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The Artsy Podcast

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No. 60: Why Robert Rauschenberg Erased a De Kooning

This month on the Artsy Podcast, we’re translating four of our readers’ favorite art-historical stories into audio. On this episode: how a young Robert Rauschenberg roped the admired Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning into his quest to make a drawing using only an eraser.

Duration: 00:10:07

No. 59: The Latest from Art Basel in Miami Beach

Art Basel in Miami Beach—the last major event on this year’s art world calendar—opened its doors to collectors yesterday. On this episode, we discuss our favorite booths of the week and what a new layout means for the fair’s 16th edition. Plus, we ask: A year after the U.S. presidential election, how is today’s political climate reflected in the art on view in Miami?

Duration: 00:26:04

No. 58: What’s Driving Artists to Become More Professional?

In 2012, the median income of professional artists with art degrees in New York City was $25,000. In 2015, the chance that an artist living in the U.S. would receive a solo exhibition at MoMA was 0.0006%. The odds are stacked against artists trying to make it in the art world. On this episode, we’re joined by Heather Bhandari—co-author of the book Art/Work, a professional practices guide—to discuss the growing number of resources for artists looking to establish and run a successful practice.

Duration: 00:27:45

No. 57: What Happens When Art Meets Craigslist

Craigslist has proven to be a blessing for a generation of artists, a seemingly bottomless well of eccentricity. Artists have used it to cast projects, as a source for serial photography books, even as a way to sell sculptural works masquerading as used furniture. On this episode, we’re joined by artist Sophie Barbasch, who has used the site to pose often intimate questions to a sea of strangers.

Duration: 00:30:42

No. 56: Unpacking the Allegations of Sexual Harassment in the Art World

Last month, the New York Times published a story detailing a number of sexual harassment allegations leveled against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. But that article was only the beginning. In the weeks since, at least 20 high-profile men have faced accusations of sexual misconduct, including two powerful figures in the art world: former Artforum co-publisher Knight Landesman and former Armory Show director Benjamin Genocchio. On today’s episode, a discussion of these sexual...

Duration: 00:20:42

No. 55: What Art Therapy Can Do That Traditional Therapy Can’t

Last month, Second Lady Karen Pence outlined her three-part plan to promote the field of art therapy during her term in the White House. But what is art therapy, exactly? On this episode, we break down this little-understood field—and discuss whether support from a controversial administration may end up politicizing it.

Duration: 00:20:49

No. 54: Petra Collins and Marilyn Minter Talk Feminism and Horror Flicks

“I love family photos, but not in the way most people love them. My love for them is like my love for reality TV.” That’s how artist Petra Collins begins her latest book Coming of Age, which hit shelves earlier this week. On this episode, we’re joined by Collins and fellow artist Marilyn Minter to discuss both family snapshots and reality television—plus, feminism, horror flicks, and what fashion photography can do that art can’t.

Duration: 00:27:35

No. 53: Is the Art Market Irrational?

Who decides how much an artwork is worth? And is that price tag rational? On this episode, we’re joined by economist Don Thompson, whose latest book The Orange Balloon Dog explores the inner workings of the contemporary art market. From Jeff Koons’s monumental sculpture that set auction records in 2013 to the upcoming sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, we discuss how the massive sums paid for artworks are determined across auction houses, art fairs, and private deals.

Duration: 00:29:41

No. 25: Making It in the Art World If You’re Not a Rich Kid

This week, we’re rebroadcasting a favorite episode from earlier this year. As the New York Times recently reported, twenty-somethings pursuing a career in art and design are the most likely to receive financial assistance from parents; they also receive the largest sums. On this episode, we’re joined by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, chair of education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Naiomy Guerrero, creator of, to discuss the role money plays in art world careers. How does...

Duration: 00:26:26

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

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