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.

African American Monuments

Sheila and Tom discuss monuments dedicated to African Americans – especially those created by African American Artists, many in Washington DC: among them:

• The African American Civil War Memorial, with its sculpture titled The Spirit of Freedom, by Ed Hamilton,
• the Martin Luther King Memorial, in Washington DC, by Lei Yixin,
• Public Statues of Mary McLeod Bethune, Sojourner Truth (by Artis Lane), and A. Phillip Randolph and Frederick Douglass (both by Ed Dwight)
• Sculptures by Martin Puryear

Cross-Pollination in Painting

A number of musicians, poets, and even politicians have seriously developed as visual artists, usually painters.  Today, Sheila and Tom discuss artists who straddle two worlds, such as poet Elizabeth Bishop, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, poet/novelist Henry Miller, and Winston Churchill. The poem, “The Moose”, by Elizabeth Bishop, is read.

Portraits in America

Sheila examines the history of American Portraiture, from the early colonial self-taught limners, through the virtuosos of the late nineteenth century.  We focus on a family of portrait artists in Richmond, Virginia: Ellis Silvette and his children, and discuss Kehinde Wiley’s exciting and intriguing response to the Confederate monuments of that city.

Artists Who Lived Long Lives III

In this program we discuss the late careers of artists whose work evolved into something different, something new, and something beautiful.  The artists discussed today are: Francisco Goya, Jasper Johns, Winslow Homer, Marc Chagall, Grandma Moses, and Louise Nevelson.

This is the third in a series of programs on this topic, while COVID minimizes our museum sorties.

Originally broadcast on WOWD-LP, Takoma Park, Dec 19, 2020.

Matisse, Monet, de Kooning, Martin, and Bourgeois: Artists Who Lived Long Lives

Sheila and Tom discuss the the careers and late paintings of artists who painted to the ends of their long lives: Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Willem de Kooning, Agnes Martin, and Louise Bourgeois.

Originally broadcast November21, 2020.

Philip Guston: Controversy, Censorship, and Conflict

Tom and Sheila discuss the artist Philip Guston, his work, and the controversy – due to the images in his work of hooded klansmen – that has erupted from the postponement of a major Guston retrospective at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Tate Modern, London.

Originally broadcast November 7, 2020

Degas at the Opera

The Art as Experience radio show returns to WOWD Takoma Radio after a haitus due to the COVID pandemic, and so does the podcast!  Sheila and Tom discuss the recent exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Degas at the Opera.

Degas does something here that artists don’t try to do anymore:  create a world.

Edgar Degas, in these paintings, creates the world of the Paris Opera in the 1870’s and 80’s: its audience, its subscribers, its stars and sets. You can experience the enchantment that’s created on the stage, and view, as a voyeur, the young female dancers – training, rehearsing, and performing. Hanging around in the wings, you also see the men who, as subscribers, get the privilege of becoming part of the scene – meeting, chatting up, and propositioning the girls: dressed in black, with top hats, their feet showing under the curtains.

What surprised us in the show was that Degas was really experimental.  There’s a wide range: from super-realistic to wildly abstract.  That stretching and experimenting is there for you to see, and so are the flaws.  This is a rich field to explore.

…. Originally broadcast October 24, 2020.


Women Artists and Branding

After their last program on the artist Pat Steir, currently on exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum of Art, Sheila and Tom continue their discussion of the challenges facing women artists and the commercial strategy of “branding”.

Originally broadcast Mar 07, 2020.