Archive of Paddy Johnson

Paddy Johnson is the founding editor of Art Fag City. In addition to her work on the blog, she has been published in New York Magazine, artreview.com, Art in America, The Daily, Print Magazine, Time Out NY, The Reeler, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, and New York Press, and linked to by publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Boing-Boing, The New York Observer, Gawker, Design Observer, Make Magazine, The Awl, Artinfo, and we-make-money-not-art. Paddy lectures widely about art and the Internet at venues including Yale University, Parsons, Rutgers, South by Southwest, and the Whitney Independent Study Program. In 2008, she became the first blogger to earn a Creative Capital Arts Writers grant from the Creative Capital Foundation. Paddy is also the art editor at The L Magazine, where she writes a regular column.

Paddy has written 1475 article(s) for AFC.

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Paddy Johnson

Prospect.4 Artists Announced

by Paddy Johnson on May 23, 2017
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Prospect, the New Orleans biennial conceived and founded by curator Dan Cameron, now transformed into a triennial has announced its artist list for Prospect.4 2017. The list, put together by Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker, (of the Nasher Museum in Durham North Carolina), includes 73 artists from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the European powers that colonized New Orleans, and will address themes of identity, displacement and cultural hybridity. It will be called “The Lotus In Spite of the Swamp.”

This sounds a bit like every show ever, so we’ll be curious to see how Schoonmaker distinguishes his exhibition.

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The Venice Biennale: An Orphanage for the Terminally Out-of-Touch

by Paddy Johnson on May 17, 2017
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It was close to midnight when my phone started lighting up last week. James Comey, the head of the FBI, was fired and the freak out was almost immediate. I felt lucky to be in Italy. A buffer from US news was necessary to maintain any kind of focus on the Venice Biennale, not to mention one’s sanity. And yet, even from this distance, the turmoil back home certainly drove home one point: Art isn’t going to save democracy. Art has no impact on Donald Trump’s actions, the FBI, or any of the Republicans in the senate and congress. People can call their representatives. Art cannot.

All of which is to say, the art professional who believes artists are magical unicorns who will save us all is looking increasingly silly. And so, visiting this year’s Venice Biennale Viva Art Viva curated by Christine Macel, which begins with the premise that artists will shape the world to come, felt a bit like walking through a United Way commercial. The upside of this: the 2017 Biennale more diverse than many of its predecessors. The downside: diversity isn’t of much value if the show is bad.

The Biennale fails both thematically and visually.

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The Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva: The Pavilions, Part One

by Paddy Johnson on May 11, 2017
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Today we spent the majority of our time looking at the Pavilions and we’ll be spending much of tomorrow similarly. Overall, there seem to be fewer people visiting the pavilions and Biennale this year—as evidenced by shortened bathroom cues and the ability to get a cup of coffee in less than hour. It’s hard, though, to discern the reasons for this. It’s not like anyone knows in advance what the shows (or weather) will be like. Still, I wondered if the poor quality of this year’s biennale might have depressed some enough that they took the day off. And perhaps the Americans here are too worried about the President’s recent firing of FBI Chief James Comey to focus on art? I know it’s an issue for me as well as many others I’ve seen over the last two days.

As for the pavilions, it’s a mixed bag—some good, some bad, and some stinky. I mean that literally. At least three pavilions this year need stench warning signs for those with allergies.

I’ll be discussing a lot of the work in greater depth in a separate post. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of what we saw this afternoon.

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The Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva: Images from the Giardini

by Paddy Johnson on May 11, 2017
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What’s the best way to understand art? One tactic is to see a lot of it. Another is to spend time with artists. And yet another is to curate an entire show around the idea that artist practices are God’s gift to the world and include as many studios, meditations on studios, and virtual studio renderings as humanly possible. Guess which approach Biennale curator Christine Macel takes in the Giardini section. A look at the show below. Arsenale pics here.

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The Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva: Images from the Arsenale

by Paddy Johnson on May 10, 2017
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We’ve spent the better part of a day looking at the Venice Biennale’s exhibition, “Viva Arte Viva”. Curated by Christine Macel and described as a Biennale designed “with artists, by artists and for artists”, the show amounts to a love letter addressed to artists. Studios have been transported, materials worshipped, and methodologies examined. Weaving as a metaphor for making, togetherness, and life, is completely and utterly ubiquitous. The sincerity of it all can be a bit much. But more on that later. A look at the Arsenale section of the show below.

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New Strategies Emerge and Diverge For Surviving Art Fair Costs

by Paddy Johnson on May 3, 2017
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Art fairs aren’t cheap. Participating galleries take on additional real estate costs, not to mention shipping and staffing expenses. These costs add up. As a result, some dealers in the emerging market are starting to renegotiate the common 50/50 commission split between artists and galleries.

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