fb-pixel Skip to main content

5 podcasts for people who love visual art

Podcaster Tamar Avishai (left) with a museumgoer at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Podcaster Tamar Avishai (left) with a museumgoer at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Where does a painting fit into art history? What was going on with the artist when it was made? What shape does the art world take now? Podcasts provide context and commentary, interviews and pointers.

The Lonely Palette is the Museum of Fine Arts’s podcast in residence. Creator and host Tamar Avishai spotlights works at the museum, chats up viewers, and then delves into history in a warm, wry tone. In episode 45, about Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Deer Skull with Pedernal,” Avishai unpacks the mistaken assumption that O’Keeffe’s flower paintings represent vaginas. “Sometimes,” she says, “a flower is just a damn flower.” www.thelonelypalette.com


This season on Artcurious, host Jennifer Dasal puts a true-crime twist on art history. You may know Eadweard Muybridge as a pioneer in photographing motion, but did you know he shot and killed his wife’s paramour? Listen to Episode #59 for the juicy details. www.artcuriouspodcast.com

For those more interested in today’s art, host Danielle Krysa interviews contemporary artists in the Jealous Curator. Krysa is an easygoing interviewer with a knack for drawing out personal details. In episode 127, “use it or lose it,” painter Amy Sherald (whose portrait of Michelle Obama hangs in the National Portrait Gallery) says she was something of a ne’er-do-well as a young person. I found myself wondering where the deep empathy in her portraits comes from — and then she told Krysa about her time away from art, taking care of ill family members. www.thejealouscurator.com

Artists seeking inspiration and advice will enjoy Lucas Spivey’s Culture Hustlers, which focuses on turning art into a business. He interviews artists and other creatives about how they have pragmatically made dreams into reality. Spivey has ties to Boston but he’s peripatetic, driving around the country in a vintage camper, talking to people who put their art out there. His episode “The miseducation of creators,” in which he bemoans the limits of art school and explains his ethos, is a great place to start. www.culturehustlers.com


In the Boston-based podcast about artists of color Hoodgrown Aesthetic, the host, who goes by Daughter of Contrast, welcomes guests to informal conversations, reviews of exhibitions around town, recommendations for soul nourishment, and critiques of systems that foster injustice. Episode 89, “Love You Mabs,” touches most of those bases. The tone is informal, as if the host and her buddies were sitting at the kitchen table, but the topics are weighty. www.hoodgrownaesthetic.com

Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @cmcq.