But you can still broaden your knowledge and appreciation of art through a growing number of podcasts. Here is a selection of four arty programs worth subscribing to, with one hoping to return “art history to the masses,” while another dissects the oddities of the art world.
The Modern Art Notes Podcast
This podcast series cannot be listened to with half an ear, it requires all your attention. But these hour-long conversations, hosted by award-winning art critic and historian Tyler Green, are definitely worth the effort. Each week, Green invites multiple artists, curators, authors and conservators to discuss their work, whether it is a new exhibition or the latest biography of Andy Warhol. A recent episode featured an interview with Naima J. Keith on the postponement of the fifth edition of Prospect triennial due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Art History Babes
If you believe art history is just something you learn at college, this podcast will prove you wrong. The four hostesses of “The Art History Babes” talk about visual culture with a conversational and sometimes meandering approach, like you would do with your artsy friends around a glass of wine. A recent episode is dedicated to post-mortem photographs, a mourning tradition popular during the Victorian era that Corrie, Jennifer, Natalie and Ginny describe as “infamously creepy.” As the podcast has built up a substantial following since its first episode in 2016, the four friends have published their own book, “The Honest Art Dictionary,” for all the art history babes out there.
The Lonely Palette
Imagine you are absentmindedly staring at an artwork in a museum, when an art-historian-turned-radio-producer asks you to describe it in your own words for her podcast. If you were staring at Jan van Eyck’s “Arnolfini Portrait,” you might be tempted to say that the man on the left looks “a bit like Willy Wonka’s shady brother,” or even Vladimir Putin. These off-the-cuff descriptions open each episode of “The Lonely Palette,” in which host Tamar Avishai fills in listeners about the history and making of an artwork. The result is refreshing, surprising and, still, deeply informative.
In this podcast series, curator Jennifer Dasal discusses unexpected, slightly odd and yet fascinating anecdotes about art. While pieces by Claude Monet fetch six-figure prices at auction,did you know that the French Impressionist and his cohort were trailblazing rebels whose works were originally deemed unbelievably ugly and vulgar? Or how about the fact that American crime novelist Patricia Cornwell believes that British painter Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper? The result is extremely erudite but always accessible, whether you are an art connoisseur or a neophyte.
(Main and featured image: The Lonely Palette)