From questions of mental health and the environment in the context of the arts, to art market reports, matters of museum histories, and talks between creatives from different industries—a summer list of podcasts for your arty ears.
Following up with Curtain’s first article in April on art-themed podcasts around the world, here is a second selection of podcasts that cover education, care for the environment in the art world, museum knowledge, performing arts, marginalised communities, art market, and mental health.
For American History Enthusiasts. “Curator’s Choice” by Ayla Anderson, is a podcast that focuses on history museums in the US—think fossils, American history, and artefacts. Anderson takes a tour around some quaint local museums, unpacks their history by talking with their staff, and speaks about architecture, the people who founded the museums and how they came to life, and the objects on display. Overarching themes include preservation, archeology, North American historical figures (i.e. George Washington’s Mount Vernon), layouts, and train tracks. In particular, the podcasts revives historical facts by zooming in on a couple of objects from the museums featured, as an entry to the broader context and stories from a not so distant American past.
Interdisciplinary Performing Arts. Public Energy’s Curator’s Corner lead by curator and writer Victoria Mohr-Blakeney focuses on contemporary dance and performance. In these 10 episodes, she speaks to cutting edge performers and interdisciplinary artists about the inspiration behind they pieces, how they develop on-going relationships between movement and music, and about their current experiments. Included, episodes featuring the Vancouver-based collective Hong Kong Exile talking about the future of Hong Kong (however that episode was recorded in 2017, before recent years political events in Hong Kong, and relates more to the notion of exile, the Chinese diaspora, and more generally, ideas of international mobility and remembering places that no longer exists), and Arzoo Dance Theatre’s Deepti Gupta about her contemporary take on Northern India Classical dance form, Kathak.
American Native Art Scene. A 14-episode grassroots podcast, “Curating Indigeneity”, presented by American Indian Curator Tahnee M. Ahtone (Ahtoneharjo-Growingthunder), where she discusses Indigenous art, lifestyles, and culture with her guests. Through interviews with artists from various communities and indigenous nations, we learn about their journeys coming into their art practices. One of the podcast’s guest is artist, curator, art critic, and editor America Meredith, enroled in Cherokee Nation. Meredith is the founder of First American Art Magazine and in that particular episode (episode 4) she talks about the gate-keepers of the art world, being articulate about one’s practice, the interconnectedness of the various tribal communities, mainstream art, and getting your work out there.
Art and Environment, from Helsinki to the World. With a mission to maintain a carbon institutional neutral footprint, the members of the advisory board of the contemporary-art-commissioning agency IHME Helsinki are hosting this series of six podcasts on the themes of art, science, and ecology. The series starts with the Artistic Director of the Biennale of Sydney 2022, Colombian curator José Roca interviewed by curator Paula Toppila, and carries on with different interviewer-interviewees pairs throughout the rest of the episodes, touching upon themes of extraction and media culture, frozen water, energy and identity, ecocide, and other sustainability and environmental issues in the context of art.
Podcast For Two. “Dialogues” by mega-gallery David Zwirner features established names from the art world, usually artists from the gallery roster, paired with other cultural figures such as musicians, curators, and writers. The first episode features curator Luke Syson—who has his own TED talk and has been a curator with the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—and smooth talker Jeff Koons. One of the latest episodes features founding member of Talking Heads, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and filmmaker, David Byrne, and contemporary artist Marcel Dzama, known for his delightful ink and watercolour drawings, which are playfully haunting the art scene since many years.
Gallery Talks. “Voices on Art, The Van Horn Gallery Podcast” hosted by former artist-turned-gallerist Daniela Steinfeld, is another podcast coming out from a commercial gallery. Here the conversations revolve around art and the art industry, between Steinfeld—the gallery director with a silky voice—and other art world players. Guests include gallerists, for instance Joanna Kamm (who is also the director, since 2018, of Liste Art Fair in Basel, and who talks about it), but also collectors, artists, educators, and curators, such as Bettina Steinbrügge (Director of Kunstverein in Hamburg, since 2014) who speaks about art and its place in our lives—sometimes since an early age—and society.
Photography Insiders. Phlogger and photographer Andrew Walmsley hosts of a series of podcasts called, Photography Insights, with other photographers—not particularly limited to the contemporary art world, themes here can be more physical, sensual, and skill-based—about their work, technique, and environment. For instance, he speaks with Santa Monica-based fine art photographer Debe Arlook who nourrishes her artistic practice through meditation and spirituality, and who advises us to look at works in museum longer to feel their energy. Walmsley also interviews models, such as Sadie Minton, an artist and model who created a remote shooting business during covid.
Everything Art Market. ArtTactic Podcast, a self-proclaimed leading podcast on the art market, that has been around since 2009, talks about all things art market, including investment, regional scenes and markets for particular artists, art fairs reports with journalists and art fairs directors, auction houses and auction reviews, art market confidence reports, issues of anti money laundering, museums deaccessions and museums survival during covid, banks and other corporations who sponsor art prizes and projects, art lending, new technologies, etc.
Mental Health in the Art World. Recently in Curtain, I interviewed Tšhegofatšo Mabaso, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Iziko South African National Gallery, who introduced me to her work with Vansa, a network of artists and arts organisations in South Africa. Vansa joined forces with Rera Letsema, the collaborative research space founded by Tatenda Magaisa and Tšhegofatso Mabaso, to produce “Minding Our Business”, a six-part podcast series featuring conversations with practitioners and experts on mental health and wellness in the visual arts industry, in South Africa. These beautiful conversations cover the state of mental health in the region, issues of burn out, relationships between art making and personal health journeys, the expectation of art labour, and the healing properties of art.
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