36 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
    • 4.9, 183 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.

    Natalie Lettner on Maria Lassnig

    Natalie Lettner on Maria Lassnig

    In episode 35 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the world-renowned art historian and biographer, Natalie Lettner, on the FASCINATING and BRILLIANT Austrian-born artist, MARIA LASSNIG (1919–2014) !!!

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

    And WOW. This is one of the most interesting life stories I have ever heard of an artist whose work I am COMPLETELY blown away by. Known for her psychologically charged figurative paintings, Lassnig's work is based on the extreme observation of the physical presence of the body – what she termed ‘body awareness’. 

    Born in 1919, in a small town in southern Austria, Maria's mother gave birth to her out of wedlock and later married a much older man, but their troubled and tempestuous relationship meant Lassnig was raised by her grandmother, who hardly spoke to her since she was six.

    Studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in the midst of the Second World War, where she was only exposed to classical and academic art, Lassnig quickly moved away from the state-approved academic realism and travelled around Europe in search of the avant-garde. 

    After experimenting with surrealism, abstraction, expressionism and constantly being treated lesser than her male counterparts, at age nearly 50 Lassnig moved on to NYC to join forces with the feminist movement. And it was here where her work turned to external realism and painted portraits, nudes and still lifes, at times combining these with her ‘body awareness’ self-portraits.

    Recording her psychological states through a direct and unflinching style, her work used garish greens, yellows and blues to giver her paintings a POWERFUL and DRASTIC impact. 

    Maria Lassnig painted like NO OTHER in the history of art. With such conviction, force, and lack of embarrassment. She was not afraid to reveal anything. 

    This is one of the most fascinating stories of an artist I have ever SEEN. An artist who almost predicted the influence of technology through her paintings (in the 80s she became obsessed with the machine, and addicted to television!!). 

    Please listen to this sensation of an episode with the brilliant Natalie who tells her story so well. Only to be recognised with a major exhibition at the age of 89 at the Serpentine Galleries. 

    WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE!
    You, or Me (2005)
    Expressive Self Portrait (1945)
    Beams (1950)
    Head (1956)
    Self Portrait as a Monster (2005)
    Self Portrait with Stick (1971)
    Chain of Tradition
    My Teddy is more real than me (2002)
    Hospital (2005)

    Further reading: 
    https://www.hauserwirth.com/artists/2795-maria-lassnig
    https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/maria-lassnig
    Natalie's brilliant book!
    https://www.abebooks.co.uk/Maria-Lassnig-Natalie-Lettner-Brandst%C3%A4tter-Verlag/22323627600/bd

    This episode is sponsored by Alighieri 
    https://alighieri.co.uk/
    @alighieri_jewellery
    Use the code: TGWA for 10% off! 

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller)
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 53 min
    Somaya Critchlow

    Somaya Critchlow

    In episode 34 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the most exciting and brilliant young painters working in the world right now, the great SOMAYA CRITCHLOW!!

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

    A graduate of Brighton University and The Royal Drawing School, Somaya is known for her powerful depictions of bold female characters and delicately rendered objects – that she creates on both a mid-size and minute scale!

    Challenging and subverting cultural expectations of race, gender, and power in the history of art, Somaya’s sometimes icon-like work adopts historical and classical motifs from the likes of Rubens to Velazquez.

    Although rooted in historical imagery, her works fuse traditional painting with the modern day, referencing film to hip hop, which she explores in depth through commenting on the cultural, class and political dynamics of contemporary society.

    In this episode we discuss painting the female nude, and challenging past perceptions and institutional norms; Somaya's interest in the work of feminist writer Angela Carter; subverting cultural expectations and what feminism means today; her early interest in objects and museums; film and television; as well as an in-depth exploration into her current INCREDIBLE solo exhibition, "Underneath a Bepop Moon" at Maximillian William (on view until 15 August!).

    ENJOY!!!!

    Further reading as discussed!!  
    https://maximillianwilliam.com/underneath-a-bebop-moon/
    https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/typescript-draft-of-the-sadeian-woman-by-angela-carter
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/sep/02/unmastered-desire-katherine-angel-review

    This episode is sponsored by Alighieri 
    https://alighieri.co.uk/
    @alighieri_jewellery
    Use the code: TGWA for 10% off! 

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller)
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 39 min
    Lubaina Himid

    Lubaina Himid

    In episode 33 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the most groundbreaking, important, and influential artists working in the world today, the Turner-Prize winning artist, LUBAINA HIMID!!

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

    Known for working in painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, cut-outs, and installations, Himid paints onto a variety of surfaces from ceramic to wood which produce objects with performative potential intended to be encountered in a space. 

    A tireless champion of marginalised voices, Himid has dedicated her thirty-year-plus career to uncovering silenced histories, to valorise ‘the contribution Black people have made to cultural life in Europe for the past several hundred years’.

    Born in Zanzibar in 1954, Himid moved to Britain with her mother when she was just four months old. She studied Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art, and later Royal College of Art.

    In the 1980s, Lubaina became one of the LEADERS and TRAILBLAZERS of Britain’s Black Arts movement, curating three shows – which we disucss in depth.

    Living and work in Preston, she is a CBE, a Royal Academician, the winner of the 2017 Turner Prize, and a professor at the University of Central Lancashire; in the collection of the Tate, V&A, Whitworth, Walker Art Gallery, plus more; and has had solo exhibitions at the New Museum in New York, Tate St Ives, Chisenhale, and it has just been announced that Lubaina will have a major solo exhibition at Tate Modern in November 2021. 

    This is really one of the greatest conversations I have EVER had. I am completely in awe at Lubaina and her BRILLIANT work that remains more present than ever. I really hope you enjoy this episode.

    This episode is sponsored by Alighieri 
    https://alighieri.co.uk/
    @alighieri_jewellery
    Use the code: TGWA for 10% off! 

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller)
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Julie Curtiss

    Julie Curtiss

    In episode 32 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the phenomenal, Brooklyn-based artist, JULIE CURTISS!!

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

    One of the MOST exciting artists working today, Julie is known for her bold, graphic, highly stylised and Neo-Surrealist works of faceless and fragmented women, and food. Often swept up in an eerily dreamscape, her often cropped works allow us as viewers to interpret a world beyond what we are looking at. 

    Working in a myriad of mediums including painting, sculpture, and gouache on paper, Julie focuses on the relationship between nature and culture, as well as exposing and reworking female archetypes through motifs of flowing hair, long nails, and high heels. 

    Speaking about her work she has said: "In my images, I enjoy the complementarity of humour and darkness, the uncanny and the mundane, grotesque shapes and vivid colours."

    Born and raised in Paris, Curtiss studied at l'Ėcole des Beaux-Arts before moving first to Japan and then to New York. She is known for referencing 18th and 19th century French painting, as well as fusing together the pop-like imagery the Chicago Imagists, reminiscent of comic books and advertising. 

    But in a similar manner to the Post-Impressionist painters, she mines her subjects from contemporary, everyday life, representing and exposing its curious, small details in cropped and ambiguous compositions that are erotically charged, cinematic and dreamlike in feel. 

    I LOVED this HIGHLY fascinating conversation with Julie. In this episode we speak about her INCREDIBLE paintings, as well as her introduction to art through posters, her upbringing in France vs life in America, advertising, Jeff Koons, obsession with technologies entering our life, darkness in cinema, FOOD, the post-war era of the housewife, the constant upkeep of appearances for women, and MANY MORE!!

    Further reading:
    https://whitecube.com/artists/artist/julie_curtiss
    https://antonkerngallery.com/artists/julie_curtiss

    ENJOY!!

    WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
    Lateral Embrace 
    Orlando 
    Double Selfie MoMA
    Guests

    Further reading: 
    http://www.houldsworth.co.uk/exhibition-thumbnails/little-is-enough-for-those-in-love-1579801608/1
    https://www.goodman-gallery.com/artists/cassi-namoda

    This episode is sponsored by Alighieri 
    https://alighieri.co.uk/
    @alighieri_jewellery
    Use the code: TGWA for 10% off! 

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller)
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 44 min
    Cassi Namoda

    Cassi Namoda

    In episode 31 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the most exciting artists in the world right now, the great CASSI NAMODA!!

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

    WOW was it incredible to speak with the painter known for her vibrant and beautiful works that capture everyday scenes – from mundane moments to life-changing events of post-colonial Mozambique within an increasingly globalised world.

    Born in Maputo, and currently based in Long Island, NY, Cassi is a painter and performance artist who explores the intricacies of social dynamics and mixed cultural and racial identity.

    With the appearance of film stills, these fleeting snapshots sit within much larger narratives, and range from bustling, faceless crowds to close-up individual portraits.

    When confronted with one, they fill you with JOY with their vibrant colours and scenes full of love and appreciation, with the artist once remarking, “If you’re surrounded by love and community, you can make do with very little."

    I LOVED speaking with Cassi. In this episode we discuss her most recent exhibition "Little Is Enough For Those in Love" at Pippy Houldsworth in London – a show bursting with vitality, as well as exploring dualities between joy and pain; the storytelling aspect of her work and its cinematic influence; her experience growing up across continents and her aim to portray a post-independence Mozambique.

    ENJOY!!

    WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
    3 Month Old Lung Patient, 2019
    Untitled (Conjoined Twins), 2019
    Sad Man with Flowers, 2019
    Little Is Enough For Those in Love, 2019
    Costa Do Sol on Sunday Evening, 2019

    Further reading: 
    http://www.houldsworth.co.uk/exhibition-thumbnails/little-is-enough-for-those-in-love-1579801608/1
    https://www.goodman-gallery.com/artists/cassi-namoda

    This episode is sponsored by Alighieri 
    https://alighieri.co.uk/
    @alighieri_jewellery
    Use the code: TGWA for 10% off! 

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller)
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 39 min
    Briony Fer on Eva Hesse

    Briony Fer on Eva Hesse

    In episode 30 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the incredible art historian and curator, Professor Briony Fer, on the legendary EVA HESSE!!

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

    One of the most GROUNDBREAKING artists the world has ever seen, Eva Hesse was known for her innovative sculptures made up of synthetic materials from fibreglass, plastic, to latex. 

    Working predominantly in NYC in the 60s, despite a short-lived career, Eva worked rigorously and prolifically, challenging every sculptural convention which came before her. Particularly deconstructing the rigidity and uniformity of Minimalism. 

    A pioneering feminist artist, Hesse desired, in her own words, to “challenge the norms of beauty and order.” And that's exactly what she did. She explored the body and form, and painting and sculpture, like no one had before. She painted biomorphs with wonky grids, covered cheesecloths in latex, and celebrated materials for what they were in all their irregular glory. 

    Born to Jewish parents in Nazi Germany in 1936, Hesse's early life was traumatic. Where her extended family were horrifically transported to concentration camps, she, her sister and their parents fled to NYC, with her mother sadly committing suicide just a few years later. Hesse channelled her anxieties into her art making, studying under the likes of Josef Albers at Yale, and taking the NY art scene by storm when she was just in her late 20s and early 30s. Earning herself major solo exhibitions and critical acclaim at a time when female artists were widely overlooked, Hesse explored wonders before her premature death in 1970, aged just 34. She has since gone on to influence millions.

    This discussion with world-renowned art historian Briony Fer – an old tutor of mine from UCL!! – is one of my favourites ever. Briony speaks SO wonderfully about Eva and really goes into depth about who she was, and her fiercely experimental practice.

    I hope you enjoy!!!

    Highly recommend this fantastic documentary on Eva! https://www.evahessedoc.com/

    WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
    Accession
    https://www.dia.org/art/collection/object/accession-ii-47951
    Schema 
    https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/72573.html?mulR=601651032
    Drawings
    https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hesse-untitled-t04154
    Ringaround Arosie
    https://www.moma.org/collection/works/98638
    Vertiginous Detour
    https://hirshhorn.tumblr.com/post/141099084095/eva-hesse-vertiginous-detour-1966-hesse-was-a
    Untitled or Not Yet
    https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/97-513-a-i/
    Hang Up
    https://www.artic.edu/artworks/71396/hang-up
    Right After
    https://womennart.com/2018/02/21/right-after-by-eva-hesse/
    Repetition 19
    https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/eva-hesse-repetition-nineteen-iii-1968/

    This episode is sponsored by Alighieri 
    https://alighieri.co.uk/
    @alighieri_jewellery
    Use the code: TGWA for 10% off! 

    Follow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller)
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

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183 Ratings

183 Ratings

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