Renny Pritkin, godfather of the Bay Area art community, veteran curator and author of the manifesto “Prescription for a Healthy Art Scene,” talks about:

Being a young poet who got into contemporary art via New Langston Arts, the pioneering San Francisco art non-profit that started back in the ‘70s; his close relationship with art critic, and poet, Peter Schjeldahl, who did a residency back in the early days of New Langston; his “Prescription for a Healthy Art Scene,” a document which he wrote back in the ‘90s, but his students starting putting out in the world a decade later, and then it got printed by galleries and he was finding it on the walls of artists he did studio visits with…; in ticking through the list of Prescriptions (there are 23 total), we discuss a few in particular, which lead to questions around: how realistic some of these points (such as there being plenty of teaching jobs at local art schools/universities) are now….whether graduate education has become something of a Ponzi scheme…why villains are important in an art scene, and more; some very practical things that he taught his curatorial students while at California College of the Arts, including assigning them to write wall texts directed at several different audience types, and how to collaborate as a group; his own experience as a curator, dealing with artists, embracing and coping with varying degrees of reception and critical feedback (including having his shows savaged by one local critic on more than one occasion), and the challenges and pleasures of working with varying artists; putting on the populist and the hit, first American museum show featuring Star Wars, which brought in 120,000 visitors; and the particular satisfaction of having viewers to your show read the wall text you wrote for your show.

United States
explicit content


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