The Artsy Podcast, No. 7: Why Do We Label Artists?

Artsy’s team of editors takes you behind the scenes of the best stories in art.

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With the 2016 edition of Art Basel in Basel officially behind us, we take a look back on the fair. Featuring some 286 exhibitors flocking to Basel from 33 countries, the fair is one of the most important (and innovative) on the art world calendar, serving as an important bellwether of up-and-coming artists and market trends. With a decidedly political bent at this year’s fair, what were the standout booths? How did broader economic jitters impact sales? And are those economic winds related to the big pivot to modern art seen at the fair?

Is Cindy Sherman a Feminist?

Next, our discussion turns to the benefits and pitfalls that come with labeling artists. From “outsider” to “feminist,” we discuss the range of labels applied to artists, jumping off from a discussion highlighted in our recent article looking at the relationship between Sherman and the feminist movement. Are labels applied to artists and their practices helpful to discussion, or a hindrance? What do labels tell us about the history of art? Is there a productive way to use them, or are they always doomed to reduce an artist’s practice to one single word?


This podcast is hosted by Artsy Editorial Associate Isaac Kaplan, joined for this edition by Deputy Editor Alexander Forbes, Senior Editor Tess Thackara, and Editorial Associate Abigail Cain. It was produced by Joe Sykes.

Intro music: “Something Elated” by Broke For Free

Cover image: Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1981. Image courtesy of Metro Pictures.

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