Rank #1: Women of Abstract Expressionism
Why were women excluded from the art movement that has come to represent some of the best of 20th century American art? The answer may be rather complicated and Hyperallergic’s editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian interviews “Women Of Abstract Expressionism” exhibition curator Gwen Chanzit, Abstract Expressionism artist Judith Godwin, feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, and critic/curator Karen Wilkin to understand the issue.
Jul 25 2016
Rank #2: Who Was Artist David Wojnarowicz?
Last month, a dozen activists gathered at the Whitney Museum of Art to condemn the institution's lack of modern context about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in relation to Wojnarowicz's artwork. Their action was noticed by the art world and the museum, which is continuing to talk to the protesters after changing some of the labels to reflect on the fact that the AIDS crisis is not over.
In this episode we talk to Wojnarowicz biographer Cynthia Carr, author of Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz, who helps narrate the complicated story of an artist who has become one of the luminaries of New York's East Village scene in the 1980s. I also invited two artists, Jean Foos and Frank Holliday, who knew Wojnarowicz during his lifetime, to help paint a picture of a scene that burned bright, but was eventually snuffed out by a commercial art world obsessed with novelty, and the looming disaster that was AIDS.
A special thanks to Twig Twig for the music to this week's episode. You can listen to that and more at twigtwig.bandcamp.com and other streaming services.
Aug 24 2018
Rank #3: After Kanders: Critics, Reporters, and Editors Reflect on the 2019 Whitney Tear Gas Biennial
From nine weeks of protests to an exhibition that was more ethnically and racially diverse than previous years, this year’s Whitney Biennial has a lot to unpack.
I asked our associate news editor Jasmine Weber, editor and critic Seph Rodney, and reporter Hakim Bishara to join me to reflect on months of controversy and offer their opinions on the exhibition itself. We discuss favorite works, what may have been accomplished, and duds. You’ll want to hear this.
A special thanks to Wanderraven, who provided the music to this week’s episode. The song is called “Here Into The Dark”. Listen to more at wanderraven.com.
Oct 07 2019
Rank #4: Marilyn Minter and Xaviera Simmons Talk Art, Sex, and American Democracy
Artists Marilyn Minter and Xaviera Simmons both have solo shows up in New York this month. We invited them to chat with Hyperallergic's editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian about sex, art, gender inequality, Planned Parenthood, and the election.
Dec 22 2016
Rank #5: Michael Rakowitz Discusses Withdrawing from the 2019 Whitney Biennial, and His Leonard Cohen Problem
When news that Michael Rakowitz withdrew from the 2019 Whitney Biennial was published by the New York Times on February 25, people wondered why the Iraqi-American artist decided to sit out the biannual art event.
Later, in April, when the Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything opened at the Jewish Museum, many people noticed that Rakowitz's work about the renowned Canadian crooner’s relationship with Zionism and Israel — which appeared in the original exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal — wasn’t there. Why?
Rakowitz talks to me about the controversies with both exhibitions and his thoughts on museums and power. He also reads his 2015 letter to Leonard Cohen, which he mailed to the singer a year before the legend died.
And, as a special treat, the music in this podcast is performed by Rakowitz himself.
May 17 2019
Rank #6: What Should Artists Do With Their Work After They Die?
The business of artists's estates is becoming a big business, but the realities facing artists today aren't always as glamorous as some might think. For every multi-millionaire dollar Robert Rauschenberg estate, there are thousands of lesser-known talents whose families have to confront the tough decisions about what to do with hundreds of artworks and archives.
To sort out the realities facing artists and their loved ones, I invited two experts in the field who deal extensively with artist estates. Saul Ostrow is a critic, curator, and a principal at Art Legacy Planning, and Jason Andrew is a curator and partner at Artist Estate Studio.
Both of them are on the front lines of helping artists and their families decide what to do with their art after they pass away. I invited them to share their expertise in an episode that is a must-listen for those who are faced (or may be one day) with helping the artists in their lives to plan for the inevitable.
A special thanks to Twig Twig for the music to this week’s episode. You can listen to that and more at twigtwig.bandcamp.com and other streaming services.
Apr 17 2019
Rank #7: Discussing the Sculptures of Richard Serra with Hal Foster
There are many illuminating moment’s in Hal Foster’s Conversations about Sculpture (Yale University Press, 2018) with Richard Serra, including the discussion of the infamous “Tilted Arc” sculpture, Serra's formative years as he battled with Minimalism and Conceptual Art, his idea’s around site-specific art, and the role of text and image in his oeuvre.
This podcast begins with Serra’s own voice from a SFMOMA clip that asks the question, “Why Make Art?” and continues with a little adventure to see the artist’s first land artwork, “Shift” (1970), in King City, Ontario. Finally, I sit down with Foster, who talks about his own relationship with an artist who has reinvented himself a few times in his career.
Jan 24 2019
Rank #8: Joseph Pierce on Why Academics Must Decolonize Queerness
Joseph Pierce wants you to question everything, but especially queerness.
The Cherokee citizen and Stony Brook University assistant professor believes the moment has come for queer academia to seriously question the roots of their discipline, and ask how the field can expand to include more voices outside the Euro-American canon of Judith Butlers and Jack Halberstams.
"When we think about queerness," Pierce explains, "it's seen as a universal theory that can be applied everywhere. But often what that does is maintain a framework based on coloniality and white supremacy. What we want to do is question how queerness circulates."
Accordingly, the young researcher has teamed up with scholars from across the Western hemisphere to produce a special edition of GLQ, an important journal of lesbian and gay studies published by Duke University Press. The forthcoming issue intends to address the limits of queerness outside normative white contexts, and how decolonization and the schema of radical liberation might provide new context to how LGBTQ culture operates in regions like Latin America and the Global South.
An erstwhile contributor to Hyperallergic, Pierce has also written a new book that will release this November, called Argentine Intimacies: Queer Kinship in an Age of Splendor, 1890–1910. The result of extensive archival research, the book is a study into Argentina's turn-of-the-century crisis of modernity, and how political and economic changes in the country opened up new ways of conceptualizing family.
For a discussion about the relationship between queerness, decolonialiality, culture, and politics, we invited Pierce onto the Hyperallergic Art Movements podcast to share some insight into how he and other academics are trying to evolve queer studies into a more open field of inquiry.
The music for this episode is available under the Creative Commons 0 license.
Aug 09 2019
Rank #9: The Story Behind Our Art Handlers Exposé
Last week, Hyperallergic published a five-part series, titled The Danger Epidemic in Art Handling, on the realities facing art handlers in the United States. The story generated a lot of debate and shocked many who were never forced to think about the conditions workers are forced to endure when assembling and transporting art of all types.
This conversation with Hyperallergic Senior Writer Zachary Small and Associate News Editor Jasmine Weber explores the contours of the topic, the difficulties of reporting on contentious art world issues, and how investigative reporting is crucial for change. We also discuss the Sotheby's lockout of art handlers, which we covered extensively in 2011 and 2012.
A special thanks to Peter Gabriel's Real World Records for allowing us to play a special live track by world music legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The label is celebrating its 30th anniversary of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records and they marked the occasion by announcing the release of a previously unheard recording by the legendary qawwali singer. The recording includes Khan’s performance at WOMAD Festival in 1985, which was the first time the singer had performed in front of a mainly non-Asian audience. As a longtime fan of Khan's genius, I'm honored to include his music in this episode.
This and more in the current episode of Hyperallergic’s Art Movements podcast.
Sep 12 2019
Rank #10: Linda Nochlin Explores the Role of Women in the Arts in a Previously Unaired Interview
On October 29, 2017, the world lost its first feminist art historian. That title, of course, describes Linda Nochlin, a leading academic who changed the world of art after she published her important essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”
In 2016, I had the honor of interviewing her for the Women of Abstract Expressionism podcast and only used a few minutes of our interview. In this episode of Art Movements, we release the whole interview (leaving out some in-between bits) where she discusses the role of women in the arts, how oppression impacts culture, and her personal friendship with Joan Mitchell and others.
I also briefly interview one of her former students, art writer Aruna D'Souza, to explain what Nochlin was like as a person.
And the music this episode is “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G, Movement I (Allegro)” one of the most renowned compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, who was Nochlin's favorite composer.
Oct 12 2018
Rank #11: Ford Foundation President Darren Walker on the Power of Art, Inequality, and Detroit
Hyperallergic's editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian talks to Ford Foundation President Darren Walker about the public's interest in scrutinizing institutional authority, Walker's own love of art, and the renovations at the Foundation's building, and also discussed Agnes Gund's new Art for Justice fund, the role of the arts for marginalized communities, and the importance of public education.
The music featured in this episode was “Give it Your Choir” by Mark Pritchard from Warp Records.
You can hear more from his latest release “Under the Sun” at http://markprtchrd.com and find more great music from Warp Records at http://warp.net.
Nov 09 2017
Rank #12: What the Hell Are McMansions and Why Do They Exist?
McMansions are the houses many of us love to hate. They're big, gaudy, and often they're accumulations of traditionally mismatched architectural elements. Whatever they are, they're everywhere in suburbia. We invited Kate Wagner, aka McMansion Hell, to talk oversized buildings of wealth and status, including the McMansion that is US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's house in Holland, Michigan.
As Hyperallergic editor and critic Seph Rodney returns from Brazil, I invited him to talk about the São Paulo Biennial (Sep 7–Dec 9_)_, which opened a few days after the Natural Museum of Brazil burned down in Rio de Janiero. He picks some favorites and discusses what he saw at the second-oldest art biennial in the world.
A special thanks to Althea SullyCole for the music to this week’s episode. You can visit her website, altheasullycole.com, for more information. She is also performing on September 21 at Postcrypt Coffeehouse in New York City, and September 22 at the Rhythmic Integration Center in New Milford, CT.
Sep 13 2018
Rank #13: Lowery Stokes Sims and Chloë Bass Talk Empathy, Art, and Education
Last year, we invited artist, writer, and Queens College professor Chloë Bassto talk with curator, art historian, and museum veteran Lowery Stokes Sims to have a conversation of their choosing. It took me a year to publish this podcast, but I’m happy to say their words are more relevant today than ever, as the two art world figures discuss the imagined publics of contemporary art, public and private education, and the challenges of empathy and identity in art.
Bass is no stranger to Hyperallergic readers, and she's known for her deep engagement with art and writing coupled with a solid understanding of the way art functions in the world and the emotional sophistication needed to outline those parameters.
Then there’s Lowery Stokes Sims, who has been a trailblazer throughout her career. She was on the education and curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1972 to 1999, during which time she specialized in modern and contemporary art. From 2000 to 2007, she was executive director and then president of The Studio Museum in Harlem, and served as Adjunct Curator for the Permanent Collection. Then from 2007 until 2015, she chief curator at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design.
I think you’ll agree that the following conversation offers useful insight into the worlds of two leading figures in New York’s art community.
Dec 07 2018
Rank #14: A Conversation with Mega-collector Don Rubell
Hyperallergic's Editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian speaks to mega-collector Don Rubell of the Rubell Family Collection about decades of collecting and establishing one of the biggest collections of contemporary art in the world.
Dec 09 2016
Rank #15: Women’s Central Role in Lebanon's Modern Art World
Born in 1923 in Pennsylvania to Lebanese parents, Helen Khal would go on to become an important presence in the modern art world of Lebanon as a prominent art critic and artist. A new exhibition at Beirut’s Sursock Museum tells the history of that period through her friendships and relationships with a coterie of artists and writers who would become some of the most important artist voices in the region.
Commissioned by Ashkal Alwan for the Sursock Museum's biennial Home Works gathering of lectures, performances, exhibitions and events — most of which, with the exception of the exhibitions, has been indefinitely postponed because of the recent nationwide protests in Lebanon. The exhibition is titled At the still point of the turning world, there is the dance and includes work by Chafic Abboud, Yvette Achkar, Etel Adnan, Huguette Caland, Simone Fattal, Farid Haddad, Helen Khal, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Aref Rayess, and Dorothy Salhab-Kazemi.
Curators Carla Chammas and Rachel Dedman spoke to me about this incredible art historical show that combines paintings, ceramics, furniture, letters, publications, videos, and other primary source materials from the "Golden Era" from before the infamous Lebanese Civil War. We’ve included an assortment of images in this post to give you a flavor of the exhibition, and we’ve included the items the curators selected as personal favorites, which they also discuss on the podcast.
For this episode we’ve used the sounds from the recent streets protests in downtown Beirut, which were sparked by decades of growing corruption and new taxes that were proposed and since rescinded.
This and more in the current episode of our weekly Art Movements podcast.
Nov 04 2019
Rank #16: The Political Life of Memes with An Xiao Mina
Memes are the street art of the social web, and they are becoming more central to the political and cultural conversations we have. In her new book, Memes to Movements: How the World's Most Viral Media Is Changing Social Protest and Power, An Xiao Mina helps us understand how memes influenced the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, Black Lives Matter in the United States, and Women’s Marches around the world. She explores how memes can help people express public dissent in environments where that can be downright dangerous.
As one of Hyperallergic's original contributors, An Xiao Mina is no stranger to Hyperallergic readers. In her latest project, she continues to challenge us to think critically about the online world and the role of art in the formation of this brave new social terrain. She also discusses her time working at Ai Weiwei’s studio, her internet research in Uganda, and her current job working in the Bay Area’s robust tech scene developing tools for journalists and other online citizens.
The music for this episode is “Grass-Mud Horse Cartoon and Rap (Cao Ni Ma),” which was one of the many versions of the Grass-Mud Horse song that emerged anonymously in China approximately a decade ago to protest internet censorship. This version, An Xiao Mina’s favorite, is featured in this episode. Also, a special thanks to Jason Li for allowing us to use his illustration for Memes to Movements as this week’s cover art.
Jan 10 2019
Rank #17: The Rebel Women of 19th-Century New York
The stories of trailblazing women continue to inspire but many of these figures, who occur throughout history, have been written out of the history books or relegated to accounts of their time and ignored by historians. Now, curator Marcela Micucci talks to use about these figures who had a big impact on all aspects of city life, including the so-called "Witch of Wall Street," Hetty Green. It's an exhibition full of colorful stories.
And then I talk to critic Paddy Johnson and artist William Powhida, co-hosts of the Explain Me podcast, about the fall season, New York museums, and what they've been up to.
Sep 06 2018
Rank #18: Egyptian Surrealism and the Quest to Define Modern Egyptian Art
Hyperallergic travels to Cairo to see one of the new wave of exhibitions that are reintroducing Egyptian modern art, particularly related to the Art and Liberty group (often referred to as Egyptian Surrealism), to a wider audience.
Jan 05 2017
Rank #19: Tapping into the Art World's Potential to Making Us Feel Empowered
A business and financial literacy conference, the Art World Conference is gathering together 50 speakers for panel discussions, conversations, and in-depth workshops addressing many of the challenges faced by visual artists and arts professionals who work closely with artists. The multi-day event is the brainchild of Dexter Wimberly and Heather Bhandari, two veterans of the art field who bring decades of expertise to the table.
I invited Dexter and Heather to the studio to talk about the changing currents of the art community and their own visions for a more empowered and exciting art world. We discuss the lingering myths that continue to plague art professionals, and new ways forward.
The music in this podcast was provided by Providence-based band Strawberry Generation. Check them out on Spotify, Apple Music, Facebook and Instagram. They are currently working on their first full-length album, to be released later in the year. They’re also getting ready to tour for the first time this summer, playing at the Indietracks festival in the UK.
Apr 15 2019
Rank #20: The Los Angeles Art Landscape, Through the Lens of Our Writers
Last year, editor Elisa Wouk Almino relocated from Hyperallergic’s New York-based office to Los Angeles to help expand coverage along the West Coast. In this podcast, she chats with Editor-in-Chief Hrag Vartanian about her initial impressions of the city, where artists have been increasingly flocking to.
We then speak with Catherine G. Wagley, a veteran Los Angeles art critic and reporter who has contributed nuanced op-eds and reported stories to the site. She shares her thoughts on why Los Angeles is such an appealing city for artists and how it differentiates itself from other major centers like New York. She also talks about how students at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) have been battling for more transparent financial policies — a fight that is relevant for art schools across the country.
Finally, two of our frequent contributors, Matt Stromberg and Abe Ahn, share some of their favorite art spaces and experiences in Los Angeles. If you live in the city or are planning a summer trip, don’t miss out on their fun, off-beat, and insightful recommendations.
A special thanks to April + VISTA for the music to this week’s episode. If you’re in Los Angeles, the band will be performing at the Echo on June 13. You can listen to more of their music on Spotify and other streaming services.
May 31 2019