Category Archives: Podcasts

Art as Experience is an hour-long conversation between Tom Xenakis and Sheila Blake after their visit to an exhibition, serving as a guide for taking a longer look at art.

Juan Gris, Color, and Cubism

Sheila and Tom discuss the Spanish painter, Juan Gris, a compatriot, contemporary, and rival of Picasso – on the occasion of a current exhibition of gorgeous cubist paintings by Gris at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Themes include cubism, modernism, John Dewey, color theory and more.

Paul Cezanne Portraits

We have edited an earlier episode, from 2018, adding a new introduction to our show on Cezanne Portraits.  This episode adds to and reinforces the content on our last episode, also on Paul Cezanne, the master at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

Broadcast on WOWD-LP, Takoma Radio, 10/23/21

Paul Cezanne Drawings

An exhibit of Paul Cezanne Drawings just closed at MOMA, in New York.  Our visit there occasioned this discussion of one of the great progenitors of modernism.  Sheila and Tom go inside the experience of viewing Cezanne, and give listeners a unique view of the experiences he provides, and the technical innovations in his drawing and painting.  Drawing again lightly on the writing of John Dewey, Sheila and Tom explicate just what Cezanne achieved.

Originally broadcast Oct 9, 2021

Creativity, John Dewey, and Aesthetics

Sheila and Tom take on a special topic this week: Creativity.  Sheila begins with a discussion of John Dewey’s anti-hierarchical formulation of the art experience, which establishes a continuum between “high art” and the esthetic perceptions of everyday life, then analyzes how these experiences are created, arranged, and orchestrated in the individual viewer’s experience.  In doing so, Dewey moves the location of Art from the canvas on the wall to the experience of the viewer.  He establishes that the analysis of art should focus on the experience of the viewer.  Tom discusses the human need for creativity, with reference to Abraham Maslow’s theory of the Hierarchy of Needs.

Originally broadcast September 25, 2021

Tudor Place, Washington DC’s Historic House

We visit Tudor Place in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC, the home for over two hundred years of descendants of Martha Washington.  The family retained this house over this entire period, through the Civil War, the gilded age, the Roaring Twenties, until the last owner deeded it to the foundation that now runs it as a museum.  The family, apparently, never threw anything out, so it is a treasure lode for objects of the past, both exquisite and utilitarian.  The museum is dedicated to telling the stories of the people who lived and worked there: the enslaved, the employed, and the elite of Washington DC.

Originally Broadcast Sep 11, 2021.

A Portrait of East Baltimore

Sheila and Tom visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum – now-open – to see the new exhibit of documentary photography from East Baltimore in the late 1970’s: Welcome Home: Portrait of East Baltimore. Three women, Linda Rich, Joan Clark Netherwood and Elinor Cahn, were welcomed into the churches, homes, and lives of the residents, in neighborhoods of predominantly immigrant communities from Eastern Europe.

The Painter’s Garden

Continuing to explore the theme of Gardens, Sheila and Tom explore how painters created gardens and painted them.  The experience of the gardens, passionately created and tended, and the experience of viewing the painted gardens, now in museums, are related.

Claude Monet, Stanley Spencer, and Gustave Klimt are the gardener-painters discussed, with a digression on the jaw-dropping prices set for Hunter Biden’s novice works, and another brief digression on Giorgio Morandi.