The Art Angle Podcast: Our Favorite Episodes of 2021
The Art Angle team looks back at our top episodes of 2021, from NFTs to Hunter Biden's art, plus how Immersive Van Gogh dominated culture.
Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join host Andrew Goldstein every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more, with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.
If it’s possible, 2021 was even weirder and more confusing than the previous year. Just when we thought everything was back to normal, the universe threw a wrench at us. From Hunter Biden’s painting career to the surge of NFT artists—plus, who would’ve predicted something called “Immersive Van Gogh” would become the hottest ticket in town? The places where the art world meets the real world became even murkier, and we were along for the ride.
Loyal listeners may have noticed some new voices on the podcast this year, as we welcomed a slew of stand-in hosts while our editor in chief Andrew Goldstein welcomed a new baby into his family, and we look forward to expanding even further in the new year. It was hard to choose, but we combed through the last year’s-worth of episodes and selected 10 of our absolute favorites, from an interview with an inmate at San Quentin who is revolutionizing the way outsiders view the penal system to four artists who were in residence at the World Trade Center when it collapsed on 9/11, and reflected on how that day affected their lives and art practices.
Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next year.
1. Can Art Help End the Era of Mass Incarceration?, January 8, 2021
We were lucky enough to kick off the year speaking to Rahsaan Thomas, co-host of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast Ear Hustle, who is himself a prisoner at San Quentin prison in California. Thomas joined the podcast to discuss the dual crises of the pandemic and mass incarceration and how art and empathy can shift perceptions about life inside and outside of prison.
2. The Haunting History of the Benin Bronzes & What Will Be the Fate of the Benin Bronzes?, February 26 & March 5, 2021
In a special two-part episode, Andrew Goldstein spoke to Dan Hicks, the author of The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence, and Cultural Restitution, one of the most compelling and comprehensive accounts of the 19th-century looting of Benin, and how the legacy of that event can be seen to this day around the world. In the months since our interview, institutions ranging from the Metropolitan Museum in New York to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, to universities in Scotland and the UK, have returned bronzes from their collections. And in a historic move, Germany entered into talks with Nigeria to return the objects in its national collections.
3. How NFTs Are Changing the Art Market as We Know It, March 26, 2021
Remember when we thought NFTs were a passing phase, much like the pixelated rainbow streaming behind Nyan Cat? LOL. Billions of dollars and a Beeple later, art business editor Tim Schneider’s primer to the wild world of NFTs still holds up. Consider this required reading before any family gathering this holiday season.
4. How Much Money Do Art Dealers Actually Make?, June 11, 2021
It’s a simple question, but the answer is a lot more complicated the harder you look. On this episode, investigative reporter Zachary Small and Artnet News’s senior market reporter Eileen Kinsella delve into the murky world of financing an art gallery, and the startling truth about how much money art dealers really make.
5. How High-Tech Van Gogh Became the Biggest Art Phenomenon Ever, June 18, 2021
If you haven’t heard about Immersive Van Gogh yet… what rock are you hiding under? At the dawn of the now ubiquitous phenomenon, critic Ben Davis reflects on how a show that’s not really about art at all surpassed Taylor Swift in number of tickets sold, and why it’s got museum directors shaking in their boots at the future of art and entertainment.
6. 18-Year-Old NFT Star Fewocious on How Art Saved His Life, and Crashed Christie’s Website, July 9, 2021
One of the bright spots of 2021 was in the range of individuals who found outlets for their creativity via NFTs. One of the most exciting and genuine new voices is undoubtedly that of FEWOCiOUS—and you can find him on our new Artnet NFT 30 Report, too.
7. The Hunter Biden Controversy, Explained, July 23, 2021
There’s no question that this year’s biggest (ahem, physical) art story was first-son Hunter Biden showing his art with a blue-chip gallery in New York and Los Angeles, prompting a political maelstrom.
8. Artists in Residence at the World Trade Center Reflect on 9/11, September 10, 2021
Four artists who were in residence at the World Trade Center on 9/11 recount their experiences of the day, how it changed their art and lives forever, and remember their peer Michael Richards, who died during the attacks 20 years ago.
9. Writer Roxane Gay on What Art Can Teach Us About Trauma and Healing, September 24, 2021
The 100th (!!!) episode of the Art Angle featured a conversation with author, professor, and astute social commentator Roxane Gay. An avid art collector, Gay spoke about a particularly moving painting by the artist Calida Rawles, on view in the artist’s exhibition at Lehmann Maupin in New York. The discussion touched on empathy, trauma, and healing through the lens of Rawles’s gorgeous canvas.
10. 5 Technologies That Will Transform the Art World by 2030, October 15, 2021
Another milestone in Artnet News’s 2021 was the debut of Artnet News Pro, where we dive even deeper into data analysis, art criticism, and of course, vetting newfangled market tools. In this episode, executive editor Julia Halperin spoke to Tim Schneider about a piece he wrote for the Intelligence Report, outlining five technologies that will transform the art market as we know it, from hologram art dealers to even more advanced A.I.
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