The Modern Art Notes Podcast

Episode No. 334 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast is a holiday weekend presentation of previously recorded interviews with curators Frederick Ilchman and Scott Shields.

Ilchman, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is the co-curator of “Casanova: The Seduction of Europe,” a broad look at the over-the-top luxury of European art and decorative arts in the pre-French Revolution decades. It debuted at the Kimbell Art Museum last year, and is on view at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco through May 28. The show is built around the famed Giacomo Casanova, a courtier, lothario and schemester whose memoir provides one of the best insights to an era in which those at the top of society milked their countries for wealth and prestige, leaving little for others. The exhibition was co-curated by Ilchman, the National Gallery of Art’s C.D. Dickerson (who started work on the show while he was at the Kimbell), and the Clark Art Institute's Esther Bell (who worked on the show while she was at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco). The catalogue is absolutely terrific, a great read, a decadent look, and Amazon will sell it to you for $34.

Next, Crocker Art Museum curator Scott A. Shields discusses “Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942-1955,” which the Crocker co-organized with the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. The exhibition looks at work, especially work on paper, that Diebenkorn made before turning to figuration while living and working in Berkeley, Calif. It reveals Diebenkorn working through artists with whom his work is not typically associated, such as John Marin and Arshile Gorky. The exhibition is accompanied by an excellent, well-illustrated catalogue that mines Diebenkorn’s archive to find a surprising range of influences. Amazon sells it for $44. From Sacramento, the show will trael to the Owsley Museum at Ball State University, the Portland (Ore.) Art Museum, the Weisman Museum at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and to the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md. Images of art discussed on the program are here.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

Episode No. 333 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curators Emma Acker and Nathaniel Silver.

Acker is the curator of "Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art," the first broad survey of precisionism in nearly 20 years. The exhibition opens at the de Young Museum in San Francisco this weekend, and remains on view through August 12. "Cult of the Machine" includes over 100 works, including paintings, photographs, works on paper and sculpture, and charts the emergence of the style and its roughly three-decade-long history. The exhibition's terrific catalogue, which features scores of illustrations of supplemental artworks, was published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in association with Yale University Press. Amazon offers it for $52. The exhibition will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art in September.

On the second segment, Nathaniel Silver returns to the program to discuss his new exhibition "Fra Angelico: Heaven on Earth,"  which is at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston through May 20. The exhibition joins Angelico's Assumption and Dormition of the Virgin, acquired by Gardner in 1899 and the first Angelico acquired by an American, with its three companions from the Museo di San Marco in Florence. Conceived by Angelico (and his funder) as a set of reliquaries for the Florentine church of Santa Maria Novella, they tell the story of the Virgin Mary's life. The outstanding catalogue, complete with one of the most beautiful book covers you'll ever see, was published by the ISGM and Paul Holberton Publishing and is available from Amazon for $41.

For images of art discussed on the program, see 

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 3:19pm EDT

Episode No. 332 features artists Fazal Sheikh and John Akomfrah.

The Portland (Ore.) Art Museum is exhibiting "Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013," a 25-year survey of Fazal Sheikh's work. The exhibition focuses on Sheikh's portraiture, work that spotlights the individual humanity often forgotten or obscured by war and other ethnic, religious or misogynistic violence. It also includes Sheikh's landscapes, which often suggest the violence or migration that the land in his pictures sustained. The exhibition, which is on view through May 20, was organized by Eric Paddock and the Denver Art Museum. Julia Dolan oversaw the Portland installation.

Sheikh, who was born in New York to an American mother and Kenyan father, spent many childhood summers there. Upon earning a Fulbright scholarship after studying under Emmet Gowin at Princeton, Sheikh returned to Africa and found himself photographing people displaced from Somalia, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Rwanada who were living in refugee camps. Over the ensuing decades he continued to look at places where massive waves of migration, often caused by violence, impacted people and places. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation 'genius' award. Museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art have presented solo exhibitions of his work.

Sheikh's website includes a broad presentation of his work and free digital versions of all of his books. Among the series or projects he and host Tyler Green discuss on this week's program are:

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is presenting the U.S. debut of John Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea in "Sublime Seas: John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner." The exhibition, which pairs a film installation Akomfrah made for the Venice Biennale in 2015 with Turner's The Deluge, will be on view at SFMOMA through September 16. It was curated by Rudolf Frieling.

In two weeks the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University will exhibit Akomfrah's Precarity, which debuted at Prospect.4. (The version of Precarity at the Nasher will differ slightly from the version shown in New Orleans.) The exhibition will remain on view through August 26. Later this spring, Akomfrah will return to The MAN Podcast to discuss Precarity.

Akomfrah has had many solo exhibitions and dedicated screenings around the world, including at the Tate Britain and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT

Episode No. 331 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Senga Nengudi.

Senga Nengudi came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with abstract sculpture made from common materials, work that was often fused with a performative element. Her work is the subject of two ongoing solo exhibitions and her work is included in one ongoing group exhibition:

Listeners may wish to see more about Nengudi in the Hammer Museum's digital archive for the 2012 exhibition "Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-80."

See images of work discussed on the program at

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 10:51am EDT

Episode No. 330 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Jill Magid and archaeologist Thomas Wynn.

Jill Magid is included in the season's two most prominent group shows: "Stories of Almost Everyone," which is at the Hammer Museum through May 6, and "Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today," at the ICA Boston through May 20. "Stories," curated by Aram Moshayedi, is about our willingness (or not?) to believe the stories offered by works of contemporary art. Its catalogue was published by the Hammer and Delmonico Prestel.

The ICA Boston's show is the first major American examination of how the internet has influenced and impacted art-making. It was curated by Eva Respini with Jeffrey De Blois. Its catalogue was published by Yale University Press. (The ICA Boston is one of 14 area institutions to be examining the intersection of art and technology this season.)

Magid's work, presented as installation, sculpture, video installation or via the internet, often examines questions around surveillance, permission and consent. She's had solo shows at or has fulfilled commissions for the University Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City, the Berkeley Art Museum, The Intelligence Agency of the Netherlands, the Stedelijk, the Liverpool Biennial and plenty more.

Many of the works Magid and host Tyler Green discuss are presented on her website, including:

On the second segment, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs archaeologist Thomas Wynn discusses "First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figure Stone," at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The exhibition presents ancient handaxes and figure stones as many as two million years old, and posits that their making was motivated by aesthetic decisions, which suggests that they may be considered works of art. Wynn co-curated the exhibition with artist and collector Tony Berlant. It's at the Nasher through April 28. The thought-provoking and beautiful catalogue was published by the Nasher, which offers it for $70.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT