Museum Confidential

Twice-Monthly Podcast

Think of a museum. Any museum. Which artworks get to be displayed, and which don't, and why? Where do they keep all the unshown (or unshowable) pieces? And why do they keep them at all? And just how does one pack/ship/transport a priceless painting or sculpture? Museum Confidential a new and unprecedented exhibition at Philbrook Museum of Art that explores such questions. The show opens on October 13th, which is also when Museum Confidential: The Podcast will arrive. It's a collaboration (to be posted twice monthly) between Jeff Martin of Philbrook and Scott Gregory of Public Radio Tulsa -- and it'll cover the same fertile ground as the exhibit itself...as in, what really goes on "behind the scenes" at a museum?

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This podcast will be accessible at both the Philbrook website and Public Radio Tulsa.

Photo courtesy of Christie's Hong Kong.

Museums acquire. They keep. They care for their objects. And it always causes a bit of a stir when a museum decides to sell something from its collection. In May of 2018, at Christie’s in Hong Kong, an 18th-century Chinese vase owned by Philbrook Museum of Art sold for $14.5 million. On this episode, we chat with Philbrook Director Scott Stulen to learn the full story behind this potentially controversial decision. 

Edward Hopper Was Here

Nov 22, 2019

The name "Edward Hopper" is almost synonymous with loneliness. Hotels and motels play a central role in Hopper’s art. EDWARD HOPPER AND THE AMERICAN HOTEL recently opened at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. It's the first in-depth look at this side of Hopper’s work and features a recreated room based on Hopper’s “Western Motel.” The space serves as a fully functional hotel room. On this episode of MC, we chat with the show’s curator, Dr. Leo Mazow.

Building Stories

Nov 4, 2019

Sometimes a place becomes a museum by accident. This takes a combination of history, people, luck, notoriety, and (of course) art. One of the best examples of this rare occurrence is the legendary Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Acclaimed author Fiona Davis writes novels about famous New York buildings. She recently wrote one about the Chelsea Hotel, so we checked in with her to talk about it. 

Springsteen’s Stuff

Oct 20, 2019

Bruce Springsteen just turned 70. But The Boss shows no signs of slowing down. In his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, there’s a new exhibition at the Monmouth County Historical Association. It’s called, quite simply, SPRINGSTEEN: HIS HOMETOWN. On this episode, we're talking all things Bruce with Eileen Chapman, Director of The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University.

 

In 2013, while looking through a forgotten box of materials, Dr. Seuss’ widow, Audrey Geisel, discovered a folder containing a collection of sketches for a project called “The Horse Museum.” It was only about 80% finished and contained no completed artwork. Editors at Random House set out to complete the book and hired Australian illustrator Andrew Joyner to provide the art. A true love letter to museums and a wonderful primer on art history, “Dr. Seuss’ Horse Museum” was released just a few weeks ago.

Spoiler: Adam Lerner isn’t your average museum director. For the past 10 years, he ran the show at MCA Denver. His impact on that institution, on the Mile High City, and in many ways, on the museum industry itself, is undeniable. Adam recently stepped down to explore new adventures. Before he left, we were asked to come and do an exit interview of sorts. This is our conversation, recorded live in Denver. 

 

Wikipedia

During our summer break, we headed down to Atlanta to interview the hip-hop artist and activist, Killer Mike. He's known widely for his work with Run The Jewels, but this trip was to talk about museums. Specifically, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. A little over a year ago, Mike became a board member at The High. We wanted to check in and see how it's going. We also welcome High Museum Director Rand Suffolk. (Recorded at the studios of Atlanta public radio station WABE.)

Jason Lee

For our 2019 Summer Special, we chat at length with the photographer, actor, and legendary skateboarder, Jason Lee. He spent a good portion of 2018 road-tripping throughout Oklahoma while taking photographs (film only; no digital) for his first-ever solo museum show. That show is on view here in Tulsa at Philbrook Downtown through November 10th. 

For our Season 2 finale, Museum Confidential headed down to the Big Easy for a live show to kick off the annual conference of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). We set up shop inside the beautiful and mouth-watering Southern Food and Beverage Museum for a chat with Don Wildman, host of the long-running Travel Channel show, "Mysteries at the Museum."

There are countless examples of writers using paintings or other visual art as inspiration to create entirely new work. Think "Girl with a Pearl Earring," "The Da Vinci Code," or even "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats. This is what the award-winning writer Donna Baier Stein did when she decided to write a new collection of short stories based on lithographs by iconic American artist Thomas Hart Benton. The issues that Benton dealt with and depicted throughout the Great Depression and afterward still resonate today.

What Is A Curator?

Apr 26, 2019
Public Radio Tulsa

In our first show recorded before a "live" audience, we explore what it means to be a curator with Philbrook Museum of Art Chief Curator Catherine Whitney and Gilcrease Museum Senior Curator Laura Fry. The word is used all the time of late, but your grandmother probably went her whole life without claiming to have "curated" anything. And while so many people today claim to curate this or that, the ones who truly own the title are, of course, actual curators.

Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, Alabama)

We recently stumbled upon a fascinating blog post written last year by Graham Boettcher, Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama. The headline of the post reads, "DIRECTOR RECKONS WITH ART MUSEUM'S UGLY PAST." Boettcher's piece looks at the museum's troubling Jim Crow-era policies, which occurred in the first dozen years of its existence. We recently spoke with Boettcher about this, and much more.

Museum Storage Wars

Mar 29, 2019
The Field Museum (Chicago)

Museums have a problem. Too much stuff. But whereas you might take a few carloads of personal surplus to Goodwill, or maybe just set up a yard sale, museums don't have that luxury. Sometimes they end up building costly expansions just to contain the overflow. New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin visited museums of various budgets and sizes to see just how big a problem museum storage has become. She's our guest.

Ask the Experts 2.0

Mar 1, 2019

Time once again for our annual round-table with three experts from different facets of the art world. The roster includes Hrag Vartanian, editor of the popular arts and culture website, Hyperallergic; Philbrook Director Scott Stulen; and artist Sharon Louden, who is currently putting the finishing touches on her brand-new installation in the Philbrook Rotunda. Louden's installation will be on view for the rest of 2019.

Wikipedia

Less than 20 miles from Washington, DC, there's a place called Glenstone. It was founded by Mitch and Emily Rales and opened in 2006. Last fall, Glenstone took a big leap forward. But what, exactly, is Glenstone? It's an art museum, with 200+ acres of grounds. It's private. It's free. Kids and chewing gum aren't allowed, nor are taking pictures or using cell phones. What is Glenstone, as a museum, trying to do? Emily Rales, who also serves as director and chief curator of Glenstone, tells us all about it.

Wikimedia Commons

For the #1 slot on his list of Top 10 Best Art Shows of 2018, New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz selected an exhibition at the Guggenheim by Swedish artist Hilma af Klint titled "Paintings for the Future."  He wrote, "The most magnificent sight in New York this year was the drop-dead first gallery showing of kaleidoscopically colored, structurally complex, completely abstract paintings made in the first two decades of the 20th century by [this] unacknowledged Swedish visionary.

The Savior

Jan 18, 2019

Art conservation. It's sort of a magic trick. But when you look closer, you find immensely talented people using skills and techniques passed down over generations alongside cutting-edge technology. On this episode of Museum Confidential, we chat with Julian Baumgartner of Chicago-based Baumgartner Fine Art Restoration. He's taken his family business into the 21st century by embracing new media...and has become a bit of a social media star in the process.

The Underground Museum

Jan 4, 2019

Close your eyes. Imagine a museum. Chances are, we're all seeing variations on the same theme. Open galleries, high ceilings, a guard standing in the corner wearing a blazer. These are stereotypes, of course, but you see the point here. Museums DON'T have to be quite so stereotypical. One place that's trying to change how we interact with museum spaces is The Underground Museum in Los Angeles. We recently sat down with that museum's director, Megan Steinman.

Flick

Years ago, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria, began inviting artists to sift through its 4 million or so objects and then create exhibitions filtered through each artist's unique point of view. Recently, the museum asked filmmaker Wes Anderson and his partner Juman Malouf to jointly take on this gargantuan task. We speak with the Kunsthistorisches Museum's curator, Jasper Sharp, to learn how the Anderson-Malouf show (which closes in April of 2019) was dreamed up, put together, and more.

We're starting the 2019 Give & Take season with a special event you won't want to miss!

Ever wonder how a podcast is produced? Curious about the behind-the-scenes of a museum?  This is the event for you! It's guaranteed you'll learn something and have fun doing it! 

Join us for The Give & Take: Museum Confidential LIVE at Philbrook Museum Art, located at 2727 S Rockford Road Tulsa, OK 74114, on Wednesday, January 16, 2019  at 6:30 p.m. 

Ninth Street Women

Dec 7, 2018

Pulitzer Prize Finalist Mary Gabriel joins us to talk about her acclaimed new book, "Ninth Street Women." After WWII, when names like Pollock and Rothko were entering the American mainstream, five women dared to enter the male-dominated modern-art scene -- not as muses, but as artists. From their New York studios, where they worked, drank, fought, and loved, these women kicked open doors for themselves and everyone who came after. On this episode, we meet Lee, Grace, Helen, Joan, and Elaine. 

Photo by Lauren Silberman

On this installment of Museum Confidential, we visit California's High Desert with our roving correspondent, Preston Poe (of The Preston Poe Show podcast). As we often say, there are many kinds of museums. One of them is a tiny, refurbished photo-processing booth in Joshua Tree, which is now dedicated entirely to crochet. The museum's founder, as you'll hear, knows how to spin a yarn or two. And rightly so.

Legendary filmmaker and so-called "Pope of Trash" John Waters has a brand new project in his beloved hometown. On view through January 6, 2019, at the Baltimore Museum of Art, "Indecent Exposure" is the first retrospective of Waters' visual arts career, featuring more than 160 provocative photographs, sculptures, and video/sound works. We sat down to chat with him about the show, the 30th anniversary of "Hairspray," and a few other things.

Flickr

In our special Halloween episode, we step into the macabre with acclaimed writer Mark Dery, author of the new biography, Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Genius and Mysterious Life of Edward Gorey. Often called the “Grandfather of Goth,” Gorey (who died in 2000) influenced Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, and countless others. 

Flickr

We all scream. The Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) is attempting to blaze a trail in the museum world. But sometimes that's a rocky road. First up, we chat with Madison Utendahl, MOIC's Head of Content and Social. And then, and for an entirely different take on the emergence of "Instagrammable" or "Pop-Up" museums, we call up Amanda Hess, Critic-at-Large at The New York Times. 

Wikimedia Commons

Museums aren't always meant to be enjoyable experiences. That doesn't mean they are not important and essential. On this episode, we sit down with Dr. David Pilgrim, founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan. The museum was born out of his personal collection, one that began decades ago, when Dr. Pilgrim was growing up in Alabama. Our podcast also profiles a recent art project utilizing the Confederate flag.

This Old House (Museum)

Sep 14, 2018

This episode offers a chat with Alexis Light, the Senior Manager of Media Relations and Marketing at The Frick Collection. She is that NYC museum's thought leader when it comes to public relations, marketing, and social media content. Also in this pod, we begin an occasional feature called "At a Museum in America." Our far-flung, gallery-going correspondent for this new feature is one Preston Poe, an independent curator, artist, and songwriter who also hosts "The Preston Poe Show" (which you can access at prestonpoe.com).

The Bob Dylan Un-Museum

Aug 31, 2018

In our Season Two opener, we chat with the Bob Dylan Archive curator, Michael Chaiken, about how they’re trying NOT to make a museum with the forthcoming Bob Dylan Center.  We also talk about Chaiken's path to landing the curator position, about music and movies and more, and also, of course, about Mr. Zimmerman himself.

Hosted by Jeff Martin with Philbrook Museum of Art and produced by Scott Gregory with Public Radio Tulsa.  

The Museum Confidential exhibition at Philbrook Museum of Art, which closes May 6th, has done some remarkable things. It has allowed visitors to view an unprecedented number of never-before-seen works. It has given guests an opportunity to play curator, choosing art pieces they’d like to see displayed in the gallery.

Museum Mail Bag

Apr 27, 2018

In this Season One finale, we try our hand at a podcast classic: the tried-and-true "mail bag" episode. We invited social media followers to "ask us anything" about Philbrook and/or museums in general. We then gathered a panel of experts to provide answers, or at least attempt such. Results vary. Comedy ensues. Interesting stuff as well.... See you this fall for Season Two!

 

 

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