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No. 52 (Part Two): Guggenheim Curators on the Controversy Surrounding Their New Show

On September 20th, the New York Times published a preview of the Guggenheim’s latest show “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World.” One particular video work—Peng Yu and Sun Yuan’s Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), in which pit bulls bred for dogfighting were restrained and placed opposite each other on treadmills—quickly ignited a firestorm of controversy. On September 25th, the museum announced that it would pull the piece (along with two others that incorporated animals)...

Duration: 00:29:17

No. 52 (Part One): How Globalization Changed China—and Its Art

Last month, Artsy spoke with two curators of the Guggenheim ’s latest exhibition, “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” about a particular moment in the history of contemporary artists from China. Our conversation took place before the show had opened—and, as it turned out, a few days before a major controversy erupted around Peng Yu and Sun Yuan’s 2003 video work Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other. This work, along with two others, was eventually removed amid allegations of...

Duration: 00:25:12

No. 51: The Latest from London’s Frieze Week

London’s Frieze Week is here. On this episode, Artsy’s editors report back from the 2017 editions of Frieze London and Frieze Masters. Why are these two fairs are beginning to look more and more alike? Plus, this year’s best booths and how a blockbuster show at the Tate is influencing the art on view.

Duration: 00:17:27

No. 50: Why Rembrandt’s Night Watch Is So Famous

There are certain artworks that almost everyone in the world knows—the Mona Lisa, Starry Night, The Scream. What most people can’t explain is the reason why these particular paintings are more famous than thousands of other inventive and moving works of art that fill museums worldwide. On this special 50th episode, we chart one painting’s rise to fame: The Night Watch (1642), Rembrandt van Rijn’s 17th-century masterwork. It's a centuries-long story that includes, among other things: a...

Duration: 00:22:55

No. 49: How Art Fairs Can Do Better

Fifteen years ago, there were a handful of international art fairs; today, that number has risen past 250. On this episode, we’re joined by The Armory Show’s director, Benjamin Genocchio, to discuss how this increasingly influential facet of the art world should evolve. Can directors make their fairs more equitable for smaller galleries—and is that even their responsibility?

Duration: 00:33:14

No. 48: Jeffrey Deitch on Four Decades in a Changing Art World

Art and finance have long been intertwined. As early as the Italian Renaissance, a Florentine banking family supported Michelangelo and Botticelli in making their masterpieces. On this episode, we fast-forward a few centuries to 1980s New York City as Jeffrey Deitch explains how he convinced both bankers and art world denizens to buy into Citibank’s new art services department—an innovation that would transform the art market into what we know today.

Duration: 00:34:08

No. 47: The Latest Requirement for Med Students? Studio Art

From Harvard to Penn State, medical schools across the country are increasingly turning to art and the humanities to train would-be doctors. On this episode, we’re joined by Columbia University’s Dr. Delphine Taylor to discuss how life-drawing classes or visits to the Met help her students tackle ambiguity and humanize their patients.

Duration: 00:20:27

No. 46: When Museums Sell Their Art, Where Should the Money Go?

Last month, a new row broke out in the art world around the Berkshire Museum’s decision to auction off 40 works by artists such as Norman Rockwell and Alexander Calder to pay for a renovation and boost their endowment. But this latest controversy represents just one installment in the long-running debate about “deaccessioning,” or the disposal of objects from a museum’s collection. On this episode, we’re joined by law professor Brian L. Frye who walks us through the history of the...

Duration: 00:21:40

No. 23: What Does It Mean to Curate GIFs?

This week, we’re rebroadcasting a favorite episode from earlier this year. GIPHY’s community curator Ari Spool joins us to break down the process of curating artist-created GIFs. Is there a key to going viral? What do GIFs allow us to express that words might not? And how do these online images fit into centuries of fine art? Read more:

Duration: 00:16:31

No. 45: Why Artists Are Turning to Mysticism

Visitors to this year’s Venice Biennale can stroll through the Pavilion of Shamans—just one example of the increasing presence of shamanism and mysticism in the work of contemporary artists. This uptick comes amid a reexamination of ideas that were once associated with the countercultural movements of the 1960s and ’70s, including a second look at psychedelics. On this episode, we explore the wider history of shamanic practices across the globe—and how they’ve intersected with the art...

Duration: 00:22:38

No. 44: Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art?

On this episode, curators Jessica Cerasi and Kyung An walk us through the ABCs of contemporary art. Each chapter of their new book, Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art?, is devoted to a different question about this thorny (and often alienating) segment of the art world. When did contemporary art start—and when will it end? Why was the art world split over Jay-Z’s show at Pace Gallery? And why are exhibition press releases so hard to understand?

Duration: 00:24:51

No. 43: You Can Thank These Women for Modern Art as We Know It

Who built the New York art world? Today, the scene is by and large dominated by men. But some of the most prestigious museums, galleries, and salons that fostered the city’s cultural scene in the 1920s and ’30s were founded by women like Peggy Guggenheim and Florine Stettheimer. In this episode, we explore their often-overlooked stories—and discuss why, despite their beginnings, these institutions have long been criticized for a gender gap across both their staffs and collections.

Duration: 00:18:39

No. 42: Former Met Director Thomas Campbell Defends His Legacy

On February 4th, the New York Times published a front page story entitled “Is the Met Museum ‘a Great Institution in Decline’?” The article ignited a ferocious public backlash against New York City’s most-visited institution and its director and CEO, Thomas P. Campbell. By the end of that same month, Campbell had announced his resignation—making his tenure as director the shortest since the Met’s fourth, Herbert Eustis Winlock, who presided over the institution from 1932 to 1939. Principal...

Duration: 00:37:00

No. 41: Art and Censorship in the Age of Social Media

In May, documents leaked to the Guardian offered an unprecedented glimpse into Facebook’s inner workings: How do they think about moderating a range of controversial subjects, from violence to pornography? But those in the art world were particularly interested in the handful of slides detailing the social media giant’s policy on nudity in works of art. Facebook and Instagram have long been criticized for removing artwork containing nudity, a practice many interpret as censorship. On this...

Duration: 00:19:02

Bonus Episode: The 60-Year Saga of a Nazi-Looted Painting

The saga of Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally spans six decades, beginning in 1950s Vienna before making its way to New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Duration: 00:20:30

No. 40: How Old Women Eclipsed Young Men in the Art World

Minimalist painter Carmen Herrera sold her first artwork at age 89. Now, at age 102, her paintings fetch prices in the six digits. On today’s episode, we explore the growing demand for—and institutional presence of—long-overlooked women artists including Herrera, Carol Rama, and Irma Blank. How did these older, female artists push young men out of the art world spotlight?

Duration: 00:23:42

No 39: What Happens When Art Threatens the President

Is it illegal to kill the president in an artwork? That’s what we wondered in May, when we saw first saw Alaskan assistant professor Thomas Chung’s painting that depicted actor Chris Evans holding Donald Trump’s severed head. And over the past few weeks, that question has taken on renewed significance with a series of creative works imagining Trump’s demise from a Kathy Griffin photoshoot to a performance of Julius Caesar by New York’s Public Theater. On this episode, we’re joined by New...

Duration: 00:31:19

Special Edition: Art Basel in Basel

At this year’s edition of Art Basel in Basel, which opened Tuesday to VVIPs, dealers were reporting multiple sales in the seven- and eight-figure range—a surprisingly strong start to the art world’s most important fair. On this episode, we explore what’s behind these big-ticket purchases and what it means for the wider art market. Plus, we’ll take a look at the best work on view in Basel this week.

Duration: 00:21:55

No. 38: How Reddit Got a Million People to Make Art Together

What began as an April Fools joke on the website Reddit is now being hailed as the world’s largest collaborative artwork. Over one million users, armed with one pixel each, worked together over 72 hours to create a canvas that now contains everything from the American flag to the Mona Lisa. On this episode, we’re joined by Josh Wardle and Kevin O’Connor from Reddit to break down this massive online art project. Will this digital canvas end up in MoMA? And what can a dog wearing clogs tell...

Duration: 00:23:57

No. 37: Why Good Artists Make “Bad” Paintings

The genre of “bad painting” is a slippery one. On this podcast, we discuss the label, which has been applied to a wide-ranging group of artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. What they share, wrote curator Eva Badura-Triska in an essay for the 2008 show “Bad Painting: Good Art” at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, is a refusal “to submit to artistic canons.” So what exactly does that mean? Though artists from Francis Picabia to Rene Magritte are among early practitioners of “bad...

Duration: 00:18:44

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