The Art Angle

By Artnet News

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Episodes: 197


A weekly podcast that brings the biggest stories in the art world down to earth. Go inside the newsroom of the art industry's most-read media outlet, Artnet News, for an in-depth view of what matters most in museums, the market, and much more. 

Episode Date
James Murdoch on His Vision for Art Basel and the Future of Culture
In the Covid summer of 2020, the art world was jolted by a very different kind of drama when reports surfaced that MCH Group, the Swiss corporation best known as the parent company of Art Basel, had entered talks to sell a significant equity stake to Lupa Systems, the private investment company founded by none other than James Murdoch. For listeners who haven’t spent years devouring media-sector or political gossip, James Murdoch is the fourth of six children of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, now most infamous for presiding over the hard-right coverage beamed out through Fox News in the U.S. and various overseas properties via his News Corp conglomerate. The proximity of the Murdoch family to Art Basel initially sent some people in the art world into hysterics. One conspiracy theory even held that James was acting as a front for his father, who would take control of the planet’s best known, most prestigious art fair and… well, it was never quite clear what he would do, or why he would care, but obviously something dastardly and irreparable was about to happen, and we should all prepare for the worst. Yet people interested in digging soon found out that James Murdoch is very much his own man with his own resources. Although he spent decades in the family business, including prominent roles in some of its satellite TV and entertainment companies, he cut his final tie to the empire when he resigned from the board of News Corp in July 2020. He has been a public critic of Donald Trump as far back as 2017, and through Quadrivium, the foundation James and his wife Kathryn started in 2014, he has funneled substantial philanthropic resources into counteracting climate change, promoting evidence-based solutions in science and health, expanding voting rights, and pushing back against online extremism.He’s also a mogul in his own right. When Disney paid a knee-buckling $71.3 billion in 2019 to acquire nearly all of the Murdochs’ entertainment assets, James received a reported $2.2 billion from the deal. He launched Lupa Systems shortly after, with sources claiming at the time that he would invest up to $1 billion of his wealth through the company. By fall of 2020, MCH Group’s shareholders had approved the deal to make Lupa Systems the company’s new “anchor shareholder,” with the option to buy up to 49 percent of its shares. But in the time since, we’ve heard relatively little from James Murdoch himself about how MCH Group and Art Basel fits alongside the other ventures in Lupa’s portfolio, including media properties like the Tribeca Festival, advanced technology startups, and sustainability projects Ahead of the 2023 edition of Art Basel in Basel, however, Artnet News Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider, managed to sit down with James at Lupa Systems New York offices to hear his thinking firsthand.
Jun 01, 2023
Among the Spiders With Mind-Bending Artist Tomas Saraceno
In the studio of Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno, there’s an expected sound—vibrations of a spider working on its web—a sound normally imperceptible to the human ear, but that doesn’t make it any less real. The recent technological feat of capturing and recording the sound of a spider is just one of the many pursuits undertaken by the Berlin-based artist. Saraceno is known for working with experts from the field of science, engineering, and architecture among others, to create works that exist beyond the traditional bounds of the art world. These research intensive, often groundbreaking installations and projects render visible our interconnectedness with one another and the ecosystems in which we exist. They’ve even earned him some world records. It’s an ambitious undertaking and it has solidified him as one of the most impactful artists of our generation. For Saraceno’s first major U.K. solo exhibition, which opens on June 1 at Serpentine in London, Saraceno and his collaborators are moving beyond the walls of the museum of Serpentine South, from the Royal Parks in London all the way to the rural communities of Argentina where people are fighting to stop lithium extraction in their lands, to Cameroon where Spider Diviners challenging our notions about knowledge.At the Serpentine, “Web(s) of Life” delves into critical and urgent questions about how we as people coexist with other life forms and how technology intersects with the climate emergency itself. As the last of his works were en route to London, Artnet News’s Europe editor Kate Brown joined the artist in his bright and beautiful Berlin studio.
May 25, 2023
The Art Angle Presents: How the Intersection of Art, Design, and Technology Is Evolving
The landscape of technological advancement in the art and design world is constantly evolving at a rapid pace. In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of groundbreaking concepts like the Metaverse, NFTs, and easily accessible A.I. available to anyone with an Internet connection. Amid this rapidly changing landscape, it is crucial to evaluate the success and relevance of these platforms as they exist now, and how they might evolve in a future we are just beginning to comprehend. To delve into the significance of these technologies, Artnet and Morlach Whiskey organized a captivating panel discussion titled “Offscreen: The Current and Future State of Art, Design, and Technology.” Moderated by Artnet News’ executive producer, Sonia Manalili, this engaging conversation brought together multi-disciplined artists, Trevor Paglan, Khyati Trehan, and Sebastian Errazuris, each with their diverse expertise, to share their insightful perspectives on the evolving digital domain.
May 23, 2023
What Does Connoisseurship Mean in the Digital Age?
What is connoisseurship, and what does it mean in the present day when Chat-GPT or even plain old Google can answer nearly any art historical question with a single keystroke? It’s a question that lies in the heart of the art world and was the topic of an enlightening panel discussion titled aptly, “The Art of Connoisseurship: Cultivating Expertise in the 21st Century” at the 2023 edition of TEFAF New York last week, which was recorded live for the Art Angle podcast. On this week’s episode, a very special live recording of the conversation, moderated by Artnet News’s editor in chief Andrew Goldstein and featured Dominique Lévy, collector, advisor, gallerist, and co-founder of the newly launched gallery venture LGDR; Michael Diaz-Griffith, executive director and COO of the Design Leadership Network, and author of the forthcoming book, “The New Antiquarians: Young Collectors at Home” published by Phaidon/Monacelli in June 2023; and Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, co-founder of the Leiden Collection—the world’s largest private collection of Rembrandt and Dutch Golden Age art—and chairman of the Electrum Group.
May 18, 2023
Google’s A.I. Art Guru on the New Age of Disruption
The arrival of A.I. will profoundly change the art world—if it hasn't already. A.I.-generated works have proliferated with the rise of A.I. art generators and large language models from DALL-E to ChatGPT, making their way into galleries and in some cases, winning prestigious awards. But the question remains: is it art, if it's been dreamed up by an algorithm? Or do our existing definitions of art and art-making require rethinking in the age of machine intelligence? To help us answer these questions and more, the Art Angle looked up K Allado-McDowell, a leading voice in a rapidly evolving field. As a long-time A.I. researcher at Google A.I., K founded the Artists + Machine Intelligence program, which since 2016 has nurtured artists including Refik Anadol. And as an artist, K has created works—from an opera to numerous books—alongside the language model GPT-3. In a conversation with Artnet News' Art & Pop Culture editor Min Chen, K shed light on their practice, their experiences with machine intelligence, and their view on how A.I. is changing the face of art.
May 11, 2023
What Is ‘Quantitative Aesthetics,’ and How Is It Changing Art?
One of the most exciting things about being an art journalist is that art as a subject is ridiculously protean: what it looks like is always changing, how we engage with it is always changing, and the role it plays in society is always changing too. What that means is that you constantly need to shift your perspective in order to see it properly. Searching for the correct lens on art, if you’re really good and really lucky, sometimes you even get to name that lens, like Pop Art, for instance. Artnet News’s national art critic Ben Davis has written an essay that illuminates a recent shift in art that has been making big waves among the cognoscenti. It’s a new tendency that he calls quantitative aesthetics, and this week he joins Andrew Goldstein on the Art Angle podcast to discuss it.
May 04, 2023
An Oral History of Ryan McGinley’s ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ 20 Years Later
February 2023 marked the 20th anniversary of photographer Ryan McGinley’s seminal exhibition “The Kids Are Alright” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which ran from February through May 2003. It was the 26-year-old’s solo exhibition debut, and the 20 photographs captured a particular place and time in New York City, in the shadow of September 11th, 2001 and the AIDS crisis; before the invention of Instagram and TikTok. It wasn’t just the latest downtown-meets-uptown youthquake salvo that reverberated around in the art world, but a photo exhibition that made McGinley a bona fide, post-millennial star—and shifted the culture. At that time the Whitney was still in its Upper East Side location and “The Kids Are Alright” was the most talked about photo show at the museum since Nan Goldin’s exhibition “I’ll Be Your Mirror” in 1996. Overnight, Ryan became the superstar art photographer of his generation, documenting his decadent world. After him, this bohemian lineage basically slams shut with the onset of social media. This week, the Art Angle presents an oral history of the exhibition and its influence featuring Artnet News style editor William Van Meter in conversation with McGinley himself, as well as artists Marc Hundley and Jack Walls; photography critic Vince Aletti, and the show’s original curator Sylvia Wolf.
Apr 27, 2023
Re-Air: How A.I. Is Changing the Business of Being an Artist
Today in the spring of 2023, it feels almost impossible to escape news, rumors, debates, think pieces, open letters, diatribes, scandals, lawsuits, or almost any other form of human exchange about artificial intelligence. Whether the specific focus is on large language models like Chat-GPT or text-to-image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney, the discourse around A.I. technology has only gotten more expansive, more heated, and more perplexing since last fall. That was when a genuinely surreal series of events on the live streaming platform Twitch helped surface the escalating tensions between A.I.-powered image generators and human artists. While the story in question hinged on an accusation of plagiarism, it also served as a launchpad into an in-progress existential crisis in the art world—an existential crisis that keeps intensifying as the influence, accessibility, and aesthetic quality of algorithmic image generators keeps leveling up. In October, Artnet News business editor Tim Schneider interviewed contributor and friend of the pod Zachary Small about the Twitch controversy and the larger questions facing visual culture in the era of big A.I. In many ways, that conversation is even more relevant now than it was back then. If you missed it the first time, or if you just want to review the state of play in the increasingly wild landscape of art and tech, here’s your second chance...
Apr 20, 2023
How Roy Lichtenstein Became a Super-Villain to Comic Book Artists
When you hear the name Roy Lichtenstein, an artistic style immediately comes to mind. In the early 1960s, Lichtenstein’s use of comic books as an inspiration for his brightly-colored Pop Art painting was groundbreaking, and even shocking. Today, he is one of the most instantly-recognizable and widely known of all painters, and yet a quarter of a century after his death, the subject of Roy Lichtenstein's source material has unexpectedly become a hot topic once again. In the 1960s, Lichtenstein’s paintings sold for thousands of dollars; in 1995, just a few years before he died, his painting Nurse sold at auction for $1.7 million, and then in 2015 the same painting hit the auction block once again, this time selling for a staggering $95 million, making it one of the most expensive paintings in the world. While marketing that sale, Christie’s auction house said that the imagery in Nurse was drawn from what it called a “comic romance novel” of the early 1960s. What the auction house did not mention was the actual person who drew the original panel Lichtenstein used as source material for that painting was the golden age comic Arthur Petty, and in the world of comic art, this lack of respect for Lichtenstein’s sources is a big, big deal. In museums, the artist’s status may be unquestionable, but crossover into the parallel universe of comic art and Lichtenstein’s status is viewed as a symbol of the disrespect to comics as an art form, and the man himself is seen as a thief who copied hard-working artists without even bothering to credit them by name. Instead of healing over time, this particular rift seems to have only become more inflamed as Lichtenstein’s stock has soared. Some of the most famous voices in comics from Dave Gibbons, the artist behind the groundbreaking graphic novel Watchmen to Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Maus, to Neil Gaiman, writer of the legendary comic series The Sandman have all been outspoken, blasting museums for failing to credit the unique voices of the comic book artists who inspired Roy Lichtenstein. The story of the many meanings of Roy Lichtenstein is a story of the shifting relations between museum art and comic culture, of money, morality, and the law; and of how meaning in art is always shifting. At least, that’s one takeaway from the new streaming documentary WHAAM! BLAM! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation. This week, national art critic Ben Davis spoke to the film’s director James L. Hussey to discuss the issues it raised.
Apr 13, 2023
How Does Data Give You the Edge in the Art Market?
The art market of today is a thriving global industry with a diverse community of buyers and sellers from all over the world who compete privately, and often (very) publicly in the race to acquire art, decorative objects, and even sneakers and watches. That’s why having an edge when it comes to data and information is so crucial, and why Artnet’s Price Database is an indispensable tool for any serious market player. The art market has come a long way from its origins as a small, exclusive business catering to a select group of connoisseurs in major cities around the world. Prices of artworks were once closely guarded secrets, making it inaccessible to the general public. That all changed when, in 1989, Artnet revolutionized the art market by introducing transparency through its Artnet Price Database, which provides clear and precise information on the actual prices of artworks. With data from more than 1,900 auction houses worldwide, Artnet has recently released a major update to the Price Database, incorporating cutting-edge technology, seamless mobile integration, and design, to enhance its value to collectors and art professionals. This week, Artnet News’s editor in chief Andrew Goldstein discusses the role of data in the art market, the transformative power of the price database, and its exciting new era with Albert Neuendorf, Artnet’s chief strategy officer, and Fabian Bocart, Artnet’s chief data scientist.
Apr 06, 2023
Re-Air: Are Climate Activists’ Art Attacks Helping or Hurting Their Cause?
In recent months, headlines around the world have blared the news of a startling new trend of activism where protesters physically attack famous artworks with paint, food, and glue. The activists are trying to draw attention to global issues of climate change and museum ethics, and agree or disagree, you can’t argue that their tactics are making waves and fines or jail time aren't stopping them. This week we’re re-airing a conversation that delves into this complicated issue. On October 14, two activists, Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland, walked into the National Gallery in London and threw a can of tomato soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers while wearing shirts that read JUST STOP OIL. The action was part of a larger cycle of disruptive occupations and direct action by environmentalists in the UK, demanding dramatic action to cut fossil fuels in the face of climate change—but the Van Gogh soup attack by far drew the most media attention. Indeed, the tactic of using attacks on artworks to get their message out has caught on with campaigners this year, with environmentalists in at least half a dozen countries making headlines with spectacular actions in museums—gluing themselves to famous pieces, spray-painting the walls around them, or throwing food at artworks. These actions have, in turn, touched off a fierce debate among observers and activists alike about the art-attack tactic. Is it the kind of desperate move needed to shock the public into action when nothing else seems to work? Or do the actions repel otherwise sympathetic observers, isolating a movement that needs to scale up dramatically?   London-based art journalist Farah Nayeri is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, and the author of the recent book Takedown: Art and Power in the Digital Age, which looks at how the digitally empowered activism of the last ten years has changed what the public expects from a museum. In an essay for Artnet News responding to these new museum actions, she wrote about the long history of vandalizing art for a cause, from suffragette Mary Richardson slashing Velazquez’s Rokeby Venus more than a century ago, to protests within British museums against oil giant BP’s sponsorship over the last decade. This week, we're revisiting Artnet News’s national art critic Ben Davis conversation with Nayeri about this history, and what the stakes of the new protests truly are.
Mar 30, 2023
Re-Air: Why Vermeer’s Many Secrets Are Now Coming to Light
Next to the Mona Lisa, Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring is quite possibly the most famous portrait of all time. The 17th-century painting inspired a movie starring Scarlett Johansson and last year, was the target of climate activists protest, and it’s on view right now as part of the Rijksmuseum’s once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of works by the Dutch master. This week, while the Art Angle is on hiatus, we’re re-airing an episode about the centuries-old secrets of Vermeer that are just now coming to light. You've seen it. A woman in a blue turban set against a black background looking over her shoulder like you just called her name. She's wearing a heavy pearl earring in one ear, and her skin is so luminous it looks like she swallowed a light bulb. Yes, we're talking about Girl with a Pearl Earring, one of the most famous paintings in the world. It's been reproduced countless times on mugs, t-shirts, and pillows. It has inspired poems, novels, and movies. But the artist who created Girl with a Pearl Earring? He remains shrouded in mystery. Strangely little is known about Johannes Vermeer. He lived in Holland in the 17th century and died in 1675 at the age of 43. He made fewer than 36 paintings. And audiences around the globe are fascinated by his portrayals of quiet domesticity. It's always been assumed he worked in the same kind of solitude that he often depicted in his paintings. But new research is challenging that assumption. Over the past several years, museums have used cutting-edge technology to get under the surface of Vermeer and learn more about how he actually worked. To discuss Vermeer's many secrets and the artist we thought we knew, Artnet News's former executive editor Julia Halperin spoke with Washington, D.C.-based contributor Kriston Capps.
Mar 23, 2023
How the Heist Movie ‘Inside’ Turns Art Into a Thief’s Salvation
In a new feature film called Inside, an art heist goes terribly wrong for a thief named Nemo. Nemo is played by the world-renowned actor Willem DaFoe, well-loved by the art world already for his performance in the 2018 film At Eternity’s Gate, where he played Vincent van Gogh. In the ultra-contemporary plot of Inside, Dafoe’s character Nemo is not a world famous artist, but rather an anonymous robber who’s after a self-portrait by Egon Schiele. The artwork is not where it is supposed to be inside the ultra-modern penthouse he’s just broken into. Carefully laid plans seem to be going awry. Precious minutes are lost. Then, the alarm system locks down, leaving Nemo sealed off from the world while in the center of Manhattan. If you haven’t seen Insideyet, be advised that there are spoilers scattered throughout this episode. So, Nemo is now stuck in a resplendent box of glass, steel, and concrete, with little more than some exotic fish, luxury furniture, and a multimillion dollar art collection. On-screen alone for practically the entire film, Dafoe’s character begins to battle against the degradation of his body and spirit—to deal with the latter, the artworks in the apartment become something like a central character, as does Nemo’s own blossoming creativity. The artworks in the apartment, which were carefully curated, drive the plot and deepen the themes. There is a 1999 work by Maurizio Cattelan, a large photograph of a man taped to the wall with tons of duct tape, sarcastically titled A Perfect Day. There is also David Horvitz’s 2019 neon that hangs over the character’s struggle, with a sort of torturous prescience: it says “All the time that will come after this moment.” To build out the idea of a real art collection, there are more emerging stars. Kosovan artists Petrit Halilaj and Shkurte Halilaj’s work for the 2017 Venice Biennale is worn by Nemo when the penthouse’s temperature drops. And a video work by Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismarck from 2016, which was filmed at the exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, is among the artworks in the film that conjure questions around humanity, planetary survival, and climate crisis—which is an undercurrent theme of the movie. On this week’s episode, European editor Kate Brown speaks to the film’s director Vasilis Katsoupis and art curator Leonardo Bigazzi about this captivating and claustrophobic feature, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale film festival last month and is about to hit theaters in the United States.
Mar 16, 2023
The Triumphant, Tragic Life of Nazi-Era Artist Charlotte Salomon
All around Europe, there are small brass bricks inlaid into the ground before the front doors of apartment buildings and houses. These bricks are like a decentralized memorial—they are known as Stolpersteine—which means stumbling stones—and engraved on each one is the name of a citizen who was persecuted or exterminated by the Nazis during World War II. At an apartment building in Berlin that stands at Wielandstrasse 15, you will find the name of Charlotte Salomon on one of these stumbling stones. As it says on the little brass brick, she was born in 1917 here; she fled Germany to France in 1939; she was interned at a French concentration camp in Drancy; she was deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1943. Charlotte was also a visionary young artist, and she created a hugely ambitious work of art called Life or Theater. Made in just over a year while living in exile in France, Life or Theater consists of more than 1,000 individual gouache paintings, sectioned into three acts. It is an artwork that defies easy categorization. It is something like an autobiography, but also not quite. There are characters that are just like her own family and friends, but their names are slightly changed. There is music that is meant to accompany her vividly painted scenes, which tell the story of her coming of age as a young woman and an artist. The story shows what played out on Wielandstrasse in Berlin as the Nazis rose to power; the persecution of her family; the death of her mother from suicide, and later her grandmother. It tells about her suffering in exile, it discusses a murder. It also captures the birth of a brilliant artist who finds a lifeline in making art. It is hard to neatly summarize everything Life or Theater addresses—but as Charlotte put it herself, the piece is “something crazy special.” Not only is the work picturesque in the way it is painted and formally ground-breaking, Charlotte managed to achieve something deeply intimate and personal but also universal with this work. She gave it to a friend for safekeeping before she was taken to Auschwitz and it survived the war and is now in the possession of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. People do not seem to be as aware of Salomon as they should be giving the pioneering, avant-garde nature of this artwork. On the occasion of an upcoming exhibition of Life or Theater at the Lenbachhaus in Munich, Artnet News’s Kate Brown was joined by the show’s curator Irene Faber, who is also the curator of collections at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, and an expert on Charlotte’s life and art.
Mar 09, 2023
Hito Steyerl on Why the Metaverse Has Already Failed
Given the manifold political, climate, and technological crises unfolding just two months into 2023, one wonders if that ominous future our species so fears is much closer than we anticipated. It is a tense and dramatic time, but it does further underscore the importance of the cultural figure Hito Steyerl. The German filmmaker’s bold artworks investigate emerging technologies and media, and she often sites these inquiries within society and politics, globalization, and capitalism. Yet despite the complexity of the subject matter and her research-intensive process, Steyerl’s works are readily enthralling, often manifesting as highly ambitious, immersive architectural environments. It is no small wonder that her work has reached a global stage. Last year, her largest-ever retrospective, called “I Will Survive,” wrapped its European tour at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. And just last month, her exhibition called “This is the Future” opened at the Portland Art Museum, where it is on view until mid-June. On this week’s episode, European editor Kate Brown spoke to Steyerl to tackle some of the questions about what artificial intelligence, the metaverse, crypto, and an increasingly imperiled natural world might mean for us.
Mar 02, 2023
The Art Angle Presents: How Three Artists Envision What a Goddess Means Today
In ancient mythology, figures like Athena and Aphrodite were exalted as paragons of virtue, strength, and beauty. Artnet and Cadillac invited three artists to interpret the goddess theme through their individual lenses and to create new work to celebrate the return of the brand’s Goddess hood ornament on the new ultra-luxury EV CELESTIQ. These images will be offered through an online auction presented by Artnet to benefit the nonprofit organization Free Arts NYC. Last week in Los Angeles, the three contemporary photographers—Ming Smith, Petra Collins, and Dannielle Bowmann—joined Artnet News’s executive producer Sonia Manalili to discuss their unique approaches to the medium, and how to interpret the iconic goddess imagery for a new generation.
Feb 24, 2023
Hilma af Klint Pioneered Abstract Art. But That Is Only Part of Her Story
The Swedish painter Hilma af Klint died nearly 80 years ago in relative obscurity, but you might not immediately realize this if you look her up today. Her paintings, large-scale, vivid, symbolic, and abstract masterpieces infused with mysticism and spirituality, seem uncannily contemporary. But that is not the only reason; af Klint is also now a bonafide star, an art-world household name. In the past several years alone there has been an explosion of interest in her work, catalyzed in no small part via her blockbuster 2018 Guggenheim show in New York called “Paintings for the Future.” Af Klint’s body of work, which bravely departed from the figurative art that was popular at the turn of the 20th century when she was working, predates the first Western abstract compositions by titans like Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. It was a staggering revelation, to say the least. But moving beyond the elevator pitch and the catchphrases that have emerged around af Klint as we rush to fit her into an art historical canon that has woefully excluded women, is essential. Up until recently, many of the intricacies of her life, work, ambitions, and friendships, were not well-understood. That is part of the reason why Julia Voss decided to write the first-ever biography on the artist, which came out in English at the end of last year. Voss, a prominent German journalist, art critic, researcher, and curator, spent the better part of a decade learning Swedish and meticulously retracing af Klint’s life and her movements in Europe. Voss combed through more than 20,000 notebooks that belonged to af Klint as well as her massive archive, which the artist had left to her nephew. The biography includes several revelations about af Klint’s inner life, desires, and activities. We are headed into another two years that is sure to bring increased attention and reflection on the work of Af Klint. Her massive catalog raisonne is due out next month, edited by Swedish curator and art critic Daniel Birnbaum. An exhibition called “Swedish Ecstasy” at BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels opens this week. Next year, for the first time ever, there will be a show dedicated to Kandinsky and af Klint, curated by Birnbaum and Voss. On this week's episode, Voss joins Artnet News European editor Kate Brown to dive into some of the more fascinating and under-considered aspects of the enigmatic and groundbreaking artist.
Feb 16, 2023
What Is Afrofuturism, and Why Is It So Relevant Today?
One art movement has become a household name in a way that few recent art movements can match. This is Afrofuturism. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, installing an Afrofuturist period room to the blockbuster movie Black Panther and its sequel to an upcoming survey of the movement at the National Museum of African American history and culture, Afrofuturism is being canonized in art and beyond. It's an extraordinarily rich tradition, bringing together influences from experimental jazz and Detroit techno sci-fi and fantasy, art and technology. With Black History Month here, we decided to dig into Afrofuturist art history with Ytasha Womack. Womack is the author of Afrofuturism, The World of Black Sci-fi and Fantasy Culture. She's also an artist herself, actively working in the tradition now. So how can you define the afro futurist aesthetic? What are some of its touchstones? And why has there been such a surge of excitement around Afrofuturism in the recent past? Artnet News National Art Critic, Ben Davis, sits down with Womack to find out.
Feb 09, 2023
Marc Spiegler on the Evolution of the Art Business (and Life After Art Basel)
For Art Basel, the most well known art fair in the world, the fourth quarter of 2022 marked the end of one era, and the beginning of another. In early November, leadership of the company transitioned to Noah Horowitz, who returned after a roughly year-long stint at Sotheby’s to become the first ever CEO of the same fair brand where he served as director of the Americas from 2015 to 2021. But clearing Horowitz’s path to the chief executive’s office was the one and only Marc Spiegler. Spiegler shocked the art world in October 2022 by announcing that he would end his decade-long campaign as Art Basel’s global director at the end of that year (though he will stay on as an advisor through June of this one). During his time at the helm, Spiegler oversaw a transformation of the company across multiple dimensions, including doubling the annual number of Art Basel fairs; dramatically expanding the company’s digital presence; quintupling the size of its staff; responding to a global pandemic; and much more. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, if you look closely at these shifts, they mirror back some of the most important ways that the art business as a whole has morphed during the 21st century. Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider, sits down with Marc in mid-January for the first extended interview he has given in his post-Basel professional life.
Feb 02, 2023
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova on Art, Activism, and Vladimir Putin
Born in Norilsk, an industrial Siberian town inside the Arctic Circle, Nadya Tolokonnikova was just 18 when she moved to Moscow and became a founding member of the Russian street art and performance art collective Voina in 2007. It was her strong feminist leanings that then inspired her to cofound Pussy Riot, known for playing incendiary highly political punk music while wearing balaclava head coverings. The group rose to fame following a now legendary 2012 performance of the song “Punk Prayer,” at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, when Tolokonnikova and two other Pussy Riot members were arrested and then convicted of “hooliganism.” She spent close to two years incarcerated in a brutal labor camp in Mordovia, Russia. But her time behind bars has not deterred Tolokonnikova from continuing to act as an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, or from leveraging the power of art in the name of activism. This week marks the opening of her first ever gallery exhibition for Pussy Riot, held at Jeffrey Deitch in Los Angeles. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the new performance Putin’s Ashes, in which Tolokonnikova leads a coven of women in a witch-like ritual to drive the Russian president from power, burning a giant portrait of Putin to the ground in the process. Ahead of the show’s opening, Artnet News senior reporter Sarah Cascone spoke to Tolokonnikova about the challenges of presenting conceptual performance art in a white cube gallery, and how she continues to remain optimistic about political change in her native country despite the ongoing invasion of Ukraine and her continued persecution at the hands of the Russian government, which in December 2021 labeled her a “foreign agent.”
Jan 26, 2023
What Can the Art World Learn From an Occult Practitioner?
Here at Artnet, we typically look to thorough data and the hard facts to tell us what to make of the wily, unpredictable art world. But every now and then, it’s important to remember that ours is an industry based on unorthodox minds and a reverence for avant garde expression, so magical thinkers ought to remain a legitimate resource to our team of reporters. To that end, our Artnet News Pro Wet Paint columnist, Annie Armstrong recently spoke with Micki Pellerano, who has earned himself the nickname "The Art Warlock", to discuss the occult's role in the art world, and why so many esteemed minds in our industry look in earnest to astrology for guidance. Pellerano is an artist himself, working mainly in drawing and sculpture to express his affinity to ritual symbolism and esotericism. His work has been on view at esteemed spaces such as MoMA, the Serpentine Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, and the 2019 Venice Biennale. More than that, though, he has also been the art world's go-to astrologer, hosting one-on-one sessions to art world luminaries such as Jenny Hval and Alissa Bennet from his studio in Brooklyn. Pellerano’s study of the occult is ongoing, and in this conversation, he asserts his belief that astrology's impact is inextricable from the advancement of humankind, and certainly from the canon of art history.
Jan 19, 2023
4 Predictions on How the Art Industry Will Transform in 2023
Well, it's happened again. Tim Schneider has gone prophetic, again. At the beginning of every year, our trusted art business editor goes through the Sisyphean task of assessing his predictions for the most recently-wrapped year in the art world, and lays down his prophecies for the next 365 days to come. As is now tradition, for his first Gray Market column of the year, Soothsayer Schneider makes a set of predictions specific to the murky machinations of the art market, each of which must be able to be proven true or false 12 months later. (For the purposes of the podcast recording, we've homed in on four very specific predictions to elaborate on, but the full list of eight is available to readers.) From the rise of artist-branded merchandise (think Basquiat-emblazoned hoodies, dog collars, and phone cases) to the death of an art fair, plus predictions about the state of the market amid skyrocketing interest rates and the ongoing war in Ukraine, here's what you should be prepared for in the year to come.
Jan 12, 2023
Why the Very Serious Artist Paul Chan Is Taking a Breather
Anyone who's driven by a car dealership in the U.S. has probably seen them: Inflatable nylon figures with smiley faces, bending and twisting in the breeze. These roadside attention getters are known in the marketing world as "tube men" or "sky dancers." Paul Chan calls them "Breathers," and they have played a central role in the artist's practice since he debuted his own uncanny renditions of the dancers in 2017 at Greene Naftali gallery in New York. The swaying figures also symbolize the artist's own winding approach to his practice, and the need, sometimes, to take a breather. After working primarily with video early in his career—including violating sanctions to shoot a video essay in Baghdad during the U.S. occupation—Chan grew exhausted by screens. He left art production for five years and opened his own publishing house, the beloved indie outfit Badlands Unlimited, which has put out eclectic titles ranging from Saddam Hussein's speeches on democracy to the interactive e-book What Is a Kardashian? Chan made his return to visual art after realizing that those car-lot tube men could be turned into offscreen animations. Now, the "Breathers" are the centerpiece of a major solo show at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, open through July 16. Artnet News's deputy editor Rachel Corbett sat down with Chan—a recent winner of the MacArthur 'Genius' grant—to talk about the tyranny of screens, his early adoption of crypto, and the importance, in every artist's life, of simply taking a break.
Jan 06, 2023
Re-Air: What Is the Metaverse? And Why Should the Art World Care?
Well, what do you know? The year of 2022 has officially come to a close, and here at The Art Angle, we are in a reflective. It was an amazing year for the show. We interviewed luminaries like Venice Biennale curator to Cecilia Alemani, artist Marina Abramović, critic Jerry Saltz; we delved deep into the scandalous history of Documenta as well as the whole Board Ape Yacht Club phenomenon, and the new revolution and how we think about surrealism today. The turning of the calendar year, however, also marks a big change around here, with Julia Halpern, Artnet News's executive editor and frequent Art Angle host, moving on to new adventures. She was an invaluable force in shaping the show and shaping Artnet News generally, so she'll be very dearly missed and has our deepest gratitude. We wish her the best of luck. So with all this in mind, as The Art Angle takes some time off to prep for what is looking like an incredible 2023, we thought we would leave you with a repeat of one of our favorite episodes of the year. An episode we think may also prove resonant in the year to come. Well, it may be both crypto and literal winter right now but Tim Schneider's sweeping and truly ambitious Metaverse explainer episode provides a really terrific look at the way that art may evolve into its next digital era. We hope you enjoy it. See you in 2023 and Happy New Year from The Art Angle.
Dec 29, 2022
An End-of-Year Art-World Quiz Show Extravaganza
Well, the end of the year is upon us and it is also the end of an era here at Artnet News. Our fearless executive editor, Julia Halperin, is leaving her post. As a sendoff for Julia, we thought we'd in the year, as we usually do with something lighthearted, The Artnet News Year End Quiz. Given the fact that no one has spent more time editing news digests early in the morning, editing art news through the day, and researching the art market, Julia is our perfect contestant and we hope that you at home, our Artnet News Super fans, can play along as well. 
Dec 22, 2022
Is Progress in the Art World Just a Mirage?
Inside the art world, one of the defining narratives of the past decade has been a renewed push for gender and racial equity. Much of the attention in this realm has focused on the dramatic overrepresentation of white male artists in everything from museum collections and exhibition programs, to auction sales and gallery rosters. Overtures to correcting the imbalance have been so prevalent in trade-media headlines, institutional marketing, and day-to-day conversations that many, if not most, art professionals seem to be confident that the industry is slowly but steadily reversing generations of deeply embedded racism and sexism. But how much has the art world really rebalanced the scales? It turns out that the answer is much less than we hoped––at least if we look past the hype at the actual data. Enter the latest edition of the Burns-Halperin Report, a multipronged data-led project helmed by Charlotte Burns, the veteran art journalist, podcaster, and founder of Studio Burns, and Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin. At the core of the Burns-Halperin Report is a one-of-a-kind database encompassing hundreds of thousands of entries painstakingly compiled from U.S. museums, global auction houses, and top commercial galleries. The data quantifies how little has changed for artists in three historically underrepresented demographics since as far back as 2002. It also leaves the rest of us facing a lot of hard questions about why the art trade at large believes it’s doing so much better at neutralizing its biases than it actually is. On this week’s episode, Charlotte and Julia join Artnet News Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider to walk us through the report itself, how it came together, and what it all means
Dec 15, 2022
Are Climate Activists’ Art Attacks Helping or Hurting Their Cause
On October 14, two activists, Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland, walked into the National Gallery in London and threw a can of tomato soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers while wearing shirts that read JUST STOP OIL. The action was part of a larger cycle of disruptive occupations and direct action by environmentalists in the UK, demanding dramatic action to cut fossil fuels in the face of climate change—but the Van Gogh soup attack by far drew the most media attention. Indeed, the tactic of using attacks on artworks to get their message out has caught on with campaigners this year, with environmentalists in at least half a dozen countries making headlines with spectacular actions in museums—gluing themselves to famous pieces, spray-painting the walls around them, or throwing food at artworks. These actions have, in turn, touched off a fierce debate among observers and activists alike about the art-attack tactic. Is it the kind of desperate move needed to shock the public into action when nothing else seems to work? Or do the actions repel otherwise sympathetic observers, isolating a movement that needs to scale up dramatically? London-based art journalist Farah Nayeri is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, and the author of the recent book Takedown: Art and Power in the Digital Age, which looks at how the digitally empowered activism of the last ten years has changed what the public expects from a museum. In an essay for Artnet News responding to these new museum actions, she wrote about the long history of vandalizing art for a cause, from suffragette Mary Richardson slashing Velazquez’s Rokeby Venus more than a century ago, to protests within British museums against oil giant BP’s sponsorship over the last decade. This week, Artnet News's national art critic Ben Davis spoke to Nayeri about this history, and what the stakes of the new protests truly are.
Dec 08, 2022
Jerry Saltz on What It Takes to Be an Art Critic Today
What does it mean to be an art critic today? How do you choose what to write about and how do you even choose what to look at in an age where seeing art in person, which used to be the most common way people encountered art, has now arguably become the rarest? In this episode, Andrew Goldstein speaks with Jerry Saltz, the most famous, most lionized, and arguably the most influential art critic we have. A self-described "failed artist" who only became a professional critic at age 41, Jerry wrote for the Village Voice, Artnet Magazine (the predecessor of Artnet News), and other publications before becoming New York's resident art critic in 2006, where he's been on a run of glory that has included winning the 2018 Pulitzer for criticism. But while he's well known for his exuberant, beautifully wrought criticism, he's even better known as what might be termed an "art critic in the expanded field." He shares his opinions every day with some half a million followers on Twitter and Instagram, alongside frequent TV appearances and a half dozen books, the latest of which, called Art is Life, has just been published by Riverhead Books.
Dec 01, 2022
The Art Angle Presents: How Four Mexican Photographers Captured the Maya Riviera’s Raw Beauty
This special episode of the Art Angle is produced in partnership with Belmond.  Recently, four photographers got a dream assignment. They were dispatched into the Maya Riviera to capture the distinctiveness and beauty of the landscape. But it wasn’t all as tranquil as it sounds. The creators battled hurricane season and extremely tight deadlines to get the shots they wanted. The result of their hard work is “Fotografía Maroma,” a collection of photographs commissioned by Belmond. The images will go on display at Maroma, Belmond’s hotel in the Riviera Maya, when it reopens in May 2023. Before then, however, they are going on a world tour. It starts with a display in the Miami Design District during Art Basel Miami Beach and continues with presentations at ZonaMaco in Mexico City in February and Photo London in May. In partnership with Belmond, the Art Angle spoke with the curators behind the project. Fariba Farshad is co-founder and director of Photo London and Patricia Conde is the founder of Patricia Conde Galeria in Mexico City. Together, they gave us the lowdown on why they chose these four photographers, how the project came together in record time, and what it shows us about Mexico’s vibrant photography scene.
Nov 30, 2022
How the Rubells Built an Empire Out of Minting Art Stars
What do Sterling Ruby, Oscar Murillo, Kennedy Yanko, and Aomoako Boafo have in common? Beyond being some of the most sought-after contemporary artists of the last decade, they are all veterans of the prestigious Rubell Museum Residency program. Helmed by its namesake founders, the mega-collecting duo Don and Mera Rubell, the residency program is something of a hit-maker—call it "the Rubell effect." Beyond minting art-market stars, the Rubells now have two museums, a 100,000 square-foot campus with more than 50,000 square-footage dedicated to galleries in Miami's Allapattah, and a newly opened 32,000-square-foot outpost in Southwest Washington D.C. The Rubell's art collecting began when they were newlyweds\ who would squirrel away $25 from Mera's teaching salary to put toward acquisitions while Don was in medical school. Now, along with their son Jason and daughter Jennifer, they own one of the largest private collections of contemporary art in the world, with more than 7,400 works of art by the likes of Kehinde Wiley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Catherine Opie. On the heels of their DC museum's grand opening, and just weeks before they will hold court at Art Basel in Miami Beach, Artnet News's senior reporter Katya Kazakina caught up with Don, Jason, and Mera to discuss the origins of their collection, the symbiotic relationship between art and real estate, and their famous Midas touch for sussing out the hottest emerging artists.
Nov 24, 2022
Why Vermeer’s Many Secrets Are Now Coming to Light
You've seen it. A woman in a blue turban set against a black background looking over her shoulder like you just called her name. She's wearing a heavy pearl earring in one ear, and her skin is so luminous it looks like she swallowed a light bulb. Yes, I'm talking about Girl with a Pearl Earring, one of the most famous paintings in the world. It's been reproduced countless times on mugs, t-shirts, and pillows. It has inspired poems, novels, and movies. But the artist who created Girl with a Pearl Earring, he remains shrouded in mystery. Strangely little is known about Johannes Vermeer. He lived in Holland in the 17th century and died in 1675 at the age of 43. He made fewer than 36 paintings. And audiences around the globe are fascinated by his portrayals of quiet domesticity. It's always been assumed he worked in the same kind of solitude that he often depicted in his paintings. But new research is challenging that assumption. Over the past several years, museums have used cutting edge technology to get under the surface of Vermeer and learn more about how he actually worked. To discuss Vermeer's many secrets and the artist we thought we knew, Executive Editor, Julia Halperin, spoke with Kriston Capps, a Washington DC based contributor to Artnet News.
Nov 17, 2022
How the Lucas Museum Plans to Tell Riveting Stories Through Art
It’s been a challenging few years for art museums. But Sandra Jackson Dumont, the director and CEO of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, has never felt more energized about their potential. And that feeling is infectious. At the most recent American Alliance of Museums conference, Jackson-Dumont opened her keynote speech with a love song by ’70s soul singer Donny Hathaway. Then she asked the audience: “Don’t you want people to see your institutions that way?”  For more than 20 years, Jackson-Dumont has been a force in education and public programming, launching enormously popular initiatives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Seattle Art Museum. She has spent her career blurring distinctions between fine art and popular culture, and creating alternative ways for the public to interact with art and museums. This mission has followed her to the Lucas Museum. Slated to open in 2025, the museum founded by George Lucas and Mellody Hobson prioritizes art and audiences that have not always been taken seriously by the elite art world.  It’s clear Jackson-Dumont has a long track record of breaking new ground. That’s why we chose her as one of Artnet News’s New Innovators for 2022. The Innovators List will be published in full later this month. Ahead of the release, Jackson-Dumont spoke with Artnet News contributor Janelle Zara about how she is challenging the museum model as we know it. 
Nov 10, 2022
How—and Why—Paul Allen Built His Billion Dollar Art Collection
A glittering forest with a floor covered in leaves by Gustav Klimt. A country road painted with psychedelic purples, greens, and pinks by David Hockney. A tangle of loping lines against a gray background by Brice Marden. Most of us have encountered art like this on the walls of a museum. As a matter of fact, these particular works have been shown at LACMA, the Guggenheim Bilbao, and the Serpentine in London. But after those shows closed, they were all packed up and sent back to the same owner. The owner’s name was Paul Allen. Paul Allen is a bit of a legend in art collecting circles. Part of that was because of his fortune. When he died in 2018, Allen was the 44th richest person in the world. Another part of that legend was his secrecy. Allen was notoriously private about the art he collected. Although he did lend works to museums around the world, he was not always identified as the owner and he never appeared in an auction room holding a paddle. Allen was born in 1953 in Seattle and became friends with Bill Gates in high school. They cofounded Microsoft in 1975 and ushered in the microcomputer revolution. But Paul had a lot of other interests, too. At the age of 35, he became the youngest owner the NBA when he bought the Portland Trailblazers. He also owned the Seattle Sea Hawks and founded museums in his hometown dedicated to vintage computers, military aircraft, and pop culture. For most of his life, art remained a more private passion. But four years after Allen’s death from Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018, Allen’s estate is selling a portion of his art collection—more than 150 lots, to be exact—at Christie’s. And for the first time, the public is able to get a brief glimpse at the many treasures Allen acquired altogether, before they likely disappear into private hands again for who knows how long. The collection is estimated to fetch more than $1 billion, with all the money going to charities he supported during his life. It’s pretty much guaranteed to become the most valuable collection ever sold at auction. So how does one man assemble such a valuable trove of art in a relatively short amount of time? And how does that kind of collector track down, evaluate, and live with art? What makes someone a good art collector in the first place? Artnet News Executive Editor, Julia Halperin spoke with the Director of the Paul Allen Collection, Mireya Lewin, and the Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas at Christie's, Max Carter, to find out.
Nov 03, 2022
How A.I. Is Changing the Business of Being an Artist
In the borderlands between art and technology, no single development has sucked up more oxygen this year than the rise of image generators powered by artificial intelligence. Not so long ago, projects like these were a fringe experiment whose results were usually more intriguing for what they got wrong than for what they got right. But in 2022, A.I.-driven image generators have made a quantum leap in quality, speed, and affordability. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, thanks to these tools, never in the history of civilization has it been easier, faster, or cheaper to produce professional-looking visuals of anything a person could dream up, even if they have no artistic training whatsoever. This is both extremely cool, and extremely concerning, especially if you happen to be a human who makes a living as a commercial illustrator. This October, a strange saga that played out on the live-streaming platform Twitch showed how the tension between flesh and blood image-makers and A.I. is getting stronger and weirder every day, with serious consequences for age-old debates about plagiarism, ownership, and the value of making art in the first place. Thankfully, knowledgeable and intrepid Artnet News contributor, Zachary Small, joins Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider to discuss the initial scandal and the murky future of commercial art in the age of A.I. Buckle up, because this is going to get a little surreal...
Oct 27, 2022
Can Artists Beat Flippers at Their Own Game?
"Flipping" was once a dirty word in the art market. But that is no longer the case. Over the past decade, speculative reselling has become big business as the market for ultra-contemporary art has soared. Sales of art sold within three years of its creation date have grown 1,000 percent over the past decade, to almost $260 million. (For context, over the same period, the S&P 500 rose just about 200 percent.) Historically, only collectors have been able to benefit from this practice—not artists or their dealers. In the U.K. and France, artists receive a small resale royalty when their work is resold at auction. In the U.S., they get nothing. That’s why, over the past few years, artists, gallerists, and entrepreneurs have started to take matters into their own hands, engineering new ways to either stamp out flippers or create systems so that artists can benefit more directly when their work is resold for a big profit. This shift is the subject of our fall 2022 Artnet News Pro Intelligence Report. Ahead of the report’s release, we gathered together an expert panel at Cromwell Place in London during Frieze moderated by our own executive editor Julia Halperin. We spoke with Max Kendrick, co-founder and CEO of Fairchain, a company that is using the blockchain to create new ways of conducting art sales; Rachel Uffner, owner and director of Rachel Uffner Gallery in New York; and Lucien Smith, an artist and director of the Cultural Innovations Lab at the art management platform Lobus. As you’ll see, there is little consensus about what to do about flipping. If you want to learn more, subscribe to Artnet News Pro for the full Artnet News Intelligence Report, out soon.
Oct 20, 2022
Can Art Basel Make Paris the World’s Art Capital Once Again?
The art world was caught by surprise earlier this year when it came to light that Paris’s long-standing art fair, FIAC, was being ousted from its precious October slot at the formidable Grand Palais in Paris. It turned out that it was none other than the biggest fair titan of them all Art Basel, and its winning vision for the French capital, that would be taking its place. Enter Paris+, Basel’s newest fair that hopes to be a bridge between the French institutional landscape and the art industry. The timing for Paris could not be better: dealers have been clamoring to open up shop in its arrondissements just as a string of premier new museums have opened their doors. Ahead of the fair’s inaugural opening on October 20, London-based European Market Editor Naomi Rea and Berlin-based Europe Editor Kate Brown sat down to take a look at the dramatic events that led up to the takeover, and offered their predictions for what to expect of this major market moment.
Oct 13, 2022
Why the Art World Is Such Hard Place to Be a Parent
A brand-new publication, penned by the London-based critic and Artnet contributor Hettie Judah, is trying to tear down a dusty old myth that hangs around in the art world: that artists can’t be parents and be successful. With her new book published last week, called How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and Other Parents), Judah tries to capture the ways in which mothers, fathers, and other guardians have historically been excluded from the various realms of the art world. She interviewed scores of international artists to build a full and complex picture of this significant issue, which remains a problem in nearly every sector of the industry. How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and Other Parents) traces the history of the domestic and artistic pursuits, the pain points that endure, and the success stories that may offer workable ways forward. To crack open this important book and the issue it interrogates, Judah spoke with our Europe editor Kate Brown.
Oct 06, 2022
‘Hope’ Poster Artist Shepard Fairey on Art and Activism Today
Few living artists have created an artwork as instantly recognizable as Shepherd Fairey’s Hope poster, which has become the stuff of legend as the face of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. The image, which the New Yorker dubbed "the most efficacious American political illustration since Uncle Sam Wants You,” remains embedded in the public consciousness even if you don't know the street artist's name.  But Fairey has been creating powerful visuals for more than 30 years, dating back to 1989, when he began pasting stickers of Andre, the Giants face over the word obey on the streets of Providence during his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. In the decades since, Fairey has become equally at home in the art museum as on the streets, bridging the divide between the fine art world and the skateboarding slash graffiti scene with work that reflects his commitment to activism—the Obama poster, it's worth noting, was a grassroots effort, not a campaign commission.  Ahead of Fairey's new solo show at Dallas Contemporary, Artnet News senior writer Sarah Cascone, sat down with the artist to talk about his long career from the DIY skate and punk scene to art world acceptance. "Shepard Fairey: Backward Forward" is on view at Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass Street, Dallas, Texas, September 25, 2022–July 23, 2023.
Sep 29, 2022
How the Universe Taught Wolfgang Tillmans to Make Art
When visitors go to see Wolfgang Tillmans’s new retrospective at the museum of modern art, one of the first things they'll likely notice is that few pictures are presented in a frame. Most are instead pinned or taped directly to the wall; adorning nearly every service on the museum, six floor and arranged, not by rows, but in clusters, kind of like constellations in the night sky. And that's an analogy that the 54 year old artist might himself appreciate given his abiding love of outer space. “Astronomy,” he once said, “was my visual initiation into seeing.” A cosmological awe pervades To Look Without Fear, as MoMA’s exhibition is called—even though Tillmans’s subject matter is often quite quotidian. More than 300 of the artist's photographs are included spanning his nearly four decade career from his experiments with a photocopier as a student in Germany in the late 1980s and his editorial efforts for Index and I-D magazines in London and New York in the 90’s, to his darkroom abstractions of the early 2000s and beyond. But Tillmans’s practice has always resisted strict taxonomization, and that’s true here, too; what’s on view is not a series of discrete bodies of work but a kind of diaristic journey through the artist’s life: his friends, his lovers; his work, his play; his experience with loss and living with HIV and his constant consideration of what it means to interpret it all through the technology of photography. No lens-based artist revels in the simple profundity of the medium like him. On view now through January 1st of next year, To Look Without Fear is a sprawling, years-in-the-making presentation that rightly casts Tillmans among the today’s most important working artists. Ahead of the show’s opening, Artnet News’s Taylor Dafoe sat down with Tillmans at MoMA for a conversation about language, looking back in time, and how staring into the cosmos taught him to appreciate life on earth.
Sep 23, 2022
Rick Lowe on How Art Can Solve Real-World Problems
The year was 1990, and artist Rick Lowe had invited a group of high school students into a studio. Standing surrounded by his billboard size paintings, one of the kids made a comment that stopped him in his tracks. Why was Lowe illustrating problems everyone already knew about rather than proposing creative solutions? The moment changed everything. It pushed Lowe to create art outside the studio and sent him on a path to becoming one of the leading figures in an art movement known as social practice. The term social practice describes art that is created with, and for, communities. Over the past three decades Lowe has done this in a variety of forms, including his most famous work Project Row Houses, a hub for community housing and art-making in Houston's Third Ward. All the while Lowe has maintained a painting practice alongside his socially engaged work, and he won a MacArthur Genius Grant for all of it in 2014. This month, after a long hiatus from the New York gallery world, he returns with his first solo show of paintings at Gagosian. Artnet News contributor, Sade Ologundudu spoke with Lowe as part of a four part series on Artnet News about artists across generations who work with social practice.
Sep 15, 2022
How K-Pop and Connoisseurship Made Seoul a New Art Capital
Last week, the art industry descended on Seoul, South Korea, for the inaugural edition of Frieze art fair’s Asian outpost. It was a major affair, packed with K-pop celebrities and six-figure sales that marked yet another peak for the Korean art scene, which seems to be heading along a neverending upward spiral. Installed next to the stalwart fair Kiaf at the formidable CoEx convention center, and not far away from a smaller satellite fair focused on new media, Kiaf Plus, this first year for this combined trio of fairs was a runaway success story. At Frieze, 110 galleries participated, drawing in the western art world to this major Asian capital city, which is bolstered by a flourishing art community and a ripe art market, and appeal to the Korean collector scene, which is rapidly growing in power. To color the picture from the ground, our Europe Editor Kate Brown spoke with Seoul-based curator and critic Andy St. Louis—an insider to the art scene who has been based in Seoul for more than ten years. St. Louis is the Seoul desk editor at ArtAsiaPacific, and a contributing editor at ArtReview Asia (and you can also catch his byline on Artnet News). In 2018, he founded Seoul Art Friend, an online platform dedicated to promoting contemporary Korean art, which you can access at or on Instagram and Facebook (at) seoulartfriend. He is currently writing a survey of emerging and mid-career artists which is due to be published in Summer 2023. Andy and Kate debriefed on the goings-on during South Korea’s major launch into the international art scene and discuss what opportunities and challenges lay ahead as Seoul continues to transform itself into a major art world hub.
Sep 08, 2022
Re-Air: Why Art Biennial Superstars Exist in a Parallel Universe
This year was a big one for biennials with the Whitney Biennial in New York, the Venice Biennale in Italy and Documenta in Kassel, Germany as well as many, many more. Earlier this year, our team at Artnet analyzed hundreds of these exhibitions over the past five years to identify the biggest stars of the biennial circuit. As we gear up for the fall art season, we thought it would be useful to revisit the episode where national art critic, Ben Davis and Europe editor, Kate brown, discuss the surprising findings. 
Sep 01, 2022
Re-Air: The Black Art Visionary Who Secretly Built the Morgan Library
We thought we’d revisit an episode we recorded earlier this year about one of the more fascinating and under-known figures in American art history. Her name was Belle da Costa Greene, and she was the vivacious and spectacularly connoisseurial force behind building robber baron J.P. Morgan’s art collection and, now, New York’s Morgan Library. Unusual at the time for being a women in such a powerful role, what is even more unusual is that she was a Black woman—a secret she successfully guarded her entire adult life.To learn Belle da Costa Greene’s story—which is now being made into a major TV series—I spoke to Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, the authors of The Personal Librarian, a sensational novel about her life. 
Aug 25, 2022
Re-Air: How the Art World in Ukraine’s Besieged Capital Are Fighting Back
Five months into the conflict, the brutal, horrific war in Ukraine grinds on, with no end in sight. And while Ukrainian men and women are fighting, and dying, on the front lines to defend their homeland, art workers are continuing to do their part to aid the struggle by preserving their nation’s rich heritage and keeping the flame of culture alive.Shortly after the invasion, Artnet News European Editor Kate Brown spoke to two such art workers based in the Kyiv—Vasyl Cherepanyn, the director of the city’s Visual Culture Research Center, and Nikita Kadan, an artist whose work is deeply imbued with his political activism—about what it’s like watching the war unfold on their doorstep, and how they are working to counter the crisis by any means.As the Art Angle team is on break, we are proud to re-air this episode.
Aug 18, 2022
Re-Air: Marina Abramović on How Her Artistic Method Can Change Your Life
Over the years, we’ve been very fortunate to have some bona fide legendary artists on this show, from Ai Weiwei to Judy Chicago to Anish Kapoor to Ed Ruscha. But none of them, to my mind, are as surprising to talk to as the great performance artist Marina Abramović, who host Andrew Goldstien had the privilege of interviewing toward the start of this year. When you think about her art, what comes to the fore are profound themes of life and death, pain, and transcending the body. When you’re talking to her, you think: wait, she’s hilarious? And provocative, and blunt, and something like down-to-earth. We enjoyed the conversation about her work and her Abramovic Method so much that, this week, while the Art Angle team hits the beach for a little vacation, we thought we’d re-air the episode for your listening pleasure. In fact, the Abramovic Method might even come in handy for durationally enduring all this heat. Enjoy.  
Aug 11, 2022
How Virgil Abloh Changed the Contemporary Art World
The world rarely sees a creative dynamo on the level of Virgil Abloh—or one harder to quantify. A trained architect, who was born to Ghanian immigrants and grew up in Chicago, he was best known as the visionary men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton (and the first person of color to hold that position)—the position he held when he died at 41 from a rare cancer. But his protean career began blazing long before that. A key early milestone? In 2009, Abloh interned at Fendi alongside rapper and fashion designer Kanye West—a relationship that led to Abloh later serving as the creative director for West’s agency Donda. He founded the short-lived yet highly influential streetwear label Pyrex Vision in 2012, selling garments by other brands that he screen printed with his own label’s name and elevated to eye-watering prices—a Duchampian gesture that combined appropriation, impeccable branding, and the kind of gleeful outsider-turned-insider humor that marked Abloh’s career. In 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago mounted the first museum exhibition dedicated to Abloh’s work in “Figures of Speech,” a sprawling show that brought in twice the museums normal attendance and helped cement Abloh’s legacy in the realm of fine art. Now on view now in Brooklyn, the show explores Abloh’s luxury brand activations, perspectives on design and architecture, and collaborations with artists including Takashi Murakami, Jenny Holzer, and Rem Koolhaus. On this episode, Artnet News’s brand editor William Van Meter spoke about the designer’s work and legacy with Jian Deleon, the men’s fashion and editorial director of Nordstrom, who collaborated with Abloh on one of his final projects—an capsule collection called New Concepts 18: Virgil Abloh Securities.
Aug 04, 2022
What Is the Metaverse? And Why Should the Art World Care?
Have you ever wanted to live a different kind of life, in a different kind of place? What if this other place gave you the power to do or be almost anything you wanted, anywhere you wanted, anytime you wanted? Suppose that what you could build there, and who you could be there, had nothing to do with your finances. Not even the laws of physics would hold you back. If you wanted to be the monarch of a Gothic castle perched on a cloud suspended above a Nordic woodland, you could have that. You could even do it in a new body, under a new name, with neither one having any apparent connection to your physicality or your past. Even wilder, this other place would welcome millions of other individuals with just as much freedom as you, so that you could all build this new world together. You could form new relationships, establish new traditions, and experience a new wave of art and culture held back by nothing but artists’ imaginations. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Well, billions of dollars and untold hours of labor are being pumped into making this fantasy a reality—an immersive digital reality. And some of the most influential and most powerful people in the world are saying it will be called the metaverse. But what is the metaverse, exactly? How has it elbowed its way deep enough into the mainstream that your retired parents are asking you about it? And what does it mean for the art world specifically?  This week on the Art Angle, business editor and The Gray Market scribe Tim Schneider is joined by three experts to help make sense of this potential new world order: Wagner James Au, the author of The Making of Second Life: Notes from the New World (2008) and the forthcoming book Why the Metaverse Matters: From Second Life to Meta and Beyond, A Guide By Its First Embedded Journalist and the ongoing blog, New World Notes; Tina Rivers Ryan, a curator of modern and contemporary art at the Buffalo AKG Museum in New York, who has organized exhibitions including "Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art"; and Sara Ludy, an artist and composer based in Placetas, New Mexico whose current exhibition, "Swimmer’s Canyon," is on view at Art Mûr in Montréal, Canada.
Jul 29, 2022
Why Artist Jayson Musson Is Clowning a Humorless Art World
Jayson Musson has a unique status in the art world: he has the persona and perspective of an outsider, but he's also something of an artist's artist. Originally from the Bronx, Musson got his creative start in Philadelphia in the 2000s, creating cerebral, satirical street art; penning a column for the Philadelphia Weekly called "Black Like Me"; and performing in the cult hip-hop group Plastic Little, which put out songs like "I'm Not a Thug," "Rap O'Clock," and "Miller Time." Musson again popped up unexpectedly onto the radar in 2010 with "Art Thoughtz," a DIY YouTube series that immediately became a treasured reference in art school and art media. It starred Musson in the persona of "Hennessy Youngman," fusing the styles of art theory lecture and Def Comedy Jam, monologuing about everything from concepts of beauty to Damien Hirst's tendency to make faces in press pics. It was fresh enough to surprise, and knowing enough to be a hit. Musson has worked in a variety of styles in the last decade, from painting to sculpture to children's books to mix tapes. He's back this month with a very different spin on art education at Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop and Museum. Titled "His History of Art," the new show has a characteristically offbeat premise. It takes the form of a combination of sitcom and PBS edutainment, with Musson starring as Jay, explaining the value of art history to Ollie, a rabbit played by a puppet. And there are lots of other surreal detours along the way. Ben Davis, Artnet News's national art critic and a Jayson Musson fan, recently had a chance to talk to the artist about his unusual career and the idea behind his new riff on art history.
Jul 21, 2022
What Does the Future of NFTs Look Like Now?
It might be the dog days of summer here in New York, but over in the metaverse, we are firmly in the depths of crypto winter. When NFT NYC, the world’s largest NFT conference, descended on Times Square last month, Bitcoin and ether were down more than 70 percent from where they were in November. That put a damper on the proceedings, and it’s had a ripple effect on the once-ballooning market for digital collectibles. In the first half of 2021, Christie’s had sold $93 million worth of NFTs; this year, they’ve sold just $4.8 million. Meanwhile, NFT players and platforms are being dogged by claims of insider trading and market manipulation, and many in the art world are reconsidering their relationship with the sector. To offer us a micro-history of this fast-changing market, and a recap of how the crypto crash has transformed the NFT space, Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin spoke with Zachary Small, an Artnet News contributor and friend of the Art Angle. Zach is the author of the forthcoming book “Token Supremacy: How NFTs (and a Little Money Laundering) Turned Decentralized Finance Into an Art Form.”
Jul 14, 2022
Re-Air: Art, Lies, and Instagram: How Catfishing ‘Collectors’ Duped the Art World
Well, the hot summer season is upon is, and while the Art Angle team is taking some r&r this week we thought we’d offer you some refreshment in the form of re-airing one of our favorite episodes of the year so far—a tale of art-world fakery, double-dealing, and incredibly creative swindling so preposterous it’s worthy of a summer movie. Let’s just say that no one in the story you are about to hear, about jet-setting Italian collectors promoting a favorite artist on Instagram, are who they seem. Kate Brown, who uncovered the story and the brazen theft at its heart, discussed the saga with executive editor Julia Halperin.
Jul 07, 2022
Re-Air:The Secret Codes of World-Class Art Auctions, Demystified
This past may New York hosted what is probably the biggest auction season ever selling more than $2.7 billion worth of art. Last week, the traveling circus touchdown in London with multimillion dollar art sales at Phillips, Sotheby's and Christie's. So before the arm market goes into hibernation for the summer, we decided to revisit our episode, decoding the complex sociology of auctions. Auctions are the most public and visible part of the art market—but they are also among the most misunderstood. There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes preparation, psychology, and game theory that goes into pulling off a successful sale. It is a game—and to succeed as both a seller and a buyer, you need to know the rules. We called in Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin to help us decode the complex sociology of auctions.
Jun 30, 2022
Why Art Biennial Superstars Exist in a Parallel Universe
You're heard quite a bit about biennials on the Art Angle recently—the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennial, and, most recently, Documenta, which comes once every five years to Kassel, Germany. On their own, each of these are closely watched events by art mavens looking to spot national and global trends. But they are also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a circuit of Biennial and Triennial art events that girdle the earth, popping up from Athens to Bangkok to Cuenca to Dakar to, well—you could keep going on down through the alphabet. With the newest Documenta now open, we asked ourselves: What if you could go to every one of these biennials? What kinds of trends would you see? To answer the question, our writers looked at the artists included in hundreds of biennials curated since the last Documenta in 2017, to find out which names came up most. The answers that emerged were surprising, frankly, even to us, revealing a list of Biennial Art superstars who have dominated the conversation among curators in the last five years. These figures make art cut to fit that circuit. They even have their own means of economic support. To talk about the findings of the Biennial Art project, today we have two of our writers who worked on it in conversation: Ben Davis, our National Art Critic, and Kate Brown, our European editor.  You can read the full project, which includes an extremely long list of all the artists in our data set and an essay on what it means to be a biennial artist on Artnet News. 
Jun 23, 2022
How Kennedy Yanko Welded Her Way to Art Stardom
Kennedy Yanko is not afraid to take up space this week. This week, the Brooklyn-based sculptor unveiled her largest work yet at Art Basel, a 20 foot tall hanging sculpture titled By Means Other Than The Known Senses. The title describes how Yanko often creates her work through exploration and a whole lot of intuition. The apricots green and gray work is a tornado of cascading metal forms. At first glance, it's impossible to tell just how much it weighs since it's suspended in the air. As it turns out, it weighs a lot. It's created from a monumental shipping container that Yanko scrunched, reformed and selectively covered in paint skin. When she's done, the sculpture looks so alive, it almost feels like it's breathing. Yanko's star has been steadily rising over the past few years. Last year, she became the first sculptor to earn the coveted residency at the Rubell museum in Miami. Now she's unveiling her work at Art Basel Unlimited, the section dedicated to large scale projects at the world's most prestigious art fair ahead of the fair, which runs through Sunday. Artnet News Executive Editor Julia Halperin spoke with Kennedy from her hotel room in Switzerland.
Jun 17, 2022
How Documenta Became the World’s Most Controversial Art Show
How much can an art show do? That’s a question at the heart of documenta, the sprawling exhibition that touches down in Kassel, Germany every five years. Sometimes called a “museum in 100 days,” the show regularly draws millions of visitors from around the world. But it is far from a neutral celebration of contemporary art. Founded in 1955, the show was conceived as a way to regenerate Kassel, which was still in ruins after World War II. But it had broader political aims, too: to project West Germany’s alliance with liberal values and help spread those values to nearby East Germany during the Cold War. Since its inception, documenta has melded art and politics more than almost any other exhibition in the world. So it’s not surprising that its history has been marked by controversy. From hidden Nazi ties to funding crises, the show has stirred up dispute after dispute. And this year is no different, as the show’s curators, the Indonesian art collective ruangrupa, face allegations of anti-Semitism due to the political affiliations of some of the artists included in the show. When the 15th documenta opens next week, it will present the work of more than 50 artists and collectives. Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin sat down with Europe editor Kate Brown to explore this essential show’s turbulent history—and perhaps even more turbulent present.
Jun 09, 2022
The Scandalous Rise and Fall of Art Dealer Inigo Philbrick
Not too long ago, Inigo Philbrick was one of the best-connected dealers in the art world. The son of a museum director and the protege of legendary gallerist Jay Jopling, he was often spotted at VIP previews of major art fairs and in a prominent seat at auctions around the globe. Then, in late 2019, he disappeared. As it turns out, Philbrick was the subject of mounting civil lawsuits and, ultimately, a criminal case that found he conned clients out of $85 million. Prosecutors say he committed “one of the most significant frauds in the art market in history.” He stood accused of selling shares amounting to more than 100 percent in artworks he did not own, falsifying contracts, forging signatures, and inventing fictitious clients. He pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of wire fraud in November. Last week, Philbrick’s case finally came to a close when the former wunderkind was sentenced to seven years in jail, one of the harshest sentences we’ve seen in an art-fraud case in recent memory. Artnet News senior market reporter Eileen Kinsella, who has followed this case from the very beginning, was on the scene reporting from the courtroom. She spoke with executive editor Julia Halperin about Inigo's extraordinary rise and fall.
Jun 02, 2022
How Artificial Intelligence Could Completely Transform Art
As we all know, there's a tremendous amount of attention that's being paid lately to NFTs and their whiplash market oscillations. Are NFTs good? Bad? A flash in the pan? Here to stay? Well, there's an argument to be made that NFTs are actually at best a distraction from the real mind-blowing, totally profound technological revolution that is poised to change art as we know it forever. And that of course is the rise of AI art. So what is AI art and is artificial intelligence here to help artists or to make them obsolete? It's a big thorny question and it just so happens that there is a brilliant essay on the topic in the heart of the brand new book, by my favorite thinker on big thorny questions, Artnet News, Chief Art Critic, Ben Davis. Titled Art in The After-Culture, Ben's new book is a combination of traditional critical essays and speculative fiction. And to my mind, it is an instant classic, the kind of book filled with deep insights that will become a touchstone for future generations curious about how art functions in our. I can't overpraise it, but I can tell you that it's available from Haymarket books and that you should buy Art in The After-Culture and read it for yourself. This episode is really focused on the book’s ideas on AI art, which are a lot to chew on on their own. Ben Davis joins the show to break them down a little bit.
May 26, 2022
Want to Wear a Basquiat? Inside the Big Business of Artist Merch
Today, Jean-Michel Basquiat is unquestionably one of the most recognizable and beloved artists on the planet. A native New Yorker of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, Basquiat first attracted attention as a teenage graffiti writer in the late 1970s, before rapidly transitioning into the role of international sensation in the newly glamorous, increasingly global gallery world of the 1980s. Although the main draw was his inimitable artistic practice, which merged cryptic poetry and symbology with antic, Expressionistic figures, Basquiat quickly became a downtown celebrity of the first order, walking the runway, collaborating with musicians, and famously dating Madonna. Tragically, Basquiat died from an overdose at the age of 27. His short artistic career makes it all the more remarkable that his work and his visage seem to be everywhere in the 21st century. Of course, I’m not just talking about his actual paintings, which reliably sell for tens of millions of dollars at auction. Licensed reproductions of Basquiat’s work now fuel a wide range of products and branding opportunities, from affordable t-shirts and keychains, to an unprecedented collaboration with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets resulting in a Basquiat-inspired home court design and team uniform. But as licensing has become a lucrative revenue stream for contemporary artists and estates, it has also intensified age-old criticisms about the corrosive powers of commercialization on creative integrity. The Basquiat estate’s approach has made Jean-Michel’s work one of the focal points of this tension, especially after the opening of “King Pleasure,” a major exhibition about the artist’s life and work now on view in Manhattan. To sort through this tangled web, Artnet News art business editor Tim Schneider spoke to market guru Katya Kazakina about her look into Basquiat and the increasingly big business of artwork licensing.
May 19, 2022
Nari Ward on How to Make a True Portrait of New York City
The Jamaican-born, Harlem-based artist Nari Ward was barely out of his 20s when he exploded onto the New York art scene in 1993 with Amazing Grace, an extraordinary installation of 300 baby strollers he found abandoned around Harlem. The work, installed in a dimly lit former firehouse, resonated with audiences as a startling and humble commentary on the seemingly endless crises plaguing New York: the AIDS and crack epidemics, rampant homelessness, racial violence, and a city on edge after the Crown Heights and City Hall riots.In the nearly 30 years since, Ward has maintained his role as one of our mourners-in-chief, and his latest exhibition at Lehmann Maupin in Chelsea is no exception. The show, titled “I’ll Take You There; A Proclamation,” again taps into musical and cultural history to offer a dignified yet sobering reflection on the Covid pandemic and its devastating fallout of economic inequality, political instability, and profound loss. More than anything, the brilliant new exhibition, which continues Ward’s use of refuse and discarded objects, picked up around the streets of the city, suggests that none of us—not even Ward—knows exactly where we’re headed next.To get a sense of the show, we called in Artnet News managing editor Pac Pobric to get the artist’s take on his remarkable new work.
May 12, 2022
The Secret Codes of World-Class Art Auctions, Demystified
Get your paddles ready: New York is about to kick off what may be the biggest auction season ever. Over the next two weeks, as much as $2.6 billion worth of art is expected to be sold across glitzy evening sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips. The offerings include a sage-blue portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol that could bring in over $200 million, a billboard-size Basquiat that could fetch $70 million, and Richters, Picassos, and Rothkos galore. Auctions are the most public and visible part of the art market—but they are also among the most misunderstood. There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes preparation, psychology, and game theory that goes into pulling off a successful sale. It is a game—and to succeed as both a seller and a buyer, you need to know the rules. We called in Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin to help us decode the complex sociology of auctions.
May 05, 2022
Is the Venice Biennale Any Good? Here’s What Three Art Critics Think
At long last, this week the 59th Venice Biennale has officially thrown itself open to the world in Italy. The Biennale is always a big event for the art world. The 2022 edition may be even more anticipated than usual. Because of the pandemic, it was delayed a year—the first time that has happened since World War II. And it emerges in a moment of global turmoil and uneasiness, when everyone is wondering how art might respond to the challenges of the present. The Artnet News team was on the scene last week for the Biennale previews, cranking out news reports from around Venice you can find on the site, including reports from the many national pavilions. But as listeners of the Art Angle will know, the big event of the Biennale is the main show, curated this year by New York-based Italian art curator Cecilia Alemani. Alemani was on the podcast a few weeks ago to talk about her vision. Now we get to see whether she pulled it off. The exhibition carries the dreamy title “The Milk of Dreams,” and it is full of dream-like images, references to myth and magic, beasts and cyborgs, and mystery. It is notable in being almost entirely composed of women or gender non-nonconforming artists. This Biennale is also notable for how it rethinks the past—normally a survey of new trends in art, this year the Biennale includes 5 special mini-exhibitions, shows-within-the-show that look at how female figures from the past explored the themes of "The Milk of Dreams." In effect, Alemani is writing a new art historical timeline to insert her work into. There’s a lot to talk about in this ambitious and complex Venice Biennale. To do so, we have assembled a panel of people who were in Venice. National Art Critic Ben Davis is joined by Emmanuel Balogan and Barbara Calderon, both of who are writing about aspects of the 2022 Biennale for Artnet News. 
Apr 28, 2022
Is Fractional Art Investing the Future of the Market? Or a Scam?
So want to buy a Picasso? No, it's too expensive? Want to buy a teensy-weensy, tiny little microscopic flack of a Picasso? That sounds better, doesn't it? Believe it or not, that kind of sales pitch is actually gaining traction in a big way. In the wild world of fractional art sales, where massive new startup companies are buying up the bluest of blue chip art, think Basquiat, Joan Mitchell and Ed Ruscha, and selling what are essentially shares in these pieces to speculative investors. It's rapidly becoming a big business. But what you do you actually get if you buy a share in a painting, how does it work and what is it really worth? Artnet News, Senior Reporter, Katya Kazakina, author of the incredible Art Detective column joins this episode to talk about her new in-depth report on fractional art funds for the spring edition of the Artnet News Pro Intelligence Report, which just dropped last week.
Apr 21, 2022
How a Mysterious Whitney Biennial Confronts Our Moment
It's biennial season in a big bi-annual year. The Toronto Biennial just opened, the Venice Biennale opens next week, and around the corner are the German heavyweights, the Berlin Biennale and documenta—which is actually a quinquennial, but who's quibbling. This would be an exciting time in any year, but in 2022, it has the added dimension of being the first time that the world's art community will be able to get together with a ton of important new work in person after these past two pandemic years, as Cecilia Alemani, the curator of this years Venice Biennale, recently discussed on this very podcast.  This episode is dedicated to another sprawling show near and dear to our hearts that opened earlier this month. Of course, it's the Whitney Biennial, a signature offering of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where it tries to live up to its full name by taking a snapshot of what the country's artists have been making, thinking, and feeling. Artnet News, chief art critic, Ben Davis joins to shed some light on this very ambitious, very interesting show.
Apr 14, 2022
The Whole Bored Ape Yacht Club Phenomenon, Explained
Just around one year ago, two literary bros from Miami decided to launch a business venture. It was a couple weeks after Beeple’s Everydays had sold for $69 million at Christie’s and NFTs were taking the art world by storm. Still, few could have guessed at the time that their little company, called Yuga Labs, would produce a series of cartoon apes that would become some of the most successful—and divisive—characters in the entire NFT universe. "It's hard to justify that a Bored Ape NFT is worth $300,000 based on the art... they're cartoon apes" says crypto journalist Amy Castor. "They're cute, you know, but is it worth that kind of money?" For many regular people, and a whole host of celebrities, the answer is yes. Today, Yuga Labs has more than 60 employees and more than $2 billion in total sales. Over the past few weeks, it has gone on a tear announcing new initiatives, from the acquisition of CryptoPunks and Meebits, arguably the two other most popular NFT series, to the launch of Apecoin, its own brand of cryptocurrency. Larva Labs now hopes to create what is essentially a Marvel universe from all this intellectual property—and make a lot of money along the way. But Castor, for one, says that Yuga Labs's recent acquisitions are antithetical to the core tenets that NFT evangelists tout. "The whole idea about NFTs is that they're supposed to be decentralized. It's not supposed to be one outfit having control of the top three most expensive NFT projects" she says. "They've created a perceived value out of thin air so that they can then monetize that brand." Its strategy shows us what the future of the NFT space might look like. But it remains unclear whether this future will benefit everyday NFT collectors and enthusiasts as much as the big investors and founders of companies like Yuga Labs. To unpack the wild and winding story of Yuga Labs and the Bored Ape Yacht Club, executive editor Julia Halperin spoke with Amy Castor, who chronicled the rise of this phenomenon on Artnet News.  
Apr 07, 2022
Special Preview: Toyin Ojih Odutola on Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
We're sharing a special preview of a podcast I’ve been enjoying, Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso, from Pushkin Industries. Talk Easy is a weekly interview podcast, where writer Sam Fragoso invites actors, writers, activists, and politicians to come to the table and speak from the heart in ways you probably haven't heard from them before. Driven by curiosity, he’s had revealing conversations with everyone from George Saunders and Cate Blanchett to Ocean Vuong and Gloria Steinem. In this preview, Sam talks with visual artist Toyin Ojih Odutola about visiting Nigeria, creating the subjects in her new book, and feeling alive. You can listen to Talk Easy at 
Apr 03, 2022
Cecilia Alemani on Her Venice Biennale for an Anxious Era
This April, after a punishing two years apart during the pandemic, the whole art community will gather together on the magical watery isle of Venice for its periodic ritual assessment of what the world's finest artists have been thinking about and making to grapple with our changing world. They call this climactic event, the Venice Biennale and each time it has presided over by a visionary figure whose role it has been to transmute the work of all these artists into a coherent statement about our time.  This year, that exalted figure is named Cecilia Alemani. Cecilia is a professional art curator, whose day job is curating art for New York's Highline. The Venice Biennale is just a big exhibition, but the show always has an aura of the religious about it, where we get to commune with the biggest and best ideas floating around the globe. This time around, the globe is in rare and urgent need of big ideas with existential crises, raging all around us that need to be understood and reckoned with now. So can this year's edition of the Venice Biennale help? To find out, we welcome Cecilia Alemani to the show to talk about her big exhibition, which is beautifully titled the Milk of Dreams.
Mar 31, 2022
How Afghanistan’s Artists Are Making Their Way in Exile
In August 2021, the world watched in horror as U.S. troops withdrew, and the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan, with over 600,000 displaced people fleeing the country since last January, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. Among the many groups threatened by the Taliban's rule are artists, with the fundamentalist government viewing freedom of artistic expression as a threat to the Islamic faith. Fearing for their lives, some artists have felt compelled to destroy or censor their own work, or to seek asylum outside Afghanistan. For curators Barbara Pollack and Anne Verhallen, the crisis provided an opportunity for their arts organization, Art at a Time Like This, to help raise awareness of the plight of Afghan artists. The two had started the platform in March, 2020 as a way of staging both online and in-person exhibitions in response to lockdown restrictions following the outbreak of COVID-19. To organize the virtual show "Before Silence: Afghan Artists In Exile," the two partnered with the PEN America affiliated non-profit Artists at Risk Connection to bring together the work of nine Afghan artists now dispersed around the world. To learn more about the situation faced by these brave creatives, Artnet News senior writer Sarah Cascone spoke with Julie Trebault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection at PEN America; Alexandra Xanthaki, the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; and Shamayel Shalizi, an Afghan artist currently living in Berlin.
Mar 25, 2022
How the Art World in Ukraine’s Besieged Capital Are Fighting Back
On February 24, just three short weeks before this recording the world as we knew it was utterly upended by the Russian army’s invasion of the Eastern European nation of Ukraine. Spurred on by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dream of restoring a quasi-mythical version of the Russian empire, the assault has unleashed devastating carnage, widespread damage, and a complex political and socioeconomic crisis whose effects have been rippling around the globe ever since. Yet stories of breathtaking heroism and selflessness have also emerged from the fog of war, and the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people has won hearts and minds across continents, leading millions in the West to stand in solidarity with them. As in any armed conflict, however, culture can become collateral damage. Putin’s war machine has already inflicted irreversible harm on some of Ukraine’s most cherished museums, heritage sites, and it is threatening to do the same to the country’s vibrant homegrown art scene. But as with the rest of the nation, that art scene has much more fight in it than most outsiders knew. To tell this story of resistance, Artnet News Europe Editor Kate Brown spoke with two key cultural figures who are based in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, and who have stayed behind to counter this crisis in the ways that they can.
Mar 17, 2022
How to Become a Successful NFT Artist
Ask fans of crypto and NFTs why they think blockchain is such a revolutionary technology, and it probably won’t be long before they mention large-scale data transparency, a concept near and dear to our own hearts here at Artnet. Since the blockchain permanently and publicly documents key information about every transaction it hosts, then people with the right know-how and technical resources could theoretically map the entire history of any given crypto platform or project. And the wild, wooly market for NFTs is no exception. That’s where Laszlo Barabási comes in. Laszlo is the founder and leader of Barabási Lab, a team of artists and data scientists that study complex networks. Just a few weeks ago, he and his co-authors published a fascinating, data-rich analysis of the NFT platform Foundation. Launched in February 2021, Foundation has now hosted some of the most significant NFT sales to date, including the $5.4 million crypto art debut of era-defining whistleblower Edward Snowden. Based on Laszlo’s study, our resident NFT sage, art business editor Tim Schneider, put together a data-driven guide on how to succeed as a crypto artist (which Artnet News Pro subscribers can read online now). For this episode, Tim spoke with Laszlo about the inner workings of Foundation, the synthesis of art and science, and much more. 
Mar 10, 2022
Marina Abramovic on How Her Artistic Method Can Change Your Life
These days as contemporary art continues to pervade pop culture, there are art stars i.e. the talents who captivate the attention of art professionals. And then there are superstars, the handful of figures who have broken through to legitimate actual fame, winning a spot in the minds of the public at large. If you ask me the most appealing of all of these titans is Marina Abramovic. The high priestess of performance art whose unforgettable work plumbs eternal, profound themes of life and death whose impact on art history is huge and undeniable, but who is nonetheless in person just a lovely, brilliant, hilarious, vivacious human being.  Given her biography that might not be what you'd expect. Growing up the child of two emotionally Cold War hero parents in Belgrade, she developed a particularly arduous strain of performance art, and fought an uphill battle for most of her astonishing five decade career in an art world that gave practically no support institutional or financial to her chosen medium of performance. Her closest artistic collaborator, her long-time lover Ulay, betrayed her in spectacular fashion in a way that has entered art history and then after they reconciled years later, sued her. But despite all of this, when success came such as with her 1997 Golden Lion win at the Venice Biennale and then her blockbuster, 2010 survey at MoMA, what has been most palpable is her enormous enjoyment of her career and its accomplishments. Now, that career is about to once again be surveyed in an oeuvre spanning show at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York.
Mar 03, 2022
Jennie C. Jones on Why You Should Listen to Her Paintings
Right now at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, there's an exhibition of paintings on view that might remind you of the postwar abstractions of painters like Barnett Newman and Agnes Martin, who made a virtue of empty space and muted palettes. The difference is that the paintings at the Guggenheim today are not just meant to be looked at and admired. No, they are meant to be listened to—and that's because the artist, Jennie C. Jones makes art that is as aural as it is visual, building her compositions directly onto acoustic panels, her signature material in order to shape the sound of the rooms in which they are installed. For Jones, this barely perceptible effect is a way of paying deep homage to the black architects of mid-century avant-garde music, such as free jazz pioneers who turned strategic silence into a statement. "Listening" Jones has said, "is a conceptual practice all on its own." . On the occasion of the exhibition, which is called "Dynamics" and acts as a mid-career survey of the artist's unique body of work, Artnet News’s features writer Taylor Dafoe met Jones at her studio in Hudson, New York, where they talked about embracing gesture, John Coltrane, and the artist’s own upstream path to recognition.
Feb 25, 2022
The Black Art Visionary Who Secretly Built the Morgan Library
It's Black History Month, and we wanted to take the opportunity to devote this episode to the story of a Black museum leader. We know that people of color have historically been excluded from positions of power in the mainstream art world, but that's not the full story. In many cases, Black people were present, only their contributions were not properly recorded or acknowledged. What if you were told that one of the most famous museums in America was in fact headed by a Black visionary? That's the case with the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City, which was founded in 1906 to house the collection of the legendary Wall Street tycoon John Pierpont Morgan.  That collection was amassed and overseen by Belle Da Costa Greene, a brilliant scholar and bon vivant, who we now know was Black, and passed as white for her entire adult life. So, how did that happen, and who was Belle DaCosta Greene, the woman who built Morgan's peerless collection, which includes renowned illuminated medieval manuscripts, three Gutenberg Bibles, original scores by Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin, and prints and drawings by Leonardo and other Renaissance artists?  To find out, we spoke with Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, the authors of The Personal Librarian, a sensational novel about Belle’s life, on this week's episode.
Feb 17, 2022
How Lucy Lippard and a Band of Artists Fought US Imperialism
If you were out and about in 1984, you might have noticed a striking poster wheatpasted everywhere. It featured two heroic silhouettes pulling down a statue, clearly avatars of the People topping the icon of a hated political dictator. But instead of a statue of a man in uniform, they were bringing down an image of a huge banana. If you were an art fan you might also recognize the signature of Claes Oldenburg, one of the most famous Pop artists. But whereas Oldenburg was best known for playful, giant-sized sculptures of everyday objects, this giant banana had a clear and outspoken message of political solidarity: the term “banana republic” comes from the bad governments of Central America that the U.S. propped up at the behest of its fruit corporations. And the U.S. was once again intervening in Central America."Installation view, Art for the Future: Artists Call and Central American Solidarities at Tufts University Art Galleries, 2022. Peter Harris Photography."[/caption] Oldenburg’s memorable lithograph was one image associated with the "Artists’ Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America." And it is one of a huge number of artworks and artifacts relating to this intense early-’80s moment of artist organizing that have just gone on view at Tufts University Art Galleries in the show “Art for the Future: Artists Call and Central American Solidarities.” The ’80s are remembered as a time of political conservatism and yuppie excess. But it was also the height of the late Cold War machinations. The Ronald Reagan administration’s backing of death squads and repression of left-wing movements in places like Nicaragua and El Salvador is one of its darkest chapters. A robust Central American solidarity movement across the United States in the early ’80s organized to defend refugees and decry the U.S.’s backing of the brutality. The Artists Call was inspired and in dialogue with this wave of public activity, an attempt to use art’s clout to raise money and to reach an influential public. Involving figures including the Salvadoran poet and exile Daniel Flores y Ascencio, the curator and artist Coosje van Breuggen, and the famed art critic Lucy Lippard, the Artists Call was an organizing network that brought together, as Lippard remembers, “young and old, Latin, Central, and North American, lefties and liberals, artists working in a broad spectrum of styles.” Emerging from the discussions around a show by the art collective Group Material dedicated to Central American activism in 1982, the Artists’ Call would ultimately inspire participation from thousands of artists, including Vito Acconci, Louise Bourgeois, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Ana Mendieta, and Cecilia Vicuña. Yet despite the high-profile names it rallied and the recent interest in historical models of artist activism, the Artists’ Call has been little remembered until now. On this week's episode, Ben Davis, Artnet News’s chief art critic, had the chance to talk about the Artists Call with the curators of “Art for the Future”: Erina Duganne and Abigail Satinsky, as well as Lucy Lippard herself.
Feb 10, 2022
Art, Lies, and Instagram: How Catfishing ‘Collectors’ Duped the Art World
This week’s story begins with an art purchase made like so many others... . A collector notices his peers talking up an artwork on Instagram, so he messages the artist’s dealer and makes a purchase. In this case, there was just one problem: neither the collector peers nor the artist actually exist. That fateful transaction is just the tip of the iceberg of a broader scheme: someone (quite possibly a group of people) created fake social media profiles for jet-setting Italian collectors to promote a fake artist—and ended up making real money in the process. The tale reveals just how easy it is to play the part of an art-world sophisticate, and how little we tend to know about the person on the other end of the line. On this week's episode, Artnet News Europe Editor Kate Brown joins Executive Editor Julia Halperin to discuss the story she wrote about catfishing collectors, fake artists, and the twisted tale that had her chasing ghosts all over the web.
Feb 03, 2022
Her Family's Art Was Stolen During World War II. Here's How She Got It Back
Yesterday, a sumptuous portrait of a woman with a confident regard and rouged cheeks, porcelain skin, and a powdered up do reminiscent of cool whip, hit the block at Sotheby's auction house. Titled Portrait of a Lady as Pomona by the 18th century French artists Nicholas de Largilliere, the painting was less notable as a market event than for what it sale meant to its sellers. The sellers, in this case, being the twenty heirs of Jules Strauss, a pioneering German art collector. In 2014, one of his great granddaughters Pauline Baer De Perignon began investigating the fate of his beloved artworks during World War II, including pieces by the likes of Renoir, Monet, Degas and Tiepolo. As a Jew living in Paris, Jules Strauss, like so many others of his religion faced persecution under the German occupation. While he avoided deportation, Strauss' forced to hand over a still unknown number of works to the Nazis, an ugly truth that Pauline's family chose to forget for decades. Lady as Pomona, it so happens is the first painting from his collection to be restituted to the family. And that's thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Pauline, detailed in her new book, The Vanished Collection. In the run-up to this week's auction, we were pleased to welcome Pauline to The Art Angle to talk to Artnet News senior writer, Sarah Cascone about the challenges of tracking downloaded art, sifting through archival records and what the quest for restitution and justice means to the families of those who lost everything during the Holocaust. 
Jan 27, 2022
How the Met’s Astonishing Surrealism Show Rewrites Global Art History
If, perhaps, someone in a trench coat who was smoking a pipe and had a gigantic eyeball for a head were to approach you a street on a particularly sunny night and ask you what surrealism was, you'd probably answer by throwing out a few names—Salvator Dalí, Man Ray, Frida Kahlo—and you wouldn't be wrong. But what if that strange interlocutor were to tell you that everything you know about surrealism is in fact, just the tip of a very large iceberg? And that this lastingly popular movement stretched in fact, far beyond Paris, far beyond Europe, to every corner of the globe, and to countless fascinating artists who you've never heard of before? Well that, in a sense, is exactly what an extraordinary and frankly revelatory exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is doing right now. Titled "Surrealism Beyond Borders," the exhibition, organized by Met curator Stephanie D'Alessandro together with Tate curator Matthew Gale and closing at the end of this month makes it plain that the riveting story of surrealism has hardly begun to be told, and it's lessons are shockingly relevant to a lot of the biggest debates of our present day. To discuss what we should know about the show and what it changes about the history of art, chief critic Ben Davis joins the podcast to discuss this week.
Jan 21, 2022
How the Artist Pension Trust Became a Gigantic Fiasco
Everyone knows the dirty little secret of the dog-eat-dog art market, which is that while an artist creates the artwork, the vast majority of the value of that artwork is created—and captured—by others, from the 50 percent that goes to the dealer to the multiples made by the collectors who flip if the artist gets hot. But what if there was a way for artists to protect themselves from this kind of exploitation, by banding together and pooling their art together into a fund to provide a safety net against the vicissitudes of the market, where all artists—hot and not alike—benefit from the rising values of rising stars? Well, something like that does exist, and it’s called the Artist Pension Trust, which since 2004 has enlisted hundreds of artists behind this common cause. The only catch? It is apparently too good to be true—at least if you go by the maelstrom of threats of lawsuits, recriminations, and accusations that have sprang up around the trust in recent years. So, what went wrong with the utopian project of the Artist Pension Trust? And who is behind it, anyway? To find out, Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin spoke to reporter Catherine Wagley about her recent investigation into the one art fund everyone wanted to root for. Enjoy the conversation, and for the full story, check out Catherine’s riveting two-part series on Artnet.
Jan 13, 2022
6 Predictions on How the Art Industry Will Transform in 2022
Here we are, at the beginning of a new year, a time that, at least in the past, used to be full of hope and anticipation, but after the last two years requires a deep breath and a brace for impact. But, there are still many fascinating and encouraging developments underway all around us, and there's an awful lot to be grateful for. We're all grateful to work alongside an authentically magical human being, known to mere mortals as Tim Schneider, Artnet News's art business editor. As longtime listeners know, Tim undergoes a mystical transformation at the beginning of every new year to become a soothsayer capable of peering into the future to see what the months ahead hold for the art industry. Tim recently published his prognostications on Artnet News Pro, and this week he joins Andrew Goldstein to break out a few of the most pressing predictions he made, from Beeple's potential gallery representation to the future of art fairs amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Jan 06, 2022
Re-Air: How NFTs Are Changing the Art Market as We Know It
We did it, 2021 is in the can. We are about to finally make the transition into what is hopefully going to be a great, exciting, and healthy 2022. Here at The Art Angle, we are very excited to celebrate this milestone and we also want to give everybody a little bit of a year end bonus. So here is an episode that we think is maybe going to be relevant for what's coming around the bend. Obviously it is about NFTs. NFTS were the big revelation of 2021 and everybody is kind of getting a little bit of an education about what they are, but there's no harm in getting a refresher course. So please enjoy an episode with Artnet News Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider, from earlier this year about NFTs, what they are and why they're important. 
Dec 30, 2021
The Most Astounding Archaeology Revelations of 2021 (Can You Dig It?)
’Tis the season, once again, it's The Art Angle Christmas episode. Can you believe we made it through another one of these incredibly intense pandemic years? It's almost hard to believe and so we figured we would craft this festive little holiday-cast as something soothing and reflective, some old fashioned balm for the soul. No NFTs here. So what is the antithesis of NFTs? Why archeology of course and it just so happens that this year was filled with all kinds of fascinating revelations that continue to shape, and sometimes radically rewrite our understanding of the ancient world. On this episode Artnet News Senior Writer, Sarah Cascone, discusses what happened this year in the world of old news.
Dec 23, 2021
From Handbags to Hard Cash, How Dealers Woo the Artists They Want to Rep
The art market is a notoriously woolly place where deals are done with hushed shakes behind closed doors. This of course applies to auctions, art sales and art fairs, but it's also true of something even more fundamental to the art business, artist representation. How exactly does a gallery nab a hot new artist? And how does an artist ultimately decide to join them and to stay on during moments of skyrocketing success or to leave at any given time? There are no rules to this game, but there are definitely some trends and some are almost too strange to believe. On this episode Artnet News Europe Editor Kate Brown is joined by European Market Editor Naomi Rea to untangle the secretive art of wooing artists on to rosters. 
Dec 16, 2021
A Gossip Columnist Walks Into a Bar at Art Basel Miami Beach
Last week, fresh panic spread around the globe as a new COVID variant of unknown power called Omicron came into view, threatening to potentially plunge society back into lockdown just as we were beginning to emerge from pandemic. Also last week, throngs of art loving party animals from 72 countries around the world converged on Miami for a week long bacchanale of art collecting, champagne-soaked soirees, nonstop-socializing, and celebrity-studded VIP events that stretched into the night. Very weirdly, both of those things are actually true. The latest edition of Art Basel Miami Beach was by all counts of massive success with 60,000 people in attendance, booths selling out in nanoseconds amid boundless enthusiasm about both traditional art (remember that?) and NFTs. And that's just the main fair. The entire city was lit up with art events from the fairs to incredible museum shows to crypto art conferences galore that were filling the air with revolutionary fervor. So what was it like to hit Miami art week for this totally surreal discombobulating affair? To answer that question, we're thrilled to be joined on the show by none other than Annie Armstrong, author of Artnet News's beloved gossip column Wet Paint, who tackled the whole party thing down there with an almost alarming degree of gusto.
Dec 09, 2021
Where Do NFTs Go From Here? An Interview With Christie’s Noah Davis
The NFT market exploded this spring and has kept on exploding all year long. Artnet News Editor-In-Chief Andrew Goldstein is joined on the show by one of the guys who lit the fuse on NFTs, Noah Davis, the head of digital sales at Christie’s, who listeners may know best as the guy who sold the Beeple NFT this spring for $69.3 million, waking up the world to the dizzying potential of crypto art.  It's a busy time for Noah. Right now. Christie’s first on-chain NFT sale on the crypto platform OpenSea is taking place with some of the coveted works on offer also being displayed in an immersive art exhibition down in Miami, during Art Basel, Miami Beach, which is turning into a giant coming out party of sorts for crypto art. This is also a very exciting time for Artnet as well, which is about to hold its own first on-chain auction of major NFT works on December 15th in conjunction with the launch of our new Artnet NFT platform. 
Dec 02, 2021
Re-Air: How High-Tech Van Gogh Became the Biggest Art Phenomenon Ever
This week, those of us who live in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving. For many of us that means a lot of family time. For Artnet News Executive Editor Julia Halperin, it means visiting Immersive Van Gogh with her entire family bright and early. Yes, they are immersing ourselves in a light show, dedicated to the 19th century Dutch painter at nine o'clock in the morning during the Thanksgiving break. Even if you aren't spending the weekend visiting one of the many immersive Van Gogh experiences that have popped up across the country and around the globe, chances are someone at your Thanksgiving table has already been. As of mid-September Lighthouse Immersive, the company behind just one of these touring van Gogh shows had sold 3.2 million tickets. That's 700,000 more than Taylor Swift's 2018 Reputation Tour. Today, we're revisiting an episode from earlier this year in which Chief Art Critic, Ben Davis, and a very special guest. Ms Seija Goldstein, yes, that is Andrew's mother, weighs in on the trend.
Nov 25, 2021
Introducing the Art Angle
A weekly podcast that brings the biggest stories in the art world down to earth. Go inside the newsroom of the art industry's most-read media outlet, artnet News, for an in-depth view of what matters most in museums, the market, and much more. 
Nov 22, 2021
How an Art Collective Brings Artworks From the Past Back to Life
For artists, writers, and musicians, copyright is an invaluable safeguard, protecting intellectual property of original works of authorship. But eventually, no matter how jealously a large corporation might hoard the rights to a lucrative property, all creative work passes into the public domain, making it free for reproduction or adaption without permission. In the U.S., copyright terms were extended twice during the 20th century, to a term of 95 years—which meant nothing new entered the public domain between 1998 and and 2019, and that many works of art were forgotten long before becoming fair game for any contemporary reimagining.  The realm of public domain, therefore, offers almost limitless possibilities for creativity, allowing artists to breath new life into forgotten works of art and reintroduce them to modern audiences. That is the genesis for "Public Domain," a musical collaboration between writer and visual artist Katherine McMahon and musician and producer Ray Angry that turns old songs that have passed out of copyright into new music for the 21st century. This week marks the release of the second track of the album, "Alcoholic Blues." Artnet News Senior Writer Sarah Cascone is joined by Ray and Katherine to discuss the project and the creative importance of public domain.
Nov 18, 2021
How the CryptoPunk OGs Lit the Fuse for the NFT Boom
In 2017 Canadian software developers, Matt Hall, and John Watkinson debuted what would become a landmark project in the early crypto art movement, the CryptoPunks. Released through their company Larva Labs, the CryptoPunks consisted of 10,000 unique collectible characters whose chain of title would be tracked on the Ethereum blockchain. Each punk is a 24 by 24 pixel avatar whose individual traits were generated algorithmically. From Mohawks to shaved heads, from eye patches to colored eyeshadow and even from human men and women to apes, zombies, and aliens, every punk is one of a kind, but all would look perfectly at home intimidating a businessman in a classic eight bit Nintendo game. Although Hall and Watkinson kept a thousand CryptoPunks for themselves, the duo released the other 9,000 punks for free to any Ethereum users willing to pay the gas fees to claim them back in 2017. But the punks value on the secondary market and their presence in popular culture have exploded in the years since. In June 2021, a single alien punk sold at Sotheby's for $11.75 million. Two months later, Visa paid $150,000 to acquire a CryptoPunk for its corporate collection and at this September's Met gala Reddit, co-founder Alexis Ohanian wore a badge depicting a CryptoPunk he bought for his wife, tennis superstar, Serena Williams, because he thought it resembled her. But the crypto punks have also brought together a tight knit global community who see the project and the wider crypto art space as so much more than driver of record sales and red carpet moments. As part of art Artnet’s effort to bridge the gap between the crypto community and the world of fine art, Artnet’s Director of NFTs, Jiayin Chen, recently held a round table discussion with three early collectors of Crypto Punks, also known within the community simply as OGs.  They are B, one of the only known women among the original crypto punk claimants, Claire Silver, who is now a renowned crypto artist in her own rights and Mr. 703, who originally claimed well over 700 crypto punks and currently ranks as the fifth largest collector of the series worldwide. Jiayin connected with the trio over zoom a few days before the third annual NFT NYC conference kicked off in Time Square. 
Nov 11, 2021
How a Fiery Breakup Sparked the Biggest Art Auction in Decades
This week we aren't so much going down to earth as we are climbing up into the art market stratosphere, where only the wealthiest collectors reside. All eyes are on this tip top of the market as the art world prepares for what may be the biggest auction of the decade, Sotheby's sale of the Macklowe collection. This star studded group of works was assembled over 50 years by the billionaire couple Harry and Linda Macklowe, but those were happier times. Over the past five years, their divorce has grown so acrimonious that a judge ordered 64 of their most prized paintings and sculptures to be sold at auction because they couldn't agree on how else to split the assets. The collection of work by Alberto Giacometti, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and many more are some of the most high quality blue chip artworks to hit the auction block in. They're expected to fetch more than $600 million at Sotheby's over the next six months, beginning with an evening sale on November 15th. To find out more about how this collection came to auction and what it reveals about the state of the art market Artnet News Executive Editor Julie Halperin spoke with Artnet News resident Art Detective and Senior Reporter Katya Kazakina.
Nov 04, 2021
Why Horror Movies Keep Haunting the Art World
If you consider yourself a dedicated fan of contemporary art, then you're probably no stranger to watching things onscreen that the average person would find bizarre, upsetting, or even downright gruesome. So it should come as no surprise that the art world––and the Artnet News staff––contains more than a couple die-hard fans of horror movies, too. But what's more surprising than the contemporary art world having an interest in Hollywood horror flicks is that Hollywood horror flicks increasingly seem to have an interest in the contemporary art world.  Over the past few years, big-name studios and production companies have released multiple hair-raising feature films with––you guessed it––an art angle. And while each one of these movies has sunk its claws into different aspects of contemporary art, the fact that screenwriters and directors keep coming back to it for spooky material suggests that something larger is afoot in the broader culture's perception of the strange little cult we call the art world. In honor of Halloween, my Artnet News colleague and fellow horror aficionado Taylor Dafoe wrote a piece that offered up some ideas about why, exactly, contemporary art has haunted so many recent scary movies. Through the cursed app known as Zoom, Taylor joined Artnet News Art Business Editor,Tim Schneider, to talk about three recent films featured in that piece: Candyman, Velvet Buzzsaw, and Hereditary.  A couple haunted housekeeping items before we begin: If you haven't seen those movies but want to, be advised that there are spoilers scattered throughout the episode. And if you have some feedback or maybe a recommendation for a future episode, go ahead and email us at That's p-o-d-c-a-s-t-s @ artnet dot com. OK, with all that out of the way: Lock your doors, turn out the lights, and follow Tim and Taylor into the dark... if you dare.
Oct 28, 2021
Judy Chicago on How to Build a Lasting Art Career
If you are familiar with the artist Judy Chicago, chances are you associate her with one piece: her magnum opus The Dinner Party, an epic work of installation art featuring elaborate place settings for 39 famous women, both mythical and historical, at a triangular banquet table. The feminist masterpiece took nearly six years and a veritable army of some 400 volunteers to complete. It became an international sensation, attracting 16 million visitors on a 10-year tour of the globe, largely organized by Chicago and her team, in the absence of institutional support from the art world. But the artwork, now on permanent view at the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, is conspicuously absent from the 82-year-old's first-ever retrospective, which opened in August, after over a year's delay due to the pandemic, at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.  The show is something of a homecoming for Chicago, who debuted The Dinner Party in the city at SFMOMA in 1979—but she's pleased that the exhibition, which does include preparatory Dinner Party works, is finally putting the spotlight on the rest of her career. "Judy Chicago: A Retrospective" curated by Claudia Schmuckli, presents some 130 artworks that seemingly encompass every medium, from paintings and drawings to tapestries and ceramics, and even photographs of her ephemeral "Women and Smoke" firework performance art series.  Amid a busy fall that has seen Chicago repeatedly crisscross the country, traveling to both coasts from her home in the tiny town of Belen, New Mexico, Artnet News Senior Writer Sarah Cascone, was lucky enough to pin her down during a visit to New York for a rare pandemic-era in-person interview. 
Oct 21, 2021
5 Technologies That Will Transform the Art World by 2030
This week, we're hopping into a time machine and traveling to the not so distant future to answer this question, how will the technological tools being developed today shape the art world of tomorrow. It's a question we delve into in the fall 2021 edition of the Artnet Intelligence Report, which is out now.  The theme of the issue is the roaring 2020s and inside we introduce you to the collectors who are looking to shift the axes of power in the art world, the galleries that will serve as social hubs once we get back out and about, and as we'll discuss today, the tech that will transform the business. To get the lowdown on what tools will define the next decade of the trade we spoke with Artnet News, Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider, who wrote a feature on the subject for the report.  If you like, what you hear and want to read the full report, go to intelligence report. It's available exclusively to Arden news pro members. So if you aren't already a member, you can slash.
Oct 14, 2021
Elusive Artist Ryoji Ikeda Wants You to Bask in His Data-Verse
It’s hard to describe the experience of a work by Ryoji Ikeda. The Japanese artist has worked as an experimental musician, performer, researcher, and art-maker, and he brings it all together for immense, immersive installations that fill the senses. But while the word “immersive” has come to connote Instagram bait, Ikeda’s works are anything but lowbrow. The experience of a Ryoji Ikeda work is both brainy and very visceral, intellectual and awe-inspiring. With a background in experimental sound, Ikeda puts you in touch with sonic experiences that your body probably hasn’t had to process before. With an interest in science and mathematics, his visuals often draw on huge data sets, giving you vast walls of data flickering at you faster than you can process, as if tracing the sense of a collective intelligence trying to sync up with the universe. Reviewing a show of his work in New York some years ago, Artnet News Senior Art Critic, Ben Davis once called it a kind of “cosmic minimalism.”  This fall has been a big one for Ikeda. In Switzerland during Art Basel, he staged for his gallery, Almine Rech, “data-verse 3,” the closing chapter of a project commissioned 6 years ago by Audemars Piguet Contemporary, the art program of Ikeda’s long-time watchmaking patrons. The product of decades of research on sound and image, it animates data from CERN, NASA and the Human Genome Project. In London, the “data-verse” trilogy was shown together for the first time as the centerpiece of the largest-ever exhibition of his installations at 180 Studio, which drew crowds. Artnet News European Market Editor Naomi Rea, got a chance to experience both the London and Basel shows and a live performance given by Ikeda in London. Ikeda doesn’t do many interviews, but at Art Basel last month, she got a chance to sit down with the artist about his thoughts on what he does. 
Oct 07, 2021
How Art Basel Did (and Didn't) Change After a Two-Year Hiatus
An art industry ritual returned after an unprecedented hiatus: on a Monday evening last week, art advisors, dealers, and collectors ceremoniously filed into the formidable fairgrounds of Switzerland’s Art Basel. The premier art fair’s 50th edition was set to take place across a balmy week in June 2020, but it slid back nearly a year and half, its plans marred by a raging public health crisis, limitations on travel, and restrictions on events and gatherings. After so much uncertainty about the state of the art market, more than 270 dealers calculated their risks and ultimately took a leap of faith and brought the best of their rosters to the Rhine. It seems the gambit really paid off—by the late afternoon on preview day, gallerists seemed to really exhale for the first time in months or even a year. Was it business as usual? Yes and no. The event ran with incredible smoothness, with no issues save for a few spats on Twitter over whether the absence of US collectors was a boon for European deal-making or not. Restaurants were booked out across town for lavish dinners, but being on the guest list wasnt the only prerequisite—proof of vaccination as required. Sales were strong, but not quite like the old days. And NFTs made a flashy debut. On the whole, everyone seemed deeply relieved to be back in their booths or perusing the aisles. Artnet News's Europe Editor Kate Brown was joined in Basel by European Market Editor, Naomi Rea and Senior Market Editor, Eileen Kinsella to take the temperature of the scene.
Sep 30, 2021
Writer Roxane Gay on What Art Can Teach Us About Trauma and Healing
For the 100th episode of the Art Angle, Artnet News’s Style Editor, Noor Brara had the pleasure of speaking with critically acclaimed author, professor, and social commentator Roxane Gay, whose writings on feminism, politics, intersectionality, and culture have made her one of the keenest and most important observers of our time. Gay is also an avid art collector and appreciator who, along with her wife Debbie Millman, has in the last few years years amassed an impressive personal collection and has been outspoken about the not-always-nice nature of the New York gallery scene. She discusses her forthcoming essay for Artnet News: a piece that explores, in great detail, a new painting by the Los Angeles-based figurative painter, Calida Rawles, which recently debuted as part of her new show at Lehmann Maupin gallery.  In the last few years, Rawles has garnered significant attention for her sensitive, photorealistic depictions of Black women and girls swimming and floating in pools—images that seek to posit water as an allegorical space for healing while also touching on its traumatic historical significance to the Black American community, many of whose ancestors died in the Middle Passage and who, for a long time because of segregationist Jim Crow-era laws, were barred from entering and swimming in certain bodies of water. The artwork that Gay is writing about—entitled High Tide, Heavy Armor—was created earlier this year, and depicts a Black man who bears a strong resemblance to Kurt Reinhold, a man and friend of the artist’s who was shot for jaywalking in San Clemente this past February. In the painting, the figure is shown from above and positioned low on the canvas, his eyes downcast as a body of water full of movement and tumult surrounds him, consuming the rest of the canvas. According to Rawles, the water offers a kind of topographical mapping of the killings of Black Americans, outlining several states where the numbers were highest. It is a poignant and arresting image, encompassing Rawles’s thoughts and feelings about the last few years. And in many ways, it marks a departure from her previous work. Gay discusses Rawles’s piece and why she connected so viscerally to her work.
Sep 23, 2021
Keltie Ferris and Peter Halley on the Mysterious Joys of Making a Painting
Artists Peter Halley and Keltie Ferris first met sometime in the mid-2000s, at the height of the abstract painting revival. Halley, a pioneering Neo-Conceptualist renowned for his disciplined grids, was head of painting and printmaking at the Yale School of Art; Ferris, a graduate student with a knack for wielding fluid materials like spray paint.  Nevertheless, their work had a lot in common: a love of color, especially jangly fluorescents; an embrace of digital influences; and a desire to release painting from both its figurative and abstract forebears. Through the course of the teaching relationship, each found a respect for the other’s practice, and the conversation has continued—even if the two artists don’t actually talk as much as they once did. To pit their paintings against each other today is like seeing estranged cousins reunite: time has changed them, but you can’t deny the shared DNA. As New York’s first IRL art fair kicked off last week with the Armory Show, both Halley and Ferris presented new works at Independent Art Fair, known in certain circles as the “thinking person’s fair,” which debuted at the Battery Maritime Building in downtown Manhattan. Ahead of the fair, the teacher and his former student reunited to catch up and exchange ideas. Artnet News’s Taylor Dafoe tagged along (virtually) to record the results. What followed was a rare glimpse at two artists talking shop, in a freewheeling discursive conversation about about color, working methods, and what it means to make non-figurative painting in a time when figuration reigns supreme.
Sep 16, 2021
How Facebook and the Helsinki Biennial Share a Vision for the Art World’s Future
Some of the most impactful stories to surface this past year have revolved around three major issues affecting the world as a whole: there’s a worsening climate emergency, a global health crisis and—in the fold—a breakneck acceleration of technology that’s increasingly entangling itself into every aspect of our lives. When it comes to the art world, we can probably agree it's time to ask some hard questions. Should there be so many art events? How should we gather? Do we need to experience art in person to understand it? During lockdowns around the world over the last 18 months, we’ve been learning just how fluidly art can transition into the digital realm—and how clumsy a failed attempt can be. Among the art events that managed to pull off successful ventures this year is the first edition of the Helsinki Biennial, which took on these questions. Taking place on an island off the coast of the capital of Finland, the exhibition, called “The Same Sea,” meets our collective moment, exploring concerns around our interconnectedness, nature, and sustainability. And it’s not just in theme: the Helsinki Biennial is calculating and trimming its climate footprint every step of the way with a goal of becoming the first carbon neutral biennial by 2035. In the middle of a pandemic and rising temperatures, 41 artists are presenting works that carefully consider the surroundings of Vallisaari Island and an array of plants and creatures that populate it. To reach a wider audience when travel is both restricted and carbon-intensive, the biennale, which is on view until September 26, has partnered with Facebook Open Arts to explore how technology might help connect audiences with artworks peppered on the island. This week, we're thrilled to welcome Maija Tanninen, director of the forward-thinking Helsinki Biennial and the Helsinki Art Museum, and Tina Vaz, Head of Facebook Open Arts, to discuss the Helsinki Biennial’s unique approaches to greening a biennial, and how technology can be used to bring us closer to nature in meaningful ways. If you enjoy this conversation, please join our panel conversation, “Helsinki Biennial and Facebook Open Arts – Future Visions / Art & Tech”—which will be available to watch on our Facebook page on September 22.
Sep 14, 2021
Artists in Residence at the World Trade Center Reflect on 9/11
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Thousands of people who worked at the trade center or who witnessed the events of 9/11, or who lost loved ones, have stories about that. Among these are the artists of the World Views Artists Residency. In a terrible irony, the residency had been started by the Port Authority to put unused office space to work following the earlier 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center to try to draw businesses back. Run by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Worldviews gave each cohort all hours access to the building and six months of workspace on the 91st and 92nd floors of the north tower. As the name suggests Worldviews brought applicants from around the world, drawn to the prestige of New York and the chance to make work in such a unique space with its dramatic views of the city. Naomi Ben Shahar, Monika Bravo, Simon Aldridge, and Jeff Konigsberg were four of the 15 artists participating in the Worldviews Residency in 2001. Amid the commemorations and reflections on the meaning of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we asked them to share their memories of the space, the day and how the experience has affected them going forwards. 
Sep 10, 2021
Genesis Tramaine on How Faith Inspires Her Art
For centuries, Western art-making centered around religious imagery during the middle ages and Renaissance icons. Altar pieces and stained glass windows were regarded as meditative objects through which the faithful might reach a more profound religious transcendence. Needless to say the art world of 2021 is far more secular and openly religious artists are few and far between. So, what does it mean to be a devotional artist today? Our guests on The Art Angle is Genesis Tramaine, a Brooklyn born artist whose expressive portraits have conjured up comparisons to Jean-Michel Basquiat and even Pablo Picasso. As a child Tremaine first started drawing during church. Today, Tramaine, who is queer, still considers herself a devout Christian. In fact, she credits her works to the divine inspiration of the holy spirit. On this episode, Artnet News’s Katie White speaks with Genesis about her art and how it relates to her faith.
Sep 02, 2021
The Bitter Battle Over Bob Ross's Empire of Joy
Love him or laugh at him, Bob Ross is absolutely one of America’s best known painters. A quarter century after he died in 1995, a Bob Ross Experience debuted in Indiana last October as a site of pilgrimage for fans. Meanwhile, Bob Ross Inc. continues to mint money authorizing new products, even licensing a canibus company to make Bob ross eyeshadows in his signature colors. People around the world continue to train to become official Bob Ross Certified painting instructors. Most of all, the internet has let more people than ever discover old episodes of Bob Ross’s PBS show, The Joy of Painting, which ran from 1983 to 1994. In an age of memes, social media, and anxiety, Bob Ross’s big hair, easy on-camera demeanor, and welcoming demeanor have made him an icon with real, and maybe even growing, power. But there’s another side to the story, one told in the just released Netflix documentary ‘Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed,’ produced by the actress Melissa McCarthy’s production company. It describes Ross’s ascent and connection with fans, but also tells the story of the battle behind the scenes for the control of the Bob Ross Empire. On one side are Annette and Walt Kowalski, Bob Ross’s long-time business partners, They met him in 1982, lived together with Bob and his wife, and helped manage his rise from popular painting instructor to unlikely PBS sensation. Today, they retain control of Bob Ross Inc. and all thing Bob Ross—and remain a shadowy presence in the documentary, having refused access. On the other side is Steve Ross, Bob’s son, a painter himself, and a sometimes guest on ‘The Joy of Painting,’ where his father sometimes spoke of Steve as his heir apparent. Today, Steve remains shut out of his father’s empire, and he accuses the Kowalskis of having maneuvered to seize control of his father’s empire of painterly positivity even as his father suffered from the lymphoma that ultimately took his life. Joshua Rofe, the director of the documentary, is here to talk to Artnet News’s Senior Art Critic, Ben Davis, about trying to crack the riddle of Bob Ross’s life and understand the bitter fight to control his legacy, both in terms of money and meaning.
Aug 26, 2021
How Monaco and Accra Are Spinning the Art World in Opposite Directions
It’s late August, and for the first time in two years, it looks like the fall art season could be jam-packed with major in-person art-market events––even if some of them don’t normally happen at the same time as Starbucks is trying to coat the globe in pumpkin spice. But this summer, art-world trends and circumstances way beyond the industry’s control have led to some of the most noteworthy market activity happening in two destinations we’re not so used to seeing make headlines: Monaco and Accra, the capital of Ghana. What’s so interesting about these two places is that, together, they form a kind of art-market yin-yang symbol: the areas where one of them is strong are the areas where the other is weak, and vice versa. So by pairing them up, we can see something close to the full spectrum of forces shaping the global art market today.  To help us on this expedition, Artnet News’s Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider, is joined on the show by two great guests who recently reported on these destinations firsthand for Artnet News Pro. First up, Kate Brown, European editor at Artnet News, discusses her summer sojourn to Monaco. Then, Rebecca Anne Proctor, the seasoned, globe-trotting art journalist, talks about the art scene bubbling up in Accra.
Aug 19, 2021
How Britney Spears's Image Inspired Millennial Artists
I'm sure you've heard it: For the past few months, the U.S. news media has been following the saga of pop star Britney Spears and the unusual conservatorship arrangement which prevents her from controlling her own finances or life decisions, put in place more than a decade ago after a very public breakdown. In June, Spears spoke out for the first time in court, asking for the conservatorship to be terminated. What, you may ask, does this have to do with art? It turns out that long before the #FreeBritney movement had people poring over her Instagram for clues or the New York Times documentary 'Framing Britney' revisited what her story said about the media and misogyny, she's been a surprisingly potent symbol for artists—in fact, maybe more than any other recent pop star. They've used her image to talk about sexism, about fame, about consumerism, and about and about the dark side of the 2000s. Why Britney in particular? And does today's reckoning with the recent past change the way that pop art takes on pop music? In this week’s episode, Artnet News’s Senior Writer, Sarah Cascone speaks to LA-based art journalist Janelle Zara about her artists' fascination with Britney Spears, asking these questions and a lot more.
Aug 12, 2021
How the Medicis Became Art History's First Influencers
If you're a fan of Italian Renaissance art and you were in New York right now, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a treat for you. It's called The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1520-1570 and it offers a spectacular sampling of ninety works of art from Florence's 16th century. But there's a twist. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that Italian Renaissance art was connected to the most powerful people in society. Still, even today, if you call someone a Medici, you probably mean to say that they are a visionary patron of the arts when it could just as well mean that you are calling them a ruthless oligarch. This exhibition actually tries to show how some of the classics of art in this time were not just works of beauty, that the Medici happened to do on the side, but part of a carefully calibrated political PR campaign that deliberately shaped how the public sees this family in their time and up to our own. Art historian. Eleanor Heartney wrote an essay for Artnet News, looking at The Met show and the world of the Medici, asking how the history behind the art changes how we look at what The Metropolitan Museum accurately advertises as some of the most famous European paintings of all time. 
Aug 05, 2021
How Two Painters Helped Spark the Modern Conservation Movement
Right now there is a powerful, highly ambitious, and deeply relevant art show in New York that weaves together the histories of conservation and American art in a way most people haven't seen before. It's a quick jag from the city across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge into Catskill, New York, but light years away from the bustling metropolis, where on either side of the river are the historic homes of the famed Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church in New York’s Hudson River Skywalk Region. Inside those homes—the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site—sprawls the show titled "Cross-pollination: Head, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment," with art that spans the mid-19th century to today, the exhibition is built around a suite of 16 bravura paintings of hummingbirds titled "The Gems of Brazil" by the little known Hudson River School artists, Martin Johnson Heade, and it takes flight from there exploring a network of interconnections between art, science, and the natural world. It also provides rich insight into the story of the relationships at the heart of the show between Heade, Thomas Cole, and Frederic Church, three of the greatest visionary artists America has ever known. This week on the podcast, Andrew Goldstein is joined by Thomas Cole National Historic Site curator Kate Menconeri to discuss how these historic artists first began thinking about ideas of conservation and preservation, and how contemporary artists have taken up the mantle to encourage a new generation not only to appreciate nature, but how to give back what for years we've been taking from it.
Jul 29, 2021
The Hunter Biden Art Controversy, Explained
This episode is devoted to Hunter Biden. Why? If you read the news, click on any cable network or walk down the street. You've probably heard that everybody is in a tizzy about the son of the president of the United States art career and his overnight emergence as a seemingly unlikely market darling. So to talk about Hunter Biden's art practice; how he views it; how the industry is embracing; the static it's generating the political sphere and what it all means, we’ve pulled together a heavy hitting roster of Artnet News experts.  Senior Reporter, Katya Kazakina, Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider and Chief Art Critic, Ben Davis join the show.
Jul 22, 2021
Legendary Auctioneer Simon de Pury on Monaco, Hip Hop, and the Art Market’s New Reality
This week, the subject of our show is less a story and more of a phenomenon, and his name is Simon de Pury. A legendary auctioneer who has actually been called the "Mick Jagger of auctions," de Pury has led a storied career in art. A baron by heredity who was born in the Swiss art capital of Basel, de Pury entered the art business with the help of the legendary dealer Ernst Beyeler and swiftly blazed a trail of glory. He rose through the ranks of Sotheby’s to stage the first ever contemporary art auction in the Soviet Union in 1988, and ultimately became the house's Chief Worldwide Auctioneer before going on to forge the Phillips de Pury auction house—now known as Phillip's—inject the stale auction world with a new night club-esque vitality, and then move on to a string of illustrious businesses bearing the de Pury name. Along the way he has starred in Bravo’s reality show, “Work of Art, The Next Great Artist”; was the subject of a four-part BBC documentary; wrote a juicy tell all memoir; and most recently made a memorable cameo in the Netflix series Emily in Paris. De Pury is also a columnist for Artnet News Pro, writing a monthly dispatch aptly called "The Hammer," that is full of invaluable perspective on how the art market really operates along with intimate play-by-plays from the ultimate art world insider. This week, the art world mainstay joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss his career past and present, why hip hop jewelry is an undervalued market, and what he's looking forward to on the horizon.
Jul 15, 2021
18-Year-Old NFT Star Fewocious on How Art Saved His Life (and Crashed Christie's Website)
Last month, a new name entered the art discussion when a suite of five digital artworks sold in a special sale at Christie's auction house in New York for $2.1 million. And it's a name you might not expect: Fewocious. That's the nom de art of Victor Langlois, an 18-year-old Seattle artist, originally from a family of El Salvadoran immigrants in Las Vegas. Sold during Pride month, the opus is titled 'Hello, i’m Victor (FEWOCiOUS) and This Is My Life' and tells a very personal story. Via Fewocious's signature bright colors, graffiti-like text, and distorted faces, the work is about, as Christie's advertised it, "the journey through Fewocious teen years so far, growing up as a transgender male in an abusive household." In fact, it turns out that the works served as Victor's coming out as trans to the NFT world, at the same time making him the youngest artist ever to be sold at Christie's. Just a year ago, Fewocious was selling paintings for $95 online and just beginning to experiment with NFTs. Now, he's made a reported $16 million, and is the talk of the town. Artnet News's Chief Art Critic Ben Davis caught up with Fewocious about what has been a remarkable journey on many levels. 
Jul 08, 2021
Re-Air: How Photographer Dawoud Bey Makes Black America Visible
The Art Angle team is taking this week off, but we'll be back July 9 with a new episode. In the meantime, here's one of our favorite recent episodes, featuring photographer Dawoud Bey on the occasion of his retrospective, "An American Project," on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. After former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to over 22 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, the racial justice protests of last summer viscerally came back into the public consciousness, reigniting conversations in the news and in households everywhere about the reality of the Black experience in America. These issues take new focus at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where a retrospective of the photographer Dawoud Bey presents his magisterial exploration of the subject, in the form of his penetrating portraits of Black lives from all points on the national compass. Ranging in registers from jubilation to agony, to ingenious self-invention, to blissed-out hope, the show is curated by Elizabeth Sherman and SFMoMA curator Corey Keller. Open through October 3, 2021, the show is titled “An American Project” and it is a project that is very much still in the works. It so happens that this is a very big year for Dawoud Bey. The winner of a 2017 MacArthur “genius” grant and a professor at Columbia College in Chicago, the artist has already been the subject of two other retrospectives in his 46-year career, but this one at the Whitney is not only his largest, it’s also one of the largest surveys of a Black American photographer ever. On this week’s episode, Bey joins Andrew Goldstein by Zoom to discuss how his childhood and early exposure to work by African Americans informed his interest in photography, his ongoing collaboration with David Hammons, and what he hopes visitors will take away from the Whitney exhibition.  
Jul 02, 2021
Tyler Mitchell and Helen Molesworth on Why Great Art Requires Trust
Today one of the swiftest rising stars in the art world is a 26-year-old wunderkind photographer who is equally comfortable shooting heads of state for magazine profiles as he is putting together shows for the gallery context. Of course, we’re talking about Tyler Mitchell, who gained international fame when Beyoncé tapped him to be the first black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue and has now moved on to having surveys at the International Center of Photography and, beginning last month, a show at the very buzzy Jack Shainman Gallery. Adding to the excitement around that show is the fact that it was curated by none other than Helen Molesworth, one of the most prominent curators in the country who is known in particular for her groundbreaking reinstallation of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles's collection and her ongoing mission to highlight artists of color. So what’s going on with this gallery show? To find out, Artnet News Art & Design Editor Noor Brara sat down with both Tyler Mitchell and Helen Molesworth to discuss how the show, entitled Feedback, came to be; how they grew to trust each other while working together; and what advice they’d give aspiring youngsters hoping to have careers in the art world one day.
Jun 24, 2021
How High-Tech Van Gogh Became the Biggest Art Phenomenon Ever
Unless you are living under a particularly out of touch rock, you’ve probably heard of the immersive Van Gogh craze that is currently sweeping the globe. In a sign of our strange times, the nineteenth century Dutch painter best-known for the vibrating intensity of his paintings and the tragic circumstances of his life, including what one Washington Post writer called “the whole ear thing.” He has now become the man of the hour. As we begin to limp our way out of a pandemic, with high-tech glorified light shows dedicated to his legend popping up everywhere from Naples to Paris and New York City, to places like Las Vegas and Kansas City, where you might not naturally expect the post-impressionist to draw a frenzy crowds. So what is going on and what does this all mean? To discuss, Artnet News Chief Art Critic, Ben Davis, is back on the show to demystify things in classic Ben Davis fashion. But before that, there is a very special guest. Possibly, the most special guests to have ever graced the show.
Jun 17, 2021
How Much Money Do Art Dealers Actually Make?
We’ve all seen the movie with the glamorous art dealer, maybe a villain who lives in a cutting edge palatial home, drives an impressive car and speaks with an impressive accent. That pretty much is the image of the art dealer in the popular consciousness, a sophisticated suave, sexy, probably ruthless, strikingly dressed person who is conspicuously rich.  But how well does this image match up with reality? Recently, Artnet News  senior market reporter Eileen Kinsella teamed up with the ace investigative art journalist, Zachary Small to find out just how much art dealers actually do make from their jobs.  And what they found is pretty surprising.
Jun 10, 2021
Shattering the Glass Ceiling (Re-Air): How Collector Catherine Levene Went From an Art Startup to Running One of America’s Top Media Companies
We wanted to make sure you had a chance to check out a very special new podcast miniseries we’ve rolled out. It’s called Shattering the Glass Ceiling, and its dedicated to spotlighting boundary-breaking women in the art world and beyond who have build extraordinary careers around—and inspired by—art. Today, we’ll be re-airing an episode of the series that is of special significance, it’s an interview with the art collector Catherine Levene, whose day job is running the megawatt Meredith media company, publisher of such titles as People Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Entertainment Weekly, and many others. Before that, however, she was the co-founder and CEO of Artspace, the online art marketplace startup. Here, in the following episode, Artnet News’s senior writer Sarah Cascone talks to Catherine about how she started collecting art, her road to Meredith, and why powerful women leaders in the workplace are so very important.
Jun 07, 2021
Shattering the Glass Ceiling (Re-Air): Curator Lauren Haynes on Working to Forge a Fuller Story of American Art
For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been running a little experiment here at the Art Angle—namely our first-ever breakout mini-series, called Shattering the Glass Ceiling, dedicated to remarkable women in the art world who have succeeded in changing the game in their respective arenas. It’s such a good group of interviews, and we want to make sure you have a chance to hear it. We also, it so happens, are taking a little Memorial Day vacation to rest up after the launch of Artnet News Pro, our brand-new members-only offering for participants in the art trade. And so, without further ado, please enjoy this re-air of the first installment of Shattering the Glass ceiling, featuring Artnet News executive editor talking to the powerhouse curator Lauren Haynes, who recently took a prominent post at Duke Museum’s Nasher Museum. Here’s the conversation.
Jun 03, 2021
What Does the Sci-Fi Art Fair of the Future Look Like?
It’s a cliche to say that going to greater China is a bit like visiting the future, where technology is threaded into every aspect of daily life in ways that are both wondrous and scarily dystopian. But it’s totally true! And it was certainly the case for collectors and dealers who went to Art Basel’s revitalized art fair in Hong Kong last week. A little more than a year after the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 edition, the fair was back in a cutting-edge new format that might sound like something out of science fiction. Here are three words to give you the idea: hologram art dealers. So what was it like inside the fair? And did all of the high-tech bells and whistles actually help anyone sell art? To find out, Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin spoke to our redoubtable Hong Kong correspondent Vivienne Chow.
May 27, 2021
How Kenny Schachter Became an NFT Evangelist Overnight
As much of the art world is beginning to rebound from the pandemic, the art market got a major shot in the arm itself: in little more than a week, New York’s big three auction houses held a spate of absolutely mammoth art sales, bringing in a cumulative $1.3 billion and showing, pretty unequivocally, that the art business is back, baby. But, to me at least, one of the most remarkable things about these historic sales was that Artnet News’s veteran market columnist Kenny Schachter didn’t seem to care, or even pay them much mind. That’s because his mind has been transported to a distant planet, far away. That planet is called NFTs. Yes, Kenny has become obsessed with non-fungible tokens, and perhaps more to the point, the possibilities that they open up for the hidebound way the art world works. Since earlier this year, he has written a series of columns on NFTs that have been pretty astonishing, and, in inimitable Kenny fashion, he’s made some significant money off this novel marketplace along the way. This week, we just published the latest of this series as Kenny’s big debut behind our new premium Artnet News Pro membership, which we launched to provide analyst-calibre coverage for people who want to participate in the art market. On this week's episode, Kenny joins the show, in all his glory, to discuss (among other things) his career trajectory, his latest column, and how NFTs have changed his life.
May 21, 2021
How Breonna Taylor's Life Inspired an Unforgettable Museum Exhibition
Right now, there's an exhibition at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, that is gaining international attention for a tragic reason. That’s because the show, titled “Promise, Witness, Remembrance,” is dedicated to the memory of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was killed by police during a raid of her Louisville home on March 13, 2020. A former emergency medical technician whose unjustified slaying led to widespread protests and the nationwide "Say Her Name" campaign, Taylor has become something of an inspiration to some of the country’s most prominent socially engaged artists, whose tributes to her have made her a symbol of the protest movement. Those tributes, by artists like Hank Willis Thomas, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Theaster Gates, now fill the exhibition at the Speed, where the centerpiece is the already iconic portrait of Taylor by the artist Amy Sherald that originally graced the September cover of Vanity Fair. The show, celebrated for its emotional power, was organized by the Alison Glenn, associate curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. So how did a museum exhibition dedicated to a victim of police violence come to be? To find out, we're pleased to have Allison Glenn on the show today.
May 14, 2021
Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Art Dealer Mariane Ibrahim on the Power of the Right Relationships
In the final installment of our mini-series Shattering the Glass Ceiling, Artnet News's art and design editor Noor Brara spoke with pioneering gallerist Mariane Ibrahim, founder of her eponymous gallery. Ibrahim opened her first outpost in Seattle, later launching another outpost in Chicago's West Town neighborhood. Now, as the last year's turbulence begins to level off, Ibrahim is taking another giant leap—this time, overseas—to open a location in Paris. Ibrahim is known within the industry for nurturing an exceptional roster of artists, all of whom she retains a fiercely close relationship with. Though many consider her to be a dealer of African artists, Ibrahim told Artnet News in 2019, "I don’t see artists as ‘African artists,'" adding that reducing individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds would be "very dangerous and opportunistic." This dedication is evident in the strength of the exhibitions and near-universal acclaim that follows in the wake of many artists she introduces to the market and continues to represent, from Amoako Boafo to Clotilde Jiménez.
May 12, 2021
'Art Detective' Katya Kazakina on How She Lands Her Epic Scoops
The biggest story at Artnet HQ this week is not, as you might imagine, the opening of the first IRL art fair in more than a year, it's the launch of Artnet News Pro! After being in the works for literally years, we have unveiled a very exciting new members-only section of the website dedicated to covering the inside-baseball nitty gritty at the heart of the art market. It encompasses exclusive data-driven reports on the behind-the-scenes machinations driving the sector, together with our popular industry-leading market columns like Tim Schneider's 'Gray Market,' Nate Freeman's 'Wet Paint' gossip sheet, and now, Katya Kazakina's unique dispatches as the 'Art Detective.' That last column is particularly exciting because Katya has just joined Artnet News after nearly 15 years at Bloomberg, just in time for the art world to open back up, and the market feeding frenzy to begin in earnest. So who is Katya Kazakina? What is her origin story? How does she land those killer scoops? And what does she make of the future of the art market as it stands today? This week, we're thrilled to welcome our newest colleague (!!) on the podcast.
May 07, 2021
Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Curator and Author Legacy Russell on Rebuilding Art Institutions From Within
In the third episode of the Art Angle's podcast miniseries "Shattering the Glass Ceiling," Artnet News's London editor Naomi Rea spoke to curator and author Legacy Russell.  Russell is currently serving as the associate curator of exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and is the award-winning author of Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto (2020), which explores how digital tools have created space to escape the limitations society places on our bodies. Her second book, BLACK MEME is forthcoming, and will also be published by Verso.
May 05, 2021
How Frieze Managed to Put Together the First Art Fair of the Pandemic
You know the scene at the end of Bong Joon-ho's 2013 film Snowpiercer where they leave the hellish bullet train and see that the frozen Tundra is starting to melt and nature is coming back to life? That kind of gives you the sense of the relief that the art market is hoping to feel next week when, miracle of miracles, the Frieze New York art fair opens to real in-person audiences. This marks the first major art fair to return to life since the pandemic shut down the international art calendar, along with the rest of the world, in March of last year. After all, art fairs are, for better or worse, the lifeblood of the art industry, a place where collectors and professionals meet, greet, and do a huge chunk of their business. And they have been sorely missed. Marking a new beginning as the pandemic begins to wane, Frieze New York will also be a swan song of sorts for Loring Randolph, who has been overseeing the fair since 2017 and will now be stepping down to become the director of the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger collection in Dallas this fall. On this week's episode, Randolph joins the podcast to discuss the fair's move from Randall's Island to the Shed, how they're preparing for an influx of art-starved VIPs, and what she has in store for the future.
Apr 30, 2021
Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Art Collector and Media Executive Catherine Levene On Empathetic Leadership
The second installment of this four-part podcast miniseries features Artnet News senior writer Sarah Cascone's interview with art collector and media executive Catherine Levene. Levene's 25-year career runs the breadth of the media space, beginning at the New York Times Company in both the corporate sales realm and later as part of its burgeoning digital strategy. After obtaining her MBA, Levene ventured into media startups, and ultimately started a new company, Artspace, alongside business partner Christopher Vroom in 2011. Artspace was one of the first platforms to introduce e-commerce to the art market, and in 2014 the publishing house Phaidon bought the company, helmed by Keith Fox. In 2020, Levene was announced as the new head of media organization Meredith Corp., becoming the first female executive to lead the magazine conglomerate that includes People, InStyle, Travel + Leisure, and Cooking Light. Born in Binghamton, New York, Levene has kept a pulse on the art world, beginning a collection that she continues to build year after year.
Apr 27, 2021
Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Curator Lauren Haynes on Working to Forge a Fuller Story of American Art
Welcome to Shattering the Glass Ceiling, a podcast from the team at the Art Angle where we speak to boundary-breaking women in the art world and beyond about how art has shaped their lives and careers. In the first episode of this four-part podcast mini series, Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin spoke to Lauren Haynes, the director of artist initiatives and curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary in Arkansas. In June, she will take on the role of Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasser senior curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Haynes, who was born in East Tennessee and grew up in New York, has worked in museums including the Brooklyn Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem, curating distinctive and influential shows on artists like Alma Thomas and Stanley Whitney. She has worked at Crystal Bridges since 2016, where she helmed the first U.S. presentation of the exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” (2018), which traveled from the U.K.
Apr 22, 2021
The Art Angle Presents: Shattering the Glass Ceiling
As we begin to emerge into the new realities of 2021, the challenges of the past year have made vividly clear the importance of having leaders in all areas of society who reflect the true diversity of modern life. Women, in particular, have stepped forward in ways more visible than ever before—from the history-making occupant of the White House to the scientists creating the vaccine and nurses administering it to, yes, the women shaping the art world as well. To celebrate these figures, we at the Art Angle are very happy to introduce a new special mini-series called Shattering the Glass Ceiling where we will be speaking to a group of contemporary women innovators who have become outstanding leaders in their fields, ranging from the trailblazing museum curators Lauren Haynes and Legacy Russell to the game-changing gallery owner Mariane Ibrahim to the entrepreneurial art collector and media powerhouse Catherine Levene, who, in building their impressive careers, are collectively “shattering the glass ceiling” of their chosen industry. 
Apr 19, 2021
How Photographer Dawoud Bey Makes Black America Visible
This month, the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd has brought the racial justice protests of the last summer viscerally back into the public consciousness, reigniting conversations in the news and in households everywhere about the reality of the Black experience in America. This weekend, those same conversations will also have a powerful new point of focus at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where a retrospective of the photographer Dawoud Bey presents his magisterial exploration of the subject, in the form of his penetrating portraits of Black lives from all points on the national compass. Ranging in registers from jubilation to agony, to ingenious self-invention, to blissed-out hope, the show is curated by Elizabeth Sherman and SFMoMA curator Corey Keller. Open through October 3, 2021, the show is titled "An American Project" and it is a project that is very much still in the works. It so happens that this is a very big year for Dawoud Bey. The winner of a 2017 MacArthur "genius" grant and a professor at Columbia College in Chicago, the artist has already been the subject of two other retrospectives in his 46-year career, but this one at the Whitney is not only his largest, it's also one of the largest surveys of a Black American photographer ever. If that's not enough, his work is also currently featured in the New Museum's staging of the final exhibition of the late curator Okwui Enwezor, "Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America." On this week's episode, Bey joins Andrew Goldstein by Zoom to discuss how his childhood and early exposure to work by African Americans informed his interest in photography, his ongoing collaboration with David Hammons, and what he hopes visitors will take away from the Whitney exhibition.
Apr 15, 2021
KAWS Is the World's Most Popular Artist. Why?
Art shows are a thing again! At least in New York, at least for now, and at least in the socially distanced way that we've come to see as normal. But it's really great news for the art museum-going crowd. And it's even better news that some of the shows on view are really, really good. Without question, one of the buzziest shows of the season is the Brooklyn Museum's sweeping survey of the street artist and late capitalism prodigy known as KAWS, one of the most popular artists in the world. So, is his show really, really good? What's the deal with KAWS anyway? We decided to ask Artnet News chief art critic Ben Davis, who saw the show and wrote a review of it with the arresting title "Why KAWS’s Global Success May Well Be a Symptom of a Depressed Culture, Adrift in Nostalgia and Retail Therapy." On this week's episode we dive into the social-media, fast-fashion, luxury-object, street-artist fever dream that helped propel Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS, to superstardom.
Apr 08, 2021
How the Pandemic Totally Changed the Art Market
Amazingly enough, it's now the spring of 2021. That means the weather is warming, the grass is greening, and the little buds are drinking in the cool rain. But more to the point, it means that we've made it through the terrible pandemic winter and are emerging into a strange new world that is very much changed after a full year under the shadow of the coronavirus. In the art industry, normality is still far in the distance, but we've learned a whole slew of lessons that have perhaps made us better adapted for the future ahead. What those changes have been and what those lessons might be are the subject of Artnet News's brand-new spring edition of the Intelligence Report, which mines reams of auction results from the Artnet Price Database, along with dozens of interviews with art professionals, to explain the state of the art world, from auction houses to galleries, appraisers, and collectors. So what did we learn? This week, esteemed editor of the Intelligence Report Julia Halperin joins us for an analysis of the data, and what that means for the future.
Apr 01, 2021
How NFTs Are Changing the Art Market as We Know It
As we all now know, NFTs are the talk of the art world these days—they're everywhere. It's gotten to the point where you can't have a simple conversation with someone without them bringing up NFTs, or trying to turn the conversation in that direction. Due to an unusually hectic few weeks on the work and home fronts, our illustrious host, Andrew Goldstein, has been hunkered down at home with his wife as they prepare to welcome their first baby to the world, and has managed to drown out the oceanic wave of NFT news, and came into this week's episode cold. Fortunately, here at Artnet News, we are blessed with an able Virgil to guide our dimwitted Dante through the purgatory of NFTs in the form of art business editor Tim Schneider, who has become something of an expert on the subject. Tim will help break down what exactly an NFT is, why we should care, and what it could mean for the future of the art market.
Mar 26, 2021
Lorraine O'Grady on the Social Castes of the Art World
This month, as the world limps its way toward spring and, hopefully, a gradual return of normality, the Brooklyn Museum has opened a show called “Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And” that provides valuable fodder for thought in the year ahead. As the title suggests, it’s a career retrospective of the venerated performance and experimental artist Lorraine O’Grady, who for more than 40 years has created poetic, hard-to-classify works that probe questions of inclusion and identity in a way that has had a deep, orienting impact on a whole rising generation. Admirers are quick to point to the power of her writing as well, perhaps particularly “Olympia’s Maid," her classic 1992 essay considering the flattening of Black female sexuality in art history. It so happens that Ben Davis, our chief art critic, has been one of these admirers for a long time, and he recently sat down with the artist in the run-up to her retrospective to discuss her career, how her upbringing in Boston’s Caribbean-American community shaped her art, what it was like to go viral when the Biden administration paid homage to her work in a post-election ad, and much more.
Mar 18, 2021
Re-Air: Why Artist Trevor Paglen Is Doing Everything He Can to Warn Humanity About Artificial Intelligence
In fall 2019, a new app called ImageNet Roulette was introduced to the world with what seemed like a simple, fun premise: snap a selfie, upload it to a database, and wait a few seconds for machine learning to tell you what type of person you are. Maybe a "teacher," maybe a "pilot," maybe even just a "woman." Or maybe, as the app's creator warned, the labels the system tagged you with would be shockingly racist, misogynistic, or misanthropic. Frequently, the warning turned out to be prescient, and the app immediately went viral thanks to its penchant for slurs and provocative presumptions. Long since decommissioned, ImageNet Roulette was part of a larger initiative undertaken by artist Trevor Paglen and artificial intelligence researcher Kate Crawford to expose the latent biases coded into the massive data sets informing a growing number of A.I. systems. It was only the latest light that Paglen's work had shined onto the dark underbelly of our image-saturated, technology-mediated world. Even beyond his Ph.D. in geography and his MacArthur "Genius" grant, Paglen's resume is unique among his peers on blue-chip gallery rosters. He's photographically infiltrated CIA black sites, scuba-dived through labyrinths of undersea data cables, launched art into space, and collaborated with NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, all as a means of making innovative art that brings into focus the all-but-invisible power structures governing contemporary life. On this week's (re-aired) episode of The Art Angle, Paglen joins Andrew Goldstein by phone to discuss his adventurous career. 
Mar 12, 2021
What Will Be the Fate of the Benin Bronzes?
The story of the Benin Bronzes is one of the bloodier, more shameful chapters in the history of the Western world’s "encyclopedic" museums. Looted from the Kingdom of Benin in 1897 by the British in a punitive raid whose indiscriminate slaughter and wanton cruelty inspired The Hague Convention two years later, the artworks are today scattered across art institutions and ethnographic museums in Europe and the United States—a stain on the Western conscience that is ensanguined with the sins of colonialism. Recently, the Oxford professor and Pitt Rivers Museum curator Dan Hicks wrote a book about this history called The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence, and Cultural Restitution, and last week he joined the podcast to speak about the horrific events that led to the artworks leaving Africa. This week, we present part two of the episode, to discuss the urgency of righting this colonial crime and the status of the Bronzes’ restitution today.
Mar 04, 2021
The Haunting History of the Benin Bronzes
For decades, one of the most urgent moral debates in the museum world has revolved around restitution, with art institutions around the world facing demands that masterworks in their collections be returned, either to countries like Greece and Italy who say that the treasures in question had been looted by tomb robbers, or to descendants of Jews who had been robbed by the Nazis. Today, the restitution question is as hotly debated as ever—what has changed, however, is that now the source countries that are demanding the returns are in Africa, and the looting at issue had been carried out by Britain and other European powers across the bloody years of colonialism, whose horrors remain obscured by the hagiographic official histories of the era. Now, a new book is cutting through the Gordian knot of restitution with an argument of bracing moral clarity, showing the West’s great quote-unquote “universal” museums to be complicit in a history of ongoing atrocities. It’s called “The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence, and Cultural Restitution,” and it’s by Dan Hicks, professor of contemporary archeology at Oxford. As its title suggests, the book focuses on a particular incident of looting—the seizure of thousands of artworks from the Kingdom of Benin in 1897—and it is a history that should really be known around the world. To delve into the ongoing saga of the Benin Bronzes, Dan Hicks is on the show today for a two-part episode: first, to discuss the tragic story of the looting of the Kingdom and, second, the fate these magnificent objects are facing today.
Feb 25, 2021
The Surprising Lessons of FDR’s New Deal Art Programs
Shockingly enough, we are now coming up on the one year anniversary of the lockdown of the United States. At this point last year, a creeping dread had begun to blanket the globe. And then in March it happened: COVID hit the East Coast and fanned out across the country, and within weeks whole areas of society were slammed shut like windows during a hurricane. In the art world, as everywhere else, the costs of the closures were immediately palpable with widespread furloughs and job cuts across the sector, enormous projected financial pain, and predictions of museums and galleries alike going dark for good. Facing this economic catastrophe, many pundits in the art world quickly looked back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, and in particular, the Works Progress Administration for inspiration on how to meet the moment today. With Joe Biden in the White House, hopes for such an ambitious federal project have peaked. But do we really understand the lessons of the New Deal's art projects? And are they really the example we should be looking to today? To discuss, Artnet News's chief art critic Ben Davis joins the podcast to flesh out the triumphs and failures of the past, and help us understand what needs to happen in the future.
Feb 18, 2021
5 Steamy, Whirlwind Romances That Changed Art History
In case you’ve forgotten—in which case, shame on you!—Valentine’s Day is right around the corner again, and we here at the Art Angle are all atwitter.We just love love, particularly when it comes to art history, which is about as full of steamy, sensational, and downright scandalous love affairs as your heart could desire. Luckily, Artnet News just so happens to be equipped with an expert on this subject in Katie White, a journalist who knows an alarming amount about the love lives of the artists—the fascinating affairs, marriages, breakups, and obsessions that shaped the course of art history as we know it. From Salvador and Gala Dalí’s tumultuous trip to the enduring admiration between Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight, these liaisons helped shape the course of art history. So slip into something more comfortable, I am very happy to have Katie on the show today because to talk about five of the art world’s most riveting romantic entanglements.
Feb 11, 2021
Kickstarter Founder Perry Chen on Art in the Age of Hypercomplexity
It’s no secret that today we live in a world of dizzying, gobsmacking, and ever-intensifying complexity. Everything from the computers we carry in our pockets to the vaccines fighting the pandemic to the global networks that underpin our economies rely on such astonishing labyrinths of complexity that any one element requires a team of experts to really make sense of it—and that’s not even to mention the complexity of our natural universe, which only grows more intricate, not less, the more we learn about it. One way to deal with this very confusing state of affairs is to pretend it doesn’t exist, or reach after comforting conspiracy theories, as people have since the birth of religion at the dawn of time. The artist Perry Chen prefers to take this complexity head on—to really get in there and wrassle with it, making art that looks at this epistemological phenomenon from all angles. He just so happens to be particularly well-versed in the complexity of our digitally networked reality, too, since in addition to being an artist he’s also the founder and now chairman of Kickstarter, the hit crowdfunding company that has given rise to countless new inventions and creative projects, and distributes more cultural funding than the NEA. Now, Perry has a new exhibition of his art that has just opened at the venerable Nature Morte gallery in New Delhi, called “Perpetual Novelty,” and as usual it’s all about complexity. He’s also accompanying the show with a new podcast series on that theme, with the first episode a conversation with Walter Isaacson, the great biographer of Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci. 
Feb 04, 2021
MoMA Curator Paola Antonelli on Design for the Post-Pandemic World
Right now, one of the most talked-about issues at hand for members of the international workforce is: what comes next? For those of us fortunate enough to work from home, will we persist in our pajama-wearing state forever? When, and how, will we ever return to high-rise offices, riding elevators packed like sardines, and casually sharing the same air as thousands of other commuters on public transportation?This question, among many others, is on the mind of the Italian-born curator Paola Antonelli, who currently serves as senior curator of the department of architecture and design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In her position, Antonelli has organized exhibitions that run the gamut from using nontraditional materials to imagine a more sustainable world, as in the forward-thinking show “Neri Oxman: Material Ecology,” and probed the use and meaning of clothing in “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” She’s also acquired video games, including Pac-Man and Tetris for the museum, and displayed a vial of sweat as part of a show titled “Design and Violence.” On this week’s episode, Antonelli calls in from her home in Manhattan to discuss everything from augmented reality to outdoor dining, and offers an invaluable perspective on how design theory and objects can help us survive, and even thrive, in the future.
Jan 29, 2021
Artist Daniel Arsham on How He Built a Creative Empire
When he was just 12 years old, Daniel Arsham had a near-death experience. Living in Florida with his parents, Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, careening across the coastal state and taking with it Arsham's family house—ripping the roof off, tearing the walls apart at the seams, and sending pink fluffy insulation flying. The house was rebuilt soon after, but the traumatic experience and ensuing weeks of living in a "pre-civilization" state left an indelible imprint on Arsham. The idea of collapsing the past and present, and the formative role architecture played in his understanding of the world, has helped shape Arsham's creative practice, which he describes as fictional archaeology. In his most celebrated series, "Future Relics," Arsham casts objects of commercialism and contemporary society as fragments of an already obsolete time. Along with Alex Mustonen, Arsham founded the irreverently titled group Snarkitechture, and began collaborating with fashion brands like Dior (working with both Hedi Slimane and Kim Jones), KITH, and Adidas, as well as Merce Cunningham and illustrator Hajime Sorayama. Having successfully skated across the boundaries that define genres of art, Arsham's newest gig as creative director of his hometown basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, signaled his supremacy in pop culture. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Arsham called in from his New York studio to discuss his unlikely story, and what comes next.
Jan 21, 2021
8 Predictions on How the Art World Will Shift in 2021
No one could have foreseen the giant boomerang of a year that was 2020. With its trifecta of health, financial, and social crises, it could not have been predicted by even the most studied of sages. No, not even Artnet News's resident forecaster, art business editor Tim Schneider. But that didn't stop Tim from embarking on his annual tradition, formulating highly specific predictions for the art market in the coming 365 days. In the early days of 2021—before the angry mob of protestors stormed the Capitol, inciting a riot and leading to the historic second impeachment of President Trump; before we knew Kim and Kanye were heading toward divorce—Tim peered into his crystal ball to make some informed prognostications about the art market. On this week's episode, Tim joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss everything from museum deaccessioning to the biggest changes in store for galleries.
Jan 14, 2021
Can Art Help End the Era of Mass Incarceration?
Right now, more than 2 million people are living behind bars in prisons across America. California's San Quentin Prison is currently at 117 percent capacity. And with the coronavirus pandemic running rampant, many prisoners are in immediate danger. These problems are a major preoccupation of Rahsaan "New York" Thomas, the co-host of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Ear Hustle podcast, co-founder of Prison Renaissance (which connects prisoners to people outside), contributor to multiple national news outlets, and staff writer at the San Quentin News. Thomas has also just curated his first exhibition, “Meet Us Quickly: Painting for Justice From Prison," an online exhibition on view at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. He is also serving a sentence of 55 years to life in San Quentin. On this week's episode, Thomas calls in from San Quentin to discuss how art and empathy can transform perspectives on the penal system, from inside and out.
Jan 08, 2021
Re-air: The New Yorker's Peter Schjeldahl on His Adventures in Life as an Accidental Art Critic
As 2020 draws to a close, the Art Angle team is taking some time off to reboot for the new year and prepare for a lineup of exciting new episodes. In the meantime, we've prepared this throwback from April, which is one of our favorite episodes of the year. In his 2019 essay "The Art of Dying," acclaimed critic Peter Schjeldahl describes Patsy Cline's voice as "attending selflessly to the sounds and the senses of the words... consummate." The same could be said about Schjeldahl's incomparable writing about art, most notably during his 22 years (and counting) as the art critic for the New Yorker. And no one expected this outcome less than Schjeldahl himself. A Midwest native who beamed to New York at the dawn of the 1960s with little more than a high-school diploma, Schjeldahl was an aspiring poet who began reviewing exhibitions to pay the bills. More than five decades later, he is almost universally regarded as one of the most respected and beloved art critics alive. His signature first-person reckonings with art—several examples of which were recently collected in his latest book, Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light: 100 Art Writings, 1988-2018—balance accessibility, lyricism, and wit in a style that he has been painstakingly refining for nearly six decades. Schjeldahl hasn't always led a charmed life. Over the course of the past year, he experienced an almost unbelievable series of misfortunes. First, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given just six months to live; next, the apartment in the East Village he shared for 47 years with his wife, Brooke, caught fire and took his papers with it; and most recently, of course, the Schjeldahls were forced into lockdown along with much of the rest of humanity by the global health crisis. Yet the tide recently turned in Schjeldahl's favor: miraculously, his cancer is in remission thanks to treatment. His brush with the end has also enriched his perspective on art and life in new ways, which the inimitable writer was gracious enough to discuss in a phone conversation with Artnet News's own renowned critic, Ben Davis, from his country home in the Catskills. On this week's episode, Andrew Goldstein gives the floor to the critics for a free-wheeling, candid, and refreshingly upbeat conversation about subjects ranging from the intellectual gymnastics of art reviewing, to the chaotic '60s art scene in New York, to why you can't really understand Rembrandt before age 40. It's an indelible reminder of why no one else has ever done it quite like Schjeldahl—and why no one else ever will.
Jan 01, 2021
The Art Angle Presents: A Star-Studded Art History Game Show (With Kids!)
What happens when you pair three-to-six year-old children with esteemed art-world figures to play an art-historical guessing game? For our final episode of 2020, we decided to find out. We invited three of the most respected cultural leaders in the world—Naima Keith, the vice president of education and public programs at LACMA; Carolina Miranda, a Los Angeles Times columnist who covers art, architecture, and urban design; and Martin Kemp, the foremost Leonardo da Vinci scholar in the world—to be paired with some really adorable kids for a virtual guessing game. Over Zoom, each illustrious guest was introduced to their diminutive teammate, who was shown a series of (very) famous artworks from throughout the history of art. The children were asked to describe what they saw in each work—and the grown-ups were responsible for guessing the artist and title. Have you ever had a four-year-old try to explain a Jackson Pollock drip painting? A Damien Hirst shark sculpture? A Grant Wood piece? We didn't think so.
Dec 24, 2020
Jeffrey Deitch on How to Succeed in the Art Industry
Jeffrey Deitch is that rare type of creative who has a keen understanding of business: he holds an undergraduate degree in art history from Wesleyan University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Further blurring boundaries, he launched his career with a lethal one-two punch working at an art gallery before joining Citibank, where he co-managed the art advisory division. Before long, he rose to prominence as an art advisor and private dealer, while honing his own interests in street art and punk rock bands. Widely considered to be the first person who bought a work by Jean-Michel Basquiat (he was also the first to write about him in a 1980 essay for Art in America), Deitch continued to evidence prescience in identifying burgeoning talent, as he helped mint the careers of Jeff Koons, Kehinde Wiley, and Cecily Brown in his eponymous gallery space in New York. After conquering the East Coast art world, Deitch decamped for California, serving (an admittedly rocky term) as the director of MOCA in Los Angeles before returning to New York to run his own gallery, where he remains today. On the penultimate episode of The Art Angle for 2020, Deitch talks everything from punk rock to pandemic struggles.
Dec 18, 2020
I Survived Zombie Art Basel Miami Beach
Every December for the better part of the past two decades, a throng of well-heeled dealers, collectors, artists, celebrities, publicists, and lookie loos descend on a small stretch of Miami Beach coastline for a final year’s-end bacchanal. Art Basel Miami Beach has long been considered the art market’s Black Friday, when dealers are able to sell enough wares to put them in the black for the year and close the books on a high note.So what happens when it all goes virtual? Despite the fair having called off most in-person activities this year, Artnet News’s intrepid reporter Nate Freeman, best known as the poison pen behind the weekly gossip column Wet Paint, flew down to the sunshine state (after multiple coronavirus tests) to find out. On this week’s episode, Nate calls in from Miami Dade County to discuss what he calls the “Zombie” Art Basel—a fair somewhere between living and dead. With visits to august Miami museums and private collections, plus tours of the newly established seasonal gallery outposts that alit from New York, Nate attempts to answer the question: If no one is there to see and be seen, does an art fair really matter?
Dec 10, 2020
Why Awol Erizku Is So Much More Than Just Beyoncé’s Baby Photographer
The journey to becoming one of the most acclaimed photographers of his generation—at the tender age of 32—wasn't exactly a straight line for Awol Erizku. Born in Ethiopia and raised in the Bronx, Erizku's early interest in art didn't crystallize until he was punished for a school prank, and, fortuitously ended up in an art room waiting for the principle to dole out his punishment. From there, Erizku traced a more traditional path, studying at Cooper Union and earning a coveted place in Yale's MFA program where he homed his craft, garnering praise for his contemporary depictions of classical art historical works featuring Black women in place of their predominantly white counterparts in stirring, beautifully framed portraits. Things changed in 2017, when one of the world's most famous women,Beyoncé Knowles, announced her pregnancy on Instagram. The photograph, a beatific portrait of the pop star enshrined in a lush floral backdrop, hands demurely resting on her pregnant stomach, draped in a soft green veil like a blooming Madonna, instantly went viral and remains the most "liked" photograph on the social media platform. Erizku shot the photo, and became a household name overnight. Granted his own measure of stardom, instead of riding on the success of that image the artist dug deeper into his work, tackling hot-button subjects ranging from the legacy of colonialism and a controversial professor of Black Studies to the recent spate of Black men killed by police officers. A lifelong obsession with music led to his practice of incorporating speeches by the likes of Kerry James Marshall into mixtapes, blending spoken word with contemporary beats, and collaborating to score music to be played in his exhibitions, like the recent show at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York. He was featured in Antwaun Sargent's exhibition “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” and beginning on February 24, 2021 in New York and Chicago, 13 of Erikzu's photographs will grace some 350 JCDecaux bus shelters in his a public exhibition with the Public Art Fund. The sprawling two-city exhibition is titled "New Visions for Iris," in honor of his newborn daughter.
Dec 04, 2020
Re-air: The Rise and Fall of Anne Geddes, Queen of Baby Photography
The Art Angle team is taking this week off for Thanksgiving, but we thought we'd share one of our favorite episodes from the past year to see you through this unconventional holiday weekend.  Picture this: a doughy, apple-cheeked infant nestled in between the soft petals of a dew-kissed flower, sound asleep, like the start of a real-life fable. Almost everyone who conjures that mental image will do so using a nearly identical aesthetic—and whether you realize it or not, that’s almost entirely because of the work of legendary baby photographer Anne Geddes. After her debut photography book, Down in the Garden, soared to number three on the New York Times Bestseller list in 1996, Geddes’s wholesomely surreal infant images became inescapable. Oprah went on air to declare Down in the Garden the best coffee-table book she’d ever seen, and by late December 1997, Geddes’s publishing partners had sold more than 1.8 billion (yes, with a “b”) calendars and date books of her photography for the upcoming year. Her dizzying success soon spurred the artist to ramp up production, with a standard Geddes shoot requiring six-to-eight months of planning and a budget between $250,000 and $350,000. But who could blame her for going big? Geddes’s empire of adorable infants seemed unstoppable. Cut to 2020, however, and the picture has changed dramatically—not just for Geddes, but for an entire creative economy driven by analog photography, print publishing, and the high barriers to entry formerly associated with both. Years after smartphones first began putting increasingly high-quality cameras in nearly everyone’s pocket, and Instagram began providing masses of self-trained shutterbugs a free and wide-reaching distribution platform for their images, it’s not hyperbole to say that the pillars on which Geddes built her career have crumbled. So what’s the Queen of Baby Photography to do when her kingdom becomes unrecognizable? Back in May, Andrew Goldstein chatted with Noor Brara, Artnet’s art and design editor, about her recent profile of Geddes. Together, they discussed the artist’s rise, fall, and reckoning with culture’s digital evolution.
Nov 25, 2020
Why New York’s Art Scene Will Reign Supreme Post-COVID
The news cycle for the past seven months has been dominated by staggering data points that seek to quantify the scope of the pandemic's effects on the United States and beyond. Within the art world, statistics detailing layoffs and furloughs, museums facing imminent closure, and galleries struggling to make ends meet add to the collective fear and anxiety gripping the world at large. But there have also been bright spots in both the broad economy, and, surprisingly, within the art market itself. A new study commissioned by the Independent art fair and Crozier Fine Arts, carried out by data guru Clare McAndrew lays out one aspect that is not just surviving amid the turmoil—it's actually thriving. For the inaugural NYC Art World Report, an analysis of dozens of private art collectors living in New York shared insights about their buying practices, interests, and disdains within the new, largely virtual art ecosystem. On this week's episode, Elizabeth Dee, veteran gallerist and founder of Independent, joins the podcast to put the report into context, and shares her thoughts on its conclusion: that New York City remains the epicenter for committed art collectors, and will continue to reign supreme across the international landscape. As a coda to Elizabeth's observations, Artnet News's business editor Tim Schneider provides a layman's analysis of the data within the report, and helps make sense of what to do with this new wealth of information.
Nov 20, 2020
How Does the Art World Feel About Joe Biden’s Victory?
Well, it finally happened. Former vice president Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have won the United States presidential election. They ran on the promise of a return to democracy and decency—as well as a repudiation of the past four years under Donald Trump. After all of the hand-wringing, punditry, and poll watching, we're now left to consider what this regime change actually means. For artists and art workers, the jubilation of a Biden win is tempered by a healthy dose of skepticism. Both Biden and Harris have expressed general appreciation for the arts, but it remains to be seen if and how they will act on it. The inhabitants of the art world's historically liberal bubble are also facing the reality that they, like the pollsters and so many others, were entirely wrong about the margin of victory and the extent to which they live in a deeply divided country. On this week's episode, Artnet News contributor Brian Boucher, market reporter Eileen Kinsella, and chief art critic Ben Davis join the podcast to discuss the seismic changes afoot—and what it could mean for the future of culture.  
Nov 13, 2020
How Pepe the Frog Explains America's Toxic Politics
When San Francisco-based artist Matt Furie created a zine in 2005 featuring a rag-tag group of immature adolescent animals, including a heavy-lidded frog named Pepe, he had no idea that his humble drawing would become a flashpoint for roiling cultural and political tensions across the world.   A new documentary titled Feels Good Man, directed by Arthur Jones and produced by Giorgio Angelini, charts the story of Matt Furie and his creation. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Jones and Angelini speak with Artnet News's chief critic Ben Davis about cultural appropriation, freedom of speech, and the power of images in the digital landscape. The story of Pepe is a story of Internet culture at its best and worst—from being transformed into an innocent meme to its designation as a hate symbol is both a cautionary tale and a triumph.
Nov 05, 2020
Ed Ruscha and Jimmy Iovine on How Art Can End the Trump Era
One of the most salient images of America's tattered democracy is Ed Ruscha's Our Flag, a startling painting of Old Glory, shredded and flapping against a dark sky.
Oct 29, 2020
How Frida Kahlo Can Change Your Life (for Better or Worse)
Frida Kahlo is, by every metric, one of the most famous artists in the world. Recently the priciest Latinx painter at auction, she has also been the subject of solo shows at prestigious institutions around the world, and she continues to be a pop-culture sensation whose image and iconography grace everything from apparel, to dolls, to smartphone selfie filters (and much more). Though Kahlo died in 1954 at the young age of 47, her life continues to inspire people around the globe today. One person particularly enamored with her story is Arianna Davis, a journalist and digital director of O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine. Davis recently published her first book, What Would Frida Do?: A Guide to Living Boldly, which channels Kahlo's legacy through a self-help lens to guide readers toward unapologetic pursuit of their desires. On this week's episode, Davis joins the podcast to discuss her book, its lessons, and the artist at the foundation of both.
Oct 23, 2020
The Painter and the Poet: A Tragic Love Story
Through October 24, Galerie Lelong in New York is presenting "Gate to the Blue," a striking show of paintings by the late artist Ficre Ghebreyesus that opens a portal to his hugely complex, visually stunning, and tragically short life. At age 16, Ghebreyesus fled his native Eritrea during the nation's turbulent war for independence and traveled extensively through Europe before settling in the United States. There, he worked as a chef while quietly creating extraordinary artworks that he rarely exhibited and refused to sell. Ghebreyesus and his brothers eventually founded the celebrated New Haven restaurant Caffe Adulis, where he met the distinguished poet, playwright, and essayist Elizabeth Alexander in 1996. Within weeks, the two decided to marry, embarking on an incredible shared life of creativity, culture, and family. But the dream ended too soon. In 2012, Ghebreyesus died of sudden heart failure just days after his 50th birthday. His tragic passing forced Alexander to reinvent herself in a crucible of grief while caring for their two young sons—a challenge she movingly chronicled in her Pulitzer Prize-nominated 2015 memoir, The Light of the World. After this crossroads, Alexander and her children moved to New York City, where she pivoted her career from academia to cultural philanthropy with a special focus on social justice. She went on to be named the director of creativity and free expression at the $13.7 billion Ford Foundation in 2016, and since 2018 has served as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Remarkably, Alexander has also done all of this while stewarding Ghebreyesus's artistic estate: roughly 700 paintings and countless other works that are finally being shared with the world at large so that his memory and insights can live on. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Elizabeth Alexander joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss her late husband's art, the creative synergy of their life together, and how it has informed her mission to use philanthropy to bring about a more just world.
Oct 16, 2020
Could TikTok Save a Broken Art World?
For many emerging artists, social media platforms have become an indispensable platform for jumpstarting their careers. But years after Instagram sparked its first zeitgeist-shaping visual trends, a different set of creatives has begun finding their rhythm outside the bounds of traditional institutions thanks to a newer app: TikTok. Owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance and powered by an uncannily perceptive content-discovery algorithm, the video-sharing platform now counts nearly a billion active users around the globe and seems to be transforming a growing list of teens and twenty-somethings into millionaire influencers. For contemporary artists like Colette Bernard and Kelsy Landin, TikTok has also proven to be the most effective app yet for building a sizable audience of loyal—and often paying—fans. Now, though, with the Trump administration threatening bans of TikTok and WeChat in the US over security concerns, Bernard, Landin, and countless other artists are facing the prospect of losing their newfound livelihoods only months after finding a true creative home on the platform. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, journalist Zachary Small joins the show to discuss what has made TikTok such a revelation to artists across a variety of age groups, which kinds of artworks are attracting the most attention there, and how a TikTok ban would only worsen the devastating "brain drain" vacuuming young, diverse talent away from the increasingly troubled art industry.
Oct 09, 2020
What New York's Art World Looks Like Post-Lockdown
To call the mood of this past spring in the New York art world "apocalyptic" would hardly be an exaggeration. Although it was on March 22 that the rapid spread of COVID-19 pushed governor Andrew Cuomo to order the closure of all non-essential businesses in New York state, the renowned museums and galleries that make New York City the beating heart of the US art world had already started voluntarily shutting down almost two weeks earlier out of concern for public safety. As spring unfolded, furloughs and layoffs devastated the for-profit and nonprofit sides of the arts workforce alike; dealers started frantically pivoting to online viewing rooms to try to coax sales from collectors forbidden by law to enter their bricks-and-mortar galleries; and a major survey estimated that up to one-third of American museums might never re-emerge from the lockdown. Yet by late June in New York, the pandemic had receded far enough that galleries were permitted to begin reopening their long-closed doors to the public if they felt ready. Governor Cuomo then signaled that the state's museums could resume operating in late August. By Labor Day weekend, a steady stream of art-starved visitors had completed the careful reanimation of the New York art world—an outcome that seemed almost unthinkable six months earlier. So, how exactly did NYC's museums and galleries contend with a half-year of lockdown? What have they changed to accommodate the realities of the new normal? And what is the forecast for the future? On this week's episode, Artnet News's Eileen Kinsella and Tim Schneider join Andrew Goldstein to offer their insights.
Oct 02, 2020
How a Powerhouse Hollywood Agency Is Turning Artists Into Stars
It used to be that even the biggest, brawniest Hollywood talent agencies restricted their clientele to... well, Hollywood. That meant actors, filmmakers, screenwriters, and not much else. But Tinseltown's 10-percentaries have been playing by a new set of rules for years now. Nowhere is this truer than at United Talent Agency (UTA), one of the entertainment industry's "big three" representation houses, where the daily schedule of client meetings has expanded to include pop stars and hip-hop legends, professional athletes and prominent anchormen, and yes, even major contemporary artists including Ai Weiwei, Rashid Johnson, and Shirin Neshat. In 2015, the late Josh Roth founded UTA's Fine Arts division to help visual artists of all stripes extend their reach into feature filmmaking, collaborations with fashion designers, and other unorthodox opportunities beyond the gallery walls. The range of possibilities widened further when the agency later opened UTA Artist Space, a permanent exhibition venue where it would work in partnership with artists' existing dealers to present groundbreaking physical shows. The year after Roth's untimely passing, UTA Fine Arts found its next leader in Arthur Lewis, a tastemaker and avid collector (particularly of works by women of color) who had built a distinguished career in the retail industry. In the just-published Fall 2020 issue of the Artnet Intelligence Report, the inaugural New Innovators list featured Lewis as one of 51 individuals blazing a trail to the art world of the future. On this week's episode, Lewis joins the podcast to discuss his unexpected path to his "dream" job, how artists are taking greater control of their destinies, and why contemporary art is suddenly the space everyone wants to be a part of.
Sep 25, 2020
How the World Health Organization Is Using Art to Fight the Pandemic
Ask the average informed citizen what the responsibilities of the World Health Organization are, and they're likely to name initiatives like funding medical research and coordinating with politicians and diplomats across the globe to hone optimal public-health policy. So it may surprise you to learn that the WHO also maintains an entire program dedicated to the study and support of the arts as integral tools in human well-being—and that it sees culture as a crucial force in combating the coronavirus crisis that has engulfed much of the planet in 2020. Christopher Bailey, the WHO's arts and health lead, oversees this team of specialists as they pursue everything from producing evidence-based reports on the concrete ways in which art aids mental and physical health, to working with artists across media to craft health messaging that connects on an emotional level rather than a purely rational one. The program's multifaceted efforts will continue via "The Future Is Unwritten Healing Arts Auction," a major charitable initiative that Artnet and Christie's will be partnering on with the WHO to support the organization's coronavirus response efforts, with a focus on urgently needed mental-health initiatives and the applied use of arts in recovery after the pandemic. As part of the initiative, Artnet Auctions will be launching a sale in October 2020, leveraging its industry-leading online platform to surface voices from the global artistic community in pursuit of a common goal.  In honor of the partnership, Christopher Bailey joins this week's episode of the Art Angle to discuss his deeply personal firsthand experience with the healing capacity of art, the reasons that investments in culture double as investments in health (and vice versa), and why he sees the art world as the next "theater of operations" for the WHO's noble mission.
Sep 18, 2020
Futurist Doug Stephens on What Art Dealers Can Learn From the Retail Revolution
In a July 2020 article published in the Business of Fashion, Canadian futurist Doug Stephens opined on the likely realities of the commercial ecosystem that will emerge from the Great Shutdown. He predicted an economy in which behemoths like Amazon will reign supreme even in sectors like education and banking; robotics and other high-functioning technologies wielded by the largest corporations will put many smaller players at perhaps the starkest disadvantage in history; and ultimately "only the fittest will survive." It's a disturbing vision, but one that Stephens unfurled in no small part to awaken entrepreneurs to the urgent need for change in the present moment, regardless of their sales niche—and that includes art dealers. While many artists and gallerists prefer to think of their work as a unique public service that enriches the world with insights and beauty, the buying and selling of art also remains a business (and a big one at that). This cold, hard accounting means that, from what to do with their brick-and-mortar outposts to how to leverage their digital platforms, the art industry faces some of the same challenges as general retailers in our crisis-riddled era. The goods news is that it also means that dealers might be able to take a few cues from other sellers about how to evolve. And who better to consult in this scenario than the Retail Prophet? On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Doug Stephens joins Andrew Goldstein for a frank and fascinating conversation about what art galleries can learn from leaders in retail around the world, how the traditional relationship between media and sales has inverted courtesy of the internet, and why the changes dealers implement during the shutdown will determine their odds of surviving and thriving long after it ends.
Sep 11, 2020
Re-air: The Unbelievable True Story of the Mystical Painter Agnes Pelton
Art history thrives on stories of fearless visionaries leaving behind the lives they’ve known to embark on journeys into uncertain lands for personal enrichment and artistic illumination. But few are as surprising as that of Agnes Pelton, the spiritualist painter who departed New York in 1932—alone, at the age of 50—to begin a new chapter in the California desert. There, she supported herself for years by selling realistic portraits and landscape paintings to tourists while, largely unbeknownst to others, she also pursued a connection to the divine through one of the most forward-looking painting practices of the early 20th century.   A lifelong student of occult literature and unorthodox philosophies, Pelton languished in obscurity for decades before and after her death in 1961. But a handful of perceptive curators and scholars eventually recognized the importance of her otherworldly, semi-abstract canvases, which intermingle ethereal forms with a few identifiable symbols loaded with deeper meaning, such as stars and mountains. Pelton’s supporters first succeeded in bringing her work to the larger art world’s attention in the late 1980s, and more than 30 years later, she became the subject of a sweeping and critically admired solo exhibition that traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art this spring (before the museum, like so many others, was forced to close until further notice). On this week’s episode, curator Barbara Haskell, who oversaw the Whitney’s installation of Pelton’s show, joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss the artist’s scandal-plagued upbringing, all-consuming engagement with spiritualism, and lasting relevance in a world once again seeking greater meaning beyond the physical realm.
Sep 04, 2020
The Secret Art History of Burning Man
Today, practically everyone on earth knows about Burning Man, the countercultural extravaganza that draws tens of thousands of true believers to a barren landscape in Nevada's Black Rock Desert every August to create a temporary city full of monumental art installations and mind-expanding experiences. But far fewer people know that this zeitgeist-shaping powerhouse was created by a small group of artists in the California Bay Area as an ad hoc beach party with a few big ideas under the surface—and one very important cobbled-together sculpture going up in flames at its end. One person who knows the story intimately is Will Roger, a photographer and professor who long ago left the East Coast in search of more creative freedom out West. Roger was introduced to the earliest champions of Burning Man in the early 1990s, and a life-changing trip to the desert convinced him to join their ranks. His role became to grow the annual celebration by managing the design, construction, and demolition of its increasingly complex infrastructure year after year. In 2019, Roger published an impressive book titled Compass of the Ephemeral featuring his aerial photographs of the surreal city plans he oversaw and essays about Burning Man's surprising connections to art history. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Roger joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss the festival's stunning evolution, its impact on the fine-art establishment, and its future at a time when mass gatherings seem as fantastical as the towering marionettes and desert-roving pirate ships that enlivened some of its past editions. Listen above and subscribe to the Art Angle on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, or wherever you get your podcasts. (Or catch up on past episodes here on Artnet News.)
Aug 28, 2020
How Rupert Murdoch's Son Became Art Basel's Savior
Earlier this summer, rumors emerged that a member of the Murdoch media dynasty—most (in)famous for building the far-right Fox News—may be sniffing around a major investment in the MCH Group, the financially beleaguered parent company of mega-fair Art Basel. Initial fears that the interested party was ultra-conservative family patriarch Rupert Murdoch soon gave way to official news that it was instead his son James, a billionaire in his own right who has been referred to as "the smart one in the clan." The media scion's interest represented a lifeline for the MCH Group, which had been battered by an extended run of strategic miscues even before this year's global shutdown forced it to begin canceling or postponing its lavish slate of international gatherings. But the prospect of an alliance raised a whole other set of questions: Who exactly is James Murdoch? How similar is he to his climate-change-denying, Trump-supporting father? And why on earth would he want to pump roughly $80 million of his fortune into a Swiss company best known for producing trade fairs for expensive artworks and watches? On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Artnet News art business editor Tim Schneider joins Andrew Goldstein to dissect the MCH Group's rocky last three years, the controversial career arc of Murdoch the younger, and how his influence as the new "anchor shareholder" could reshape the future of Art Basel.
Aug 21, 2020
How the Wellness Revolution Just Arrived in the Art World
A blue neon sign reading "You Belong Here" has become a new kind of beacon in Long Beach, California recently. The light sculpture by artist Tavares Strachan exists to welcome visitors to Compound, a soon-to-debut multidisciplinary space fusing wellness and contemporary art. But it also serves as a mission statement for what aims to be a new nexus of belonging for the community. Housed in a freshly renovated, 15,000-square-foot Art Deco building in the city's Zaferia neighborhood, Compound is about as prototypically SoCal as a venture could be. On one hand, the space will feature contemporary-art commissions, a sculpture garden, and an exhibition program partly drawn from the collection of its founder, cultural philanthropist and Scripps media heir Megan Tagliaferri. But Compound will also team those elements with a farm-to-table restaurant and an ambitious events program encompassing outdoor yoga, meditation sessions, healing workshops, live-music performances, and more—all of it free to the public. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Compound's curator and artistic director, the LA art juggernaut Lauri Firstenberg, calls in from the West Coast to discuss the venture's ethos, the surprising synergy between the wellness movement and rigorous artistic practice, and the role Compound hopes to play in a near future wracked by crises large and small.
Aug 07, 2020
Art Critic Jerry Saltz on Why It's Time to Build a New Art World
It's not often that you find an art critic—or anyone, for that matter—who can claim upwards of 400,000 Instagram followers, a Pulitzer Prize, and appearances on an original Bravo reality series as achievements of the past decade. But Jerry Saltz can. A look at his unlikely biography helps explain his ability to connect with a such wide audience through so many media: after leaving college without a degree, Saltz spent 10 years working as a long-haul truck driver before willing himself back into the art world by the power of the pen. From 2006 to the present day, he has held sway as senior art critic and columnist for New York magazine, where he passionately extols his belief that art can be for anyone. In March, just before galleries, museums, and newsrooms around the world were forced to shutter for safety's sake, Saltz published his fifth book, How to Be an Artist. Expanded from a mega-popular column he wrote for New York  back in 2018, the handbook provides practical tips, memorable quotes, and plenty of motivation that you too can enjoy "a life lived in art." Shortly after the release of How to Be an Artist, Saltz joined the Art Angle's Andrew Goldstein for a frank discussion organized by the National Arts Club, about the book, the precarious state of the current art world, and the need to create its successor. For this week's episode, we're presenting an edited version of that talk. (You can find a recording of the full chat online, courtesy of the NAC.)
Jul 31, 2020
How Black Women Are Leading a Grassroots Art Revolution
Just days into the start of 2020, CityLab published an article analyzing which major American cities are the best, and the worst, for Black women residents. The report took into account a variety of metrics measuring "livability," and the consensus was that Midwestern metropolises including Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit were the among the most inhospitable in the nation. Despite the systemic sexism and racism reflected in the bleak findings, however, Black women artists within these same cities have been driving growth and change in their local art communities—often by rejecting conventional thinking about funding, institutions, and the market. In a recent piece for Artnet News, journalist Melissa Smith spoke to some of these trailblazing Black women artists about their histories, triumphs, and continuing challenges living and working in the Midwest. On this week's episode, Smith joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss these issues, primarily through the lens of Pittsburgh-based artists Alisha Wormsley and Vanessa German. By navigating around (or outright ignoring) philanthropic systems all but designed to exclude them, leveraging crowdfunding platforms and grassroots networks, and developing alternate forms of patronage based on a more community-centric role for art, their approaches speak volumes about the possibilities and pitfalls of a different kind of art world.
Jul 24, 2020
How the Heck Did Auction Houses Just Sell Almost a Billion Dollars in Art During a Global Pandemic?
Each May, as the flowers bloom and the evening light lingers, the world's largest auction houses hold their marquee spring sales in New York, enabling perennial market leader Christie's, its arch-rival Sotheby's, and insurgent Phillips to collectively bring in well over $1 billion in one so-called "gigaweek." But this spring, the COVID-19 shutdown left the Big Three's salesrooms unnaturally quiet in the Empire City and around the world. Starved of vital cyclical revenue, Sotheby's cut hundreds of jobs, while Christie's both restructured and downsized—with all of these moves indicating that blockbuster replacements for the major sales be staged as soon as possible, in whatever form they must take. Cue the screens. In late June and early July, the major auction houses made an unprecedented pivot from IRL to URL with uncharacteristic speed. Auction paddles were replaced with mouse clicks, and some international offices stayed open as late as 4 a.m. to help stage transcontinental, hours-long hybrid sales. As usual, the duopoly of Sotheby's and Christie's provided the overwhelming majority of the action. At Sotheby's, a three-part sale saw auctioneer Oliver Barker seamlessly manage a futuristic bank of monitors ping-ponging in bids from cities around the globe, and the star lot—a triptych by Francis Bacon—brought in a staggering $84 million en route to $300 million in total sales. But Christie's—not usually known for its technological prowess—got the final word with the "ONE" sale, a four-city, four-hour "relay" auction that set a slew of artist records while racking up $421 million overall. How did the houses manage to pull off these unexpected wins in perhaps the most challenging market in our lifetime? On this week's episode, Andrew Goldstein is joined by Eileen Kinsella and Nate Freeman, Artnet News's esteemed auction-reporting veterans, to discuss the lead-up to the history-making summer season, the blow-by-blow at Christie's "ONE" sale, and what it all means for the future of auctions.
Jul 17, 2020
How Hank Willis Thomas Is Making Politics an Art Form
Hank Willis Thomas is a busy man. The 44-year-old photographer, sculptor, filmmaker, and writer was already a force within the rarefied world of visual art before he decided to embrace politics on a large scale. But during the landmark presidential race of 2016, Thomas and fellow artist Eric Gottesman co-founded an "anti-partisan" political action committee called For Freedoms to empower artists to channel their creative energy into civic engagement. Along with facilitating major public artworks such as murals and artist-designed billboards, For Freedoms has since grown into a larger nonprofit organization that has held townhall meetings, organized voter-registration drives, and even assembled its own multi-day national Congress in Los Angeles. Not bad for a side hustle. The son of renowned art historian and photographer Deborah Willis, Thomas first rose to prominence for his early photography, which used the visual language of advertising to address systemic injustices such as the exploitation of professional athletes, the scourge of mass incarceration, and the original sin of American slavery. Years before the latest wave of activists began toppling statues of Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, and other problematic figures in US history, Thomas also began questioning the validity of such monuments with his own large-scale sculptures, often creating alternatives to honor the individuals whose sacrifices have been overlooked by mainstream historical narratives. Thomas once said that his personal experiences prompted him to create art that could "change the world in a more intentional way," and now more than ever, he is doing just that. Through July 16, he and his Los Angeles gallery, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, are teaming with Artnet Auctions to present "Bid for Peace," a single-lot sale of Thomas's striking sculpture Peace (2019). All proceeds from the auction including the buyer's premium will be donated to G.L.I.T.S, Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society, a non-profit organization that protects the rights of transgender sex workers. A few days before the opening of "Bid for Peace," Thomas joined Andrew Goldstein on the Art Angle to discuss the evolution of his studio practice, artists' importance to bringing about civic transformation, and whether you might someday see his own name on a ballot near you.
Jul 10, 2020
The Unsettling Truth Behind What Columbus Monuments Really Stand For
In cities across the world over the past month, activists have been taking aim at symbols of oppression in the form of monuments: splashing them with paint, tagging them with graffiti, and most importantly, tearing them down. Among the most targeted statues in the US are those of Christopher Columbus. While he is still portrayed in American elementary schools as a folkloric hero responsible for "discovering the New World," the grim facts behind the legend have recently led to Columbus monuments being toppled and trampled, tossed into bodies of water, and even beheaded. But there's much more to the story than a broad-strokes whitewashing of one colonialist's anti-Indigenous brutality. In an essay for Artnet News earlier this month, national art critic Ben Davis teased out the complexities of the Columbus myth by delving into the history of the monument towering over New York City's eponymous Columbus Circle. Built in the late 19th century as a concession to Italian immigrants subject to eerily familiar forms of racist violence, the monument shows how the Columbus myth helped ingrain white supremacy into the nation's foundation—and set the stage for unquantifiable injustices still afflicting the country today. On this week's episode of The Art Angle, Davis joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss the Columbus Circle statue's long history as a political pawn, its link to other monuments commemorating problematic historical figures, and what it all means for whether these symbols should be preserved or destroyed.
Jun 26, 2020
Meet the Smithsonian Curator Who Turns Protesters’ T-Shirts Into National Treasures
Although 2020 isn't even halfway done yet, the worldwide health crisis and the global uprising over civil rights already guarantee that this year will be one historians study forevermore. As challenging as it will be to sort through such monumental events in hindsight, some institutions and individuals are doing an even more difficult job: preserving this history as it happens. One person at the forefront of this effort is Aaron Bryant, a curator of photography, visual culture, and contemporary history at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bryant leads the institution's rapid-response collecting initiative, which seeks to secure the objects, images, and stories that will allow historians—and the public at large—to eventually make sense of the events that shaped American life in pivotal moments, including the tumultuous one we are living through right now. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Bryant joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss the historical importance of everyday people, how t-shirts and rakes can capture the essence of a major protest, and how this year's upheaval is similar to—and different from—previous chapters in American history.
Jun 19, 2020
Why Artist Trevor Paglen Is Doing Everything He Can to Warn Humanity About Artificial Intelligence
In fall 2019, a new app called ImageNet Roulette was introduced to the world with what seemed like a simple, fun premise: snap a selfie, upload it to a database, and wait a few seconds for machine learning to tell you what type of person you are. Maybe a "teacher," maybe a "pilot," maybe even just a "woman." Or maybe, as the app's creator warned, the labels the system tagged you with would be shockingly racist, misogynistic, or misanthropic. Frequently, the warning turned out to be prescient, and the app immediately went viral thanks to its penchant for slurs and provocative presumptions. Long since decommissioned, ImageNet Roulette was part of a larger initiative undertaken by artist Trevor Paglen and artificial intelligence researcher Kate Crawford to expose the latent biases coded into the massive data sets informing a growing number of A.I. systems. It was only the latest light that Paglen's work had shined onto the dark underbelly of our image-saturated, technology-mediated world. Even beyond his Ph.D. in geography and his MacArthur "Genius" grant, Paglen's resume is unique among his peers on blue-chip gallery rosters. He's photographically infiltrated CIA black sites, scuba-dived through labyrinths of undersea data cables, launched art into space, and collaborated with NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, all as a means of making innovative art that brings into focus the all-but-invisible power structures governing contemporary life. On this week's episode of The Art Angle, Paglen joins Andrew Goldstein by phone to discuss his adventurous career. Although the episode was recorded before George Floyd's murder sparked nationwide demonstrations for racial justice, Paglen's work is more timely than ever for its probing of surveillance, authoritarianism, and the ways both are being simultaneously empowered and cloaked by A.I.
Jun 12, 2020
Four Artists on the Front Lines of the George Floyd Protests
As American citizens entered Memorial Day weekend this year, the nation was already in turmoil. Nearly 100,000 lives had been lost to a colossal public-health crisis, with a disproportionately high number of the victims being African American; tens of millions of people had filed for unemployment since mid-March; and many states central to the US economy remained largely locked down, with few solid indications of when they would resume anything resembling business as usual. Then, after a Minnesota deli owner accused George Floyd of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill on Memorial Day itself, the four police officers who responded to the call suffocated Floyd on camera during his arrest—and the national conversation immediately pivoted to America's original and deadliest sin: institutional racism. Although Floyd's death has now become the centerpiece of perhaps the broadest-based US protest movement since the Vietnam War, the tensions between (mostly) white authorities and communities of color has been building for centuries. In fact, another unarmed black American, 26-year-old healthcare worker Breonna Taylor, was killed in her own bed by Louisville police just days before Floyd's murder. The fatalities offer fresh proof of the lethal discrimination that has shaped American history since its beginning. But they have also quickly shifted widespread concerns for safety from COVID-19 to widespread demands for justice and systemic change from police and all levels of government. On the first Friday of the demonstrations sparked by the Floyd tragedy, Artnet News's art and design editor Noor Brara sought out a wide variety of artists willing to share their stories from the protests (and beyond). By the following Monday morning, she had gathered personal accounts from 18 artists that ranged from the painful, to the terrifying, to the uplifting as they joined (or continued) in the movement for action. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Brara brings four of those stories to our listeners, in their own words. Artists Ebony Brown, Candy Kerr, Marcus Leslie Singleton, and Darryl Westly—all black Americans—spoke to Artnet News about the devastating repetitions of history, the fatigue of trying to educate white America, and how their protest experiences shape their artistic practices.
Jun 05, 2020
The Rise and Fall of Anne Geddes, Queen of Baby Photography
Picture this: a doughy, apple-cheeked infant nestled in between the soft petals of a dew-kissed flower, sound asleep, like the start of a real-life fable. Almost everyone who conjures that mental image will do so using a nearly identical aesthetic—and whether you realize it or not, that's almost entirely because of the work of legendary baby photographer Anne Geddes. After her debut photography book, Down in the Garden, soared to number three on the New York Times Bestseller list in 1996, Geddes's wholesomely surreal infant images became inescapable. Oprah went on air to declare Down in the Garden the best coffee-table book she'd ever seen, and by late December 1997, Geddes's publishing partners had sold more than 1.8 billion (yes, with a "b") calendars and date books of her photography for the upcoming year. Her dizzying success soon spurred the artist to ramp up production, with a standard Geddes shoot requiring six-to-eight months of planning and a budget between $250,000 and $350,000. But who could blame her for going big? Geddes's empire of adorable infants seemed unstoppable. Cut to 2020, however, and the picture has changed dramatically—not just for Geddes, but for an entire creative economy driven by analog photography, print publishing, and the high barriers to entry formerly associated with both. Years after smartphones first began putting increasingly high-quality cameras in nearly everyone's pocket, and Instagram began providing masses of self-trained shutterbugs a free and wide-reaching distribution platform for their images, it's not hyperbole to say that the pillars on which Geddes built her career have crumbled. So what's the Queen of Baby Photography to do when her kingdom becomes unrecognizable? In this week's episode, Andrew Goldstein chats with Noor Brara, Artnet's art and design editor, about her recent profile of Geddes. Together, they discuss the artist's rise, fall, and reckoning with culture's digital evolution.
May 28, 2020
China’s Most Adventurous Museum Director on Global Art’s Post-COVID Future
In late January, Philip Tinari, the director of Beijing's pioneering UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, was in Davos, Switzerland for the latest outing on the non-stop international carousel of events that has defined the art world for much of the 21st century. It was there, on a ski lift, that he began receiving frantic messages from his team back at the museum: a mysterious disease had begun afflicting an alarming number of Chinese residents, and the government was beginning to shut down borders, cities, and businesses—including museums like theirs—to try to stem the spread. That mysterious illness was, of course, COVID-19, the lethal respiratory disease that roared to life in Wuhan, China and went on to grind much of the global economy and the art industry to a halt. Its emergence gave Tinari, a Philadelphia native who has led the UCCA Center since 2011, a rare front-row view to the societal and cultural impact of the virus near its point of origin, as well as the considerable damage it has done to the already-strained relationship between the United States and China. But just over three months later, China's extreme response to the virus has proven effective enough for the country to begin resuming some semblance of normal life, including visiting art museums and galleries. On May 21, the UCCA Center reopened with "Meditations in an Emergency," a multipart exhibition created in response to the virus, making Tinari and his staff among the first to have to adapt the in-person art experience to a post-pandemic world. On this week's episode, Tinari joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss how the crisis has changed the art landscape in China, the practical challenges of shutting down and restarting museum operations in a crisis, and what the future may hold for the art world at large.
May 21, 2020
YouTube’s No-Nonsense Art Guru on How to Unlock Your Inner Artist
How many times have you heard someone in a museum scoff "I could do that" in the presence of a solid-black canvas or an obtuse conceptual installation? You're not alone, and frankly, curator-turned-YouTube-star Sarah Urist Green understands the disconnect between art enthusiasts and art skeptics. But she wants to fix it by guiding all of us, from truck drivers to art historians, into tapping our own inner wells of creativity using the biggest video platform on the planet. After grad school and a curatorship at the former Indianapolis Museum of Art (renamed Newfields in 2017), Urist Green was well-versed in the ins and outs of the contemporary-art scene. But she eventually began to tire of the insular world built up around the work itself and longed for a way to expand art's audience. When her husband, the novelist John Green, mentioned off-hand that PBS was developing new educational programming, she took the plunge and pitched a show called "The Art Assignment" centered on projects designed by avant-garde artists that everyone, everywhere could complete themselves. Now a weekly digital web series, the YouTube fixture has some 500,000 subscribers, and it has branched out from its core concept to include travel episodes, art-history-themed cooking lessons, and much more. After six years helming the wildly popular series, Green published her first book, You Are an Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation, in late March, just as millions of people around the world were being forced to retreat indoors for weeks on end. The timing was uncanny. Born out of her YouTube series, the book is brimming with projects dreamed up by such critically acclaimed talents as Alec Soth, Michelle Grabner, and the Guerrilla Girls—each one engineered to be feasible from home with the materials available. It's a perfect solution for our long days of sheltering in place.  On this week's episode, Urist Green joins Andrew Goldstein by phone to discuss her unexpected art-world journey, the serendipitous appeal of her new book, and how you—yes, you—can be an artist, too.
May 14, 2020
How Marina Abramović Became the Center of a Vast Satanic Conspiracy Theory
Just when you thought the spring of 2020 couldn't get any weirder, a Microsoft ad starring performance artist Marina Abramović caught the attention of conspiracy peddler Alex Jones and his followers, sparking accusations that the artist was practicing satanism and reigniting the "pizzagate" controversy that ensnared Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta four years ago. It all began with a seemingly innocuous commercial put out by Microsoft to advertise a product called HoloLens 2, a newfangled set of mixed-reality smart glasses, which Abramović used to create her augmented-reality artwork The Life. Hours after the ad debuted online, an onslaught of exceedingly negative comments drove the tech company to scrub it from the Internet completely. Abramović, a native Serbian artist who has come to define a certain brand of physically and psychologically exhaustive performance, helped chart a new path for contemporary art over the course of her 50-year career. In the process, she's become a fashion icon and a friend and muse of such celebrities as James Franco and Lady Gaga. But, as it turns out, a certain corner of the Internet has also seized on her early work engaged with Eastern European politics and religious traditions—which involved dousing herself in gasoline inside a flaming pentagram and spending hours scrubbing blood off animal bones—as a sign that she, well, worships Satan and is the high priestess of a cabal formed by the Hollywood and political elite. Confused? So were we. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Artnet News's chief art critic Ben Davis joins host Andrew Goldstein by phone to break down the controversy—and explain why this moment of turmoil is proving to be an exceptionally fertile one for conspiracy theorists to reach an audience.
May 07, 2020
The New Yorker's Peter Schjeldahl on His Adventures in Life as an Accidental Art Critic
In his 2019 essay "The Art of Dying," acclaimed critic Peter Schjeldahl describes Patsy Cline's voice as "attending selflessly to the sounds and the senses of the words... consummate." The same could be said about Schjeldahl's incomparable writing about art, most notably during his 22 years (and counting) as the art critic for the New Yorker. And no one expected this outcome less than Schjeldahl himself. A Midwest native who beamed to New York at the dawn of the 1960s with little more than a high-school diploma, Schjeldahl was an aspiring poet who began reviewing exhibitions to pay the bills. More than five decades later, he is almost universally regarded as one of the most respected and beloved art critics alive. His signature first-person reckonings with art—several examples of which were recently collected in his latest book, Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light: 100 Art Writings, 1988-2018—balance accessibility, lyricism, and wit in a style that he has been painstakingly refining for nearly six decades. Schjeldahl hasn't always led a charmed life. Over the course of the past year, he experienced an almost unbelievable series of misfortunes. First, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given just six months to live; next, the apartment in the East Village he shared for 47 years with his wife, Brooke, caught fire and took his papers with it; and most recently, of course, the Schjeldahls were forced into lockdown along with much of the rest of humanity by the global health crisis. Yet the tide recently turned in Schjeldahl's favor: miraculously, his cancer is in remission thanks to treatment. His brush with the end has also enriched his perspective on art and life in new ways, which the inimitable writer was gracious enough to discuss in a phone conversation with Artnet News's own renowned critic, Ben Davis, from his country home in the Catskills. On this week's episode, Andrew Goldstein gives the floor to the critics for a free-wheeling, candid, and refreshingly upbeat conversation about subjects ranging from the intellectual gymnastics of art reviewing, to the chaotic '60s art scene in New York, to why you can't really understand Rembrandt before age 40. It's an indelible reminder of why no one else has ever done it quite like Schjeldahl—and why no one else ever will.
Apr 30, 2020
Ai Weiwei on the Coronavirus, China, and Art's New Role
Ai Weiwei is not shy about tackling the big issues. Despite winning international acclaim for his interdisciplinary, boundary-pushing art, the Chinese-born artist is better known in some circles for his activism—though in his estimation, the two are inextricably linked. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak varying degrees of havoc around the globe, Ai has increasingly turned his attention toward how the illness is exposing the failures of governments and aggravating the geopolitical fault lines between world powers. Although China, where the outbreak began in December 2019, seems to have contained the virus sufficiently to begin easing its way back to some kind of normalcy, serious questions remain about how transparent Xi Jinping's regime has been about the disease. After being detained, beaten, and surveilled by party officials in 2011 in response to his investigative work, Ai knows better than most how the tentacles of China's authoritarian government can accost citizens willing to criticize the state. He believes that here, too, the bureaucracy's unwillingness to admit its own errors has created disastrous consequences for others—this time, the world over. But he also believes that leading Western nations, especially the United States, bear some of the blame for being too accommodating of China for too long, all in pursuit of profit. This week on the podcast, Ai Weiwei calls in from Cambridge, UK, where he is safely ensconced with his son and girlfriend, to discuss the pandemic, its effects on global politics, and how artists can contribute to a world in turmoil.
Apr 23, 2020
How Photography Is Being Revolutionized in the Coronavirus Era
Today, Antwaun Sargent is known as the preeminent critical and curatorial voice for one of the most important movements in contemporary photography. Along with its accompanying exhibition, his book, The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, stands as an important statement on a diverse set of young artists finding their own unique ways to break down the traditional boundaries separating two disciplines that have always been more intertwined than has been widely acknowledged. Yet just a few years ago, Sargent was virtually unknown to the fine-art establishment. He found his footing as an independent writer looking to spotlight rising black artists in his peer group (think: Jordan Casteel, Awol Erizku, and Jennifer Packer), then quickly expanded his scope to place their practices in conversation with a long line of artists of color whose pioneering work too often went unrecognized by the (usually) Western white male gatekeepers of their respective eras. His essays have since appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and several institutional publications, enlightening audiences on not only the work of particular photographers, but also on how their collective efforts are shifting the conventions of image-making—inside and outside the art world alike. On this week's episode, Sargent joins the podcast for a wide-ranging conversation touching on everything from Awol Erizku's instant-classic pregnancy-reveal photos of Beyoncé, to the leveling power of social media for a generation of image-makers eager to control their work's distribution, to how photography is simultaneously evolving in response to the coronavirus crisis and memorializing its effects on global culture.
Apr 16, 2020
Why Germany's COVID-19 Relief Plan Is the Envy of the Art World
Although the coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a public-health emergency, it rapidly proved to be a deep financial emergency, too. With businesses and cultural institutions around the world forced to shutter en masse in the face of social-distancing regulations, questions loom large about how the global economy and the workforce will endure a prolonged period in which all but "essential" laborers must work from home—or not at all. This proposition is especially worrisome in the art industry, where so many artists and small businesses weather precarious conditions even in the best of times, making them especially vulnerable to financial ruin in our current extraordinary moment. Yet different Western nations are responding to the cultural crisis in very different ways. The United States hammered out a roughly $2.2 trillion rescue package that contained only $300 million specifically earmarked for arts and media causes, and conservative politicians attacked even this paltry amount as wasteful spending. In contrast, Germany announced a federal aid package featuring a whopping €50 billion ($54 billion) to be distributed to freelancers and small businesses, including those in the arts, while the country's culture minister praised artists as "not only indispensable, but also vital, especially now." Even more assistance came from the city-state of Berlin, which began funneling €5,000 payments to individual freelancers almost instantly with the promise that "there will be enough for everyone." On this week's episode, Artnet News's European editor Kate Brown calls in from her home in Berlin to discuss all sides of Germany's stunning cultural rescue plan. How did a country known for its sometimes-daunting bureaucracy manage to assemble such a generous bailout in such short order? What kind of political climate enabled it? And what does the package mean for the future of the arts in Berlin and Germany at large once the crisis finally ends?
Apr 09, 2020
The Unbelievable True Story of the Mystical Painter Agnes Pelton
Art history thrives on stories of fearless visionaries leaving behind the lives they've known to embark on journeys into uncertain lands for personal enrichment and artistic illumination. But few are as surprising as that of Agnes Pelton, the spiritualist painter who departed New York in 1932—alone, at the age of 50—to begin a new chapter in the California desert. There, she supported herself for years by selling realistic portraits and landscape paintings to tourists while, largely unbeknownst to others, she also pursued a connection to the divine through one of the most forward-looking painting practices of the early 20th century. A lifelong student of occult literature and unorthodox philosophies, Pelton languished in obscurity for decades before and after her death in 1961. But a handful of perceptive curators and scholars eventually recognized the importance of her otherworldly, semi-abstract canvases, which intermingle ethereal forms with a few identifiable symbols loaded with deeper meaning, such as stars and mountains. Pelton's supporters first succeeded in bringing her work to the larger art world's attention in the late 1980s, and more than 30 years later, she became the subject of a sweeping and critically admired solo exhibition that traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art this spring (before the museum, like so many others, was forced to close until further notice). On this week's episode, curator Barbara Haskell, who oversaw the Whitney's installation of Pelton's show, joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss the artist's scandal-plagued upbringing, all-consuming engagement with spiritualism, and lasting relevance in a world once again seeking greater meaning beyond the physical realm.
Apr 02, 2020
Three Ways Coronavirus Will Transform the Art World
In the past month, the world—and by extension, the art world—has changed so drastically that it is almost unrecognizable. While the novel 2019 coronavirus continues to threaten countries around the globe and industries of all types, major and minor art institutions alike have shuttered until further notice, hundreds of galleries have temporarily closed their doors, and both artists and art lovers have been left to wonder how to respond in the social-distancing era. Like so many other staffers worldwide, the Art Angle team is now working remotely, harnessing the power of technology to bring you a comprehensive analysis of a cultural sphere beaten back by COVID-19—but not defeated. The enormity of the changes in progress demanded that Artnet News assemble an all-star cast to address how the pandemic is affecting the places we go to see art, the ways we buy art, and the nature of art itself. First, Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin weighs in on how all museums, from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to small regional nonprofits, are dealing with a sudden loss of income and an uncertain future as public gathering places. Then, art business editor Tim Schneider discusses the state of the gallery system and how digital platforms could help nimble dealers reckon with the temporary end of the social art-buying experience. Finally, art critic Ben Davis shares his thoughts on how art can play a role in community-building during and after a period of widespread trauma.
Mar 26, 2020
Why Art and Fashion Need Each Other Now
For its first-ever live episode, recorded at the 2020 Armory Show, the Art Angle brought on couture wunderkind Sander Lak, the creative director of the white-hot Sies Marjan, to discuss the intersection of art and fashion. The Dutch designer, who named his label after his parents, strutted out onto the sartorial landscape in 2016 with his debut collection, and he was officially anointed by the high-fashion establishment in 2018 when the esteemed Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) named him its Best New Designer. His collections are defined by deep jewel-tones and streamlined, sleek silhouettes that are beloved by celebrities and mere mortals alike—and as a longtime art enthusiast, Lak consistently finds fascinating ways to incorporate the work of boundary-pushing contemporary artists into his work. At the time of this conversation, the Guggenheim Museum in New York had just unveiled the epic exhibition "Countryside, the Future," an examination of the pastoral in an urbanized world by the visionary starchitect Rem Koolhaas and his studio, OMA. Sies Marjan, helmed by Lak, signed on as a sponsor of the exhibition, and Lak was given unrestricted access to Koolhaas and his trove of research on the show to mine as inspiration for his Fall 2020 fashion line. The result was more than a new collection of rustic accoutrement. It became a point of reckoning for Lak and his perspective on the fashion industry at large, as well as how his practice—and the discipline at large—relates to contemporary art.
Mar 19, 2020
What Does an Art Scene Look Like Under the Coronavirus?
Usually, the first weeks of March are intensely busy ones for the international art community, as they lead up to the Art Basel Hong Kong art fair: an unmissable event that galleries, museums, and even other cultural sectors in the region have used as an anchor to present their own very best programming to visitors from around the globe. This year, though, the staggering impact of the novel 2019 coronavirus has forced Art Basel to cancel its Asian fair, beginning a long cascade of postponed and canceled art events around the globe. For the residents of Hong Kong, life has been turbulent for much of the past year, ever since pro-democracy protests began roiling the city and its art scene in late March 2019. Although Hong Kong has been praised by the World Health Organization for its rapid and effective response to the virus—it harbors only about 115 cases of COVID-19 at this time, including just three fatalities—its ace public-health infrastructure has not exempted the city from an economic crisis first sparked by the demonstrations, then accelerated by the measures taken to protect its citizens from infection. Where does this latest upheaval leave Hong Kong's artistic community? Roughly two months after joining the Art Angle to discuss the effects of the protests, reporter Vivienne Chow calls in to this week's episode from her home in Hong Kong, where she and her fellow residents have been self-isolating for weeks. She provides a front-line view of both the challenges and the opportunities presented by the coronavirus, from the eerie reality of museums, art galleries, and auction houses devoid of people, to the ingenuity and resilience shown by the many businesses launching virtual exhibition and selling platforms to compensate for the loss of face-to-face interactions with collectors, curators, and enthusiasts. As the rest of the world tries to cope with the ever-changing conditions of the epidemic, Chow's account provides perspective, and even a measure of hope, for how life and culture can weather the crisis.
Mar 10, 2020
How an Art-Dealing Prodigy Became the Market's Most Wanted Outlaw
A man on the run, millions of dollars missing, major artworks with multiple claims to ownership: these aren't plot points in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, they're elements of the real-life rise, fall, and disappearance of the young art dealer Inigo Philbrick. The son of a lauded museum director and a graduate of the esteemed Goldsmiths University of London, Philbrick got his start in the art market as an intern at the world-renowned White Cube gallery at the tender age of 23. There, under the tutelage of founder Jay Jopling, he quickly rose through the ranks to lead a successful in-house private-sales division, before striking out on his own as a big-money dealer who would go on to boast permanent spaces in London and Miami, central seats at every major evening auction (where he was a frequent buyer and third-party guarantor), and a lavish lifestyle punctuated by private-jet flights around the world and even a celebrity-socialite paramour. In short, Philbrick seemed to be the art market's golden child—until in late 2019, the lawsuits against him started landing fast and furious. Suddenly, the one-time prodigy stood accused of forging legal documents, refusing to pay enormous debts, and literal double-dealing of artworks priced in the millions of dollars each. And rather than stay and defend himself in court, Philbrick instead vanished into thin air, leaving his one-time partners and clients to fight over scraps. Today, reams of legal documents point to his apparent modus operandi: selling the same partial shares of pieces by in-demand artists to multiple profit-hungry high-rollers looking for a quick-yet-juicy return on investment, as well as using art-backed loans to wring cash out of works whose true ownership may have been questionable at best. The key to these strategies? A willingness to exploit the many gray areas within an increasingly financialized art market, where handshake deals and blind faith still too often substitute for due diligence and rigorous contracts. So how did so many members of the art world's elite become unwitting co-stars in our industry's own version of The Big Short? How high might the losses climb by the time this sordid saga ends? And where, exactly, has the art market's most-wanted man gone? On this week's episode of the Art Angle, senior market reporter Eileen Kinsella unspools the twisted tale of Inigo Philbrick, which she reported on in depth for Artnet's Spring 2020 Intelligence Report.
Mar 03, 2020
Is the Museum of Ice Cream the Future of Art, or Just a Sugar Rush?
There's a buzzy new museum taking over New York, and it boasts the types of specs that would make competitors drool. Now housed in a prime 25,000-square-foot building in the hip SoHo neighborhood, this fresh destination has welcomed more than 1.5 million visitors since it launched as a pop-up back in 2016, and its $39 ticket price is higher than any major museum in America. But it's not the Museum of Modern Art... or a traditional art museum at all. It's the Museum of Ice Cream. This magical cash cow—last year, venture capitalists valued it at more than $200 million—is a tour de force in the realm of the experience economy. It has spawned throngs of imitators hoping to replicate what co-founders Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora have termed an "experium," or an attraction that combines a memorable (and Instagrammable) in-person "experience" with the cultural enrichment of a classical museum (or some of it, anyway). Instead of art on pedestals or in gilded frames, the MOIC presents visitors with a giant pool filled with plastic sprinkles, an ice-cream-themed slide traversing three floors, and many more sweet visual treats. Instead of erudite texts penned by a curator or academic, the walls next to the various sights boast QR-codes that allow visitors to access branded selfie filters. You get the picture. For this week's episode of the Art Angle, Artnet News national art critic Ben Davis braved the Presidents' Day weekend crowds to get a taste of the MOIC's hot-pink environments and oh-so-cool installations so he could report back with his impressions. As he identified back in 2016, Bunn and Vora's creation is one of the attractions luring visitors across demographics into a stampede toward what he calls "Big Fun Art": immersive, flashy spectacles that prize social interaction over personal edification. So what does the Museum of Ice Cream's four years (and counting) of resounding success signal for the future of museums and cultural attractions on a wider scale? Is this the solidification of a sugar-spun phenomenon, or will this trend be licked before too long?
Feb 25, 2020
What Is Saudi Arabia Trying to Do With Contemporary Art?
Some 16 months after the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of state agents, the organization behind the namesake Southern California biennial Desert X announced that it would put on an ambitious new exhibition of contemporary art in AlUla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site deep in the Medina region of Saudi Arabia. Word of the show (which debuted this February) incited a firestorm of criticism from international art-world figures, including three of Desert X's own advisors—artist Ed Ruscha, art historian and curator Yael Lipschutz, and philanthropist Tristan Milanovich—all of whom resigned in protest. Mohammad Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has simultaneously denied ordering Khashoggi's slaying and publicly taken responsibility for it because the act "happened on [his] watch." The dissonance between those concepts parallels the dissonance playing out on a national level under his rule. On one hand, MBS (as Bin Salman is popularly known) has launched major social reforms, including curtailing the authority of the religious police and permitting women to drive, as well as continuing to pump vast government resources into new cultural initiatives such as Desert X AlUla—all with the aim of diversifying the oil-dependent Saudi economy and improving the country's dubious reputation with more progressive world leaders. On the other hand, MBS has also made several troubling moves to consolidate power in recent years, including arresting prominent opposition clerics and imprisoning more than 200 businessman, princes, and other officials in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel for weeks under the guise of an anti-corruption crackdown. So how exactly does Desert X in particular, and art in general, fit into this high-stakes geopolitical puzzle? Is the burgeoning Saudi contemporary art scene little more than a propaganda weapon wielded by MBS? Can the kingdom's homegrown artists and projects ever be evaluated on their creative merits once they accept funding or other support from the crown? And if so, where can those lines be drawn? On this week's episode of the Art Angle, journalist Rebecca Anne Proctor called in just days after returning from her visit to Desert X AlUla to discuss the controversial show, the backlash it inspired, and what Western critics could learn from speaking with the artists involved themselves.
Feb 18, 2020
How Hollywood Finally Fell for the Art Market
The Oscars may be over, but Hollywood is about to be overrun with a different kind of A-lister this week when the art world descends on Tinseltown for the second edition of Frieze Los Angeles. Despite the glut of disposable income earned from media moguls and tech startups, it has long proven difficult for East Coast dealers to make inroads with prospective clients on the country's opposite flank. In this context, the success of Frieze's southern California debut last year was a pleasant surprise. One gallery that has had no problem endearing itself to a diverse audience in Los Angeles from the start is Various Small Fires. Co-founded in 2012 by Esther Kim Varet and her husband Joseph Varet, VSF, as it's commonly known, occupies a highly coveted spot along a gallery-rich stretch of Highland Avenue in Hollywood. Its Johnston Marklee-designed Art Deco-style building boasts a 3,000-square-foot main gallery connected to two adjacent project spaces, a roofless back patio that acts as an oasis in the midst of the bustling city, and the rare eco-friendly pedigree of running on 100 percent solar energy. Though the roster is small, VSF's 12 artists hold an outsize claim on the LA art scene—and beyond—with strong institutional presences and a near-constant waiting list for new work. One key to this impressive reach? The gallery's forward-looking decision to embrace Kim Varet's Korean heritage and open a second permanent space in Seoul in early 2019, allowing VSF to connect with young collectors on both sides of the Pacific. On this week's episode, Andrew Goldstein speaks to Esther Kim Varet from her office in California about what makes VSF an outlier in the often-staid, anachronistic world of art galleries, how dealers can win their artists institutional sustainability in an increasingly market-oriented field, and why photorealist painter Calida Rawles is poised to lead a renaissance of the underappreciated genre.
Feb 11, 2020
How Jeffrey Epstein Made the Art World His Hunting Ground
Over the past few weeks, the long-awaited trial of former Hollywood rainmaker Harvey Weinstein has unfolded in harrowing fashion, with one after another of his accusers taking the stand to allege patterns of sexual and psychological abuse. The grim courtroom proceedings are only the latest shockwave from the #MeToo movement, which grew from accusations against Weinstein into a national reckoning with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other rampant abuses perpetrated by those in positions of power. The art world has not been a safe haven from this heinous activity. In fact, one of the most notorious predators in the mainstream news cycle also cast a long shadow over this niche industry. This week on the Art Angle, Andrew Goldstein sits down with Artnet News deputy editor Rachel Corbett to discuss a serial predator whose victims inside and outside the arts will never have the chance to confront him: Jeffrey Epstein. Many questions remain to be answered after Epstein, the former financier, arts patron, and convicted sex offender who counted numerous elite figures among his inner circle, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his jail cell while waiting to stand trial for charges of sex trafficking in New York. But his alleged crimes have taken on new life in the art world due to detailed, troubling accusations made by painter and former New York Academy of Art student Maria Farmer, who claims Epstein and his associates leveraged her creative ambitions against her for their own perverse ends. Farmer's disturbing story details how Epstein turned the largely unregulated art world into a hunting ground for new victims. The issues raised by her accusations also loom large over all creative fields, where personal relationships and favors from the top of the hierarchy can make or break the careers of young, talented people striving to make their mark. Please be advised: This episode contains accounts of sexual abuse that some listeners may find disturbing. 
Feb 04, 2020
How the Art World Fell Under the Spell of the Occult
You don't hear the words "witch hunt" much nowadays, unless they are being deployed by a certain US President. But the term is increasingly relevant—in a much more literal sense—to any tour through the art-historical canon, where witchcraft, paganism, and the occult seem to be more important presences every day. This development is in tune with what's happening in mainstream culture, too. More than one million Americans today identify as Neopagans or Wiccans, and many businesses are riding their broomsticks straight to the bank. In the US, more than $2 billion is spent on "mystical services" each year, ranging from tarot card readings to online horoscopes, and you can find a slew of podcasts on the subject with titles like "Hippie Witch," "so you wanna be a witch?" and "The Witch Bitch Amateur Hour," to name just a few. What exactly is driving this spiritualist surge? This week, author and art critic Eleanor Heartney joins the Art Angle to divine the details of this phenomenon in art and culture. Following an article for Artnet News in which she traced the intensifying focus on artists exploring occult practices in recent museum exhibitions—most notably the Guggenheim's attendance-record-breaking retrospective of the Swedish mystic artist Hilma af Klint—Heartney discusses why spiritualism and the occult are on the rise in 2020, how feminism fits into the puzzle, and what her new book, Doomsday Dreams: The Apocalyptic Imagination in Contemporary Art, has to say about breaking through a history of cataclysm-inclined thinking.
Jan 28, 2020
Nicolas Party on Why Being an Art Star Is Like Being in Love
After a period of reckoning with a less-than-inclusive art historical canon, it seems increasingly clear that viewers (and dealers) are once again ready to embrace fresh young talent from the land of the living—artists bringing new perspectives and ideas into the sometimes-staid institutional mix. Among this up-and-coming group, one name on almost everyone's lips right now is Nicolas Party. A preternaturally good-natured 38 year-old, Party has won widespread attention not for some technologically savvy mixed-reality experience, but in fact, for the opposite. The Swiss-born artist is actually a proponent of one of the oldest art-making mediums, using pastels to conjure fantastical landscapes, portraits, and still lifes that are just as colorful as the Missoni sweaters he's fond of. On this week's episode of the Art Angle, Party discusses his evolution from a teenage street artist trying (and eventually, failing) to elude authorities in his native Lausanne, to an art-school student working in digital modeling, to a hands-on figurative artist who recently became the youngest-ever member of mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth—a transformation that has propelled his works as high as seven figures at auction.
Jan 21, 2020
What Do the Protests in Hong Kong Mean for Art?
Above and beyond its well-established status as a global financial center, Hong Kong has spent the 21st century rapidly transforming into an international nexus for the art market: welcoming to both Eastern and Western collectors, appealing to institutions and artists alike for its vibrant economy and cosmopolitan character, and stabilized by its unique embrace of democratic values just a stone's throw from state-dominated mainland China. But since March 2019, Hong Kong has been rocked off its axis by ongoing and increasingly violent political protests, all sparked by what the demonstrators read as aggressive moves by Xi Jinping and his agents to accelerate the so-called "handover" of the former British colony to Chinese control several years earlier than scheduled. With free speech and free governance hanging in the balance, art and journalism have become pivotal forces in the battle for Hong Kong's future. In this episode of the Art Angle, Artnet News contributor Vivienne Chow—a Hong Kong native—gives a moving firsthand account of what it’s like to cover these volatile events from the front lines, where artists fit into the protests, and how the experience has challenged her perception about nothing less than the meaning and importance of art. And all of this while she simultaneously has to process how her home morphed into a place she could not have imagined only a few years earlier, and whether Hong Kong or its art scene will ever be the same.
Jan 14, 2020
Four Predictions on How the Art World Will Transform in 2020
Whether you ascribe to the centuries-old Georgian Calendar or slept through the clock striking midnight, ushering in a new year is often a time for reflection on what's past, and what is to come. Here at Artnet News, resident business editor and part-time soothsayer Tim Schneider embraces his mystical powers to peer into the future and offer a slew of highly specific predictions for the art world. In this episode, Tim distills some of the broadest issues facing the art world using trend analysis to make concrete statements for 2020, which can (and will) be objectively reviewed as having been right or wrong in 12 months' time. In the days before the calendar page turned to 2020, Tim expounded on seven distinct predictions for the industry, and Andrew Goldstein grilled him about four of the most contentious points, including such thorny issues as ethical decision-making in museums, blue-chip galleries reducing their carbon footprint, the red-hot market for young artists, and whether Instagram will actually change the policies on nudity that have artists up in arms over censorship
Jan 07, 2020
How to Understand the Radical, Viral Artworks That Defined the 2010s
As a barrage of retrospective pieces from countless publications (including Artnet News) made clear throughout December 2019, the opening moments of 2020 signal a new decade, not just a new year. Looking back, the 2010s seem to be defined by one intense development after another, including an ever-expanding digital revolution, an ever-widening chasm between rich and poor, the ever-heightening peril of climate change, and so much more.  The art world felt the effects of these changes throughout the decade, but it also sought to grapple with, adjust to, and even counteract them. Artists were at the forefront of this charge, whether the subject at hand was sexism, racism, classism, or any number of other systemic injustices. And the key artworks of the 2010s enhanced our understanding of the era in ways that were unforgettable, even if they weren’t always pleasant.   What were those key artworks, though? With the benefit of hindsight and a ratings system devised to reach past the simple idea of “best” pieces, Artnet News national art critic Ben Davis walks listeners through highlights of his multi-part, 100-work list. Some of his choices are almost guaranteed to surprise you. (They certainly surprised our editors!)
Dec 31, 2019
How an Artist’s $120,000 Banana Ate the World
At the start of December, the Art Angle team had other, loftier ideas for the show's first Christmas episode. Maybe we would dig into the most important developments in the art world this past year or examine the growing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and their effect on the city's cultural community. But then, we lived through this year's edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, where superstar Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan duct-taped an ordinary supermarket banana to the wall of his gallery's booth at the fair, declared it an artwork, and priced its first edition at the eyebrow-raising sum of $120,000. From there, all hell broke loose. And after the astonishing sequence of events catapulted Comedian (the work's official title) beyond the art world and squarely into the center of pop culture, it became a stone-cold guarantee that, if your job has something—anything—to do with art, the banana will be one of the first topics of conversation your friends and extended family bring up during your holiday celebration. So we caved to the inevitable and made this episode your banana survival guide, covering everything you need to know about this (in)famous artwork in just over 20 minutes. First, Artnet News senior writer Sarah Cascone, who broke the story of the banana's initial sales from the floor of Art Basel Miami Beach, charts how this once-anonymous fruit duct-taped to the wall became an obsession for the world at large. Then, Artnet News national art critic Ben Davis parachutes in to explain what it all means in the context of art history, and why, as a sculpture, Comedian is both slightly more—and much, much less—than meets the eye.
Dec 24, 2019
New Yorker Art Scribe Calvin Tomkins on What Makes Great Artists Tick
Six decades ago, an editor at Newsweek magazine summoned a young journalist named Calvin Tomkins out of the foreign-news department to interview the legendary conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp, who had allegedly left art-making in favor of playing chess and... simply breathing. Although it would be years before Tomkins discovered Duchamp had in fact already been at work on his magnum opus, Étant Donnés, for years before their first meeting, this chance encounter altered the trajectory of his career and life. Duchamp was the gateway to what would become a prolific collection of artists—many of them eccentric or otherwise challenging, all of them great (or at least noteworthy)—that Tomkins went on to profile in the pages of the New Yorker beginning in 1962. Dozens of those profiles have now been compiled into a lavish new multi-volume set, titled The Lives of Artists, published by Phaidon. The collection joins 18 other books that Tomkins has previously published on artists and the art world, including an essential biography of the man who started it all for him: Marcel Duchamp. In the process, Tomkins has arguably become known as the world's authority on not only many of the most consequential postwar and contemporary artists in the canon, but also on the art of profiling itself. To celebrate the release of The Lives of Artists, Tomkins joined Artnet News editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein in studio to discuss his one-of-a-kind journey, what David Hammons shares with Duchamp, and even the editioned banana that took over the world, AKA Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian.
Dec 17, 2019
Is the Art World Causing a Climate Catastrophe?
For our latest episode, team Art Angle traveled to Art Basel Miami Beach to examine a much thornier and more urgent issue than the glamorous trade show's business: the art world's impact on Mother Earth. From thousands of deep-pocketed collectors flying in to south Florida for the week's festivities, to the hundreds of black cars and Ubers ferrying attendees from event to event, to the (literal) tons of artworks shipped by air, land, and sea to Miami's convention centers for a scant five days of exposure, the ecologically punishing realities of the art fair demand that we take a hard look at their sustainability for the planet—and ask bigger questions about the art world's responsibility to address the climate crisis. The need for action only intensifies in light of the fact that Art Basel Miami Beach is just one of nearly 300 art fairs held around the globe every year, and that many of these events take place in the coastal destinations most imperiled by climate change. Art Basel Miami Beach is held just a few blocks from the waterfront where the sea level has tripled over the past decade, causing the city to ship in imported sand to keep its coastline from disappearing entirely. And this is just a prelude of things to come in other crucial art hubs like Hong Kong, London, New York, and Los Angeles. Given the art world's cherished progressive reputation, how long can it justify the extraordinarily outsize habits of its fairs, institutions, and jet-setting elites? In what ways could the various players in the global art market minimize the damage they do to Mother Nature? And how are artists, as well as climate-activist groups like Extinction Rebellion, foregrounding the need for change in the cultural sphere? In the middle of Miami Art Week, Artnet News's European editor Kate Brown joined Andrew Goldstein by phone from Germany to tackle these urgent questions, and more.
Dec 15, 2019
Art Basel Rules the Art Market. Is That a Good Thing for Art?
This week, what seems like the entire art industry, every luxury company, and every celebrity or status-seeker available will be traveling to south Florida for the 18th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, the final stop on the annual art-market calendar—as well as a champagne-soaked playground for the rich and famous. And while people love to complain about this particular fair, Art Basel matters to the art business in an enormous, almost existential way. Since its founding in 1970, Art Basel has evolved from a bespoke trade fair for German-speaking art collectors near its namesake Swiss city into a commercial Colossus linking Europe, Asia, and the Americas via three supersized fairs. Each event doesn't only draw buyers and sellers of art who regularly transact in the millions of dollars, or even just the broader constellation of curators, journalists, and art lovers. It has also become a beacon for almost anyone hoping to ride the cultural wave that is contemporary art and its clientele, from major corporations to micro-influencers. And in its wake, literally hundreds of other art fairs have risen up around the world hoping to do something similar. But have Art Basel and its competitors done more to help the art world, or to hurt it? How have trade fairs warped the way we value artists and their work? And if big fairs have become a big business, why are so many starting to either branch out... or die off? Just in time for Art Basel Miami Beach 2019, Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin weighs in on the past, present, and future of art fairs.
Dec 03, 2019
How Yayoi Kusama Became an Unlikely Pop-Culture Phenomenon
The 90-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is an international sensation. Exhibitions featuring her ongoing series of “Infinity Mirrored Rooms” consistently draw tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of visitors from all walks of life, with many enduring multiple-hour wait times for the opportunity to spend as little as a single minute inside the installations (and almost undoubtedly using much of that hard-won time to snap an obligatory selfie).  Now, the Kusama phenomenon is electrifying New York once again this holiday season—and at an unprecedented new scale. David Zwirner is currently in the midst of “Every Day I Pray for Love,” a solo show by the artist that has been magnetizing nearly 2,000 visitors a day to its West 20th Street gallery in Chelsea. And later this week, Kusama’s work will be beamed to an estimated 23 million viewers around the globe in the form of a monumental artist-designed hot-air balloon that will soar through the streets of Manhattan as a part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Yet such widespread popularity seems even more incredible to the much smaller group of aficionados familiar with Kusama’s artistic and personal trials, as well as the often challenging, even unsettling, themes under the Instagram-friendly surface of her works.  So how did a career that began with guerrilla performances and protest pieces wind its way through voluntary commitment to a psychiatric facility and crescendo in family-friendly social-media ubiquity? Artnet News national art critic Ben Davis unwinds the unlikely history and undeniable resonance of Kusama’s groundbreaking practice.
Nov 26, 2019
Who Is Sotheby's Mysterious New Owner, and What Does He Want?
Normally, the week following Art Basel in June sees the art market begin its downshift into the summer doldrums. But this year, on what nearly everyone expected to be a quiet Monday, the usual cycle was disrupted by a breaking-news earthquake: Sotheby's, the world's oldest auction house, had struck a deal in principle to be acquired for $3.7 billion by a mysterious telecom magnate named Patrick Drahi. Even more jarring than Drahi's status as a largely unknown quantity in the art world was the announcement that he planned to return Sotheby's, which had been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange for the previous 31 years, to private control. News of the deal triggered an avalanche of questions among art-world observers: Who exactly was Drahi, as a man, an entrepreneur, and a patron of the arts? What did his entrance portend for CEO Tad Smith and the rest of the house's existing leadership structure? What would it mean for the market to lose access to the detailed financial information that Sotheby's was required to regularly disclose to the public by Uncle Sam? And what were the larger implications for the art industry overall? Roughly five months later, Drahi's acquisition of Sotheby's is official, and an elite group of his trusted confidantes can now be found in the house's C-suite. But with so many big changes still so fresh—and with so many questions still left to be answered—Artnet News art business editor Tim Schneider came on the Art Angle to make sense of this seismic event in auction history.
Nov 19, 2019
Hans Neuendorf on 30 Years of Artnet, and What Comes Next
Hans Neuendorf had already built a storied career as an art dealer by the late 1980s, helping to bring Pop art from the United States to Germany, co-founding the first-ever art fair (Art Cologne), and putting his resources behind homegrown star-to-be Georg Baselitz when the artist was still roundly dismissed.  But nothing Neuendorf did earlier changed the art market as drastically or irreversibly as when he founded Artnet in 1989, on the belief that a shared database of the prices achieved by artworks at auction would bring transparency and newfound efficiency to the opaque, antiquated art market. Today, as we know, the once-quaint art business has evolved into a global art industry. Even as purists continue to cry out that any thought toward money destroys the bridge art can build to transcendence, data-driven art flippers chase astronomical returns on investment, as if paintings were just a prettier asset class—and none of it would have been possible without Artnet’s data.  Is this what Neuendorf had in mind? And either way, how have the past three decades at the helm of Artnet altered his viewpoint on where the art market might go in the next 30 years? Artnet News editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein sat down with Neuendorf to find out these answers and much more.
Nov 12, 2019
Anish Kapoor on "Radical" Art, China, and the Magic Paint Wars
Already one of the world's most renowned and visible artists, Anish Kapoor is entering new territory by opening multiple major exhibitions on opposite ends of the Earth within a few weeks of each other this fall. On October 25, he debuted twin shows of new work at Lisson Gallery's two spaces in New York. And on November 10, he unveils a significant solo exhibition split between Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts and the Taimiao Art Museum of the Imperial Ancestral Temple, making him only the second non-Chinese artist to show at the threshold of the Forbidden City. In the midst of this historic whirlwind, Artnet News editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein sat down with Kapoor inside Lisson's New York headquarters to discuss his newest perception-defying sculptures, the relationship between his activism for human rights and his decision to exhibit in the heart of China, and the ongoing controversy around his work with "the blackest material in the universe," Vantablack.  Special thanks to Lisson Gallery for hosting this episode of the Art Angle.
Nov 05, 2019
Why Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre Matters
To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death, the Louvre pulled out all the stops to present a blockbuster exhibition of some of the Old Master's greatest works, along with a few technological surprises to help viewers see his contributions in a whole new way. But do these moves manage to contextualize Leonardo in our contemporary moment? And what role is—or isn't—played by Salvator Mundi, the painting sold at Christie's for a record-annihilating $450.3 million before disappearing from view for almost two years? Associate editor Naomi Rea phones host Andrew Goldstein to discuss the masterpieces on view, the Louvre's attempt to take Leonardo into virtual reality, and the seemingly never-ending intrigue around Salvator Mundi.
Oct 30, 2019
How MoMA Remade Itself for the Trump Era
After over $400 million in renovations and a multiple-month closure to the public, the Museum of Modern Art is back. National art critic Ben Davis sits down with host Andrew Goldstein to address the curators' attempts to decenter the Western canon, what the changes might mean for MoMA's hordes of tourists, and whether a museum this hallowed can ever be a sanctuary from the larger cultural conversation.
Oct 27, 2019