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Designing Women S5 E18 Extra Sugar – Let’s Chat Contemporary Art: An Artsy Fartsy Extra Sugar

Updated: Mar 4

Our Designing Women are exposed to the world of contemporary art, so you know what that means: we’re now becoming artists! Nah, but we do need to talk about some things like what was happening in contemporary art at the time that had this on the writers’ minds? And, uh, what is contemporary art? We’ll also talk about some fascinating examples – and who knows? Maybe we’ll all be fans by the end.

Some reads:

Come on y’all, let’s get into it! 



Salina: Hey, Nikki.

Nikki: Hey, Salina.

Salina: Hey, y'all.

Salina: And welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.

Salina: So our designing women were exposed to the world of contemporary art.

Salina: So you know what we had to do.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: Nikki and I have quit our jobs and joined an art commune in the countryside, where we'll spend the remainder of our days neatly arranging dirt cloths on the floor.

Salina: Not quite.

Nikki: I'm working in toilet paper.

Nikki: That's my medium.

Salina: I kind of like it.

Salina: I'm sure there's someone, but we are going to talk more about contemporary art, what was happening in the art world around this time.

Salina: And then we'll chat about some examples of the movement.

Salina: We'll end on some real museums here in the south.

Salina: Sound good?

Nikki: Sounds good.

Salina: If it didn't sound.

Nikki: I know, what am I going to say?

Nikki: No.

Salina: Sounds pretty terrible.

Salina: I could try and do something else on the fly kind of hard.

Salina: I just, like, read a book to you.

Salina: Good night, stars.

Nikki: As long as I get to sleep, that's all that matters.

Salina: It does sound pretty good.

Salina: So this is just like some basic stuff.

Salina: And I had to go remind myself, like, what the true definition of contemporary art is.

Salina: But according to my modern myth, it refers to art, namely painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance, and video art produced today.

Salina: The exact starting point of the genre is still debated, but many art historians consider the late 60s, early 70s here in the ballpark, the beginning of which is the end of modern art or modernism.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: Contemporary and modern art are not the same thing.

Salina: Even though I often see people using them interchangeably, it's not exactly true.

Salina: So the collector outlines the main differences.

Salina: Modern art came first, and it was mainly abstract.

Salina: Contemporary art came later.

Salina: It's more eclectic, and it's a little bit more varied than modern art.

Salina: And also a quick reminder that galleries and museums, they're also not the same thing.

Salina: So an art gallery, it's private, it's commercial.

Salina: It is somewhat about trying to sell things, very much so about trying to sell things.

Salina: And in contrast, a museum is public, non commercial, and it's curating an exhibition program that's about cultural and educational purposes, as is our way.

Salina: I wanted to see what, if anything, may have inspired this episode of designing women.

Salina: Were the writers simply flummoxed by contemporary art, or was there something going on at that time?

Salina: So I wouldn't say it's a total smoking gun, but I found a 1995 Chicago Tribune article with some clues.

Salina: So one of the art dealers who were quoted in the article said, quote, the 80s were by general agreement, a boom time for art corporations, private collectors and interior designers all were buying at the same time.

Salina: And it sounds like they were buying everything they could get their hands on, even the kinds of things that were always challenging to sell.

Salina: But then in 1990, the high end of the contemporary art market collapsed, and it turned out that big name living artists weren't a recession proof investment after all.

Salina: So around the time of this episode, 1991, and into the next year as well, corporations stopped buying and collectors cut down, projects slowed and belts tightened.

Salina: But what about the longer trajectory?

Salina: Well, according to Artnet, both the interest and sales in contemporary art have risen over the last 30 plus years.

Salina: They also noted an increasing overlap in auction houses and galleries, which, I'm just going to be honest, it feels a little icky to me because somewhat like in this episode of designing women, it's a question of when is it art and when is it just another product?

Salina: Are we in the art world or are we in the art industry?

Salina: And I think the answer is yes.

Salina: Related to this question of what is art, it feels worth noting some of the controversy of the time, including our own government funding for the arts, that really heated up in the late 80s.

Salina: So I'm referring specifically to the National Endowment for the Arts, or the NEA.

Salina: This is an independent federal government agency created by Congress in 1965, and they provide grants to artists, museums and galleries to encourage promising artists who are unlikely to attract large audiences or private funding.

Salina: And I do think this is important because in theory, the NEA should be one answer to the downsides of everything we're talking about.

Salina: Artist, transaction, commodity business.

Salina: Of course, Congress controls the purse strings, and certain members were up in arms over the NEA's support for artists like Andre Serrano and Robert Maplethorpe, whose work was considered by some to be obscene or immoral.

Salina: In other words, tax money going to things they didn't like.

Salina: By 1989, they funded NEA, specifying funds couldn't be used to promote or produce art that they considered obscene.

Salina: In 1990, obscenity was defined in accordance with community standards of decency, and the money would have to be returned if the art was deemed obscene.

Salina: So in April 1990, after touring several cities, an exhibit of maple Thorpes photographs made its way to contemporary arts center in Cincinnati.

Salina: I guess you could say they deemed it obscene because the Hamilton County Sheriff's office shut down the museum entirely, and then the museum and its director were prosecuted on obscenity charges but not found guilty.

Salina: But this was an ongoing battle throughout the 90s that I remember being trotted out quite regularly and usually around the time that there were arguments and decisions being made around budgets.

Salina: The episode is definitely poking at contemporary art, but for better or worse, it was hitting on some popular themes that emerged in the read an article that talked about what art was reacting to at the time and it was reacting to the political environment, yes, but also things like consumerism and mass produced art.

Salina: So you can reproduce and sell a million Van Gogh's, but you can't easily reproduce and sell dirt clods on the floor, for instance.

Salina: We'll link to that article for anyone interested in exploring those themes.

Salina: If I'm completely honest, contemporary art can be a little hit or miss for me.

Salina: And I want to be careful because just because something doesn't work for me doesn't mean it's not good.

Salina: It's just more like personal preference.

Salina: I can only consider a bowl of straight pins or a stick of butter for so long.

Salina: How about you, Nikki?

Salina: What's your relationship to contemporary art?

Nikki: Oh, yeah, you don't ask that question.

Salina: No sticks of butter for you?

Nikki: No.

Nikki: I fall in the category of probably Charlene and some a little bit Mary Jo in this.

Nikki: Like, I don't understand it.

Nikki: It doesn't make any sense to me.

Nikki: But I don't know.

Nikki: I'm not like an art head.

Nikki: So I also feel bad saying that.

Salina: But I don't think we'll talk more about it.

Salina: But I don't think anybody should feel bad for like whatever it is they think or feel.

Salina: The whole point, not the whole point, but some people, when they're making art, the whole thing is they want you to think and they don't want to influence what you think on the other side of.

Salina: So I just feel like there's got.

Nikki: To be some statement they're making.

Nikki: And to me they said in this episode with several Julius purse, somebody looked at that and thought it was art.

Nikki: But it's really just a person's purse.

Nikki: And that doesn't make a statement to me.

Nikki: And I don't understand the statement.

Nikki: So then I feel bad being like, I don't really get contemporary art, but they're like, but do you even understand it enough to get it?

Nikki: I'm like, probably not.

Nikki: I've never really thought about it that hard.

Nikki: So I don't know, I feel super uneducated on it.

Nikki: So I feel bad saying I don't understand.

Nikki: That doesn't make sense to me.

Salina: I feel like most people who talk about contemporary art, unless they are like in the art world, are probably.

Salina: So I think that might be a little telling about some of.

Salina: So artist Marcel Duchamp once said that art is completed by the viewer.

Salina: I've thought a lot about that over the last couple of weeks, but for our purposes, I really tried to pull examples that felt, yes, a little weird, but hopefully also thought provoking.

Salina: So let's get into it.

Salina: Nikki, I pulled a viewing sheet together for you so that you could kind of see what I'm talking about as I go through.

Salina: Do you have that?

Nikki: I do.

Salina: Okay, perfect.

Salina: So I'm going to start off with number one, and that is artist Damien Hearst.

Salina: The year is 1991, so that's nice for the whatever of the episode.

Salina: And then it's called the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living.

Salina: Go ahead and try and say that just once.

Salina: Actually, not even three times fast.

Salina: But it's more commonly referred.

Nikki: I like this name better.

Salina: His pickled shark.

Nikki: Yes.

Salina: So it's a tiger shark in formaldehyde.

Salina: The controversy around this one is that some believed it belonged more in a natural history museum versus being referred to as a work of art.

Salina: According to alcation, Hearst piece got people thinking and talking about the environment as well as debating our response to predators.

Salina: Apparently if you stare long enough at its teeth, you see the shark move.

Salina: So I don't know me, I don't care if I see it in a museum or of natural history or an art museum or like a museum that encompasses both.

Salina: I think it would be kind of interesting to be standing across from something that could eat me, but it can't eat me because it's suspended in formaldehyde.

Salina: Whether or not it feels like art to me or not, I would like to stand in front of it, look at it.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: You know where I don't want to see it is in the ocean while I'm swimming.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: Well, and obviously I would be interested since I did the shark cage diving.

Nikki: I might need to google it later.

Nikki: I wonder what the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living.

Nikki: I'm trying to understand what he's trying to communicate because to your is something I totally look at in like Fernbank or a natural history museum.

Nikki: But if I went to see art and I saw this, I'm going to need more.

Nikki: I'm going to need to understand.

Salina: Well, I think I have in our show notes where you can link to a video where they talk about it a little bit more in depth.

Salina: And I will say that I think that what they're trying to get at is like until you're truly faith.

Salina: It's really hard for most people to comprehend death because it feels like we might die in 1 second.

Salina: I think is a little bit tough for the human mind to wrap around, is sort of the idea that he's getting at.

Salina: But they say that in a much prettier way.

Nikki: It looks terrifying.

Salina: Yeah, I think if I remember correctly, that one disintegrated and they've had to make another one, which is also like an interesting thing to consider.

Salina: Where did they get the shrek from?

Salina: There's a lot of good.

Nikki: Oh, it was initially preserved poorly.

Salina: There you go.

Nikki: Surrounding liquid group.

Nikki: Murky.

Salina: Yeah, that's just all its insides leaking everywhere.

Nikki: Nikki.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: I want to know where that came from.

Salina: Number two is Tracy Emmon.

Salina: This is 1998.

Salina: My bed.

Salina: I'm just going to read what one website had to say about it.

Salina: So in her famous artwork, my bed, the artist displays a bed with bodily secretions stain and messy bedroom objects such as condoms, underwears that were inspired by Emmons'depressive yet sexual phase when she remained in bed for four consecutive days drinking only alcohol.

Salina: The installation gained a lot of media attention, causing a fur.

Salina: So I think I remember hearing an uproar about this one.

Salina: Even when it came out.

Salina: I feel like I have one of those science teachers that really wanted to be an art teacher and would bring up things.

Salina: Did they like the pickle shark?

Nikki: I feel like the pickle shark would be in their vein.

Salina: So I will just say that for this one, I can remember just thinking it was really weird.

Salina: And I think some of the thought behind it is like, so if I just took a picture of my son's messy bedroom, would it be, can I call it art or whatever?

Salina: I would just say that with something like this, we may not understand it or I may not understand it, but you can't say it doesn't make you think.

Salina: Particularly that description of depressive yet sexual phase that's going to stay with me for at least another two weeks.

Nikki: Well, I wonder.

Nikki: So you said earlier, art is completed by the viewer.

Nikki: So something like this.

Nikki: I'm so curious.

Nikki: This is obviously very personal to the artist, but is there a person that this resonates with who also looks at this and goes, oh, my God, yes, I've been there.

Nikki: That was my depressive?

Nikki: Yes.

Salina: I guess at least there was an.

Nikki: Upside to your nails because it kind of strikes me this is something where I see, like, I don't see it with the shark.

Nikki: The shark looks very much like, what's the word objective, like, you're not part of it.

Nikki: It's this thing you're looking at.

Nikki: This is something that someone has been a part of, the artist.

Nikki: I have trouble seeing myself in that.

Nikki: I want to know who sees themselves in that.

Nikki: I see this as, like, a journal entry for Tracy Emmon, but for everybody else, does it feel like.

Salina: So I'm struck in a few ways by this one.

Salina: To put yourself out, like, out there.

Salina: Like that is.

Salina: Wow.

Salina: That's soul bearing, in a way.

Salina: I also think there's something that's interesting about it, because just think about it.

Salina: How many times have you walked in my bedroom?

Salina: How many times have you been here.

Nikki: Once to see your bathroom?

Salina: You know what I'm saying?

Salina: It is like this place that is so intimate that so few people get to see it.

Nikki: Every time we have people over to the house, I'm cleaning the room, and Kyle's like, why are you cleaning our bedroom?

Nikki: And I'm like, well, what if somebody comes in and he's like, who is coming into your bedroom?

Nikki: And I was like, I don't.

Salina: It's.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: There's something about it.

Salina: Something about it being so personal, something about that few people see and then her taking that.

Salina: And obviously what I imagine if she was drinking in bed for four days, it probably wasn't a good day if she was drinking in bed for four days by herself.

Salina: And so it's not like a couple of friends were with her.

Salina: And so just to think about that and putting that out there, but maybe also.

Salina: Maybe that's not something you've experienced, but there's probably some people out there who have experienced that.

Salina: And what might that say to them?

Salina: Or what that may that make them feel not alone?

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: Anyways, whatever it is, it had me thinking a lot.

Salina: So she actually pops up on the list again in 1995.

Salina: So this is number three on my list.

Salina: Everyone I have ever slept with, 1963 to 1995.

Salina: And this is also known as the tent.

Salina: So it is a tent, like, for camping, but the inside is embroidered with 102 names of people the artist has slept with through the course of her life, up until the time that she made the tent.

Salina: So people misinterpret it to mean sexual partners only, but it also includes people she slept in bed with, not sexually, to family, friends, drinking buddies.

Salina: The name of the baby she miscarried, I believe so the floor includes the phrase with myself, always myself, never forgetting.

Salina: And we'll link to a video where she talks about the meaning behind it and how it affected people who viewed it.

Salina: It made them think of who they'd slept with too.

Salina: Or rather who in life they had this specific intimacy with.

Salina: Unfortunately, the tent was destroyed, I think, in a warehouse fire in 2004.

Salina: So maybe it was a collector or something.

Salina: So this, and like many other pieces of art were destroyed.

Salina: But anyways, I think the fact that it also includes all these other people in that level of intimacy, it's sort of like the flip side or the accompaniment, if you will, of the bed.

Salina: Because not a lot of people see in your bedroom.

Salina: You don't necessarily lay in bed with a lot of people.

Salina: Or maybe you do, but if you do, that is a certain level of intimacy.

Salina: Whatever.

Nikki: A lot of names to remember.

Salina: God, yes, it is.

Nikki: From 1960 something to 90 something.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Do you think she remembered them all?

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: I'm looking at Billy Childish.

Nikki: It's the most obvious one.

Nikki: It's making me think Billie Eilish and also childish Gambino.

Nikki: So I kept looking at that, rereading it.

Nikki: But I was thinking initially, she really put these people on blast.

Nikki: Then you clarified they were names of people she's slept with.

Nikki: Not necessarily slept with.

Salina: She did sleep with Billy childish, though.

Salina: I think that was like her at the time.

Salina: Or Billy on blast, someone she broke up with recently.

Nikki: Other ones are a little harder to read.

Nikki: Tracy Horn, maybe, and Frank Burby.

Nikki: But I mean, that's like one of the things where that explanation.

Nikki: I look at this and think, I get that.

Nikki: Like the words on the floor.

Nikki: That's lovely.

Salina: Yeah, it really sat with me.

Salina: But if you just walked up to this.

Nikki: One of the things that I love with music probably more than art, because I understand music more.

Nikki: But I love when you can take a lyric and I can hear it and you can hear it and we can take away two different narratives about that lyric with this.

Salina: I don't know how many narratives you.

Nikki: Walk away from this with just looking at it.

Nikki: You need the artist to explain what she meant.

Nikki: And then you can put yourself in that tent thinking of, oh my gosh, all those people that I've shared that part of my life with, that 8 hours of really vulnerable time with every day.

Nikki: I get that.

Salina: And I don't know what.

Salina: Maybe there was a little plaque hanging there or something.

Nikki: But they also say, like, art stands on its own because you're supposed to interpret it your own way.

Nikki: Be true.

Salina: At the same time.

Nikki: Breaks my brain.

Salina: Like, I kind of like to look at something.

Salina: It's like when we talked about how much a toll it weighs.

Salina: A couple of episodes back.

Salina: I like to take my own guess, but then I wanted to search for the facts, and I kind of think about art in the same way.

Salina: Hey, the way you google all the time is kind of like that, right?

Nikki: I have a sickness.

Salina: You're, like, thinking about something, but then you need to verify something.

Salina: Number four is Songdong 2005, waste knot.

Salina: So, waste knot is a collection of things that Songdong's late mother accumulated over 50 years, and it included nearly 11,000 objects.

Salina: It's like everything under the sun.

Salina: The article called out hundreds of medicine bottles, tea boxes, and cooking pots, as well as chairs, cupboards, and radiators.

Salina: It sounds like there is also an emotional component to it, like things that his mom, his or her.

Salina: I don't know if Songdong's a man or a woman, but whatever the mom had bought for them to take care of them were also involved in the collection as well.

Salina: So it sounds like maybe this was, like, a little bit of a healing process for the artist.

Salina: But if a picture were ever worth a thousand words, this is it, because the sheer amount of things is wild.

Salina: Oh, I'm sorry.

Salina: Songdong is.

Salina: He exhibited this one in several places.

Salina: So that means he's moved all of this stuff around the world and then set it up the same way again.

Nikki: They must have a very clean organizational structure.

Salina: Yeah, because they take some close ups.

Salina: And we'll link to these articles so folks can look at it as they wish.

Nikki: But this is fascinating.

Nikki: It says about the mother suffered poverty during China's turmoil in the acquired a habit of thrift and reuse that led her to store domestic objects.

Nikki: So this piece actually really speaks to me with that story in mind.

Nikki: On the one hand, without that story, I think you can kind of put together that it's the totality of someone's life, because in the center of the exhibit is almost like a house or a hut of some kind.

Nikki: So it kind of almost looks like all the objects have exploded out of it.

Nikki: So on the one hand, I see it as, like, the totality of your life once you take it out of these four walls.

Nikki: Oh, my God.

Nikki: How amazing is that?

Nikki: And I think a lot about how much crap is on this earth because we all own individually so much crap.

Salina: So on the one hand, about 11,000 objects each.

Nikki: 11,000 objects each.

Nikki: Probably more for some of us.

Nikki: But on the second side of things is knowing that context.

Nikki: And I think about this with other people in my own life, how colored they are.

Nikki: And their habit of gathering things and squirreling things away because of poverty and because of a childhood and a life where they didn't have much.

Nikki: And this becomes their safety blanket.

Nikki: And that is kind of powerful to look at.

Nikki: I like song dunks.

Nikki: Good job, song dunks.

Salina: I love everything you just said.

Salina: So the next one is Gerard Richter, 1991, mirror blood red.

Salina: So there are a fair amount of these contemporary paintings.

Salina: So I just picked one.

Salina: Believe it or not, this one went for 1.3 million.

Salina: What I think is most interesting, perhaps, is what I have to say about it versus what a museum has to say about it.

Salina: So my version goes, oh, they painted that mirror red, and I can see myself in it.

Nikki: How creepy.

Nikki: That's very creepy.

Salina: Thank you.

Salina: Maybe I think of Dexter.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: Here's what the Met had to say.

Salina: For Richter, making reverse pigmented mirrors became a way to quietly challenge the avant garde monochrome, as well as to explore a counterpoint to the gestural, vivid exuberance of his own painting.

Salina: In the case of the colored mirrors, the result was a kind of cross between a monochrome painting and a mirror.

Salina: And neither nor, which is what I like about it.

Salina: Encounter with this example simultaneously enables and convolutes a narcissistic desire for mirroring.

Salina: Spectators confront their own presence, saturated in the blood red chroma.

Salina: Okay, so I have one reaction to that.

Salina: I like art, but I don't think I can hang in the art world.

Nikki: It's a lot of words that individually I understand, but combined with one another, I'm not sure.

Salina: I think what they said was, oh, they painted that mirror red, and you.

Nikki: Can see yourself in it, and it's a little creepy.

Nikki: Oh, wow.

Salina: It's just a.

Salina: Oh, that's a lot.

Nikki: That seems like a lot.

Salina: Number six, I'm going to need your help there, Frenchie.

Salina: Uh oh.

Salina: Pierre.

Salina: I looked up this last name earlier, and honestly, I couldn't even understand what the pronunciator was saying.

Salina: It was like, is that French?

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Oh, do I not have the name?

Salina: I do, don't I?

Nikki: You do.

Nikki: I've never seen that before.

Salina: To me, it's Hugh.

Nikki: That's how I would pronounce it.

Salina: Okay, well, I'm sorry, Mr.

Salina: Pierre.

Salina: It's probably not.

Salina: We apologize.

Salina: And by we, I mean me.

Salina: And I am truly sorry.

Salina: But in 2014, live dog painted partly pink.

Salina: So this was actually part of the artist touring retrospective in Cologne, Paris in LA.

Salina: It showcased 60 of his works over the past 28 years.

Salina: That pink legged Ibezen Hound was the artist rescue dog named Human, and from what I can tell, his leg was pink since at least 2011.

Salina: Sadly, human died a few years ago.

Salina: The dog is what caught my eye.

Salina: But the installation sounds really interesting.

Nikki: Wait, I'm sorry.

Nikki: Yeah, I got confused.

Nikki: The last name.

Nikki: This is a real dog?

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: In this picture, he looks so still, right?

Nikki: Is he alive or is he stuffed?

Salina: He's alive.

Nikki: And that's not dog cruelty.

Salina: How skinny he is.

Nikki: Well, no, I think that breed of dog is just skinny.

Nikki: Is the painting his leg?

Salina: As long as it's not poisonous painting, I think.

Nikki: How do you know it's not poisonous?

Salina: He probably would have died somewhere around 2011 instead of 2021.

Salina: I think there's probably some, there may be some questions there.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: You didn't rescue them, so I don't know.

Salina: Where's PETA?

Nikki: Where's PETA on this one?

Salina: That's a very good question.

Salina: Hey, there's no wrong question.

Nikki: I thought he was a taxiderby dog.

Salina: Well, he may be.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: Now.

Salina: I'm not sure.

Salina: He's real cute.

Salina: He is really cute.

Salina: But the installation, again, it sounds really interesting.

Salina: The space and the art in it is supposed to be random and experiential versus, as the artist put it, walking around and looking at discrete works, or say, a gallery or a museum.

Salina: So it's a mixture of videos, interactive works, paintings, animals and even fake weather.

Salina: Or at least the retrospective that he did in LA was human.

Salina: Walking around with a pink leg then was all part and parcel to that goal.

Salina: So the one that opened in LA also premiered precambrian explosion, which was an aquarium with a live ecosystem and floating rock.

Salina: And then, according to a Reuters article, visitors are also able to step outside into the California sun as machines overhead dump fake snow, fog and rain, all while thousands of bees swarm from a concrete classical sculpture of a lounging nude woman with beehive.

Salina: It's just so much.

Nikki: We've gone too far.

Nikki: It's just like we've lost me.

Nikki: I'm deep in the rabbit hole on poor little human and all the other things, the dumping of the things and the bees of the things.

Nikki: That just sounds like Monday.

Salina: Anyways.

Salina: You can't say that's just a tour around regular art gallery.

Nikki: Man.

Salina: I love the idea of creating weather as art anyways.

Salina: I just think that sounds fun and to be like in an experience versus just sitting there and looking at a painting and being like, I love their use of shadow and light.

Nikki: You know what I would like?

Nikki: I would like a little dog to come up and nuzzle me.

Nikki: Even with a pink arm, he could come up and nuzzle me and I could rub him back.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: It's a dog friendly hair dye.

Nikki: I did confirm.

Salina: Okay, thank you for saying that, because we don't want to shame Pierre.

Nikki: It's not dog friendly.

Nikki: But to your point, it's not poisonous.

Salina: I mean, I assumed if the dog lived ten more years that it was probably okay.

Salina: But I will tell you that a similar thing passed through my mind as well.

Nikki: A lot of people commented on how skinny he was.

Nikki: I just assumed that's the type of dog he was.

Nikki: Same.

Nikki: Some dogs are just really slim.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: It could be just like humans, or.

Salina: If they went through severe abuse and he rescued them, it could be that he just never put on weight again.

Salina: But I think that's that.

Nikki: Well, that one stressed me out.

Nikki: That was too much.

Salina: Well, let's go on to Jeff Coons, then.

Salina: Number 719 86.

Salina: Rabbit.

Salina: If you've heard of any contemporary artist, I mean, aside from, like, Banksy, who's still living, because I know contemporary art, it's that they're alive.

Salina: But the 60s were a long time ago, so guess what?

Salina: Some of the contemporary artists aren't alive anymore.

Salina: I'm sorry.

Salina: It's probably going to be Jeff Coons that you've heard of.

Salina: He's best known for his sculpture depicting everyday objects like a vacuum cleaner.

Salina: And according to the online platform Kunis, he draws inspiration from advertising, commerce, and celebrity culture.

Salina: He is also somewhat controversial because he doesn't create them.

Salina: His large staff does.

Nikki: What?

Salina: Yeah, I didn't know that until I read more about him.

Salina: I mean, I've heard of him and stuff.

Nikki: He's the ideas guy, the visionary.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: So it is interesting to hear.

Salina: Yeah, I mean, someone's got to have the idea.

Salina: I can see how some people would be.

Nikki: Feels like the business version of art.

Salina: Well, it's funny that you mentioned that.

Salina: So, according to NPR, Rabbit sold for more than 91 million at Christie's auction house back in 2019.

Salina: This was a record breaking amount for a live artist at an auction house.

Salina: I'm so sorry.

Salina: I'm so sorry.

Salina: Didn't mean to play footsie with you, but yeah.

Salina: So 91,000,001 thing I'll say before I move on to the rest of the artists and pieces of art on this list is like I had talked earlier about one thing that contemporary art was trying to do was kind of push back on this idea of mass consumerism and these kinds of things and mass production of art and things that you can't just make and all of that and kind of like this push on everything being about money.

Salina: But then that's 91 million.

Salina: And it is a little tough for me to square that in my head.

Nikki: It looks cool, though.

Nikki: It looks like a silver balloon animal.

Salina: You know what it reminds me of?

Salina: Donnie Darka.

Nikki: Uh huh.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: It's pretty cool.

Nikki: If that were in tiny form and sit on your desk, I'd like to have one of those.

Salina: Do you want to take a guess at how tall it is?

Nikki: Two and a half feet tall.

Salina: That's pretty good.

Salina: It's three.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: It doesn't look that big.

Salina: It's cute.

Nikki: I like it.

Salina: He also has the balloon dog one.

Nikki: It's okay.

Salina: It's like a little cuter.

Salina: Actually.

Salina: That one kind of scares me just a little bit.

Nikki: I'll be googling.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: All right.

Salina: While you do that, I'll go on to number eight, which is Oliver Eliason.

Salina: This is 20.

Nikki: Oh, that's cute.

Nikki: Yeah, I've seen this before.

Nikki: That's cute.

Salina: It is cute.

Salina: They did a replica in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Nikki: Yeah, that's cute.

Nikki: All right.

Nikki: I give you that.

Nikki: Jeff, you do.

Nikki: You man make money.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: So Oliver Eliason 2019 Ice watch.

Nikki: I think I'm going to like this one because I'm going to like the story behind it.

Salina: Oh, good.

Salina: I hope so.

Salina: I liked it.

Salina: So he raises awareness about climate crisis through his immersive, large scale and site specific art installations.

Salina: For Ice watch.

Salina: Specifically, he placed huge ice blocks in major cities to melt.

Salina: And then in 2003, he installed a giant artificial sun inside London's Tate modern.

Salina: So I assumed that was to talk about sun stuff.

Salina: I don't know if he actually made it hot or like, what the case.

Nikki: Was, but just assuming, just looking at this picture, I had assumed this ice watch one, I assumed he was making a statement about global warming.

Salina: Right.

Salina: Although I'm like, you didn't pick it from the glaciers, did you?

Nikki: Right.

Nikki: Incidentally, Carolina and I were reading a book of facts you wouldn't believe.

Nikki: And one of them was that a glacier has enough water in it to provide water for the state of Texas for like ten years.

Salina: Oh, wow.

Nikki: The sheer amount of water in a glacier is overwhelming.

Salina: Wow.

Salina: Anyhow, I would really like to go see glaciers in person and see fun fact, calve.

Nikki: Well, break some off and bring it back.

Nikki: You know?

Nikki: That's legal.

Salina: It's legal.

Nikki: No, I'm like, what?

Salina: See?

Salina: I'm like, out there, you need some ice, feed, drink.

Nikki: Let me be clear.

Nikki: I don't know that there's legislation against it for sure, but I'm sure there is.

Salina: It feels like maybe there should be.

Nikki: There's a reason people aren't going up there and grabbing it.

Salina: That's right.

Salina: Because we do suck without some laws around us.

Nikki: That's right.

Salina: I forget.

Salina: Okay, so number nine is Marina Abramovic.

Salina: And this is in 2010.

Salina: The artist is present.

Salina: So I couldn't dare call this a well rounded list without a little performance art.

Salina: And it turns out marina is the grandmother of performance art.

Salina: So according to kunas, in 2010, she sat immobile for 8 hours a day for nearly three months in the momaw's atrium while visitors sat across from her.

Salina: And she locked eyes with over 1000 people who took turns sitting there.

Salina: Creepy spectators described it as very powerful, intense and emotional counterpoint.

Salina: I also sit immobile for 8 hours a day at my desk going on 14 years now.

Salina: And I would also describe it as intense and emotional, just in case anyone cares.

Salina: Oh, performance art.

Salina: It's a real thing.

Salina: So number ten is Judy, Chicago, 1974 to 79 dinner party.

Salina: So, you know, I got to throw in a feminist in the mix.

Salina: And so here she is.

Salina: In fact, according to Kunis, dinner party is considered one of the most pivotal 20th century artworks in the first epic feminist artwork.

Salina: Judy, along with volunteers, installed a table with 39 place settings for 39 important historical and mythical women.

Salina: Each table setting consisted of a table runner embroidered with the name and symbols relating to the women's accomplishments.

Salina: Each also had utensils, a napkin goblet and ceramic plate hand painted by Judy.

Salina: And the names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table.

Salina: Its aim is to end the ongoing cycle of omission in which women were written out of the historical record, and it is now permanently housed in the Brooklyn museum.

Nikki: That's cool.

Salina: I thought that one was really.

Nikki: Can you tell me how big that one is?

Salina: That I don't know.

Salina: See, I thought you were going to ask me which women were named.

Nikki: I was also curious about that.

Nikki: Do you have that?

Salina: I do.

Salina: So it's primordial goddess Ishtar, hatshipset.

Salina: I have to say, I have not pronounced that name since I took like an ancient history class in 2005.

Salina: But Theodora, Artemisia, Genalici, Sakajawia, sojourner truth, Susan B.

Salina: Anthony, Elizabeth Katie Stanton, Emily Dickinson, Margaret Sanger and Georgia O'Keefe were the ones I found.

Salina: That's obviously not 39.

Nikki: But golly, there are so many.

Nikki: I just found the list.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I really, really want to go see this in person.

Nikki: That's cool.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I thought that was such an interesting thing.

Salina: And when you're talking about, like, well, I like it on several levels.

Salina: One, it just looks interesting and I'd like to see it.

Salina: But two, I love the meaning behind it.

Salina: I love the attention to detail for the 39 different spots.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: It all works for me.

Nikki: Each plate, except the ones corresponding to sojourner truth and Ethel Smith, depicts a brightly colored, elaborately styled vulver form.

Salina: Well, that's what I figured the triangle was about.

Salina: Why do we have to do that?

Salina: Why does it all have to be so.

Nikki: Biological?

Salina: Yeah, biological.

Salina: Excuse me.

Nikki: Oh, my God.

Salina: Well, I think that's a pretty subtle ode to triangle.

Nikki: Oh, no, this is saying, like, painted on the plates.

Salina: Can you see it?

Nikki: No, we can't see a really good.

Nikki: Oh, you mean just the triangle?

Salina: Can you see the V****?

Nikki: Oh, boy.

Nikki: Oh, boy.

Salina: 48Ft.

Nikki: That's what I was looking for.

Nikki: 48ft on each side.

Salina: That's huge.

Nikki: That's enormous.

Nikki: That would be why it's now permanently.

Salina: Installed somewhere and why it took from 74 to 79.

Salina: So we'll end on museums.

Salina: And here's the thing.

Salina: I love them.

Salina: Always have, even when I was a kid.

Salina: When done well, for me, it's the perfect mix of history, immersion, storytelling, and art.

Salina: Weirdly, before we started this recording, I wasn't sure, Nikki, if you were a museum person or not, but do you want to tell us a little bit about what your feeling is on museums?

Salina: And then also, is there any museum?

Salina: I think you've already kind of covered it, naturally, but what sticks out for you as, like, a favorite that you've been to?

Nikki: I would say I am a museum person in the sense that I don't like to be left out of things.

Nikki: So if there is something important and influential that I should see a Mona Lisa, now that I know about this, maybe something like this, I'd be willing to go, but I'm very much a bucket list kind of gal.

Nikki: So if there's something where they say if you never see a painting in your life, make sure you make it.

Nikki: Or an installation, make sure you make it.

Nikki: The iceberg installation that Salina told you about.

Salina: And you really need to hurry because it's melting.

Nikki: It's melting.

Nikki: I will make an effort to see things like.

Nikki: But, like, just hovering around and looking at artwork.

Nikki: Sometimes it's not my favorite thing to do, so I'm much more of like a museum of natural history kind of gal.

Nikki: Like that shark thing, I would totally look at.

Nikki: I mean, I guess I would look at it anywhere if I think it's interesting.

Nikki: But it would fit in, in natural history for me.

Nikki: So I do love natural history museums.

Salina: Well, that's a museum.

Salina: It is.

Nikki: I'm thinking, like, fine art sort of stuff.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: And so I don't know, I think museums are great.

Nikki: I think if you tell me where to go, tell me like, four or five places to go, make sure I see interesting things, and then I'll fill in a little bit along the way.

Nikki: But if I have a whole day to spend, like, in a big city, I only want to spend, like, an hour of it in a museum.

Salina: That's tough.

Salina: Yeah, I get that.

Salina: So my forever favorite is the Metropolitan museum of art or the Met.

Salina: It just has a little bit of everything.

Salina: It is smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, so that's one thing.

Salina: And it's on museum mile, and it's overlooked Central park.

Salina: The building itself is, like, breathtaking.

Salina: But actually, my favorite thing there is that they took.

Salina: It's the temple of Dender, which was a gift from Egypt.

Salina: And they literally took that temple and they moved it all the way to the US.

Salina: It was a gift from Egypt to us.

Salina: And it sits in this giant atrium, and they even have, like, a water feature that runs around it.

Salina: And then you can just walk around it and, like, I don't know when I'm getting to.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: And so that kind of stuff, that feels like a part of history that means a lot to me.

Nikki: That's the stuff I really like, which I think is why I'm drawn to the natural history museums and the history museums.

Nikki: So we actually went to DC and we got to go to the Smithsonian.

Nikki: We got to see part, like, stuff that feels like I'm part of something so much bigger.

Nikki: I think a painting is hard for me to feel that way.

Nikki: But, yeah, if you're looking at something from Egypt or if you're looking at something from America in the feel like I'm part of something so much longer than this moment right here, I like that.

Salina: Yes.

Salina: And that's what I was going to say.

Salina: So for me, traditional art galleries or even I haven't even been able to get myself to go to MoMA because for me, I'm like, I don't know if I'm going to be interested in seeing one artwork after the next like that.

Salina: I'm just not smart enough to sit there and consider 50 paintings, just not.

Salina: And I'm okay with that.

Salina: I wish I was.

Salina: I'm just not.

Salina: So all that said, I've pulled together a list of five museums, not in any certain order here in the south that are worth checking.

Salina: You know, perhaps controversially, I didn't include Georgia or Atlanta, mainly because that just felt easy.

Salina: I wanted to extend the reach a little bit and just see what else was out there.

Salina: So number one is the national civil rights Museum.

Salina: This is in Memphis, Tennessee.

Salina: The museum is partially housed in the Lorraine motel, where Dr.

Salina: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Salina: Was assassinated.

Salina: So you can see room 306, where Dr.

Salina: King spent his final hours.

Salina: I can't imagine how heavy that is.

Salina: Yeah, it sounds tough.

Nikki: The empath and me would really struggle with that.

Salina: Oh, my goodness.

Salina: So visitors are guided through five centuries of history, from the beginnings of the resistance to slavery, through pivotal moments of the late 20th century.

Salina: With the museum's 260 artifacts, more than 40 new films, oral histories, interactive media, and external listening post.

Salina: It has a replica of the bus Rosa Parks road when she refused to give up her seat.

Salina: And there is a floor map of Africa, Europe, and North and South America with statistical data showing the huge number of people captured as slaves and the impact on those areas.

Salina: They also have an original lunch counter from the student led sit in of 1960.

Salina: And again, that's sort of like one of those ones where they're kind of dropping you into like a little piece of history.

Nikki: Yeah, that would be cool.

Salina: That's a huge piece of history.

Salina: Right.

Salina: But you know what I'm saying?

Salina: Like, the slice.

Salina: And then to immerse yourself in that, I think just sounds like a very worthwhile experience.

Nikki: Yeah, that sounds cool.

Salina: Number two is Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Salina: This is in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Salina: This showcases american artwork, hence the name, that spans back to the colonial era.

Salina: Now their collection includes sculptures, painting, photographs, and art installations.

Salina: They also house works by Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keefe, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Cole, and Mary Cassatt.

Salina: The Frank Lloyd Wright House was relocated here in 2015, which is probably the thing I would be the most interested in seeing.

Salina: I really like just looking at architecture sometimes, even if I'm not as enthralled by a specific museum or gallery, just the space will get me.

Salina: The property and the building itself at Crystal Bridges are worth a gander.

Salina: It sits on 120 acres of trails and sculpture gardens.

Salina: The building was designed by moshi softy, and it places an emphasis on stunning natural landscape through the use of glass walls.

Salina: It was founded by Alice Walton daughter of Sam Walton, you know, Walmart, both of whom we've referenced in previous episodes.

Salina: So there's a little tie in there.

Salina: Plus Arkansas, so Harry Thomason.

Salina: And then number three is the space center in Houston.

Salina: Houston, Texas.

Salina: There's a lot of space history in the south between Alabama and Texas, so it only feels right to have something here.

Salina: There's a few different ones in Houston, but I'm almost sure this is the one I went to with Casey and my dad and my stepmom.

Salina: I don't know, back in 2017.

Salina: It's the official visitor center of the NASA Johnson Space center, and it has exhibits and films, galleries, a tram tour, as well as viewing of a replica of the shuttle independence.

Salina: I think that's what you see as you're walking towards the museum.

Salina: You certainly won't miss it.

Salina: It's massive.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: The space museums are on my list.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: And that was more of a.

Salina: That one's lost on me.

Salina: Obviously.

Salina: It's a slice of history, and that's why I'm not sure.

Salina: I think we went to a couple, like 2017.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: But one of them, there was like a lot of pay to play stuff and that kind of annoyed.

Nikki: That's annoying.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: But you know, NASA, they do what they want.

Salina: The National Art Gallery is number four, Washington, DC.

Salina: There's a sculpture garden as well as works back before the Renaissance and the bigs like da Vinci and Vermeer, which is kind of hard thing to see in the south, which is why I called that out.

Salina: But also, DC is kind of like a museum mecca.

Salina: You were just talking about Smithsonian.

Salina: So if that's your bag, then you want to go there.

Salina: Interestingly, you and I actually popped in a couple of places while we were on a work trip there years ago.

Salina: I think we went to, like a pop culture museum, maybe.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: Saw the Batmobile.

Salina: I don't know if you remember that or not.

Salina: I don't remember that.

Salina: If it's part of the Smithsonian banner, it is free 99.

Nikki: That's so crazy.

Salina: Think about that as we walk into tax season.

Salina: You all.

Salina: And then go get yours.

Nikki: I mean, I'm still going to be mad about it.

Nikki: That's why if I'm even adjacent to DC, I'm going into every one of those, right?

Nikki: Soaking up all their air conditioning.

Salina: I'm in Vermont.

Salina: I'm like, get me to Smithsonian.

Salina: So number five and the last one on our list is the Aiken Ret House museum in Charleston, South Carolina.

Salina: According to southern living, this is one of the best preserved townhouse complexes in the south, maybe even in the entire country.

Salina: So it sheds light on the realities of urban life in Charleston in the Annabellum period and includes the preserved quarters of the enslaved people who lived on site.

Salina: I think it's really valuable to immerse yourself in someone else's lived experience and stand where they stood.

Salina: And so that's something that kind of draws me to one like this.

Salina: And there's lots of different places that do that.

Salina: It could be like Williamsburg.

Salina: It's just these places where you can go and see how much life has changed over the last 250 years or whatever.

Nikki: It's so weird.

Nikki: While you were talking about this place, I was thinking about a place we have here in Gwinnett, the Chesser Williams house.

Nikki: It's, like, part of one of the parks, and it's a house from the late 18 hundreds, I think, and they moved it.

Nikki: It's not where it originally stood, but sometimes, just like, we went and just went on a walk at the park, but we walked by the house.

Nikki: So I was like, let's walk up there and see it.

Nikki: And it's just so weird to stand there and imagine people living there, knowing what we know now and trying to throw all that away and just stand there and hear the wood creaking under your feet and hear the sounds of nature and then trying to pull out from that, like, the cars that you hear.

Nikki: Or I was going to say trains.

Nikki: That's not a good example.

Nikki: But, like, all the trucks and stuff that you hear, it's just crazy.

Salina: It is.

Salina: I don't really.

Nikki: This place looks much nicer than the Chester Williams house.

Salina: You know, as many times have I been to Charleston, I haven't never been.

Nikki: To a museum there.

Salina: I'm trying to think only, like, the Naval museum, but to be fair, I've.

Nikki: Only been to Charleston once.

Salina: Well, there you go.

Nikki: You couldn't spend prioritized museum.

Salina: It is a lot more of, like, houses and stuff, gardens and things like that.

Nikki: So much obsessed with old houses.

Salina: I can't say enough about magnolia there and going out in their gardens.

Salina: And you get to walk in the swamps and walk right past alligators.

Salina: They don't care.

Salina: It's crazy.

Salina: But anyway, so I only included five.

Salina: So I kind of know I missed a ton of good things.

Salina: But I'd be honored to hear from you listeners about the museums and galleries that you love.

Salina: Or, Nikki, if you want to pop back in with anything that you love, you let me know.

Salina: I don't want to exclude you.

Salina: But thank you for joining us for this extra artsy, extra sugar.

Salina: You know the drill.

Salina: Dm us, email us or contact us from the website and find us all over to the socials.

Salina: And that's this week's extra sugar.


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