one TV series. What do you choose?

I could watch forever The Planet Earth series by Sir David Attenborough. It is so beautifully shot and so educational, reminding us that our natural surroundings are an endless source of fascination and inspiration.

Sophie Chahinian's living and dining rooms. Courtesy Sophie Chahinian.

Sophie Chahinian’s living and dining rooms. Courtesy Sophie Chahinian.

What is your favorite part of your house and why?

Our living and dining room is a light, bright and airy space where we hang most of our art, which is all by artists known to us. One of the best parts of running the Artist Profile Archive is building relationships with so many incredible artists, like Robert Longo, Shirin Neshat, and many more. I feel so lucky to get to wake up to such beautiful works each and every day.-

What three things is your kitchen always stocked with? 

A myriad of cold brew coffee options, Iacono Farm eggs, and a bottle of Billecart-Salmon rosé champagne. I can’t wake up without coffee, an omelet makes an easy meal in a pinch (Iacono Farm in East Hampton has the freshest eggs ever), and you never know when you might have an occasion to celebrate!

The art world can be all-consuming. How do you create boundaries for yourself? 

By delegating to the A-Team: Matt Hindra and the wider team we work with at the Artist Profile Archive. We’re so passionate about what we do and are communicating constantly but also know that rest is essential to fueling our own creativity.

Parrots (2020) by Troy Brauntuch on the left, with Prone (2020) by Sheree Hovsepian on the right.

Parrots (2020) by Troy Brauntuch on the left, with Prone (2020) by Sheree Hovsepian on the right.

What’s your favorite work of art in the house and why? 

All of the art in our house is my favorite! But right now, I really am loving Parrots (2020) a sublime work by Austin-based artist Troy Brauntuch, whose artist profile we’re hoping to launch later this year. We also have an exquisite assemblage Prone (2020) by Sheree Hovsepian. They are on either side of a door and they complement each other very well in terms of how simply gorgeous and ethereal they are. Getting to know both of the artists through the Archive just adds to the feeling I get when I engage with their works at home.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And the worst? 

The best advice I’ve received is, just because something isn’t happening on your timetable doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen”—which is a longwinded way of saying never give up. And the worst is, if you don’t know how you’re going to monetize something, don’t even get started. Paths have an organic way of revealing themselves if you are committed and have passion for what you do. 

What’s the best change in habit you’ve acquired over the past year? What’s the worst?

The best change is that I now actually use my home office to work (mostly at night and when it rains), and the worst is that I work too much from the kitchen island, completely taking it over—mostly because it has a view of the garden. 

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