34 episodes

Politics, art, and a general disappointment with how things are going.

Explain Me Paddy Johnson and William Powhida

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 62 Ratings

Politics, art, and a general disappointment with how things are going.

    Defining Contemporary Kitsch: Part 2 of The New York Art Fairs

    Defining Contemporary Kitsch: Part 2 of The New York Art Fairs

    What does contemporary kitsch look like? In this episode, Paddy and William use a discussion of the art fairs and New York gallery scene to lead a defining of the term. From its generic definition of objects described to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, to the current nostalgia driving a tasted for recycled art movements, all kitsch lacks in originality. 
    Listen in for the whole conversation. 
    Kenny Schachter at Allouche Benias Gallery 
    Renate Druks at The Ranch,
    Olivia Reavey at Helena Anrather
    Sanaa Gateja at 50 Golborne
    WonderBuhle at BKhz Gallery
    Michael Foley
    Judith Linhares at PPOW 
    JTT Gallery Anna-Sophie Berger and Sam McKinniss
    Sky Hopinka at Broadway Gallery 
    Paul Mpagi Sepuya at Bortalami 
    Nora Turato at 52 Walker Gallery
    The Downward Spiral: 59th Venice Biennial by Dean Kissick 

    • 47 min
    What The New York Art Fairs Tell Us About Art

    What The New York Art Fairs Tell Us About Art

    Art media does a great job at looking forward to art events, yet rarely looks back to reflect on what these happenings say about the cultural moment. In this episode of Explain Me, co-hosts Paddy Johnson and William Powhida do a deep dive into the fairs to discuss the deeply conservative sales landscape we've been sinking into over the past ten years.  
    Carlos Jacanamijoy’s 2020 ab ex painting “Carminos de Luz” at Harper’s
    Laurie Reid’s “Ballast” at Et Al. Gallery
    The Baboon Chair by  Margaux Valengin at Pact
    Paul Gabrelli’s “Everyday Objects” at New Discretions
    Elliot Reed at Anonymous Gallery
    Dan Colen at Gagosian
    Al Freeman at 56 Henry
    Tessa Lynch’s text-based compositions at Patricia Fleming Gallery
    Scott Lyal at Migeul Abbreu Gallery
    Aaron Garber-Maikovska
    Casja von Zeipel’s Celesbian Terrain  
    Kevin McCoy’s corporate-sponsored display of Quantum and some generative artworks by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. 
    Pedro Reyes, Alex da Corte, Nayland Blake, Alex Katz, Matthew Wong, 

    • 49 min
    Whitney Biennial Report: Care and Caution

    Whitney Biennial Report: Care and Caution

    We're baaaaack! After a four month break William and Paddy return with some big news about the podcast and an in depth conversation on The Whitney Biennial. We do the full dive here: What are the themes? How is it organized? Is it worth seeing? Is it too cautious? Who are the notable omissions? Why do these omissions matter?  
    Artist discussed:
    Cy Gavin
    Rebecca Belmore
    Guadalupe Rosales
    Lucy Raven
    Kandis Williams
    Raven Chacon
    Na Mira
    Alex Da Corte
    Trinh T. Minh-ha
    Coco Fusco
    Dave McKenzie
    Jacky Connolly
    Alfredo Jaar
    Daniel Joseph Martinez
    Jason Rhoades
    Rick Lowe
    Pao Houa Her
    Nayland Blake
    Awilda Sterling-Duprey
    Matt Connors
    Leidy Churchman
    Monica Arreola
    James Little
    Ralph Lemon
    Jane Dickson

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Flux Factory Buys Building, Retains Soul

    Flux Factory Buys Building, Retains Soul

    How many times have we seen artist-centered communities lose their grass roots identity when they buy property? High profile organizations that have shed their founders vision as they gained visibility such as the New Museum and Meow Wolf serve as cautionary tales. The quality of the work they produce suffers and their poor treatment of employees makes headlines. That's to say nothing of personality-less art complexes like The Shed, which cement the wealth of their funders while meagerly contributing to the city's cultural life.
    But these types of cultural outcomes are a choice and not an inevitable destiny, a reality made clear in this episode's interview with Flux Factory's Nat Roe. In his role as residency Executive Director, Roe recently secured $5 million from the city to purchase the building the organization has been working out of since 2009. Additionally, the organization will now operate a new satellite location, Flux IV, a the 3000 square foot ground floor gallery space on the ground floor of Gotham Point’s South Tower building. At no point in our discussion did we talk about significant changes that needed to be made to Flux's DNA to make this acquisition happen. Rather we talked about the importance of sound proofing their building so they don't disturb the neighbors.
    In the midst of LIC, a homogenized tech-enclave for Manhattan commuters, this grass roots artist organization and residency program will now serve as a permanent beacon of creative energy for the community.
    Can the DCLA support other smaller arts organizations in New York by helping them purchase real estate? Nat Roe gives us the skinny, going full wonk on city policy, while offering a history of Flux Factory and its place in the New York City arts landscape.

    Help Launch Flux Factory's new venue, Flux IV 
    The Western Queens Community Land Trust—artist Jenny Dubnau is a co-chair of the board. 
    NY Times Tribeca Art Galleries, June
    NY Times Tribeca Art Galleries, October article 
    How many times have we seen artist-centered arts organizations lose their NYC Club Scene debt? New York Times
    Secret Project Robot 
    NYC Commercial Rent Law 

    • 1 hr 29 min
    What Does a Return to the Art World Mean?

    What Does a Return to the Art World Mean?

    In this episode artist Chloe Bass’s tweet pointing to the hypocrisy of the art world leads to a discussion of labor, the New York art fairs, and unions. 
    We discuss:
    Max Lankin’s observations for ArtForum on the Armory Fair about how the new digs at the Javits Center improve upon the Piers, which were literally falling into the water.  Funny how easy it is to forget that the Javits Center, just two months ago, served as a mass vaccination center, and the year prior a makeshift hospital for COVID victims. Mostly people were just happy to see each other again. 
    Dana Kopel’s piece in the Baffler Magazine, Against Artsploitation, which chronicles the unionization efforts at the New Museum, and the museum executive’s endless gaslighting of employees. 
    The New York Art Fairs. We talk about the art at The Armory Show, The Independent, and Spring Break. The work discussed below: 
    Jeffrey Gibson at Tandem PressWendy Redstar at Sargent’s Daughters Tau Lewis at Night GalleryTony Matelli - Maruani Mercier Theresa Chromati at The Kravets Wehby GalleryJennifer Bartlett at Locks GalleryKamrooz Aram at Green . Art . GalleryJose Davilas at Sean KellySara Greenberger Rafferty at Rachel Uffner Susumu Kamijo at Jack HanleyHayley Barker at Shrine Dontae Hayes at Mindy Solomon GalleryMichael Rakowitz at Jane Lombard
    Julian Schnabel at Vito SchnabelSedrick Chisom at New American PaintingJo Nigoghossian at Broadway GalleryErik Parker at Ross+KramerAmy Feldman at Galerie Eva PresenhuberThe Ranch
    Guy Richards Smit 
    Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw - curated by Magda Sawon
    Chapel - curated by M. Charlene Stevens with work by Sophie Kahn and Colette Robbins
    Outliars, curated by Elisabeth Smolarz, work by Angie Waller
    Gather Rusted Satellites curated by Amanda Nedham Tristam Lasndwone, Kyle HittmeirerNicholas Cueva 
    Loren Erdrich
    Willa Wasserman
    James Razko
    Tammie Rubin
    Steve Locke

    • 1 hr 59 min
    Explain Me with Laura Raicovich: Art and Museums in An Age of Protest

    Explain Me with Laura Raicovich: Art and Museums in An Age of Protest

    This week hosts William Powhida and Paddy Johnson sit down with curator, writer, and former museum director Laura Raicovich to discuss her new book Culture Strike: Art and Museums in An Age of Protest. We do a deep dive with her not just on the subjects in the book, but her latest project, The Art and Society Census. Relevant links below. 
    Culture Strike: Art and Museums in An Age of Protest, VERSO
    Deinstutitional Research Team. (A project William Powhida worked on mentioned in the book.) LINK
    StrikeMoMA LINK
    The Whitney Staff letter central to the Kanders' protests. HYPERALLERGIC
    A good policy-based companion for Laura Raicovich's project. THE PEOPLE'S CULTURAL PLAN
    A non-profit with a board structure worth promoting as a positive example. RECESS
    Back story on Laura Raicovich's resignation from the Queens Museum of Art- ARTNET NEWS

    • 1 hr 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 Ratings

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Love it

This podcast makes me feel normal….like my instincts about the current art world aren’t off base. It’s also very informative and interesting, full of details that I would never know - being an artist working in the Midwest. “Fresh” is the word that comes to mind.

Amy Talluto ,

Real talk and I’m here for it

I love love love this podcast that takes the NYC artworld and breaks it downnnn. The hosts are candid, funny and thoughtful and they often relish poking fun at some of the ridiculous Emperors New Clothes-yness of the NY art market. It’s delightfully “Inside Baseball” too which I love. Don’t miss an episode!

Heart-Heart-Heart-1-2-3 ,

Great ... but a little classist and sexist

Truly appreciate this podcasts and deeply respect the hosts — but I would like to challenge some of the old fashioned, patriarchal vocabulary used in the critiques. Classist, sexist, and “Greenbergian”language, particularly around “kitsch”, is just tired.

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