The editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic, Hrag Vartanian is an editor, art critic, curator, and lecturer on contemporary art with an expertise on the intersection of art and politics.
Breaking news, award-winning reporting, informed opinions, and quality conversations about art have helped Hyperallergic reach over a million readers a month.
Some of his notable essays from the past few years include “Imagining the Future Before Us: Forward to Sharon Louden’s The Artist as Culture Producer” (Walker Blog, March 17, 2017), “Adrian Paci Shows Us How We Mourn the Death of Dictators” (Hyperallergic, October 12, 2017), and “The Elusive Index of Relationships Between Everyone” (Hyperallergic, June 15, 2018).
He started podcasting regularly in 2016, and last year he launched Art Movements, which is a weekly audio magazine.
Notable episodes have explored why the female painters of Abstract Expressionism are still being overlooked, he traveled to North Dakota to record a three-part series (1, 2, 3) from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock, and he composed a long-form audio essay about the life and art of David Wojnarowicz that talks to the deceased artist’s friends, his friend-turned-biographer, and the ACT UP members who spearheaded the actions at the museum retrospective in 2018.
This summer, he created a four-part series, in conjunction with the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, that explores the use of clay and ceramic in contemporary art and the role museums in this renaissance. The first podcast spoke to artist Kent Monkman about the role of museums, the second interviewed Shary Boyle about her feminist and class-consciousness when working with ceramic, the third episode explored the issue of blackface in Canada through the lens of an 18th-century harlequin figure, and the final episode spoke to various experts about an ancient Maya plate and the cultural significance of the object.
He has curated exhibitions and published in alternative venues and formats for two decades, and in 2017, he began a 10-year project titled Fixed Point Perspective, which will look at the contemporary legacy of Ottoman studio photography.
In April 2018, he created a collaborative installation with artist Sharon Louden at the Mary Sharpe and Walentas Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY. Titled Origins, it explored the five-year professional and personal friendship between the pair as a starting point for a bigger conversation about beginnings and ends. The video from the installation is also available on his YouTube channel. A new iteration of the continuing collaboration will appear at Signs and Signals nonprofit gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side this fall, September 4–October 11.
He also tweets a lot.