Hosted by Tim Gihring, "The Object" podcast explores the strange and wonderful true stories behind museum objects, touching on immigration, race, and other issues. An object's view of history. (Produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Art)
Monsters and Marvels Part I: The Magic Shell
From narwhals to nautilus shells, dragon eggs to mermaid hands, the obsession with oddities in the Age of Discovery may seem, well, odd. But did the study of outliers, in the early version of museums, help make us the rational creatures we are today?
See the nautilus shell cup from this episode here: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/111675/nautilus-shell-cup-germany
The Animalier: Rosa Bonheur's Wild Kingdom
The animalier artists love lions and tigers and bears — anything with teeth and no business being in Paris in the 1800s. No one more than Rosa Bonheur, the smoking, joking, pants-wearing painter who becomes a celebrity, the most famous female artist of her time, by embracing the very things men fear most.
You can see one of her lion prints here: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/10491/royalty-at-home-rosa-bonheur
And her painter's palette, charmingly adorned with a deer: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/4483/palette-rosa-bonheur
Romancing the Stone: The Secret of the Chac Mool
A mysterious stone sculpture, supposedly found in Mexico, is hailed as a Chac Mool, the iconic Mayan vessel of human sacrifice. It tours Europe as a masterpiece of ancient Mesoamerican art. It's featured in magazines and books. But a surprising discovery suddenly begs the question: What is it really?
See the Chac Mool for yourself here: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/17203/chacmool-maya
Unspeakable Love: The Rebel Who Went Too Far
Simeon Solomon is a young gay art star in the Victorian era. But when scandal threatens his career, offering a cautionary tale to men like Oscar Wilde, he must choose between his livelihood and his identity.
Incredibly, Mia has two works by Solomon in its collection, acquired in the 1960s when Solomon had been all but erased from art history. You can see them here: https://collections.artsmia.org/search/Simeon%20Solomon
Bohemian Rhapsody: The Myth of the Starving Artist
Long before Vincent van Gogh died young, poor, and under-appreciated, artists had gotten the message: you have to suffer for your art. But where did this template of the starving artist come from? And is there any truth to it or is it a myth, a romantic misreading of how great art is made?
Here's Vincent van Gogh's "Olive Trees," from 1889, a year before his death, when he was in treatment in St-Rémy in southern France: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/1218/olive-trees-vincent-van-gogh
Spirited Away: The Incredible Ghosts of Yoshitoshi
Yoshitoshi is poised to be the greatest artist of the Floating World, the semi-fictional universe of sex and style in old Japan. But when Japan opens to the West, in the 1850s, Yoshitoshi struggles to adapt. And the ghosts he conjures become colorful symbols of a vanishing way of life.
If you're an anime enthusiast, a fan of old Japan, or just into beguiling beauty wherever you find it, you're going to love Yoshitoshi. Find him here: https://collections.artsmia.org/search/Yoshitoshi
Customer ReviewsSee All
Always interesting and informative
One of my favorite art history podcasts!
A joy to listen to
Playful, thoughtful and elegant, The Object always leaves me with a new appreciation for the stories behind the social and cultural history of art. A model for history podcasts.
I so enjoy this podcast. The information and the way it’s presented brings these objects to life. My only complaint is that it’s such a long wait between episodes. More please!