New York artist Lauren Seiden talks about:
Living in Chelsea-adjacent Manhattan, where she's lived in the same studio apt. for 14 years, and how she managed to land the place; how she found her earlier studio several years ago on the Lower East Side through a NYFA ad, which included studio mates who formed a vital art community for her up to this day; how she starting working in galleries at 18, via an internship program through her school; her most recent gallery job at 303 Gallery, where she learned the most, including representing yourself professionally, to question a gallery when they expect you to pay for shipping, and to have a consignment form in place to insure you get paid when work sells; how the more she was working on her own art, the less she wanted to work at a gallery, a frustration she spoke with her then-boyfriend about often (he was an artist who had made a living from his work for 13 years, and would tell her to just quit); how she took the risk to leave the gallery and just make her art, with the help of some sales and a grant, which lasted her a year; how her biggest fear was that when she left the gallery, she wouldn't have that same urgency to get herself in the studio as when she did have the job, which turned out not to be an issue; how other artists in her community (both intimate colleagues and friends of friends) are making a living mainly from their work, whether via institutional support, living outside of New York via residencies, grants, and/or teaching; how artists who are making a significant income from their work are putting money back into that work, whether it's materials and/or a bigger studio, etc.; and she talks elegantly about having humility and perspective as an artist, recognizing that it's a long game, and that you compare yourself to your own work, not to the trends that are ultimately not relevant.
In Part II of II, Nato Thompson:
begins by answering the question of when he became "radicalized"…answer? one being the alt globalization movement that began during the WTO protests in Seattle in November, 1999, and the other living in a collective/cooperative in Berkeley, which enlightened him to self-empowerment, an entirely different way of living; taking the Creative Time Summit to the Venice Biennale, which Democracy Now's Amy Goodman came along to cover, where she was able to interview artists Emily Jacir and Mariam Ghani, an example of Nato connecting the 'activist left' with the 'art left' (far left-wing artists); the realities of social and cultural capital, as far as how it's gained (being with the right people, telling the right jokes, dropping respected names, etc.) and how by calling it out, as he does in the book, it has to be addressed as opposed to just taken for granted; how he grew up broke and always had anxiety about rich people and these New York City kids who went to fancy private schools and how it's taken time to work through that anxiety, which to some extent is still there; how those living in a social bubble (the bubble of rich people) lack perspective on much of what's going on with people around them; how board members of museums tend towards supporting work that has an air of glamor, as opposed to activist-based, the latter which you wouldn't see at Miami Basel; the influence of former director and creator of Creative Time Anne Pasternak, who set up a system that allows for a flexible board with more open-mindedness toward selections; how certain think tanks, which rely on public perception, and which claim objectivity but are really just covert lobbying arms, are vulnerable to attack (especially ones without plans of defense) my outside forces in challenging that ultimate lack of objectivity; the critical left community of the art world, which both tends to hate the art world and yet knows how to navigate power well enough to get into important exhibitions (Documenta, etc.); how great it is that pluralism is reaching a critical mass, thus diluting the contemporary canon in the process; "if what makes things historically relevant has something to do with where the conversation is at, then the art market is a gigantic bubble"; the impact of social media (Instagram) in terms of becoming prominent new sources; and the events on the docket for this year's Creative Time Summit coming up in October in Washington, D.C.
In Part I of II, Nato Thompson, Creative Time artistic director, and author of Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century, talks about:
Being on the radio (the Leonard Lopate Show) with Vito Acconci; living in Philadelphia, a city he loves (and can afford to own a home in), commuting to NYC from there, and how and why he left New York as a residence 6 years prior; also, how he gets perspective on the art world/the arts by living outside of it, in a very scalable, civic-oriented community; as a child, living with his parents in the dorms at CalArts, where his father was in grad school as a painter (memories include the entirely naked pool, and playing D & D with then-undergrad actor Don Cheadle); his book touring for Seeing Power, including a Facebook chat w/New York Cultural Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl; the reality that the market portion of the art world produces luxury goods for the ruling class, and how for even experienced visitors to art fairs, "it's hard not to be hypnotized/repulsed" by it, and how it's a hard thing to overcome to be sympathetic to the arts; the urgency of certain activism, as best exemplified right now (as we spoke) by Black Lives Matter, and how things have changed in the political arena even since Nato's book came out—including the fact that you can't have Bernie Sanders' candidacy without Occupy Wall Street; the 'crucible' of gentrification, and how it forces us to think about equity in all sorts of areas; two shows he curated while working at MASS MoCA, Becoming Animal and The Interventionists, and the complex and even confusing takeaways from those shows in terms of audience-artist relationships, as in, what does a typical museum-goer want to see/experience? Who are the people (demographics) going to see shows?, and how people in the art world underestimate art audiences; how, after being raised in a greenhouse of an advertising-based culture, we are naturally paranoiac of cultural material, to the point where people's paranoia becomes their truth; the differences between the small scale, community-based projects and communities of his young adulthood and the large scale works he works on with Creative Time (including Kara Walker's A Subtlety, which had an attendance of 135,000 people; the Creative Time Summit, which is art and social justice-based, and includes smaller-scale roundtables; the importance of DIY, and making things/making things happen instead of waiting around for other people to make them happen.
Feuer/Mesler gallery director and partner Lauren Marinaro talks about:
The evolution of Zach Feuer's gallery over the eight years she's been working with him, to the point now where they've closed their Hudson, New York gallery, and merged with Joel Mesler of Untitled gallery to form Feuer/Mesler on Grand Street; growing into and evolving with Zach Feuer's gallery, starting as a gallery assistant fill-in in the summer of 2008 and how after the market crash started taking affect in the art world, she was able to stay on because she was the least costly employee; interacting with the more random population of visitors to the gallery, some of whom are genuinely curious, and others who are outright aggressive in their questioning, and how to handle them; artists who want the gallery to place ads for them in Artforum- the pros and cons of doing it, and whether it's ultimately a good business move or not; what happened to Zach Feuer's gallery when Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012, and how ultimately, considering the circumstances and what other galleries went through, things turned out relatively well; the evolution of the gallery over the years up to their current, non-white-cube space on the Lower East Side, and how impactful the Instagram-era has become to the gallery and art world; and Feuer's solid record representing women artists as part of its program.