Podcast Archives - Hyperallergic

6 May. 2022

If you’ve been online, and especially on Twitter, then you probably know the name Eli Valley and his brushy drawings that use the grotesque and absurd to make larger points about life, culture, and politics. But it wasn’t until the Trump administration that the New York City-based cartoonist was propelled into the public spotlight. Valley was attacked by a wide range of politicians, particularly Republicans, including Meghan McCain, who called the comic he drew of her “one of the most anti-Semitic things I have even seen.” McCain is not Jewish, and Valley is, not to mention that his father is a rabbi.


In this conversation, I asked Valley to tell us about how he got his start in comics, how he builds on the long history of satire and graphic humor in the Jewish American tradition, and how he copes with the public spotlight while he struggles to survive as a full-time artist. 


This podcast is accompanied by scholar Josh Lambert’s article, which explores the art historical roots of Valley’s art. Lambert writes, “Valley comes naturally by his most pressing and recurrent theme: lies told and violence committed in the name of Jewish safety and security. His cartoon jeremiads can easily enough be fit into a long history of Jewish protest, from the Biblical prophets who excoriated the sinners of Israel to modern novelists who, like the criminally under-appreciated late-19th-century San Francisco writer Emma Wolf, wrote about Jews, as she put it, ‘in the spirit of love — the love that has the courage to point out a fault in its object.’”


The music for this episode is “A Mineral Love” by Bibio, courtesy Warp Records.


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29 Apr. 2022

Artists Tali Hinkis and Daniel Temkin have been at the leading edge of digitally informed contemporary art that explores the boundaries of programming, digital aesthetics, and the handmade. Their work is certainly unique, but they also share some commonalities around media-based art, glitch, and how their work in the gallery and online is circulated and experienced. I invited them to join me for a conversation to hear the thoughts of two intelligent artists who are fully engaged with the new wave of thinking around digital practices in the arts. Hinkis and Temkin are both participating in various “Digital Combine” exhibitions curated by artist Claudia Hart, who coined the term based on artist Robert Rauschenberg’s earlier “Combines” concept that intersects sculpture and painting. In this new incarnation, the digital and analogue are in dialogue.


I also invited both artists, who are of Jewish descent, to reflect on their cultural heritage and how it manifests and informs their larger bodies of work. This conversation is part of a continuing series we’ve been doing over the last year with the help of CANVAS, a foundation interested in fostering new Jewish creativity in the 21st century.


Hinkis and Temkin are both exhibiting together in Digital Combines at Bitforms gallery in San Francisco until January 11, 2023.


The music for this episode is “Ultra (Yung Sherman Mix)” by Evian Christ, courtesy Warp Records.

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21 Apr. 2022

Last year, we published a dossier of statements by leading scholars supporting the fight of Tamara Lanier to reclaim the daguerreotypes of her ancestors from the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. Lanier, who lives in Norwich, Connecticut, had long heard stories through her family about an ancestor named Papa Renty, a learned man from Africa who was enslaved and brought to the United States under inhumane conditions. Those stories about Renty were important to her family and to the memory of their heritage that they kept alive. 

Then one day, Lanier discovered that there were photographs of her relative, and they were deposited at Harvard University because of a 19th-century racist academic named Louis Agassiz. Agassiz had commissioned them to "prove" his White Supremacist ideas about race and they lay in a trunk at the Peabody Museum until a researcher resurfaced them in the 1970s.

In this podcast, I speak to Lanier about the continuing fight to reclaim her family heritage by asking Harvard to accept her right to the ownership of the images. She discusses a fascinating visit to the home of descendants of the Taylor family, enslavers who claimed Lanier's ancestors as property, and some surprising discoveries she made along the way.

This is a must-hear episode, and I would highly recommend reading Valentina Di Liscia's excellent article, which was part of our special dossier, that summarizes the history of the court case and the larger fight to "Free Renty."

Lanier has also allowed us reproduce some of the photographs she took at the Taylor family home, which includes various items of furniture created by her ancestors when they were enslaved.

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