103 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 • 5 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.

    Nellie Scott on Sister Mary Corita

    Nellie Scott on Sister Mary Corita

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, to end this season, we interview Nellie Scott, Director of the Corita Art Center in California, on SISTER MARY CORITA!

    Sister Mary Corita Kent is the legendary Los Angeles icon, pop artist, activist, nun, and educator, known for her prints and posters filled with luminous block colours and text that reflected her concerns about poverty, racism, and war, and which are filled with messages of peace and social justice.

    Born in 1918 to a working class Catholic family in Iowa, when the Corita was five she moved with her family to Hollywood. In 1936, aged 18, Corita graduated from the Los Angeles Catholic Girls’ High School and entered the religious order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary where she took the name Sister Mary Corita (where she went on to head up the art dept!) 

    Corita's work ranges from figurative and religious to incorporating advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics and passages from the Bible. In the ‘60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and injustice. She was a groundbreaker and considered by many to be at the front of the Pop Art movement ~ whilst also teaching (and being a nun!) full time. 

    Reappropriating symbols for a spiritual message, such as Aeroplanes for guardian angels; Wonder Bread as the eucharist; Corita's art gained attention for its ability to find joy in the everyday. She infused pop elements into her work, and throughout the ‘60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider the social injustices of the time.

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    LINKS:

    Ten Rules Audio Project with Dublab Radio here: https://www.corita.org/tenrules
    Ten Rules Chronicle Book (April 2023) here: https://www.chroniclebooks.com/products/new-rules-next-week
    Baylis Glascock film here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hRjih1uLmampB8DI2s2n4Nup7i3Pmacc/view
    Thomas Conrad film here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vBcaCDRMLRAINXBYVDP3TyJmt2IL5fOD/view
    Rebel hearts doc on IHC here: https://www.rebelheartsfilm.com/

    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/

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

    • 47 min
    Tere Arcq on Remedios Varo

    Tere Arcq on Remedios Varo

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, for the very special 100th EPISODE, we interview art historian and leading curator of Surrealist and feminist art in Mexico and beyond, Tere Arcq on REMEDIOS VARO!

    Born in Spain, and raised in a strict Catholic schooling – from which she rebelled – Varo, in 1937, moved to Paris to join the Surrealists. After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and unable to return to her home country, Varo, by 1941, escaped to Mexico. It was here where she found refuge, befriending the likes of Leonora Carrington and Kati Horna, and made the most extraordinary and meticulous paintings.

    Often exploring alchemy and magic, her paintings tend to focus on a single, isolated figure in an otherworldly realm. With striking features – allegedly based on her own looks – her protagonists, often female, appear like hybridised creatures. One of my favorites is (image 1) – The Call, from 1961, presents a woman, holding a pestle and mortar, walking through a corridor of tree-like figures who meditavely loom by the side, emphasising the sounds of silence, an aura of mystery, and the idea of practising something in secret!

    Whenever I see a painting by Remedios Varo, I feel transfixed by their mystical and metaphysical atmosphere. They are meticulously rendered - almost renaissance-like - works of these women who seem to be trapped in towers, on a quest to reach a higher state of consciousness or living in another surrealist world. They are at once haunting, mesmeric, glowing and magical.

    A professor in art history based in Mexico City, Tere Arcq has been the Chief Curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico and has curated exhibitions on women surrealists around the world. In 2012 she curated In Wonderland: The Adventures of Women Surrealists LACMA in addition to exhibitions at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec and here in the UK where she was a co-curator of the 2010 exhibition Surreal Friends: Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna at Pallant House gallery.

    With more curatorial projects in the pipeline, very excitingly, Tere is a co-curator of the upcoming retrospective at the Chicago Art Institute for summer 2023 on the artist we are very excitingly talking about today, the Surrealist Remedios Varo. 

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    2021 New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/24/obituaries/remedios-varo-overlooked.html 

    NMWA biography: https://nmwa.org/art/artists/remedios-varo/ 

    2000 New York Times on her scientific interest: https://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/11/science/scientific-epiphanies-celebrated-on-canvas.html 

    Artnews: https://www.artnews.com/feature/who-is-remedios-varo-and-why-is-she-important-1234574762/ 

    Website with all her works: https://totallyhistory.com/remedios-varo-paintings/

    Guardian review of Pallant House exhibitions Surreal Friends with Leonora Carrington and Kati Horna https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/18/surrealist-muses-who-roared-mexico

    Eyes on the table (1938) https://totallyhistory.com/remedios-varo-paintings/

    Harmony (1956)https://usaartnews.com/auctions/the-mystical-scene-by-spanish-surrealist-remedios-varo-set-a-world-record

    The Juggler (The Magician), (1956)https://www.moma.org/collection/works/291307 Audio guide: https://www.moma.org/audio/playlist/296/3792

    Celestial Pablum (1958)
    https://brooklynrail.org/2017/10/criticspage/Hidden-Figures 

    Triptych: Towards the Tower (1961) Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle (1961) The Escape (1962)https://www.gallerywendinorris.com/artists-collection/remedios-varo https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/24/obituaries/remedios-varo-overlooked.html

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    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

    • 42 min
    Mary Beard on Classical Women (100th episode special!)

    Mary Beard on Classical Women (100th episode special!)

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, for the very special 100th EPISODE, we interview one of the world’s leading cultural commentators and most important voices in Classics, Professor Dame MARY BEARD!!

    A specialist in Roman history and art, Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Newnham College, where she has been since 1984. She is also Professor of Ancient Literature at the Royal Academy, Classics editor of the TLS and a Fellow of the British Academy and International Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    One of the most important writers of our age, Mary Beard has written groundbreaking scholarship, books, documentaries and articles on the subject such as The Parthenon, Pompeii: Life in a Roman Town, Laughter in Ancient Rome, and SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, And more recently, Women and Power: A Manifesto and Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern about Roman Emperors in Renaissance and later art, two books which shifted my understanding of the perception and role of women in society today and the nature of power in our Western word … and I couldn’t be more honoured to have her on for this very special episode of the Great Women Artists Podcast.

    In this episode we discuss the women artists in the ancient world, the perception of women from ancient times to the present day – looking at Livia, Melassina, Agrippina, and Cleopatra – and the effect of the depictions of women from the ancient world – Venus, Medusa, Athena, Lilith – and how they filter into society today.

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    Twelve Caesars (2021): https://www.waterstones.com/book/twelve-caesars/mary-beard/9780691222363

    Women & Power (2017): https://www.waterstones.com/book/women-and-power/professor-mary-beard/9781788160612

    Lecture by Mary Beard on women of the 12 Caesars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB7W0UzVP24

    Edmonia Lewis The Death of Cleopatra (completed 1876)
    https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/death-cleopatra-33878

    Detail from The House of the Surgeon, a panelled painting in Pompeii (c.50-79 AD) - shows a woman in front of a painted canvas holding a paintbrush and mixing her paints:
    https://www.theancientartblog.com/post/women-painters-in-antiquity

    Women artists in antiquity:
    https://www.theancientartblog.com/post/women-painters-in-antiquity

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    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

    • 47 min
    Jerry Saltz on Gillian Wearing, Tracey Emin, Kara Walker (and more!)

    Jerry Saltz on Gillian Wearing, Tracey Emin, Kara Walker (and more!)

    THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview one of the most well-known and prominent art critics of the 21st century, JERRY SALTZ on various artists including Gillian Wearing, Tracey Emin, and Kara Walker!

    Since the 1990s, Saltz has been an indispensable cultural voice and has attracted an enormous following of contemporary readers. 

    Only beginning to write at around 40 when he was still a long-haul truck driver, Saltz is now the senior art critic for New York magazine and its entertainment site Vulture. In 2018 he won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and had twice been nominated when he was the art critic for The Village Voice between 1998 and 2007. 

    He has spoken at the likes of MoMA, the Guggenheim, as well as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the RISD +  is the bestselling author of How to be an Artist published in 2020 which provides invaluable insight into what is really important for up and coming artists from originality to persistence, and self-belief. 

    But, the reason we are talking with Jerry today is because on the first of November, Jerry published his next book, Art is Life: Icons & Iconoclasts, Visionaries & Vigilantes, & Flashes of Hope in the Night which is collection of his writings from 1999 to 2021 and surveys the ups and downs of the time between 9/11 and the Pandemic through the lens of visionary artists shaping how we see art today. 

    ENJOY!!

    LINKS:

    Jerry's Instagram: 
    https://www.instagram.com/jerrysaltz/?hl=en 

    Jerry's Twitter: 
    https://twitter.com/jerrysaltz?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor 

    Jerry's writing for New York magazine: 
    https://nymag.com/author/jerry-saltz/ 

    How to Be an Artist (2020): 
    https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612484/how-to-be-an-artist-by-jerry-saltz/#:~:text=From%20the%20first%20sparks%20of,of%20qualities%2C%20self%2Dbelief. 

    Art is Life (2022): 
    https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612485/art-is-life-by-jerry-saltz/9780593086490/ 

    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/

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

    • 50 min
    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/

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    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

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

anushareflects ,

Love this podcast so so much

This is one of my absolute favourite podcasts. Katy does such a fantastic job with her research and she’s honestly doing God’s work by sharing more women artists. The guests she brings on too are fantastic. Overall I love this so much.

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