Adriane Herman, Maine-based artist and Associate Professor at Maine College of Art talks about:

Living and working in Maine – Portland in particular – and what the school and scene are like there, and what grads tend to do after they’re out of school; the housing crisis in Portland, and where artists are moving; how she’s lived all over the Midwest and Northeast, and how she came to move from the idyllic art community of Kansas City to Portland, and the pros and cons of each of those places and lifestyles; how an art critic in Kansas City reached out to her and the gallery she was involved with to ask what was coming next, giving an idea of the intimacy and openness of the art community—she also attempts to sell us Kansas City as a great art community that grads should consider moving to; how in Kansas City the community came to her, essentially, whereas in Maine she’s had to be much more proactive to find and cultivate it…in Kansas City, she feels like she’s “surfing synchronicity”; reciprocity in the art world, and how she tries to activate it, including engagement while ignoring hierarchies; getting Hrag Vartanian of Hyperallergic to her studio; her artwork and thoughts around letting go (both of events and of stuff), purging and downsizing, including the parishioners at a church in Kansas City she inspired to let go of some of their stuff, all while willing admitting to being a “Do as I say, not as I Do” person; she shares one of her personal ‘letting go’ stories—the humiliation and humbling in being rejected for a professorial job promotion, which floored her, but was able to recover from in part because it led her to apply for and win an extensive residency back in Kansas City; and she offers that her sharing and willing to be vulnerable in this conversation will lead others listening to write in about their own experiences- fingers crossed!

Art, fashion and pop culture writer and art history lecturer William J. Simmons talks about:

Why he repurposes Instagram memes for Tweets, one of which led to our initial connection; how he studied initially under the October magazine people (a journal of particularly arcane art content), and how he came to realize that there has to be a way to combine the important advances theory has made with a populist theory of how people actually interact with art; how his editors at general interest-based outlets including Flaunt, Interview and W magazines have things to say that are equally if not more insightful than the people at Artforum; how he told a guy he was on a first date with that his goal was to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue and also the e-i-c of October; how he saves up to go to biennials and art fairs as opposed to taking third-party funds to pay his tickets; his role in bringing a substantive role to the conversation through his writing, whether it’s artists or pop cultural figures (he did an interview with Jessica Chastain, among other big names); what goes on at the high-powered art magazines, including half the time hating what they’re writing about; how artists don’t have privileged access to the meaning of their own work; admitting that he writes about canonical artists, because he feels he can do better there than writing about non-canonical artists, and because it’s a way of getting into the larger conversation through his writing; his seminal artist interview experiences, including with Sue de Beer and Jack Pierson; and we have a hearty – impassioned while civil – debate over whether artists (including particularly Marilyn Minter, Deb Kass and Laurie Simmons) shape the larger culture and the world, as opposed to the influence and effects of their work being confined to art and the art world; the exchange also includes calling into question certain sexist tendencies towards successful women artists vs. men artists, being an activist through art and otherwise, and ultimately ends on a light-hearted yet very pointedly pro-feminist agenda.

Huffinton Post Arts writer Priscilla Frank talks about:

Writing about art and culture for the Huffington Post, including how her writing and their audience differs from other visual arts hubs like Hyperallergic, and the difference between paid staff writing for the site and blog writing for the site, as well as the realities of click bait; outsider art, including the Outsider Art Fair, and why she’s a fan of the niche and its artists; her piece “F**k Your Idols: What Celebrity Worship Reveals About Female Sexuality,” which deconstructs women’s ambiguous desires to both be and/or f**k a given celebrity hero, in this case Rihanna…she argues her point by contrasting females tendencies with males through the avant garde-ish Is Tropical video “Dancing Anymore” (seen below), as well as John Berger’s Ways on Seeing, and how a woman puts more into how she presents herself is part of that; how, in contrast to what art writer Ben Davis suggested, Frank believes that art does for sure trickle into the popular culture (Beyonce, etc.); how cats have always been associated with femininity and feminine power, but it’s the artist Carolee Schneeman who has really tapped into that connection in her photo and video work; her discovery of the Oakland-based artist Stephanie Sarley, and her crazy-great fruit-sex Instagram videos and anthropomorphized vagina drawings; and how both she and Sarley’s goals are to get more women artists recognized, and how proud Frank is of her record of such a smorgasbord of coverage she does for the Post.


Megaforce Is tropical Dancing Anymore from website on Vimeo.

Ben Davis, National Critic for ArtNet News and author of 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, talks about:

His time in Australia at the Art & The Connected Future Symposium, and meetings with Aussie artist Ben Quilty (who also does  social activist work); art and activism, and art & politics; the mutually incompatible art tribes that exist among the different ‘art worlds;’ the fact that the different complaints from various factions of the art world(s) can all be true at once, and how disorienting that can be (for Ben); how outside of the cities where there’s a market, the conversation is almost always about social aesthetics (what Ben calls “social practice”) instead, and how that’s where government arts support tends to gravitate; how some of the most interesting art – art that’s ‘underground and weird’ – is being made outside of the art world bubble, including that of Fee Plumley, an artist based in Adelaide; sections from his book “9.5 Theses on Art and Class” — the title and also a specific chapter of his book, which was originally written as a pamphlet and intervention of an art show in NY on art and class – including trickle-down theories of both economics and art, and art education, particularly what for Ben was a profoundly moving article: A Eulogy for Hope: The Silent Murder of Gallery 37 ; what explains the fact that grad schools are made up of 2/3 women, but galleries represent only 1/3 women…what happened in between?; what the mechanisms are that make up the art world/how it works; his piece “Do you have to be rich to make it as an artist?”; how the conversation about the art market is a complete dead end; how cities with much smaller art markets, but much cheaper housing, are better for artists; and how without the writing, without the intellectual circulation around the production of art that comes via art blogs and art writing in print, art’s just an overpriced piece of decoration.

Artist and Hyperallergic writer and editor Thomas Micchelli talks about:

His working class roots in New Jersey; how his busy life (full-time job, making his art, seeing shows, writing and editing for Hyperallergic Weekend) keeps him from time-consuming ‘social’ conversations; how the most gratifying feedback he gets on his writing is when an artist says that he’s “got” their work; how he doesn’t see himself as someone who makes judgments in his reviews but rather as someone who explores his personal reaction; how Jeff Koons’ retrospective at the Whitney showed a total concession to the market, and why; other topics include the artist Judith Bernstein and her late-in-life re-emergence as an artist of consequence in NY after decades in the wilderness treated like a pariah; the late, legendary Italian filmmaker, artist and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini – a gay communist atheist at a time when being gay in Italy was illegal – who made one of the darkest films ever: Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom; the most memorable review he’s written (also his hardest to write); the fact that he’s most drawn to abstraction as a viewer (because it comes down to his interest in formal issues, and abstraction lays them out in very stark terms), despite being a figurative painter himself; and how growing up working class led him to making figurative art as opposed to abstraction.