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.

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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.