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These days, it seems like there’s a podcast out there covering just about any topic you can think of. Lucky for you, that means that there are tons of different art-related podcasts for you to listen to. But with so many options, how could you ever choose? If you are interested in art and want to learn more about it, but don’t quite know where to begin, the best entry point is through another topic that interests you. Since anybody can make art or be affected by it in their own unique way, there are a million fascinating angles from which you can approach it. To get you started, we have compiled a list of some of the best podcasts that we recommend for getting into the world of fine art.
1. The Lonely Palette
This absolute gem of a podcast, hosted by “art historian turned finance administrator turned independent radio producer” Tamar Avishai, breaks down the perceived barriers which make some fine art seem so inaccessible. For anybody who’s ever stood before a stunning work in a museum and thought to themselves, “I like it, but I don’t think I get it,” or “how is this art?!”— this one’s for you.
The self-professed goal of The Lonely Palette is “to return art history to the masses one painting at a time.” Each episode begins with a collage made of interviews Avishai conducted with random strangers about what they think of a certain art piece as they stand together in front of it. What does it look like to them? How does it make them feel? What does it mean to them? Hearing so many different interpretations — from personal to critical to amusing — feels reassuring, as the listener is reminded that art is meant to be subjective. Avishai then dives deep into the historical and theoretical context of the work. The listener comes away from each episode hearing multiple ways of interpreting the same piece of art, and is inspired to form their own opinion. On top of all this, she just has the perfect podcaster voice — it’s so soothing!
Where you can listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, NPR One, Radio Public, and Soundcloud.
2. The Great Women Artists Podcast
If you’re interested in how art plays a role in feminism (and vice versa), or learning about iconic and inspiring women artists throughout history in general, look no further than The Great Women Artists Podcast. Hosted by Katy Hessel, otherwise known by her longtime alias @thegreatwomenartists on Instagram, the goal of this podcast is to celebrate women artists, both historical and contemporary.
This podcast is interview-based: in every episode, you can expect to hear either Hessel interviewing a woman artist to discuss her art, artistic process, and inspiration, or hosting one of many fascinating guests to discuss their shared appreciation for a female figure in art, either past or present. It proves a fantastic way to discover art made by some of the world’s most impressive female artists. As women artists have historically been so undervalued, and with so much work still to be done in centering women’s voices, this podcast is truly inspiring.
Where you can listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and their website.
Hosted by Jennifer Dasal, this podcast aims to blow the dust off of art history and breathe new life into the topic for its listeners. According to their website, ArtCurious is “art history for all of us. This isn’t like a college lecture… We’re interested in the juicy stuff.” Whom among us wouldn’t be interested in the spiciest stories of the art world throughout all of history?
ArtCurious makes art history more accessible by shedding light on the backstories and theories surrounding some of art history’s most fascinating questions. Like episode #84: Is the Mona Lisa Really Leonardo In Drag? Well, we hadn’t considered it before, but now we’re dying to know! Dasal answers these unorthodox inquiries by situating the artwork in their cultural and historical contexts, while providing an engaging look into the life of the artists themselves. With its lighthearted yet very well-informed tone, the listener effortlessly comes away from this podcast more well-versed in art history’s most fascinating moments.
Where you can listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and their website.
4. Art Labour
This podcast is perfect for art enthusiasts who also have a penchant for leftist politics. Hosts O.K. Fox, Lucia Love, and Sarah Crowe tackle the art, media, and propaganda of today’s world in the context of social justice. In their own words: “We chronicle the stories of organizing and social justice within the arts. We center the human cost of the 'art world' and advocate for fair labor practices” for everyone forming the backbone of that so-profitable-for-some world.
Far beyond how one might imagine such a podcast — merely discussing art that is intended to serve as social justice texts or trends in sustainable artwork practices — the Art and Labor podcast also offers leftist critiques of all kinds of art floating around in the ephemeral pop cultural and political consciousnesses. From the redesigned M&M characters, to the impending Metaverse, and beyond. The hosts are quick-witted, deliciously ironic, and, shall we say, sharp tongued. Their conversations lead them to engage in truly insightful debate amidst all the bits, leaving the listener with much to think about — and still laughing to themselves.
Where you can listen: RSS feed “into your favorite podcatcher,” also Apple Podcasts and their website.
5. Art Intervention
This podcast, hosted by Canadian Alexandra Hunt, interrogates the ever-overlapping realms of art and politics. If you are fascinated by the socio-cultural backdrops of great artists throughout history, or how contemporary artists use their artistic expression to engage with politics, then you have struck gold with Art Intervention.
Hunt’s skill for dynamic and engaging storytelling brings the listener into the lives of some of art history’s most extraordinary and controversial figures. How can we reconcile the invaluable importance of Picasso’s art with the reality of his consistently predatory and abusive behavior wrapped up in the creation of that very same art? What can the work of Frida Kahlo reveal about art’s potential to have a tangible impact on government decision making? By understanding the political motivations and contexts of the artists discussed on the show, the listener can gain a deeper appreciation for the meaning of these works of art.
Where you can listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Podchaser.com