There are new paintings and drawings by Sol LeWitt being made all the time -- even though the artist died in 2007. That’s possible because LeWitt’s wrote instructions for creating his works art, for other people to make. Abbi and writer Samantha Irby consider a piece by Glenn Ligon that takes a line by Zora Neale Hurston and repeats it over and over -- transforming the text into something new. Plus, Martine Syms tells Abbi why she puts giant letters right on the gallery walls.
Also featuring: Mark Joshua Epstein
Special thanks to Tracie Hunte and Brianne Doak.
Emojis, video games, even the humble “@” symbol -- all these staples of digital life have been as carefully designed as the most sleek furniture or fancy architecture. But do they belong in a museum? Hell yes, says Abbi’s friend Ahmir Thompson (a.k.a. Questlove, and emoji obsessive). If you find yourself wondering if it’s allowed, “then it's pretty much high art,” he says.
Also featuring: Paola Antonelli
Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” has got to be one of the most famous images of the 20th century. But at the time, Warhol’s use of advertising and imagery from consumer culture was super controversial. So was his unabashed desire to become famous. Abbi and Rookie editor Tavi Gevinson wonder what Warhol might do in an age of social media. Then, Abbi gets a behind-the-scenes look at the work of Beatriz González, whose posters covered the city of Bogatá in a brave gesture of political expression.
Also featuring: Sarah Suzuki
Way before viral videos, since the invention of the medium in the 1960s, artists have made video to critique the culture around them. Howardena Pindell delivers a direct-to-camera account of the racism she experienced coming of age as a black woman in America; Martine Syms tells her characters’ stories across several screens -- from flatscreens to smartphones. Abbi and the comedian Hannibal Buress ponder the sweeping shots in Steve McQueen’s video of the Statue of Liberty. Plus, hear one of Abbi’s own video experiments from her art school days!
Also featuring: Thelma Golden and Thomas Lax
A dozen dancers rolling around in their underwear, rubbing raw chickens and fish on each other. No, it’s not some weird ‘60s porn, it’s a performance -- Abbi talks with the feminist artist behind the piece, Carolee Schneemann. Performance art like this can be a bit funny, a bit confusing, and definitely weird. Who better to get to the bottom of it than RuPaul? He and Abbi also watch a performance by Yoko Ono, where she sat alone on stage and invited members of the audience to cut her clothes off...
Also featuring: Thomas Lax
Watch Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (1964)
Learn more about Cut Piece here
Some artworks seem crazy simple -- like a stack of metal boxes or a group of white paintings. Minimalism rejected the idea that art should express the artist’s feelings or depict the visible world, or even be made from traditional art materials. Jo Baer and Donald Judd made art that explores the relationship between colors or objects and space -- and Abbi discovers there's more to simplicity than meets the eye.
Also featuring: Mark Joshua Epstein, Flavin Judd
Learn more about Donald Judd and 101 Spring Street here
Abbi brings her friend the hilarious essayist Samantha Irby to MoMA PS1 to see one of the trippiest works they’ve ever experienced: “Meeting” by James Turrell. Turrell’s work is immersive, mind-blowing, deeply moving -- and made entirely of light. Turns out, light can really mess with your eyes! And that’s what artists like Turrell and Dan Flavin, are all about.
Also featuring: Peter Eleey and Flavin Judd
Learn more about James Turrell's Meeting here
Check out a time-lapse video of the Dan Flavin from the Judd Foundation's 101 Spring Street here
Ahmir Thompson (a.k.a. Questlove of The Roots) is a very busy dude. He was feeling stretched thin, until he discovered the power of silence to let his creativity cut through the noise. To help him find that silence, he’s got one of Yves Klein’s Blue Monochrome prints on his wall at home. Abbi gets up close to one of Klein’s blue paintings and Kazimir Malevich’s “Suprematist Composition: White on White” and discovers how deep a single color can get -- if you just give it some time.
Also featuring: Ellen Davis and Anne Umland
A Piece of Work is everything you want to know about modern and contemporary art but were afraid to ask. Hosted by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson, this 10-episode series explores everything from Pop Art to performance in lively conversations with curators, artists and Abbi’s friends, including Hannibal Buress, Tavi Gevinson, RuPaul and Questlove. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media, Nancy and many others.
© WNYC Studios
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