Getty Art + Ideas
By The Getty
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Join Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, as he talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work. Listen in as he engages these important thinkers in reflective and critical conversations about architecture, archaeology, art history, and museum exhibitions.
||CleanRobert Polidori and the Getty Museum||Before the Getty Center opened to the public in 1997, photographer Robert Polidori captured the half-installed galleries and impressive architecture of the museum while on an assignment from The New Yorker. With brilliant colors and beautiful light, the||9/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJulien Stock on Discovering a New Michelangelo||In the late 1990s, Old Master drawings expert Julien Stock made an incredible discovery—a previously unknown Michelangelo drawing. Hiding in an unmarked book at England’s Castle Howard, the study of a mourning woman from early in Michelangelo’s ca||9/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Lives of Vincent van Gogh and Édouard Manet||In this episode, curator Scott Allan discusses two artist biographies: one of Édouard Manet by author and art critic Émile Zola and the other of Vincent van Gogh written by his sister in law Jo van Gogh-Bonger. Both artists proved controversial or dif||8/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLives of the Artists: Rilke on Rodin||In 1902, Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke visited sculptor August Rodin in Paris to write an essay on the artist for a new series of German monographs. Writing with his usual intensity, Rilke’s poetic language and passion for Rodin’s art make this a||8/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBeyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World||A towering sarcophagus for a man with a Grecian name, an ancient medical scroll that details Mycenaean cures in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and a Roman mosaic illustrating scenes from the Nile are just a few of the incredible objects that tell the story of||7/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLives of the Artists: Three Biographies of Rembrandt||Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn was a well-known and somewhat controversial artist in his time, and many historians, critics, and artists wrote about his work and life during and shortly after his lifetime. In this episode, curator of paintings||7/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLives of the Artists: Giorgio Vasari on Bellini, Raphael, and Michelangelo||Giorgio Vasari’s book Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects from Cimabue to Our Times, first published in 1550, is widely considered to be the ideological foundation of the discipline of art history. In this episode, senior c||6/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanInside the Eames House with Eames Demetrios, Thomas Hines, and Susan Macdonald||The husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames produced some of the most iconic designs of the mid-twentieth century. This episode engages with a wide range of topics, from Charles and Ray’s training and inspiration, to their collaborative design p||6/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanReims on Fire with Thomas Gaehtgens||How do we understand the seemingly senseless destruction of monuments during World War I? How does art history dovetail with military history? In this episode, Thomas Gaehtgens’ explores these questions through the lens of Reims Cathedral. He traces t||5/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCultural Heritage in Armed Conflict Zones with Tom Weiss||Tom Weiss, a specialist on humanitarian intervention and the United Nations, believes we are at a watershed moment for international cooperation on the protection of cultural heritage. In this episode, Weiss uses the ongoing civil war in Syria as a spri||5/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTalking About Paintings: Caravaggio||The early Baroque artist Caravaggio painted bold compositions with dramatic lighting that emphasized the physical and emotional humanity of his subjects. In this episode, we listen as two curators, Davide Gasparotto and Keith Christiansen, visit the Get||5/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTalking About Paintings: Giovanni Bellini||Venetian Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini is widely considered one of the greatest Italian artists of all time. His landscapes are imbued with allegory and a reverence for nature. In this episode, we listen as two curators, Davide Gasparotto and Kei||4/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHarald Szeemann’s Museum of Obsessions||To say that Swiss-born artist, art historian, and curator Harald Szeemann was an obsessive collector might be putting it mildly. Szeemann’s personal archive and research library, which he referred to as the “Museum of Obsessions,” spans over five||4/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMarie Svoboda on Egyptian Mummy Portraits||Egyptian mummy portraits are among the oldest paintings that have survived from the ancient world. Incorporated with the wrappings of mummies, these strikingly realistic portraits of the deceased reflect a blending of the artistic style of Greco-Roman c||3/21/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanB. V. Doshi – Modern Architecture in India [rebroadcast]||Last week, Indian architect, urban planner, and educator Balkrishna Doshi was selected as the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate. In light of this news, we wanted to share an episode from earlier this year featuring an interview with Doshi. — W||3/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGetty at 20: Christopher Hawthorne||The Getty Center is a campus that features modernist buildings, beautiful gardens, open spaces, and panoramic views of Los Angeles. Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic at the Los Angeles Times, discusses the relationship between Richard Meier’s||3/7/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGetty at 20: Stephen Rountree||Stephen Rountree served as the director of the Getty building program, working closely with architect Richard Meier, Getty staff and committees, and neighborhood councils during the construction of the center. In this episode, Rountree talks about the c||2/21/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStephanie Schrader on Rembrandt and India||Included in Rembrandt’s prolific body of work is a series of twenty-five drawings inspired by paintings created by Mughal artists in India. How did Rembrandt come across Mughal images? Why did he make these drawings? These questions are at the heart o||1/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWerner Busch on Adolph Menzel||Adolph Menzel was a 19th-century pioneer of German realism. His paintings, drawings, and prints capture reality with remarkable truth and atmosphere. In this episode, art historian Werner Busch discusses why there has been so little published about this||1/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanInterviewing Anselm Kiefer||In this episode, an interview with German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer doesn’t go as planned. But all is not lost. Despite—or perhaps as a consequence of—the disruptions, a candid and thoughtful conversation ensues. Kiefer’s work confronts||12/13/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGolden Kingdoms: Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas||Gold nose adornments, feather paintings, and beaded shell collars. These are some of the objects featured in the Getty’s current exhibition, “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas,” which traces the development of luxury||11/29/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Making of an Exhibition Part 3||In September 2017 the Getty launched Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a regional exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. In a three-part series, we hear about the development of one of the Getty exhibitions that is part o||11/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJerald Podair on Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles||The year 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Dodgers’ move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, and the 55th anniversary of the opening of Dodger Stadium. Jerald Podair, author of “City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles,||11/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWalter Hopps: The Dream Colony||Walter Hopps was a legendary curator of contemporary art who revolutionized the museum realm with radical exhibitions and an enduring support for contemporary art and artists. Published earlier this year, “The Dream Colony: A Life in Art,” is||10/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanIn the Galleries: Borghese-Windsor Cabinet and Bust of Pope Paul V||In the galleries of the Getty Museum are two works of art with an interesting connection. The first, a magnificent cabinet with intricate stone inlay, gilded statuettes, and an array of compartments and hidden drawers. The second, a commanding portrait||10/4/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAnka Muhlstein on Artists and Authors in 19th-Century France||The close relationships between artists and authors in 19th-century France is evidenced in the illustrious novels of Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, J. K. Huysmans, and Guy de Maupassant. These novelists wrote about painting, created pai||9/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJackson Pollock’s “Mural” Part 2||Although Jackson Pollock’s iconic “Mural” (1943) may appear to have been swiftly executed, close examination of the paint and archival photographs reveals otherwise. In the second half of a two-part conversation, Laura Rivers and Yvonne Szafr||9/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJackson Pollock’s “Mural” Part 1||Jackson Pollock’s “Mural” (1943) is a monumental eight-by-twenty foot work that marks a turning point in the artist’s career and the course of American art. In 2012, “Mural” traveled to the Getty for conservation, cleaning, and st||8/23/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanChris Killip on Photographing People and Places||At age eighteen, Chris Killip saw an image by Henri Cartier-Bresson and decided to become a photographer. Killip, who grew up on the Isle of Man, documents social landscapes and is known for a series of powerful images of struggling industrial communiti||8/9/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanB. V. Doshi – Modern Architecture in India Part 2||While working in Chandigarh, Le Corbusier also developed projects in Ahmedabad, the former capital of Gujarat, 740 miles southeast of Chandigarh. In the second of a two-part series on modern architecture in India, we hear from B. V. Doshi, Le Corbusier||7/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMaristella Casciato – Modern Architecture in India Part 1||After the Partition of India in 1947, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru invited French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier to build Chandigarh, a new capital city that would be, in Nehru’s words, “symbolic of the freedom of India, unfettered by the tr||7/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSeason 2 Trailer||Season 2 launches on July 12, 2017.||7/5/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJane and Louise Wilson on Creating Together||Microchip processing plants, space training centers, and abandoned bunkers. These are just a few of the subjects represented in the work of British artists and twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson. The Wilsons create captivating and ethereal photographs,||6/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanDavid Saunders on Museum Conservation and Lighting||Lighting in museums has long been a contentious subject among museum conservators. A gallery with too much light often causes long-term damage to artwork on display, while a gallery with too little light creates a poor experience for visitors. The balan||6/7/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanComposer John Adams Part 2||In the second half of a two-part conversation, we hear from John Adams, composer of the Art + Ideas theme music, about key compositions throughout his career as well as upcoming work for the San Francisco Opera. Adams talks about his literary inspiratio||5/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanComposer John Adams Part 1||In the first half of a two-part conversation, we hear from John Adams, composer of the Art + Ideas theme music, about his early days and compositions. Adams talks about his childhood in New England, musical education, experiments in electronic music, an||5/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMario Vargas Llosa on Culture||Peruvian-born writer Mario Vargas Llosa published a book titled “Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society” in which he traces the development and what he sees as the decline of culture in modern society. In this episode,||4/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanNancy Perloff on Russian Futurist Book Art||Between 1910 and 1915, Russian painters and poets invented an experimental language called “zaum,” which emphasizes sound and is characterized by indeterminacy in meaning. These artists used “zaum” to create handmade artists’ book||4/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanKenneth Breisch on the Los Angeles Central Library||The Central Library in downtown Los Angeles is an iconic architectural landmark with high open ceilings, remarkable murals, and a striking façade. Kenneth Breisch, author of “The Los Angeles Central Library: Building an Architectural Icon, 1872–193||3/29/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAnne Woollett on “Rembrandt Laughing”||In 2007 an English family decided to sell a small painting in their collection: an image of a man laughing with a label featuring the name Rembrandt. The work was initially attributed to a contemporary of Rembrandt, but scholarly analysis and scientific||3/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanDavid Brafman on Alchemy||Now recognized as the ancestor of modern chemistry, alchemy is a mysterious and often misunderstood blend of science, philosophy, and spirituality. Alchemists were notorious for making artificial gold, but their impact extended far beyond their desire f||3/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSunil Khilnani on India’s History in Fifty Lives||“India’s history is a curiously unpeopled place. As usually told it has dynasties, epochs, religions, and castes—but not that many individuals,” Sunil Khilnani writes in his book “Incarnations: India in Fifty Lives.” In “Inc||2/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanScott Allan on Manet’s “Jeanne (Spring)”||At the Salon of 1882, just one year before his death, Édouard Manet exhibited a painting depicting the actress and model Jeanne Demarsy. This portrait of a chic young woman holding a parasol against a background of lush foliage is viewed as a testament||2/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBeyond Boundaries – Visual Culture in the Provinces of Ancient Rome||The Roman Empire’s rich and multifaceted visual culture is a manifestation of the sprawling geography of its provinces. In 2011 through the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative, a group of twenty international scholars began a mult||1/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFrank Gehry’s Los Angeles Part 4||In a four-part series, we’ll explore architect Frank Gehry’s Los Angeles and how his practice has evolved during his seventy years as an Angeleno. In this last conversation of the series, Gehry talks about projects, past and present, in three cities||1/4/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGiovanni di Paolo’s Branchini Altarpiece||In 1427 Renaissance manuscript illuminator and panel painter Giovanni di Paolo completed one of his most important commissions: an altarpiece for the Branchini family chapel in the church of San Domenico in Siena, Italy. The polyptych was disbanded, lik||12/14/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWalter Grasskamp on André Malraux||André Malraux, the French novelist, minister of cultural affairs, and art theorist, published his seminal book “Le Musée imaginaire” in the early 1950s. In “The Book on the Floor: André Malraux and the Imaginary Museum,” art histo||11/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Making of an Exhibition Part 2||In Fall 2017, the Getty will present Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a regional exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. In a three-part series, we hear about the development of one of the Getty exhibitions that is part o||11/16/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFrank Gehry’s Los Angeles Part 3||In a four-part series, we’ll explore architect Frank Gehry’s Los Angeles and how his practice has evolved during his seventy years as an Angeleno. The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao are iconic buildings t||11/2/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Getty Bronze||In the early 1960s, Italian fisherman found a remarkable bronze sculpture in the depths of the Adriatic Sea. Statue of a Victorious Youth, also referred to as the “Getty Bronze,” is one of the few life-size Greek bronzes to have survived its time,||10/19/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
A Mixed Bag
Like most interview based podcasts the quality of this podcast relies upon the people interviewed. The museum director who hosts the podcast is no journalist, but he and his team at The Getty have selected very interesting people to talk to. Sometimes the episodes are too long and too similar to lectures. The Gettys first attempt at making a podcast is not great but it's a good start. Perhaps for their next attempt they should make something with more vision and production. They could talk to more than one person each episode and edit the episode so that it tells a story. The podcast is called Art + Ideas, but there aren't really any big ideas and it is mostly a conversation with an artist about personal stories. Overall the biggest problem is that the podcast has no focus.
Art + Ideas + Solid Interviews + Interesting Guests
After listening now to all the episodes of the Art + Ideas podcasts through the current one (12/14/2016), I felt like it was a good time to reflect on its strengths and weaknesses, focusing particularly on the interviewer (Jim Cuno), the interviewees, the format, and the topics.
Jim Cuno asks intelligent, educated questions. He is clearly well-versed in a number of topics and does his "homework" prior to every interview. Sometimes, his questions are a bit detailed, assuming knowledge that the listeners of the podcast might not have; at other times, though, he does a good job of leading the interviewees to explain very specialized topics in their respective fields. He is also very excited by every topic, which sometimes does lead him to interrupt his conversant, but enthusiasm is not necessarily a bad thing for a podcast host.
The interviewees have been quite varied, and I would consider that a strength of the podcast. The Getty (and Jim Cuno's) pull is tremendous: having the chance to hear Frank Gehry tell his life story, for instance, or to catch up with one the Rothschild's on her new novel is something that really separates this podcast from others. The podcast really is a dialogue between Jim Cuno and his guests, and this works best, I feel, when he knows the interviewees personally, able to pick up on cues of when to speak and when to let his conversant continue.
The most interesting episodes were either ones that involved one interviewee who really got a chance to deliver his or her perspective about a topic or ones that had a panel of speakers who interacted with each other (e.g., the Getty Bronze). I felt that episodes that had one-on-one conversations with multiple people were a bit truncated, breaking the flow of the podcast by suddenly switching the narrative and causing the listeners to readjust to something which was sometimes quite different in tone or topic. (After all, most people don't just listen to podcasts, but do so while doing something else, which means you might zone out for a bit, causing you to miss the transition to something new.)
About half of the topics I knew very little about before listening to the podcast, but I still felt it wasn't too specialized or overly detailed that I couldn't follow along and learn something new. (That is a credit to Jim Cuno, as well as the people editing the episodes.) Even when I was more familiar with a topic, the perspectives presented still had elements that I hadn't come across before. At times, however, I do feel like the interviews focus on the details rather than the bigger picture. This is a great opportunity to discuss important topics in art and art history with leaders in the field, and it would be great to see Jim Cuno catch an interviewee a bit off guard sometimes with a question that he or she has to really think deeply about.
As a suggestion, I think it would be a good idea if the podcast's devotees would have the chance to ask the questions. The Getty could put the podcast topics up in advance and solicit questions from the podcast's listeners before the interview. Maybe one question per episode or something like that. (I'd definitely listen to 40 or so minutes to see if my question came up.)
Overall, I think this is a worthwhile initiative on the part of the Getty, and I'm excited to see what it becomes in 2017!
A world revealed
I had no idea what a rich and interesting subject art history could be. From time to time, one discovers a field of learning that is fascinating, and this podcast has done that for me. The knowledge and love shown by the interviewer, curators, and artists is infectious. The podcast also illustrates how the combination of technologies that constitute podcasting has made it this kind of presentation available to everyone worldwide. Thanks to the Getty for doing this. I look forward to many more episodes.