Hosted by Tim Gihring, "The Object" podcast explores the surprising, true stories behind museum objects, touching on immigration, race, and other issues. An object's view of us. (Produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Art)
Give and Take: The Weird, Wonderful Art of the Gift
From the gift of fire to Pandora’s Box to the original white elephant, the long history of giving is also the history of receiving—a relationship fraught with desire, dubious intentions, and occasional disaster. It’s a playful journey down a winding chimney: four stories about our need to present each other with presents.
You can see Man Ray’s “Cadeau,” discussed in this episode, here: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/5343/gift-man-ray And an evocative 1914 take on Pandora’s Box here: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/55113/pandoras-box-timothy-cole And a rather realistic perspective on the gift-bearing magi: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/1785/journey-of-the-magi-james-tissot
Shooting Back: The Photographer Who Unvanished
In the 1890s, B.A. Haldane sets up a photography studio in Alaska and begins documenting the vibrant life of his Tsimshian community—even as non-Native photographers like Edward Curtis are trekking to reservations, documenting what they believe is a "vanishing race.” Quietly contradicting a president and scientists steeped in theories of white supremacy and evolution, Haldane and others offer an alternative vision only now being rediscovered. A story of resistance and resilience and what we miss by seeing only through our own lens.
You can see the photography of Haldane and other Native artists in "In Our Hands: Native Photography, 1890 to Now," on view at Mia: https://new.artsmia.org/exhibition/in-our-hands-native-photography-1890-to-now
And read more about him in the work of Tsimshian scholar Mique’l Dangeli: https://www2.unbc.ca/sites/default/files/events/45874/public-presentation-miquel-dangeli-re-developing-work-b.a.haldane-19th-century-tsimshian-photography/2018-02-14-miqueldangeli-b.a.haldanephotography.pdf
Goodbye, Columbus: Frida and Diego's American Dream
In the fall of 1930, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera travel to the United States for the first time, welcomed as celebrity artists, ambassadors of an ancient and powerful Latin American identity. But as the months turn to years, can Rivera’s vision of one united Pan-America--and their young marriage--survive the pressures of politics, fame, temptation, cultural differences, and scandal?
You can see examples of Diego Rivera’s work, and that of other modernist Mexican artists, in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art: https://collections.artsmia.org/search/diego%20rivera
You can see Rivera’s San Francisco mural “Pan American Unity,” discussed on the show, here: https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibition/pan-american-unity/
You can see photos of Frida and Diego taking San Francisco by storm here: https://www.kqed.org/news/11848986/inside-frida-kahlo-and-diego-riveras-life-in-san-francisco
You can see (and read) Kahlo’s heartfelt letter to Rivera from a San Francisco hospital (“Diego, mi amor”) in the collection of the Smithsonian: https://www.si.edu/object/frida-kahlo-letter-diego-rivera%3AAAADCD_item_739
You can read about and see images from the SFMOMA’s excellent recent exhibition “Diego Rivera’s America” here: https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibition/diego-riveras-america/
Last and certainly not least, you can read some of the story “Queen of Montgomery Street,” written about Kahlo in San Francisco, also in the Smithsonian: https://www.si.edu/object/AAADCD_item_766
Water for Spirits: The Circus Star Who Became a Goddess
An ancient African water spirit, Portuguese slave traders, and a snake charmer traveling with the circus--incredibly, all of their stories collide in a narrative that spans centuries, continents, and the best and worst of human instincts. How do we find resilience among the wreckage? How do we shape the spirit world when this one has failed?
You can see the Mami Wata figure discussed in this episode in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/111879/mami-wata-figure-igbo
Finding Fanny: The Model Who Disappeared
She was one of the most recognizable women in the world, her long copper hair filling painting after painting, even if few people knew her name: Fanny Cornforth. Model, muse, and mistress to the most influential artists of the Victorian era, she still had to fight for everything she got. Until, in the end, she lost the one thing she could count on for sure: herself.
You can see Fanny in this 1868 painting, "I know a maiden fair to see," in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art: https://collections.artsmia.org/art/83645/i-know-a-maiden-fair-to-see-charles-edward-perugini
You can see the photograph mentioned in this episode--of Fanny, posing beside a mirror--here: http://www.rossettiarchive.org/docs/sa223.rap.html
Making Monet: The Invention of Genius
He rose from scorn and poverty to become one of the most beloved and wealthy artists in history—the original rebel with a cause, dedicated to showing the world a new way of seeing. But what if Claude Monet's real cause was...Claude Monet? What if his rise was fueled by marketing, myth, and money? Can we still love him anyway?
This rapidly became one of my favorites. I learned so much . Even if you don’t like art this will change your mind, give it a try!
I just recently discovered this podcast and LOVE it.
I have learned such interesting tidbits and facts behind art pieces!
I listen to podcasts while I walk and this has become a favorite!
Keep up the great job!
Easily the best podcasts in my queue
Incredibly fascinating bites of art history delivered in a warm, humorous, and empathetic deadpan that sometimes elides the depth of knowledge and experience the host brings to the show every time. Highly recommended and I’d love it if this were a weekly thing!