Jessica Lynne, Brooklyn-based art critic, co-creator and editor of Arts.Black talks about:
Her home neighborhood of Crown Heights, which has an interesting history of race tensions and more recently of gentrification, both of which she's aware of, and in her specific section which has many older residents – including those born-and-raised in Crown Heights – she's always saying 'hello' to her neighbors, and how her Southern roots (she's from Virginia) prepared her to be both respectful of her neighbors and take pride in her neighborhood; her coming into being as an 'art critic,' embracing the challenge of filling the void of black art critics initially by latching onto bell hooks as a model, and then by establishing her art journal Arts.Black, which she co-created with friend Taylor Renee Aldridge; how she started having so much more fun on the internet by taking advantage of its open-source nature, transitioning from lurking around certain peers she admired to becoming collaborators and even intimate friends with some of them, a route of connection that social media is now routinely providing; her extremely close friendship with her Arts.Black partner Taylor Renee Aldridge, despite Aldridge living in Detroit, and the way they maintain an intimate connection despite the distance through multiple communication platforms (Lynne's favorite emoji is the eye roll); the Black Art Incubator project, which she co-organized with Aldridge along with Jessica Bell Brown and Kimberly Drew, and which took place at Recess Arts in SoHo during July and August of '16, it offered several invaluable workshops (including 'Art + Money') and was free and open to the public; and ways that Lynne and Aldridge are working on various ways to bring Arts.Black some income, including Patreon (they're also currently among the finalists of Knight Arts Challenge Detroit).
Australia-based Social Activist, nomad and technoevangelist Fee Plumley talks about:
Her strange relationship to place, how wherever she is she's home; the difference in the funding models for the arts in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia; the Tyrany of Distance in Australia, and how difficult it is to bring audiences to your work in remote areas, which are common throughout the country; how she defines herself as an artist, in the context of a non-traditional artistic life that has involved theater set design, designing early mobile phone applications and interactive performances; what her definition of being an artist is, from creating mobile platforms for aps to guided meditation, and how she views her engineering, platform-based work as an exploration of the creative process; how she is admittedly a nomad who has "dropped out": she's not an artist trying to build personal wealth and not trying to become part of the hierarchy of the arts/technology world, but enjoy her relationship to this (Australia) lovely country and the planet in general, meet diverse people in diverse places, etc.; the realities of being a bus-traveling nomad, in terms of food (whether it's generously given to her, or dumpster diving), being both independent, and yet dependent on infrastructures to survive, and the question of safety, which she beautifully articulates in reading a piece from her blog; "how everything in my world at the moment is about how can creative processes and technology contribute towards constructive social change;" how she finds that nomadacy relies on technology, especially for finding relatively safe camp-out spots for homeJames (her bus); her tech consulting for grassroots causes and the people that lead them, which she doesn't want to charge for, because not only do they not have money to pay her but she also doesn't believe in the capitalist system; the "Commons" model (particularly active in Norway), in which the land is accessible to the public, something Fee takes advantage of when possibly, but so rarely is; her ongoing project "Hammocktime," which involves guiding participants through meditations sessions on a hammock, set up wherever, though ideally between two trees, and how it's a project exemplary of the type of art she makes, which are big projects that are very process driven, which she dubs "the traveling minstrel of interactive immersion/social change arts practice*;" (*her word) and lastly, she reads from her profound opus to life on the road, "5 things I learned from living life as a solo, bus-dwelling, nomadic woman."
London-based artist and critic Sherman Sam talks about:
His circuitous geographic history, from Singapore to Parsons in Paris to Otis College of Art in Los Angeles, to Oxford to do a history of art degree, finally to London, where he's been since the late-'90s, and which he moved to because it was the biggest art world he could move to at the time because that's where he knew the most people; Singapore, where he's from and still goes back to visit family once or twice a year- it's laws around gum and drug dealing, its rather modest size (for a country), that it's one of the fastest growing in the world, and how it's probably not the ideal place for creative types; characteristics of South Asian (in particular Singaporean) art, which he sees as identity politics-based and morally concerned to the exclusion of object (art) concerns; we talk extensively about Artforum, which he writes reviews for (and is still baffled that he's able to); how when he writes a review he believes the only people who will read are the artist, the artist's parents and the artist's dealer, and the next person who's going to write a review of that artist's work; how to test how good a writer you are: by reading it on public transport; how he fell into art criticism accidentally, but feels that all voices – professional writers, historians, curators, artists, fans – should be heard, because there's so much out there that it needs it; how he was reviewed in Artforum himself, before he began writing for them; how he goes and sees shows in person because he doesn't trust what he sees online, and that can mean eating up a whole day to see something way across town; how what he does as a critic, by bringing attention to artists and shows, is akin to being a 'social worker;' how he favors following galleries' programs over the course of a year over art fairs, and how he favors art fairs over biennials, because he doesn't trust curators, who, he says, have an agenda; and how when it comes to his own sensibility, he favors the intuitive in art, and he sees the small abstract paintings he makes as being anti-corporate, in opposition to the neo-Expressionist work being collected by large corporations, which were going on when he first started making abstractions.
Artspace editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein talks about:
His work as e-i-c of Artspace and, since the publisher Phaidon purchased Artspace, his additional role as chief digital content office of both Phaidon and Artspace; how Artspace emerged within months of both Paddle 8 (online auction house) and Artsy (discovery platform), with the emergence of a high luxury commerce space, and how this ecommerce model is in its toddler-hood in terms of growth; and how the art market is lagging behind the audience growth in art; the landscape of Artspace and how its editorial content is the primary source for bringing users to the site; how the big perk of his job is the opportunity to go around the world to art fairs and biennials, being on the ground so he can stay on top of what's happening in contemporary art; the difference between being a collector going to an art fair (hint: everyone treats you like it's your birthday) and being a writer at an art fair (when it becomes a trade show); how he convers art fairs, which is like a starting gun going off as soon as you get there, and so he needs to cover, cover, cover, maximizing every single second without really getting a chance to breathe…it was more the "you can sleep when you're dead" approach when he first started out on the scene; the merits of Belgian collector Alain Servais, who Goldstein describes as an art advisor and a collector combined; how he sees the same people at art fairs over and over and over again, and yet such a large profusion of them that it's hard to keep straight who many of them are…there are the friends, the sources, the dealers and artist you respect and admire, and then the people you don't know who they are, but they say hello to him and he says: "hello, nice to see you again;" the art "market" (small) vs. the art "audience" (immense); how his approach to covering art fairs is to actually cover the art itself, by really diving in and wrestling with each given work (as compared with most coverage which talks about who's buying what and for how much, etc.); how for many collectors, it's about the works they buy and what association(s) it gives them access to, including a certain social milieu, as compared with the exceptional collectors who are passionate and uniquely quirky in their own ways; and we talk about his interview with Stefan Simchowitz, the often provocative collector and art world interventionist, who Andrew describes as having a totally worked-out worldview, his business built around addressing the industry's inefficiencies, and what the fall-out from Andrew's article was (hint: it was an interesting phenomenon).