Check-in with Artblog, Roberta and Morgan talk coping, Philly, and the future
Morgan and Roberta catch up with each other in a 37-minute Artblog Radio conversation, audio recorded on Zoom, in which they share how they're coping these days, ask each other a few questions relating to a new community project they're formulating, and discuss what makes Philadelphia's art community special.

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Stylized screenshot of Roberta (left) and Morgan (right) chatting on Zoom.
Roberta and Morgan chat on Zoom for Artblog Radio, January, 2021.

During Covid, we are using Zoom and phone calls to touch base with each other about Artblog work; and because those conversations frequently wander into broader territory in which we talk and sometimes argue about current events, we decided to share one of our conversations — unscripted — that is a glimpse of Artblog behind the scenes and a window into the people at the helm these days. This is not a classic Artblog Radio interview but a conversation, and we hope you can listen. And since we both love to listen, we invite you to come talk with us at “Office Hours with Artblog,” online at the First Thursday Venture Cafe on Thursday, Feb. 4, 6:30 – 8:00 PM. We have a few quick questions we’d like to ask you and we’d also love to hear how you’re doing. Finally, due to Covid, this audio was recorded without our normal equipment.

You can listen to Artblog Radio on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thank you to Kyle McKay for composing Artblog Radio’s original podcast intro and outro!


Transcription

Morgan Nitz: [00:00:00] Roberta and I are sitting here today on a Wednesday, just checking in! We wanted to check in with each other and tell you all about some new things that we have going on, some goals for the future that we have, and just to hear each other’s voices. So how are you doing Roberta?

Roberta Fallon: [00:00:32] I’m good. I’m good Morgan. How about you? How are you today?

Morgan Nitz: [00:00:37] I’m good. Obviously last week was crazy, but fortunately, something crazy in my personal life happened over the weekend, which almost helped me distract myself from it and not stay glued to the TV and to the news. Cause the day that they stormed the capital, I was glued to the TV and it was very much resulting in almost a numbing feeling where you’re just… in disbelief, but you’re not surprised. And everybody’s saying the same things, everybody feels the same way, at least in your circles.

But my cat got fleas over the weekend. So we were, we went to the vet was a $400 appointment. We had to vacuum the whole house and we were up till 3:00 AM on a Saturday doing that. And it was awful. But at the same time, I like completely forgot about politics for the weekend, which was kind of nice.

Roberta Fallon: [00:01:36] Wow. Oh, I’m so sorry. How does your cat go outside?

Morgan Nitz: [00:01:40] No. But I guess you can track them in on your shoes. You can track in flea eggs.

Roberta Fallon: [00:01:45] Holy crap. I did not know that. Yeah.

Morgan Nitz: [00:01:48] Yeah. But she’s all good now. She’s treated in the house has been treated and now it’s just vacuuming and calming and. She’ll be all right in no time.

Roberta Fallon: [00:01:56] Oh boy… animals, you love them, but they cost money. They cost money.

Morgan Nitz: [00:02:01] Sure do.

Roberta Fallon: [00:02:02] Yeah. So today, I, too, Morgan was sitting at my– we don’t turn the TV on, but– I was glued to the computer where I was watching all the live feeds of what was going on at the Capitol with anger and frustration and fear! Fear.

And of course you have these obsessive thoughts where you don’t know… If you’ve thought the same thought over and over again, like, are they gonna make it out? Is it going to, you know, is there a bomb, all those things that they, the commentators were talking about. And it just becomes very, very troubling. We, we stayed up very late that night, which is unusual for me.

Spoiler alert: I’m a very early to bed person. But couldn’t do it that night had to stay up, had to stay on the media, figure out what was going on and why, and who was doing it and.. Well, we know who caused it, right? There’s no dispute there amongst, like you said, people who are in your bubble or in your cohort. We knew what the cause was, and it’s been brewing for four years. So that was disturbing too, but it made me realize how vulnerable democracy is, you know, that it could just (snaps) happen like that, where someone triggers– you know, after a long buildup triggers, the fire throws the match and suddenly there’s a riot that kills people and in dangerous lives and interest people, it was really terrifying.

Morgan Nitz: [00:03:41] Yeah. And to see the cops, the police enabling that behavior from white supremacists to that scale? We all know that they enable it, that many of them are white supremacist, and we all know what happened in the summer and how the police reacted to protests for George Floyd, and for the Black Lives Matter movement, but to see them be so hypocritical to that scale? You expect it, but you’re still in disbelief. That’s another one of those things you’re not surprised, but you’re just astonished.

Roberta Fallon: [00:04:11] See, I didn’t know that the day of, I was just looking at the live feeds of what they were showing through, you know, the websites? CNN and the New York times primarily. And I don’t know that any of those commentators were talking about the complicity of the police? Everybody was questioning: “Why was there no police response?” You know, “Why did these people just flood in with seemingly no police response whatsoever?” “Why were there so few there?”
But those questions were not answered on that day. It’s only afterwards when I started reading about the complicity of the police and the, you know, the one from Philadelphia, that detective that was actually down there and all these other police from all over the country that I begin to; I understood finally, that there was complicity. And that is a problem; that’s a huge problem.

Morgan Nitz: [00:05:10] Yeah. I mean, before it’s even exposed in the media, you know that prior to the protests in major cities this summer, the police were, were standing in lines in front of all the major buildings. And so this was a pre-meditated protest, so if they don’t take that measure, it’s obvious that they are choosing not to take that measure, which is enabling!

Roberta Fallon: [00:05:36] Well, I didn’t know if it was so obvious… You know, it’s the Capitol police, the Metro police, the FBI, the national guard… It’s it’s complicated. So, and who controls all of them? The joint-chiefs of staff? The defense? I don’t know who. Maybe no one controls them all. You know, so it was individual decision-makers making bad decisions and not coordinating.

I could believe that happening. The government is big, you know, to give them the benefit of the doubt. There may have been a cabal of, you know, policing organizations and agencies that didn’t want any problem and wanted to enable this thing.

But I don’t know. I think that’s all gotta be investigated. I don’t think there’s a clear answer yet on why exactly it happened, who made that decision.

Morgan Nitz: [00:06:35] Right, well, the DC metropolitan police cannot intervene without, you know, the invitation of the Capitol police. So there is that for sure, but it’s just, you know, (sigh) The police don’t work for us. And their statements on who, who are you going to call when you’re sexually assaulted (if the police is defunded) are disgusting. And they won’t even help in the situation of, you know, an attempted coup! (chuckle) So I don’t know, but to get off that topic, because let’s talk about other things. On a lighter note. Um, what have you been reading, watching and listening to? I’m curious.

Roberta Fallon: [00:07:19] Okay. So somewhere I have a list of everything I read. I read a lot of books during this year, during 2020, both from the library and from buying books. I read a lot of Toni Morrison this year, and that was an eye-opener to me because I really– sorry for the confession– but I had not read Toni Morrison’s books. Obviously I’d seen “Beloved,” the movie, and so I knew that. That was amazing. But I hadn’t read the books, you know, I read fiction, nonfiction, and all the rest. So I started getting them from the library and ordering them and buying them from Uncle Bobby’s Books or Harriet’s Bookshop.

And I want to say there are some of the best books I’ve ever read. They’re just amazing. The language, the sort of mystical, larger-than-life characters, the settings, the macabeness, the visceral… Oh my goodness. They’re so great. And so I want to like (slurpping noise) grab them all up and buy some more and read everything she’s ever written. So, yeah, that was my big, my big reading cannon this year.
Plus I plowed through a very large book by Marlon James, who was a Jamaican writer, “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” which is set in Jamaica and it has Bob Marley in it, a thinly veiled, Bob Marley called the stinger. And that was amazing. It was very hard to get through for me because it was very thick, Jamaican Patois. You know, um, dialogue. It was a lot of dialogue by characters who were Jamaican born, but it was really, uh, a whopping good story. Very good. Highly recommended. Thumbs up. So that’s me. How about you? What did you read?

Morgan Nitz: [00:09:18] So, what have I read? I…. so my brother’s girlfriend posted at the end of 2020 that she had read 70 books this year, which led me to like scramble and I got the same app, “good reads” and I was trying to think: How many books I read in my life? And I could only think of a hundred.

So I, (laughs) my goal for 2021 is to read quite a bit more. I, after “The Haunting of”– well, right before “The Haunting of Bly Manor” came out… Have you watched it?

Roberta Fallon: [00:09:48] No. What is that?

Morgan Nitz: [00:09:51] It’s a Netflix series, it’s the second series, following “The Haunting of Hill house,” which was after Shirley Jackson’s novel. So I read “The Haunting of Hill House,” before “The Haunting of Bly Manor” came out and it was so good.

Like, the way that she writes horror is more about these…. shiftings around you… Um, shifting of planes, that can slowly make you go insane because of a slight incline. Things like that are very, real! You can imagine yourself going a little bit crazy if you lived in a slanted home. And that was really amazing.

Um, and then I read “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt
Roberta Fallon: [00:10:32] Ah, who wrote “The Goldfinch” right?

Morgan Nitz: [00:10:35] And now I’m reading “The Goldfinch”, yeah. But my goal is to read “The Broken Earth” trilogy? I picked it up a bunch of times, it’s by NK Jemisin and it’s, it’s like. I know the writing is amazing. I know it’s won awards. What’s difficult for me during the pandemic is to have enough concentration to give the world that she’s created the attention it deserves, and to really immerse myself into it. I find it hard– we live in such a dystopian world this year– to really jump into that world. But that’s my goal. And I’m hoping reading these longer novels by Donna Tartt will help me inch my way into expanding my attention for that.

Roberta Fallon: [00:11:21] Good! Did you say, did you mention “good reads?” Is that the app that your brothers girlfriend used, “good reads?”

Morgan Nitz: [00:11:30] Yes. Yeah.

Roberta Fallon: [00:11:31] I’m on “good reads!” You should follow me or whatever. Yeah! I was on there many, many years ago when someone pointed it out to me and I would read.. I would, like you, I would go back and chronicle… Well, or maybe not like you, this is what I did. I read all the time, but not prolifically, like not 70 books a year? That’s really, that’s amazing.

So I would go back and it’s a list of the books that I love, regardless of when I read them, and put a little thumbnail bio- or not bio, but review! Thumbnail reviews. And so I got a lot of books in there now, but about a year ago, two years ago, I think it was? I stopped posting to that, cause it was just like, I was overwhelmed with Artblog stuff, and it became just another chore to do it, you know, the way sometimes social media becomes a chore. But it’s a really good platform. It’s a little community, or maybe not so little, I don’t know! It’s great.

Morgan Nitz: [00:12:39] It is great! I like the curated lists of books they have: “The best of 2021”; “The best of” different genres. The one that I found that was funny was, um, “The most often started, but not finished books.” (laughs)

Roberta Fallon: [00:12:56] Yes. (laughs) And what, do you remember any of those? Because I have a bunch of those.

Morgan Nitz: [00:13:01] Yeah, because one of them was something that I had just marked read, even though I never finished it! Which was “Catch 22.” (laughs) “Catch-22”; “House of Leaves” was another one, but I have read that one.
Um, what else? Oh, you know, “Moby Dick,” all of those. “Anna Karrenina”. Uh, but… yeah. I mean, some of those books, they are just, you know, they’re… in high school, I was able to read books like those. Most of the books that I had read that were on that list, I had read in high school. And that’s because I didn’t have a smartphone yet, and things weren’t quite as fast paced in terms of social media? And this was not too long ago, right? I mean, I’m 24. But I really could read a lot longer and.. And more! Than I’m able to now.

Roberta Fallon: [00:13:50] Is that the influence of the internet, do you think? Social media, which is very fast, fast, fast, and, you know, shortens your attention span, maybe? Because it’s a behavioral, Pavlovian thing.

Morgan Nitz: [00:14:03] Absolutely. It’s that, it’s also notifications from email, text messages… And school kind of ruined reading for me? College, for a little while? Because I was reading this dense, critical theory for deadlines, and skimming it for things…. And (sigh) there was just… something that I… I stopped reading fiction for a lot of school cause I was reading theory, and I was reading art history, and it’s just, just, it’s a shift. It’s a total shift in the way that I was reading.

Roberta Fallon: [00:14:32] I love that you said “school ruined reading for me for a while.”

Morgan Nitz: [00:14:38] It really did.
Roberta Fallon: [00:14:39] Wow. Condemnation, a little? (laughs)

Morgan Nitz: [00:14:44] No, (laughs) I mean, I learned so much reading that stuff! But I’m really glad to get back to reading for fun. That’s the other thing is that I’m still experiencing some residual effects of this, but, artmaking and reading became about deadlines, and about career goals, and about grade goals…. and I’m relearning how to do it for me and not say that I finished something or not to post it online.

Roberta Fallon: [00:15:12] Oh my God. Doing it for you versus doing it for a deadline for a teacher, like an assignment or something? Yeah, that’s a big thing! I think a lot of people coming out of art school don’t make a successful transition from the school way of structuring their artmaking, to the personal.

That takes some time, and takes some obsession. You have to be really very focused and very self obsessed with what you’re doing, in order to make that transition. Yeah. It takes a while.

Morgan Nitz: [00:15:49] It’s so true. It’s so true of so many things. I’ve had to do that with exercise; I’ve had to stop exercising completely in order to have a healthier relationship with it… you know, maybe this is a me thing, but I think this is a lot of people my age. You know, I’m at the point right now where I’ve sort of taked a break from, from art? Because right out of school, I I went from having deadlines for school, to having deadlines for a residency I was in, and then having deadlines for shows I wanted to apply for.

And while I look back at that time and I’m like, “wow, I made so much stuff, I made some good stuff!” I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t cleaning or eating as much as I’d like to. So..

Roberta Fallon: [00:16:31] You know, it’s a Faustian bargain, you know. People talk about it, and I think you make a lifestyle decision either knowingly or just falling into it, which has to do with your need for self preservation. You know, either you are subsuming the self into the arts and you just go there and you become the workaholic artists that does things. To further their career and to just be 100% productive all the time, or you’re choosing to save yourself somehow, other than that, and then you have to find the balance of “what does art really mean to me after all?” You know, “here I was, I had all those years in school. I really am committed to it, but then it, it subsumed me.” Or consumed me, I guess. “It consumed me. And so now I’m trying to figure out the balance.” Yeah.

Morgan Nitz: [00:17:30] Yeah, absolutely. And you know, what makes me feel good? Is Artblog; projects like Artblog; projects like “Television” that Logan Cryer, Tim Belknap and Heidi Ratanavich do; it’s these community projects that involve themselves with artists and don’t require that you… be painting, or sculpting, or drawing. And, you know, sometimes when I’m involved in a project like that? Curating, or otherwise… that fulfills my career need? My career-driven need? And it kind of frees up space in my brain to actually enjoy painting. (laughter) So it’s like, it’s kind of a “Catch 22!” (laughs)

Roberta Fallon: [00:18:13] That’s funny (laughs) Well, you know, Curating is art! Curating is art making. It’s a different type of art making, but it uses a lot of the same brain space? You know, you’re making decisions right and left about line, and figure, and space, you know, all of that kind of stuff that goes into making a picture, or a sculpture, or a video, or any of that stuff, it’s just with a group of people generally, you know. And it’s also sort of managing, it’s a managerial thing rather than… It’s managing something that is for you, but as for a bigger group.

Morgan Nitz: [00:18:50] Yeah, no, it absolutely is, and if anybody else were feeling pressure that they weren’t making art and they told me they were writing or curating or working for an arts organization, I would tell them, “you are making art!” But it’s almost this internalized thing that you and I were talking about in our, “How do we value art” piece. We think of art as “making.”

Roberta Fallon: [00:19:13] Mm..

Morgan Nitz: [00:19:15] A product, a visual arts product. And sometimes it’s hard to tell yourself “it’s okay to not do that, and still be an artist!” (laughs)

Roberta Fallon: [00:19:23] Right! Well, it gets to the definition of art. Art doesn’t have to be a product. Art can be very ephemeral. It can be, you know, a conversation. Like this could be art. It’s us practicing our conversational art. Uh, you know, but it’s art.

Morgan Nitz: [00:19:41] Yeah. I mean, I think telling yourself that “you don’t have to do any one thing to be an artist and be involved with art” is important. And I really am interested in rewiring the way I think about it to be the holistic process that we were talking about: it’s a process of thinking and evaluating and existing within the world.

Roberta Fallon: [00:20:04] Yeah, totally. I mean, I get, asked, when I meet someone for the first time and I tell them what I do, “I’m an artist, I’m a writer, and I run Artblog.” They always say, well, “what kind of art do you make?” And back in the day when Libby and I were making art in the studio, I would say, “Oh, we’re painting” or “we’re making sculptures,” or “we’re doing street performance.” and that was understandable.

But nowadays what I say to people– and I don’t think this is very understandable– “Artblog is my art.” And it’s like blank. People don’t really respond to that the way they do if you say, “Oh, I’m a painter” or, you know, an unexpected thing. It’s unexpected! “Oh, you run a nonprofit organization that, you know, is a publication.” and they don’t say, “how is that art?” But it is, it is.

Morgan Nitz: [00:21:01] Yeah! No, absolutely. And that does get to something that I wanted to bring up later… But before that, I’ll say, when my former professor, Karen Olivier, asked me to speak to our class and make a presentation about life after art school, I talked a lot about Artblog. Because I do see it as a way that I engage with the local arts scene, more meaningfully, probably, than when I’m painting or writing, or attending a poetry class, you know?
Cause I I’ve met this great network of writers that we work with. I’ve met people within the art scene just by emailing them, I’m always saying “I’ve emailed with you and I don’t, (laughs) and it’s nice to meet you in person.” (Prior to the pandemic) , but yeah. And community projects are one of my favorite genres of art.

Roberta Fallon: [00:21:54] Yeah, me too. Good ones. I like good ones. Yeah. Not to pass judgment on things, but yeah. Community projects have great potential. I think they’re the future. I think basically, community is the future of art. If we were going to get into what’s the future of art, like in Philadelphia?

All you have to do is look around and see that there aren’t that many galleries here. There’ve been dwindling numbers of commercial galleries for years! And, you know, it seems a good place for collective galleries to spring up? And we have plenty of art schools that have spawned a bunch of amazing galleries, collective galleries. And it’s a vibrant scene! But, out of that, I think comes an ethos here that is, community rather than commerce.

You know, you have “commercial art” and “community art,” if you want to split it up and give it a name. And I think that the preponderance of art and Philadelphia is “community art.” So let’s embrace it, and let’s just go for the Gusto and let’s say, and define art, as community! It’s what you do with community.

Morgan Nitz: [00:23:07] Yeah. Especially in Philadelphia, like you said, and maybe that’s another reason why I don’t find myself making much is because in undergrad I was with four or five people at all times, making things; having a conversation about what we’re making; making things in the same room, maybe not even directly together. And I think that’s one of the things that I liked best about it is, there’s so much to learn from what somebody has to tell you. And I I’m somebody who loves to learn through conversation… uh, yeah! And you know, there’s so many just wonderful, wonderful projects here in Philadelphia, and so grateful to be living and working here and seeing them and…

Roberta Fallon: [00:23:46] Yeah!

Morgan Nitz: [00:23:46] …. getting to write about them.

Roberta Fallon: [00:23:48] You know, I think it also points to the people that have self-selected into living in Philadelphia?You know, you wouldn’t come here if you wanted to necessarily, uh, sell your art at Sotheby’s right? On the secondary market and be in, you know, have your art priced in six figures and all that kind of stuff. There’s a self-selection in, who wants to be a community spirited artist, and they’re here in Philly!

Morgan Nitz: [00:24:20] Yeah.

Roberta Fallon: [00:24:21] You know, they want to live! They want to live.

Morgan Nitz: [00:24:25] Yeah. Mark Thomas Gibson, when, when you interviewed him for Artblog– I don’t know if this was actually in the interviewer or just talking beforehand– but I remember distinctly, he said that a big reason he moved to Philadelphia is because he listened to or read something that was describing how New York was never meant, meant to live in. And I guess that kind of switched something in the way that he was thinking about the city he was living in and he decided that he didn’t want to live there anymore. And he wanted to live in it more community-based space. That’s what I took from it.

Roberta Fallon: [00:24:57] For sure. Yeah, that’s right. There’s “live” and “live.” So in New York you can “live,” but in Philadelphia you can really “live,” you know? (laughs)

Morgan Nitz: [00:25:09] Yeah. (laughs) Yeah. Well, one of the questions that I had written down and I think our conversation is leading into this, is “what do you, what’s something that you hope sticks for the arts in Philadelphia, post vaccination from COVID-19?” What’s something you saw happening that you, you hope continues to happen?

Because for me, it’s like the way that the community has stepped up, um, to crowdsource funds for each other, to provide low-cost AV equipment in the case of Television and et cetera, and, and finding these ways to connect virtually and reach out and make sure each other are okay.

Roberta Fallon: [00:25:51] I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s the answer. Well, we just talked about community quite a bit, so not to beat a dead horse, but the community stepped up, as you said, and. It’s always been there for each other. There’s always been collaborative things between the galleries and between the art schools, to a certain extent? Even though the art schools are rather insular in and of themselves, there was an attempt a few years ago to break down those barriers.

So i it’s here already. So, you know, the pandemic caused, and the economic downturn caused all those community spirited people to see that they could do more than just collectivize. They could help each other financially. I think it came down to the financial problems that were going on for so many people? And that’s what, you know, spun them into action, which is really, it’s like heartwarming. It’s really great.
Morgan Nitz: [00:26:53] Yeah. There’s the auctions for other organizations like Dox Thrash, and just even looking at the list of Added Velocity recipients, all of them are fantastic.

Are you ready to do the $1 million question?

Roberta Fallon: [00:27:07] Yes.

Morgan Nitz: [00:27:08] All right. What is a blue sky project, or what are some changes that you would make or take on– inside or outside of Artblog, but I’m going to guess your answer is inside Artblog– if you were awarded a million dollars?

Roberta Fallon: [00:27:23] Oh, you know me so well, Morgan! (laughs) Of course, Artblog is my baby, and I would take that money, I would pay our writers what they deserve. We’ve always paid our writers, but we don’t pay them what they deserve, which is a lot. It would take a lot of money. And I would use that money. I would hire, you know, I’d raise your salary, I’d get an executive director in there who could be, you know, endowed? I’d set up an endowment for Artblog so that it wouldn’t go away.

I think Artblog has value? And that’s been expressed to me through the years by many, many, many people from all over Philadelphia. It has great value. And so the big thing, is it’s got… it’s hanging on by its teeth, you know? Because we’re such a small budget organization. So I would endow Artblog with that money and, you know, they could invest whatever percentage they needed to invest and then use it, spending money. For the rest to, you know, pay you better, to hire an executive director, to pay the writers better, and to do projects that we desperately want to do, but we don’t have the manpower person power to do right now.

So hire some more people to help. That’s what I would do. And a million dollars will not go far. (laughs) I would just like to say that.

Morgan Nitz: [00:28:56] Yeah… no, that’s absolutely right. And I was thinking about this a lot because, there’s the blue sky things you want to do… you want to put out more podcasts and have all the equipment that you need to do it with the, the.. You know, have the ability of people to call in on the phone and have it sound great, but!

What I was actually thinking about is, I don’t think I would change too much of those things, in reality. Um, I think, you know, the first thing I would do is advertise Artblog. Because it does have great value, and just to expand that– as it is now. As it is now, it is very valuable to many people.
So it can be valuable to more people, exactly as it is now, if we’re able to advertise. And I’d do the projects that we talked about all the time! A Writing residency, a one-year salary for a writer…

Roberta Fallon: [00:29:47] Wouldn’t that be great?

Morgan Nitz: [00:29:48] Yeah! To hire some of our writers, full time, as editors and writers.. I mean, that would be amazing. And to, to bring back the Art Writing challenge, um, more regularly? And to mentor writers who aren’t artists, OR journalists! Because everybody can, and should have a say in the arts. And an opinion on the arts, and should not feel alienated from doing so. And that contributes to the holistic practice of the arts: including everybody’s opinions on them.

And I think– you know, we’ve talked about this, but– art can feel, you know, alienating for so many people. And if, if more people are paid and encouraged to write about it and consider themselves part of the art community…

Roberta Fallon: [00:30:32] Yes! All of that! I can’t believe you would spend a million dollars on Artblog. That warms my heart! (laughs)

Morgan Nitz: [00:30:41] If it weren’t on Artblog, I would open a restaurant.

Roberta Fallon: [00:30:47] And feed the people. You’re going to feed the people.

Morgan Nitz: [00:30:50] Yeah, no, I, I would spend a million dollars on Artblog. I really care about what I do here and I would love to see it continue forever.

Roberta Fallon: [00:31:00] Me too. We are united in that thought. So let’s get us a million dollars, Morgan! (laughs)

Morgan Nitz: [00:31:05] Yeah! Our, our hands are open. (laughs)

Roberta Fallon: [00:31:09] Right! (laughs) Have you gone into a gallery or a museum since the pandemic began? If so, why? And if not, why not?

I have not. Yeah, I have not. And my reasons have to do with, Health concerns, , maybe extreme paranoia about catching COVID? But I have it, I mean I don’t have COVID, but I have worries about catching it, and I don’t live alone! I have a husband, who I really would not like to get COVID, and I have children and whatnot.

So I’m protecting myself as best I can. I’m not going to see art. I’m not looking at art online so much? Except for our auction, which was super wonderful, but I’m not going to gallery websites where they have installation pictures and all that. Not so much.

I’m reading. I’m fueling my imagination, rather than my visual-sense, which also fuels my imagination. But I’m using nature, when I go on walks, I’m walking a lot more now, and that has become sort of a refuge and in a way, a substitute for art. If I don’t get my walks in during the day, I feel bad. It was sort of like, if I didn’t go to first Friday, I would feel bad. You know? It’s kind of the same thing. How about you?

Morgan Nitz: [00:32:42] Yeah. No, I’m the same. I haven’t been.. No, I haven’t been into a gallery. I haven’t been into a museum and… there is some guilt, for me when, when interacting with art this year? Because again, it’s so difficult for me to focus on it. I mean, outside of…. yeah..

There’s that, and then there’s, you know, this… I don’t even like going to the sprouts for food. I have been getting harvest boxes delivered, and… the days feel so draining? You know, I get anxious sometimes to go to the store that my sister works at, which is a smaller store I’m more comfortable working at. Cause I’m like, I don’t talk to anybody besides my partner, Jenny and I get like social anxiety about it. I mean, it talks to you on the phone, so I don’t get nervous to talk to you.

But yeah, walking, lots of walking in the mornings. I usually do some workouts, I mean, I need it now to wake up my brain. Because I’m not walking to the subway and I’m not working, walking to work or biking to work. And when work is over, I cook, and watch Bridgerton on Netflix, or Survivor…. Yeah. (laughs) Yeah. It’s just been important for me to prioritize my immediate needs. In terms of cleanliness around my house, comfort, physical exercise, for energy and mental wellbeing, and sleep.

Roberta Fallon: [00:34:17] Yeah. No, and I agree with all that, and I think you’re, you’re great to take care of yourself. And I still feel like the pandemic is limbo. It’s limbo. We’re in limbo right now. We will not always be in limbo; we’re not going to ever go back to the normal that people were saying, “Oh, we got to get back to normal.” no, we’re not going back to normal ever. Not that we even want to. I mean, let’s not go back to the way it was. Let’s go forward,
But we ARE getting vaccinated. We ARE going to have herd immunity in the future. This bug WILL become like a common cold. It’ll be something that, you know, is more tamed. And there may be other pandemic viruses, other coronaviruses that come along. We don’t know that, but we sort of have experienced now, that perhaps our leaders will now know more quickly how to… put a lid on it? So that it doesn’t take over two years of our lives. But I’m waiting. I’m just waiting to get out of limbo and then to go back- not back. To go forward into the new. And then I’ll be ready to look at art again.

Morgan Nitz: [00:35:37] Yeah, yeah. I just feel that way about pretty much everything, you know? I just feel it’s a time to take care of yourself. Take care of your loved ones, the best way that you can. And. It’s okay to….
I feel like we’re time-traveling. Like I, (laughs) you know, I’m not maintaining relationships with my friends as much, and I don’t feel our relationships have suffered because we’re all just kind of time-traveling through this period. (laughs) I can’t believe it’s been almost a year. It just doesn’t feel like it at all.

Roberta Fallon: [00:36:14] Yeah. Although every day felt like a month, right? So it’s really elastic. Time has just become incredibly elastic this year. Very slow. Very fast.

Morgan Nitz: [00:36:27] Yeah, absolutely. But you know, there have been its upsides. I’ve solidified more healthy routines, waking up earlier, and exercising, and eating breakfast before I start my day, and having dedicated time before bed to turn off the electronics and read or whatever else.

Roberta Fallon: [00:36:52] Yeah, that’s a good one. Turn off the electronics. Yeah. Well, this has been a fun conversation. We’ll see if it’s any, if it’s fun for other people to listen to! (laughs)

Morgan Nitz: [00:37:03] Yeah! (laughs)

Roberta Fallon: [00:37:04] Shall we sign off?

Morgan Nitz: [00:37:05] Yeah! Thanks for listening.

Roberta Fallon: [00:37:07] Yeah! Thank YOU for listening!

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A Brief History of Seven Killings, Added Velocity, Anna Karrenina, art, art podcast, artblog, artblog radio, beloved, Bob Marley, broken earth trilogy, capitol, Catch 22, chat, check-in, community art, conceptual art, coup, covid-19, dialogue, donna tartt, Haunting of Hill House, Mark Thomas Gibson, Marlon James, Morgan Nitz, n.k. jemisin, new york city, painting, philadelphia, philadelphia artist collectives, philly artists, podcast, roberta fallon, sculpture, Shirley Jackson, the goldfinch, the secret history, Toni Morrison, zoom

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