The Art Newspaper Podcast
Marianne R. Williams, Librarian-in-Residence
Mullins Library, University of Arkansas Libraries
The Art Newspaper Podcast (ANP) is a weekly podcast that covers and discusses news and current issues from international museums, art galleries, and auction houses. Hosted by Ben Luke, art critic for the London Evening Standard and the features editor of the Art Newspaper, the podcast includes short interviews with curators and artists, usually sharing insights on recent work, current exhibitions, or updates from the art market. The ANP is freely available on the major podcast streaming services iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn.
The ANP usually presents two art news items in fifteen-minute segments, with most episodes around forty minutes in total. This keeps the content digestible and piques interest enough to drive listeners to more in-depth coverage on the Art Newspaper website. Biennials and art fairs usually garner their own episodes and include short dispatches of news from dealers and curators. The majority of content tends to be reflective of the Art Newspaper’s base locations in London and New York, however, a compelling amount of content from the Art Newspaper’s sister networks from around the world add international perspectives from France, China, and elsewhere. Coverage of canon blue-chip artists such as Van Gogh and Picasso is paired alongside contemporary artists like Taryn Simon and Banksy, with a small but notable amount of coverage devoted to non-western art, such as episodes on contemporary African art and recent retrospectives of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun.
The podcast is accessible and short enough to be of interest to anyone casually interested in art history and contemporary art news, but would likely appeal to more serious students, researchers, and faculty of art history and visual culture interested in keeping abreast of the latest updates in the art and museum worlds, including auction house sales and current international exhibitions. The insights from artists and curators are brief, but provide an introductory insight into research, creative and institutional processes. The caliber of interviewees is exceptional, as the Art Newspaper has access to some of the outstanding arts leaders and creators in the world. However, on occasion, the sound production can be off, particularly when the interviews have been recorded outside of a recording studio, and noise from traffic or other aural oddities can be heard in the background. The additional challenge of creating an audio work around visual subjects is that unless the listener is familiar with a particular artist, the podcast necessitates additional research to fully understand most of the subject matter, although this can be an interesting point of departure for research. While visuals are not embedded into the podcast through video, nearly every episode has a corresponding Art Newspaper article that can be read online.
While the ANP lacks the humor and warmth of other popular art podcasts like MoMA and WNYC’s A Piece of Work (hosted by Abbi Jacobsen of Broad City) or David Zwirner’s Dialogues, the straightforward and serious approach can be appreciated by more advanced researchers or those with existing understanding of the arts and art markets. In comparison to The Artsy Podcast and Hyperallergic’s Art Movements, which offer weekly updates on contemporary art markets aimed at already knowledgeable listeners, ANP covers a wider breadth of art and cultural subjects and gives enough context and educational tidbits that listeners do not have to be industry insiders to follow each episode. ANP is a relatively short and easy listen for anyone interested in hearing more about arts and culture from around the world, and its research and educational applications could easily supplement studies in a variety of topics, including art history, cultural studies or anthropology.