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 great aunt 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.

Thomas Hines on Arthur Drexler and MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design

When Arthur Drexler retired in 1986 from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, he was the longest-serving curator and department head in the history of the Museum, a distinction he holds to this day. Hired in 1951 by Philip Johnson, the first director of the Museum’s groundbreaking Department of Architecture and Design, Drexler promoted a wide range of architects and saw great changes to architectural theory and practice during his thirty-five-year tenure. In this episode, historian Thomas Hines discusses the early history of the Department of Architecture and Design under Philip Johnson before delving into the background and career of Arthur Drexler.

Hines is professor emeritus of history and architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of the new book by Getty Publications Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art: The Arthur Drexler Years, 1951-1986.

Artist Tacita Dean and her Many Mediums

Contemporary artist Tacita Dean works in many mediums to create a varied and compelling body of work, from collections of four-leaf clovers to chalk drawings to filmed portraits of artists. In 2018, a wide array of these works was on view during three simultaneous exhibitions in London: one at the National Portrait Gallery, one at the National Gallery, and one at the Royal Academy of Arts. Taking those exhibitions as a starting point, in this episode Dean discusses her working methods, her approach to her subjects, and the importance of language for artists and filmmakers.

Rerelease: Jackson Pollock’s Mural, part 1

Jackson Pollock’s Mural (1943) is a monumental eight-by-twenty foot work that marks a turning point in the artist’s career and in the course of American art. In 2012, Mural traveled to the Getty for conservation, cleaning, and study, which revealed groundbreaking information about the work and its creator. In the first half of a two-part conversation, Laura Rivers and Yvonne Szafran, conservators at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Alan Phenix and Tom Learner, scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute, and Andrew Perchuk, deputy director at the Getty Research Institute, tell the story of this important work.

During the month of January, we are rereleasing some of our most popular episodes of Art + Ideas. This episode was originally released in August 2017.

 

Rerelease: Nancy Perloff on Russian Futurist Book Art

Between 1910 and 1915, Russian painters and poets invented an experimental language called zaum, which emphasizes sound and is characterized by indeterminacy in meaning. These artists used zaum to create handmade artists’ books that are meant to be read, seen, and heard. Nancy Perloff, author of Explodity: Sound, Image, and Word in Russian Futurist Book Art, takes us to the archives at the Getty Research Institute to examine two fascinating zaum futurist books and to discuss a number of the visual and literary artists of this period.

During the month of January, we are rereleasing some of our most popular episodes of Art + Ideas. This episode was originally released in April 2017.

Rerelease: Frank Gehry’s Los Angeles, Part 1

In 1947, Frank Gehry boarded a train in Toronto bound for Los Angeles, his uncle picked him up from Union Station, and the rest, as they say, is history. In the first installment of a four-part series, Gehry shares stories from his first years in Los Angeles and how his interest in architecture began. Later episodes in the series explore Frank Gehry’s Los Angeles and how his practice has evolved during his seventy years as an Angeleno.

During the month of January, we are rereleasing some of our most popular episodes of Art + Ideas. This episode was originally released in June 2016.

Rerelease: Émile Zola’s Biography of Édouard Manet

In this episode, curator Scott Allan discusses a biography of Édouard Manet written by author and art critic Émile Zola. Édouard Manet was controversial during his lifetime, and the account discussed here, written by a critic and novelist he knew well, provides insight into his life and his art. This biography was published last year in a short book that is part of the Getty Publications Lives of the Artists series.

During the month of January, we are rereleasing some of our most popular episodes of Art + Ideas. This episode was originally released in August 2018.

Preserving and Conserving Gunpowder in the Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang has spent decades using gunpowder as a medium for paintings and performances. Although the explosions are momentary and ephemeral, the records of these events are works of art collected by museums around the world. When Cai began to wonder about the longevity of this unusual material, he turned to the scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI).

In this episode, the artist discusses his relationship with this unorthodox medium and is joined by GCI scientists Rachel Rivenc and Tom Learner to talk about the research collaboration he is undertaking with the institute.

Contextualizing the Nude in Renaissance Painting, Sculpture, and Drawing

The nude human figure, both male and female, has been central to European art for centuries. During the Renaissance of the 1400s and 1500s, artists across Europe used the nude to explore religion, nature, human relationships, and beauty itself. But artists’ approach to the nude were not monolithic, nor were these works received without considerable controversy. Although created long ago, these works continue to inform contemporary attitudes toward the nude human figure in art.

The exhibition The Renaissance Nude, on view first at the Getty before moving to the Royal Academy in London, explores the development and deployment of the naturalistic nude, as well as the contexts in which these works were created and received. In this episode, curator Thomas Kren discusses this incredible exhibition.