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58 minutes | a month ago
Explain Me With Art Critic Ben Davis: The Year That Wasn't, Part Two
Immersive Van Gogh In this episode of Explain Me, we continue our conversation with Artnet's National Critic Ben Davis as we take stock of 2020. In this episode: We discuss the biases of algorithm sorting Ben Davis coins the term cultural inflation, a term that refers to franchise media properties. We examine the relevance of ART CLUB 2000 the recent subject of Ben Davis' review, Why the New ART CLUB2000 Retrospective Offers Lessons for Today’s Artists That Transcend Pure ’90s Nostalgia We name check Davis' The State of Culture, Part One.
94 minutes | a month ago
Explain Me with Art Critic Ben Davis: The Year That Wasn't, Part One
"Immersive Van Gogh" In this episode of Explain Me, we take stock of the year in art with Artnet's National Critic Ben Davis. What happened in the art world in 2020? We ask this knowing that we obviously have not seen a lot of art or attended anything remotely like a normal opening. But, a lot happened this year, even if we experienced it all at a distance. We know that, with the vaccine slowly rolling out now, the art world will return, but what are the implications of the pandemic for the art world this coming fall and beyond? In part one of this episode we discuss: The few upsides of the pandemic. Ben Davis on Phillip Guston Show Postponement Baltimore Museum Deaccessioning, two opposing views. Christopher Knight Nikki Columbus Three Tech Companies Locked in a Battle to Capture Your Attention With the World’s Best Immersive Van Gogh Experience. Brian Boucher, Artnet The Boundless Optimism of BTS, Esquire
127 minutes | 6 months ago
Zombie Figuration Isn't a Thing: A Critical Autopsy with Antwaun Sargent
In this episode of Explain Me, critic and curator Antwaun Sargent joins us to discuss the effects of the pandemic and Alex Greenberger's Zombie Figuration, a confusing essay that appeared earlier this month in ARTnews. In the first half hour we discuss the disparate effects of the pandemic and general politics. Then we move on to art, zombies, race, and why art has limits. BIOGRAPHY Antwaun Sargent is an art critic and a writer who has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vice and more, as well as essays to multiple museum publications. His first book, “The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion” (Aperture) is out now. In April he announced a new partnership with Gagosian that will include working on four exhibitions and contributing features to their magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. LISTENER ADVISORY: In this episode, Paddy Johnson occasionally repeats Antwaun Sargent's words when his audio cuts out. This leads to periodic moments when Johnson and Sargent speak at the same time. LINKS First There Was Zombie Formalism, Now There is Zombie Figuration Met Apologies to Glenn Ligon Noah Davis Barkley Hendricks Kehinde Wiley Cinga Samson Peter Saul Alice Neal Jordan Casteel Jordan Casteel at the New Museum EARLY WHITNEY BIENNIAL REVIEWS Paddy Johnson Andrew Russeth Linda Yablonsky Find us on Spotify, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts
108 minutes | 7 months ago
Institutional failure, Trump's Agenda, and Meme-Driven Conservative Movements: A Talk with Nayland Blake
Artist Nayland Blake joins the podcast to discuss the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, mass protests, and the resurgence of COVID as the backdrop for public art and how museums are addressing diversity. Spearheaded in large part by Blake, we discuss all of these issues through the lens of what people need and how art makers, art workers and arts institutions answer that need. We started the conversation with Blake's recent twitter thread on art criticism. "Art criticism is the activity of thinking with and through art objects," they wrote. "If you constantly reach for the same few objects to think with, you stagnate as a critic and simply reinforce your own bias." Other relevant links mentioned in the show: Nayland Blake's website Julie Mehretu's Goldman Saks mural Mark Bradford Social Abstraction What is the Boogaloo movement? Dread Scott's Rebel Reenactment Marblecake Also the Game Gamergate Explainer Support Explain Me by becoming a member on Patreon.
113 minutes | 8 months ago
Revolution for the Family: Heather Bhandari and Nikki Columbus on Pandemic Parenting, art, and Activism
This week on Explain Me, co-hosts William Powhida and Paddy Johnson talk to arts organizers and activists Heather Bhandari and Nikki Columbus about the challenges for mothers during the pandemic, and the challenges for arts workers seeking to make changes to a system that no longer works for them. Of the family-focused topics discussed we take on pandemic screen time for kids (Bhandari describes DinoTrux as terrible for kids, but a necessary evil), what to do if your toddler licks a bodega door, and disrupted schedules that make it impossible to find or look for work and require long and often unusual hours. On the subject of organizing we discuss several projects spearheaded by Bhandari and Columbus respectively designed to pave actionable paths for artists. Finally we discuss Frieze New York, and contrast their dubious charity efforts during the fair to the more collective NADA art fair model that works towards a sustainable model for everyone. Show links below. The Art World Conference Forward Union Art/Work, Heather Bhandari and Jonathan Melber N+1, Free Your Mind, by Claire Bishop and Nikki Columbus Art+Work+Place, Emergency Session I, Veralist Center Art+Work+Place, Emergency Session II, Veralist Center Museum transparency Newsletter (Read about all the layoffs and other bad news that’s happening in the museum world right now—of which there is a ton.) The Model Model: Ethical Actions by Arts Organizations in the time of COVID-19 (Read about the good news and exemplary work by arts organizations.) Obama Commencement Speech #graduatetogether2020 (twitter hashtag) Frieze Art Fair (May 8-15th) NADA Fair (May 20-June 21)
108 minutes | 9 months ago
From L.A. With Love: Thoughts on Online Viewing Rooms, Museum Layoffs, and More with Carolina Miranda and Michael Shaw
88 minutes | 10 months ago
Explain Me with Jonathan Schwartz of Atelier4 and Magda Sawon of Postmasters
Serkan Özkaya's Proletarier Aller Länder (Workers of the World) 1999, Image via Postmaster's Gallery. In this episode of Explain Me, hosts Paddy Johnson and William Powhida talk to Magda Sawon of Postmasters Gallery in New York, and Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO and founder of Atelier4, an arts logistics company based out of New York. The discussion includes stories and conversations you won’t find anywhere else. Schwartz reports that at least one logistics company is currently breaking the law to ship art, and that Fedex trucks are in short supply because they’re being used to transport the dead. Magda describes the challenges for galleries which range from financial burdens to the need to better consider the online art environment. William and Paddy discuss the financial precarity of artists, writers, and educators. As a group we talk about what needs to be done to respond to the crisis and what is being done. We also make the mini announcement that we will be launching a Patreon for Explain Me in the next week or two. More details on that soon! We’re looking at a radical shift in opportunity, so this conversation includes a fair amount of debate. We’re also doing it over zoom, with William on the phone due to an internet connectivity issue. This isn’t the best recording quality we’ve ever produced, but it might be the most important episode. Please tune in. COMING UP: Resources for freelancers and art organizations. What relief is available and how long it will take to get to the people who need it.
86 minutes | 10 months ago
Explain Me: We're Baaaaaack!
Welcome back to Explain Me! In an effort to produce content a little more regularly we're trying something new: no editing. This means a little more baseless speculation, and off the cuff commentary, in return for actual podcasts! Yes! In this episode we discuss news, art, and trends seen at The Armory, Spring Break and The Independent. Highlights include: The Armory News! They're moving to the Javits Center! Speculation about what that means. Adrian Wong with animal spiritual guide Lynn Schuster at Carrie Secrist Gallery Austin Lee at Jeffrey Dietch Kumasi J. Barnett at Ryan Lowell Projects Dominic Chambers at Anna Zorina Gallery Matt Bolinger at Zurcher Hannah Wilke and Cassils at Feldman Gallery Spring Break Gallery Cubed's Nathan Sinai Rayman Emily McElreath and Evan Pepper's show of work by Jeila Gueramian Chambliss Giobbi’s A Room with a View Carlos Rosales-Silva The Independent Galerie Jocelyn Wolff's Miriam Cahn Various Small Fires's Jessie Homer French Andrew Edlin Gallery Colored pencil and pastels
95 minutes | 2 years ago
Standing in Quicksand
We cover a lot of ground in this episode of Explain Me. That ground looks something like this: The Velvet Buzzsaw is a bad movie. Mary Boone is still awaiting sentencing for falsifying tax documents—a whistleblower could get as much as $300,000 in reward for the tip. Dawn Clements is remembered at Pierogi. Dana Schutz's first show since the controversy over her painting of Emmitt Till at the Whitney Biennial. Chelsea is more woke. W.A.G.E. is asking artists to withhold their art from the Whitney Biennial until the museum adequately address the issue of their board chair selling tear gas used on children at the border. Amazon is reaching out to artists in attempts to buy their support. Listeners who want to organize against this kind of practice should attend the next Artist Studio Affordability Project meeting. Contact the organization for details.
69 minutes | 2 years ago
Museum Board Members Fail Moral Challenges, Museum Exhibitions Exceed Expectations
Donna DeSalvo assembles some of Andy Warhol's greatest work for his retrospective at the Whitney Museum, while revelations that Whitney Vice Chair Warren B. Kanders owns a company that sells tear gas used at the border shake museum staff. Soul of a Nation at the Brooklyn Museum looks at the history of political activism, while Jack Waters offers a mix of bag of awe inspiring abject art paired with groan inspiring sculptures and paintings. Jack Whitten at the Metropolitan Museum dazzles, Art and Conspiracy flops, and Amazon is going to drive us all out of our homes. Relevant links below. Andy Warhol at The Whitney Museum Whitney Museum Vice Chairman Owns a Manufacturer Supplying Tear Gas at the Border, Hyperallergic Whitney Museum Staffers Demand Answers, Hyperallergic Soul of a Nation, Art in the Age of Black Power at the Brooklyn Museum John Waters: Indecent Exposure at the Baltimore Museum of Art Jack Whitten at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Closed Dec 2) Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Amazon Headquarters Will Come to Long Island City: Curbed Explainer ASAP Pledge Not to Take Crumbs from Amazon
100 minutes | 2 years ago
Live From Forward Union: Four Women Who Are Using Art to Change the World
It's been a rough news week. Between Thursday's testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Kavanaugh's near appointment to the Supreme Court Friday, many of us are exhausted. We would like a win for women. Sometimes the quickest way to achieve that is to do it yourself. As such, this episode of Explain Me celebrates women who have made waves in the world of art and activism, through a series of interviews with four major figures—Mia Pearlman, Jenny Dubnau, Nancy Kleaver, and Mira Schor. In the first half of the show, Mia Pearlman and Jenny Dubnau talk about their work pushing for changes at the city and state level and how being an artist makes that job easier. In the second half, Paddy Johnson and Nancy Kleaver talk about their new public art organization, PARADE, and Mira Schor talks about the history of feminism in art from the 1970's through to today, and her contributions. Stream it. Download it. Listen to it. This one's important.
83 minutes | 2 years ago
What it Really Means to be A Mid-Career Artist: A Talk with LoVID's Tali Hinkis
In this episode we talk with LoVID's Tali Hinkis about the challenges of being a mid-career artist outside of New York. We discuss how to engage a general audience to getting grants and networking. A refreshingly frank talk about what mid-career actually looks like for artists and what it takes to even get there.
71 minutes | 3 years ago
Explain Me: The Case for Taxing the Hell Out of Peter Brant
In this episode of Explain Me William Powhida and Paddy Johnson discuss the horrific business practices of Peter Brant and Interview Magazine, a fundraising campaign at University of North Carolina so misguided that firing is in order, and the latest headscratching Creative Time project. To help us discuss all of this, and how the new tax code will affect artists accountant and painter Hannah Cole joins us.
62 minutes | 3 years ago
Explain Me, Part II: Doug Aitken New Era, Worst Show of 2018
In Part II of Explain Me, William Powhida and Paddy Johnson discuss the difference between relational aesthetics and social practice, the whims of the auction market and the perilous affect it can have on artist careers, and Doug Aitken's train wreck of a show at 303 Gallery along with a handful of truly remarkable shows. Those shows listed below. Doug Aitken at 303. Painted in Mexico 1700-1790 at The Met Huma Bhabha at the Met A Luta Continua The Sylvio Perlstein Collection Mel Chin at the Queens Museum #OE2018 Jacolby Satterwhite at Gavin Brown On Human Limits at Present Company Ander Mikalson *Plus we throw Dan Colen under the bus.
47 minutes | 3 years ago
Explain Me: Bags of Cash Help New Galleries
In this episode we discuss how the Frieze Art Fair's failing air conditioning units won't help global warming, sales strategies for emerging artists, and galleries that have come and gone.
94 minutes | 3 years ago
Related Utopias: Bitcoin Economies and the Art World
This week on Explain Me, William Powhida and Paddy Johnson talk with artist Kevin McCoy about Blockchain, Bitcoin and the Monegraph. This episode is your ultimate bitcoin/blockchain/monegraph explainer. Links: Monegraph Seven on Seven, 2014 Public Key/Private Key Reading List: China, Crypto-Currency, and the World OrderTribute and Tribulations - http://wdwreview.org/desks/china-crypto-currency-and-the-world-order/Digital Denominations - http://wdwreview.org/desks/china-crypto-currency-and-the-world-order-part-2/Clone Wars - http://wdwreview.org/desks/china-crypto-currency-and-the-world-order-part-3/ A modern classic Hito Steyerl - If you don’t have bread, eat Art! http://www.e-flux.com/journal/76/69732/if-you-don-t-have-bread-eat-art-contemporary-art-and-derivative-fascisms/ Does Digital Culture Want to be Free? How blockchains are transforming the economy of cultural goods http://www.academia.edu/33838249/Does_digital_culture_want_to_be_free_How_blockchains_are_transforming_the_economy_of_cultural_goods Thanks to Explain Me sponsor, Superfine
54 minutes | 3 years ago
Explain Me: The New Museum Triennial—Two Critics Perform Their Own Acts of Sabotage
In this episode of Explain Me, Paddy Johnson and William Powhida discuss the New Museum Triennial "Songs for Sabotage". Both Johnson and Powhida agree this show has more of its fair share of bad art but only Powhida sees this as a dealbreaker. Debate ensues. The ad in which Pepsi and model Kendall Jenner create world peace gets a mention. All images discussed can be viewed on Art F City. Thanks to Explain Me sponsor, Superfine
52 minutes | 3 years ago
The Spring Break Art Show: A Good Time Show Disrupted by the Specter of Trump (Part One)
In this episode of Spring Break we discuss the fairs in general and where Spring Break fits in, themes, trends, the over all quality of the art, and a few pieces that stuck out for their overall failure. We also asked four participants to give us their elevator pitches for the show. Those guests included: Lynn Sullivan and Dominic Nurre's exhibition "Ours", (artists anonymous), Kyle Hittmeier and Amanda Nedham curated "The Last Equestrian Portrait" (a group show), Kumasi J Barnett "Stop it Whiteman: You're Wrecking the World" curated by Jac Lahav, and Mark Joshua Epstein and Will Hutnick present "The Songs Make a Space" by the late composer Michael Friedman. All images and credits will appear on Art F City. Correction: In this episode we incorrectly identified a series of protest signs titled "You'll Never Know We Were Here" as the work of Sarah Walko. The piece was done by Fernando Orellana.
48 minutes | 3 years ago
The Stink of Met Admission Hikes Endures
Back in January, William Powhida and I recorded an episode of Explain Me on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new admission policy. Earlier that month, the museum known for housing some of the world's greatest treasures announced its admission price would no longer remain "pay-as-you-wish". As of March 1st, their suggested admission, $25 will become mandatory for anyone living outside of New York State. Children under 12 get in for free. Given that there's less than two weeks until this policy change goes into affect, we thought it might be a good time to release our discussion and revisit the debate. Because what came out of the debate, was not a picture of an institution starving for more funds, but wealthy museum with a board and President ideologically opposed to the free admission policy. Learning this changed my position, which was one initially in support of a change the museum described as an absolute necessity, to boycotting the museum for the month of March. While the admission increase doesn't affect my cost of admission, it affects that of my family and friends from out of town. It is also entirely out of step with generosity of creative spirit that brought me to this city in the first place. Over the course of the podcast, William and I discuss a large number of articles and the conclusions drawn by the authors. We go through the points rather quickly, so for those who want them at your finger tips, I've included them below. Data People These are thoughts by people we describe as "data driven". Grey Matter's Tim Schneider. Cites studies that claim cost is a secondary factor to why people visit museums. People cite lack of time and lack of transportation as major factors. Adds the caveat that structural discrimination may account for some of these factors. Colleen Dilen Schneider. The original blogger who sourced studies that claim cost is a secondary factor to why people visit museums. Expect a treasure trove of studies, over use of bolding and zero caveating. Read at your own risk. Blogs Hrag Vartanian interviews Met president Daniel Weiss for Hyperallergic. There's a lot in here, but we discuss the following points: Vartanian notes the museum's well-known $40 million deficit in the intro. Weiss says asking David Koch to pay for the Met's admissions would be inappropriate morally because the wealthy already support 75% of their budget and their current admissions is "failing". Claims a dramatic increase in visitors. Says there has been 71 percent decline in what visitors pay. Says the museum has close to a billion in endowments reserved for operations. Felix Salmon at Cause and Effect. Looks at the Met's annual reports and finds that Weiss overstates the Met's visitor numbers (which increased by 11.5 % thanks to the Met Breuer opening), and misleads the public about admissions revenue, which has actually increased by 13 %. Concludes that admissions isn't the reason the museum has the deficit. Also, notes that the Met's endowment has risen $170 million a year through investments, of which, over $100 million a year can be used for anything they want. Concludes that the Met won't suffer by making $10 million a year less because they are maintaining their "pay-as-you-wish" policy. Petitions The Met Should Remain Free For All. Main Stream Media Jillian Steinhauer for CNN The Met Needs to Live Up To Its History and Its Public Robin Pogrebin for The New York Times reports that Weiss cites the city's plans to reduce the Met's funding as one rationale for the change. Holland Cotter at New York Times. New York residents would have to prove their residency by "carding" procedures, which he doesn't like because "it potentially discriminates against a population of residents who either don’t have legal identification or are reluctant to show the identification they have." Roberta Smith at The New York Times. Rebukes the position that because other museums charge they should too, saying "Actually it should be just the opposite. Pay as you wish is a principle that should be upheld and defended, a point of great pride. The city should be equally proud of it. No one else has this, although they should. It indicates a kind of attitude, like having the Statue of Liberty in our harbor. It is, symbolically speaking, a beacon."
68 minutes | 3 years ago
What Curators Really Think: A Cringe Worthy Report
On this episode of Explain Me we discuss a disastrous curator conference at SVA titled "Curatorial Activism and the Politics of Shock", the Miami art fairs, and three shows— "Talon Rouge: Six Mexican Artists Revisit José Juan Tablada and His New York Circle" at PROXYCO, "Johnny Abrahams: Threnody" at The Hole and "Molly Zuckerman-Hartung: Learning Artist" and "Maryam Hoseini Of Strangers and Parrots" at Rachel Uffner.
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