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,, 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 1138 article(s) for AFC.

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Paddy Johnson

Highlights from the Creative Capital Retreat: Part One

by Paddy Johnson on August 7, 2015
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The Creative Capital Retreat took place two weeks ago now, and I’m still thinking about it. Nearly every year the organization invites grantees from their latest grant cycles to give seven minute presentations on what they have or will do to a room full of professionals. This year, though, was more emotional than usual. Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital’s Founding President and Executive Director announced she would be retiring earlier in the year, and it’s her vision and guidance that has helped make Creative Capital so unique. With the help of the Warhol Foundation, a strong board and staff, and a robust philanthropic community, the granting agency has done more to help artists than almost any other I know. It’s not just that artists receive a $50,000 grant—though that’s certainly helpful—but that they get access to an incredible array of professional development programs. This retreat is their flagship event.

More after the jump.

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A Pledge to Mixed Greens Gallery: I’m Going to All Your Future Shows

by Paddy Johnson on August 4, 2015
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After 16 years of operation, the Chelsea-based gallery Mixed Greens will close its doors when its lease runs out at the end of the year. The gallery, which was founded by philanthropist and collector Paige West in 1999, had an unusual beginning: it first launched as a website dedicated to promoting the work of emerging artists. In 2005, after much success online, it opened a physical space at the request of the many artists they promoted.

The gallery has a special place in the hearts of those at AFC. Paige was part of the early blogging community we, too, were a part of, and she blogged enthusiastically about emerging art (she was talking about Alex Da Corte in 2008), overheard conversations at fairs (which were sometimes horrific), and, of course, collecting (she wrote a book on the topic). Then, when Mixed Greens opened its physical space, it launched its own blog, The Pit, which is run by the staff and for a time linked frequently to other publications, including our own. It was here, that the gallery made their announcement of closing. (My favorite posts revealed their obsession with sharks. I approve.)

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Changes at Contemporary Art Daily: A Conversation with Founder Forrest Nash

by Paddy Johnson on July 22, 2015
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When I first met Forrest Nash he was wearing khakis. It was June 2009 in Venice, four months before Hyperallergic declared Khaki pant wearers amongst the most powerless—at least in the Lower East Side. I liked Nash immediately. He was smart, had a great eye, and was almost completely lacking in pretension. His knowledge of art was encyclopedic and at that point he’d only been running his blog Contemporary Art Daily for a year.

Contemporary Art Daily (CAD) is a curated website featuring extensive documentation of selected art exhibitions from around the world. There’s no one style the site gravitates towards, but the photographs on the site typically show art deliberately hung and arranged in interiors like gallery and museum spaces and include a range of installation and individual shots of the work.

Now updated 10 times a week and religiously followed by art professionals across the globe, the blog began with Nash in 2008, while he was still a student at The Contemporary Art Institute in Chicago. It has since grown. In addition to CAD site now includes Contemporary Art Venues, (a venue listing service) and Contemporary Art Quarterly (comprehensive documentation of an artist’s career). To make all this happen CAD now employs four full-timers including Nash. In 2012 the blog became a non-profit.

In short, a lot has happened over the past seven years, and a lot of his happened relatively recently.. Contemporary Art Quarterly was launched earlier this year and Nash moved from Chicago to California this summer. I wanted to get the full history on the site, so we sat down to talk.

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Stories Made With Love: Sondra Perry’s Lineage for a Multiple-Monitor Workstation

by Paddy Johnson on July 7, 2015
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It’s an overcast day in March when Sondra Perry shoots her family portrait. She gathers the roughly ten members to stand in front of what we assume is her grandmother’s house, and asks them to hold up the American flag. They are all African American and wearing neon-green ski masks. “1-2-3,” chants Perry. “Cheese!” says the family.

A finder window pops up. The cursor clicks around and starts the music. “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” rings out and the window begins to slowly rotate and float back into the neon-green desktop wallpaper.

It’s a hypnotizing and beautiful entry point into Perry’s 25-minute “Lineage for a Multiple-Monitor Workstation: Number One,” a video that uses multiple windows on dual computer screens to invite viewers and her family to reimagine black identity and social history. Perry casts her relatives as themselves, and asks them to recall and reconstruct personal and fabricated family traditions. The result is a film that presents identity as half-true, half-constructed, and entirely mutable in the digital age. It’s a brilliant video, and one of the most worthy of attention I’ve seen in a long time.

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Seven Takeaways From Stay in New York

by Paddy Johnson on July 1, 2015
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The rent in New York sucks. It’s really high. It’s only getting higher. Is there any end in sight?

Last Saturday roughly 200 people descended on the Queens Museum to attend Stay in New York, a six hour long conference organized by Art F City in the hopes of finding an answer to this question. We didn’t come up with a grand solution, (sorry), but certainly there were a few useful take aways.

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Return to the Real? A Survey of the Analog in Photography

by Paddy Johnson on June 24, 2015
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Bryan Zanisnik’s “Green Owls Manhattan Bridge” is all illusion. In reality, this apparent flat collage is actually an elaborately constructed set, complete with foregrounds and backgrounds, stools, digitally printed wall paper and even windows to the outside world. Through July 1st, Zanisnik’s studio was located on the 8th floor of 20 Jay Street in DUMBO, (only a few floors above our office) with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. The artist waited until sunset to shoot his still lives, which created that perfect blueprint blue you see in the shots of the bridge above. The set itself was photographed under studio lights.
This approach reminds me a little of Artie Vierkant’s digital manipulations of his exhibition documentation—in both cases, the artist’s statement seems to be that the documentation is the work. But it also seems a break from artists in the early aughts whose work relied mostly on various photoshop filters. Lucas Samaras’s self portraits and Cory Arcangel’s Photoshop gradient instruction paintings might be the highest profile example of such work, but there are plenty more examples. Is this new interest in physical illusion a shift away from digital manipulation?

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Gloom, Doom, and Glory at the Wassaic Project

by Paddy Johnson on June 18, 2015
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A look at this year’s group show at the Maxon Mill. (Spoiler alert: It’s good.)

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