Without a doubt, “Omg guys, we should start a podcast” is the “Omg guys, we should start a band” of our generation. If Sex and the City were filmed in 2018, Carrie would 100% be a sex podcaster. If you’ve got some free time on your hands, here’s a fun little mental exercise: imagine all your favorite childhood TV series as podcast hosts, from Friends (obvious) to Twin Peaks (not so much).
And if you’re thinking, ain’t nobody got time, I’m already late for everything I have to do today and probably tomorrow and for the next five years–I won’t keep you too long, I promise, but read on to discover the hottest new podcasts of the art world. Spice up your commute and water your brain at the same time, yay!
Hosted by graduate students Corrie, Ginny, Natalie and Jennifer.
This podcast will make you nostalgic for college wine nights with your art history major friends. Corrie, Ginny, Natalie and Jennifer take on all topics related to visual culture old and new, from the weird Putti in Italian architecture to Lady Gaga and contemporary meme culture. As insightful as they are outrageous, the Art History Babes are a must-listen.
Start with: Episode 91, Apesh*t
Pssst, they also repost a bunch of great art memes at @arthistorybabespodcast.
Hosted by artist Pia Pack
Bijou Karman, COLOR (2018)
LA-based artist Pia Pack sits down with artists in their studios to chat about their lives, their work and the soundtrack to both. Think Desert Island Discs, the beloved BBC radio show, but specifically for contemporary artists.
Shorter, more offbeat and way more digestible than the typical artist interview podcast (you won’t find any academic jargon here), What Artists Listen To will introduce you to new artwork and new music all in one go. A+ for efficiency!
Start with: Episode 2, Alison Saar
Best of all, the playlists are available on Spotify.
MoMA podcast hosted by actress Abbi Jacobson
Carolee Schneemann, Meat Joy (1964–2010) 16mm film transferred to video (color, sound), 6 min.
Want to be able to say something intelligent (or at least intelligible about the above? Read on.
One day, the MoMA staff gathered in the coffee room and proclaimed that they’ve had enough of listening to visitors say “I don’t get it” and “I could’ve painted that” in front of the Pollock all day long. They decided to launch a podcast to decode modern and contemporary art for the masses. This is that podcast.
To better connect to the plebs, they enlisted one of the laity, Broad City actress Abbi Jacobson, to host the show. In each of the ten episodes, curators, artists and friends like Tavi Gevinson of Rookie Mag and RuPaul from RuPaul’s Drag Race join Abbi to dive into the weird and wonderful world of modern and contemporary art.
If you want to be able to name-drop Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece at dinner parties without sounding like a tool or like you don’t know what you’re talking about, this is the show for you.
Start with: Episode 6, If It’s Got Naked People, RuPaul Is In
Hosted by art historian and critic Tyler Green
If you want to dig really deep into the work of a specific artist, Tyler Green is your guy. And chances are, he’ll have exactly what you’re looking for—the show is on its 368th episode, so he’s had plenty of time to hit all the highlights of modern art. Each hour-long episode takes on two artists, so that makes… a lot of artists.
Check it out to find out more than you ever knew you wanted to know about all the familiar suspects of the last 100 years of art—and plenty of unfamiliar names, too. With all the academics involved, it might sound a little bit like an art history lecture, but hey, if you’re here, you’re probably into that.
Start with: your favorite modern artist.
Hosted by photographer Ben Smith
What The Modern Art Notes Podcast is to artists, A Small Voice is to photographers, except that instead of consulting the academics, Smith goes straight to the source.
Let’s not beat around the bush—these long-form interviews go deep, so if you’re just looking for a couple factoids to drop within earshot of your boss or crush, save yourself some time and skim the Wikipedia page. But if you’re out here tryna travel to the most remote regions of the universe and the human soul, keep listening: Maggie Steber will school you on “flushing out your subconscious” and Léonie Hampton will give you a step-by-step of how to turn your obsessive demons into creativity.
Start with: Episode 89, Alixandra Fazzina
Hosted by The Jealous Curator, aka artist and designer Danielle Krysa
Danielle Krysa, anyone who said ‘smoking wouldn’t make you look cool’ had obviously never seen frida do it (2018)
“You cannot have creative block if you’re not creative,” Krysa said on the Oprah Show. “If you get blocked, if you have an inner critic, it just means you’re part of a very cool, creative club.”
Read that first sentence again. Read it again. One more time. Sounds obvious, right? And yet, who hasn’t been there, T-12 hours before a school deadline, or a big art show, or a first draft due date, or your Whitney retrospective (a girl can dream), paralyzed and seriously questioning if it didn’t all start to go wrong back when you pulled the plug on that Accounting major.
The Jealous Curator was born, as the name suggests, out of Krysa’s jealousy of other artists’ work, mixed in with some healthy thirst for drama. When she was getting back into her art practice after many years and began to explore the work of other contemporary artists, inspiration quickly dissolved into dread and envy. It had all been done, she thought, and she wasn’t the one who had done it. What’s a girl to do?
Well, instead of (or, tbh, after) stewing in the negativity, Krysa started to interview artists about their work, their doubts and insecurities, and all the everyday ridiculousness that goes with being an artist. If you’re the kind of girl who, deep down, lives for drama, if hearing about lovers and duels was your favorite part of Art History 101, if you show up to Sunday brunch only to find out who made out with who in whose loft last night, this podcast is definitely up your alley.
It’s also hugely cathartic. If these people have wallowed in self-doubt, fought through imposter syndrome and fended off well-meaning relatives who send them links to law school applications then gone on to have successful art careers, chances are, you can too.
Start with: “Where our happiness lives” with Michelle Kingdom
Photos via @arthistorybabespodcast, What Artists Listen To, MoMA, Alixandra Fazzina via A Small Voice, Danielle Krysa