Legendary East Village gallerist Gracie Mansion talks about the various turning points in her life and career, including:  Her early days in the East Village (9th St. between 1st & Ave. A), when she had an apartment to live, and another for her studio, for about $200 total; the genesis of her first gallery, which she started out of the bathroom of that apartment, and managed to stir up a whirlwind of visitors and press; one of her day jobs, at a SoHo gallery, where her boss had her run a ‘museum’ of art by prostitutes; the changing landscape of the downtown NYC gallery world, as she moved her spaces through the East Village, later to SoHo, and then much later to Chelsea; how she learned how to price artworks from legendary dealer Leo Castelli; what it’s like to negotiate with gallery backers, and how that worked out for her; and how and why she changed her name to Gracie Mansion (the name of the New York City Mayor’s residence).

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.