Immaterial

By The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Category: Visual Arts

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Description

Stories of the materials used in making art are often as thought-provoking and illuminating as the objects themselves. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Immaterial examines the materials of art and what they can reveal about history and humanity. Each episode looks at a single material: paper, clay, jade, shells, and others, exploring the qualities and meanings that are often overlooked.


Episode Date
Clay
49:28

In seventeenth-century Europe, some of the wealthiest women in the world were doing something strange with the ceramic jars in their curiosity cabinets. They were eating them. But these clay pieces from Mexico—called búcaros—weren't just some bizarre snack. They were seen as a piece of the “New World,” one you could touch, smell, and taste. They were so well known that they even made it into the foreground of masterpiece paintings. But what is the real story behind these jars? Who is preserving this centuries-old ceramic tradition, and what does it mean to be one of the few artists who still works with this specific, sensuous clay?

Guests:

Fernando Jimón Melchor, master ceramics artisan from Tonalà, Mexico
Federico Carò, research scientist, Scientific Research, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Margaret Connors McQuade, Deputy Director & Curator of Decorative Arts, The Hispanic Society Museum & Library
Ronda Kasl, curator of Latin American Art, The American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, professor and historian of science and medicine at the University of Texas

Featured object:

Covered jar (Búcaros), ca. 1675–1700. Mexico, Tonalà. Earthenware, burnished, with white paint and silver leaf, 27 3/4 in. (70.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Sansbury-Mills Fund, 2015 (2015.45.2a, b)

For a transcript of this episode and more information, visit metmuseum.org/immaterial

#MetImmaterial

Immaterial is produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Magnificent Noise and hosted by Camile Dungy. This episode was produced by Eleanor Kagan and Ariana Martinez.

Translation, photos and field production by Fernando Hernandez Becerra of Esto no es radio.

Special thanks to Marie Clapot, Monika Bincsik, Sarah Cowan, Lam Thuy Vo, and ArtShack Brooklyn.

Jun 22, 2022
Concrete
37:01

Concrete is full of contradictions. First it’s dust, then liquid, then hard as stone. It’s both rough and smooth, it’s modern and ancient, it can preserve history or play a hand in destroying it. Unsurprisingly, concrete is all about the gray area. Hear about this material from its supporters and detractors alike: why it’s so controversial, why it’s so often used in memorials, and how Colombian artist Doris Salcedo uses it to address grief and mourning.

Guests:

Nadine M. Orenstein, Drue Heinz Curator in Charge, Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Abraham Thomas, Daniel Brodsky Curator of Modern Architecture, Design, and Decorative Arts, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Adrian Forty, professor of architectural history, University College London, and author of Concrete and Culture (2012)
Marco Leona, David H. Koch Scientist in Charge, Scientific Research, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Iria Candela, Estrellita B. Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Featured object:

Doris Salcedo (Colombian, b. 1958), Untitled, 1997–99. Wood, concrete, and steel, 32 x 15 1/4 x 16 1/2 in. (81.3 x 38.7 x 41.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Latin American Art Initiative Gift, 2020 (2020.25)

For a transcript of this episode and more information, visit metmuseum.org/immaterial

#MetImmaterial

Immaterial is produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Magnificent Noise and hosted by Camile Dungy. This episode was produced by Eleanor Kagan.

Special thanks to Doris Salcedo, Laura Ubate, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Harvard Art Museums, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Audio © President and Fellows of Harvard College. Recorded by Danny Hoshino on November 2, 2016, Harvard Art Museums

Jun 08, 2022
Paper
38:31

Valentines, comic books, cigarette cards and more—all of these objects can be meaningful, but what does it mean to house them in a museum? Paper holds our memories, our stories, our fears, and our desires. How do conservators race against time to make them last? Enter the world of handheld ephemera, where keeping these objects in our hands or in our pockets keeps them close to our hearts.

Guests:

Taz Ahmed, author, activist, and visual artist
Rachel Mustalish, conservator, Paper Conservation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Nancy Rosin, valentine researcher and scholar and volunteer cataloger in the Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Allison Rudnick, associate curator, Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Objects featured in this episode:

Omene cigarette cards (various)
Esther Howland valentines (various)

For an exclusive interview with Omene’s granddaughter, a transcript of this episode and more, visit metmuseum.org/immaterial

#MetImmaterial

Immaterial is produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Magnificent Noise and hosted by Camille Dungy. This episode was produced by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong and Eleanor Kagan.

Special thanks to Mindell Dubansky and Nadine Orenstein.

May 25, 2022
Introducing: Immaterial
03:53

Introducing Immaterial, a brand new podcast from The Met. Hosted by poet Camille T. Dungy, Immaterial examines the materials of art and what they can reveal about history, humanity, and the world at large. Launching May 25th; new episodes publish every other Wednesday.

For a transcript and more information, please visit www.metmuseum.org/immaterial

May 08, 2022