The Art Angle Podcast: How Two Painters Helped Spark the Modern Conservation Movement

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Midnight Publishing Group 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.

Right now there is a powerful, highly ambitious, and deeply relevant art show in New York that weaves together the histories of conservation and American art in a way most people haven’t seen before.

It’s a quick jag from the city across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge into Catskill, New York, but light years away from the bustling metropolis, where on either side of the river are the historic homes of the famed Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church in New York’s Hudson River Skywalk Region.

Inside those homes—the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site—sprawls the show titled “Cross-pollination: Head, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment,” with art that spans the mid-19th century to today, the exhibition is built around a suite of 16 bravura paintings of hummingbirds titled “The Gems of Brazil” by the little known Hudson River School artists, Martin Johnson Heade, and it takes flight from there exploring a network of interconnections between art, science, and the natural world.

It also provides rich insight into the story of the relationships at the heart of the show between Heade, Thomas Cole, and Frederic Church, three of the greatest visionary artists America has ever known.

This week on the podcast, Andrew Goldstein is joined by Thomas Cole National Historic Site curator Kate Menconeri to discuss how these historic artists first began thinking about ideas of conservation and preservation, and how contemporary artists have taken up the mantle to encourage a new generation not only to appreciate nature, but how to give back what for years we’ve been taking from it.


Listen to Other Episodes:

The Art Angle Podcast: The Hunter Biden Controversy, Explained

The Art Angle Podcast: Legendary Auctioneer Simon de Pury on Monaco, Hip Hop, and the Art Market’s New Reality

The Art Angle Podcast: 18-Year-Old NFT Star Fewocious on How Art Saved His Life, and Crashed Christie’s Website

The Art Angle Podcast (Re-Air): How Photographer Dawoud Bey Makes Black America Visible

The Art Angle Podcast: Tyler Mitchell and Helen Molesworth on Why Great Art Requires Trust

The Art Angle Podcast: How High-Tech Van Gogh Became the Biggest Art Phenomenon Ever

The Art Angle Podcast: How Much Money Do Art Dealers Actually Make?

The Art Angle Podcast: What Does the Sci-Fi Art Fair of the Future Look Like?

The Art Angle Podcast: How Kenny Schachter Became an NFT Evangelist Overnight

The Art Angle Podcast: How Breonna Taylor’s Life Inspired an Unforgettable Museum Exhibition

Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Art Dealer Mariane Ibrahim on the Power of the Right Relationships

The Art Angle Podcast:‘Art Detective’ Katya Kazakina on How She Lands Her Epic Scoops

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Debating the Troubled Legacy of Brazil’s Cannibalist Art Movement + 4 Other Great Art Essays Worth Reading From This February

It’s been 90-some years since Oswald de Andrade’s “Manifesto Antropófago” (“Cannibalist Manifesto”), a document that was a watershed in defining a Brazilian art outside of European influence, and extremely influential on Brazil’s ’60s avant-garde. The limits and biases of its bourgeois appeal to the cultures of Indigenous and Afro-Brazilians has been questioned and debated of late by a new generation of artists and intellectuals in Brazil. Gualberto, an artist, and Roffino, a Rail editor, introduce both the importance of the Manifesto and the context of the contemporary rethinking of its legacy. The Rail issue as a whole brings together essays from those engaged in the debate, from Sergio Vaz’s “Anthropophagous Manifesto from the Periphery” to Cripta Djan’s first-hand account of his work as a pixador, a particularly aggressive form of Brazilian tagger.


This Is the Black Renaissance” by Ibram X. Kendi, Time

It’s not every day an essay puts a name on a new movement. For his sweeping introduction to a special issue of Time that actually goes so far as to draw up a canon that defines a New Black Renaissance, Kendi gathers together a very large, disparate list of contemporary cultural productions, from Childish Gambino’s This Is America to HBO’s Lovecraft Country to artists Awol Erizku and Amy Sherald (Erizku, oddly, is identified as a painter, even though he’s a photographer who shot the cover for the issue). Kendi’s big claim—that together, these works represent “the third great cultural revival of Black Americans, after the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, after the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s”—is sure to be both a major reference point going forward and fodder for debate.


Deneocolonize Your Syllabus” by Blake Stimson, nonsite

A provocative argument that could be read as being in counterpoint with Kendi, Stimson’s essay makes the case for understanding the important distinction, for cultural theory, between “colonialism” and “neocolonialism.” The latter wasn’t just the continuation of the old colonialism, with its naked imposition of European cultural norms. As theorized by Jean-Paul Sartre and Kwame Nkrumah alike, the concept of neocolonialism was an attempt to understand forms of economic and political domination that worked via shifting towards a rhetoric of recognizing and affirming national cultures, as the United States moved to displace Europe’s influence with its own. The cynical side of this rhetoric has consequences that, Stimson argues, haunt debate about the politics of culture today.


The LiveJournal to Sotheby’s Pipeline” by Erin Jane Nelson, Burnaway

A lovely essay by Atlanta-based artist Erin Jane Nelson on what it has meant to be an artist growing up in the age of the art internet. It’s worth the read alone for the anecdote about watching Lucien Smith reverse-engineer his popular paintings by studying what was cool on the art blogs while at Cooper Union. But it’s really worth it just to be reminded of the meaningful creative pathways that the web has opened for artists outside art capitals (and the doors that it has yet to open, too).


New Localism” by Jeppe Ugelvig, Spike

Danish curator and critic Ugelvig offers a tour of the ways that global lockdown has led to a new focus on local art scenes, away from frenetic, short-attention span forms of jet-setting art-circuit cosmopolitanism. He quotes art professionals talking about both positive outcomes from this year of forced deceleration (“It’s just like in the 1990s”) and negative ones (“the risk is to become mediocre—namely, curating your circle of friends because private foundations grant money to support the local art scene”).