Los Angeles-based artist Claire Colette talks about:
Leaving San Francisco (the Mission neighborhood) after 10 years by essentially being priced out; her various perceptions about SF, including the fact that she still has friends who live there and goes back to visit and insists that not everything is over–that it will take a lot to beat the arts community there–it’s not just going to go away; how she has supported herself, including thru grad school, bartending as well as working at art galleries and non-profits, and the pros and cons to each job; her grad school education (Mills College in Oakland), which she chose with intent, and her undergrad, the for-profit Art Institute of Los Angeles, which she chose on her own naively because she didn’t know enough about the school/quality art institutions generally, until she got there, and wound up making the most of it despite its critical limitations (including rounding out her education by taking more classes before going to grad school); the benefits of what more “sophisticated” schooling has been for her, having also taken classes at the SF Art Institute; her bartending, both in SF and L.A., how she prefers to work at bars that are more connected to artists/the art scene so she can be herself, the difference between bars during the week vs. over the weekend (which applies to ‘every bar ever’), and the pros and cons of it (pays well, but it’s a service job), and how ultimately neither bartending nor gallery work appears to be sustainable long-term (of course, a classic dilemma for most artists); how she believes that every artist should work in a gallery for at least six months, to see how it’s run on the other side; how she’s managed to sell her work both through shows and directly to collectors out of her studio, esp. out of grad school, even more recently–having been in L.A. for just two years; her arrival at abstraction, which is sourced from thought experiments and is rooted in everything from the existentialist philosophy and religion of her Catholic French early-upbringing, to science fiction, specifically Ursula Le Guin; and how she’s come to realize that, even having worked in activism, that her artwork in poetics and thought experiments through abstraction is still very important to her–she recognizes the futility in each, and yet that there needs to be room for each as well (we both acknowledge that it – activism, abstraction and the market, anti-capitalism, art as object – is, as a whole, problematic), and that the solution is not to stop painting/making art.
Art historian and art tour guide Lauren Kaplan talks about:
Her start giving tours at venues from the Met and the Guggenheim to galleries around Chelsea; the pros of giving tours at the Met- open and flexible access, liberal policies towards guides, and cons- some of the other tour leaders aren’t properly educated and give misinformation to their groups, which Lauren says isn’t her problem though it obviously doesn’t make it an ideal context for her business; how she organizes her largest tours, which can be up to 40 people, by dividing the group in half and leading a tour for each half while the other looks around on their own; a particularly memorable encounter with a star actor while doing a slightly compromised tour at The Frick Museum; how small tours (families of four) are more conversational that big tours (30-40) which are more lecture-based; teaching people on her tours to feel comfortable not knowing what they’re looking at, and how she regularly takes Chelsea gallery tour groups to shows she knows they won’t like or get (and sometimes that she doesn’t like), which invariably lead to the most interesting conversations; some of her memorable gallery show tours, including Thomas Schutte, Terence Koh and Carrie Mae Weems; the “ven diagram of people” living in brownstone Brooklyn and commuting to the museums on the Upper East Side, and she compares the two neighborhoods in ways you might find surprising; how she came to learn who the core demographic for her tours is (hint: she’s a modernist); and she shares some memorable anecdotes from her tours featuring both kids and adults.
Manhattan-based collector and real estate attorney Stacey Fabrikant talks about:
The work she’s done as an attorney, working pro bono for several years – when she was married -with artists, galleries and non-profit art organizations (including non-art ones) on contracts of various types (she now has barter rates, start-up rates and non-profit rates among others so people can work with her), and the satisfaction she got from the thank-yous in lieu of payments; her work ranging from assisting artists in rent stabilized situations settle for buyouts from developers, to artists in contract disputes with galleries; contract scenarios that artists are faced with, and their tendency not to spend money on a lawyer for negotiating, rushing into signing; what she wants artists to understand about the contracts they’re signing, if she works with them; the rather counter-intuitive reality, from her experience in real estate, that there are numerous artists setting up group studios in Manhattan, or as little as about $2/square foot, while she worries that in Brooklyn, in the buildings and neighborhoods where artists are inhabiting spaces, the developers are right on their heels, meaning the artists only get a year or two before they’re forced out and have to move deeper and further out; her history as a collector, from her roots via what her mom collected (racy David Salle and Robert Morris pieces) to her first pieces 20-odd years ago, starting with a Sugimoto photo and an Alan McCollum surrogate, through her connection with the artist scene in New Haven and the artists that she’s supported there (and who come stay with her when they’re in town), and local artists, some of whom she’d like to support in even greater depth were it possible; how she’s educated herself about art (she didn’t study art history) through multiple trips through Chelsea (at one time she was doing galleries there 3-4 days/week) seeing the work and talking to the artists and/or gallerists, and how she’s found the Lower East Side gallery community even more approachable and relaxed; how highly she prioritizes her own collection, to the extent that for her new place she’s about to move into, she doesn’t care about the furniture- it’s all about being able to curate and re-curate her collection throughout the space; how much she loves to show off her collection, particularly to get into the backstories of the work, and also as a way to gradually infuse a level of appreciation into her otherwise art-skeptical friends; how her ex-husband laughed at our complained about all the art she bought when they were together, but since the split has caught the bug and is becoming a pretty obsessive collector himself; how she’ll go to art fairs, and enjoy them, but won’t buy there so as not to get caught up in the frenzy; and how she’ll always be the collector who will remain happy with a given artist’s piece and grateful that they’re still alive, which she believes is important to a lot of artists, and that’s what makes it fun for her.
Los Angeles-based artist and witch (yes, you read that right) Amanda Yates Garcia, along with co-host Deb Klowden Mann, talks about:
Her beloved craftsman home in the West Adams neighborhood, and how she got in before the gentrification race that’s going on now; how she answers the question of what she does by saying that she’s a witch, and the ensuing conversation around that, including being a provocateur even when she doesn’t feel like being one; artists and witches through the ages, and how the meaning of being a witch can be as diverse as the meanings of being an artist; how a big part of being a witch, for her, is examining authority- who gets to make the rules; how to invoke your spirit figure, whether it’s a name that’s been invoked many times, from your own culture ideally, or more one of your own created entity; how magic, not unlike art, is not about belief, believing in magic, or believing in art; how she was raised in a Wiccan household with a feminist mother, but who also had a lot of patriarchal ideas; the failings of patriarchy today, and what happened in her “Devouring Patriarchy – Healing the Wounds of the Father” workshop; how, in addition to representing for witches, she’s also representing for ‘healing,’ a maligned word in the context of contemporary art, but she doesn’t give a f*ck—it’s desperately needed in our world now (that and love); her performance “Capitalism Exorcism” ritual; the subtle distinctions between objects used in performance/ceremony as ritual objects, and becoming art objects; how she is able to sustain herself as a witch, but not an artist; how she’s no longer attached to the idea of being known as ‘an artist,’ an identity that she (and many) was especially attached to out of grad school; and she offers a magical financial tip, having to do with getting (buying) the thing that you yourself are selling.
Brooklyn-based painter Stephen Westfall talks about:
Living in Brooklyn (Red Hook), where the rent on his loft will soon be going up 18%, and how he’s considering living elsewhere in the city, or possibly New Jersey (since he teaches at Rutgers); the crazy real estate market, via shell properties and so on, yet how their might be a tiny glimmer of hope; how his best year of sales, in 2011/12, allowed him the opportunity to purchase a cottage upstate, but since his income has dropped since then his margins are on the tight side (which is noteworthy considering something as basic as getting rid of a dying tree on that property could be a serious expense); his coming of age in San Francisco as an anxiety filled youth, and his subsequent emergence as an artist via UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies, where he began as a literary major; and we launch into a spirited debate about abstraction, including Stephen riffing on the ambiguity between figuration and abstraction; the ‘Big Bang’ of painting, starting with representation and eventually leading to, after five centuries, being about painting itself, and abstraction as the next ‘Big Bang’; that there’s “abstract painting because there are more things to paint abstractly,” also known as ‘shark’s teeth,’ in which “the more things you have, the more spaces you have between things”; the willingness to have a suspension of belief, and how, unique to painting, it is both an imagined space and a thing at the same time; and how he didn’t go to openings for 10 years after a painful breakup with a fellow artist, and how, in turn, he learned that legends in the art world can be created just by not going out to openings for a while.