The Art Career Podcast Seeks to Demystify the Art World

Emily McElwreath (right) in the studio with Dana Prussian (left). Photographed by Morgan Everhart. Courtesy of The Art Career.

A new podcast invites listeners to dive deep into the inner workings of the art industry. Hosted by advisor and educator Emily McElwreath and directed by artist and curator Morgan Everhart, The Art Career podcast speaks with art world titans, as well as young and emerging professionals, to explore the multifaceted world of working in art. Made for aficionados and those curious about the field, the podcast gives great insight into pressing issues facing art professionals. Listeners can hear insights and anecdotes from some of the industry’s leading figures, including Marilyn Minter, Leo Fitzpatrick, and Laurie Simmons.  

The Art Career aims to demystify some of the many shrouded aspects of the art industry. “The art world is bananas,” explains McElwreath. “You have to follow the rules and break them at the same time…I founded The Art Career to create a gentler experience for artists and art professionals who want to participate in this contradictory industry which is simultaneously exclusive and very welcoming.” 

The episodes released thus far have been accessible even to art novices, yet weave in academic and historical references and esoteric anecdotes that listeners can research if desired. Informative and well-researched, each episode is entertaining without fail. The podcast includes conversations with a range of professionals, providing a useful overview of the many facets of the industry. Guests and topics covered include Dana Prussian, Senior Vice President of Art Services at Bank of America who explains her job managing billions of dollars worth of art and the growth of art as an asset in large, private banks; painter Deja Patterson discussing her exploration of societal discrimination and issues of race, body image, sexuality; and actor and gallerist Leo Fitzpatrick who shares a candid overview of the art industry in general.

“We were careful to not just approach icons of our generation but to also invite emerging artists and art professionals. TAC reaches both ends of the spectrum to adequately represent our ecosystem. We make the art world more approachable for everyone,” says McElwreath.

Emily McElwreath with Marilyn Minter in her studio. Photographed by Morgan Everhart. Courtesy of The Art Career.

A highlight of the season is the inaugural episode with artist and activist Marilyn Minter. For listeners unfamiliar with Minter, McElwreath provides a useful, visual description of her work and an overview of her career. The two dive deep into topics ranging from the marginalization of women throughout art history to the importance of creating a supportive community of artists.

“I always say that being an artist is too competitive…My theory is, let’s just work as a team, girls,” Minter says to McElwreath, adding that her first inclination as a young artist was to reject other artists–male and female–whose work she was jealous of in order to make more space for herself. She realized that wasn’t the way to build a community. “I did the opposite action…I went over to the girls and the boys I was jealous of and said ‘God, your work is so good, I’m such a fan’…once you say those words, the poison drains and then you actually mean it and you become colleagues.”

Marilyn Minter, Lilith, 2021, enamel on metal. Courtesy of The Art Career.

Where the episode shines are the more candid moments in which Minter speaks about broader subjects not related to art. As a fierce, long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood, Minter addresses topics of reproductive rights, feminism, toxic masculinity, and the importance of education. 

“Information. People just need information,” Minter says. “Those poor fucking souls that are afraid of the word ‘gay’ or ‘trans’, they don’t even know the language. What are they afraid of? Why can’t the patriarchy share power? They’re not going to lose anything. We’re all asking to share power. We’re not trying to take over. What’s so hard about this?”

Minter is open and honest as ever, appearing comfortable answering any question, including personal queries about sexuality and addiction. While these are personal anecdotes, they reflect larger issues that many people face, in particular artists and creatives. 

Morgan Everhart (left) and Max Kendrick (right). Photographed by Morgan Everhart. Courtesy of The Art Career.

Another season highlight is episode two, in which McElwreath speaks with Max Kendrick, co-founder, and CEO of Fairchain, a new company working to ensure artists and galleries financially benefit from sales of artwork, an issue that becomes increasingly important in the secondary market. The episode dives deep into issues that arise as artworks are resold and flipped and explain how Fairchain establishes new revenue streams. Kendrick and McElwreath also touch on the importance of protecting buyers from forgeries and fraud, and introduce listeners to more technical matters of provenance and authentication. 

The Art Career constantly presents new topics that keep the listener interested. Stylistically, the episodes range from more personal narratives, like Minter’s, to more technical and scholarly information, like Kendrick’s. Within this well-balanced range, the overall tone throughout each episode remains surprisingly conversational, a testament to the creators’ expertise, as well as that of their guests. Each speaker is highly skilled and able to talk about complex, often intimidating topics in understandable, approachable terms. Overall, The Art Career podcast is a valuable addition to any art-enthusiast’s weekly listen. 

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Annabel Keenan

Annabel Keenan is a New York-based writer and art advisor. She specializes in contemporary art and sustainability. She contributes to several publications including The Art Newspaper, Cultured Magazine, Brooklyn Rail, Cultbytes, and Hyperallergic, among others.

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