For centuries, Western art-making centered around religious imagery during the middle ages and Renaissance icons. Altar pieces and stained glass windows were regarded as meditative objects through which the faithful might reach a more profound religious transcendence. Needless to say the art world of 2021 is far more secular and openly religious artists are few and far between. So, what does it mean to be a devotional artist today? Our guests on The Art Angle is Genesis Tramaine, a Brooklyn born artist whose expressive portraits have conjured up comparisons to Jean-Michel Basquiat and even Pablo Picasso. As a child Tremaine first started drawing during church. Today, Tramaine, who is queer, still considers herself a devout Christian. In fact, she credits her works to the divine inspiration of the holy spirit. On this episode, Artnet News’s Katie White speaks with Genesis about her art and how it relates to her faith.
Love him or laugh at him, Bob Ross is absolutely one of America’s best known painters. A quarter century after he died in 1995, a Bob Ross Experience debuted in Indiana last October as a site of pilgrimage for fans. Meanwhile, Bob Ross Inc. continues to mint money authorizing new products, even licensing a canibus company to make Bob ross eyeshadows in his signature colors. People around the world continue to train to become official Bob Ross Certified painting instructors. Most of all, the internet has let more people than ever discover old episodes of Bob Ross’s PBS show, The Joy of Painting, which ran from 1983 to 1994. In an age of memes, social media, and anxiety, Bob Ross’s big hair, easy on-camera demeanor, and welcoming demeanor have made him an icon with real, and maybe even growing, power. But there’s another side to the story, one told in the just released Netflix documentary ‘Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed,’ produced by the actress Melissa McCarthy’s production company. It describes Ross’s ascent and connection with fans, but also tells the story of the battle behind the scenes for the control of the Bob Ross Empire. On one side are Annette and Walt Kowalski, Bob Ross’s long-time business partners, They met him in 1982, lived together with Bob and his wife, and helped manage his rise from popular painting instructor to unlikely PBS sensation. Today, they retain control of Bob Ross Inc. and all thing Bob Ross—and remain a shadowy presence in the documentary, having refused access. On the other side is Steve Ross, Bob’s son, a painter himself, and a sometimes guest on ‘The Joy of Painting,’ where his father sometimes spoke of Steve as his heir apparent. Today, Steve remains shut out of his father’s empire, and he accuses the Kowalskis of having maneuvered to seize control of his father’s empire of painterly positivity even as his father suffered from the lymphoma that ultimately took his life. Joshua Rofe, the director of the documentary, is here to talk to Artnet News’s Senior Art Critic, Ben Davis, about trying to crack the riddle of Bob Ross’s life and understand the bitter fight to control his legacy, both in terms of money and meaning.
It’s late August, and for the first time in two years, it looks like the fall art season could be jam-packed with major in-person art-market events––even if some of them don’t normally happen at the same time as Starbucks is trying to coat the globe in pumpkin spice. But this summer, art-world trends and circumstances way beyond the industry’s control have led to some of the most noteworthy market activity happening in two destinations we’re not so used to seeing make headlines: Monaco and Accra, the capital of Ghana. What’s so interesting about these two places is that, together, they form a kind of art-market yin-yang symbol: the areas where one of them is strong are the areas where the other is weak, and vice versa. So by pairing them up, we can see something close to the full spectrum of forces shaping the global art market today. To help us on this expedition, Artnet News’s Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider, is joined on the show by two great guests who recently reported on these destinations firsthand for Artnet News Pro. First up, Kate Brown, European editor at Artnet News, discusses her summer sojourn to Monaco. Then, Rebecca Anne Proctor, the seasoned, globe-trotting art journalist, talks about the art scene bubbling up in Accra.
I'm sure you've heard it: For the past few months, the U.S. news media has been following the saga of pop star Britney Spears and the unusual conservatorship arrangement which prevents her from controlling her own finances or life decisions, put in place more than a decade ago after a very public breakdown. In June, Spears spoke out for the first time in court, asking for the conservatorship to be terminated. What, you may ask, does this have to do with art? It turns out that long before the #FreeBritney movement had people poring over her Instagram for clues or the New York Times documentary 'Framing Britney' revisited what her story said about the media and misogyny, she's been a surprisingly potent symbol for artists—in fact, maybe more than any other recent pop star. They've used her image to talk about sexism, about fame, about consumerism, and about and about the dark side of the 2000s. Why Britney in particular? And does today's reckoning with the recent past change the way that pop art takes on pop music? In this week’s episode, Artnet News’s Senior Writer, Sarah Cascone speaks to LA-based art journalist Janelle Zara about her artists' fascination with Britney Spears, asking these questions and a lot more.
If you're a fan of Italian Renaissance art and you were in New York right now, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a treat for you. It's called The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1520-1570 and it offers a spectacular sampling of ninety works of art from Florence's 16th century. But there's a twist. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that Italian Renaissance art was connected to the most powerful people in society. Still, even today, if you call someone a Medici, you probably mean to say that they are a visionary patron of the arts when it could just as well mean that you are calling them a ruthless oligarch. This exhibition actually tries to show how some of the classics of art in this time were not just works of beauty, that the Medici happened to do on the side, but part of a carefully calibrated political PR campaign that deliberately shaped how the public sees this family in their time and up to our own. Art historian. Eleanor Heartney wrote an essay for Artnet News, looking at The Met show and the world of the Medici, asking how the history behind the art changes how we look at what The Metropolitan Museum accurately advertises as some of the most famous European paintings of all time.
Right now there is a powerful, highly ambitious, and deeply relevant art show in New York that weaves together the histories of conservation and American art in a way most people haven't seen before. It's a quick jag from the city across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge into Catskill, New York, but light years away from the bustling metropolis, where on either side of the river are the historic homes of the famed Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church in New York’s Hudson River Skywalk Region. Inside those homes—the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site—sprawls the show titled "Cross-pollination: Head, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment," with art that spans the mid-19th century to today, the exhibition is built around a suite of 16 bravura paintings of hummingbirds titled "The Gems of Brazil" by the little known Hudson River School artists, Martin Johnson Heade, and it takes flight from there exploring a network of interconnections between art, science, and the natural world. It also provides rich insight into the story of the relationships at the heart of the show between Heade, Thomas Cole, and Frederic Church, three of the greatest visionary artists America has ever known. This week on the podcast, Andrew Goldstein is joined by Thomas Cole National Historic Site curator Kate Menconeri to discuss how these historic artists first began thinking about ideas of conservation and preservation, and how contemporary artists have taken up the mantle to encourage a new generation not only to appreciate nature, but how to give back what for years we've been taking from it.
This episode is devoted to Hunter Biden. Why? If you read the news, click on any cable network or walk down the street. You've probably heard that everybody is in a tizzy about the son of the president of the United States art career and his overnight emergence as a seemingly unlikely market darling. So to talk about Hunter Biden's art practice; how he views it; how the industry is embracing; the static it's generating the political sphere and what it all means, we’ve pulled together a heavy hitting roster of Artnet News experts. Senior Reporter, Katya Kazakina, Art Business Editor, Tim Schneider and Chief Art Critic, Ben Davis join the show.
This week, the subject of our show is less a story and more of a phenomenon, and his name is Simon de Pury. A legendary auctioneer who has actually been called the "Mick Jagger of auctions," de Pury has led a storied career in art. A baron by heredity who was born in the Swiss art capital of Basel, de Pury entered the art business with the help of the legendary dealer Ernst Beyeler and swiftly blazed a trail of glory. He rose through the ranks of Sotheby’s to stage the first ever contemporary art auction in the Soviet Union in 1988, and ultimately became the house's Chief Worldwide Auctioneer before going on to forge the Phillips de Pury auction house—now known as Phillip's—inject the stale auction world with a new night club-esque vitality, and then move on to a string of illustrious businesses bearing the de Pury name. Along the way he has starred in Bravo’s reality show, “Work of Art, The Next Great Artist”; was the subject of a four-part BBC documentary; wrote a juicy tell all memoir; and most recently made a memorable cameo in the Netflix series Emily in Paris. De Pury is also a columnist for Artnet News Pro, writing a monthly dispatch aptly called "The Hammer," that is full of invaluable perspective on how the art market really operates along with intimate play-by-plays from the ultimate art world insider. This week, the art world mainstay joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss his career past and present, why hip hop jewelry is an undervalued market, and what he's looking forward to on the horizon.
Last month, a new name entered the art discussion when a suite of five digital artworks sold in a special sale at Christie's auction house in New York for $2.1 million. And it's a name you might not expect: Fewocious. That's the nom de art of Victor Langlois, an 18-year-old Seattle artist, originally from a family of El Salvadoran immigrants in Las Vegas. Sold during Pride month, the opus is titled 'Hello, i’m Victor (FEWOCiOUS) and This Is My Life' and tells a very personal story. Via Fewocious's signature bright colors, graffiti-like text, and distorted faces, the work is about, as Christie's advertised it, "the journey through Fewocious teen years so far, growing up as a transgender male in an abusive household." In fact, it turns out that the works served as Victor's coming out as trans to the NFT world, at the same time making him the youngest artist ever to be sold at Christie's. Just a year ago, Fewocious was selling paintings for $95 online and just beginning to experiment with NFTs. Now, he's made a reported $16 million, and is the talk of the town. Artnet News's Chief Art Critic Ben Davis caught up with Fewocious about what has been a remarkable journey on many levels.
The Art Angle team is taking this week off, but we'll be back July 9 with a new episode. In the meantime, here's one of our favorite recent episodes, featuring photographer Dawoud Bey on the occasion of his retrospective, "An American Project," on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. After former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to over 22 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, the racial justice protests of last summer viscerally came back into the public consciousness, reigniting conversations in the news and in households everywhere about the reality of the Black experience in America. These issues take new focus at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where a retrospective of the photographer Dawoud Bey presents his magisterial exploration of the subject, in the form of his penetrating portraits of Black lives from all points on the national compass. Ranging in registers from jubilation to agony, to ingenious self-invention, to blissed-out hope, the show is curated by Elizabeth Sherman and SFMoMA curator Corey Keller. Open through October 3, 2021, the show is titled “An American Project” and it is a project that is very much still in the works. It so happens that this is a very big year for Dawoud Bey. The winner of a 2017 MacArthur “genius” grant and a professor at Columbia College in Chicago, the artist has already been the subject of two other retrospectives in his 46-year career, but this one at the Whitney is not only his largest, it’s also one of the largest surveys of a Black American photographer ever. On this week’s episode, Bey joins Andrew Goldstein by Zoom to discuss how his childhood and early exposure to work by African Americans informed his interest in photography, his ongoing collaboration with David Hammons, and what he hopes visitors will take away from the Whitney exhibition.