Join Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, as he talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work. Listen in as he engages these important thinkers in reflective and critical conversations about architecture, archaeology, art history, and museum exhibitions.
Fluxus, Change, and the Nature of Art
"Everything was made of the most familiar objects. It could’ve been taken off a desk or a kitchen counter or something, and put into action. They were inert, but their meaning wasn’t. I thought to myself, this isn’t art; it’s better."
In the early 1960s, artists from around the world practicing in wide-ranging disciplines—from music to dance, visual art to poetry—began to coalesce in a movement called Fluxus. Fluxus grew out of the absurdity of Dada, Surrealism, and Futurism, drawing inspiration from influential artists like Marcel Duchamp and John Cage. Although the movement ended in 1978 with the death of its founder, George Maciunas, its approach to artmaking continues to inspire artists today.
In this episode, art critic and Fluxus expert Peter Frank discusses the movement’s history and impact, sharing his personal engagement with Fluxus that began during his childhood in New York City. This conversation took place on the occasion of the Getty Research Institute’s exhibition Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown's Avant-Garde Archive, which is currently on view at the Getty Center through January 2, 2022.
For images, transcripts, and more, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/podcast-fluxus-change-and-the-nature-of-art/ or http://www.getty.edu/podcasts/
To explore the exhibition Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown's Avant-Garde Archive, visit https://www.getty.edu/research/exhibitions_events/exhibitions/fluxus/index.html
To buy the book Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown's Avant-Garde Archive, visit, https://shop.getty.edu/products/fluxus-means-change-jean-brown-s-avant-garde-archive-978-1606066621
Japanese Calligraphy Albums as/and Fragments
“To really read into the fragment that you have in front of you and to imagine the rest of what was the whole text is really romantic and an enjoyment of tekagami viewing.”
The rise of tea drinking ceremonies during the Edo period (1615–1868) brought about another new cultural phenomenon: calligraphy albums. Called tekagami, or “mirror of hands,” these albums showcase calligraphy by 8th-century emperors, famed poets, and other illustrious figures from Japan’s past. The calligraphic samples are often fragmentary, containing a few lines of classical poetry, Buddhist sutras, or snippets from personal texts such as diaries and letters. These fragments gain meaning not only from their content and form, but, importantly, from their arrangement on and within the pages of tekagami. In March 2021 the Getty Research Institute gathered together scholars to discuss this unique art form in a colloquium titled “Tekagami as/and Fragments.”
In this episode, the colloquium’s organizers, Akiko Walley, the Maude I. Kerns Associate Professor of Japanese Art at the University of Oregon, Eugene, and Edward Kamens, the Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies at Yale University, discuss the origins of tekagami, its place in Japanese art history, and avenues for future research into this fascinating medium.
For images, transcripts, and more, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/podcast-japanese-calligraphy-albums-as-and-fragments/ or http://www.getty.edu/podcasts/
To explore Yale’s Tekagami-jo album, visit https://tenthousandrooms.yale.edu/project/tekagami-jo-shou-jian-tie-project
To explore University of Oregon’s digital exhibition on fragmented calligraphy, visit https://glam.uoregon.edu/s/tekagami-kyogire/page/welcome
Riffing on Rubens in the Spanish Americas
“You could easily say ‘I can’t believe Rubens held such sway deep into the 18th century in Latin America as a touchpoint. Wow. That’s profound.’ But that, to me, is much less important than rethinking fundamental categories of picture making.”
One of the biggest influences on art in the Spanish Americas from the 16th through 18th centuries was Peter Paul Rubens. Although the renowned Flemish artist never traveled to the Americas himself, missionaries, merchants, and colonizers flooded the region with prints of his work. These images became the basis for large religious paintings and sculptures, but the resulting works have long been written off as mere copies and have received little critical attention. In his new book Rubens in Repeat: The Logic of the Copy in Colonial Latin America, Aaron M. Hyman explores how artists, particularly in Peru and Mexico, expanded on Rubens’s designs, creating their own inventive compositions.
In this episode, Hyman discusses his new framework for understanding copies and improvisation in Spanish colonial art. He also explains how studying art in Latin America sheds new light on European works of the period. Hyman is an assistant professor of art history at Johns Hopkins University.
For images, transcripts, and more, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/podcast-riffing-on-rubens/ or http://www.getty.edu/podcasts/
To buy the book, visit https://shop.getty.edu/products/rubens-in-repeat-the-logic-of-the-copy-in-colonial-latin-america-978-1606066867
Edmund de Waal’s Letters to Camondo
“When you pick an object up, not only do you begin to understand how it was made, it’s facture, the people who made it, but you can also, I think, begin to start to tell the story about the people whose hands it was in.”
Prominent Jewish banker and art collector Moise de Camondo settled in Paris in the 1870s and quickly began amassing the signifiers of wealth around him—a beautiful home, fine furniture, and artistic masterpieces. But after his only son, Nissim, was killed fighting for France in World War I, Moise decided to bequeath his house and its luxurious contents to the state in his son’s honor. The home became a museum, preserving the family’s name alongside the furnishings and art just as he had left them. Sadly, the anti-Semitism raging across Europe deeply impacted the museum and the Camondo family—Moise’s only surviving relatives were murdered at Auschwitz just a few years after the museum opened.
In Letters to Camondo, ceramicist and author Edmund de Waal retraces the story of Moise de Camondo through imaginary letters written to the collector. In this episode, de Waal discusses Camondo’s story, its intersections with de Waal’s own history, and the emotional weight that objects can carry.
For images, transcripts, and more, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/podcast-edmund-de-waals-letters-to-camondo/ or getty.edu/podcasts.
To buy the book, visit https://shop.getty.edu/products/letters-to-camondo.
To listen to the related podcast episode featuring de Waal, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/audio-edmund-de-waal-on-the-white-road/.
New Narratives by LA Photographers of All Ages
“Photography, historically, has been used to pin people of color in a particular location to a particular identity or stereotype, and the artists in this exhibition work to unpin that.”
Photography is a uniquely accessible and flexible medium today, encompassing everything from cell-phone snapshots to large-format negatives, from formal studio sets to casual selfies. Nonetheless, photographs of people of color have historically played on negative stereotypes and fixed identities. In the exhibition Photo Flux: Unshuttering LA, 35 Los Angeles–based artists—primarily artists of color—shake up the field, highlighting their personal narratives, aesthetics, and identities. Curated by jill moniz, the exhibition also includes works by young artists who participated in the Getty Unshuttered program. Getty Unshuttered is an educational photo-sharing platform that teaches photography fundamentals, builds community, and encourages high school students to use the medium as a tool for self-expression and social change. It also offers resources for teachers.
In this episode, guest curator jill moniz discusses the ideas behind the exhibition Photo Flux and looks closely at some of its key works. Getty head of education Keishia Gu then delves into the three-year-old Getty Unshuttered program. Photo Flux: Unshuttering LA is on view at the Getty Center through October 10, 2021.
For images, transcripts, and more, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/podcast-new-narratives-by-la-photographers-of-all-ages/ or getty.edu/podcasts.
To explore the exhibition, visit https://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/photo_flux/
To learn about Unshuttered, visit https://www.unshuttered.org/
To learn about Bokeh Focus, visit https://bokehfocus.org/
To learn about Amplifier, visit https://community.amplifier.org/campaign/in-pursuit-of/
A Walk in Robert Irwin’s Getty Garden
“He often said is that this was a garden not for the visitors. He was happy if visitors enjoyed it; it was a garden for the people who worked here, who every single day, would see the slight changes and would have a seasonal experience.”
The largest work of art at the Getty Center is located outside the galleries—the Central Garden, designed by artist Robert Irwin. The garden stretched Irwin’s understanding of what art could be; it is alive and changing with every passing moment. In the nearly 25 years since the garden opened in 1997, Getty’s gardeners and horticulturalists have worked tirelessly to execute Irwin’s original vision. This involves constantly evaluating the health of plants, whether the breeds are well suited to their locations, which plants have reached the end of their life, and how to manicure large plants to maintain a sense of openness.
First in this episode, Lawrence Weschler discusses artist Robert Irwin’s approach to art and the Central Garden. Weschler is the author of Getty Publications’ Robert Irwin Getty Garden, a series of conversations between the author and the artist. Next, Getty head of grounds and gardens Brian Houck and horticulturalist Jackie Flor walk through the garden, explaining the wide array of plantings and sculptural features as well as how the caretakers enact Irwin’s vision.
For images, transcripts, and more, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/podcast-a-walk-in-robert-irwins-getty-garden/ or getty.edu/podcasts.
To buy the book, visit https://shop.getty.edu/products/robert-irwin-getty-garden-revised-edition-978-1606066560.
Fast becoming my favorite
Great show. Love the format and varied guests and topics. Episode 125 on Plunder of Chinese artifacts was just superb. Keep up the good work!
It was disappointing that the house that Paul Williams designed and built in 1952 for Fred Roberts in solstice Canyon, Malibu was not mentioned. Ruins of the house are still there. Curious as to why this house was not mentioned
10/10 as an artTeacher THANK YOU
This is awesome. I’m so grateful to have such an interesting, beautifully thoughtful podcast to expand my knowledge for myself and for my students. Thank you!