Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Announces New Podcast Series Exploring the Archives’ Oral History Collection, Articulated: Dispatches from the Archives of American Art Launches August 26, 2021 

By the Archives

August 26, 2021

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The Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, is pleased to announce Articulated: Dispatches from the Archives of American Art, a new podcast series showcasing one of the oldest, largest, and most respected oral history collections in the world. The series launches on August 26, 2021 and explores the great diversity of the American art scene, as well as important moments throughout history with insightful commentary from leading scholars, curators, and art world figures. Co-produced by Ben Gillespie, the Arlene and Robert Kogod Secretarial Scholar for Oral History, and Michelle Herman, Head of Digital Experience, the series features firsthand accounts from artists, dealers, writers, and other key figures whose expansive and often surprising memories challenge us to see the world in new and unimagined ways. Episodes will be released monthly, with a commitment to produce the series through 2023.

“Articulated offers an opportunity for us to learn history through the experiences of those who shaped it, and we are particularly thrilled to illuminate stories from the Archives that might go unnoticed otherwise. In connecting these voices with each other and present-day perspectives, we lay the groundwork for a more honest and cooperative future.” —Ben Gillespie, oral historian, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

The first four episodes examine the New Deal arts programs, bringing voices from the artists, administrators, and educators who made the New Deal possible into conversation with today's experts. Set to launch on August 26th, this date marks the day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his letter on the allocation of work relief funds in 1935, which shifted the focus of economic recovery towards employment and national improvement, transforming the New Deal into a lifeline for millions and forever reshaping American culture through direct investment in people. The program is especially resonant today, given the economic hardships and cultural upheaval of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism in the United States. Subsequent episodes will feature the voices and stories of artists who participated in queer activist art groups Fierce Pussy and ACT UP in the late 20th century as they made visible the struggles of the LGBTQ community during the peak of the AIDS crisis. Later episodes will explore feminist artists' mobilization of technology, notions of preservation in the arts, and the power of oral history as a tool for research and a method for bringing people and stories together.

Articulated’s New Deal episodes draw from the Archives' first large-scale oral history collecting effort from 1963 to 1965, when the Archives interviewed nearly 400 artists and art administrators who had been involved in all aspects of government sponsorship of the arts in the 1930s and 40s. These interviews provide rare personal accounts of the New Deal arts programs and paradigm shifts they affected, including clips with Charles Henry Alston, Margaret Burroughs, Olga Burroughs, Edward Chavez, Fay Chong, Opal Fleckenstein, Philip Guston, Sargent Johnson, Dorothea Lange, Victor Mantilla Chalela, Isamu Noguchi, Gordon Parks, Charlotte Partridge, Ben Shahn, Roy Stryker, John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott, Charles White, Helen Wool, and many others.

"The Archives of American Art is excited to expand our work and content to new audiences in alignment with the Smithsonian’s mission to reach one billion people a year with a digital-first strategy. Articulated creates meaningful connections between the Archives’ oral histories and contemporary issues in a format that is accessible to a wide audience.” —Michelle Herman, Head of Digital Experience

The Archives of American Art is proud to facilitate, promote, and provide access to the largest collection of oral histories associated with the visual arts in America. This new podcast series will provide broader access to these more than 2,400 interviews for further study by scholars, students, and anyone interested in learning about art in the United States.

Articulated: Dispatches from the Archives of American Art is supported by the Alice L. Walton Foundation.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Schedule of Upcoming Episodes:

August 26, 2021-The New Deal and the Arts-Background; The Making of American Art
September 23, 2021-Equity, Labor, and the New Deal; New Horizons of the New Deal
October 28, 2021- The Powers of fierce pussy; Shutdowns with ACT UP

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