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Getty Launches 'Recording Artists: Radical Women' Podcast

  • LOS ANGELES, California
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  • November 12, 2019

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Alice Neel with paintings in her apartment, 1940. Photo: Sam Brody. © Estate of Alice Neel

Getty presents Recording Artists: Radical Women, a new podcast series exploring the lives and work of six women artists whose lives span the 20th century. Hosted by art historian Helen Molesworth, the podcast uses rare audio interviews from the 1960s and ’70s to focus on Alice Neel, Lee Krasner, Betye Saar, Helen Frankenthaler, Yoko Ono, and Eva Hesse during a period of immense change for women.

Molesworth mined the more than 1,000 interviews and oral histories in the archives of the Getty Research Institute, focusing on the collections of feminist art critics Cindy Nemser (American, b. 1937) and Barbara Rose (American, b. 1938), to find revealing audio interviews and rarely seen documents and notes. She discusses the artists with art historians, cultural critics, and contemporary artists to provide context to enrich our understanding of this fascinating period. 

“This podcast is possible because of the remarkable range and depth of the Getty’s collections,” said Kara Kirk, publisher at Getty Publications. “The archival audio that inspired these episodes is important to the scholarly record, yet its value extends far beyond art historical research to address fundamental issues that women, especially in creative fields, often face. The themes this podcast touches on—inspiration, identity, social pressure, balancing work with parenting and marriage—are nearly universal issues that I’m sure will resonate with audiences.” 

Betye Saar in her Los Angeles studio, 1970. View from the Palmist Window, 1966, is behind her at left; she is holding Black Girl's Window, 1969 Photo by Robert A. Nakamura.

Through archival audio, listeners will hear the artists describe in their own words their work, their relationships, and their feelings about the growing visibility of feminism and women artists during the middle of the 20th century. 

“Getty is again shining light on an understudied, yet profoundly important, aspect of American art history,” said Andrew Perchuk, deputy director of the Getty Research Institute. “One of the real strengths of the Getty Research Institute’s contemporary collections are archives that focus on a broad range of 20th-century women artists and feminist art history. Helen Molesworth has done an amazing job finding fascinating aspects of these archives to share with listeners.” 

Lee Krasner in the classroom of Hans Hofmann, ca. 1938, photographer unknown. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, circa 1904-84. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

The episodes are:

Alice Neel (American, 1900–1984) with commentary by artists Moyra Davey and Simone Leigh

Lee Krasner (American, 1908–1984) with commentary by artists Lari Pittman and Amy Sillman 

Betye Saar (American, b. 1926) with commentary by activist and gallery owner Linda Goode Bryant and art historian Marci Kwon

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011) with commentary by art historian Alexander Nemerov and artist Rodney McMillian

Yoko Ono (American, b. 1933) with commentary by artists Sanford Biggers and Catherine Lord 

Eva Hesse (German-American, 1936–1970) with commentary by art historian Darby English and artist Mary Weatherford

“Working on Recording Artists has been a fascinating deep dive into the lives and ideas that motivated these six incredible artists. Pulling in some of today’s most interesting artists and historians animated the archival material and permitted a contemporary reassessment of the perennial problem of gender in art,” said Molesworth.

This is the second podcast from Getty. Since 2016, Getty has produced Art + Ideas, hosted by Jim Cuno, Getty president and CEO, who talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work. 

To listen to Recording Artists: Radical Women, visit www.getty.edu/recordingartists or find the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen.

Find out more about Getty Research Institute’s archival holdings and other resources for feminist art historical research at https://www.getty.edu/research/tools/guides_bibliographies/feminist_research/.


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