Alumnus Daniel Penny '16 Launches Podcast 'Art Unscene'

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, November 6, 2020

Alumnus Daniel Penny '16, along with contemporary art advisor Daniel Malarkey, has launched the monthly podcast Art Unscene


The podcast brings contemporary art and fiction into conversation by commissioning original short pieces of prose, written in response to a work of visual art by a living artist. After the guest author reads their piece, Penny sparks a conversation about the writer's creative process, the story's themes, and the art which inspired the work. The resulting 30 minute podcast is "a chance for art-lovers, collectors, critics, and curators to rethink works by established and emerging artists." 


Art Unscene's first episode features fellow alumna and poet Emily Skillings ’17, who contributes a short, uncanny story in response to Tom Schneider's The Winged Mermaid's Lair (47" x 57", acrylic on canvas, 2012). Skillings, whose poetry collection Fort Not (The Song Cave, 2017) was called a "fabulously eccentric, hypnotic, and hypervigilant debut" by Publishers Weekly, reads an eerie piece about a preschooler who one day "falls through the floor" of her classroom and has a menacing encounter with mythical beings. In conversation with Penny and on her Twitter account, Skillings reveals that the story, sparked by Schneider's unearthly painting, was also inspired by her own preschool in Maine and a fascination with trance-states.

A new episode of Art Unscene will be released each month, and Episode 2 will feature another School of the Arts alumnus, Nicholas Goodley '17.


Daniel Penny is a journalist and critic with an MFA in creative nonfiction. A former editorial staffer at The New Yorker, he lives in Cambridge UK and writes about art and culture for The New Yorker, frieze, GQ, and many other publications. When he's not writing, he teaches composition and visual culture at Parsons School of Design, and creative writing at The New School. 


Emily Skillings is the author of the poetry collection Fort Not as well as two chapbooks, Backchannel (Poor Claudia) and Linnaeus: The 26 Sexual Practices of Plants (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press). Recent poems can be found or are forthcoming in Poetry, Harper's, Boston Review, Brooklyn Rail, BOMB, Hyperallergic, LitHub, and jubilat. Skillings is a member of the Belladonna Collaborative, a feminist poetry collective, small press, and event series. While at the School of the Arts, she was a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow, and currently splits her time between Brooklyn and Hudson, NY.