A Piece of Work

A Piece of Work

United States

From listener-supported WNYC Studios and MoMA, 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 the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics Radio, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media and many more.

Episodes

#10: The Writing on the Wall  

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.

 

Sol LeWitt. Wall Drawing #1144, Broken Bands of Color in Four Directions. 2004. Synthetic polymer paint on wall, 8' x 37' (243.8 x 1127.8 cm) (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Given anonymously. © 2017 Sol LeWitt/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

 

 

Glenn Ligon. Untitled (How it feels to be colored me...Doubled). 1991. Oilstick on paper, 31 3/4 x 16" (80.6 x 41 cm). (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of The Bohen Foundation. © 2017 Glenn Ligon)

 

 

#9: Questlove Hearts Emojis  

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

 

Ray Tomlinson. @. 1971. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. David Theurer. Tempest. 1981. Publisher: Atari, Inc., USA. (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Atari Interactive, Inc. © 2013 Atari, Inc.)

 

#8: Andy Warhol’s Art of Self-Promotion  

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

 

Andy Warhol. Campbell's Soup Cans. 1962. Synthetic polymer paint on 32 canvases, each canvas 20 x 16" (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Overall installation with 3" between each panel is 97" high x 163" wide. (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2017 Andy Warhol Foundation/ARS, NY/TM Licensed by Campbell's Soup Co. All rights reserved.)

 

Beatriz González. Zócalo de la comedia. 1983. One from a set of six linoleum cuts, each 27 9/16 x 39 3/8" (70 x 100 cm). (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Publisher: the artist, Bogata. Edition: approx. 500. Latin American and Caribbean Fund. © 2017 Beatriz González)

 

Beatriz González. Zócalo de la tragedia. 1983. One from a set of six linoleum cuts, each 27 9/16 x 39 3/8" (70 x 100 cm). (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Publisher: the artist, Bogata. Edition: approx. 500. Latin American and Caribbean Fund. © 2017 Beatriz González)

 

 

#7: You’ve Got to Watch This!  

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

Steve McQueen. Static. 2009. 35mm film transferred to video (color, sound), 7:03 min. Digital image © 2017 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: John Wronn. (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Michael H. Dunn Memorial Fund. Installation view, Inbox: Steve McQueen, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 3–Summer 2017. © 2017 Steve McQueen.) Howardena Pindell. Free, White and 21. 1980. Video (color, sound), 12:15 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. (Gift of Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, and Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis. © 2017 Howardena Pindell. Courtesy of the artist and The Kitchen, New York) Installation view of Projects 106: Martine Syms. (The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 27–July 16, 2017. © 2017 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: John Wronn)

  

#6: If It’s Got Naked People, RuPaul Is In  

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

Carolee Schneemann. Meat Joy. 1964–2010. 16mm film transferred to video (color, sound), 6 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, and Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis. ©2017 Carolee Schneemann. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Watch Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (1964)

Learn more about Cut Piece here

#5: Minimalism to the Max  

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.

 

Jo Baer. Primary Light Group: Red, Green, Blue. 1964–65. Oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, three panels, each panel 60 x 60" (152.4 x 152.4 cm) (Philip Johnson Fund. © 2017 Jo Baer)

Learn more about Donald Judd and 101 Spring Street here

 

#4: Samantha Irby Gets High on Light  

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.

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

Dan Flavin. untitled (to the "innovator" of Wheeling Peachblow). 1968. Fluorescent light and metal fixtures, 8' 1/2" x 8' 1/4" x 5 3/4" (245 x 244.3 x 14.5 cm). (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Helena Rubinstein Fund. © 2017 Estate of Dan Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

 

#3: How Questlove Learned to Love Silence  

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.

 

Yves Klein, Blue Monochrome, 1961. Dry pigment in synthetic polymer medium on cotton over plywood, 6' 4 7/8" x 55 1/8" (195.1 x 140 cm) (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris)

 

Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition: White on White. 1918. Oil on canvas, 31 1/4 x 31 1/4" (79.4 x 79.4 cm) (Museum of Modern Art, New York. 1935 Acquisition confirmed in 1999 by agreement with the Estate of Kazimir Malevich and made possible with funds from the Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest (by exchange))

 

#2: Tavi Gevinson Wonders When It’s Done  

When you look at abstract art, what are you supposed to see among all those splatters and blobs? Abbi sorts out her feelings about Jackson Pollock’s monumental action paintings with a little help from the dancer and choreographer Mark Morris, and she puzzles over the scratchy surfaces of Cy Twombly’s paintings with Rookie editor, Broadway actor, and fashion prodigy Tavi Gevinson.

Also featuring: Corey D’Augustine, Stella Jacobson, and Anne Umland

Jackson Pollock. One: Number 31, 1950. 1950. Oil and enamel paint on canvas. (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection Fund (by exchange). © 2017 Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York) Cy Twombly. Tiznit. 1953. White lead, oil-based house paint, wax crayon, and lead pencil on canvas. (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Promised gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis. © 2017 Cy Twombly Foundation)

  

#1 Hannibal Buress Really Wants to Touch the Art  

Does art have to be beautiful, or can everyday stuff be made into art too? Abbi Jacobson brings her friend comedian Hannibal Buress to look at sculptures by Dada and Surrealist artists, who upended the definition of what art could be. Marcel Duchamp and Meret Oppenheim were basically trolling the art world — and the work they made is really funny.

 

Marcel Duchamp. Bicycle Wheel. New York, 1951 (third version, after lost original of 1913). Metal wheel mounted on painted wood stool, 51 x 25 x 16 1/2" (129.5 x 63.5 x 41.9 cm). (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp)

 

Marcel Duchamp. In Advance of the Broken Arm. August 1964 (fourth version, after lost original of November 1915). Wood and galvanized-iron snow shovel, 52" (132 cm) high. (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of The Jerry and Emily Spiegel Family Foundation. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp.)

 

Meret Oppenheim, Object. Paris, 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon; cup 4 3/8" (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8" (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8" (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8" (7.3 cm) (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Pro Litteris, Zurich. )

 

 

Presenting: A Piece of Work  

Yes, she’s the hilarious co-creator of Comedy Central’s “Broad City.” But before discovering her gift for comedy, Abbi Jacobson went to art school. Now she’s getting a refresher on everything from Jackson Pollock to Marcel Duchamp, from Pop art to performance. Abbi goes behind the scenes at The Museum of Modern Art with some of her smartest and funniest friends, including Questlove, Tavi Gevinson, Hannibal Buress, and RuPaul. Come hang!

0:00/0:00
Video player is in betaClose