90 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 • 272 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.

    Marina Abramović

    Marina Abramović

    In this very special BONUS EPISODE of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the most renowned artists alive today, Marina Abramović.

    *BOOK NEWS!* I have written a book! Order The Story of Art without Men here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-story-of-art-without-men/katy-hessel/9781529151145

    **This episode is brought to you by Alighieri jewellery: www.alighieri.com – use the code "The Artist is Present" at checkout for 15% off!**

    The “grandmother” of Performance Art, Marina Abramovic has been instrumental in pioneering the genre as a visual art form for the last five decades – a genre defined by risk taking; being present; a state of mind; emptying yourself; and connecting the energies with the surrounding public.

    Born in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia in 1946, to communist hero parents, Marina Abramović experienced a strict upbringing. Until the age of 29, she was under a curfew of 10 o’clock – resulting in the artist running away a few months later.

    Since the beginning of her career in the 1970s, Marina Abramović has stretched the limits of the body and mind as both object and subject. Early works include Rhythm 0 (1974), where she became an object of experimentation for the audience – laying out 72 objects, including a pistol, and stating they could be used on her as desired; or Rhythm 5 (1974), where she lay in the centre of a burning five-point star. She has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation.

    Never slowing down, in 1997 she won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for a work that commented on war in Yugoslavia, and in 2010, she took over MoMA for The Artist is Present, where she sat motionless in a chair for eight hours a day – the show broke records, attracting 850,000 visitors.

    In 2012, she founded the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), a non-profit foundation for performance art, and has since exhibited at the world’s most prestigious institutions, earning her a global following. And in 2023, she will be the first woman to have a solo exhibition in the main galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

    TODAY Marina Abramović launches The Hero 25FPS – @artistispresent / NFT.CIRCA.ART

    For her first performance launching today on the blockchain, Marina Abramović revisits one of her most personal and autobiographical works ‘The Hero (2001)’ to present in collaboration with The Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Art (CIRCA) this digital exploration of time, immateriality and audience participation. Filmed at 25 frames per second, never before seen footage has been separated into 6,500 unique frames to create The Hero 25FPS, a genesis NFT collection by the warrior of performance art.

    A call for today’s new heroes! Upon completion of THE HERO 25FPS, Marina Abramović, @nadyariot (Pussy Riot) and CIRCA will award a series of Hero Grants to people working within Web3 who demonstrate a desire to make the world a better place.

    ENJOY!!!

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 52 min
    Caroline Bourgeois on Marlene Dumas

    Caroline Bourgeois on Marlene Dumas

    In episode 88, and the SEASON FINALE of Season 7 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the esteemed curator, Caroline Bourgeois on MARLENE DUMAS!

    *BOOK NEWS!* I have written a book! Order The Story of Art without Men here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-story-of-art-without-men/katy-hessel/9781529151145

    **This episode is brought to you by Alighieri jewellery: www.alighieri.com | use the code TGWA20 at checkout for 20% off!••

    A painter of the face, the figure and the human psyche and form, Marlene Dumas is one of the most influential painters alive today. Collecting raw emotion and translating it visually onto the canvas through paint, Dumas derives her work from second hand images. In turn, she creates internal portraits that trigger every sense in your body.

    Contradictory and complex, verging on the sublime and full of seduction, they are also enveloped in pain. Made without any prior studies, she holds a feeling, an emotion, movement and life in the second of the moment. Although her figures are still, it is like they are moving, and although they are immortalised, it is like they are breathing. I couldn't be more excited to say that she is the artist who we will be discussing today with Caroline Bourgeois, the curator of "Marlene Dumas: Open––End” at Palazzo Grassi in VENICE!!

    https://www.palazzograssi.it/en/exhibitions/current/open-end-marlene-dumas/

    I was astonished going round this exhibition at Palazzo Grassi. I have seen a few works in the flesh by Dumas, but walking around, it was electrifying. Not only do these paintings pulsate with colour and exude sensuality, but they appear full of motion. Dumas captures this raw, internal human emotion that is at once full of strength but vulnerability. Not existing in any physical space, her works teeter on the threshold between life and death, internal and the external… It is like they are memories that are familiar, protective, but also ghoulish and haunting.

    LIST OF PAINTINGS DISCUSSED HERE:
    https://www.palazzograssi.it/site/assets/files/9808/guide_marlene-dumas_eng.pdf

    ENJOY!!!

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 41 min
    Antonia Showering

    Antonia Showering

    In episode 87 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the very brilliant young painter, ANTONIA SHOWERING!!!

    *BOOK NEWS!* I have written a book! Order The Story of Art without Men here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-story-of-art-without-men/katy-hessel/9781529151145

    Acclaimed for her richly layered paintings of family, friends, lovers and more that occupy spaces between reality and surreality, memory and imagination, Antonia Showering paints her subjects full of conviction and full of emotion.

    Layered with narratives of, in her words, ‘stacked recollections’, her paintings can appear at once haunting and ethereal, ghoulish yet protective, and although they are personal to her, they can speak for us all. Infused with both an acidic and muted colour palette, with thick impasto and washy strokes, Antonia’s paintings deal with universal subjects on a personal level.

    Speaking about the canvas, she has said:
    “I see the canvas as a physical space where feelings of belonging or displacement, love or loneliness, intergenerational memory, superstitions and regrets can be turned into something visual and shared with the viewer.”

    Born in London, and raised in Somerset, to an English father and Swiss-Chinese mother, Antonia’s upbringing, family and heritage play central roles in her work.

    Having completed her foundation year at Chelsea, her BA at City and Guilds, and then her MFA at the Slade School of Art, Antonia, in just a few years, has become one of the most exciting young painters of her generation. Featured in exhibitions at Stephen Friedman Gallery and TJ Boulting, New Contemporaries and of course The Great Women Artists Residency at Palazzo Monti, Antonia recently had her first solo exhibition at Timothy Taylor which was met with acclaim.

    ENJOY!!!

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 46 min
    Susan Weininger on Gertrude Abercrombie

    Susan Weininger on Gertrude Abercrombie

    In episode 86 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the esteemed scholar Susan Weininger on the surrealist sensation, GERTRUDE ABERCROMBIE!!!

    Gertrude Abercrombie (1909–1977) was a formative contributor to mid-century American painting. Based in Chicago, Abercrombie was a surrealist painter and self-dubbed ‘queen of bohemia'.

    Working independently from the Surrealist group in Europe, Abercrombie spent most of her life immersed in the Chicago jazz scene. With a penchant for cats, crescent and full moons, sinister desert-like landscapes that feature as paintings in bleak, cold interiors, stairs that lead to nowhere or a series of rhythmically coloured doors, Abercrombie forged a unique style, and presented her sometimes postage-stamp-sized paintings in flamboyant frames.

    Painting some of the most innovative, surrealist, haunting, eerie, bizarre and brilliant, paintings I’ve ever seen – whether they be slightly larger landscapes with moons, cats, doors, or stairs to nowhere, or miniscule paintings of portraits, domestic scenes or still-lifes, or levitating bodies with limbs floating in the air – Abercrombie's works are utterly fascinating.

    ENJOY!!!

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 44 min
    Patricia Albers on Tina Modotti

    Patricia Albers on Tina Modotti

    In episode 85 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the esteemed writer Patricia Albers on TINA MODOTTI!

    Tina Modotti (1896–1942) was a trailblazer. Born in Italy, she found herself at the centre of Hollywood in the 1920s, the post-Revolution era of Mexico, in the midst of Communism with the Muralists, the latter of which she captured through raw images, using her camera - her tool - to engage with political and social issues.

    Nothing short of a revolutionary, Modotti documented the spirit of era. Her own life was never far from drama. Raised in Italy, in1913 she migrated to the US to join her father. Adored for her striking looks, she soon began work as a model, then an actor, starring ina string of Hollywood silent films. 

    Taking up photography, in 1923she moved to Mexico City to join the cultural avant-garde and experimented with intimate, hazy studies of close-up wilted flowers and light-filled architectural environments – some of the earliest examples of abstraction in photography. 

    As the 1920s progressed, and her involvement in the Communist movement deepened (officially joining the party in 1927), Modotti turned her lens towards social documentary, photographing empathetic, yet I think triumphant, portraits of locals and labourers, and took her camera to anti-fascist, leftist rallies (with friends Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera). 

    However, following the assassination of her then-lover, the Cubist revolutionary Julio Antonio Mella, she was forced to leave Mexico and abandon photography entirely. Fleeing Mexico for WeimarBerlin, Soviet Russia and then Spain, in 1939 she returned to MexicoCity, but died three years later in the back of a taxi... Some still question the cause of her death, viewing it with suspicion due to her ardently leftist politics!!!! 

    ONE OF THE GREATEST STORIES IN ART HISTORY! ENJOY!

    Patricia is the author of Shadows, Fire, Snow: The Life of Tina Modotti and curator of the formerly travelling exhibition, Tina Modotti and the Mexican Renaissance, a show and a book focussing on one of the greatest photographers of the early twentieth century: Tina Modotti.
    F
    ollow us:
    Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
    Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
    Research assistant: Viva Ruggi
    Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
    Music by Ben Wetherfield

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 51 min
    Marina Warner on Kiki Smith and Helen Chadwick

    Marina Warner on Kiki Smith and Helen Chadwick

    In episode 84 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the historian, mythographer, critic and novelist MARINA WARNER on Kiki Smith and Helen Chadwick!!!

    A writer of fiction and cultural history, with a special focus on myths and fairy tales and the role of women, Marina Warner is one of the leading art writers, and in the past few years published an extensive collection of essays in Forms of Enchantment: Writings on Art and Artists. This incredible book, exploring discussions on myths, transformation, and alchemy, includes texts on the two artists we will discuss today: Kiki Smith and the late, great British artist, Helen Chadwick.

    Kiki Smith (b.1954) is an American artist who works across tapestry, sculpture and more, exploring ideas of mythology and regeneration. Inspired by the changes in the seasons and her own perception of animals as they change throughout the year, in her work, Smith addresses the social and spiritual aspects of human nature. Fusing images of medieval folklore with mysticism, Smith’s work blends the earthly and the fantastic, and deals with the fragility of life as well as drawing us to the details of our own ecosystem. 

    Helen Chadwick (c.1953–1996) was a feminist pioneer. One of the first women artists to be nominated for the Turner Prize, Chadwick was known for challenging stereotypical perceptions of the body in unconventional forms. Reinventing what a female nude could be in her work, her famous works include Ego Geometria Sum (https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/chadwick-ego-geometria-sum-the-labours-i-x-74215) and The Oval Court, part of the installation 'Of Mutability'. Chadwick had used the a range of dead animals in the installation and used the scanner of the photocopier to position the animals in animated poses as if in life. She used a blue pigment toner in this work to suggest other physical spaces such as the sea (https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1032036/the-oval-court-sphere-chadwick-helen/)

    ENJOY!

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

    https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
272 Ratings

272 Ratings

marias616 ,

Great podcast

Timely, informative and interesting fun.

Tpdnc ,

This is one of the best podcasts about art

I’ve been listening to this podcast for about a year; I found it through The Great Women Artists Instagram account and I couldn’t be more pleased. Katy Hessel asks intelligent questions and really knows her material. Responses elicit a back and forth conversation, not just people answering questions. And no pretension, there is real enjoyment. I know a fair amount about art, but I always learn something. Thanks.

tapecase ,

I love listening to these conversations

This is a wonderful podcast with a very inspiring and transformative discussion. Every episode is filled with an empathetic discussion of artists and artworks. I think it is important to talk with artists. I am very grateful for this show. Entertaining, evocative, and thought provoking, The Great Women Artists is a personal favorite of my weekly listening.

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