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Explain Me

Explain Me: The Spring Break Art Show Part One and Two With Pictures!

by Paddy Johnson on March 17, 2018
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Last week William Powhida and I spent an enormous amount of time at the Spring Break Art Show. We had so much to say about the show we produced two podcasts and discussed many booths at length. In the first podcast, we give the lay of the land in art fair world (we discuss the character of other fairs, and SPRING/BREAK), identify themes, and get the bad art out of the way. We also collect a few pitches from those in booths, so those who couldn’t attend the fair could get a sense of what it was like. In the second podcast we go deep on a few booths and try to give a more thorough analysis of what we saw.

There are however some limitations to what we can do with a podcast, and one of them is visuals. Handily, Art F City manages those just fine, so in this post I assemble images of a lot of the work we discuss so that listeners have a few cues. That said, a disclaimer needs to be made: some of these photographs suck. I’ve tried whenever possible to use press images, but in some cases, I wasn’t able to make that happen. You’ll know the difference, and I’m sorry.

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Explain Me: The Stink of Met Admission Hikes Endures

by Paddy Johnson on February 21, 2018
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Back in January, William Powhida and I recorded an episode of Explain Me on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new admission policy. Earlier that month, the museum known for housing some of the world’s greatest treasures announced its admission price would no longer remain “pay-as-you-wish”. As of March 1st, their suggested admission, $25 will become mandatory for anyone living outside of New York State. Children under 12 get in for free.

Given that there’s less than two weeks until this policy change goes into affect, we thought it might be a good time to release our discussion and revisit the debate.

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The New “Explain Me”s: Monsters and Monstahs in the House

by Paddy Johnson on October 18, 2017
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The new Explain Me podcasts have dropped! This week William Powhida and I did more than we anticipated, so there are two podcasts. The first is a discussion with L.A.Times Staff Writer Carolina A. Miranda (also known as @cmonstah on Twitter) about what David Geffen’s $150 million donation to The Los Angeles County Museum of Art means to the institution. We get into the politics of architecture and discuss speculation over where Geffen’s own collection will land. Later we discuss the recent anti-gentrification protests¬† in Boyle Heights, and how their take-no-prisoners approach has forced one gallery, PSSST to close. Long story short, when it comes to the LA art scene, Miranda is pretty much the most informed human being on the planet. So, we had her on the show. Listen to the podcast below, on Stitcher, and on iTunes.

In part two, “Making Monstrosity Visible in Three Parts”, Powhida and I get to discussing some art. We talk about the Trevor Paglen exhibition at Metro Pictures, which is creepy as fuck. (We also take issue with New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz’s review on the subject.) We look at Ellie Ga at Bureau, who sensitively touches on the horror of the Syrian refugee crisis. And finally, we take a look Omer Fast show at James Cohen gallery, which is currently at the center of controversy. Numerous protestors have taken issue with Fast’s decision to transform the gallery into a Chinese bus station, and have accused the artist of yellowface. We take a look at the protestors message, Fast’s installation and videos and try to identify where things went wrong. It’s a great discussion and one I hope you’ll tune into. Listen to this podcast below, on Stitcher and on iTunes.

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Introducing “Explain Me”, a Podcast with Paddy Johnson and William Powhida

by Paddy Johnson on October 2, 2017
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Good evening! Hello! I started a podcast with artist William Powhida! You read that right. This right here is the inaugural episode of “Explain Me”, an art podcast that talks about the latest art news and exhibitions through the lens of politics, money and the moral of responsibility of artists. To do this, we bring together the point of view of an artist and a critic, a perspective you won’t get anywhere else.

We release a new episode on Mondays of the first and third week each month. We’ll always update the blog with a link, but you can also find us on iTunes and Stitcher.

In this first pod, we discuss Documenta’s massive overspending and near bankruptcy, the closure of Bruce High Quality Foundation University, and a new development along the 7 line describing itself as New York’s best installation. We also talk about a few shows we’ve seen recently in Chelsea: Kara Walker at Sikkema Jenkins, Christian Marclay at Paula Cooper, Tom Friedman at Luhring Augustine, Franklin Evans at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, Maya Lin at Pace, Robert Motherwell at Paul Kasmin, and Celeste Dupuy Spencer at Marlborough Gallery. Expect honesty. Expect opinions. And expect freewheeling conversation fueled by camaraderie and a general disappointment with the ways are turning out for us all.

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