The Conversation Art Podcast
A podcast that goes behind the scenes and between the lines of the contemporary art worlds, through conversations with artists, dealers, curators, and collectors--based in Los Angeles, but reaching nationally and internationally.
info_outline Epis: 354- the Art Thief, the remarkable story of art history's most prolific stealer, with author Michael Finkel 10/14/2023
Epis: 354- the Art Thief, the remarkable story of art history's most prolific stealer, with author Michael Finkel discusses the remarkable story of , the subject of his recent book, , including: The genesis of the book project, starting with a three-paragraph article, and eventually turning into a 10+ year-project; the style and methods of theft that Breitwieser and his partner, Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus, put to work; Michael’s favorite Breitwieser crimes; his widely oscillating perception of Breitwieser, from a selfish brat to ‘the best art professor I’ve ever had;’ how Breitwieser protected both Anne-Catherine and his mother by lying on their behalf, but ultimately told the truth to authorities when it came to his own role in the crime sprees; Breitwieser’s Icarus-like trajectory playing out over several years as a result of his increasing addiction to art theft; a teaser of an ongoing plot point related to one of the Art Thief’s main characters, one which may very well be revealed in the soft cover release of the book; and how what Breitwieser and Christopher Knight, the protagonist of Finkel’s earlier book, , have in common is that they’re extreme outliers who make their own rules.
info_outline Epis. 351- veteran co-host Deb Klowden Mann joins to discuss Money on the Wall, an epic profile of dealer Larry Gagosian 09/02/2023
Epis. 351- veteran co-host Deb Klowden Mann joins to discuss Money on the Wall, an epic profile of dealer Larry Gagosian This special episode features return-guest-but-more-co-host Deb Klowden Mann to discuss the . Deb starts us off by updating us on her closing of her eponymous gallery due to multiple health issues, which made the work unsustainable. We follow that update with our discussion of the article, including: Our respective histories with Gagosian and/or his collectors mentioned in the article; how Gagosian’s decision to allow the profile may be because it humanizes him to the audience, but also, as Deb proposes, to make him and the gallery more appealing to younger artists they could possibly take on; Deb sites a book from the early ‘80s, “The Art Dealers: The Powers Behind the Scene Tell How the Art World Really Works,” which illustrates how when it comes to collectors treating art as investments, it’s been happening for nearly 200 years; how the funding that goes to high-priced artworks sometimes comes from the same people who fund grants/grant foundations, Deb suggests, and she advocates for a more transparent, as well as more evenly distributed financial model for the art world(s); Gagosian’s gallery courtship of the English artist Issy Wood, and what that scenario points to as far as his courtship process, the future of the gallery and his legacy plans, and the vulnerability apparent in that dynamic; Deb’s desire for more really well researched and written pieces (like this one by Patrick Radden Keefe) about how everything works in the art world; and finally, Deb brings up the book The Art of Death as a counterpoint to one’s amassing of power and wealth to stave off mortality, because in many cultures up until the 1800’s, one of the main functions of art was in fact to help people understand death as part of life and prepare them for it.
info_outline Epis: 349- Narsiso Martinez on his epic story from Oaxaca to California, from picking produce in the fields to becoming a full-time artist 08/05/2023
Epis: 349- Narsiso Martinez on his epic story from Oaxaca to California, from picking produce in the fields to becoming a full-time artist Long Beach-based artist and former produce field worker talks about: Growing up in a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico (Santa Cruz Papalutla), with several brothers and sisters, and a mom and dad who were often on the road for work; his resistance and questioning of working in the fields, something his family did when he was growing up as a way to have food on hand in tighter times; a very condensed version of his travails in crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S., which took him 4 tries to do; his initial settling in Los Angeles with one of his brothers, who is in the car upholstery business; going to an adult high school to learn English as well as other classes, on his way to going to Cal State Long Beach for an undergraduate, and eventually an MFA degree; how he made his adult high school studies a higher priority than his day jobs, so if a job conflicted with school, he would leave the job; his ups and downs at LA City College, where he got his associate degree and may have gone into biology if it wasn’t for his lack of resident papers; what it was like working in the fields – physically as well as mentally – up in Washington state, where he picked produce including asparagus, cherries and apples, both for one full year, as well as over the summers between Cal State Long Beach school years; his gradual discovery of produce boxes that became the surfaces/objects for his paintings, starting with collecting a few boxes from a Costco; his complex thoughts and feelings about class differences, including thinking of himself as something of a role model for who people can become, as well as the importance of education, and family support, in making his long journey, which he describes as many different lives.
info_outline Epis: 347- Alexis Rockman on 'owning' natural history 07/01/2023
Epis: 347- Alexis Rockman on 'owning' natural history Connecticut- and New York City-based artist talks about: His semi-exodus from Manhattan, where he’s lived his whole life, to a fairly rural part of Connecticut called Warren; leaving his Tribeca studio of 33 years and building a new one on the property of their house in Warren; his early love and interest in animals through his anthropologist mom’s encouragement which led to everything from keeping fish, turtles and iguanas in his childhood room to going scuba diving and spending a lot of time in Australia, where his stepfather was from, encountering wombats, Komodo dragons, and large flightless birds; his appreciation of science fiction movies of the late 60s and early 70s, and how the ideas in those movies were an influence on his apocalyptic paintings; the origins of his painting ‘Manifest Destiny,’ which is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum; his recent work, which is in conversation with historic painters – Courbet, Clyfford Still, Peder Balke – and the joy of painting in addition to addressing climate change; how he jumped for joy for ‘owning’ natural history, as a painter, when he first established his artistic vision at the start of his career in the mid-1980s; working as a vision artist for films, including Life of Pi and the remake of the Little Mermaid; and how he feels about his relative ‘fame,’ and the ebbs and flows of success.
info_outline Epis: 345- House-hunting with a Billionaire 06/04/2023
Epis: 345- House-hunting with a Billionaire Hungarian billionaire Gabriela and artist and architect talk about: Andi’s residencies, across Asia and Europe, as well as the in DUMBO, Brooklyn, where she first connected with her fellow Hungarian, the billionaire Gabriela; some of the developments around the world that led her to the realization that there’s a glut of useless, ultra-wealthy housing that’s not actually being used, particularly a complex of villas about 100 miles outside of Beijing, where the groundskeepers wound up squatting in the empty units; doing a residency in New York in 2016, when she encountered Gabriela for the first time, who would become her key collaborator for what would her project ‘;’ the world of ultra-high end real estate, including the dynamics of a real estate agent showing a penthouse apartment of a very tall building to a client, and how Gabriela navigated these experiences; the questions the real estate agents showing these penthouses and other very expensive apartments asked, and what that revealed about the world of the ultra-wealthy; the various ways super-tall buildings in Manhattan are impacting everything from income inequality to changing the flora and fauna in Central Park from the long shadows they cast.
info_outline Art Adivisor Lisa Schiff- a Re-Release of Episode 99 from 2015 05/26/2023
Art Adivisor Lisa Schiff- a Re-Release of Episode 99 from 2015 Art Advisor Lisa Schiff has been in the news over the last two weeks, because of lawsuits being filed against her by clients who weren't given the artworks they paid for, and Schiff has subsequently How did this happen? Was there any indication, from the warm and thoughtful conversation I had with her in late 2014, that anything like this would happen down the road? We re-visit Episode 99, from early 2015.
info_outline Bonus Epis: 344- the Bay Area art scenes, healing out of ancestral trauma, and seeing Philip Guston through the lens of a Jew: artist Alex Nowik 05/20/2023
Bonus Epis: 344- the Bay Area art scenes, healing out of ancestral trauma, and seeing Philip Guston through the lens of a Jew: artist Alex Nowik In Bonus Episode 344, San Francisco and northern Virginia-based artist talks about: The art communities he’s been part of in the Bay Area, which have been fruitful for him as a self-taught artist, and how he feels that there are little ‘bubbling’ art scenes that are continuing to thrive around the Bay, whether in Oakland or San Francisco, with young artists; his complicated family background, including a half-Japanese, half-Polish mother who grew up in California, often passing as white (she sometimes called herself ‘Eurasian’) and his father, who was from Poland and escaped the Holocaust through a harrowing series of hidings and passing as a gentile with fake names until he was able to emigrate to Montreal; his ability to distance himself from his parents’ respective traumas; his various day jobs over the years, which he describes positively, particularly working as a gardener; his car-free lifestyle both in SF and in Virginia, just outside of D.C.; and his thoughts on the Philip Guston exhibition at the National Gallery (which he’s seen twice), and how he thinks about the controversy around Guston’s hooded figures in terms of the Jew in America and assimilation. To access this Bonus Episode of the show, please consider supporting The Conversation on Patreon here:
info_outline Epis: 343- Flora, Public Art and loving New York even if NY doesn’t love you back: Brooklyn-based artist Nancy Blum 05/06/2023
Epis: 343- Flora, Public Art and loving New York even if NY doesn’t love you back: Brooklyn-based artist Nancy Blum Brooklyn-based artist talks about: Her relationship with Judaism, both growing up and as an adult, where her exploration of healing and self-soothing from generational trauma, which ultimately connects with her art; her alternative interpretation of the word ‘therapeutic,’ in relation to art-making, how it can be something deeply personal that artists are trying to share; the use of flowers in her work, which was radical when she started using them 20 years ago, and how their use has risen since the pandemic; her experience making it work as an artist in New York City, where she’s settled after many years living and working as a nomad; how artists can now have successful, legitimate careers anywhere in the U.S., and why she’s chosen to live in NY because it meets her needs and she loves it, even if it doesn’t love her; bringing a Buddhist approach to the way she thinks about her work can career, and how important it is for artists to have the tools to deal with discouragement so that they keep going; questioning what defines success for an artist, and how the distorted perceived norms of success and what we should be or have become vehicles of defeat and low self-esteem for artists; how meaningful it’s been for her to make the public art mosaic for the 28th Street Subway station, and how she wants her public works to do the work- healing, bringing joy to people, etc. – for her; her earliest public projects, which got her into making public art; and why university art teaching was unsustainable as part of her career path.
info_outline In-Between Episode including fresh OLD NEWS 04/22/2023
In-Between Episode including fresh OLD NEWS In this in-between (342 and 343) episode, I talk about the new Bonus Episode with Stefanie Kogler-Heimburger (for subscribers only), and recent OLD NEWS including a photo contest winner who used AI to generate his image and subsequently withdrew his win; a successful Union strike at RISD; and art vs. advertising in the form of a muffin mural for a bakery in Conway, New Hampshire. To access the newest Bonus Episode 342 plus all other past Subscriber-only episodes, become a Patreon donor for as little as $1 a month by subscribing here:
info_outline Epis. 341: Class Issues- artists and class with Berlin artist Norbert Witzgall 04/08/2023
Epis. 341: Class Issues- artists and class with Berlin artist Norbert Witzgall Berlin-based artist and co-curator of the exhibition ‘,’ talks about: The term/phenomenon of “Hope Labor,” which drives the economy of fine art and is based on the presumption that your hard work will pay off when you ‘make it;’ how Berlin has become prohibitively expensive for artists, which among other things has led to artists creating platforms such as the Ministry for Empathy to help artists in need; mental health in connection with artists’ labor conditions; the challenge for migrants in getting German grants, largely because of accessibility and knowledge; the intersectionality of exclusion, which is essentially how access includes less frequently acknowledged statuses such as class background and housing in addition to race and gender; art’s struggle to represent the society at large, using the example that there are no Germans of Turkish descent who are recognized in the art world; homeless artists, in particular a German collective, ‘Anonymous,’ included in ‘Class Issues;’ the poverty of some artists in old age; the transparency they used in ‘Class Issues,’ including production costs for the artworks, the family background of the artist, and what an artist’s pension is/will be; his at one time 11 simultaneous freelance jobs, which meant a big ‘class journey,’ or class switching, between gigs; his decision to re-train as a fine arts school teacher, which he started but then left at 19, coming back this time because he has the life experience to bring with him; and the hope that we can decrease the amount of ‘hope labor’ being put out by many, many artists.
info_outline The Conversation MIDWAY- Bonus episode announcement, plus a rant on the art services industry 03/26/2023
The Conversation MIDWAY- Bonus episode announcement, plus a rant on the art services industry In this Conversation MIDWAY - between epis. 340 and 341 - I talk about the bonus episode for Patreons, featuring Blum-Weinberg-Keinholz-Rottweiler, as well as talk about the art services industry via the Worst Job Posting Ever Created, the Nan Goldin documentary, and Tom Sachs, among other related topics. If you would like to access Episode 340A, which features four great stories from Art Can Kill, you can support The Conversation on Patreon here:
info_outline Epis. 340: Veteran art handler Bryan Cooke on 50+ years in the art handling business, including several brushes with death 03/09/2023
Epis. 340: Veteran art handler Bryan Cooke on 50+ years in the art handling business, including several brushes with death Episode 340- Veteran art handler and preparator Bryan Cooke talks about: , the business he started back in 1975, and how it’s essentially a service business, one that has grown with the art market, particularly in the last 10 years; why they don’t use the word ‘art’ in the company title, and how they discreetly move art around, especially high-priced works; how and why he self-published his book, ; some of his near-death experiences in art handling, including two involving elevators (one of my least favorite places); why he put himself in the line of risk, shielding his employees from danger; and he tells a condensed version of an epic story from the book in which a client for all intents and purposes kidnaps Bryan and his colleague during a moving job, on a large estate outside Chicago.
info_outline Preview/Teaser for Epis. 339A- Art Can Kill: The Art World's Crooks, Clowns & Connossieurs 02/26/2023
Preview/Teaser for Epis. 339A- Art Can Kill: The Art World's Crooks, Clowns & Connossieurs In this Teaser for Episode 339A, which is only available to supporters of the show, we talk about becoming a supporter of the show, read from a bit of the intro to the book Art Can Kill, and talk about the comments from on the collector Adam Lindeman's upcoming March 9th auction at Christie's. If you would like to access Episode 339A, which features three great stories from Art Can Kill, by Bryan Cooke (an upcoming guest on the podcast), you can support The Conversation on Patreon here:
info_outline Epis. 338: Former pro surfer and current arts writer Jamie Brisick on why success is its own form of failure, and Raymond Pettibon, Paul Chan and Francis Alys, among others 02/11/2023
Epis. 338: Former pro surfer and current arts writer Jamie Brisick on why success is its own form of failure, and Raymond Pettibon, Paul Chan and Francis Alys, among others Arts writer and former professional surfer talks about: w hat it was like being on the pro surfing tour back in his late teens and early 20s, and how he developed his Plan B career initially as a surfing writer before moving into arts & culture writing; how he comes to art/the art world with a relatively fresh perspective, and has experienced some unsavoriness in the upper spheres in its being too much like high school in terms of popularity, etc.; what it means when, to quote the artist Paul Chan in this case, ‘Success is its own form of failure;’ the varied and fascinating work of Francis Alÿs, whom Brisick tried to get an interview with but was essentially blown off, but whom he still highly respects and reveres as an artist; the artworks, storytelling, and other idiosyncrasies of quintessential surfing-art artist, Raymond Pettibon, whom Brisick has profiled extensively and become friends with; the surf-skate pioneer Craig Stecyk (also a mentor of Brisick’s) and his crazy performance art stunts; and his relationship with the journalist and writer William Finnegan, whose struggle with his memoir may be a source of inspiration for listeners.
info_outline Epis. 337: Art & Politics- how can they co-exist? The Conversation's 14th Virtual Cafe 01/28/2023
Epis. 337: Art & Politics- how can they co-exist? The Conversation's 14th Virtual Cafe n the 14th installment of the podcast’s Virtual Café, we take as our prompt a Dec. about politics in art: About 10 artists in the Virtual Café (including past guests Ianna Frisby of Art Advice and William Powhida) talk about art and politics, including successful examples of political art; the nimbleness of capitalism to absorb all things protest; the challenges and failures of artists to organize, particularly artist unions; the question of whether artwork being in a gallery is neutered, in terms of its political/social power; virtue signaling in art, particularly political art; Theaster Gates as a strong example of an artist changing a community, and of socially engaged art; the importance of the rhetoric around so-called political art (including the good side of the word ‘didactic'); the lack of transparency in galleries reporting where their donations to (political) causes are allocated; and how to take political art to the people, as opposed to through the gallery system.
info_outline Epis. 336: on The Death of the Artist, a frank conversation with writer and cultural critic William Deresiewicz 01/07/2023
Epis. 336: on The Death of the Artist, a frank conversation with writer and cultural critic William Deresiewicz Writer and cultural critic , author of , talks about: His motivations in writing the book, largely motivated by dispelling the myth that this (our current internet/social media era) was the greatest time ever to be an artist, as well as trying to understand how artists (not just visual, artists across all fields- writing, music, film & television) were adapting to making art and surviving in an this world; why he strongly believes that not everyone can be an artist; how and why the monopoly on taste has been broken through a more middle-brow level of connoisseurship; how we can’t dispense with the gatekeeper, whether it’s the curator of artists or our listening playlists; artists’ relative comfort (or discomfort) with using social media, which isn’t as tied to age as you would think; the wide variety of day jobs that artists do (including a list of 50 jobs/gigs that Deresiewicz compiled), and the degrees of poverty artists live with; the delicate and complex dynamic of artists walking away from being artists (which is of course very hard to document); the artist Paul Rucker (perhaps the only artist profiled in the book whom I should have heard of) who’s had a wide-ranging and remarkable career; the challenge of finding and working with the ‘typical’ working artist- artists whose careers were coming up but not yet well known; and what a solid work-lifestyle balance looks like for one of the artists in the book, as well as for Deresiewicz himself.
info_outline Epis. 335: Mashed potatoes hurled at Monet, Artists being replaced by AI Robots, a Bad Studio Visit cartoon, and new email etiquette for the Uffizi Gallery, with a very special guest-host 12/25/2022
Epis. 335: Mashed potatoes hurled at Monet, Artists being replaced by AI Robots, a Bad Studio Visit cartoon, and new email etiquette for the Uffizi Gallery, with a very special guest-host For this latest roundup of OLD NEWS stories, we’re joined by a very special guest, to talk about: The MASS MoCA union; the new monument to the Central Park 5; the debate about bringing attention to the climate crisis by throwing food and attaching body parts to famous artworks in museum, as analyzed by Jerry Saltz in his piece ‘MASHED POTATOES MEET MONET,’ as well as through our own lenses on the phenomenon; how a stolen painting was turned into a popular throw pillow (which you can purchase online for $18.40 plus shipping); the struggles of Pace Gallery’s Superblue, and the history of Pace through the Glimcher family, including a botched diversity hiring of Marc Glimcher’s daughter; Guy Richards Smit’s cartoon, “WHAT DO YOU SAY TO SOMEONE AFTER A VERY BAD STUDIO VISIT?”; a consideration of big tech’s plundering of art and illustration for its generative AI projects, as poetically analyzed through Molly Crabapple’s LA Times Op-Ed, “BEWARE A WORLD WHERE ARTISTS ARE REPLACED BY ROBOTS;” why the director of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is demanding employees follow strict guidelines for email etiquette; and what our respective OLD NEWS favorites for the week were.
info_outline Epis. 334: The challenges in green-lighting public art that’s actually good- curator and arts administrator Zoë Taleporos 12/10/2022
Epis. 334: The challenges in green-lighting public art that’s actually good- curator and arts administrator Zoë Taleporos Oakland-based curator and arts administrator talks about: Her straddling independent curating and government-supported public art curating/administrating in her role working for the City of Berkeley; how her curating is more about bringing artists in, as artist outreach, but not cultural gatekeeping; why public art looks the way it does, and why the language of public art has remained unchanged for so long, as well as the problems professionals are faced with in trying to change the face of public art; how one sculpture in San Francisco, while avoiding the problem of becoming a target for skateboarding, but instead became an ad-hoc BMX bike ramp; the alternative and more interesting version of public art: temporary public art, which allows a lot more flexibility and freedom; how panelists judge all public art candidates (Zoë has presented) by a list of criteria, and how she’s always in the room, but never voting as a panelist; the tension in the room when panelists with a wide range of experience with contemporary art weigh in on the candidates who are submitted; the strong mural history and presence in the Bay Area, which are not necessarily a deterrent to graffiti; and how it’s exciting for her to take a given artist’s work and translate it into public art.
info_outline Epis.#333- Tjebbe Beekman, Amsterdam-based artist on how a major life turning point became a turning point for his art 11/25/2022
Epis.#333- Tjebbe Beekman, Amsterdam-based artist on how a major life turning point became a turning point for his art Amsterdam-based artist talks about: His (which just opened when we spoke); his 9-year stint living in Berlin, before moving back to Amsterdam at the time his son was beginning school, and how he misses the big-city benefits of Berlin; the big turning point in his work and in his life, when in a span of less than a couple of years his mother died followed by his father’s tragic death in a boating accident, early on in a journey attempting to travel the world; how his father’s death was complicated by the slow to non-existent communication about what happened, and then the time it took to get his remains back, all of which led him to stop painting for half a year; how he re-engaged his artmaking by visiting friends at the in the Netherlands, where he also found himself listening to a lot of John Coltrane, and between the music and getting in the heads of well-known painters, he got his mojo back; the influence the legendary painter Luc Tuymans had on him while doing a residency at the Rijksakademie; and how he’s thankful to make a living from his work, because even though the Netherlands offers lots of funding to artists, most artists who rely on it need to have 2nd jobs.
info_outline Epis. 332: U. of Michigan art historian/scholar Joan Kee on Korean contemporary art, emojis, and going through law school & corporate law on her way to becoming an art historian 11/12/2022
Epis. 332: U. of Michigan art historian/scholar Joan Kee on Korean contemporary art, emojis, and going through law school & corporate law on her way to becoming an art historian , University of Michigan art historian and current at the Museum of Modern Art, talks about: Her residency at MoMA, where she has been looking into expanding their programming to include art that is more international/not from the U.S., but from the ‘global majority;’ her career trajectory, from art history in undergrad to law school and then corporate lawyer for long enough to pay off her $100+K in debt, a calculation she was able to make partially due to her poker-playing experience); the obstacles she faced getting into a PhD art history program with her focus on modern and contemporary Korean art, and how she strongly believes that tuition for BA and MA programs are completely out of control (for out-of-state students at U. or Michigan, where she teaches, it’s currently 70K/year); her interest and expertise with emojis, including her repeated attempts to get a kimchi emoji approved by Unicode, the world text and emoji consortium (she also taught emojis in a graduate seminar); artists working in emojis, including Rachel Maclean, Laura Owens, John Baldessari and Antoine Catala, the latter whose work she calls the best emoji work she’s ever seen; the benefits and challenges of living in Detroit, and why she chose to live there instead of Ann Arbor, where she teaches; how she’s the first full professor of color in her department; how her book, “Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method,” was turned down nine times before it was accepted by U. of Minnesota Press, and subsequently led to a show she curated at Blum & Poe in L.A.; and the state of the art scene in Seoul, including the challenges for younger/smaller galleries’ survival amidst a pricey real estate market that’s regularly gentrifying.
info_outline ICA San Diego director Andrew Utt: on the curatorial process, and how to increase the art reputation of a city not known for its art world 10/30/2022
ICA San Diego director Andrew Utt: on the curatorial process, and how to increase the art reputation of a city not known for its art world director Andrew Utt talks about: Moving back to San Diego, where he grew up, after years away in the Bay Area and South America, and why he did; why San Diego’s art community/culture isn’t known as an art destination, and how he tries to address that deficiency; his route to becoming a curator, starting with his undergrad years at California College of the Arts, when he went to grad students’ studios and had the conversations that would inform his prolific studio visits over the years; the importance of bringing in outside artists, sometimes to be shown alongside local artists, but at the same time, the ‘brain drain’ of artists emerging from SD-based art schools and leaving for L.A. (or elsewhere) for more opportunities, the exodus of which becomes a generational loss over time; teaching artists, and the challenge of their retention; the ICA’s 5-foot and 10-foot rules for interacting with new visitors outside the museum; and where art engagement is headed, in terms of infiltrating cities, and through the growth of VR, AI and other interactive platforms.
info_outline Epis.330: Cole Sternberg, from painting with the elements to his Free Republic of California project to moving to a farm during the pandemic 10/15/2022
Epis.330: Cole Sternberg, from painting with the elements to his Free Republic of California project to moving to a farm during the pandemic artist and creator of , talks about: His painting process, which involves exposing his paintings to the elements, including in extreme form, starting with his (and his team’s) 22-day-long journey from Japan to the West Coast on a container vessel, exposing his paintings to the wind and even skating them over the surface of the ocean; what went into planning this expedition, the various friends he brought on in professional capacities, and the challenges of making the journey, the successes along the way, and its future life as a documentary; his epic Free Republic of California, a conceptual art project that uses California as a canvas to imagine and explore what’s possible for us as a society and as a civilization; how he writes letters to people in power, giving himself a title appropriate to each recipient, whether ‘conceptual artist’ or ‘chief conceptualist;’ the value he places in the ’s Constitution, which is the item he would own if he were to collect his own work; his relative openness to actually becoming a politician, while also realizing that the political sphere is not only too dangerous but ultimately simply not a productive route to making change; his first exhibition, in a bar during law school; his transition from having a day job as a lawyer to that of an artist, and how he actually never made as much income from law as from making art, surprisingly; and his rescue-animal-based farm in Santa Ynez, where he and his family settled during the pandemic. BONUS EXTRA: in an extension of our conversation, Cole talks about his epic t-shirt collection, which is currently at about 1000. To listen to this EXTRA, please consider becoming an ongoing or one-time donor to the podcast via: theconversationpod.com/support
info_outline Epis.329: Ben Davis on the Ordinary World Record Egg, what to do when Apple co-opts your artwork, and where high art meets immersive art 10/01/2022
Epis.329: Ben Davis on the Ordinary World Record Egg, what to do when Apple co-opts your artwork, and where high art meets immersive art In part 2 with ArtNet News critic Ben Davis, we talk about: environmentalism and our approach to the climate, as well his emphasis on finding a good middle ground between overly dire and overly sugar-coated perspectives on the conversation; Christian Marclay’s video works “Telephone” – which Apple co-opted, making their own version when Marclay wouldn’t sell it to them – and “The Clock,” which Ben considers to be Marclay’s response to Apple and its iPhone, and images’ ‘place-lessness’ (which “The Clock” returns to us); how he frames the immersive art trend as a question of ‘what’s at stake here?,’ and how there are many trends that he feels needs to be seen from both sides; Alfredo Jaar’s immersive video in the most recent Whitney Biennial, prompted by the very short time window artists now have to gain viewers’ attention; the case of the lovably ordinary @world_record_egg, an Instagram feed that both parodied and addressed concerns about the effects of social media on our individual psyches as an artistic provocation; and Ben’s own tricky relationship with social media (IG).
info_outline Epis.328: Ben Davis, National Art Critic for Artnet News and author most recently of Art in the After-Culture 09/17/2022
Epis.328: Ben Davis, National Art Critic for Artnet News and author most recently of Art in the After-Culture , Artnet News's National Art Critic and author most recently of , talks about: Cultural Appropriation in its many forms, including in the context of Dana Schutz’s controversial “Open Casket” painting; Conspiracy Theory culture, including how videos connecting Marina Abramovic with satanic cults are far, far more viewed than videos about Marina Abramovic herself or her work; the culture that Conspiracy narratives come from, how they persist (often through individuals’ alienation), and why they become so popular; the luxury of people who get to say ‘neener-neener-neener’ in judgement of those who buy into them (the socially superior judging the inferior); Rubem Robierb’s ice sculpture at a fancy club during Miami Basel, which spelled out Greta Thunberg’s “How Dare You” addressed to politicians, and what that said/says about Art and Ecotopia, i.e. art and climate change; his experiences with the groups ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and its splinter group, ‘Extinction Resilience,” and his continuing involvement with Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), among other causes.
info_outline Epis.327: Val Zavala on the Extinction Circle, Death Cafes and the New 10 Commandments for Future Generations 09/03/2022
Epis.327: Val Zavala on the Extinction Circle, Death Cafes and the New 10 Commandments for Future Generations Val Zavala, former anchor/reporter for the long-running KCET (L.A. PBS station) series SoCal Connected and Life & Times talks about: The ‘Extinction Circle’ group that she was part of for a couple years, meeting once a month to discuss likely human extinction (before the pandemic led the group to slowly disband; meantime she continues to be an active member of her local ‘Death Café’); how approaching humanity’s future is akin to Elisabeth Kubler Ross’ five stages of grief; the oil industry’s campaign of disinformation and its effect on the climate crisis; a profoundly thoughtful Buddhist take on our (humankind’s) fate; relating extinction to former guest Fernando Dominguez Rubio’s study of the preservation of artworks in the museum, and what Val thinks of the lengths museums go to maintain artworks’ longevity; the concept of EA, or Effective Altruism, in relation to human longevity; “Seeding” the future, which is to say leaving a better foundation for future civilizations; and her “New 10 Commandments for Future Generations.”
info_outline Epis.326- NYC art appraiser David Shapiro: from valuing a work of art to shifting from his own art career 08/20/2022
Epis.326- NYC art appraiser David Shapiro: from valuing a work of art to shifting from his own art career New York-based art appraiser talks about: What he does as an appraiser, whether in-person inspections or putting together reports using photographs at the computer; his involvement with the Detroit Institute of Art’s collection appraisal, which was connected to the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the country; how appraisers value a work of art, from auction records to gallery sales (to the extent that can be verified) to the market as a whole, including trends; turning down offers to appraise works that have no apparent market value; his own career as an artist prior to becoming an appraiser, which included having success selling his work before he was even out of high school; how, when he returned to making art after grad school in art history he had less success, learning about “the fickleness and vicissitudes of the art world,” as he put it; and how he appraises emerging art, including within a market with a lot of movement in values, both up and down.
info_outline Immersive art installations: who visits them, why, and where they're headed...with Kate Sharkey, painter and a 'host' at ARTECHOUSE 08/06/2022
Immersive art installations: who visits them, why, and where they're headed...with Kate Sharkey, painter and a 'host' at ARTECHOUSE New Jersey-based painter and immersive art museum ‘host’ talks about: Transitioning from being a preparator (at MoMA) to getting a job as a ‘host’ at the immersive art museum ARTECHOUSE, where she also does AV/tech work w/the projectors; what her job as host entails, including interacting with and managing guests’ experiences (some who do something called ‘candyflipping')whether or not immersive art experiences are actually ‘art,’ and which immersive art shows have worked best at ARTECHOUSE, particularly a work by Julius Hosthuis; and we talk about whether immersive art exhibits qualify as ‘art’ or ‘entertainment,’ and what other forms of entertainment they’re competing with.
info_outline Epis.#324- Maria Brito, her path from emerging singer to corporate lawyer to art advisor; and how she scored a Banksy for a client 07/23/2022
Epis.#324- Maria Brito, her path from emerging singer to corporate lawyer to art advisor; and how she scored a Banksy for a client , art advisor, entrepreneur and author of talks about: Giving up on her teenage ambitions to become a singer because of the restrictive culture she grew up in; how from there she wound up being a corporate lawyer as a financially stable option that she thought made the most sense; how she made her way into the world of art advising as a disrupter, seeing that there was a clear lack of passion among many of the advisors and consultants she was encountering; the reasons behind the popularity of figurative painting (of course it has to do with collectors); getting a hold of a Banksy painting for a new client; her approach to becoming an art advisor, including her ambition to demystify the art world; the success of her business coinciding with the democratization of the market via social media (i.e. Instagram); and why she focuses so much on prices and values in describing artists in her book, partly as a way to challenge the stereotype of the ‘starving artist’ that so many non-art people hold on to.
info_outline Epis. 323, Dave Kinsey: post-graffiti, post-illustration, post-skate art, and the BLK/MRKT gallery scene in the early-to-mid-2000s 07/09/2022
Epis. 323, Dave Kinsey: post-graffiti, post-illustration, post-skate art, and the BLK/MRKT gallery scene in the early-to-mid-2000s Vista, CA-based artist talks about: The gallery , that grew out of a design studio he co-ran, and launched as a gallery early in the 2000s in Culver City; his coming from a design and skate and graffiti background, and how he and his artist cohort were all generally making post-design, post-skate kind of work, and how they transitioned from street and/or skate and/or graffiti artists to more ‘fine’ art, working across genres; his love and appreciate of KAWS’s work, an artist whom he almost worked with, were it not for a disagreement with his partner; how he bought a property in Three Rivers (near Sequoia National Park), where a pipe broke which led to flooding and the ground turning into a ‘milkshake,’ and forced him, circuitously, into figuring out how to be a full-time artist; his commercial collaborations with big brands (Nike, etc.) and growing his own work in a more personal way; how and why he left advertising and design, and developing a financially sustainable art career; and how he has collected other artist’s work to support their careers as much as his being a fan.
info_outline Episode 322- Profound effects on the art market, ‘Rich-Kid’ art, and a painting of a polar bear 06/27/2022
Episode 322- Profound effects on the art market, ‘Rich-Kid’ art, and a painting of a polar bear In this OLD NEWS-oriented episode of the show, I talk about: Immersive art exhibits, which are booming, much to my chagrin; a follow-up on the art world’s ‘ponzi-like scheme' involving a new participant, “Rich-Kid art,” effects on the art market in both the UK and the U.S. through new laws and regulations, a union formed at Pasadena’s Art Center, reconciling NFT’s with their environmental footprint (and their financial decline), and a painting of a polar bear in the Royal Academy’s Open Call.