In Part I of II, Nato Thompson, Creative Time artistic director, and author of Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century, talks about:

when he became “radicalized,” on two occasions:  one being the alt globalization movement that began during the WTO protests in Seattle in November, 1999, and the other living in a collective/cooperative in Berkeley, which enlightened him to self-empowerment, an entirely different way of living; taking the Creative Time Summit to the Venice Biennale, which Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman came along to cover, where she was able to interview artists Emily Jacir and Mariam Ghani, an example of Nato connecting the ‘activist left’ with the ‘art left’ (far left-wing artists); the realities of social and cultural capital, as far as how it’s gained (being with the right people, telling the right jokes, dropping respected names, etc.) and how by calling it out, as he does in the book, it has to be addressed as opposed to just taken for granted; how he grew up broke and always had anxiety about rich people and these New York City kids who went to fancy private schools and how it’s taken time to work through that anxiety, which to some extent is still there; how those living in a social bubble (the bubble of rich people) lack perspective on much of what’s going on with people around them; how board members of museums tend towards supporting work that has an air of glamor, as opposed to activist-based, the latter which you wouldn’t see at Miami Basel; the influence of former director and creator of Creative Time Anne Pasternak, who set up a system that allows for a flexible board with more open-mindedness toward selections; how certain think tanks, which rely on public perception, and which claim objectivity but are really just covert lobbying arms, are vulnerable to attack (especially ones without plans of defense) my outside forces in challenging that ultimate lack of objectivity; the critical left community of the art world, which both tends to hate the art world and yet knows how to navigate power well enough to get into important exhibitions (Documenta, etc.); how great it is that pluralism is reaching a critical mass, thus diluting the contemporary canon in the process; “if what makes things historically relevant has something to do with where the conversation is at, then the art market is a gigantic bubble”; the impact of social media (Instagram) in terms of becoming prominent new sources; and the events on the docket for this year’s Creative Time Summit coming up in October in Washington, D.C.

The Conversation Podcast’s first live recording took place on September 9 at Ochi Projects gallery (and was generously hosted by Pauli Ochi).

Along with me, the co-conversationalists included writer and independent curator Katie Bode, artist Stephanie Pryor and writer Matt Stromberg. In a nutshell the conversation covered the artist’s relationship to the market, or vice versa, through the lenses of–New Museum artistic director Massimiliano Gioni’s comment about art being more than ‘visual entertainment;’ the explosion of abstraction in the marketplace; the paradigm-shifted landscape via technology, in particular Instagram; the roles of collectors, and the new types of collectors, impacting the art world; The show Forever Now at MoMA; and how one’s financial background affects, or doesn’t, an artist’s path as far as more traditional or more experimental.