New York-based artist Adam Henry talks about:

His recently ended show at Candice Madey gallery, and how he defines a ‘successful show’ (a mix of sales, critical dialogue generated, and future opportunities); the advantages of having a fellow artist as a partner, but how it’s also necessary to get alone time when you need it, including time for processing after you’ve had a show, which has included the fact that this is the first time he’s shown work whose meaning he doesn’t fully understand, and the first time he’s comfortable saying that; how one of the most powerful experiences you can have with art, is to have your mind changed; how important the process of perception is to him and his work, and how his journey through perception started with color theory and Josef Albers and wound up with Wittgenstein, and eventually he wound up in psychedelics; how his making abstract work during the rise of process-based abstraction (aka zombie formalism) was challenging in that he had far fewer opportunities because of the market shift; how important it is to put the emphasis on the intention of the artwork when viewing work, as opposed to the person who made it or the value; how his partner, who is also a painter – a figurative painter, in fact – has at times been the breadwinner of the two, and vice versa, which has served them both well; the great exchanges he and his wife have about the exhibitions they view together.

To listen to the complete episode with Adam Henry, please become a Patreon supporter of the podcast here: https://www.patreon.com/theconversationpod

                   

                 

                                                               

To listen to Episode 360A, the Bonus episode in which Valerie talks about her life in shoplifting, please visit: Patreon.com/theconversationpod    The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

In the 2nd conversation with author, recovering art worker and academic Valerie Werder, she talks about: the travails of clothes shopping for her job in the blue-chip gallery, not only how fraught it was but how much it brought up class issues as she moved through the sartorial gauntlet, where her appearance as a frosty, inaccessible object was part of her role; the complicated variations of class when it comes to precarity and poverty, including a culture where those who are cultivating an aesthetic of bohemianism or even poverty are existing alongside those who are actually financially poor, the latter of whom sometimes don’t even have culture on their radar; her fictional and, perhaps, real relationship with the enigmatic character ‘Ted’ from her book Thieves, which is complex in its values, dependency, and deceptions, and which coincided with her own attraction to anarchism and anti-capitalism, and how ‘Ted’ in some ways embodied these tendencies; the complex social roles and hierarchies that Valerie is living within, and the experience of downward mobility while simultaneously being connected with an upper echelon of culture; how transitioning to the hierarchies and bureaucracies of Harvard was fairly smooth and easy after being in the blue-chip NY gallery world; and how while she still sporadically writes about art, she’s for all intents and purposes stepped out of the art world proper. NOTE: in the Bonus episode w/Valerie, she talks all about the very real shoplifting she participated in and is a main feature in Thieves.

                                

                 

                                                               

This episode features the 1st half of the full episode. To get the full version, please visit: Patreon.com/theconversationpod    The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

Bianca Bosker, journalist and author of Get the Picture, talks about:

The genesis of her deep dive into the art world – working with gallerists and artists, doing art fairs and galleries with collectors, and doing a stint as a security guard at the Guggenheim Museum – which largely came out of her need to learn whether she could learn to ‘see’ like an artist, as opposed to a ‘normie Philistine,’ as she was called by many (she was also, as a journalist, called “the enemy”); the elitism, opacity and various exclusionary art world rules she discovered from dealers and artists she encountered through her immersion process, and how “dishearteningly little” artists themselves often knew about how the art world works; how parts of the art world use secrecy as part of their survival, to build mystique, among other reasons; how she worked for five different artists in the course of researching the book, but ultimately only wrote explicitly about two – Julie Curtiss and Amana Alfieri – in the book; how Context – everything about the artist (social cache, etc.) EXCEPT the art itself is often overly valued, and something she pushed back against; how she was drawn to working with emerging artists, and wound up working with the painter Julie Curtiss at a turning point moment in her career, in which she was both starting to make a living from her work but also getting bullied on social media for her work’s huge price escalation on the secondary market; how brave it was for Julie to let Bianca so thoroughly into her studio and make herself so vulnerable; and why she got so pumped after making sales while on the floor of the Untitled Art Fair with Denny Dimin gallery, without actually getting any payment for those sales (due to journalistic integrity).

                                

                 

                                                               

This episode features the 1st half of the full episode. To get the full version, please visit: Patreon.com/theconversationpod    The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

Recovering art worker and author of the novel Thieves, Valerie Werder talks about:

Her entrance into the art world via her demanding position at a fancy gallery in her attempt, as a newbie, to get access and proximity to the art world;  her ability to conform and comply under pressure (in the gallery environment), and the what the flip side of that looks like; what the coercion, that came thru various forms of care and the engendering of a ‘family’ dynamic at the gallery, looked like and how it played out, including through fancy paid meals and credit for fancy clothes so she could look and act the part; how working at a gallery gave her a completely different relationship to language, including the quick turnaround she had to produce, becoming a ‘language producing machine’ in the process; the craft of writing a gallery press release, and how she ultimately became, upon writing her novel, the ‘commodity’ herself that she in turn needed to sell.

                                

                 

                                                               

Seattle-based artist and restorer Debra Broz talks about:

…living in Seattle, where she moved to from Los Angeles a year and a half prior to our call; how Seattle is full of rule-followers who are also anarchists/anti-capitalists; how she found her Seattle studio, where it was important to have decent heat, especially for her sculptures; her reasons for leaving L.A. for Seattle, and some of the lifestyle differences between the two cities, and how welcoming Seattle has been to her as a new artist; how various sites, specifically Colossal and the Jealous Curator, have been huge in growing her art & design-focused Instagram followers; her pacing and general approach towards her IG feed, where she’s made peace with the fact that she can only go as fast as she can go, nor does she want to try and gamify the system, and how, ultimately, IG is a “feel bad machine;” how Instagram has been punishing people who use it to have sales; the “enshitification” of apps (including IG and Tik Tok) and how it’s made our experiences on them so much worse; her sculptures, made from ceramic figurines, which were originally made for American middle-class homes; how the best places to find her sculptural elements are “out in the wild,” i.e. thrift stores, as well as friends giving her objects, which is her favorite way to acquire her materials; the “if we look for what we need, we’ll find it” serendipity that’s a driving force in Debra’s making process; and how the meme, “I didn’t realize being an artist was making the same thing 1000 times until you die,” is a sentiment very familiar to most artists.

BONUS Patreon footage of this episode includes: the history with Broz’s last name, pronounced “Bros” like “Rose,” which of course eventually arrives at “Bros before ‘Hos.” Her restoration business, the other side of her studio work, where she works with clients restoring their precious objects and keepsakes of all kinds, including one client who has his Picasso-edition ceramics restored; the breakdown of her income from artwork sales to restoration sales, which depends on the year but is often about the same;  her attitude about work, which she loves to do, but not the hustling part when she’s looking for shows and clients, her compulsion towards making whether sculptures or restoration…

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show, to get more content AND support our podcast, please consider becoming a Patreon donor for as little as $1/month via the link below:

The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

                                

                 

                                                               

Chris Wiley– Artist, New Yorker photography critic, and contributing editor at Frieze – talks about:

His fleeing upstate to the Catskills during the pandemic, and what his relative disconnect from the art world and the city has been like since the move (though he still keeps a small apt. in the city); the differences between English and American artists in terms of academia vs. the market; his epic two-part articles on Zombie Formalism, which covered not just the movement as a market phenomenon but also what it’s led to, including economic precarity and eventually what Wiley has dubbed ‘debt aesthetics;’ the term from the Crypto phenomenon that Wiley applies to many artists of Zombie Formalism, ‘Walk Away Like a Boss,’ to describe those who were able to earn a very solid chunk of money over their brief careers, often parking it in real estate for long-term security; how Zombie Formalist paintings were, as he put it, “’fast, fungible and friendly,’ just like what currency is;” artists who have the ‘it’ factor, an authenticity demonstrating they would be making their art no matter what; the great promise of a Universal Basic Income for artists, particularly in the context of a debt aesthetics that virtually forces artists to compromise their visions instead of getting to be weirdos; his current thoughts on the implications of AI, which he’s been interested in for a long time, having a father who was interested in computers and science fiction when he was growing up; how and whether artists will be safe in terms of jobs and sustainability in an A.I.-dominant landscape, and how the art world isn’t ready for the kind of speed with which A.I. advances will affect art; the AI-generated photography of Charlie Engman, who has been making a bizarre and prolific body of work using the platform Midjourney, despite being a ‘technophobe,’ in his own words; the challenged viability of a career as an editorial photographer with the rise of A.I.; and how his article on A.I. and Charlie’s work, in The New Yorker, pissed a LOT of people off, and why.

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show, to get more content AND support our podcast, please consider becoming a Patreon donor for as little as $1/month via the link below:

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Chris Wiley’s articles discussed in The Conversation:

What Was the NFT?,
 The Toxic Legacy of Zombie Formalism, Part 1,
The Toxic Legacy of Zombie Formalism, Part 2,
A Photographer Embraces the Alien Logic of A.I.

                                

                 

                                                               

Michael Finkel discusses the remarkable story of Stéphane Breitwieser, the subject of his recent book, The Art Thief, 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, The Stranger in the Woods, have in common is that they’re extreme outliers who make their own rules.

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show, to get more content AND support our podcast, please consider supporting The Conversation on Patreon via the link below:

The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

                                

                 

                                                               

In the first of many installments in which we parse and riff on the OLD NEWS, Deb Klowden Mann and I discuss:

1) the procedure of Indian/Indigenous land acknowledgement in making introductions

2) the widespread loss of value for NFTs, including their incredibly high energy requirements and climate impact, and how we feel about that;

3) the sexism and double standards involved in the trial of Robert Newland (who was involved in the Inigo Philbrick art Ponzi scheme)

4)  why museum workers are quitting, and the heavy burdens running art non-profits, which range from curating all the way to cleaning the toilets, including one non-profit director’s firsthand experience; Deb shares her inside knowledge of having worked in a non-profit arts org herself…particularly the thoughtlessness of the philanthropists/donors who support these organizations, but don’t actually support them by supporting a budget that affords staff a living wage.

5) A suit on behalf of the workers at the restaurant Kappo Masa, part-owned by dealer Larry Gagosian, for wage theft. From an Eater article: “The class action is alleging ‘that the restaurant violated New York law by withholding tips that should have been paid to the waitstaff, and also that it retaliated against the named plaintiff for telling the company about the tip theft.’”

6) the close of several downtown New York galleries right after Postmasters gallery left the neighborhood, among them JTT, Queer Thoughts and Foxy Productions…

7) finally, we sample a selection from the NY art critic Sean Tatol, who had previously been completely unfamiliar to us both, and discuss how his honest criticality is increasingly rare in art criticism these day, and we talk about our own respective art criticism consumption habits, and in turn Deb talks about her current IG consumption, and how specifically it affects her mental as well as physical health…a topic we’ll continue to discuss in future conversations.

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show, like this one, which release once a month, please consider supporting The Conversation on Patreon via the link below:

The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

                                

                 

                                                               

In Bonuse Episode 352, Bay Area-based artist Cathy Lu talks about:

Her residency at Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin, where she was when we spoke, working on a large sculpture based on the goddess Nuwa; how she stores her ceramics outside; her bi-coastal life teaching ceramics at School of Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts while still keeping a home base in Richmond (in the Bay Area), where she returns to about once a month during the school year; how the Museum School doesn’t have grades, but has a Review Board where students’ work is reviewed at the end of semester in a very thoughtful and supportive style, and how she uses her teaching platform to encourage cultivating community, including ‘clay club,’ and as a ‘gateway drug’ to California ceramics; her year-long residency at the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco, where in addition to exhibiting her own work over the year, she also curated artists she was excited about into the space, including performance; her students’ tendency to stay away from art/artmaking as a career, and how much class plays a role in who becomes artists and who is able to sustain being an artist, through outside (usually family) income streams; her day jobs before teaching became her main gig, including as an artist assistant and a very San Francisco (interesting) retail job; for the first time, finding some financial security as a full-time teacher, and yet not without having qualms about the state of academia.

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show, like this one, which release once a month, please consider supporting The Conversation on Patreon here:

The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

                                

                 

                                                               

This special episode features return-guest-but-more-co-host Deb Klowden Mann to discuss the recent New Yorker profile of mega-dealer Larry Gagosian. 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.

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show (releasing once a month, two weeks after this one), please consider supporting The Conversation on Patreon here:

The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

                                

                 

                                                               

Long Beach-based artist and former produce field worker Narsiso Martinez 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.

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show (releasing once a month, two weeks after this one), please consider supporting The Conversation on Patreon here:

The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon

                                

                 

                                                               

Connecticut- and New York City-based artist Alexis Rockman talks about:

His semi-exodus from Manhattan, where he’s lived his whole life, to a 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 archeologist 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, quolls, 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 American Art 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.

If you would like to access Bonus Episodes of the show (releasing once a month, two weeks after this one), please consider supporting The Conversation on Patreon here:

The Conversation Art Podcast | creating a podcast that goes behind the scenes of the art worlds | Patreon