With commercial galleries set to reopen on 12 April and public museums hoping to welcome guests from 17 May, there is light at the end of the tunnel for art enthusiasts who are longing to return to galleries across the country. In the meantime, a number of art podcasts, both new and well-established, are available to offer an audial alternative to the in-person art experience. From the celebration of women in Katy Hessel’s The Great Women Artists to Russell Tovey’s highly entertaining interviews with leading cultural figures in Talk Art, these are the art podcasts to listen to now.
Established by art collector Russell Tovey and gallerist/former band frontman Robert Diament in 2018 with the goal to make art accessible, each episode inspires a passion for art through a series of insightful interviews. Featuring stellar guests from across the cultural spectrum, including Tracey Emin, Edward Enninful and Alice Rawsthorn, the immensely popular podcast navigates the themes, curiosities and importance of contemporary art, with a witty dialogue and wonderful personal anecdotes that set it apart from other interview-based podcasts.
Desert Island Discs but with an artistic spin, this fun art podcast from Los Angeles-based artist Pia Pack seeks to connect music and art by uncovering the soundtracks that artists work to. Each episode, Pack invites a fellow artist to discuss their work and their relationship with music, along with the tracks that represent key moments in their life as well as the ones they played while creating their pieces. Together, the episodes are an impressive archive of the music that was central to artists’ lives across the globe.
Created with the mission to make art history accessible, host Tamar Avishai’s boots-on-the-ground art podcast sees him pick an object du jour and interview passers-by to catch their spontaneous reflections, before offering a deep dive on the piece’s history and its significance in the canon of art. Tackling various key moments in art history, from Paul Cezanne’s influence on early 20th century art to the significance of Marcel Duchamp’s urinal, each episode offers pacy and fun stories that are a far cry from stuffy classroom lectures.
London-based art historian and curator Katy Hessel — who has previously hosted the Dior Talks podcast — launched The Great Women Artists in 2019, inviting a new art lover guest each episode to discuss the female artist who means the most to them. Now in its fifth season, the fascinating art podcast is focusing on legends, covering painters including Helen Frankenthaler and Pauline Boty, but previous seasons are also well worth exploring, featuring interviews with Genieve Figgis, Deborah Roberts and more.
Born out of a desire to fill a gap left by the inability to visit exhibitions, the Foam Talks art podcast series is built around the talent featured by the Foam photography museum in Amsterdam. Each episode of Foam Talks: Talent Edition explores the life and work of one artist with a special guest who has a personal or professional connection to them. Kicking off with a conversation on the importance of war photojournalism with photographer Philip Montgomery, this podcast is a must for photography enthusiasts.
From the eponymous platform established by Egyptian writer and curator Nour Hassan to celebrate creative expression in the Middle East and North Africa comes this unique art podcast exploring the region’s most exciting talent. Through interviews with musicians, artists, designers and more, each episode seeks to unpack what goes into forging a creative identity and the shifts in the region’s cultural landscape. Recently, host Hassan has also expanded the podcast to include photographers and stylists, welcoming guests including Saudi Arabian photographer Hayat Osamah and Dubai-based stylist Osama Chabbi.
Produced by creative studio Harley & Co and writer, activist and author Darnell Moore, this powerful podcast explores how art and the artist’s gaze can be essential in shaping — or combatting — cultural biases. The first season is focused on the gay and queer Black male experience, particularly in the world of fashion, art and activism, exploring how it is represented in culture. Featuring conversations with the likes of Texas Isaiah and Luke James, the podcast also boasts extraordinary artwork, with each episode paired with original artwork by leading figures including Kara Walker and Ronald Jackson.
Another photography-focused podcast, The Messy Truth was launched in 2019 by photo director Gem Fletcher to unpack the oftentimes mysterious inner workings of the contemporary photography industry. Through a series of candid conversations with both emerging and leading artists, curators and critics, including Micaiah Carter and Antwaun Sargent, the podcast looks to explore the place of photography in today’s society and the climate for up-and-coming talent. Episodes have proven so popular that this year Fletcher launched the podcast’s fourth season.
This long-running podcast has developed a cult following for its incisive and illuminating conversations about the contemporary art world with both well-established insiders and those on the fringes of the art establishment. Hosted by Los Angeles-based artist Michael Shaw since 2011, conversations are always timely, with recent topics including the experience of being a museum curator in the Trump era and English artist Matthew Burrows discussing launching the Artist Support Pledge to help struggling artists through the pandemic.