88: Artist Seth Price on Finding Freedom in Bad Ideas, Balancing Commerce and Creation in Business

“Ultimate freedom would mean having just enough money not to have to think about money, and not to have to work all the time.”
—Artist Seth Price, F*ck Seth Price

*Language warning for this week's episode if you have kiddos around! Per the book title above :)*

I am so excited about this week's guest that I was at peak awkwardness during the interview, so please forgive a few choppy edits here and there! I normally don't edit "in line" for the Pivot pod to keep things as natural (and perfectly imperfect!) as possible, but in this case I cleaned up the recording for clarity and concision so that you could get the very best of Seth Price's brilliant mind and philosophy as a renowned multi-disciplinary visual artist. 

Seth's novel, F*ck Seth Price, is one of my most gifted and recommended for fellow creatives. His commentary on the relationship between art, freedom and commerce is sharp, truthful and deeply thought-provoking. As my dad wrote in his Amazon review, "This is the finest, funniest, most incisive book dealing with art and culture that I have read in the past forty years . . . a sort of 'Book of Common Prayer' for all artists entering New York City. Don’t get off the bus, plane, train without it." 

With that, I turn the tables over to our interview for you to get a unique peek into Seth Price's approach to experimenting, persona-dropping, art-making, freedom pursuing, and building on "bad" ideas!

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/seth-price

More About Seth Price


Seth Price is an American multi-disciplinary artist who works in a wide range of media. Price’s current exhibition Social Synthetic is now on view at the Brandhorst Museum in Munich, Germany after traveling from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He is the author of several notable books including Dispersion (2002), Poems (2003), How to Disappear in America (2008), and his latest and the topic of today’s show - an “auto-fiction” novel called F*ck Seth Price (2015). 

Topics We Cover

  • Why he chose to take a risk and title his book “F*ck Seth Price”

  • Exploring things that make him uncomfortable, that have the charge of bad ideas

  • The thing you think is the bad idea is the live part of it, what makes it interesting

  • Giving his students the assignment to make a bad video - how freeing it was to remove the idea of taste or quality

  • Separating the idea of “pleasing” art from beautiful

  • Why writing his book as a novel enabled him to be more free -

  • Finding a style that makes expression even possible

  • What happens when art becomes your career? How does that jive with autonomy, expression, internal quest

  • Four main motivations: freedom, craft, money, scene

  • Dropping what works to experiment with new directions - the “readiness of will to jettison an entire artistic career precisely when it was going well.”

  • The machine of maintaining a persona; flirting with renunciation - the attempt to remove his entire presence from the internet

  • Balancing “hermit mode” with external inputs

  • Freedom to improvise; the jazz of art, business

  • Radical play, breaking rules when you need to

  • The “what the hell is this effect” of viewing some contemporary art or music

  • On originality and not worrying about what’s already been done

  • Juggling career and business side of art, which can sometimes be antithetical to creativity

  • Make a big mess and trust that if you’re into it, at some point others will be too

Podcast: Artist Seth Price on Finding Freedom in Bad Ideas, Balancing Commerce and Creation in Business

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Resources Mentioned

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