75 episodes

Created off the back of @thegreatwomenartists Instagram, this podcast is all about celebrating women artists. Presented by art historian and curator, Katy Hessel, this podcast interviews artists on their career, or curators, writers, or general art lovers, on the female artist who means the most to them.

The Great Women Artists Katy Hessel

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Created off the back of @thegreatwomenartists Instagram, this podcast is all about celebrating women artists. Presented by art historian and curator, Katy Hessel, this podcast interviews artists on their career, or curators, writers, or general art lovers, on the female artist who means the most to them.

    Flavia Frigeri on Marisol

    Flavia Frigeri on Marisol

    In episode 74 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the acclaimed art historian, Flavia Frigeri on 60s Pop sensation, MARISOL!!!!!! 

    Venezuelan-American artistMaria Sol Escobar (who went by the name of ‘Marisol’) (1930–2016) was hailed for her wooden sculptures with their deadpan expressions and awkward, playful stances. Merging hand-carved woodenfigures with real life objects, (forks, hats, boots, bags), she mocked right-wing America, commented on female identity, challenging Western ideals.

    Raised between Paris, Caracas, and Los Angeles, Marisol arrived in New York City in 1950, and quickly became a central part of the development of ‘Pop’. She attracted enormous attention in the early 60s(when she was more famous than her friend, Andy Warhol). Thousands queued up for her 1966 exhibition at Sidney Janis’s Gallery.

    Blank-faced, boxed in, comical and disturbing, Marisol’s hand-carved sculptures reflect the silenced and sexualised women idealised by 1960s media. Her women stare blankly ahead, void of personality, connection or interest, but draped in the high fashions of the day: sporting headbands, minidresses and heeled leather boots. Working at a time when male Pop artists favoured the ‘factory-like’ approach to working(with their entourage of assistants and engagement with hard-edged, industrial materials), Marisol hit back and formed her own version of Pop.


    Influenced by Pre-Colombian and folk art, she hand-carved each sculpture alone, perhaps to emphasise the only ‘human’ aspect of the figures who had otherwise been stripped of their identities, personas, (and brains), all for the purpose of pleasing or fitting into society. They are a stark reminder of the trappings of femininity, still very much alive today.

    Currently the ‘Chanel Curator for the Collection’ at the National Portrait Gallery, London, Flavia Frigeri has held numerous curatorial posts such as at Tate Modern, where she co-curated The World Goes Pop (2015), which told a global story of pop art, breaking new ground along the way.

    From Latin America to Asia, and from Europe to the Middle East, this explosive exhibition explored art produced around the world during the 1960s and 1970s, showing how different cultures and countries responded to the movement, including one of the greatest artists, of the 20th century, Marisol Sol Escobar.

    LISTEN NOW + ENJOY!!!
    Follow us: Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
    Research assistant: Viva Ruggi
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 44 min
    Jordan Casteel

    Jordan Casteel

    In episode 73 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the most trailblazing artists alive today, JORDAN CASTEEL !!!!!!! 

    Born and raised in Denver and now based in New York City, Casteel is hailed for her portraits and landscapes imbued with expressivity and authenticity, gestural brushwork and bold swathes of colour, which capture the fleeting and very real moments of life, closeness, and honest relationships.  

    Since receiving her BA from Agnes Scott College, Georgia for Studio Art in 2011, and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale School of Art, 2014, the past seven years for Casteel have been monumental. In 2020, she presented a critically-acclaimed major solo exhibition titled “Within Reach,” at the New Museum, New York; and other recent institutional solo exhibitions include “Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze,” presented at both the Denver Art Museum, CO (2019), and the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, CA (2019–20).  

    In recent years, she has participated in exhibitions at institutional venues such as SF MoMA; Art Institute of Chicago; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Crystal Bridges; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MoCA Los Angeles, CA (2018); The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY (2017 and 2016), where between 2015–16 she participated in their prestigious residency programme, among many others. Casteel’s paintings have graced the front cover of American Vogue, Time Magazine, and in 2019 were blown up to 1,400 square foot for Manhattan’s High Line. As of 2021, Casteel is also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.  

    But the reason why we are speaking with Jordan today, in London I might add, is because she has just unveiled one of the most hotly anticipated exhibitions of the year, and her first ever UK solo exhibition at Massimo De Carlo: “There is a Season”, a show focussing on the minutiae of daily interactions, conversations, and connections, which embraces the ebb and flow of lived experiences, articulated by the rhythmic tick of time, which I cannot wait to find out more about…


    FURTHER LINKS!
    https://www.massimodecarlo.com/exhibition/521/there-is-a-season
    http://www.jordancasteel.com/
    https://caseykaplangallery.com/artists/casteel/
    https://www.instagram.com/jordanmcasteel/?hl=en
    https://www.macfound.org/fellows/class-of-2021/jordan-casteel
    https://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/jordan-casteel-within-reach

    LISTEN NOW + ENJOY!!!
    Follow us:Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hesselSound editing by Nada SmiljanicResearch assistant: Viva RuggiArtwork by @thisisaliceskinnerMusic by Ben Wetherfield
    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 46 min
    Tacita Dean

    Tacita Dean

    In episode 72 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the most trailblazing artists alive today, Tacita Dean!!!!!!

    Working across drawings, photographs to installations and found objects, Tacita Dean is perhaps best known for her incredibly pioneering and staggeringly beautiful work in film. Interested in capturing the “truth of the moment, the film as a medium, and the sensibilities of the individual”, it is particularly her eloquent 16 and 35mm analogue films that are carried by a sense of history, time and place, which at times become portraits of the medium itself. Painterly, unpredictable, physical and truthful, she has described her films as “depictions of their subject and therefore closer to painting than they are to narrative cinema.”

    Born in Canterbury, UK, Tacita studied at the Falmouth School of Art, and earned her MA from the Slade. Rising to acclaim in the 1990s and early 2000s with films such as The Green Ray and Disappearance at Sea, the latter of which earned her a nomination for the prestigious Turner Prize, Tacita now lives between Berlin and Los Angeles.

    A royal academician and recipient of numerous prizes, such as the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim and Sixth Benesse Prize at the 51st Venice Biennale, Tacita has exhibited all over the world, from solo exhibitions at the Tate Britain, The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and the The National Portrait Gallery; between 2014–15 she was an artist in residence at the Getty Research Institute; and in 2011 she filled Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with her mammoth, 13-metre-high film, Film, which has been described as a lovingly spliced poem of hand-tinted images.

    But the reason why we are also speaking with Tacita Dean today, is because she is about to unveil her most recent commission: the set design and costumes for a new ballet The Dante Project: a collaboration with the Royal Ballet’s choreographer Wayne McGregor at the Royal Opera House, London. And she is also the subject of solo exhibitions across both Frith Street spaces, featuring these forthcoming designs, plus incredible films such as 150 years of painting, featuring a conversation between Julie Mehretu and Luchita Hurtado, and Pan Amicus, which was filmed entirely on the estate of the Getty Center and Villa.

    Further links:

    https://www.frithstreetgallery.com/artists/5-tacita-dean/
    https://www.roh.org.uk/tickets-and-events/the-dante-project-by-wayne-mcgregor-details
    https://www.mariangoodman.com/exhibitions/459-tacita-dean-the-dante-project-one-hundred-and-fifty/

    LISTEN NOW + ENJOY!!!

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
    Research assistant: Viva Ruggi
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 38 min
    Charlie Porter on Louise Bourgeois, Anne Truitt, Sarah Lucas, Martine Syms

    Charlie Porter on Louise Bourgeois, Anne Truitt, Sarah Lucas, Martine Syms

    In episode 71 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the acclaimed writer, fashion critic, and art curator, Charlie Porter on Louise Bourgeois, Anne Truitt, Sarah Lucas and Martine Syms !!!!!!

    In this episode, which will work slightly differently from normal, we will focus on four artists mentioned in Charlie's latest book, one of my favourite books of this year: What Artists Wear!!! An incredibly fascinating book that chronicles the lives and careers of artists through their clothes and how they have worn, incorporated, used, recycled, referenced, and drawn from garments from the early 20th century to the present day.

    From chapters dedicated to Louise Bourgeois and Martine Syms, an in-depth look into the history of the suit (think Frida Kahlo to Georgia O’Keeffe); a focus on the subject of workwear with the likes of Agnes Martin and Barbara Hepworth, and how they dressed ‘for the studio’. What ‘casual’ means today, how artists have worn jeans, how they integrate clothing for performance or made ‘wearable art’, to those who use garments as their chosen medium or for acts of transformation.

    This book, for me, provided such a rich, fascinating insight into artists and their work, mostly for the reason that it offered an alternative viewpoint. Never has something made me think so deeply about how artists presented themselves, and in effect our own identities, but also how clothing has been used in art in so many different ways, circumstances, and for so many different reasons. ENJOY!!!!!!

    A visiting lecturer in fashion at the University of Westminster, Charlie is one of the leading cultural commentators of our time and has been described as one of the most influential fashion journalists of his generation, with many of his garments now in the collection of the V&A.

    Further links:

    https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/314/314590/what-artists-wear/9780141991252.html#:~:text=In%20What%20Artists%20Wear%2C%20style,at%20home%20and%20at%20play.
    https://lismorecastlearts.ie/read-watch-listen/curator-of-palimpsest-charlie-porter-gives-an-introduction-to-the-exhibition

    LISTEN NOW + ENJOY!!!

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
    Sound recording by Amber Miller
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 49 min
    Nick Willing on Paula Rego

    Nick Willing on Paula Rego

    In episode 70 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the SON, Nick Willing, of one of the greatest living artists, his mother, PAULA REGO !!!!!!!!

    Wow is this one of the most joyous, brilliant, electric and INSIGHTFUL episodes. Nick speaks so beautifully on his mother, her life, her art, her commitment to painting, her greatness at telling stories and twisting them on its head. A few years ago, Nick, a director and writer, made an incredible documentary, "Secrets and Stories", where he filmed and interviewed his mother over the course of a year. 

    Rego, now 86, is currently the subject of a MAMMOTH exhibition of her work at Tate Britain. Featuring paintings, drawings, collages and more, spanning from the 1950s up until recent years, Rego’s works have dealt with both epic and personal stories on large and small scales. Painting our deepest secrets, desires, fears, or the familiar stories we learnt in childhood – but question as adults – freedom, family dynamics, art history, and so much more, I don’t think there is a single artist whose works have captured me so much. After all, she has said: “Art is the only place you can do what you like. That’s freedom.”

    Born in 1935, Rego grew up in Portugal under the military dictatorship of Salazar. She enrolled at London’s Slade School in the 50s. Already as a teenager was Rego able to look deep into people and paint expressive truths, as seen in an early portrait of her father. Returning to Portugal, she painted the bloody reality of life as a human, but most importantly, as a woman. 

    Through her paintings, she gave (and gives) women a voice. For the record, until 2007, women couldn't have a legal abortion (a change in law in part thanks to Rego’s propagandistic, brave, but painful images of women experiencing unsafe abortions). Rego documented life living with an unfaithful husband (her work The Dance says it all: the male protagonist’s untrustworthy gaze that catches our eyes, beautifully described by Nick), who became progressively ill in his later years, and who she cared for. 

    But although her works are personal to her, they speak universally, spanning time, age, cultures. They feel utterly contemporary, but also historic. They address epic themes on an epic scale. They feel Baroque, operatic, theatrical. But always so real, with Rego always bringing it back to the personal.

    I hope you enjoy this episode!

    Further links: 
    Tate show! https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/paula-rego
    https://www.victoria-miro.com/artists/238-paula-rego/
    Nick's documentary!!!! You can't miss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7eNo6goFeg&t=1s&ab_channel=Byrnzie400

    LISTEN NOW + ENJOY!!!
    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
    Research assistant + sound recorder: Viva Ruggi 
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinnerMusic by Ben Wetherfield
    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 57 min
    Leilah Babirye

    Leilah Babirye

    In episode 68 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the great sculptor, Leilah Babirye !!!!!!!!

    [This episode is brought to you by Alighieri jewellery: www.alighieri.co.uk | use the code TGWA at checkout for 10% off!]

    Working across painting, sculpture, to assemblage; on paper, ceramics, wood and more; using carving, burnishing, weaving and wielding, since graduating around ten years ago, Babirye has become one of the most acclaimed and forward thinking sculptors of this generation. Hailed for her experimental processes, Babirye is also renowned for her vital addressing of narratives surrounding identity, sexuality, and human rights, and her frequent use of traditional West African masks as a way of exploring queer identities. 

    Born in Kampala, Uganda, and now working in Brooklyn, NYC, Babirye studied art at Makerere University in Kampala, where she was exposed to some formative teaching by some formidable female sculptors.

    However, in the wake of Uganda’s 2013 anti-homosexuality bill, Babirye went to NYC where she participated in the acclaimed Fire Island Artist Residency. In 2018, she was granted asylum in the US, and has since risen to prominence with two major solo exhibitions in New York City at Gordon Robichaux. 

    Babirye’s work is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Both mighty and intimate, heroic and fragile, whether it be her paintings, ceramics or sculptures, they never fail to blow me away. Often using wood or ceramics as a base, she then embellishes them with discarded objects collected from the streets, and what results are towering, powerful, glittering regal-like figures, who unite in the form of imagined queer clans. Speaking about her work she has said: 

    “Through the act of burning, nailing and assembling, I aim to address the realities of being gay in the context of Uganda and Africa in general. Recently, my working process has been fuelled by a need to find a language to respond to the recent passing of the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda.”

    But! The reason why we are speaking with Leilah today, is because last summer she had an AMAZING exhibition at London's Stephen Friedman Gallery, which we discuss in depth!

    I hope you enjoy this episode!

    Further links: 
    https://www.stephenfriedman.com/artists/66-leilah-babirye/
    http://www.gordonrobichaux.com/leilah.babirye.html
    https://www.theartnewspaper.com/interview/leilah-babirye
    https://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/art/leilah-babirye


    LISTEN NOW + ENJOY!!!
    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
    Research assistant: Viva Ruggi 
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield
    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 41 min

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