99 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
    • 4.8 • 315 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.

    Sonal Khullar on Amrita Sher-Gil

    Sonal Khullar on Amrita Sher-Gil

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview Sonal Khullar on one of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th century, AMRITA SHER-GIL!

    Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–41) was India’s foremost artist in the early twentieth century. Her paintings give prominence to real people at real moments, and exude pathos and strength.

    “I can only paint in India, Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Braque and the rest. But India belongs only to me.”

    Born in Budapest and raised in Shimla, northern India, between 1929 and 1932 Sher-Gil attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, as the first Indian student to do so, where she was able to study from nude models. Acclaimed for her Expressionistic figurative painting, she exhibited at the Paris Salon. Soon enough, she was drawn back to India: "I began to be haunted by an intense longing to return to India, feeling in some strange inexplicable way that there lay my destiny as a painter."

    Abandoning her European style, Sher-Gil’s figurative work transformed into studies of saturated colour with fluorescent fabrics and glittering textures.

    The subject of solo exhibitions, and a recipient of multiple prizes, Sher-Gil showed her work in Delhi and Bombay. But soon after set- tling in Lahore with her new husband, she was overcome with illness and died at the age of twenty-eight. Her acute sensibility is evident in her paintings, which capture not just the electricity of colour, and the merging of global styles, but also the world of her sitters, no matter what their status.

    Dr Sonal Khullar received her BA from Wellesley College, and her MA and PhD from the University of California Berkeley in art history, and has taught in the History of Art and Gender Studies departments of the University of Washington, and since 2020, at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Her research, specialising in work from the 18th century onwards, focuses on conflict, collaboration and globalisation in contemporary art from South Asia, and has looked at postcolonial art worlds, feminist geography, and the anthropology of art.

    LINKS:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/20/obituaries/amrita-shergil-dead.html?smid=tw-nytobits&smtyp=cur

    http://amrita-sher-gil.com

    https://artsandculture.google.com/story/amrita-sher-gil-artworks-from-the-collection-of-national-gallery-of-modern-art-national-gallery-of-modern-art-ngma-new-delhi/twWRBeSmWwQA8A?hl=en

    https://web.archive.org/web/20210121160223/https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/amrita-sher-gil/amrita-sher-gil-room-1-early-years-paris

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    --

    THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY CHRISTIES: www.christies.com

    • 48 min
    Dorothy Price on Käthe Kollwitz

    Dorothy Price on Käthe Kollwitz

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview Dr Dorothy Price on one of the most acclaimed artists ever to live, the great German Expressionist, KATHE KOLLWITZ!

    Dorothy Price is an indefatigable pioneer. Not only has she been instrumental as a specialist in German Expressionism, Weimar Culture and Black British Art, with a specific focus on women artists, but she has authored numerous books and articles in both areas.

    But today we are meeting because her latest exhibition, Making Modernism, opens at the Royal Academy of Arts, London this month, focussing on a group of women artists all of whom were active in Germany in the first few decades of the twentieth century.

    The exhibition seeks to look again at histories of modernism through the eyes of its female practitioners and is the first group exhibition of women artists at the Royal Academy for over 20 years: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/making-modernism

    So today we are going to be discussing one of these artists: Kathe Kollwitz, the pioneering German Expressionist who documented, through a socially conscious lens, the working classes and unemployed, and was a master at capturing the emotive intensity of her subjects, their vulnerabilities and hardship.

    Primarily a printmaker, Kollwitz took psychological intensity to new heights with her often stark portrayals of the grief-stricken and oppressed. Depicting mothers and children wrenched apart by death; individuals filled with anguish and in mourning; poverty, love, hatred and war ‒ Kollwitz’s compassionate images reveal the grim rawness of reality observed through a deeply sensitive lens. Socially conscious and created with acute feeling (she once wrote, ‘I agree with my art serving a purpose’), her work still speaks truth to the world we live in today.

    Born in Eastern Prussia, Kollwitz, having witnessed the physical and emotional effects of industrialisation, used printmaking to record the bleakness and inequalities of life. Immediate, accessible and at times cheap, printmaking enables an artist to produce both intricately detailed images and bold graphic forms.

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    --

    Making Modernism:Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin at the RA: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/making-modernism

    https://www.kollwitz.de/en/biography

    https://www.kaethe-kollwitz.berlin/en/kaethe-kollwitz/biography/

    https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG34072

    Print cycle: A Weaver's Revolt (1892-97):
    https://www.kollwitz.de/en/cycle-weavers-revolt-overview --

    Head of a Child in its Mother's Hands (Study of the Down Trodden) (1900):
    https://www.germanexpressionismleicester.org/leicesters-collection/artists-and-artworks/kaethe-kollwitz/head-of-a-child-in-its-mothers-hands-(study-of-the-down-trodden)/

    https://www.kollwitz.de/en/cycle-peasants-war-overview

    https://www.kollwitz.de/en/woman-with-dead-child-kn-81

    https://www.kollwitz.de/en/pair-of-lovers-sculpture-en-bronze

    Print cycle: War (completed 1921-1922)

    https://www.kollwitz.de/en/series-war-overview

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    THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY CHRISTIES: www.christies.com

    • 54 min
    Jenna Gribbon

    Jenna Gribbon

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview one of the most exciting painters working today, Jenna Gribbon.

    Drawing on the traditions of oil paint by focussing on figuration, Jenna Gribbon is known for her sensual, washy and almost electrically-coloured canvases that predominantly portray her partner, Mackenzie, as well as her son.

    Working on a surface, which, when witnessed in real life, appears to be constantly moving, the bodies in Jenna’s paintings erupt like landscapes or waterfalls collapsing in on each other. Get up close, and revealed are three, four, five, SIX layers of unexpected colour: light blues, purples, oranges, yellows, hot pinks.

    Existing in both natural and synthetically-lit source – I am especially drawn to those with electric lights, almost appearing as a spiritualist glow – Jenna’s paintings transport you to places of both intimacy and isolation, such as that moment when you’re with one other person and it feels like you’re the only people in the world.

    Although we often see the same people crop up, by their very nature the paintings feel universal, like fleeting memories that you want to hold onto forever, and, most significantly, intimate – the latter being a key aspect of her work.

    Based in Brooklyn, NYC, where we are recording today, Jenna has exhibited across the globe at Fredericks and Freiser in New York, Massimo de Carlo in London, most recently at the Frick Madison which paired her work with Old Master Paintings in the Met Breuer’s former brutalist building. Current exhibitions include at the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, and she is housed in museum collections across the globe.

    Jenna Gribbon in conversation at the Frick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt1ot3Cy2UY

    Cultured Magazine: https://www.culturedmag.com/article/2022/02/16/jenna-gribbon-and-her-musician-muse-mackenzie-scott-blend-love-and-paint

    Interview with Juxtapoz https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/features/jenna-gribbon-the-pleasure-of-looking/

    Interview with Whitehot Magazine: https://whitehotmagazine.com/articles/dialogue-with-painter-jenna-gribbon/3880

    Frieze: https://www.frieze.com/article/five-up-coming-painters-follow

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    --

    THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY CHRISTIES: www.christies.com

    • 43 min
    Catherine Opie

    Catherine Opie

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview one of the most renowned photographers working in the world right now, Catherine Opie!

    A photographer of portraits of people, landscapes, the urban environment and American society, Opie uses the tool of the camera to explore sexual and cultural identity. First picking up a camera aged nine, it was in the 1990s that she began to gain recognition for her studio portraits of gay and transgender communities who appear painterly and defiant, powerful and regal.

    Travelling across the world, and in particular different areas of North America, Opie has documented masculinity through high school footballers; politics and culture through her images of the 2008 presidential election; the landscape through images of sparse urban environments; and memorial through images of house belongings once owned by Elizabeth Taylor. Linked by notions of complexity, community, visibility and empathy, Opie’s photographs tell a story about the society in which we live.

    Speaking about her work she has said, “From early on, I wanted to create a language that showed how complex the idea of community really is, how we categorize who we are as human beings in relation to places we live.”

    Born in Ohio, and now based in Los Angeles, where she is a professor of photography and the chair of the UCLA department of art, Opie has exhibited in the world’s most prestigious museums, from MOCA Los Angeles to the Guggenheim in New York, and at the Whitney Biennial and many more.

    But the reason why we are speaking with Opie today is because this summer she opened a solo show at Thomas Dane Gallery in London – To What We Think We Remember. Taking its title from a Joan Didion quote, this exhibition focuses on community, collective responsibility and how to move forward while faced with the potentially devastating challenges of climate change, and the erasure of personal and political freedoms.

    --

    LINKS:

    Thomas Dane show:
    https://www.thomasdanegallery.com/exhibitions/268/

    New Yorker:
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/13/catherine-opie-all-american-subversive

    New York Times 2021: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/18/arts/design/catherine-opie-photography-monograph.html

    Art review:
    https://artreview.com/catherine-opie/

    Opie essay for CNN:
    https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/catherine-opie-beauty/index.html

    Hilton Als 2021:
    https://www.regenprojects.com/attachment/en/54522d19cfaf3430698b4568/Press/610b3b9460b7b53c1b733db9

    i–D:
    https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/g5gvk7/catherine-opie-interview-2021-life-in-photos

    New York Times 2019:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/02/t-magazine/catherine-opie.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

    --

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    --

    THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY CHRISTIES: www.christies.com

    • 41 min
    Bloum Cardenas on Niki de Saint Phalle

    Bloum Cardenas on Niki de Saint Phalle

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview Bloum Cardenas, none other than the granddaughter of the trailblazing, French-American sculptor, painter, performance artist and more, NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE!!

    Born in 1930 in France and living throughout the 20th century between America and Europe – she passed in 2002 – Saint Phalle is one of the century’s greatest creative personalities. She pioneered not only the boundaries between painting, performance and conceptual art in Paris during the 1960s, but explored large scale immersive environments through her joyous, glittering sculptures. These include the Tarot Garden in Tuscany – this incredible paradisal sculpture park filled with these colossal Nana-style sculptures of these bulbous women, glittering in mosaics – or her 1966 work at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Hon - the Cathedral, where visitors would enter through the giant open legs of one of her Nana figures a world complete with a 12-seat cinema, a bar, a playground for kids, a fish pond and sandwich vending machine.

    In the early 1960s she worked on her Shooting Paintings – violently shooting at canvases with bags of coloured paint that exploded and dripped onto a plaster surface. She used her ‘shooting events’ to fight against political corruption and the patriarchy. Employing large-scale canvases and masochistic gestures to emulate (and poke fun at) her male contemporaries, it was also through chance encounters and group efforts that Saint Phalle pioneered early concepts of Performance Art.

    By the mid-1960s, Saint Phalle had taken a different direction, abandoning her Shooting Paintings for her Nana sculptures: voluptuous and bulbous figures that reclaim the female form and celebrate the ‘everywoman’. Speaking about them in 1972, she said: ‘Why the nanas? Well, first because I am one myself. Because my work is very personal and I try to express what I feel. It is the theme that touches me most closely. Since women are oppressed in today’s society I have tried, in my own personal way, to contribute to the Women’s Liberation Movement.’

    Bloum Cardenas, from 1985–1990, Bloum worked in the archives of her grandmother and in 1997, moved to San Francisco to help organise Saint Phalle’s archived there. Since 2002, she has been a trustee for the for the Niki Charitable Art Foundation. She is also the president of the beloved Tarot Garden in Tuscany.

    ENJOY!!!

    --

    Peter Schjendahl: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/04/05/the-pioneering-feminism-of-niki-de-saint-phalle

    New Yorker on The Tarot Garden 2016: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/18/niki-de-saint-phalles-tarot-garden

    New York Times 2021: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/08/arts/design/Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-MoMA-PS1-Salon-94.html

    Artforum: https://www.artforum.com/print/202105/johanna-fateman-on-the-art-of-niki-de-saint-phalle-85478

    Niki de Saint Phalle Foundation website: http://nikidesaintphalle.org/niki-de-saint-phalle/biography/#1930-1949

    Tate etc on living with Niki: https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-12-spring-2008/living-niki

    Tate shots on Niki de Saint Phalle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV7aJ7XHeB4

    Nouveau Réalisme: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/n/nouveau-realisme

    Gutai: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/g/gutai

    Shooting Paintings / Tirs https://www.moma.org/collection/works/150143

    Hon - A Cathedral http://nikidesaintphalle.org/50-years-since-hon/ // https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNfQt2FsUD4&feature=emb_logo // https://womennart.com/2018/08/22/hon-by-niki-de-saint-phalle/

    The Tarot Garden http://ilgiardinodeitarocchi.it/en/

    --

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    --

    THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY CHRISTIES: www.christies.com

    • 58 min
    Louise Giovanelli

    Louise Giovanelli

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview one of the most esteemed young painters working in the world right now, LOUISE GIOVANELLI!

    Giovanelli’s paintings bridge art history and modern pop-cultural narratives and explore the tensions between representation/ abstraction, fiction/ reality, historic/ contemporary, painting/ digital sphere.

    Retaining the meticulousness of renaissance paintings and coalescing it with 80s and 90s music videos, Giovanellis’s delicate and electrically luminous scapes offer a language rooted in history yet feel completely otherworldly. On a screen they feel like one thing, but meet them in the flesh, and they become real, with dabs of white oil paint SPARKLING off the canvas. For me, they are time-based. Sit with these paintings and it’s like their surfaces are constantly moving.

    Born in the 90s and now based in Manchester, Giovanelli has quickly risen up the ranks as one of Britain’s leading young painters. Having completed her BA at Manchester School of Art, and her MA at the Stadeschule in Frankfurt with professor Amy Silman in 2020, Louise Giovanelli has since exhibited all over the world, including at Grimm Gallery, the Hayward Gallery’s Mixing it Up, Manchester Art Gallery, and more recently, at White Cube in London.

    Giovanelli’s paintings are theatrical and stage-like. She creates a language that feels like a heightened version of reality that looks to renaissance painting and film stills and encompasses photography, classical sculpture, architecture and painting. They feel almost too good to be true, full of mystery and enigma. As the artist has said herself –

    ‘These curtains, once thrown back, offer this promise to enter another realm – and once closed, contain that promise. The painting hangs in a suspended state, leaving us wondering whether the show is over, or in fact just beginning.’

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    Frieze review of White Cube: https://www.frieze.com/article/louise-giovanelli-as-if-almost-2022-review
    AnOther interview: https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/14447/daniel-arsham-on-bringing-his-first-exclusively-outdoor-exhibit-to-the-uk
    FT article: https://www.ft.com/content/a0bfd459-e1f3-4940-8ec6-93546ccb7047
    Ocula interview: https://ocula.com/advisory/perspectives/louise-giovanelli-white-cube/
    Artsy: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-figurative-works-black-artists-self-expression-redress-british-colonialism

    White Cube show: https://whitecube.com/exhibitions/exhibition/Louise_Giovanelli_White_Cube_Bermondsey
    Dissolving Realms show: https://www.kasmingallery.com/exhibition/dissolving-realms-2022

    ENJOY!!!

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    --

    THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY CHRISTIES: www.christies.com

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
315 Ratings

315 Ratings

Memrr🌵 ,

Love it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I love listening to Katy and the wonderful interviews she does, I’ve learnt so many insightful details about the artists that often history books don’t even mention: thank you for your great work! It’s fun and joyful and clever and fresh! We all needed it ✨

Nina Miranda singer ,

Nourishing and inspirational brain juice !

This is one I listen to and it takes my paint strokes sculptural hands even further into my dreams - I find myself soul mates through history - wonderful host who digs deep and finds incredible people to talk to and look at.

Zen ja ,

Love this

So appreciate this podcast food for my brain, and my soul. Thank you !

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