34 episodes

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

Explain Me Paddy Johnson and William Powhida

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 60 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 Press
    Wendy Redstar at Sargent’s Daughters
    Tau Lewis at Night Gallery
    Tony Matelli - Maruani Mercier
    Theresa Chromati at The Kravets Wehby Gallery
    Jennifer Bartlett at Locks Gallery
    Kamrooz Aram at Green . Art . Gallery
    Jose Davilas at Sean Kelly
    Sara Greenberger Rafferty at Rachel Uffner
    Susumu Kamijo at Jack Hanley
    Hayley Barker at Shrine
    Dontae Hayes at Mindy Solomon Gallery
    Michael Rakowitz at Jane Lombard


    Julian Schnabel at Vito Schnabel
    Sedrick Chisom at New American Painting
    Jo Nigoghossian at Broadway Gallery
    Erik Parker at Ross+Kramer
    Amy Feldman at Galerie Eva Presenhuber
    The 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 Hittmeirer
    Nicholas 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
60 Ratings

60 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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