Pierre Koenig’s Modernist LA Homes

Mid-twentieth century Los Angeles architect Pierre Koenig (1925–2004), was a skillful constructor of modernist homes. The most famous of these were two case study houses produced wholly of glass, wood, and steel and evocatively photographed by Julius Shulman. Yet despite these early successes, Koenig was largely forgotten by the 1980s.

Architectural historian Neil Jackson’s recent book Pierre Koenig: A View from the Archive utilizes the Getty Research Institute’s near-complete archive of Koenig’s papers and drawings to cement the legacy of this important LA figure. In this episode, Jackson discusses Koenig’s career and most notable works.

The Lives of Velázquez

The painter Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), commonly known as Velázquez, was an immensely talented painter who achieved great prominence during Spain’s Golden Age of art and literature. Las Meninas (1656), his most well-known painting, is a complex portrait of the daughter of the king and has inspired countless artists, including Goya and Picasso.

In this episode, paintings curator Anne Woollett discusses two biographies of Velazquez written by his contemporaries Francisco Pacheco and Antonio Palomino.

Real and Fantastical Beasts from the Medieval World to Contemporary Art

The bestiary, a medieval book of animals both real and imagined, was one of the most popular books in medieval Europe. Detailed illustrations and descriptions of real yet unfamiliar animals like whales and elephants shared the page with those of imaginary creatures like unicorns and dragons. But the fantastical and allegorical stories in the bestiary didn’t live in the books alone—the images and stories of these animals often escaped from the pages to inhabit an array of objects and works of art, from water vessels and game pieces to enormous tapestries and painted ceilings. And these stories continue to inspire artists into the present day.

In this episode, curators Elizabeth (Beth) Morrison and Larisa Grollemond discuss the exhibition Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World, which brings together one-third of the world’s surviving Latin bestiaries as well as art objects from the Middle Ages through today that were inspired by these books.

Talking Art History with Getty Research Institute Director Mary Miller

How has the field of art history changed in the last 30 years? This episode centers on this question through a discussion with Mary Miller, the recently appointed director of the Getty Research Institute. She describes her academic career studying the art of the ancient Maya at a time when this field didn’t fit comfortably into most art history departments, delves into the evolving role of the Getty Research Institute’s library, archives and scholarly programs, and closes the discussion with her thoughts on what lies ahead for the GRI.

An American Odyssey: Mary Schmidt Campbell on Artist Romare Bearden

With an artistic career that began with political cartoons in his college newspaper, Romare Bearden moved between mediums and styles throughout his life, although his artistic breakthroughs did not come without hard work. Over the course of a long career that spanned a tumultuous period in the fight for representation and civil rights for African Americans in the United States, Bearden became a deeply influential artist. Art historian Mary Schmidt Campbell delves into Bearden’s fascinating life and career in her new book An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden, which is the topic of this podcast episode.

Campbell is President of Spelman College and Dean Emerita of the Tisch School of the Arts. She served as the vice chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities under former president Barack Obama.

The Provocative Anti-Establishment Anti-Art of Fluxus

How is dripping water into a vessel a musical performance? Or the release of a butterfly into a space? Or washing one’s face?

These three events are all proposed in scores created by Fluxus artists, an international, anti-art community of composers, poets, visual artists, and performers dedicated to testing and blurring the line between art and life. These three performances are also just some of the many Fluxus scores being enacted as part of the LA Philharmonic’s season-long Fluxus Festival, organized in collaboration with the Getty Research Institute.

As the Fluxus Festival draws to a close, conductor and composer Christopher Rountree, who curated the festival, and GRI curator Nancy Perloff discuss evocative scores by John Cage, La Monte Young, Ben Patterson, George Brecht, and others.

Thelma Golden on the Past and Future of the Studio Museum in Harlem

Founded during the tumultuous year of 1968, the Studio Museum in Harlem recently celebrated its 50th year of showcasing the work of artists of African descent. In this episode, Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum, discusses the history and evolution of this important institution, from its various homes (including its new building project with architect David Adjaye and his firm Adjaye Associates) to the powerful curators who have shaped it into the future-focused institution it is today. All the while, Golden highlights the importance of the Studio Museum’s place in its community locally, nationally, and internationally.

New Insights into Jacopo da Pontormo’s Style with Curator Davide Gasparotto

Florence in the late 1520s was a place of turmoil, as powerful families vied for political and economic control of the city. Throughout the unrest, painter Jacopo da Pontormo continued to paint captivating works of art, including the Portrait of Carlo Neroni, the Getty’s Portrait of a Halberdier, and his great masterpiece, the Visitation.

In this episode, Getty paintings curator Davide Gasparotto walks through the exhibition Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters exploring the history and significance of the incredible works of art on view. Situating these three paintings together, alongside preparatory drawings by Pontormo and a painting by his contemporary Agnolo Bronzino, provides new insight into Pontormo’s style and technique during this tumultuous period in Florentine life and politics.

How Photographer Carleton Watkins Chronicled the West

Nineteenth-century photographer Carleton Watkins is perhaps best known for his photographs of Yosemite, which inspired the preservation of this land and, later, the creation of the National Parks system in the United States. But his unusual life and tumultuous career is rarely examined. In this episode, art historian Tyler Green discusses Watkins and the impact of his photographs. Green is author of Carleton Watkins: Making the West American and host of the podcast Modern Art Notes.

The Unusual Life of Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron

Although 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron did not pick up her first camera until the age of 49, the artistically composed and printed images she made during her short career were both groundbreaking for their time and an inspiration to artists long after her death. In this episode, Getty photography curator Karen Hellman discusses three biographies of Cameron: one by her grandniece Virginia Woolf, one by art critic Roger Fry, and one by Cameron herself. These biographies were recently published together by Getty Publications in the book Julia Margaret Cameron, part of the Lives of the Artists series.