Episode 201: Deb Sokolow

July 5, 2009 · Print This Article

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Deb Sokolow
This week, Duncan and Richard talk to Deb Sokolow! We talk about Deb’s work, drug lords, Rocky, the merits of Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone’s painting, Oliver North, how many people on the Bad at Sports staff have actually smoked crack, serial killers, meth labs, Jerry Saltz, Gary Busey, art school, and more, more, more! This is a great interview.

As a special bonus Geoffrey Todd Smith preps panels with a roller (that is the odd sound you hear in the background) and chimes in occasionally off mic!

Shamelessly lifted blurb:

Deb Sokolow’s text-driven drawings map the obsessive, inner-dialogue of a nameless, paranoid narrator who speculates on various topics relating to popular culture, conspiracy theory and human nature. Recent projects include large-scale, site-specific drawings for the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Inova in Milwaukee, a new piece currently up at the Spertus Museum in Chicago and an upcoming group exhibition at the Smart Museum at University of Chicago in Oct. 2009.

Sokolow’s work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and she received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. Sokolow lives and works in Chicago.
Deb Sokolow
Western Exhibitons
Philip Von Zweck
Geoffrey Todd Smith
Rocky Balboa
Sylvester Stallone
Oliver Stone
Amado Carrillo Fuentes
Drug Lords
Kemper Museum
David Copperfield
Robert DeNiro
Jerry Stiller
Ted Koppel
Nancy Reagan
Gary Busey
Martin Mull
Whiteout (The CIA, Drugs, and the Press)
Oliver North
School of the Art Institute
G. Gordon Liddy
Gold Star Bar
EveryBlock Chicago

21 thoughts on “Episode 201: Deb Sokolow”

  1. Jay Cutler says:

    Geez, where did you “shamelessly lift” that blurb from? I just went on her website and checked out her CV. In the past 2 years she has had solo shows at the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City, INOVA in Milwaukee and currently has a solo show up at the Spertus Museum in Chicago. Group shows at the Van Abbemuseum in The Netherlands, the Smart Museum in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. And her drawings don’t sound “whimsical” at all: drug lords, terrorists, meth labs, Ollie North, serial killers. Sounds dark to me.

  2. Bad at Sports says:


    Feel free to contact us at badatsports@gmail.com about scheduling your volunteer time to do things like blurb writing and research!

    Welcome aboard!


  3. Jay Cutler says:

    you could always just ask the artist to email you a bio, then you don’t have to do any research!

  4. We do ask for that sort of thing and a picture generally and it rarely happens. Our production schedule is alarmingly short, so most artists, particularly those who teach, need more than a day or two to get something together. Therefore, a quick googling is done an viola, cut and paste, steal a pic, and you have a show note. We spend so much time recording, producing and mixing the shows that these little things are what gets sloppy.

  5. And to that note, we aren’t much better internally, people from the bureaus who produce pieces are in theory supposed to send a blurb, a picture, and, ideally, a list of name drops, and that rarely comes off as intended. Everyone has a job or three, and obligations, the show is fairly low on the list as it is an hobby level venture and operates at a significant loss, so some times the operation is seat-of-ones-pants. Most of the time actually.

  6. Hi Jay, “…you could always just ask the artist to…” no kidding. I used to think that would work — since I myself as an artist do supply such stuff all the time. It NEVER does. Everytime get a promise oof blurb, image etc., it never comes or is so late it is useless.

    Screw the “artist statements” shit — it should be required of all artists — and taught in school — that they have an “official” bio blurb which they keep updated — and a photo or two. Just like real professionals. Just like authors, etc. Dmn lazy artists!

  7. Bad at Sports says:


  8. HoertAuf says:

    >>It happens, but rarely, that an active adventurer [drug lord], exploited by a passive adventurer [artist], comes back from a long adventurous career, to beat up his inspirer.

    This is a very displeasing occurrence, but let’s repeat it, a very rare one. The active adventurer is not capable to judge his own case with such severity.<<

    from: Pierre Mac Orlan, Petit manuel du parfait aventurier (1920)

  9. Deb Sokolow says:

    Hi all, Had a great time talking with my friends, Duncan and Richard for this interview. I think you guys did a great job editing it, I love the Rocky intro, and I hope I didn’t drone on too much.

    I feel like I need to chime in here, though. After reading the comments above, it seems like I’m being accused of not supplying a bio and/or being a lazy artist. I agree with Mark Staff Brandl in that artists should always have a bio available. I actually do have one, but wasn’t asked by BAS to supply it. BAS did ask me to supply an image, which I was happy to send the day after the interview. Yes, artists can be lazy, but please don’t accuse me of being lazy. If you’d like me to send you a current bio, I’d be happy to. Many thanks, Deb

  10. Sorry Deb — I didn’t mean YOU and that is the implication, I now see! I was bitching in general. We at BaS have in essence ceased to ask artists for the stuff due to PAST experiences, not you! I found this interview great! I wasn’t cognizant of your work and was happy to be turned on to it; I then googled and enjoyed your work very much.

  11. Deb Sokolow says:

    Hi Mark- Thank you for clarifying and for checking out the interview! All best, D

  12. Richard says:


    No accusations were meant to be implied in your general direction. The statement posted was an error on our part, not yours.


  13. Deb Sokolow says:

    Thanks Richard. Our friendship is staying intact here, no worries!

  14. Holly Wilson says:

    I stumbled across this commentary recently, and as a collector of Deb Sokolow’s work, I am glad to see that you cleared up the misunderstanding, because the implication of the initial comment was that she did not furnish information that was requested in a timely manner.
    It may be worth taking the time to find current information on the artist to avoid doing them (and yourselves, honestly) a disservice. A couple of teh galleries you mentioned have closed and there is no mention of a current show. Speaking as a collector, I would appreciate having current information, particularly aboutan exhibit that is up when the podcast is released.
    If it would not be too arduous, perhaps you would be able to correct the entry since Ms. Sokolow has offered to send you current information.
    I appreciate what you do and understand that this is a volunteer effort, but your credibility as a journalistic presence can be more secure when you include more relevant and accurate information along with the always interesting interviews.
    Thank you.

  15. John Q. Public says:

    Just because the galleries have closed it isn’t appropriate to list them as places her work has been shown? Your scolding contains some odd logic.

  16. Richard says:


    Okay, so for now and to prevent further confusion, etc. we will strike the offending text and if Deb wants to send us something I’ll replace it and hopefully this resolves the concerns.


  17. edmar says:

    Don’t allow these details to frustrate you. As you know nothing is ever perfect due to deadlines. The great thing is that you can always fix the errors and edit them here, on the interweb, as they are discovered.

    An important fact to emphasize is that this interview with Deb is great. Thank you guys. Keep up the wonderful and valuable work Team BAS.

  18. Show was great, but this comment thread rules.

  19. Amy says:

    Weird, Deb, when I google Amando Carrillo Fuentes your page doesn’t come up at all (well, at least in the first 6 pages). Same goes if you search +art or +chicago. So I’m going to have to agree with you that it’s odd you’re getting hits from those places.

    And, narratives are fun.

  20. Balzac says:


    The funny thing is that while it may not have appeared before, it is one of the first few results now, due to the preceding comment.


Comments are closed.

Point of Origin

  • No results yet!