This Week in Art Podcasts

by Whitney Kimball on June 27, 2012 · 8 comments Podcasts

Shadi Ghadirian, "Qajar Radio" from the Ghajar Series. 1998-1999 (Photo courtesy of Saatchi).

What do people talk about when they’re not typing? What does Tyler Green’s voice sound like? This week, I listened to a handful of podcasts to find out.



Dialogues In Asian Contemporary Art: documenta13 Project

The Clocktower Gallery’s radio station ARTonAIR, founded by Alanna Heiss, realizes and archives interviews, performance, and experimental art radio. Their selection is enormous, and the week’s programs are posted on their site.

I chose the latest episode of Dialogues in Asian Contemporary Art, in which curator Leeza Ahmady and artist Mariam Ghani discuss their contributions to dOCUMENTA(13). This is extremely boring, but here are just a few that I’m excited for: the Kalup Linzy Variety Show, Phong Bui’s periodic interview podcast, PS1 talks, the Oral History Project, and ARTonAIR interviews.

Should I listen? Yes.

Radio Web MACBA

SON[I]A, #155

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona’s (MACBA) radio site broadcasts a few different programs on sound art. This particular episode of SON[I]A features Arthur Sauer, a co-founder of The Game of Life, the world’s only mobile Wave Field Synthesis system. In layman’s terms, sound is recorded from various points in a room and then played back from those points to create an “immersive sound environment,” which doesn’t change with the listener’s position in space. In a concert, Sauer explains, “You are not going to sit with your back to the orchestra. With WFS, there isn’t necessarily a back or a front.” Sauer talks about how he created the system and plays back sounds which were made particularly for this technology.

Should I listen? Yes.

Bad at Sports

Episode 355: Ken Fandell and Christy Matson

Bad at Sports is possibly the only ground-level podcast that covers both emerging artists and art outside of New York, so no matter what, it’s important. The eight-and-a-half-minute introduction is indicative of the pace. Duncan McKenzie interviews Ken Fandell and Christy Matson, married artists who are leaving their jobs at the Art Institute of Chicago to move to California. They talk yoga, marathon running, and how various activities inform their studio practices. BaS podcasts are often good (read: NADA, AFC’s Corinna Kirsch recommends Gregg Bordowitz and David Getsy), but good luck making it past 40 minutes of this.

Should I listen? Not this time.

Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes

Fred Wilson

Art blogger and journalist Tyler Green mainly interviews well-known artists. Unlike many of the others, Green has discovered that outlining the main discussion points alongside each podcast makes for easier browsing. Much appreciated.

What starts as another medium-centric chat gets more substantive around the last ten minutes, when artist Fred Wilson discusses his relationship to museums. Though he’s recognized for institutional critique, Wilson no longer works with museum collections and is now a trustee at the Whitney. As it’s the twentieth anniversary of his highly influential “Mining the Museum,” and museum-related ethics have come up again and again over the past few years, it’s a good time for review. Wilson recalls: “I was pretty angry…about the denial of these institutions, the issues that they were just ignoring even though they were in plain sight.”

Should I listen? Sure.

[UPDATE 6/27: A previous version of this post identified Tyler Green as an ArtINFO critic. Though it’s published through, Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes is an independent blog. 

Wilson continues to work with museum collections on occasion, as in his current show at Savannah College of Art and Design.]

Still from FILM, by Tacita Dean at the Turbine Hall. (Photo courtesy of the Guardian)


Rosalind Krauss on Tacita Dean’s FILM

Rosalind Krauss gives a lecture at the Tate on Tacita Dean’s FILM, currently occupying the Turbine Hall. Basically, we learn that film is a distinct and elusive medium. She calls flipping the film strip around “diagrammatic brilliance” because it simultaneously activates process and material. NOoooooooooo. I’d suggest watching the Tacita Dean video on YouTube instead.

Should I listen? No, but they have a ton of material. It’s probably great for research purposes.

SFMoMA’s Artcast

Mark Bradford Gallery Exploration

Mark Bradford talks about work in his SFMoMA exhibition. It’s one of the better artist podcasts simply because it comes with a slideshow and is edited to a tolerable pace. They’re like slideshow versions of Art21 segments.

Should I listen? It’s okay.


May 21, The Perfect Yellow

This is a good one for the studio. In this episode of their “This American Life”-style program (a few of their writers have worked for NPR),  Radiolab conducts a search for tetrochromats, people who potentially have the ability to perceive millions more shades of color. Also, they tell a crazy story behind a “perfect yellow” pigment.

Should I listen? Depends on how much you like fun facts.

Avant-Garde All The Time

Listening to Films; podcast archive here

Kenneth Goldsmith digs through UbuWeb, a database of avant-garde audio and moving image, and comes up with solid gold. To give you an idea of the range, the first three selections in this episode are from Vito Acconci’s Theme Song (1973); René Clair’s Entr’acte (1924); and Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn’s Can’t Swallow It, Can’t Spit It Out (2006).

Should I listen? Yes.

The Guardian

Why, oh why, does Jonathan Jones not have a podcast? God, if you’re listening….

Peter Schjeldahl’s Audio Slideshow

George Bellows

Peter Schjeldahl sure can get a broad sense of the art down succinctly. In his latest audio slideshow of the George Bellows retrospective, he breezes through Bellows’s ups (his famous boxing paintings) and downs (a winter scene is “a bit of a greeting card”). As always, it’s clear and brilliant.

The New Yorker also has a podcast, though not necessarily art-related.

Should I listen? Yes.

Salvator Rosa's "Witches at Their Incantations," c. 1646. (Photo courtesy of

National Gallery, London

Episode 68, June 2012

Surprisingly, listening to elder British historians chuckle about the Diamond Jubilee while describing a few paintings from the National Gallery was on the more interesting end of the museum podcasts. In this episode, historians all chose weird paintings, such as “Witches at Their Incantations,” basically a 17th-century SAW. Gus Cameron describes how the guy who bought this work would hide it behind a curtain so that he could whip it out dramatically when he had friends over. ….ha!

From what I can tell, all of their podcasts are like this.

Should I listen? Only if you’re planning a trip to the National Gallery.

National Gallery, D.C.

Notable Lecture Series: Andrew McClellan Samuel F. B. Morse‘s “Gallery of the Louvre”

(Note: it’s the one titled “Samuel F. B. Morse” and is 38:05)

As part of a two-day symposium of lectures about one painting, Tufts University dean Andrew McClellan describes the social context of Samuel F. B. Morse’s “Gallery in the Louvre.” This doesn’t have much to do with anything, but it’s an entertaining history lesson about the late 18th century European art establishment.

Should I listen? Yes, if you’re into pre-1900 art history. I also suspect that these are great for research.

KCRW at Santa Monica College 89.9 FM

Paul McCarthy and Son at The Box

Thurs, June 21

Don’t bother. These function like mini exhibition audio guides.

Should I listen? Nope.

"The Gleaners," Jean-François Millet. (Photo courtesy of

Learn Out Loud

Art history podcast

In which a British woman narrates a painting. A representative sample:

The Gleaners. It is harvest time on a large farm. The broad fields have been shorn of their golden grain…”

Should I listen? If you like Wizard People, Dear Reader– maybe.

For further browsing…

  • Paddy Johnson says that SVA’s lecture series is fantastic, and they’re all available free online.
  • Hyperallergic has a podcast, but it’s occasional.
  • MoMA seems to put their talks online in batches twice a year.
  • Sharon Butler of Two Coats of Paint’s vimeo channel
  • Also not necessarily art-related, but AFC’s Corinna Kirsch recommends 99percentinvisible and Love + Radio (their taxidermy episode with Nate Hill and Takeshi Yamada is one of their best)
  • Bushwick Daily started a radio show back in May, which plays every Monday at 5 PM.
  • Artcast is a Basel-based contemporary art podcast which interviews a range of major festivals and arts people, from DJ Spooky to Wim Wenders. Their most recent post is over a year old, but you can listen on their archives.
  • Have an art podcast? Let us know:


Corinna Kirsch June 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

Damn. What a great resource guide you made here! 

jane lane June 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

Wow. Thanks!

Julie Takacs June 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

where is yours???

whitney_kimball June 27, 2012 at 10:54 am

I know, I know. We need one, with lots of sound effects.

Rob Bos June 27, 2012 at 10:16 am

i’ve enjoyed the lectures at
thanks for all the others!

katarina h June 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Hey guys, thanks for recommending Bushick Daily Radio. Here is the showreel of previous episodes. Right now we have a show every Monday at 5pm, and next week we’re adding more talk.

whitney_kimball June 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Thanks– I’ll change that in the post.

Amy Beecher December 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm

check out just started it. artists in my apartment talk about living.

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