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Podcast: 'Not your grandfather’s history of art'

Posted on 24 Feb 2021

Do you live in a human body? Then abstract art is for you. A refreshing reappraisal of the history of abstract art, this episode explores quilt-making and taste-making, constellations and curation, and what the walls of the Whitney can tell us about our world.

Anoka Faruqee, 2012P-09, 2012. Acrylic on linen on panel, 28.6 x 26 cm (11 1/4 x 10 ¼ in.) Collection of the artist. Courtesy of the artist. Photo Williamson Brasfield

In this unforgettable episode, writer Eliza Apperly joins in conversation with Pepe Karmel, art history professor and author of Abstract Art: A Global History, and Kyla McDonald, curator and art historian. Together they embark on a myth-exploding mission through the history of abstraction.

Abstract art, Pepe argues, did not unfold as a neat sequence of ‘isms’, as art history textbooks might have us suppose. The truth, he explains, is bolder, messier, and has much more to do with the real-life experiences of artists. This truer history also includes the work of artists who, because of gender and racial bias, have been traditionally overlooked, undervalued and othered. Abstract Art: A Global History shines a light on some of the extraordinary women artists and artists of colour who are finally getting their due.



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This episode was produced and presented by Eliza Apperly and edited by Benjamin Nash.

Discover more about Abstract Art: A Global History.