The ever-expanding world of podcasts is unruly at best, and random refinements from search engines, the algorithm’s suggestions, and “what should I hear?” posts on Twitter don’t always get your queue where you want it. For podcasts about art and literature, the situation is both better and worse. On the one hand, when discussing visual art, one prefers, well, visuals – there’s an old joke about “art on the radio” and podcasts face the same problem. This resulted in a variety of creative solutions, such as B. Corresponding Instagram accounts etc., on which pictures from the episodes can be found. While art history lends itself more to storytelling, unsolved mysteries, suggestive or redeeming biographies, and even true crime formats, contemporary art programming benefits from visual bells and whistles. Poetry and spoken word, on the other hand, lend themselves ideally to the world of voice and sound, and some of the most fascinating poetry podcasts go beyond emotional readings to include interviews and audio experiments.
If you’re looking for a place to start your liberal arts podcasting adventure, below are a handful of curated arts and poetry titles from LA local to internationally topical, as well as a spotlight on the Luminary platform, the Arts and Creativity Centers Formats through its accessible subscription service, featuring original and curated content with a focus on writers and artists.
Indie & Local
Not real art. Artists Sourdough, Man One and Erin Yoshi curate the podcasting arm of Not Real Art’s indie visual culture clearinghouse, which also produces events, symposiums, exhibitions, editorial and public projects promoting independent Los Angeles artists throughout Los Angeles – especially those with an urban street culture flair and wild, unique visions. The podcast itself is based on interviews and places an emphasis on personality, community and unconventional paths to success. notrealart.com/podcast.
What Artists Hear. Artist Pia Pack created the deceptively simple premise of this podcast to explore and strengthen the connection between artists — who can so often be found alone in their studios — and their peers and audiences. More than traditional interview sessions, these episodes begin by unpacking the music the artists played in their studios, using it as a pathway into their life stories—and by extension, a pathway to deeper insight into the meaning and processes of their work . whatartistslistento.com.
rodeo ride. Now in its third season, the Rodeo Drive podcast uncompromisingly celebrates the sun-drenched glamor and influential richness of the iconic Beverly Hills fashion and design figure. But to its immense credit and the benefit of listeners, the program takes its portrayal of what that luxury can be seriously, regularly featuring visual artists, forward-thinking fashion and object designers, food and car enthusiasts and other exceptional creative voices on the evolution of the California dream. rodeodrive-bh.com/podcast.
poems on the air. The Los Angeles Public Library hosts a classic, simple, inspirational weekly reading of poetry from LA’s Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson—her own and others’ with an emphasis on the new and local—making for the perfect curated, timely inspiration comes . lapl.org/books-emedia/podcasts/poems-on-air.
Art World Deep Dive: National & International
The lonely palette. Los Angeles institutions could do worse than take inspiration from Tamar Avishai’s Boston Museum of Fine Arts podcast, which combines cheeky art history with soothing tones and unexpectedly emotional man-on-the-street interviews with museum-goers — all with that Aim to dive deep into singles masterpieces from the collection. If you’re here you’re already interested in art, but this is the kind of program that can remind you why and how that concern began. thelonelypalette.com.
Art history for everyone. Allyson Healy’s background in art and architectural history, as well as her experience curating contemporary art galleries to the public, informs her desire to provide conversational entry points into great moments in art history – with a particular emphasis on the timeless aspects of art making enduring images and Objects relevant to cultures hundreds or thousands of years and half a world away today. arthistoryforall.com.
The great artists. Katy Hessel has an answer to the cheeky provocation of the art historian Linda Nochlin: Why weren’t there any great female artists? – with the only possible answer: a series of interviews with women artists about their careers, plus curators, writers, collectors and art lovers talking about the artist who means the most to them, from art history and today. instagram.com/thegreatwomenartists.
Luminary is an affordable and accessible platform whose $2.99/month subscription provides access to their library of a few dozen original series and a list of curated/hosted programs – all with a focus on the arts, including poetry and theater, and perspectives on history , pop culture and eccentric storytelling.
The highlights of the lovingly designed original card include The Roxane Gay Agenda‘s “Bad Feminist Podcast of Your Dreams” and poetics – a behind-the-text storytelling juggernaut by well-known hip-hop authors, hosted by Omari Hardwick. Talib Kweli has a tremendous presence on the site, with multiple series and one-offs exploding at the intersection of music, spoken word and cultural urgencies. Kweli is also part of what appears to be a new experiment for Luminary – the exclusive release of an album that sees him reuniting with Yasiin Bey for a new one Dark Star Drop after 24 years, aptly named, Don’t be afraid of the time.
The Poetry Foundation produces a range of titles that can be found on Luminary, from broad literary trends to local scenes like Spoken Word in Chicago. Off the shelf poetry, poem of the day from Poetry Magazine and vs All of these are places where classic “reading” experiences collide with poets delving deeper into the big ideas that inspire them, inside and outside their own work. Up The Arts is a weekly podcast supporting the LGBTQ+ community in theatre, music, arts and literature.
in the The art of artHost Matt Mazany interviews and paints a powerful portrait of his guest as they discuss creating and appreciating visual art. ART ART ART is a weekly podcast hosted by Jonathan Wolfe and teenage NFT phenom and rolling thunderbolt of pure joy Fewocious, in which they talk about their experiences as young artists, detail their creative process, interview artists they love, and more more. It’s a little random in the best possible way.
There’s a lot on Luminary about geopolitics, world history, feminist thought, sectarian comedy, and more – but let’s end with the title that first drew me to the platform: Metaphysical Milkshake. This weekly pod is hosted by world religions scholar and creative/entertainment writer Reza Aslan and his perhaps unlikely best friend, actor Rainn Wilson, and when they claim to be tackling “life’s big questions,” they’re not kidding. They talk about things like death, love, the supernatural, fear of intimacy, justice, the purpose of life, parenting, art, comedy, self destruction, war, certainty, faith, morality, wisdom, religion, gender, beauty, addiction, inspiration , be alone, be together and be ourselves. Her guests range from topical pundits (who are often quite hilarious) to her comedian friends (who are often frighteningly deep and philosophical), and her quick wits and willingness to “get deep and get weird” make this an odd project for an instructive but sensitive undertaking essential and highly entertaining confrontation with reality. luminarypodcasts.com.
Featured image: Shizu Saldamando from What Artists Listen To, Episode 47