A weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world with host Hrag Vartanian, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Hyperallergic.
The Cartoonist the US Right-Wing Political Establishment Loves to Hate
1:13:44If you’ve been online, and especially on Twitter, then you probably know the name Eli Valley and his brushy drawings that use the grotesque and absurd to make larger points about life, culture, and politics. But it wasn’t until the Trump administration that the New York City-based cartoonist was propelled into the public spotlight. Valley was attacked by a wide range of politicians, particularly Republicans, including Meghan McCain, who called the comic he drew of her “one of the most anti-Semitic things I have even seen.” McCain is not Jewish, and Valley is, not to mention that his father is a rabbi.In this conversation, I asked Valley to tell us about how he got his start in comics, how he builds on the long history of satire and graphic humor in the Jewish American tradition, and how he copes with the public spotlight while he struggles to survive as a full-time artist. This podcast is accompanied by scholar Josh Lambert’s article, which explores the art historical roots of Valley’s art. Lambert writes, “Valley comes naturally by his most pressing and recurrent theme: lies told and violence committed in the name of Jewish safety and security. His cartoon jeremiads can easily enough be fit into a long history of Jewish protest, from the Biblical prophets who excoriated the sinners of Israel to modern novelists who, like the criminally under-appreciated late-19th-century San Francisco writer Emma Wolf, wrote about Jews, as she put it, ‘in the spirit of love — the love that has the courage to point out a fault in its object.’”The music for this episode is “A Mineral Love” by Bibio, courtesy Warp Records.---Subscribe to the Hyperallergic NewslettersBecome a Member
Artists Tali Hinkis and Daniel Temkin Discuss Digital Combines
1:19:13Artists Tali Hinkis and Daniel Temkin have been at the leading edge of digitally informed contemporary art that explores the boundaries of programming, digital aesthetics, and the handmade. Their work is certainly unique, but they also share some commonalities around media-based art, glitch, and how their work in the gallery and online is circulated and experienced. I invited them to join me for a conversation to hear the thoughts of two intelligent artists who are fully engaged with the new wave of thinking around digital practices in the arts. Hinkis and Temkin are both participating in various “Digital Combine” exhibitions curated by artist Claudia Hart, who coined the term based on artist Robert Rauschenberg’s earlier “Combines” concept that intersects sculpture and painting. In this new incarnation, the digital and analogue are in dialogue.I also invited both artists, who are of Jewish descent, to reflect on their cultural heritage and how it manifests and informs their larger bodies of work. This conversation is part of a continuing series we’ve been doing over the last year with the help of CANVAS, a foundation interested in fostering new Jewish creativity in the 21st century.Hinkis and Temkin are both exhibiting together in Digital Combines at Bitforms gallery in San Francisco until January 11, 2023.The music for this episode is “Ultra (Yung Sherman Mix)” by Evian Christ, courtesy Warp Records.---Subscribe to Hyperallergic NewslettersBecome a Member
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Tamara Lanier's Fight for the Photographs of Her Enslaved Ancestors at Harvard
56:23Last year, we published a dossier of statements by leading scholars supporting the fight of Tamara Lanier to reclaim the daguerreotypes of her ancestors from the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. Lanier, who lives in Norwich, Connecticut, had long heard stories through her family about an ancestor named Papa Renty, a learned man from Africa who was enslaved and brought to the United States under inhumane conditions. Those stories about Renty were important to her family and to the memory of their heritage that they kept alive. Then one day, Lanier discovered that there were photographs of her relative, and they were deposited at Harvard University because of a 19th-century racist academic named Louis Agassiz. Agassiz had commissioned them to "prove" his White Supremacist ideas about race and they lay in a trunk at the Peabody Museum until a researcher resurfaced them in the 1970s.In this podcast, I speak to Lanier about the continuing fight to reclaim her family heritage by asking Harvard to accept her right to the ownership of the images. She discusses a fascinating visit to the home of descendants of the Taylor family, enslavers who claimed Lanier's ancestors as property, and some surprising discoveries she made along the way.This is a must-hear episode, and I would highly recommend reading Valentina Di Liscia's excellent article, which was part of our special dossier, that summarizes the history of the court case and the larger fight to "Free Renty."Lanier has also allowed us reproduce some of the photographs she took at the Taylor family home, which includes various items of furniture created by her ancestors when they were enslaved.Related Links: The Continuing Fight to #FreeRenty Legal Precedents or Reparations? Lawsuit Against Harvard May Decide Who Owns Images of Enslaved People ---Subscribe to the Hyperallergic NewslettersBecome a Member
Understanding Why a Harvard Museum Will Return Standing Bear’s Tomahawk
23:38Something incredible happened a few months ago. After Oklahoma lawyer Brett Chapman (Pawnee) started tweeting about the tomahawk of Ponca Chief Standing Bear, which is currently in Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the revered object may actually be going home.His short messages asked why the tomahawk was in the care of that institution and not with one of the two federally recognized Ponca tribes. The questions raised eyebrows, and as Cassie Packard reported for Hyperallergic, the museum later posted a statement on its website explaining that the museum and the Ponca tribe are “in active discussion about the homecoming of Chief Standing Bear’s pipe tomahawk belonging to the Ponca people.”Chapman, who has Ponca heritage, joins me for this podcast to explain the history of the tomahawk and why the return of the heirloom is important.Subscribe to Hyperallergic on Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.
Audrey Flack and the Last of the New York School
1:36:09A painter who may be best known for her contribution to the Photorealism movement, Audrey Flack has been a working artist for roughly 70 years. Now at age 90, Flack reflects on the art world, from her days as part of the New York School of artists in the 1950s and 60s; her rise to fame as the only prominent female Photorealist; her embrace of sculpture and public art in the 1980s and 90s; and her return to painting only a few years ago. In this wide-ranging conversation, Flack also shares her experiences in college with renowned modernist Joseph Albers; a strange and unnerving experience with renowned painter Jackson Pollock; how she coped raising children through all of this; and much more. We’re joined by artist Sharon Louden, who is a mutual friend of Flack and myself.This is Flack's first-ever podcast, and I'm excited for you to hear the story of this incredible artist who continues to push us to see the world anew. I hope you enjoy this epic interview with the talented artist.The music in this episode is Ultra (Yung Sherman Mix) by Evian Christ, courtesy of Warp Records.Subscribe to Hyperallergic on Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.
Collector Tim Kang Talks About His Love of NFTs
52:44Tim Kang started his career as a software engineer for Deutsche Bank and invested a year of savings in Ethereum in early 2016, and let’s just say it’s paying off. The North Carolina native, who is known online as “illestrater,” is now a digital art collector and purchased works by Murat Pak and Beeple before all the recent auction sales and press coverage propelled them into the spotlight. He’s founded other artist platforms, including CUE Music and Universe.XYZ, and his latest organization, Sevens Foundation, is offering “Sevens Genesis Grants” for emerging and underrepresented artists to mint their first NFT. Kang calls himself a “champion of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists” in the NFT space.I spoke to him to learn more about his interest in NFTs and collecting digital assets and his thoughts on the future of the field. This is a continuation of a series of podcasts we’re publishing on the evolving terrain of NFTs and their impact on artists and the arts community.The music for this episode is “Autowave” by Kelly Moran from the album Ultraviolet, which is available from Warp Records.Subscribe to Hyperallergic on Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.
Creative Time’s Diya Vij Helps Launch an Art World Think Tank
43:39Diya Vij started her new job as Associate Curator of Creative Time just last fall, in the midst of the pandemic. She has since announced the first Creative Time Think Tank cohort, which includes La Tanya S. Autry, Caitlin Cherry, Sonia Guiñansaca, Namita Gupta Wiggers, and a number of other engaged voices of the art community. This new initiative invited people to submit proposals for an open call, drawing 200 individual or group applicants. The selected cohort will meet regularly for the next 10 months to reflect on the realities around us and imagine a way forward for the cultural sector.Vij has built a reputation over the years for her work at the Queens Museum, High Line, and in the Commissioner’s Unit of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, where she created the Public Artists in Residence program. She joins me to discuss this unusual think tank and what the collective hopes to accomplish.Music is Lorenzo Senni’s “Move in Silence (Only Speak When It’s Time to Say Checkmate)” from Warp Records.Subscribe to Hyperallergic on Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.
After Decades of Selling New Media Art, Gallerist Steven Sacks Offers His Take on NFTs
49:26Since 2001, Bitforms gallerist Steven Sacks has been exhibiting and selling digital art (though he hates that term) and building an audience and support network for artists working with new media.After Sara Ludy, one of the artists Bitforms regularly exhibits, told Hyperallergic about her plans to negotiate new more equitable contracts for any NFT she sells, I decided to speak to Sacks to hear about his experience during this pandemic period when NFTs dominate many mainstream conversations about online and digital art. He talks to me about selling art, how things have evolved, and what he expects from this new wave of change. Galleries, Sacks suggests, will always be relevant.This is the third podcast in a series of episodes and articles we will publish in the coming weeks on the topic of NFTs.Subscribe to Hyperallergic on Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.
Lindsay Howard Talks About the Burgeoning Market for NFTs
52:40Lindsay Howard is the head of community at the Foundation, one of the new platforms that have been part of the current wave of NFT art. She joined me in our Brooklyn studio to discuss the audience for crypto art and the collectors eager to fork over money for it. We also delve into what it could mean for an art scene facing the fact that the post-pandemic world may be very different for creators, sellers, collectors, journalists, scholars, and everyone else.This is the second podcast in a series of episodes and articles we will publish in the coming weeks on the topic of NFTs.Subscribe to Hyperallergic on Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.
The World of NFTs, Explained by Digital Artist Addie Wagenknecht
48:29Contemporary artist Addie Wagenknecht is a veteran of the blockchain space — as much of a seasoned pro as one can be in a field that’s only a decade old. She’s been observing the gold rush over NFTs in the last few weeks and agreed to join me on this episode to educate newbies about blockchains, NFTs, and all the issues they bring up. Are NFTs good for artists and the art community? The short answer is maybe. In addition to being an artist, Wagenknecht is Director of Technical Ecosystems at the Algorand Foundation, and she brings a much-needed pragmatism to the topic, as PR campaigns often make it seem like NFTs are going to change the world. This is the first in a series of episodes we will publish in the coming weeks on the topic of NFTs. Subscribe to Hyperallergic on Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.