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.

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!

 

 

The Rothko Chapel, established in 1971 in Houston, is both a sacred space and a modern art mainstay. Dedicated to non-denominational prayer and private contemplation -- and also to international peace and fellowship -- the building routinely hosts lectures, concerts, interfaith gatherings, and similar events. And at its heart, of course, are fourteen very dark, luminous, large-scale paintings by the late Mark Rothko. We speak with David Leslie, the executive director of the Rothko Chapel.

Let’s be honest, conceptual art is polarizing. Sometimes intentionally so. We explore this and more in a wide-ranging and fascinating chat with self-proclaimed Experimental Philosopher, Jonathon Keats. From his early childhood days selling rocks for a penny to large-scale thought experiments commissioned by prestigious institutions, his career is nothing if not unique. As described in the pages of WIRED magazine by science fiction author Bruce Sterling, “the guy is tireless.” 

In The Beginning...

Mar 16, 2018

On this episode we take an in-depth look at the very first Director of Philbrook, Eugene Kingman. An acclaimed artist in his own right, Kingman’s journey included stops at Yale, The Rhode Island School of Design, the offices of The New York Times, and the organization that would become the C.I.A. 

 We chat with Mark Brown, longtime journalist and current assistant to the current Philbrook Director.   

What are we saying when we refer to a piece as "bad" art? All of us probably have guilty pleasures, or maybe a favorite mistake or two, but what does it mean to seek out and really cherish certain works of bad art? This episode of our podcast features a conversation with Louise Sacco, the so-called Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director of MOBA (a/k/a The Museum of Bad Art).

The Thing Called Love

Feb 16, 2018

For our special Valentine’s Day episode we explore many different kinds of love, from the boomtown couple that founded Philbrook to the supposed foot fetishism of an iconic French artist. Keep an ear out for a brief cameo by Marie Antoinette. 

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

Best of the West

Feb 2, 2018

Gilcrease Museum houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West. This episode features a discussion with Gilcrease Senior Curator Laura Fry and special appearances by Neil Young and Henry Kissinger.

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

We explore the bookish side of museum-going in a revealing conversation with poet Kenneth Goldsmith, who in 2013 was the first and only Poet Laureate at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). 

 

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

 

 

The Forgotten Man

Jan 5, 2018

 Arguably at the height of his career with work in Vanity Fair and Vogue, regularly shooting the likes of Jesse Owens, Gary Cooper, and Katharine Hepburn, photographer Lusha Nelson died in 1938 at the age of 30. His personal archive remained lost until 2015 when it was rediscovered by Philbrook. Hear the amazing true story. 

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

Everybody's a Critic

Dec 22, 2017

  

Movies and museums. Museums and movies. They go together like popcorn and Milk Duds. On this installment of our podcast, we speak with Charles Elmore of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Topics include memorable motion pictures of 2017, what makes a film an "art film," how today's so-called Golden Age of Television relates to (or doesn't relate to) today's films and filmmakers, and so forth.

Drawing Conclusions

Dec 7, 2017

Our first in-depth artist chat, with acclaimed photorealist, Karl Haendel. Topics range from the best types of pencils and football to Dutch artist M.C. Escher and politics. See Haendel's work in the current Philbrook Downtown show, "Game On." 

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

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