Rank #1: Ep. # 203: MRS. - the rise of a young gallery in Queens, NYC, with Sara Maria Salamone and Tyler Lafreniere
Co-owners Sara Maria Salamone and Tyler Lafreniere of MRS. Gallery in Queens, New York, talk about:
The origin behind MRS.’s concise and memorable name; what it’s been like running their gallery in the relatively off-the-beaten-path neighborhood of Maspeth,Queens, and how they get consistent traffic despite their location; their rising success at the start of their 2nd season with Genesis Belanger’s show; their slower-paced five shows per season schedule, which is both more manageable and potentially a model that other galleries are considering using as well; sales, and all the things that go into maintaining and growing them as a small, young gallery; why Sara loves art fairs (and Tyler enjoys them as well) and how important they are at this stage for the gallery’s business, since despite being in NYC, their Maspeth location limits turnout, which they make up for at the fairs (they’re doing NADA Miami this Dec.); the importance of social media, specifically Instagram, for their acquiring new collectors, several of whom are buying works virtually, unseen in person; and Sara’s level of connectivity (as the gallery “mama bear”), and to what extent she feels it’s healthy vs. necessary.
Nov 04 2017
Rank #2: Ep. #223: NYC-based artist Joshua Cittarella
In the part 1 of 2 episodes, NYC artist Joshua Citarella talks about:
Why he grew disillusioned with the art world vis-à-vis the art market, including his having early success but also being part of the ‘pump-and-dump’ market rise and fall between 2012 and 2015; his collaborations with artist Brad Troemmel - who was profiled in a New Yorker article by Adrien Chen, and in which Citarella was also featured – particularly their online marketplace project UV Production House; his thoughts on social media, particularly his wisdom about Instagram, and how artists should aim to be tastemakers rather than following trends that the algorithms like; his hope in using social media (via Meme culture and more) to take down established structures of the art world, and the subsequent hard dose of reality that followed; untangling the concept, or the presumption even, that an artist is a progressive; and navigating the roles of artist and activist, and where an artist can be most productive.
Aug 11 2018
Rank #3: Epis. # 240: "Art After Money, Money After Art"
Lakehead University professor and Art after Money, Money After Art author Max Haiven talks about: the ‘Dark Matter’ of the art world (coined by Gregory Sholette); the myth of meritocracy in the art world, as well as in his own academia, and the myth that money follows a logic that it always lands in the right places; how he uses art and the art world as a hieroglyph to understand a broader societal set of trends; how he, both as a critic and activist and a private citizen finds artworks with a political, often radical bent, most compelling (and which inform the curation of the work in the book); how some art as we know it is bleeding into forms of activism or agitation that has potential to resist oligarchical politics and economics that are destroying our world and most people’s lives; how art and money (especially finance) have always been connected; how the corrosive results of ‘finacialization’ includes the sense of competition individuals have towards their fellow citizens, leading to a sense of alienation and loathing the Max things we’re only beginning to understand; the way that critics legitimate works as ‘art,’ for better or worse, and his contention that art has the ability to get under the skin of the economy in ways that almost no other approach does; and how artists can make their most important contributions to social movements and social change not as artists, but as citizens.
Apr 06 2019
Rank #4: Epis.#257: Nick Brown-- L.A. painter and director of the Davyde Whaley Foundation
L.A.-based painter Davyd Whaley Foundation director Nick Brown talks about :
Quitting all his teaching jobs in favor of bartending while in New York because he needed to be making significantly for the high cost of living; how he got his current day job as director of the Davyd Whaley Foundation, which gives artist’s grants in the Southern California region, and what the job entails; how his being involved in the jury process has made him more sympathetic to artists who apply, advocating for prospective grantees; how he’s found artists in L.A. to be more generous in sharing opportunities than he experienced while in New York, and how he really likes to making art world introductions; his career successes and struggles, and how he sees the Whaley grant for emerging artists as a way for them to get a boost of recognition and advances their career; how he’s maintaining his UCLA extension teaching job in addition to being the Foundation director because he loves teaching so much, despite its challenges; how he sells his work, both to collectors he’s been able to cultivate without a gallery, as well as small watercolors on Instagram; the story of when a collector rang him up out of the blue and bought $10k of his work at a moment when he was really hurting financially; and how he applied to New American Paintings two years in a row with the exact same work, getting in the 2nd time (because it was all about the viewer, he said--not the work).
Dec 21 2019
Rank #5: Epis.# 235: Art in the 21st Century with Nick Ravich of Art21
Nick Ravich, director of production for Art21 in New York, talks about:
His approach as both a producer and a director of Art21 artist docs, which are produced in both shorter form as well as longer form on their most well-known platform, Art in the 21st Century, which is broadcast on PBS; the variation in artists’ approaches and responses to being subjects of Art21, and how inevitably they’re often made to be vulnerable, at the least by having a camera on them in their studio for an entire day (if not more); how Art21 survives as an institution, particularly with all of the other video-about-contemporary-art platforms that have sprung up since they launched; the affirmative dynamic Art21 has towards its artists, and how the process of choosing artists works (the artists almost always say yes); a bizarre experience he had with the photographer Kay Grannan when they were on a shoot and staying at a Las Vegas motel off the strip; and Nick launches into an insightful analysis of the differences between podcasts and video in terms of to what extent someone (artists in particular) will open up.
Jan 19 2019
Rank #6: Epis.# 231: "The Price of Everything" producers Jennifer Blei Stockman and Debi Wisch
Debi Wisch and Jennifer Blei Stockman, two of the three main producers of the documentary The Price of Everything, about art and money, talk about:
The breakdown of the sales system in terms of democratization; auctioneer Simon de Pury’s line: “you should buy with your eyes, not your ears,” and ignore the background noise, as Debi puts it; buying trends among collectors, and the pros and cons of those purchases; the complications of gifting collections to museums; resources available to artists on the film’s website; the producers’ goals in terms of pulling back the curtain on the art world and getting people thinking and asking questions, and how one personal motivation was not being able to collect a lot of contemporary art they’d been interested in because it was too expensive; how artists (including Jeff Koons) don’t make any money from their work when it sells at auction; the draw of contemporary art around the world that’s been made apparent to the filmmakers through the many countries that have shown interest in the film; the possible reasons why a German refugee, just prior to the Holocaust, owns a Maurizio Cattelan sculpture of an adolescent-sized Adolph Hitler on his knees; and the challenges and thrills of navigating the learning curve of filmmaking over a seven-year span for this ambitious documentary.
Nov 24 2018
Rank #7: Epis.#255: Laura Krifka-- painter and professor--
Painter and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo professor Laura Krifka talks about:
How her work is at its core about seduction, built through scenarios of being seduced, and how she constructs each painting to both seduce, and, by revealing subtle (metaphorical) cracks in the foundation, she also plays with repulsion; the frank reactions she’s received from more non-Art World audiences about being a ‘weird lady’ for the things she paints; her process of working with models, whom she really enjoys collaborating with and often become friends, and the ‘violence’ that she feels she brings to their painted visages… she feels more comfortable using herself as a model for the more distorted and/or vulnerable characters; how she meets the tremendous adulation she’s been receiving for her fall 2019 show in Los Angeles with the steadfast belief that it won’t last…she always leaves the house expecting some sort of disaster (and yet on the flip side, she’s very grateful for everything she has--including a tenure-track professorship); how she’s always planned on having a side hustle, and still plans to even if her work completely blows up (let’s hold her to that).
Nov 23 2019
Rank #8: Ep.# 215: Anna Stothart, director at Lehman Maupin gallery in NYC
Anna Stothart, director at Lehman Maupin in New York, talks about:
Language used in and around art history, in both gallery and museum contexts including presentations tailored to different audiences, and the reason it took her so long to find her own voice when giving public presentations; how she defines what curators do in terms of taking the academic and the stuff going on in artists’ studios, and meeting them halfway; how she started connecting environmental crises with rises in zombies in pop culture, all leading to her curating a zombie-themed show; the intuitive art (and occasionally science) to curating a show; her fast rise as a curator--- thru ICA Boston, from her entry point as a grad student all the way to becoming a curator, then a year as contemporary curator at San Antonio Museum of Art before being recruited for her current post as one of Lehman Maupin’s directors; and the things she does for the gallery, from artist liaison to filling her colleagues in on new work to negotiating sales of work to museums.
Apr 21 2018
Rank #9: Ep. #221: Social media consultant and influencer Robin Cembalest
Social media influencer and consultant Robin Cembalest (with 45K IG followers) talks about:
How she went from art magazine writing and editing to working more and more prominently in social media, first with Tumblr and then Twitter and Instagram; her strategies for using Twitter, including using Twitter ‘lists,’ as well as the same for Instagram, including: whom you might follow, the three-second rule for whom to follow, how WHO you follow and follows you is ultimately more important than your Like and Follower numbers, and the importance of your message - what are you trying to tell people - above all else, even ‘felicitous’ images; how Instagram is a form of ‘micro-networking’ that can be used for connecting to people in real life; and how people are talking with each other these days through images, and how in her consulting business she teaches clients how to communicate the points you want people to know about you.
Jul 14 2018
Rank #10: # 196: Matthew Gardocki, formerly of Patrick Painter and Mark Moore galleries, on managing a gallery, navigating the market(s), and interviewing for jobs as a father of a 2-year-old
Along with co-host (and gallerist) Deb Klowden Mann, Los Angeles-based Matthew Gardocki, former gallery manager at Patrick Painter and Mark Moore galleries, talks about:
His decade-plus time working for two long-running L.A. galleries, the different management style of each, how he transitioned from one gallery to the other (they were across the parking lot from each other at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica), and how he became a good fireman (by getting really good at putting out fires); his experiences going to art fairs, both to sell and to sneak in a little travel; we talk about the viability of mid-sized and/or family galleries as business models, vis-à-vis the recent closing of Matthew's last employer Mark Moore; various art world comparisons, particularly mid-sized galleries vs. the big galleries, the big galleries vs. museums, secondary market sales as a way for a gallery to survive (and how the 2ndary market has dried up according to Matthew), and the challenge of mid-tier galleries; how he's looking for gallery work, and what's come up in his interviews, including his availability as a father of a 2-year-old; the reliability (or lack thereof) of collectors making studio or gallery visits; gender bias in the workplace, and finally, Matthew shares a very unusual birth story (of his daughter) that you likely haven't heard before.
Jul 30 2017
Rank #11: Ep.# 210: "Pretentiousness--Why it Matters" with author and Frieze magazine writer Dan Fox
Frieze editor and writer and author of Pretentiousness: Why It Matters, Dan Fox talks about:
The English accent in the U.S., which has been called ‘fake,’ and even ‘villainous’; his intention in writing the book to get people, in using the word “pretentious,” to think more about what they mean when they use that word, whether they mean it as an insult or not; people being “pretentious” in film and television, and why people criticize Anglos who mix French words into their sentences; the differences in the way art is consumed and critiqued by London compared with New York art audiences; art goers as described in his book, and we have a rather intense debate about selfie-focused art-goers, particularly vis-à-vis waiting in long lines, as in for the Yayoi Kusama show(s); the complex ways that class functions in the art world (including class barriers for entry), and some of the various reasons that people become committed to the field, and/or lifestyle; and the time when an art duo confronted him in the street after he tore them apart in a review, a scene right out of a Western.
Feb 10 2018
Rank #12: Epis.# 232: "Art Advice" from Sacramento-based Ianna and Gioia
How they came to start their collaborative project Art Advice, which is physically the real-life equivalent of the booth Lucy helmed in the cartoon Peanuts, only in this case they specialize in serving artists; the reason they both wound up in Sacramento, and the many pros that outweigh the cons of living in a non-art capital, including its scalable community and navigability; the pros and cons of going to grad school, and a Do-it-Yourself program put together by artists in Oakland that prospective students could consider before paying hefty grad school tuition; how local artists have forged their own paths without grad school; how to handle rejection, via a handout that Gioia wrote, which mainly entails getting back on the horse and applying to more opportunities, and how important it is to pursue relevant and targeted ones; and the gratifying aspects of running the Art Advice booth in its democratizing of the art community, and how it’s an instant gratification alternative to the slowness of institutional bureaucracy.
Dec 08 2018
Rank #13: Epis.#253: Lauren van Haaften-Schick--
ᐧArtists’ rights and laws expert and PhD Candidate Lauren van Haaften-Schick talks about:
Her first big experience with the secondary market via the runaway auction sale of a work by an artist showing at Nicole Klagsbrun – where Lauren was working at the time – and how it set her on a course re-considering artists’ contracts, resale royalties and activism for artists’ rights; how many of the resale royalties going to artists in the U.K., where they actually have a law supporting artists this way, have been on the small side, supporting the premise that resale royalties don’t only benefit big-name artists in big auctions; the Scull Auction of 1973, which marked the first time that contemporary American art was sold in such a brazenly speculative way, and led to a famous encounter between Robert Scull and Robert Rauschenberg; how activism works in artists’ rights in terms of potential redistribution, and ‘smart’ contracts; how big-name artists in the past (Robert Mangold, Jenny Holzer, Hans Haacke) showed up at congressional hearings for artist’s royalties, whereas recent generations of big-name artists have been relatively absent; and the ‘Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, Seth Siegelaub’s 1971 contract which has had a long-lasting effect in this realm of the art world, despite the lack of awareness of its existence.
Oct 26 2019
Rank #14: Ep. #224: NYC artist Joshua Citarella, part 2 of 2, on the precarity of freelancing, 'cloud feudalism,' and the gilded age of income inequality
In the 2nd half of our long conversation, NYC-based artist Joshua Citarella talks about:
The end of his run making a living from his work – by selling it through galleries and through his and Brad Troemmel’s UV Production House – and his urgency to get a full-time job lined up as soon as possible, only to find that, as a photo re-toucher, the only jobs available were freelance or “permalance;” our current gilded age of income inequality, which led him to quote Mike Peppe, who coined the term “cloud feudalism”; the precarity of being a freelancer, and how it’s affected his thoughts about artists and their choices, as well as his assertion that the cost and barrier for entry into the art world is so high that it’s almost exclusively restricted to the leisure class, and how the tensions around that divide is particularly apparent on the ground in New York; pieces from his and Brad Troemmel’s UV Production House, which they ran out of Ebay for a while until they were kicked off for the 7th time (for breaching the terms of service); and more about the inequities of the market, especially for those trying to figure out how to make a living, via their artwork and/or otherwise.
Aug 18 2018
Rank #15: Ep. # 198: New York gallerist Jimi Dams, of Envoy Enterprises, eviscerates the state of the art world, but also sets an example of how to make it better
New York gallerist Jimi Dams of Envoy Enterprises talks about:
His dissolution with the art world (and particularly the market and fairs); his one-a-day exhibition series, when he observed poor behavior in a curator, an early indicator of unraveling in a way that would continue to unfold through the art world; his story of switching from being an artist – which he had to quit due to health issues - to opening a gallery, despite being a socialist, with the financial support from the late Hudson, former owner of Feature Gallery; how he ran/has run his gallery as a former artist, including having pizza nights where all his artists get together and hash things out openly; his frustration with the priorities of graduate schools today, with an over emphasis on 'professionalism' and the like; his (rather firm) advice to younger artists on what they should do, advice that art students he's spoken to have struggled to hear let alone accept; and how during his gallery's openings, you won't find him out in the gallery but in his office.
Aug 26 2017
Rank #16: Epis.#242: Lee Lozano's martyrdom, Hans Haacke's 'painful' piece challenging MoMA, &
In part 2 with Max Haiven, author of Art After Money, Money After Art, we dig into his book in earnest, including readings of and discussions about: his studies of social movements; how philosophers/theoreticians (mainly French) came to enter the discourse around contemporary art; Joseph Beuys’ work with bank notes (ie money); the radical imagination, which he derives from the philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, but applies to the contemporary and in particular to financialization, but at its core is about taking a skeptical view of all the constructed institutions in our society that we are co-constructing all the time…including art; Hans Haacke, including his epis piece of institutional critique at the Museum of Modern Art (which led to the curator of the show he was in’s firing), and which leads Max to questions around what the ruling class wants from their art, and the contradictions therein; Lee Lozano, the pioneering conceptual artist and painter who did pieces including offering a jar of money to visitors to her studio, boycotting women, and eventually “Dropout Piece” which entailed her leaving the art world for the rest of her life, and martyred her, something Max suggests she would have railed against; the type of art world insider Max was able to speak with, and what his takeaways are from talking with them; Zach Gough’s participatory art experience/demonstration involving giving out an invented currency at levels respective to the hierarchies at conferences, and process of how those social hierarchies play out in real life (more or less); the incredible cognitive dissonance Max has experienced at art fairs, and his observation of multiple worlds co-existing simultaneously, and the act of their often ignoring each other (including him, since he was only a researcher); and finally, Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies’ 1967 intervention at the New York Stock Exchange, how contemporary iterations of that piece have been implemented, and how the spirit of the Yippies – both the best of it (community building, suffusing art into life), and the worst of it (contemporary art’s surface-y bombast and machinations) – very much exists in a lot of contemporary art, and why.
May 04 2019
Rank #17: Epis.# 237: Anna Schachte, L.A.-based artist
Los Angeles-based artist Anna Schachte talks about:
Her (and her family’s) decision to leave New York for L.A., including about to have a 2nd child, the love-hate-love relationship with NY and the wildly changed landscape, having lived in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint section of Brooklyn for nearly 17 years; the identity crisis she struggled with after having her first child, when she felt as though she were losing her identity as an artist, especially when combined with her separation from her gallery, which she had worked with right out of grad school; her various day jobs, including “puppet doctor,” scene painter, bartender and bookkeeper, and how she and her husband navigated their earning dynamic when they had kids; how the artist-run gallery that she was part of, Regina Rex, was born, and who was a part of it (mainly grad school colleagues/acquaintances from Chicago); how the gallery moved from Bushwick to the Lower East Side, and how this group of around 13 artists navigated decision making, curating, and business (who of the group was able to sell work, to make it sustainable) as a gallery, and experience she called “a beautiful utopian experience, until capitalism took over and chewed it up and burned it out.”
Feb 23 2019
Rank #18: Ep. # 191: Tim Schneider, Los Angeles-based writer behind The Gray Market, shining a light on the shadowy fine art industry
Los Angeles-based art business writer Tim Schneider, creator of The Gray Market blog, talks about:
His nerd roots in the Midwest; "COINs," which stands for "Collectors Only In Name," who tend to be labeled villains for art flipping tendencies, as opposed to collectors such as hedge funder Steven Cohen, who 'plays by the rules' at least as perceived by gallerists, even though he's also been known to flip works himself; his Gray Market blog, which he describes as "peeling back the layers of what we can see reported…traditionally, and asking: Why are people doing these things? What's the strategy?"; choosing between screenwriting and art for a career, and why he chose the path he chose; how he navigates the art world as a professional skeptic and somehow still get access to the inside, where some of the most useful intelligence is; the prospect of becoming "the Anthony Bourdain of the art world;" his upcoming book, "The Great Re-Framing: How Technology Will and Will Not Change the Gallery System," which he's self-publishing, because it includes time-sensitive information that can't be wasted on the overly long traditional publishing process (the book is slated to come out by June 1st, on the Amazon Kindle platform); and what it's like living in Downtown L.A. right by the Grand Central Market (directly downhill from MoCA, the Broad and Disney Concert Hall on Grand St.).
May 20 2017
Rank #19: Ep. # 186: Lisa Soto, Los Angeles but also global-based artist, on intuition, energy and where she might live next
Los Angeles and international-based artist Lisa Soto talks about:
Her Global Child tendencies, which make her itchy to be traveling and/or abroad after she's in the States for too long; how she misses the culture that you get abroad, particularly dissemination of information—in the hair salons in London, for example, they're talking about contemporary art, whereas here it's about reality show-style pop culture; her rhythm of traveling/being abroad for about three months at a stretch, which came out of her growing up going to the south of Spain every summer with her family; the strong lineage of intuition in her family, which gave her the ability to read people's energy, something she was really good at as a youth, though as you age your head gets filled with ego and so that skill has dissipate; her particular love of Ghana, where she's spent a lot of time, will be going back to and would even consider moving to when she doesn't have so many local commitments; and the energy (and chakra) forces which are how she moves through and understands the world and universe (which she is not always putting out as conversational material, but believes in, and is happy to explain to people who have prejudices).
Apr 15 2017
Rank #20: Ep.# 212: MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish, on globe-trotting studio visits and producing on a Massive scale
MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish talks about:
The immense size of the museum (300,000 sq. ft.), including the football field-sized main exhibition space, and how despite its being three hours from the big cities (NYC, Boston…), it gets tremendous attendance- the parking lot’s full even on weekday mornings; how half of her time is devoted to the road, having conversations w/artists in their studios, and prompting some of them to make work that melds with her exhibition concepts; curating Oh, Canada, a survey of Canadian artists for which she did 400 studio visits across the country over three years, pissing off much of Vancouver in the process (kidding!); working with Nick Cave, whose massive installation was immensely popular with visitors, as well as working with emerging artists at the museum; and she shares the harrowing story of driving to pick up a vintage, cast-iron black-faced lawn jockey for Nick Cave’s sprawling installation.
Mar 09 2018