Visual Arts

State of the Arts

Art History Today

A podcast that explores how art and its history shape our world today

Episodes

Fascist Aesthetics
46:21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 46:21
Fascist Aesthetics

In recent months, the term "fascism" has appeared frequently in the media. Many pundits have argued that the political tactics and rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echo those of fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, a smaller number of pundits have made the same claim about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which expressed the fascism of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. In this episode, we discuss the rise of modern fascism; outline the major characteristics of fascist aesthetics; and look at a few examples of fascist aesthetics in practice, from the 1930s to the present day.

Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen
46:42
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 46:42
Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen

​​In 2011, shock waves erupted in the art world when the long-established New York gallery Knoedler & Company announced it was closing. Knoedler had been in major dealer in modern art, handling works by mid-century American masters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The closure of the gallery coincided with persisting rumors that a number of works the gallery had sold were highly convincing forgeries. In the past few years, details have emerged that link the gallery to a dubious dealer and Chinese immigrant who painted works resembling those of well known artists in his apartment in Queens. In today's episode, we discuss the Knoedler case, as well as the notions of "originality," "authenticity," "copying," and "forgery." As we will see, these complex ideas become more complex--and even contradictory--when translated between the cultural contexts of the US and China, where copying now operates on an industrial scale in the notorious Dafen Oil Painting Village.

Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie
44:30
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 44:30
Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie

In this special Memorial Day Weekend episode, we interview Harriet F. Senie, Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies Program at City College of New York, and co-founder of the organization Public Art Dialogue. Our topic is her recent book Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Using the case studies of the Vietnam Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which open and close the book, we discuss how the function of public memorials has evolved over the past few decades: whereas memorials formerly helped the public to make sense of history, now, they're more likely to prompt private experiences of grief. We'll learn how and why this transition was made, and consider its negative impact on our ability to properly "memorialize" the tragedies of our time.

Japanese Erotica
47:40
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 47:40
Japanese Erotica

In today's Valentine's Day-inspired episode, we delve into the history of Japanese erotica, with the help of our friend, Maggie Mustard. Maggie is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Columbia University specializing in Japanese art, and is also the inaugural Teaching Fellow at the New Museum in New York City.(Please note that the images we discuss are of an overtly sexual nature, therefore this episode could fall into the realm of NSFW!)

Conservation and Restoration
53:30
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 53:30
Conservation and Restoration

Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.

KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)
46:41
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 46:41
KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)

It's our 20th episode, so we decided to talk about two things that are near and dear to us: cats and art. Listen as we discuss four works of art that feature cats as well recent exhibitions of cat imagery, and ultimately try to answer the question: what can cats tell us about art?

Dismaland: Art as Politics
39:31
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 39:31
Dismaland: Art as Politics

This past August-September, a seaside town in England hosted a very different kind of holiday attraction: a dystopian theme park by the anonymous street-artist-turned-legit-artist Banksy. Called "Dismaland," the park, erected on the site of a derelict lido, was actually a curated exhibition of works by dozens of artists, all of which expressed critical views of mainstream culture and politics. In this episode, we introduce you to Dismaland through a discussion of street art and Banksy's oeuvre; look closely at a few works on display; consider the ways in which Dismaland intersects with three major trends in contemporary art; and talk about the fate of Dismaland as recycled materials for a notorious refugee camp near Calais, France. 

Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal
46:48
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 46:48
Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal

Continuing with our recent theme of New York City architectural and cultural gems, today's episode delves into one of the most vital elements of the city's infrastructure: its transportation system. Listen as we discuss the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Transit Museum (located in a decommissioned subway station), and the crown jewel of the train system, Grand Central Terminal.

Turner's Seascapes
39:13
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 39:13
Turner's Seascapes

Joseph Mallord William Turner has been the subject of a number of projects recently, from the 2014 biopic Mr. Turner to the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free (currently on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco). For today's episode, we discuss Turner's depictions of the sea, a subject he represented throughout his career and which helps us understand the complexity of his art and ideas: the picturesque, sublime, engraving, etching, Immanuel Kant, Goethe’s color theory, Isaac Newton—we’ve got it all in here!

NYC's Buried Treasures
40:25
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 40:25
NYC's Buried Treasures

It's that time of year (well, one of those times of year) when tourists flood our city of New York. If you're planning a visit, check out today's episode, in which we discuss some of our favorite less-traveled haunts!

Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
34:05
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 34:05
Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

On March 18, 1990, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 objects from the museum's collection. This incident, which has remained largely unsolved, has drawn attention to the problem of art theft in the contemporary world. In today's episode, we discuss the heist, some of theories regarding who was involved, and the issue of art theft more broadly.

The Seasons
39:09
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 39:09
The Seasons

Spring has finally sprung in New York City, so we decided to spend an episode discussing how artists have represented the seasons , using four very different examples: the medieval cathedral at Amiens, 16th-century Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel's The Harvesters, François Boucher's series Rococo tour de force called The Four Seasons, and Wassily Kandinsky's abstract quartet of paintings on the same subject.

Four Updates
28:16
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 28:16
Four Updates

When we started Art History Today and its podcast, State of the Arts, we wanted to show how art and its history make and inform the news. Because many of our topics are stories that have continued to develop, we're using today's episode to review updates to four of our previous episodes. FYI, we're also continuing to update our coverage of these stories through posts to our Facebook page, and also, to the original blog posts for each episode.  

Art and Crisis in the Middle East
42:27
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 42:27
Art and Crisis in the Middle East

The rise of organizations like ISIS (or ISIL) has brought attention to the looting and destruction of ancient artifacts in the Middle East. In today's episode, Colette LeRoux and Gina Konstantopoulos join us to discuss the history of looting and iconoclasm in the Middle East, and how contemporary events and civil strife are impacting research in their fields.

Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire
34:02
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 34:02
Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire

In today's episode we discuss the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, whose offices in Paris were attacked on January  7th, 2015. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy, having produced cartoons that have invited criticism and even violent action for decades. In its images, we can see the continuation of a long tradition of French satire, the characteristics of which we focus on in the episode.

Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)
47:44
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 47:44
Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)

On November 12, 2014, the auction house Christie's hosted its annual fall auction of major works of postwar and contemporary art in New York. With sales totaling $852.9 million, the auction now stands as the highest-grossing auction in history, and has led some to speculate that the billion-dollar auction is imminent. In this episode, Natasha Degen, an expert on the art market, joins us in discussing how the art market works, as well as its history and future, and its relationship to larger social and economic trends.

Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light
32:58
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 32:58
Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light

In today's episode, we discuss one of the most popular and controversial artists of the last century, Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012). Kinkade's works often depict a pristine, idyllic, timeless past that continues to resonate with viewers. Many in the art world, however, have consistently criticized Kindade for glossing over the more problematic aspects of our collective past, as well as for his business and studio practices. 

Construction Controversies
37:57
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 37:57
Construction Controversies

In this episode, we look at the ongoing debate over the proposed expansion plans of two beloved NYC museums: MoMA and the Frick.  - See more at: http://www.arthistory.today/#sthash.200u0nvd.dpuf

Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things
21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 21
Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things

Happy Halloween! In today's episode we discuss Romanticism, a period that produced some of our favorite creepy images in the history of art. Romantic artists like Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Théodore Géricault explored themes of death, despair, the sublime, and madness––perfect for your Halloween enjoyment!

Jeff Koons
21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 21
Jeff Koons

The biggest show of the year in New York (and maybe America, or the world) closed this weekend: the retrospective of Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While Koons is a controversial figure who has achieved more commercial than critical success, the consensus about this show seems to be that the works, in the end, are indeed masterpieces. In this episode, we put aside the hype and look very closely at three sculptures spanning the artist's career, in order to see if there is more than meets the eye.

Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism
21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 21
Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism

In August, The Art Newspaper reported that Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University, had pinpointed the exact moment that Monet painted his work Impression: Sunrise to 13 November 1872. The report described this moment as the "birth of Impressionism." In today's episode, we discuss the painting and unravel some of the problems of this claim.

Ai Weiwei
21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 21
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who has been named the most influential artist alive. A retrospective of his work has been touring the U.S., and his name is constantly in the news (whether for his art, his run-ins with Chinese authorities, or his internet memes). While his activism has earned him international acclaim, it tends to overshadow his art; in this episode, we focus on looking closely at three of his major works, in order to understand the importance of his choices as an artist (and not only as an activist).

The Parthenon Marbles
21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 21
The Parthenon Marbles

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Parthenon (a temple atop the Acropolis in Athens that was constructed in the 5th century BCE) had fallen into a state of ruin. From 1800 until 1812, Lord Elgin, who had been England's Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed approximately half of the Parthenon's remaining marble sculptures, eventually selling them to the British Museum where they are currently housed. In today's episode, we discuss the history of the marbles, and the various arguments for keeping them in England and for returning them to Greece.

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"
37:15
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 37:15
Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"

In today's episode, we discuss New York's summer blockbuster exhibition, Kara Walker's A Subtlety. Walker is a prominent but controversial artist who makes art that comments on social problems related to race and gender; this work was the result of an invitation to make a work inside the defunct and soon-to-be-demolished Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and drew tens of thousands of people in two months.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 21
The Detroit Institute of Arts

In today's episode, we discuss the current situation with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in July 2013, there have been numerous discussions of selling off the DIA's collections in order to pay down the city's debt.

Teaser Episode!
21
2017-09-21 04:40:25 UTC 21
Teaser Episode!

As we prepare our first episodes, please enjoy this teaser!

Fascist Aesthetics
46:21
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 46:21
Fascist Aesthetics

In recent months, the term "fascism" has appeared frequently in the media. Many pundits have argued that the political tactics and rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echo those of fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, a smaller number of pundits have made the same claim about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which expressed the fascism of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. In this episode, we discuss the rise of modern fascism; outline the major characteristics of fascist aesthetics; and look at a few examples of fascist aesthetics in practice, from the 1930s to the present day.

Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen
46:42
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 46:42
Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen

​​In 2011, shock waves erupted in the art world when the long-established New York gallery Knoedler & Company announced it was closing. Knoedler had been in major dealer in modern art, handling works by mid-century American masters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The closure of the gallery coincided with persisting rumors that a number of works the gallery had sold were highly convincing forgeries. In the past few years, details have emerged that link the gallery to a dubious dealer and Chinese immigrant who painted works resembling those of well known artists in his apartment in Queens. In today's episode, we discuss the Knoedler case, as well as the notions of "originality," "authenticity," "copying," and "forgery." As we will see, these complex ideas become more complex--and even contradictory--when translated between the cultural contexts of the US and China, where copying now operates on an industrial scale in the notorious Dafen Oil Painting Village.

Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie
44:30
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 44:30
Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie

In this special Memorial Day Weekend episode, we interview Harriet F. Senie, Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies Program at City College of New York, and co-founder of the organization Public Art Dialogue. Our topic is her recent book Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Using the case studies of the Vietnam Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which open and close the book, we discuss how the function of public memorials has evolved over the past few decades: whereas memorials formerly helped the public to make sense of history, now, they're more likely to prompt private experiences of grief. We'll learn how and why this transition was made, and consider its negative impact on our ability to properly "memorialize" the tragedies of our time.

Japanese Erotica
47:40
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 47:40
Japanese Erotica

In today's Valentine's Day-inspired episode, we delve into the history of Japanese erotica, with the help of our friend, Maggie Mustard. Maggie is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Columbia University specializing in Japanese art, and is also the inaugural Teaching Fellow at the New Museum in New York City.(Please note that the images we discuss are of an overtly sexual nature, therefore this episode could fall into the realm of NSFW!)

Conservation and Restoration
53:30
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 53:30
Conservation and Restoration

Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.

KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)
46:41
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 46:41
KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)

It's our 20th episode, so we decided to talk about two things that are near and dear to us: cats and art. Listen as we discuss four works of art that feature cats as well recent exhibitions of cat imagery, and ultimately try to answer the question: what can cats tell us about art?

Dismaland: Art as Politics
39:31
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 39:31
Dismaland: Art as Politics

This past August-September, a seaside town in England hosted a very different kind of holiday attraction: a dystopian theme park by the anonymous street-artist-turned-legit-artist Banksy. Called "Dismaland," the park, erected on the site of a derelict lido, was actually a curated exhibition of works by dozens of artists, all of which expressed critical views of mainstream culture and politics. In this episode, we introduce you to Dismaland through a discussion of street art and Banksy's oeuvre; look closely at a few works on display; consider the ways in which Dismaland intersects with three major trends in contemporary art; and talk about the fate of Dismaland as recycled materials for a notorious refugee camp near Calais, France. 

Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal
46:48
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 46:48
Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal

Continuing with our recent theme of New York City architectural and cultural gems, today's episode delves into one of the most vital elements of the city's infrastructure: its transportation system. Listen as we discuss the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Transit Museum (located in a decommissioned subway station), and the crown jewel of the train system, Grand Central Terminal.

Turner's Seascapes
39:13
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 39:13
Turner's Seascapes

Joseph Mallord William Turner has been the subject of a number of projects recently, from the 2014 biopic Mr. Turner to the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free (currently on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco). For today's episode, we discuss Turner's depictions of the sea, a subject he represented throughout his career and which helps us understand the complexity of his art and ideas: the picturesque, sublime, engraving, etching, Immanuel Kant, Goethe’s color theory, Isaac Newton—we’ve got it all in here!

NYC's Buried Treasures
40:25
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 40:25
NYC's Buried Treasures

It's that time of year (well, one of those times of year) when tourists flood our city of New York. If you're planning a visit, check out today's episode, in which we discuss some of our favorite less-traveled haunts!

Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
34:05
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 34:05
Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

On March 18, 1990, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 objects from the museum's collection. This incident, which has remained largely unsolved, has drawn attention to the problem of art theft in the contemporary world. In today's episode, we discuss the heist, some of theories regarding who was involved, and the issue of art theft more broadly.

The Seasons
39:09
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 39:09
The Seasons

Spring has finally sprung in New York City, so we decided to spend an episode discussing how artists have represented the seasons , using four very different examples: the medieval cathedral at Amiens, 16th-century Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel's The Harvesters, François Boucher's series Rococo tour de force called The Four Seasons, and Wassily Kandinsky's abstract quartet of paintings on the same subject.

Four Updates
28:16
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 28:16
Four Updates

When we started Art History Today and its podcast, State of the Arts, we wanted to show how art and its history make and inform the news. Because many of our topics are stories that have continued to develop, we're using today's episode to review updates to four of our previous episodes. FYI, we're also continuing to update our coverage of these stories through posts to our Facebook page, and also, to the original blog posts for each episode.  

Art and Crisis in the Middle East
42:27
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 42:27
Art and Crisis in the Middle East

The rise of organizations like ISIS (or ISIL) has brought attention to the looting and destruction of ancient artifacts in the Middle East. In today's episode, Colette LeRoux and Gina Konstantopoulos join us to discuss the history of looting and iconoclasm in the Middle East, and how contemporary events and civil strife are impacting research in their fields.

Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire
34:02
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 34:02
Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire

In today's episode we discuss the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, whose offices in Paris were attacked on January  7th, 2015. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy, having produced cartoons that have invited criticism and even violent action for decades. In its images, we can see the continuation of a long tradition of French satire, the characteristics of which we focus on in the episode.

Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)
47:44
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 47:44
Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)

On November 12, 2014, the auction house Christie's hosted its annual fall auction of major works of postwar and contemporary art in New York. With sales totaling $852.9 million, the auction now stands as the highest-grossing auction in history, and has led some to speculate that the billion-dollar auction is imminent. In this episode, Natasha Degen, an expert on the art market, joins us in discussing how the art market works, as well as its history and future, and its relationship to larger social and economic trends.

Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light
32:58
2017-09-21 13:57:56 UTC 32:58
Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light

In today's episode, we discuss one of the most popular and controversial artists of the last century, Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012). Kinkade's works often depict a pristine, idyllic, timeless past that continues to resonate with viewers. Many in the art world, however, have consistently criticized Kindade for glossing over the more problematic aspects of our collective past, as well as for his business and studio practices. 

Construction Controversies
37:57
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 37:57
Construction Controversies

In this episode, we look at the ongoing debate over the proposed expansion plans of two beloved NYC museums: MoMA and the Frick.  - See more at: http://www.arthistory.today/#sthash.200u0nvd.dpuf

Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things
21
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 21
Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things

Happy Halloween! In today's episode we discuss Romanticism, a period that produced some of our favorite creepy images in the history of art. Romantic artists like Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Théodore Géricault explored themes of death, despair, the sublime, and madness––perfect for your Halloween enjoyment!

Jeff Koons
21
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 21
Jeff Koons

The biggest show of the year in New York (and maybe America, or the world) closed this weekend: the retrospective of Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While Koons is a controversial figure who has achieved more commercial than critical success, the consensus about this show seems to be that the works, in the end, are indeed masterpieces. In this episode, we put aside the hype and look very closely at three sculptures spanning the artist's career, in order to see if there is more than meets the eye.

Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism
21
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 21
Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism

In August, The Art Newspaper reported that Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University, had pinpointed the exact moment that Monet painted his work Impression: Sunrise to 13 November 1872. The report described this moment as the "birth of Impressionism." In today's episode, we discuss the painting and unravel some of the problems of this claim.

Ai Weiwei
21
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 21
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who has been named the most influential artist alive. A retrospective of his work has been touring the U.S., and his name is constantly in the news (whether for his art, his run-ins with Chinese authorities, or his internet memes). While his activism has earned him international acclaim, it tends to overshadow his art; in this episode, we focus on looking closely at three of his major works, in order to understand the importance of his choices as an artist (and not only as an activist).

The Parthenon Marbles
21
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 21
The Parthenon Marbles

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Parthenon (a temple atop the Acropolis in Athens that was constructed in the 5th century BCE) had fallen into a state of ruin. From 1800 until 1812, Lord Elgin, who had been England's Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed approximately half of the Parthenon's remaining marble sculptures, eventually selling them to the British Museum where they are currently housed. In today's episode, we discuss the history of the marbles, and the various arguments for keeping them in England and for returning them to Greece.

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"
37:15
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 37:15
Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"

In today's episode, we discuss New York's summer blockbuster exhibition, Kara Walker's A Subtlety. Walker is a prominent but controversial artist who makes art that comments on social problems related to race and gender; this work was the result of an invitation to make a work inside the defunct and soon-to-be-demolished Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and drew tens of thousands of people in two months.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
21
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 21
The Detroit Institute of Arts

In today's episode, we discuss the current situation with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in July 2013, there have been numerous discussions of selling off the DIA's collections in order to pay down the city's debt.

Teaser Episode!
21
2017-09-21 13:57:57 UTC 21
Teaser Episode!

As we prepare our first episodes, please enjoy this teaser!

Fascist Aesthetics
46:21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 46:21
Fascist Aesthetics

In recent months, the term "fascism" has appeared frequently in the media. Many pundits have argued that the political tactics and rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echo those of fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, a smaller number of pundits have made the same claim about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which expressed the fascism of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. In this episode, we discuss the rise of modern fascism; outline the major characteristics of fascist aesthetics; and look at a few examples of fascist aesthetics in practice, from the 1930s to the present day.

Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen
46:42
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 46:42
Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen

​​In 2011, shock waves erupted in the art world when the long-established New York gallery Knoedler & Company announced it was closing. Knoedler had been in major dealer in modern art, handling works by mid-century American masters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The closure of the gallery coincided with persisting rumors that a number of works the gallery had sold were highly convincing forgeries. In the past few years, details have emerged that link the gallery to a dubious dealer and Chinese immigrant who painted works resembling those of well known artists in his apartment in Queens. In today's episode, we discuss the Knoedler case, as well as the notions of "originality," "authenticity," "copying," and "forgery." As we will see, these complex ideas become more complex--and even contradictory--when translated between the cultural contexts of the US and China, where copying now operates on an industrial scale in the notorious Dafen Oil Painting Village.

Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie
44:30
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 44:30
Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie

In this special Memorial Day Weekend episode, we interview Harriet F. Senie, Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies Program at City College of New York, and co-founder of the organization Public Art Dialogue. Our topic is her recent book Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Using the case studies of the Vietnam Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which open and close the book, we discuss how the function of public memorials has evolved over the past few decades: whereas memorials formerly helped the public to make sense of history, now, they're more likely to prompt private experiences of grief. We'll learn how and why this transition was made, and consider its negative impact on our ability to properly "memorialize" the tragedies of our time.

Japanese Erotica
47:40
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 47:40
Japanese Erotica

In today's Valentine's Day-inspired episode, we delve into the history of Japanese erotica, with the help of our friend, Maggie Mustard. Maggie is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Columbia University specializing in Japanese art, and is also the inaugural Teaching Fellow at the New Museum in New York City.(Please note that the images we discuss are of an overtly sexual nature, therefore this episode could fall into the realm of NSFW!)

Conservation and Restoration
53:30
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 53:30
Conservation and Restoration

Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.

KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)
46:41
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 46:41
KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)

It's our 20th episode, so we decided to talk about two things that are near and dear to us: cats and art. Listen as we discuss four works of art that feature cats as well recent exhibitions of cat imagery, and ultimately try to answer the question: what can cats tell us about art?

Dismaland: Art as Politics
39:31
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 39:31
Dismaland: Art as Politics

This past August-September, a seaside town in England hosted a very different kind of holiday attraction: a dystopian theme park by the anonymous street-artist-turned-legit-artist Banksy. Called "Dismaland," the park, erected on the site of a derelict lido, was actually a curated exhibition of works by dozens of artists, all of which expressed critical views of mainstream culture and politics. In this episode, we introduce you to Dismaland through a discussion of street art and Banksy's oeuvre; look closely at a few works on display; consider the ways in which Dismaland intersects with three major trends in contemporary art; and talk about the fate of Dismaland as recycled materials for a notorious refugee camp near Calais, France. 

Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal
46:48
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 46:48
Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal

Continuing with our recent theme of New York City architectural and cultural gems, today's episode delves into one of the most vital elements of the city's infrastructure: its transportation system. Listen as we discuss the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Transit Museum (located in a decommissioned subway station), and the crown jewel of the train system, Grand Central Terminal.

Turner's Seascapes
39:13
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 39:13
Turner's Seascapes

Joseph Mallord William Turner has been the subject of a number of projects recently, from the 2014 biopic Mr. Turner to the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free (currently on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco). For today's episode, we discuss Turner's depictions of the sea, a subject he represented throughout his career and which helps us understand the complexity of his art and ideas: the picturesque, sublime, engraving, etching, Immanuel Kant, Goethe’s color theory, Isaac Newton—we’ve got it all in here!

NYC's Buried Treasures
40:25
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 40:25
NYC's Buried Treasures

It's that time of year (well, one of those times of year) when tourists flood our city of New York. If you're planning a visit, check out today's episode, in which we discuss some of our favorite less-traveled haunts!

Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
34:05
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 34:05
Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

On March 18, 1990, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 objects from the museum's collection. This incident, which has remained largely unsolved, has drawn attention to the problem of art theft in the contemporary world. In today's episode, we discuss the heist, some of theories regarding who was involved, and the issue of art theft more broadly.

The Seasons
39:09
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 39:09
The Seasons

Spring has finally sprung in New York City, so we decided to spend an episode discussing how artists have represented the seasons , using four very different examples: the medieval cathedral at Amiens, 16th-century Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel's The Harvesters, François Boucher's series Rococo tour de force called The Four Seasons, and Wassily Kandinsky's abstract quartet of paintings on the same subject.

Four Updates
28:16
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 28:16
Four Updates

When we started Art History Today and its podcast, State of the Arts, we wanted to show how art and its history make and inform the news. Because many of our topics are stories that have continued to develop, we're using today's episode to review updates to four of our previous episodes. FYI, we're also continuing to update our coverage of these stories through posts to our Facebook page, and also, to the original blog posts for each episode.  

Art and Crisis in the Middle East
42:27
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 42:27
Art and Crisis in the Middle East

The rise of organizations like ISIS (or ISIL) has brought attention to the looting and destruction of ancient artifacts in the Middle East. In today's episode, Colette LeRoux and Gina Konstantopoulos join us to discuss the history of looting and iconoclasm in the Middle East, and how contemporary events and civil strife are impacting research in their fields.

Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire
34:02
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 34:02
Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire

In today's episode we discuss the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, whose offices in Paris were attacked on January  7th, 2015. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy, having produced cartoons that have invited criticism and even violent action for decades. In its images, we can see the continuation of a long tradition of French satire, the characteristics of which we focus on in the episode.

Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)
47:44
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 47:44
Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)

On November 12, 2014, the auction house Christie's hosted its annual fall auction of major works of postwar and contemporary art in New York. With sales totaling $852.9 million, the auction now stands as the highest-grossing auction in history, and has led some to speculate that the billion-dollar auction is imminent. In this episode, Natasha Degen, an expert on the art market, joins us in discussing how the art market works, as well as its history and future, and its relationship to larger social and economic trends.

Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light
32:58
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 32:58
Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light

In today's episode, we discuss one of the most popular and controversial artists of the last century, Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012). Kinkade's works often depict a pristine, idyllic, timeless past that continues to resonate with viewers. Many in the art world, however, have consistently criticized Kindade for glossing over the more problematic aspects of our collective past, as well as for his business and studio practices. 

Construction Controversies
37:57
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 37:57
Construction Controversies

In this episode, we look at the ongoing debate over the proposed expansion plans of two beloved NYC museums: MoMA and the Frick.  - See more at: http://www.arthistory.today/#sthash.200u0nvd.dpuf

Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things
21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 21
Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things

Happy Halloween! In today's episode we discuss Romanticism, a period that produced some of our favorite creepy images in the history of art. Romantic artists like Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Théodore Géricault explored themes of death, despair, the sublime, and madness––perfect for your Halloween enjoyment!

Jeff Koons
21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 21
Jeff Koons

The biggest show of the year in New York (and maybe America, or the world) closed this weekend: the retrospective of Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While Koons is a controversial figure who has achieved more commercial than critical success, the consensus about this show seems to be that the works, in the end, are indeed masterpieces. In this episode, we put aside the hype and look very closely at three sculptures spanning the artist's career, in order to see if there is more than meets the eye.

Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism
21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 21
Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism

In August, The Art Newspaper reported that Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University, had pinpointed the exact moment that Monet painted his work Impression: Sunrise to 13 November 1872. The report described this moment as the "birth of Impressionism." In today's episode, we discuss the painting and unravel some of the problems of this claim.

Ai Weiwei
21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 21
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who has been named the most influential artist alive. A retrospective of his work has been touring the U.S., and his name is constantly in the news (whether for his art, his run-ins with Chinese authorities, or his internet memes). While his activism has earned him international acclaim, it tends to overshadow his art; in this episode, we focus on looking closely at three of his major works, in order to understand the importance of his choices as an artist (and not only as an activist).

The Parthenon Marbles
21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 21
The Parthenon Marbles

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Parthenon (a temple atop the Acropolis in Athens that was constructed in the 5th century BCE) had fallen into a state of ruin. From 1800 until 1812, Lord Elgin, who had been England's Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed approximately half of the Parthenon's remaining marble sculptures, eventually selling them to the British Museum where they are currently housed. In today's episode, we discuss the history of the marbles, and the various arguments for keeping them in England and for returning them to Greece.

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"
37:15
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 37:15
Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"

In today's episode, we discuss New York's summer blockbuster exhibition, Kara Walker's A Subtlety. Walker is a prominent but controversial artist who makes art that comments on social problems related to race and gender; this work was the result of an invitation to make a work inside the defunct and soon-to-be-demolished Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and drew tens of thousands of people in two months.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 21
The Detroit Institute of Arts

In today's episode, we discuss the current situation with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in July 2013, there have been numerous discussions of selling off the DIA's collections in order to pay down the city's debt.

Teaser Episode!
21
2017-09-22 07:10:47 UTC 21
Teaser Episode!

As we prepare our first episodes, please enjoy this teaser!

Fascist Aesthetics
46:21
2017-09-22 13:53:44 UTC 46:21
Fascist Aesthetics

In recent months, the term "fascism" has appeared frequently in the media. Many pundits have argued that the political tactics and rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echo those of fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, a smaller number of pundits have made the same claim about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which expressed the fascism of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. In this episode, we discuss the rise of modern fascism; outline the major characteristics of fascist aesthetics; and look at a few examples of fascist aesthetics in practice, from the 1930s to the present day.

Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen
46:42
2017-09-22 13:53:44 UTC 46:42
Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen

​​In 2011, shock waves erupted in the art world when the long-established New York gallery Knoedler & Company announced it was closing. Knoedler had been in major dealer in modern art, handling works by mid-century American masters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The closure of the gallery coincided with persisting rumors that a number of works the gallery had sold were highly convincing forgeries. In the past few years, details have emerged that link the gallery to a dubious dealer and Chinese immigrant who painted works resembling those of well known artists in his apartment in Queens. In today's episode, we discuss the Knoedler case, as well as the notions of "originality," "authenticity," "copying," and "forgery." As we will see, these complex ideas become more complex--and even contradictory--when translated between the cultural contexts of the US and China, where copying now operates on an industrial scale in the notorious Dafen Oil Painting Village.

Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie
44:30
2017-09-22 13:53:44 UTC 44:30
Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie

In this special Memorial Day Weekend episode, we interview Harriet F. Senie, Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies Program at City College of New York, and co-founder of the organization Public Art Dialogue. Our topic is her recent book Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Using the case studies of the Vietnam Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which open and close the book, we discuss how the function of public memorials has evolved over the past few decades: whereas memorials formerly helped the public to make sense of history, now, they're more likely to prompt private experiences of grief. We'll learn how and why this transition was made, and consider its negative impact on our ability to properly "memorialize" the tragedies of our time.

Japanese Erotica
47:40
2017-09-22 13:53:44 UTC 47:40
Japanese Erotica

In today's Valentine's Day-inspired episode, we delve into the history of Japanese erotica, with the help of our friend, Maggie Mustard. Maggie is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Columbia University specializing in Japanese art, and is also the inaugural Teaching Fellow at the New Museum in New York City.(Please note that the images we discuss are of an overtly sexual nature, therefore this episode could fall into the realm of NSFW!)

Conservation and Restoration
53:30
2017-09-22 13:53:44 UTC 53:30
Conservation and Restoration

Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.

KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)
46:41
2017-09-22 13:53:44 UTC 46:41
KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)

It's our 20th episode, so we decided to talk about two things that are near and dear to us: cats and art. Listen as we discuss four works of art that feature cats as well recent exhibitions of cat imagery, and ultimately try to answer the question: what can cats tell us about art?

Dismaland: Art as Politics
39:31
2017-09-22 13:53:44 UTC 39:31
Dismaland: Art as Politics

This past August-September, a seaside town in England hosted a very different kind of holiday attraction: a dystopian theme park by the anonymous street-artist-turned-legit-artist Banksy. Called "Dismaland," the park, erected on the site of a derelict lido, was actually a curated exhibition of works by dozens of artists, all of which expressed critical views of mainstream culture and politics. In this episode, we introduce you to Dismaland through a discussion of street art and Banksy's oeuvre; look closely at a few works on display; consider the ways in which Dismaland intersects with three major trends in contemporary art; and talk about the fate of Dismaland as recycled materials for a notorious refugee camp near Calais, France. 

Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal
46:48
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 46:48
Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal

Continuing with our recent theme of New York City architectural and cultural gems, today's episode delves into one of the most vital elements of the city's infrastructure: its transportation system. Listen as we discuss the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Transit Museum (located in a decommissioned subway station), and the crown jewel of the train system, Grand Central Terminal.

Turner's Seascapes
39:13
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 39:13
Turner's Seascapes

Joseph Mallord William Turner has been the subject of a number of projects recently, from the 2014 biopic Mr. Turner to the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free (currently on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco). For today's episode, we discuss Turner's depictions of the sea, a subject he represented throughout his career and which helps us understand the complexity of his art and ideas: the picturesque, sublime, engraving, etching, Immanuel Kant, Goethe’s color theory, Isaac Newton—we’ve got it all in here!

NYC's Buried Treasures
40:25
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 40:25
NYC's Buried Treasures

It's that time of year (well, one of those times of year) when tourists flood our city of New York. If you're planning a visit, check out today's episode, in which we discuss some of our favorite less-traveled haunts!

Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
34:05
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 34:05
Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

On March 18, 1990, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 objects from the museum's collection. This incident, which has remained largely unsolved, has drawn attention to the problem of art theft in the contemporary world. In today's episode, we discuss the heist, some of theories regarding who was involved, and the issue of art theft more broadly.

The Seasons
39:09
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 39:09
The Seasons

Spring has finally sprung in New York City, so we decided to spend an episode discussing how artists have represented the seasons , using four very different examples: the medieval cathedral at Amiens, 16th-century Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel's The Harvesters, François Boucher's series Rococo tour de force called The Four Seasons, and Wassily Kandinsky's abstract quartet of paintings on the same subject.

Four Updates
28:16
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 28:16
Four Updates

When we started Art History Today and its podcast, State of the Arts, we wanted to show how art and its history make and inform the news. Because many of our topics are stories that have continued to develop, we're using today's episode to review updates to four of our previous episodes. FYI, we're also continuing to update our coverage of these stories through posts to our Facebook page, and also, to the original blog posts for each episode.  

Art and Crisis in the Middle East
42:27
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 42:27
Art and Crisis in the Middle East

The rise of organizations like ISIS (or ISIL) has brought attention to the looting and destruction of ancient artifacts in the Middle East. In today's episode, Colette LeRoux and Gina Konstantopoulos join us to discuss the history of looting and iconoclasm in the Middle East, and how contemporary events and civil strife are impacting research in their fields.

Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire
34:02
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 34:02
Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire

In today's episode we discuss the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, whose offices in Paris were attacked on January  7th, 2015. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy, having produced cartoons that have invited criticism and even violent action for decades. In its images, we can see the continuation of a long tradition of French satire, the characteristics of which we focus on in the episode.

Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)
47:44
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 47:44
Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)

On November 12, 2014, the auction house Christie's hosted its annual fall auction of major works of postwar and contemporary art in New York. With sales totaling $852.9 million, the auction now stands as the highest-grossing auction in history, and has led some to speculate that the billion-dollar auction is imminent. In this episode, Natasha Degen, an expert on the art market, joins us in discussing how the art market works, as well as its history and future, and its relationship to larger social and economic trends.

Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light
32:58
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 32:58
Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light

In today's episode, we discuss one of the most popular and controversial artists of the last century, Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012). Kinkade's works often depict a pristine, idyllic, timeless past that continues to resonate with viewers. Many in the art world, however, have consistently criticized Kindade for glossing over the more problematic aspects of our collective past, as well as for his business and studio practices. 

Construction Controversies
37:57
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 37:57
Construction Controversies

In this episode, we look at the ongoing debate over the proposed expansion plans of two beloved NYC museums: MoMA and the Frick.  - See more at: http://www.arthistory.today/#sthash.200u0nvd.dpuf

Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things
21
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 21
Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things

Happy Halloween! In today's episode we discuss Romanticism, a period that produced some of our favorite creepy images in the history of art. Romantic artists like Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Théodore Géricault explored themes of death, despair, the sublime, and madness––perfect for your Halloween enjoyment!

Jeff Koons
21
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 21
Jeff Koons

The biggest show of the year in New York (and maybe America, or the world) closed this weekend: the retrospective of Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While Koons is a controversial figure who has achieved more commercial than critical success, the consensus about this show seems to be that the works, in the end, are indeed masterpieces. In this episode, we put aside the hype and look very closely at three sculptures spanning the artist's career, in order to see if there is more than meets the eye.

Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism
21
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 21
Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism

In August, The Art Newspaper reported that Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University, had pinpointed the exact moment that Monet painted his work Impression: Sunrise to 13 November 1872. The report described this moment as the "birth of Impressionism." In today's episode, we discuss the painting and unravel some of the problems of this claim.

Ai Weiwei
21
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 21
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who has been named the most influential artist alive. A retrospective of his work has been touring the U.S., and his name is constantly in the news (whether for his art, his run-ins with Chinese authorities, or his internet memes). While his activism has earned him international acclaim, it tends to overshadow his art; in this episode, we focus on looking closely at three of his major works, in order to understand the importance of his choices as an artist (and not only as an activist).

The Parthenon Marbles
21
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 21
The Parthenon Marbles

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Parthenon (a temple atop the Acropolis in Athens that was constructed in the 5th century BCE) had fallen into a state of ruin. From 1800 until 1812, Lord Elgin, who had been England's Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed approximately half of the Parthenon's remaining marble sculptures, eventually selling them to the British Museum where they are currently housed. In today's episode, we discuss the history of the marbles, and the various arguments for keeping them in England and for returning them to Greece.

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"
37:15
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 37:15
Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"

In today's episode, we discuss New York's summer blockbuster exhibition, Kara Walker's A Subtlety. Walker is a prominent but controversial artist who makes art that comments on social problems related to race and gender; this work was the result of an invitation to make a work inside the defunct and soon-to-be-demolished Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and drew tens of thousands of people in two months.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
21
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 21
The Detroit Institute of Arts

In today's episode, we discuss the current situation with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in July 2013, there have been numerous discussions of selling off the DIA's collections in order to pay down the city's debt.

Teaser Episode!
21
2017-09-22 13:53:45 UTC 21
Teaser Episode!

As we prepare our first episodes, please enjoy this teaser!

Fascist Aesthetics
46:21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 46:21
Fascist Aesthetics

In recent months, the term "fascism" has appeared frequently in the media. Many pundits have argued that the political tactics and rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echo those of fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, a smaller number of pundits have made the same claim about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which expressed the fascism of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. In this episode, we discuss the rise of modern fascism; outline the major characteristics of fascist aesthetics; and look at a few examples of fascist aesthetics in practice, from the 1930s to the present day.

Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen
46:42
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 46:42
Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen

​​In 2011, shock waves erupted in the art world when the long-established New York gallery Knoedler & Company announced it was closing. Knoedler had been in major dealer in modern art, handling works by mid-century American masters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The closure of the gallery coincided with persisting rumors that a number of works the gallery had sold were highly convincing forgeries. In the past few years, details have emerged that link the gallery to a dubious dealer and Chinese immigrant who painted works resembling those of well known artists in his apartment in Queens. In today's episode, we discuss the Knoedler case, as well as the notions of "originality," "authenticity," "copying," and "forgery." As we will see, these complex ideas become more complex--and even contradictory--when translated between the cultural contexts of the US and China, where copying now operates on an industrial scale in the notorious Dafen Oil Painting Village.

Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie
44:30
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 44:30
Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie

In this special Memorial Day Weekend episode, we interview Harriet F. Senie, Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies Program at City College of New York, and co-founder of the organization Public Art Dialogue. Our topic is her recent book Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Using the case studies of the Vietnam Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which open and close the book, we discuss how the function of public memorials has evolved over the past few decades: whereas memorials formerly helped the public to make sense of history, now, they're more likely to prompt private experiences of grief. We'll learn how and why this transition was made, and consider its negative impact on our ability to properly "memorialize" the tragedies of our time.

Japanese Erotica
47:40
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 47:40
Japanese Erotica

In today's Valentine's Day-inspired episode, we delve into the history of Japanese erotica, with the help of our friend, Maggie Mustard. Maggie is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Columbia University specializing in Japanese art, and is also the inaugural Teaching Fellow at the New Museum in New York City.(Please note that the images we discuss are of an overtly sexual nature, therefore this episode could fall into the realm of NSFW!)

Conservation and Restoration
53:30
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 53:30
Conservation and Restoration

Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.

KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)
46:41
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 46:41
KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)

It's our 20th episode, so we decided to talk about two things that are near and dear to us: cats and art. Listen as we discuss four works of art that feature cats as well recent exhibitions of cat imagery, and ultimately try to answer the question: what can cats tell us about art?

Dismaland: Art as Politics
39:31
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 39:31
Dismaland: Art as Politics

This past August-September, a seaside town in England hosted a very different kind of holiday attraction: a dystopian theme park by the anonymous street-artist-turned-legit-artist Banksy. Called "Dismaland," the park, erected on the site of a derelict lido, was actually a curated exhibition of works by dozens of artists, all of which expressed critical views of mainstream culture and politics. In this episode, we introduce you to Dismaland through a discussion of street art and Banksy's oeuvre; look closely at a few works on display; consider the ways in which Dismaland intersects with three major trends in contemporary art; and talk about the fate of Dismaland as recycled materials for a notorious refugee camp near Calais, France. 

Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal
46:48
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 46:48
Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal

Continuing with our recent theme of New York City architectural and cultural gems, today's episode delves into one of the most vital elements of the city's infrastructure: its transportation system. Listen as we discuss the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Transit Museum (located in a decommissioned subway station), and the crown jewel of the train system, Grand Central Terminal.

Turner's Seascapes
39:13
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 39:13
Turner's Seascapes

Joseph Mallord William Turner has been the subject of a number of projects recently, from the 2014 biopic Mr. Turner to the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free (currently on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco). For today's episode, we discuss Turner's depictions of the sea, a subject he represented throughout his career and which helps us understand the complexity of his art and ideas: the picturesque, sublime, engraving, etching, Immanuel Kant, Goethe’s color theory, Isaac Newton—we’ve got it all in here!

NYC's Buried Treasures
40:25
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 40:25
NYC's Buried Treasures

It's that time of year (well, one of those times of year) when tourists flood our city of New York. If you're planning a visit, check out today's episode, in which we discuss some of our favorite less-traveled haunts!

Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
34:05
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 34:05
Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

On March 18, 1990, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 objects from the museum's collection. This incident, which has remained largely unsolved, has drawn attention to the problem of art theft in the contemporary world. In today's episode, we discuss the heist, some of theories regarding who was involved, and the issue of art theft more broadly.

The Seasons
39:09
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 39:09
The Seasons

Spring has finally sprung in New York City, so we decided to spend an episode discussing how artists have represented the seasons , using four very different examples: the medieval cathedral at Amiens, 16th-century Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel's The Harvesters, François Boucher's series Rococo tour de force called The Four Seasons, and Wassily Kandinsky's abstract quartet of paintings on the same subject.

Four Updates
28:16
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 28:16
Four Updates

When we started Art History Today and its podcast, State of the Arts, we wanted to show how art and its history make and inform the news. Because many of our topics are stories that have continued to develop, we're using today's episode to review updates to four of our previous episodes. FYI, we're also continuing to update our coverage of these stories through posts to our Facebook page, and also, to the original blog posts for each episode.  

Art and Crisis in the Middle East
42:27
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 42:27
Art and Crisis in the Middle East

The rise of organizations like ISIS (or ISIL) has brought attention to the looting and destruction of ancient artifacts in the Middle East. In today's episode, Colette LeRoux and Gina Konstantopoulos join us to discuss the history of looting and iconoclasm in the Middle East, and how contemporary events and civil strife are impacting research in their fields.

Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire
34:02
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 34:02
Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire

In today's episode we discuss the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, whose offices in Paris were attacked on January  7th, 2015. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy, having produced cartoons that have invited criticism and even violent action for decades. In its images, we can see the continuation of a long tradition of French satire, the characteristics of which we focus on in the episode.

Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)
47:44
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 47:44
Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)

On November 12, 2014, the auction house Christie's hosted its annual fall auction of major works of postwar and contemporary art in New York. With sales totaling $852.9 million, the auction now stands as the highest-grossing auction in history, and has led some to speculate that the billion-dollar auction is imminent. In this episode, Natasha Degen, an expert on the art market, joins us in discussing how the art market works, as well as its history and future, and its relationship to larger social and economic trends.

Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light
32:58
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 32:58
Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light

In today's episode, we discuss one of the most popular and controversial artists of the last century, Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012). Kinkade's works often depict a pristine, idyllic, timeless past that continues to resonate with viewers. Many in the art world, however, have consistently criticized Kindade for glossing over the more problematic aspects of our collective past, as well as for his business and studio practices. 

Construction Controversies
37:57
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 37:57
Construction Controversies

In this episode, we look at the ongoing debate over the proposed expansion plans of two beloved NYC museums: MoMA and the Frick.  - See more at: http://www.arthistory.today/#sthash.200u0nvd.dpuf

Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things
21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 21
Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things

Happy Halloween! In today's episode we discuss Romanticism, a period that produced some of our favorite creepy images in the history of art. Romantic artists like Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Théodore Géricault explored themes of death, despair, the sublime, and madness––perfect for your Halloween enjoyment!

Jeff Koons
21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 21
Jeff Koons

The biggest show of the year in New York (and maybe America, or the world) closed this weekend: the retrospective of Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While Koons is a controversial figure who has achieved more commercial than critical success, the consensus about this show seems to be that the works, in the end, are indeed masterpieces. In this episode, we put aside the hype and look very closely at three sculptures spanning the artist's career, in order to see if there is more than meets the eye.

Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism
21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 21
Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism

In August, The Art Newspaper reported that Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University, had pinpointed the exact moment that Monet painted his work Impression: Sunrise to 13 November 1872. The report described this moment as the "birth of Impressionism." In today's episode, we discuss the painting and unravel some of the problems of this claim.

Ai Weiwei
21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 21
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who has been named the most influential artist alive. A retrospective of his work has been touring the U.S., and his name is constantly in the news (whether for his art, his run-ins with Chinese authorities, or his internet memes). While his activism has earned him international acclaim, it tends to overshadow his art; in this episode, we focus on looking closely at three of his major works, in order to understand the importance of his choices as an artist (and not only as an activist).

The Parthenon Marbles
21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 21
The Parthenon Marbles

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Parthenon (a temple atop the Acropolis in Athens that was constructed in the 5th century BCE) had fallen into a state of ruin. From 1800 until 1812, Lord Elgin, who had been England's Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed approximately half of the Parthenon's remaining marble sculptures, eventually selling them to the British Museum where they are currently housed. In today's episode, we discuss the history of the marbles, and the various arguments for keeping them in England and for returning them to Greece.

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"
37:15
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 37:15
Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"

In today's episode, we discuss New York's summer blockbuster exhibition, Kara Walker's A Subtlety. Walker is a prominent but controversial artist who makes art that comments on social problems related to race and gender; this work was the result of an invitation to make a work inside the defunct and soon-to-be-demolished Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and drew tens of thousands of people in two months.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 21
The Detroit Institute of Arts

In today's episode, we discuss the current situation with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in July 2013, there have been numerous discussions of selling off the DIA's collections in order to pay down the city's debt.

Teaser Episode!
21
2017-09-22 23:48:51 UTC 21
Teaser Episode!

As we prepare our first episodes, please enjoy this teaser!

Fascist Aesthetics
46:21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 46:21
Fascist Aesthetics

In recent months, the term "fascism" has appeared frequently in the media. Many pundits have argued that the political tactics and rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echo those of fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, a smaller number of pundits have made the same claim about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which expressed the fascism of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. In this episode, we discuss the rise of modern fascism; outline the major characteristics of fascist aesthetics; and look at a few examples of fascist aesthetics in practice, from the 1930s to the present day.

Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen
46:42
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 46:42
Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen

​​In 2011, shock waves erupted in the art world when the long-established New York gallery Knoedler & Company announced it was closing. Knoedler had been in major dealer in modern art, handling works by mid-century American masters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The closure of the gallery coincided with persisting rumors that a number of works the gallery had sold were highly convincing forgeries. In the past few years, details have emerged that link the gallery to a dubious dealer and Chinese immigrant who painted works resembling those of well known artists in his apartment in Queens. In today's episode, we discuss the Knoedler case, as well as the notions of "originality," "authenticity," "copying," and "forgery." As we will see, these complex ideas become more complex--and even contradictory--when translated between the cultural contexts of the US and China, where copying now operates on an industrial scale in the notorious Dafen Oil Painting Village.

Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie
44:30
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 44:30
Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie

In this special Memorial Day Weekend episode, we interview Harriet F. Senie, Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies Program at City College of New York, and co-founder of the organization Public Art Dialogue. Our topic is her recent book Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Using the case studies of the Vietnam Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which open and close the book, we discuss how the function of public memorials has evolved over the past few decades: whereas memorials formerly helped the public to make sense of history, now, they're more likely to prompt private experiences of grief. We'll learn how and why this transition was made, and consider its negative impact on our ability to properly "memorialize" the tragedies of our time.

Japanese Erotica
47:40
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 47:40
Japanese Erotica

In today's Valentine's Day-inspired episode, we delve into the history of Japanese erotica, with the help of our friend, Maggie Mustard. Maggie is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Columbia University specializing in Japanese art, and is also the inaugural Teaching Fellow at the New Museum in New York City.(Please note that the images we discuss are of an overtly sexual nature, therefore this episode could fall into the realm of NSFW!)

Conservation and Restoration
53:30
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 53:30
Conservation and Restoration

Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.

KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)
46:41
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 46:41
KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)

It's our 20th episode, so we decided to talk about two things that are near and dear to us: cats and art. Listen as we discuss four works of art that feature cats as well recent exhibitions of cat imagery, and ultimately try to answer the question: what can cats tell us about art?

Dismaland: Art as Politics
39:31
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 39:31
Dismaland: Art as Politics

This past August-September, a seaside town in England hosted a very different kind of holiday attraction: a dystopian theme park by the anonymous street-artist-turned-legit-artist Banksy. Called "Dismaland," the park, erected on the site of a derelict lido, was actually a curated exhibition of works by dozens of artists, all of which expressed critical views of mainstream culture and politics. In this episode, we introduce you to Dismaland through a discussion of street art and Banksy's oeuvre; look closely at a few works on display; consider the ways in which Dismaland intersects with three major trends in contemporary art; and talk about the fate of Dismaland as recycled materials for a notorious refugee camp near Calais, France. 

Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal
46:48
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 46:48
Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal

Continuing with our recent theme of New York City architectural and cultural gems, today's episode delves into one of the most vital elements of the city's infrastructure: its transportation system. Listen as we discuss the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Transit Museum (located in a decommissioned subway station), and the crown jewel of the train system, Grand Central Terminal.

Turner's Seascapes
39:13
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 39:13
Turner's Seascapes

Joseph Mallord William Turner has been the subject of a number of projects recently, from the 2014 biopic Mr. Turner to the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free (currently on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco). For today's episode, we discuss Turner's depictions of the sea, a subject he represented throughout his career and which helps us understand the complexity of his art and ideas: the picturesque, sublime, engraving, etching, Immanuel Kant, Goethe’s color theory, Isaac Newton—we’ve got it all in here!

NYC's Buried Treasures
40:25
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 40:25
NYC's Buried Treasures

It's that time of year (well, one of those times of year) when tourists flood our city of New York. If you're planning a visit, check out today's episode, in which we discuss some of our favorite less-traveled haunts!

Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
34:05
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 34:05
Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

On March 18, 1990, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 objects from the museum's collection. This incident, which has remained largely unsolved, has drawn attention to the problem of art theft in the contemporary world. In today's episode, we discuss the heist, some of theories regarding who was involved, and the issue of art theft more broadly.

The Seasons
39:09
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 39:09
The Seasons

Spring has finally sprung in New York City, so we decided to spend an episode discussing how artists have represented the seasons , using four very different examples: the medieval cathedral at Amiens, 16th-century Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel's The Harvesters, François Boucher's series Rococo tour de force called The Four Seasons, and Wassily Kandinsky's abstract quartet of paintings on the same subject.

Four Updates
28:16
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 28:16
Four Updates

When we started Art History Today and its podcast, State of the Arts, we wanted to show how art and its history make and inform the news. Because many of our topics are stories that have continued to develop, we're using today's episode to review updates to four of our previous episodes. FYI, we're also continuing to update our coverage of these stories through posts to our Facebook page, and also, to the original blog posts for each episode.  

Art and Crisis in the Middle East
42:27
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 42:27
Art and Crisis in the Middle East

The rise of organizations like ISIS (or ISIL) has brought attention to the looting and destruction of ancient artifacts in the Middle East. In today's episode, Colette LeRoux and Gina Konstantopoulos join us to discuss the history of looting and iconoclasm in the Middle East, and how contemporary events and civil strife are impacting research in their fields.

Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire
34:02
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 34:02
Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire

In today's episode we discuss the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, whose offices in Paris were attacked on January  7th, 2015. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy, having produced cartoons that have invited criticism and even violent action for decades. In its images, we can see the continuation of a long tradition of French satire, the characteristics of which we focus on in the episode.

Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)
47:44
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 47:44
Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)

On November 12, 2014, the auction house Christie's hosted its annual fall auction of major works of postwar and contemporary art in New York. With sales totaling $852.9 million, the auction now stands as the highest-grossing auction in history, and has led some to speculate that the billion-dollar auction is imminent. In this episode, Natasha Degen, an expert on the art market, joins us in discussing how the art market works, as well as its history and future, and its relationship to larger social and economic trends.

Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light
32:58
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 32:58
Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light

In today's episode, we discuss one of the most popular and controversial artists of the last century, Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012). Kinkade's works often depict a pristine, idyllic, timeless past that continues to resonate with viewers. Many in the art world, however, have consistently criticized Kindade for glossing over the more problematic aspects of our collective past, as well as for his business and studio practices. 

Construction Controversies
37:57
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 37:57
Construction Controversies

In this episode, we look at the ongoing debate over the proposed expansion plans of two beloved NYC museums: MoMA and the Frick.  - See more at: http://www.arthistory.today/#sthash.200u0nvd.dpuf

Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things
21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 21
Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things

Happy Halloween! In today's episode we discuss Romanticism, a period that produced some of our favorite creepy images in the history of art. Romantic artists like Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Théodore Géricault explored themes of death, despair, the sublime, and madness––perfect for your Halloween enjoyment!

Jeff Koons
21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 21
Jeff Koons

The biggest show of the year in New York (and maybe America, or the world) closed this weekend: the retrospective of Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While Koons is a controversial figure who has achieved more commercial than critical success, the consensus about this show seems to be that the works, in the end, are indeed masterpieces. In this episode, we put aside the hype and look very closely at three sculptures spanning the artist's career, in order to see if there is more than meets the eye.

Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism
21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 21
Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism

In August, The Art Newspaper reported that Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University, had pinpointed the exact moment that Monet painted his work Impression: Sunrise to 13 November 1872. The report described this moment as the "birth of Impressionism." In today's episode, we discuss the painting and unravel some of the problems of this claim.

Ai Weiwei
21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 21
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who has been named the most influential artist alive. A retrospective of his work has been touring the U.S., and his name is constantly in the news (whether for his art, his run-ins with Chinese authorities, or his internet memes). While his activism has earned him international acclaim, it tends to overshadow his art; in this episode, we focus on looking closely at three of his major works, in order to understand the importance of his choices as an artist (and not only as an activist).

The Parthenon Marbles
21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 21
The Parthenon Marbles

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Parthenon (a temple atop the Acropolis in Athens that was constructed in the 5th century BCE) had fallen into a state of ruin. From 1800 until 1812, Lord Elgin, who had been England's Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed approximately half of the Parthenon's remaining marble sculptures, eventually selling them to the British Museum where they are currently housed. In today's episode, we discuss the history of the marbles, and the various arguments for keeping them in England and for returning them to Greece.

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"
37:15
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 37:15
Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"

In today's episode, we discuss New York's summer blockbuster exhibition, Kara Walker's A Subtlety. Walker is a prominent but controversial artist who makes art that comments on social problems related to race and gender; this work was the result of an invitation to make a work inside the defunct and soon-to-be-demolished Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and drew tens of thousands of people in two months.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 21
The Detroit Institute of Arts

In today's episode, we discuss the current situation with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in July 2013, there have been numerous discussions of selling off the DIA's collections in order to pay down the city's debt.

Teaser Episode!
21
2017-10-05 04:29:48 UTC 21
Teaser Episode!

As we prepare our first episodes, please enjoy this teaser!

Fascist Aesthetics
46:21
2017-10-07 11:17:23 UTC 46:21
Fascist Aesthetics

In recent months, the term "fascism" has appeared frequently in the media. Many pundits have argued that the political tactics and rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echo those of fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, a smaller number of pundits have made the same claim about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the 2016 Olympics in Rio marked the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which expressed the fascism of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. In this episode, we discuss the rise of modern fascism; outline the major characteristics of fascist aesthetics; and look at a few examples of fascist aesthetics in practice, from the 1930s to the present day.

Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen
46:42
2017-10-07 11:17:23 UTC 46:42
Fakes and Copies: The Cases of Knoedler and Dafen

​​In 2011, shock waves erupted in the art world when the long-established New York gallery Knoedler & Company announced it was closing. Knoedler had been in major dealer in modern art, handling works by mid-century American masters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The closure of the gallery coincided with persisting rumors that a number of works the gallery had sold were highly convincing forgeries. In the past few years, details have emerged that link the gallery to a dubious dealer and Chinese immigrant who painted works resembling those of well known artists in his apartment in Queens. In today's episode, we discuss the Knoedler case, as well as the notions of "originality," "authenticity," "copying," and "forgery." As we will see, these complex ideas become more complex--and even contradictory--when translated between the cultural contexts of the US and China, where copying now operates on an industrial scale in the notorious Dafen Oil Painting Village.

Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie
44:30
2017-10-07 11:17:23 UTC 44:30
Memorials to Shattered Myths: An Interview with Harriet F. Senie

In this special Memorial Day Weekend episode, we interview Harriet F. Senie, Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies Program at City College of New York, and co-founder of the organization Public Art Dialogue. Our topic is her recent book Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Using the case studies of the Vietnam Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which open and close the book, we discuss how the function of public memorials has evolved over the past few decades: whereas memorials formerly helped the public to make sense of history, now, they're more likely to prompt private experiences of grief. We'll learn how and why this transition was made, and consider its negative impact on our ability to properly "memorialize" the tragedies of our time.

Japanese Erotica
47:40
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 47:40
Japanese Erotica

In today's Valentine's Day-inspired episode, we delve into the history of Japanese erotica, with the help of our friend, Maggie Mustard. Maggie is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Columbia University specializing in Japanese art, and is also the inaugural Teaching Fellow at the New Museum in New York City.(Please note that the images we discuss are of an overtly sexual nature, therefore this episode could fall into the realm of NSFW!)

Conservation and Restoration
53:30
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 53:30
Conservation and Restoration

Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.

KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)
46:41
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 46:41
KITTEHS! (i.e. Cats and Art)

It's our 20th episode, so we decided to talk about two things that are near and dear to us: cats and art. Listen as we discuss four works of art that feature cats as well recent exhibitions of cat imagery, and ultimately try to answer the question: what can cats tell us about art?

Dismaland: Art as Politics
39:31
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 39:31
Dismaland: Art as Politics

This past August-September, a seaside town in England hosted a very different kind of holiday attraction: a dystopian theme park by the anonymous street-artist-turned-legit-artist Banksy. Called "Dismaland," the park, erected on the site of a derelict lido, was actually a curated exhibition of works by dozens of artists, all of which expressed critical views of mainstream culture and politics. In this episode, we introduce you to Dismaland through a discussion of street art and Banksy's oeuvre; look closely at a few works on display; consider the ways in which Dismaland intersects with three major trends in contemporary art; and talk about the fate of Dismaland as recycled materials for a notorious refugee camp near Calais, France. 

Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal
46:48
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 46:48
Grand Transit: The MTA and Grand Central Terminal

Continuing with our recent theme of New York City architectural and cultural gems, today's episode delves into one of the most vital elements of the city's infrastructure: its transportation system. Listen as we discuss the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Transit Museum (located in a decommissioned subway station), and the crown jewel of the train system, Grand Central Terminal.

Turner's Seascapes
39:13
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 39:13
Turner's Seascapes

Joseph Mallord William Turner has been the subject of a number of projects recently, from the 2014 biopic Mr. Turner to the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free (currently on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco). For today's episode, we discuss Turner's depictions of the sea, a subject he represented throughout his career and which helps us understand the complexity of his art and ideas: the picturesque, sublime, engraving, etching, Immanuel Kant, Goethe’s color theory, Isaac Newton—we’ve got it all in here!

NYC's Buried Treasures
40:25
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 40:25
NYC's Buried Treasures

It's that time of year (well, one of those times of year) when tourists flood our city of New York. If you're planning a visit, check out today's episode, in which we discuss some of our favorite less-traveled haunts!

Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
34:05
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 34:05
Art Theft and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

On March 18, 1990, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 objects from the museum's collection. This incident, which has remained largely unsolved, has drawn attention to the problem of art theft in the contemporary world. In today's episode, we discuss the heist, some of theories regarding who was involved, and the issue of art theft more broadly.

The Seasons
39:09
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 39:09
The Seasons

Spring has finally sprung in New York City, so we decided to spend an episode discussing how artists have represented the seasons , using four very different examples: the medieval cathedral at Amiens, 16th-century Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel's The Harvesters, François Boucher's series Rococo tour de force called The Four Seasons, and Wassily Kandinsky's abstract quartet of paintings on the same subject.

Four Updates
28:16
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 28:16
Four Updates

When we started Art History Today and its podcast, State of the Arts, we wanted to show how art and its history make and inform the news. Because many of our topics are stories that have continued to develop, we're using today's episode to review updates to four of our previous episodes. FYI, we're also continuing to update our coverage of these stories through posts to our Facebook page, and also, to the original blog posts for each episode.  

Art and Crisis in the Middle East
42:27
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 42:27
Art and Crisis in the Middle East

The rise of organizations like ISIS (or ISIL) has brought attention to the looting and destruction of ancient artifacts in the Middle East. In today's episode, Colette LeRoux and Gina Konstantopoulos join us to discuss the history of looting and iconoclasm in the Middle East, and how contemporary events and civil strife are impacting research in their fields.

Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire
34:02
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 34:02
Charlie Hebdo and the Tradition of French Political Satire

In today's episode we discuss the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, whose offices in Paris were attacked on January  7th, 2015. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy, having produced cartoons that have invited criticism and even violent action for decades. In its images, we can see the continuation of a long tradition of French satire, the characteristics of which we focus on in the episode.

Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)
47:44
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 47:44
Art Market Mayhem (with special guest Natasha Degen)

On November 12, 2014, the auction house Christie's hosted its annual fall auction of major works of postwar and contemporary art in New York. With sales totaling $852.9 million, the auction now stands as the highest-grossing auction in history, and has led some to speculate that the billion-dollar auction is imminent. In this episode, Natasha Degen, an expert on the art market, joins us in discussing how the art market works, as well as its history and future, and its relationship to larger social and economic trends.

Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light
32:58
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 32:58
Thomas Kinkade's Industry of Light

In today's episode, we discuss one of the most popular and controversial artists of the last century, Thomas Kinkade (1958–2012). Kinkade's works often depict a pristine, idyllic, timeless past that continues to resonate with viewers. Many in the art world, however, have consistently criticized Kindade for glossing over the more problematic aspects of our collective past, as well as for his business and studio practices. 

Construction Controversies
37:57
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 37:57
Construction Controversies

In this episode, we look at the ongoing debate over the proposed expansion plans of two beloved NYC museums: MoMA and the Frick.  - See more at: http://www.arthistory.today/#sthash.200u0nvd.dpuf

Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things
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2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 21
Halloween Special: Romanticism and the Dark Side of Things

Happy Halloween! In today's episode we discuss Romanticism, a period that produced some of our favorite creepy images in the history of art. Romantic artists like Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Théodore Géricault explored themes of death, despair, the sublime, and madness––perfect for your Halloween enjoyment!

Jeff Koons
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2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 21
Jeff Koons

The biggest show of the year in New York (and maybe America, or the world) closed this weekend: the retrospective of Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While Koons is a controversial figure who has achieved more commercial than critical success, the consensus about this show seems to be that the works, in the end, are indeed masterpieces. In this episode, we put aside the hype and look very closely at three sculptures spanning the artist's career, in order to see if there is more than meets the eye.

Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism
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2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 21
Claude Monet and the "Birth" of Impressionism

In August, The Art Newspaper reported that Donald Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University, had pinpointed the exact moment that Monet painted his work Impression: Sunrise to 13 November 1872. The report described this moment as the "birth of Impressionism." In today's episode, we discuss the painting and unravel some of the problems of this claim.

Ai Weiwei
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2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 21
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who has been named the most influential artist alive. A retrospective of his work has been touring the U.S., and his name is constantly in the news (whether for his art, his run-ins with Chinese authorities, or his internet memes). While his activism has earned him international acclaim, it tends to overshadow his art; in this episode, we focus on looking closely at three of his major works, in order to understand the importance of his choices as an artist (and not only as an activist).

The Parthenon Marbles
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2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 21
The Parthenon Marbles

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Parthenon (a temple atop the Acropolis in Athens that was constructed in the 5th century BCE) had fallen into a state of ruin. From 1800 until 1812, Lord Elgin, who had been England's Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed approximately half of the Parthenon's remaining marble sculptures, eventually selling them to the British Museum where they are currently housed. In today's episode, we discuss the history of the marbles, and the various arguments for keeping them in England and for returning them to Greece.

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"
37:15
2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 37:15
Kara Walker's "A Subtlety"

In today's episode, we discuss New York's summer blockbuster exhibition, Kara Walker's A Subtlety. Walker is a prominent but controversial artist who makes art that comments on social problems related to race and gender; this work was the result of an invitation to make a work inside the defunct and soon-to-be-demolished Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and drew tens of thousands of people in two months.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
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2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 21
The Detroit Institute of Arts

In today's episode, we discuss the current situation with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in July 2013, there have been numerous discussions of selling off the DIA's collections in order to pay down the city's debt.

Teaser Episode!
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2017-10-07 11:17:24 UTC 21
Teaser Episode!

As we prepare our first episodes, please enjoy this teaser!