Jessica Backus of Artsy talks about:
Her past and current jobs at Artsy- formerly leading up the Art Genome Project, which catalogs artists and art works to control data on the site; and her current job leading up a team of approximately 20 gallery liaisons; how Artsy's gallery sales model works (galleries pay a monthly fee to be listed on the site but don't have a percentage taken out of their sales); and Artsy's mission as "the art world online," with three businesses in one: a media business (their magazine), a listings business (with galleries), and an auction business; her earlier job with the gallery Peres Projects in Berlin, which she took after having studied the East German Leipzig schools while living there; her oddly impactful exposure to art history through her class with Rosalind Krauss, along with my and a fellow student's version of encountering her class; her work with the comp. literature giant Gayatri Spivak at Columbia, and her gradual departure out of academia into art…Backus boils it down to a dichotomy between whether one sees things as conveying text or as conveying something visual, performative, etc.; working for Peres Projects in Berlin over the course of the art bubble around 2006 (when she arranged for helicopters for Peres and his artists in Mikonos, because all the water taxis were booked), through the financial collapse and coming out on the other side when all the glitz and glamour were suddenly gauche; her transitions from Peres to grad school in art history and then on to a job at Phillips auction house, where she wound up in 'Special Projects', putting together a curatorial program; and how her work managing gallery liaisons for Artsy is analogous to being a choreographer, where her role is to find the movement and the vision in moving together amongst all the diversity.
Art, fashion and pop culture writer and art history lecturer William J. Simmons talks about:
Why he repurposes Instagram memes for Tweets, one of which led to our initial connection; how he studied initially under the October magazine people (a journal of particularly arcane art content), and how he came to realize that there has to be a way to combine the important advances theory has made with a populist theory of how people actually interact with art; how his editors at general interest-based outlets including Flaunt, Interview and W magazines have things to say that are equally if not more insightful than the people at Artforum; how he told a guy he was on a first date with that his goal was to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue and also the e-i-c of October; how he saves up to go to biennials and art fairs as opposed to taking third-party funds to pay his tickets; his role in bringing a substantive role to the conversation through his writing, whether it's artists or pop cultural figures (he did an interview with Jessica Chastain, among other big names); what goes on at the high-powered art magazines, including half the time hating what they're writing about; how artists don't have privileged access to the meaning of their own work; admitting that he writes about canonical artists, because he feels he can do better there than writing about non-canonical artists, and because it's a way of getting into the larger conversation through his writing; his seminal artist interview experiences, including with Sue de Beer and Jack Pierson; and we have a hearty – impassioned while civil – debate over whether artists (including particularly Marilyn Minter, Deb Kass and Laurie Simmons) shape the larger culture and the world, as opposed to the influence and effects of their work being confined to art and the art world; the exchange also includes calling into question certain sexist tendencies towards successful women artists vs. men artists, being an activist through art and otherwise, and ultimately ends on a light-hearted yet very pointedly pro-feminist agenda.
Highland Park-based art and culture writer Alicia Eler talks about:
Her home in Highland Park, where's she a tenant of the owners of the artist-run Adjunct Positions, and so never far from an opening and artists, and where she's become a kind of permanent 'writer-in-residence'; her various experiences with stand-up comedy, as a culture writer and as a would-be standup; the performance artist Jibz Cameron, aka Dynasty Handbag; the distinctions and (limited) cross-overs between the art and entertainment worlds, particularly being in Los Angeles, with crossover examples including comedians/actors Maria Bamford and Kate Berlant; her take on the reality show 'Work of Art: the Next Great Artist,' which featured two of her friends (who both came in 2nd), Peregrine Honig and Young Sun Han; the difference between the bars to entry for the art world and the comedy world, and their respective pros and cons; her stand-up experiences, including figuring out that she needed to write herself as the hero of her story in order not to bomb; and her experience diving deep into Tinder, the dating and hook-up app, which she played a lot like a video game, detaching from the expectations of having any kind of actual in-real-life results, though just before canceling her account she met someone whom she's still dating.
Brooklyn-based artist Caitlin Masley talks about:
Her Carroll Gardens home virtually right under the BQE, and how she's frequently lived near (or under) trains, and how that's been comforting; her recent couple years co-running Guttenberg Arts, an artist residency and community-based art organization, and how her working there came out of her many years doing artist residencies all over Europe and the States; how she had to turn down a 6-month residency in Finland -- which would have included a house, a studio, a daily stipend and a Finnish-English language school for her daughter – because her son was too young at the time; the internal challenges she grapples with daily around living in an urban center with inspiring cultural benefits, and yet one that's also filled with environmental detriments (her son suffers significantly from asthma and food allergies), and the proposition of leaving New York is always on the table, and yet she essentially puts the researching on that topic out of her mind because she's afraid of what she'd find; the 'goldfish scenario' that applies to where they do and might live; the paradoxes of her family's Carroll Gardens neighborhood, which has become extremely pricey due to location and its charming brownstone, while at the same time through its proximity to the Gowanus Canal and a cement-making factory, among other things, the air quality is at dangerous levels; her master's thesis on building a community air trust, relating directly to her neighborhood experience and her son's health issues; the fact that despite her prolific record doing residencies, she's had to apply prolifically as well, getting accepted only 1 out of 50 times, by her count; and her latest residency, Artist Residency in Motherhood.
Feminist performance artist Christen Clifford talks about everything under the sun, including:
Living her entire adult life in New York City, going from the NYU dorms to Williamsburg, to Jackson Heights, Queens, where she now lives with her family, passing up the recommendations she rec'd to get on the lists of artist housing when she was 18; coming to New York planning to break into acting and be on Broadway and eventually a movie star, and how that life course she was anticipating gradually changed; the artists she's been influenced by, including Lynda Benglis and Marina Abramovic, the latter of whom has disappointed her with her works over the last few years, to the point of them tarnishing her legacy; her performance pieces for Ana Mendieta, one outside Dia in Chelsea, the other inside Dia Beacon, both Carl Andre retrospectives (Mendieta was his wife)—how she arrived at them, how they came off (offal was involved), and her passion behind their force, which were so intensely aimed at Medieta's memory and legacy; rape culture, a class she teaches at the New School, and her own experience with rape; her performance "Menstural Symphony," and her activism in getting free tampons in NYC schools; and about her recent bout with cancer, which she feels confident she's gotten through the worst of, and has been doing a social media project during the process.