In a series of interviews, MAYANNE SORET explores the world of art history podcasts. Here, she introduces the series and shares some thoughts on her own introduction to the world of podcasting.
This is one of a series of articles that were commissioned in January 2018 in association with For Art History, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, have not been able to be published until now. We hope you enjoy them!
I listened to my first podcast sometimes in my final year of university. I can’t remember how exactly I came to it. If it came from my three years of university radio, or if I wanted something else than music and unfinished university readings to keep me company during my long commute from East to North London. Or maybe it was just the iPhone update that put the podcast app on my screen that first sparked my curiosity? Whatever it was, from that moment on, podcasts became my everyday life companions. I will listen anywhere, anytime. While I do my make-up in the morning, while I wash the dishes, when I go to the gym, and even when sorting out deliveries in the stock room when I was working in fashion retail earlier this year. The voice of Rose Eveleth, host of the podcast Flash Forward, was my travelling companion when I crossed the English Channel in September of 2016 for what I thought was the last time, and while I lived in Paris, I would take long walks in the park while listening to my all time favourite podcast, Spirits. Many voices across the globe have become activity partners, conversations starters, and even comforting presence to cheer up a dull day. With podcast becoming one of the most popular form of entertainment around the same time as I listened to my first ever episode, the choice was limitless, and I quickly found all my favourite topics covered, from pop culture to science-fiction, to politics and old Hollywood cinema. Yet, there was still one topic of interest I could not find: art history.
While I now enjoy many art history podcasts, finding them was another story. I wanted something that reflected my passion, while offering rigorous and engaging material, but also provided me with the intimate and friendly format that I love so much in podcast. I was seeking a voice that reminded me of my own, of my friend’s, of my favourite lecturer’s, or the one I imagine my favourite writers’ would have had a few drinks in. I first went toward big institutions, recorded museum talks, open university lectures, often dense and unproduced, before moving toward publications’ podcast attempts, a very clinical way to keep up with the art world, with very little effort to present an opinion. But … after several trial and errors, and a lot of listening, I progressively came to build a strong podcast catalogues that gave me everything I wanted and more. To name but a few: The Lonely Palette, hosted by Tamar Avishai; The Art History Babes hosted by Ginny Van Dine, Corrie Hendricks, Jennifer Gutierrez, and Natalie De La Torre , MoMA San Francisco’s Raw Material, Art UK’s Art Matters, hosted by Ferren Gipson The Art Detective, hosted by Dr Janina Ramirez, and of course, the best art audio ever produced, A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson.
Listening to Art History podcast as a recent Art History graduate has not only been a great way to keep up with my passion and historical knowledge, it has also been an invaluable learning tool to engage with my subject in a whole new way. It questioned me on outreach, engagement, and what exactly could make art historical discourses more accessible to all. To reflect on this, I decided to interview two of my favourite art history podcast, mentioned above: the Art History Babes and the Lonely Palette. In this series, we discuss the role of podcasts in renegotiating the methodologies or art history, and engaging more people with the importance and relevance of art history today.
COMING UP IN THIS SERIES: Interviews with TAMAR AVISHAI of The Lonely Palette; GINNY VAN DINE, CORRIE HENDRICKS, JENNIFER GUTIERREZ, & NATALIE DE LA TORRE of The Art History Babes; and FERREN GIPSON of Art Matters.
WORDS BY MAYANNE SORET
GRAPHIC BY CHLOE ESSLEMONT