27 episodes

“Explain Me”, an art podcast that talks about the latest art news and exhibitions through the lens of politics, money and the moral of responsibility of artists. To do this, we bring together the point of view of an artist and a critic, a perspective you won’t get anywhere else. Expect honesty. Expect opinions. And expect freewheeling conversation fueled by camaraderie and a general disappointment with the ways are turning out for us all.

Explain M‪e‬ Paddy Johnson and William Powhida

    • Visual Arts
    • 4.6 • 48 Ratings

“Explain Me”, an art podcast that talks about the latest art news and exhibitions through the lens of politics, money and the moral of responsibility of artists. To do this, we bring together the point of view of an artist and a critic, a perspective you won’t get anywhere else. Expect honesty. Expect opinions. And expect freewheeling conversation fueled by camaraderie and a general disappointment with the ways are turning out for us all.

    Explain Me With Art Critic Ben Davis: The Year That Wasn't, Part Two

    Explain Me With Art Critic Ben Davis: The Year That Wasn't, Part Two

     

    Immersive Van Gogh
    In this episode of Explain Me, we continue our conversation with Artnet's National Critic Ben Davis as we take stock of 2020. 
    In this episode: 
    We discuss the biases of algorithm sorting
    Ben Davis coins the term cultural inflation, a term that refers to franchise media properties.
    We examine the relevance of ART CLUB 2000 the recent subject of Ben Davis' review, Why the New ART CLUB2000 Retrospective Offers Lessons for Today’s Artists That Transcend Pure ’90s Nostalgia
    We name check Davis' The State of Culture, Part One.

    • 58 min
    Explain Me with Art Critic Ben Davis: The Year That Wasn't, Part One

    Explain Me with Art Critic Ben Davis: The Year That Wasn't, Part One

    "Immersive Van Gogh"
    In this episode of Explain Me, we take stock of the year in art with Artnet's National Critic Ben Davis.
    What happened in the art world in 2020?  We ask this knowing that we obviously have not seen a lot of art or attended anything remotely like a normal opening. But, a lot happened this year, even if we experienced it all at a distance.
    We know that, with the vaccine slowly rolling out now, the art world will return, but what are the implications of the pandemic for the art world this coming fall and beyond?
    In part one of this episode we discuss: 
    The few upsides of the pandemic.
    Ben Davis on Phillip Guston Show Postponement
    Baltimore Museum Deaccessioning, two opposing views.
    Christopher Knight
    Nikki Columbus
    Three Tech Companies Locked in a Battle to Capture Your Attention With the World’s Best Immersive Van Gogh Experience. Brian Boucher, Artnet
    The Boundless Optimism of BTS, Esquire

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Explain Me with Andy Adams of FlakPhoto: From Idyllic Photos to The Surveillance State

    Explain Me with Andy Adams of FlakPhoto: From Idyllic Photos to The Surveillance State

    Image via: Andy Adams instagram. 
    In this episode of Explain Me we talk to Andy Adams (FlakPhoto on instagram), a culture producer and long time digital director. Andy is the founder of FlakPhoto Projects, an international community of photographers that operates in a parallel path to the one Powhida and Johnson come from—the New York based studio and museum world. Andy, William, and Paddy began working online around the same time—2003-2005, so we start our conversation there. We track through the exuberance and possibility we saw online in the early aughts, the economic collapse of the late aughts, and fraught political environment we’re now navigating. Subjects include: The signature Flak Photo style, the ethics of documentary photography, and the the postponed Guston show at the Tate.
     
    References and reading:
    Instagram: @photographersvote #photographersvote
    Two Museums Tried to Sell Art. Only One Caught Grief About it. New York Times
    Guston Can Wait. Nikki Columbus, N+1
    Contra-Internet, Zach Blas, e-flux Journal
     

    • 2 hr 6 min
    Zombie Figuration Isn't a Thing: A Critical Autopsy with Antwaun Sargent

    Zombie Figuration Isn't a Thing: A Critical Autopsy with Antwaun Sargent

     
    In this episode of Explain Me, critic and curator Antwaun Sargent joins us to discuss the effects of the pandemic and Alex Greenberger's Zombie Figuration, a confusing essay that appeared earlier this month in ARTnews. In the first half hour we discuss the disparate effects of the pandemic and general politics. Then we move on to art, zombies,  race,  and why art has limits. 
     
    BIOGRAPHY
    Antwaun Sargent is an art critic and a writer who has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vice and more, as well as essays to multiple museum publications. His first book, “The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion” (Aperture) is out now. In April he announced a new partnership with Gagosian that will include working on four exhibitions and contributing features to their magazine.  Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. 
     
    LISTENER ADVISORY: In this episode, Paddy Johnson occasionally repeats Antwaun Sargent's words when his audio cuts out. This leads to periodic moments when Johnson and Sargent speak at the same time. 
     
    LINKS
    First There Was Zombie Formalism, Now There is Zombie Figuration
    Met Apologies to Glenn Ligon
    Noah Davis
    Barkley Hendricks
    Kehinde Wiley 
    Cinga Samson
    Peter Saul 
    Alice Neal
    Jordan Casteel
    Jordan Casteel at the New Museum
    EARLY WHITNEY BIENNIAL REVIEWS 
    Paddy Johnson
    Andrew Russeth
    Linda Yablonsky
     
    Find us on Spotify, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts
     

    • 2 hr 6 min
    Institutional failure, Trump's Agenda, and Meme-Driven Conservative Movements: A Talk with Nayland Blake

    Institutional failure, Trump's Agenda, and Meme-Driven Conservative Movements: A Talk with Nayland Blake

    Artist Nayland Blake joins the podcast to discuss the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, mass protests, and the resurgence of COVID as the backdrop for public art and how museums are addressing diversity.  Spearheaded in large part by Blake, we discuss all of these issues  through the lens of what people need and how art makers, art workers and arts institutions answer that need. 
    We started the conversation with Blake's recent twitter thread on art criticism. 
    "Art criticism is the activity of thinking with and through art objects," they wrote. "If you constantly reach for the same few objects to think with, you stagnate as a critic and simply reinforce your own bias." 
    Other relevant links mentioned in the show: 
    Nayland Blake's website
    Julie Mehretu's Goldman Saks mural
    Mark Bradford
    Social Abstraction
    What is the Boogaloo movement? 
    Dread Scott's Rebel Reenactment
    Marblecake Also the Game
    Gamergate Explainer
     
    Support Explain Me by becoming a member on Patreon. 

    • 1 hr 47 min
    Revolution for the Family: Heather Bhandari and Nikki Columbus on Pandemic Parenting, art, and Activism

    Revolution for the Family: Heather Bhandari and Nikki Columbus on Pandemic Parenting, art, and Activism

    This week on Explain Me, co-hosts William Powhida and Paddy Johnson talk to arts organizers and activists Heather Bhandari and Nikki Columbus about the challenges for mothers during the pandemic, and the challenges for arts workers seeking to make changes to a system that no longer works for them. 
    Of the family-focused topics discussed we take on pandemic screen time for kids (Bhandari describes DinoTrux as terrible for kids, but a necessary evil), what to do if your toddler licks a bodega door, and disrupted schedules that make it impossible to find or look for work and require long and often unusual hours. 
    On the subject of organizing we discuss several projects spearheaded by Bhandari and Columbus respectively designed to pave actionable paths for artists. 
    Finally we discuss Frieze New York, and contrast their dubious charity efforts during the fair to the more collective NADA art fair model that works towards a sustainable model for everyone. Show links below. 
    The Art World Conference 
    Forward Union 
    Art/Work, Heather Bhandari and Jonathan Melber 
    N+1, Free Your Mind, by Claire Bishop and Nikki Columbus
    Art+Work+Place, Emergency Session I, Veralist Center
    Art+Work+Place, Emergency Session II, Veralist Center
    Museum transparency Newsletter (Read about all the layoffs and other bad news that’s happening in the museum world right now—of which there is a ton.)
    The Model Model: Ethical Actions by Arts Organizations in the time of COVID-19 (Read about the good news and exemplary work by arts organizations.) 
    Obama Commencement Speech
    #graduatetogether2020 (twitter hashtag) 
    Frieze Art Fair (May 8-15th) 
    NADA Fair (May 20-June 21)

    • 1 hr 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

Laarubh ,

Excellent

Currently listening to the mid-career artist show and felt compelled to write a review because I realized how much I missed this show. So refreshing to hear an honest discussion of the business and politics of art today. Thank you! Keep going

Grin Gogh ,

The Best Contemporary Art Podcast in Existence

There ain’t much competition, but these two really bring it. Opinionated and well-informed, Paddy and Bill are your point of access to the New York “art world” regardless of where you are in the world. Listen, learn, laugh, and do other things that begin with “L.”

Gamelan and on ,

Great stuff

I have been listening to many of the fine interview art podcasts out there, but this is serving another slot that has been missing. Great back and forth between the hosts and covers many topics from an angle I might not always agree with, but makes a good case for other viewpoints, and that aint easy to get right. A strong start, and I look forward to it evolving

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