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Stories of the materials used in making art are often as thought-provoking and illuminating as the objects themselves. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Immaterial examines the materials of art and what they can reveal about history and humanity. Each episode looks at a single material: paper, clay, jade, shells, and others, exploring the qualities and meanings that are often overlooked.

Immaterial: 5,000 Years of Art, One Material at a Time The Met

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Stories of the materials used in making art are often as thought-provoking and illuminating as the objects themselves. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Immaterial examines the materials of art and what they can reveal about history and humanity. Each episode looks at a single material: paper, clay, jade, shells, and others, exploring the qualities and meanings that are often overlooked.

    Stone: Making and Breaking Legacies

    Stone: Making and Breaking Legacies

    What happens when the unbreakable breaks?

    Throughout art museums around the world, you’ll find ancient stone statues of rulers and marble monuments immortalizing noblemen. These objects were made to survive decay and destruction, to remain intact and whole. But from the moment that stone is extracted from the earth, it is bound to become a more fragmented version of itself–chiseled, chipped, and sometimes shattered over time. 

    In this episode, we examine the many ways that stone breaks. How can a statue’s cracks and cavities tell a more complex story of our humanity?

    Guests:

    Jack Soultanian, Conservator, Objects Conservation, The Met

    Carolyn Riccardelli, Conservator, Objects Conservation, The Met

    Robert Macfarlane, nature writer and mountaineer

    Erhan Tamur, former Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, The Met

    Sarah Graff, Curator, Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Met

    Featured artworks:

    Tullio Lombardo, Adam, ca. 1490–95: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/197822 

    Statues of Gudea, Neo-Sumerian, ca. 2120–2090 BCE: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/329072

    https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/324061

    https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ark:/53355/cl010119539

    For a transcript of the episode and more information, visit metmuseum.org/immaterialstone

    #MetImmaterial

    Immaterial is produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Magnificent Noise and hosted by Camille Dungy.

    Production staff includes Salman Ahad Khan, Ann Collins, Samantha Henig, Eric Nuzum, Emma Vecchione, Sarah Wambold, and Jamie York. Additional staff includes Julia Bordelon, Skyla Choi, Maria Kozanecka, and Rachel Smith.

    Sound design by Ariana Martinez and Kristin Muller.Original music by Austin Fisher.Fact-checking by Mary Mathis and Claire Hyman.

    Immaterial is made possible by Dasha Zhukova Niarchos. Additional support is provided by the Zodiac Fund.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 42 Min.
    Introducing: Immaterial Season 2

    Introducing: Immaterial Season 2

    What is hiding in the material choices of artists and makers?

    Immaterial, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s marquee podcast, is back with eight more episodes that reveal the emotional origins and transformative power of art through the lens of materials.

    This season we learn from Mexican artisans keeping centuries-old traditions alive; we go to ancient Mesopotamia to understand time travel; and we find a mythical tree in Belize that’s been making music for decades.

    From traditional materials like stone and wood, to more abstract ones like space and time, the podcast explores how these materials shape the inner lives of artworks and the human experiences they reflect.

    Season 2 of Immaterial drops June 4.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 2 Min.
    Concrete

    Concrete

    What makes concrete so controversial? Well, it’s complicated.

    • 37 Min.
    Linen

    Linen

    Suit up as we undress the complex legacy of linen

    • 44 Min.
    Shells

    Shells

    It all began with the call of the conch

    • 39 Min.
    Paper

    Paper

    Get a handle on palm-sized ephemera at The Met

    • 38 Min.

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