This audio series offers entertaining, informative discussions about the arts and events at the National Gallery of Art. These podcasts give access to special Gallery talks by well-known artists, authors, curators, and historians. Included in this podcast listing are established series: The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series, The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture in Italian Art, Elson Lecture Series, A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Conversations with Artists Series, Conversations with Collectors Series, and Wyeth Lectures in American Art Series. Download the programs, then visit us on the National Mall or at www.nga.gov, where you can explore many of the works of art mentioned. New podcasts are released every Tuesday.
Elson Lecture Series 2020: Mary Kelly
Mary Kelly, artist and Judge Widney Professor in the Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California, in conversation with Shelley Langdale, curator and head of modern prints and drawings, National Gallery of Art. Mary Kelly is a conceptual artist and writer who lives and works in Los Angeles. For four decades she has explored ideas concerning identity, sexuality, history, and memory through large-scale narrative installations. Kelly has been a central figure in discussions of feminism in art, and her practice incorporates the personal residue and material processes of daily life that inform her political reflections. Kelly, who was engaged in feminist theory and the women’s movement, began her critique of conceptualism after moving to London in 1968, at the height of the student movements and civil unrest throughout Europe. Her ground-breaking series Post-Partum Document (1973-1979), which explores the intimate relationship between a mother and her child, caused a media frenzy when it opened at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1976. In the 1990s, Kelly turned to issues surrounding war, which led to her investigation of the nature of collective memory. During this time, she developed the innovative medium of compressed lint with embedded text that she used to create My James (2008), which the National Gallery of Art acquired in 2018. This outsized postcard (measuring nearly seven feet wide) is from a suite of three, each addressed to one of the American civils rights workers—James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner—whom the Ku Klux Klan murdered in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. On June 15, 2020, during the Gallery’s annual Elson Lecture, Kelly presented an overview of her career and discussed her artistic practice with Shelley Langdale. This presentation was recorded early in the pandemic, which impacted the audio quality.
Rajiv Vaidya Memorial Lecture 2020: Julie Dash and the L.A. Rebellion: Architects of the Impossible
American film director, writer, and producer Julie Dash is a member of the L.A. Rebellion, a generation of African and African American artists who studied at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. These young filmmakers crafted a new Black cinema—an alternative to the classical Hollywood canon. Dash discusses her early life in New York City and her involvement with the art and politics of filmmaking through her association with the Studio Museum of Harlem, a connection that ultimately led to her participation in the L.A. Rebellion. Her 1991 feature Daughters of the Dust, a fictionalized retelling of her father’s Gullah family roots, became the first full-length film directed by an African American woman to obtain general theatrical release in the United States.
The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art 2020: Telling the Past Differently: Italian Renaissance Art in the Hands of the Beholder
In this lecture, released on October 30, 2020, Megan Holmes of the University of Michigan discusses the handled surfaces of panel paintings. Collections of Italian Renaissance panel paintings were in many cases assembled through a process of connoisseurial evaluation. The National Gallery of Art collection is no exception: a number of the paintings passed that evaluative scrutiny in spite of surface damage in the form of intentional scratches—noted in later conservation reports as “vandalism.” Defacement and disfiguration are, in fact, fairly common features of panel paintings, but they are rarely mentioned in art-historical accounts. The paintings, once installed in religious, domestic, and civic spaces in Renaissance Italy, were acted upon and transformed by the people who encountered and used them in their daily lives. The recovery of representational scratches provides a timely opportunity to tell the history of Italian Renaissance art differently, revealing the complex earlier “lives” of paintings in the hands of beholders.
2020 Summer Lecture Series: Staycation: Modern Masters of the French Riviera
David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art The 2020 summer series of lectures presented by the education division explores the theme of Staycation. Many of us may be spending this summer close to home, but we can still dream and learn about beautiful places. In these talks, Gallery lecturers will present a tour of six of the world’s great cities. Few regions of Europe can rival the French Riviera’s combination of magical light, mild climate, colorful landscapes, and living history. Long a magnet for foreign artists—including Monet, Renoir, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, and Chagall—the Côte d’Azur and its scenery, people, and traditions have inspired some of modern art’s most iconic paintings and sculptures. In this lecture, recorded on DAY, 2020, senior lecturer David Gariff discusses the historical significance and impact of the French Riviera on 20th-century art, examining the inspiration artists found in locations such as Nice, Saint-Tropez, and Collioure.
2020 Summer Lecture Series: Staycation: Milan: A Tale of Two Cities
David Gariff, senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art. The 2020 summer series of lectures presented by the education division explores the theme of Staycation. Many of us may be spending this summer close to home, but we can still dream and learn about beautiful places. In these talks, Gallery lecturers will present a tour of six of the world’s great cities. Milan, Italy, is very much a tale of two cities—one that looks back to an illustrious past, while the other celebrates its present and reinvents itself for the future. In this lecture, recorded on DAY, 2020, senior lecturer David Gariff presents a survey of the city’s rich history and explores some of its contributions to politics, economics, religion, art, literature, music, architecture, fashion, and design. Milan’s native-born and temporary residents included at various times Saint Ambrose, Leonardo da Vinci, and Giuseppe Verdi, to name only a few. In 2020, Milan announced an ambitious scheme to carry the city into a new future, stressing sustainability and the reimagining of urban living in a post-pandemic world. This talk examines the dynamic city, from its ancient roots through its contemporary style.
Blurred Identities: The Art and Audience of Lynching Photography
Terence Washington, departments of academic programs and modern art, National Gallery of Art Between the late 19th and the mid-20th centuries, white Americans conducted thousands of lynchings, using these extrajudicial killings to intimidate non-whites and mete out what they considered to be justice. Increasingly, photographs were taken of lynchings and spectators and were distributed to extend the effect of the mobs’ violent tactics. A 1930 photograph by Lawrence Beitler (1885–1960) of a lynching in Marion, Indiana, inspired the song “Strange Fruit” and contributed to the anti-lynching movement in the United States. Terence Washington examines the photograph and the events surrounding the lynching, taking the blurry figure in the photograph’s foreground as a point of departure to discuss the mechanisms of American white supremacy.