VIDEO: The 2017 VOLTA Salon Panelists Explain Their Topics

Listen up: These four moderators have something to say.

In partnership with VOLTA NY, artnet is curating a series of conversations that bring together movers and shakers from all areas of the art world to engage in a lively salon-style discussion program. Topics range from the importance of comedy in art within an increasingly hostile political landscape, to the role of photography in documenting New York’s underground dance culture—and the list of speakers and guests is one you don’t want to miss. (DJ Armstrong? Yes!)

Join the conversation this weekend. To get a taste of the thought-provoking discussions to come, check out the videos below with each of our panel moderators contextualizing the importance of their issues.

Remember, each panel is free with admission to VOLTA. Click here to purchase tickets and enter code ARTNET25 for an exclusive 25% discount.

Friday March 3:

4:30–6 p.m.


Higher education in the visual arts comes in for debate as artists and education activists hash out the pros and cons of not only the MFA, but the steadily growing phenomenon of the studio art PhD in an age of ballooning student debt and dropping enrollments at MFA programs nationwide.

Moderator: Brian Boucher, senior writer at artnet News

Guests: Andrew Atkinson, artist, Victoria Sobel, artist


Saturday March 4:

2–3:30 p.m.


Comedy is never more important than during uncertain times. Actor, artist, and improv teacher Hollis Witherspoon opens a dialogue about the role of risk, play, and laughter in art, and learning to “follow the fear, follow the fun.”

Moderator: Hollis Witherspoon, actor, artist, and improvisor

Guests: Jill Pangallo, artist and performer; Guy Richards Smit, artist and performer; Morgan Bassichis, writer and performer


4:30–6 p.m.


Discover photographic reflections on the rare subcultures of disco, hip hop, and early house music and how they served as crucial safe spaces for LGBT-defined people and people of color. Adrian Loving and Vikki Tobak frame the conversation around these images within our urgent contemporary context.

The panel will be followed by a book signing with guest Adrian “DJ Stretch Armstrong” Bartos, co-author of “No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988–1999.”

Moderators: Adrian Loving, professor, artist, and DJ; Vikki Tobak, writer and culture critic

Guests: Bill Bernstein, artist; Janette Beckman, artist; Krista Schlueter, artist; Joe Conzo, artist


Sunday March 5:

2–3:30 p.m.


As collecting moves online, what can the two industries of the tech and world learn from each other? Ariel Adkins from Twitter and the person behind @artfullyawear, discusses with people working on both sides of the equation.

Moderator: Ariel Adkins, Twitter

Guests: Ashley Zelinskie, artist; Valentine Uhovski, Fashion + Art at Tumblr; Alicia Carbone, vice president of artnet Auctions

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics