The Art Angle
The Art Angle
Nov 25, 2020
Re-air: The Rise and Fall of Anne Geddes, Queen of Baby Photography
Play • 26 min

The Art Angle team is taking this week off for Thanksgiving, but we thought we'd share one of our favorite episodes from the past year to see you through this unconventional holiday weekend. 

Picture this: a doughy, apple-cheeked infant nestled in between the soft petals of a dew-kissed flower, sound asleep, like the start of a real-life fable. Almost everyone who conjures that mental image will do so using a nearly identical aesthetic—and whether you realize it or not, that’s almost entirely because of the work of legendary baby photographer Anne Geddes.

After her debut photography book, Down in the Garden, soared to number three on the New York Times Bestseller list in 1996, Geddes’s wholesomely surreal infant images became inescapable. Oprah went on air to declare Down in the Garden the best coffee-table book she’d ever seen, and by late December 1997, Geddes’s publishing partners had sold more than 1.8 billion (yes, with a “b”) calendars and date books of her photography for the upcoming year. Her dizzying success soon spurred the artist to ramp up production, with a standard Geddes shoot requiring six-to-eight months of planning and a budget between $250,000 and $350,000. But who could blame her for going big? Geddes’s empire of adorable infants seemed unstoppable.

Cut to 2020, however, and the picture has changed dramatically—not just for Geddes, but for an entire creative economy driven by analog photography, print publishing, and the high barriers to entry formerly associated with both. Years after smartphones first began putting increasingly high-quality cameras in nearly everyone’s pocket, and Instagram began providing masses of self-trained shutterbugs a free and wide-reaching distribution platform for their images, it’s not hyperbole to say that the pillars on which Geddes built her career have crumbled. So what’s the Queen of Baby Photography to do when her kingdom becomes unrecognizable?

Back in May, Andrew Goldstein chatted with Noor Brara, Artnet’s art and design editor, about her recent profile of Geddes. Together, they discussed the artist’s rise, fall, and reckoning with culture’s digital evolution.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast
The Modern Art Notes Podcast
Tyler Green
Jill Mulleady, Umar Rashid
Episode No. 480 features artists Jill Mulleady and Umar Rashid. Mulleady and Rashid are included in "Made in L.A. 2020: A Vision" the Hammer Museum's biennial that has been installed -- but is not yet on public view because of the pandemic -- at the Hammer and The Huntington Library. The exhibition was scheduled to open last year; its opening date is dependent upon Los Angeles County guidance. (As of the publishing of this episode, COVID rates in LA County are nearly double the national average.) Online and offsite MinLA projects by Larry Johnson and Kahlil Joseph, and Ligia Lewis are on view now. Late last year, a small number of critics and journalists received a preview of the exhibition; The MAN Podcast is airing MinLA-oriented episodes last week and this week in an effort to support the artists in the exhibition while we wait. Mulleady's paintings, often or present-day scenes, are built from specific geographies and often from additions pulled from art's history, including references to specific paintings, as well as to familiar metaphors and allegories. Mulleady was born in Uruguay, schooled in London and lives in Los Angeles. She has had solo exhibitions at the Swiss Institute in New York and the Kunsthalle Bern, and she was included in curator Ralph Rugoff's 2019 Venice Biennale. Rashid's paintings at the Hammer present the fictional Battle of Malibu, an exploration of the maritime exploits of the Tongva and Chumash peoples native to the southern California coast. At the Huntington, Rashid critiques the Spanish dominion over indigenous Californians, including through the mission-and-presidio system and related colonial agricultural practices. Rashid has had solo exhibitions at the art museums at the University of Arizona and the University of Memphis, and at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.
1 hr 13 min
The Lonely Palette
The Lonely Palette
Tamar Avishai
BonusEp 0.4: Tamar Avishai interviews Ralph Steadman
You’ve seen the work of 84-year-old Welsh artist and illustrator Ralph Steadman, even if you haven’t realized it. His searing political caricature and trademark flying ink spatter have illustrated major works of literature and journalism for the past half-century – and most notably the hallucinogenic writing of Hunter S. Thompson, resulting in an alchemic collaboration that wove together journalism and illustration to create what history has described as Gonzo, and what Steadman calls the meeting between an ex-Hell’s Angel with a shaved head and a matted-haired geek with string warts. We spoke in advance of his new retrospective, “Ralph Steadman: A Life in Ink,” and talked about this storied, ink-stained career: what it means to illustrate depravity, how a caricature can capture both body and soul, and where to look for the ever-present birdsong that undergirds our current doom. [2:18]: Love of Picasso and Duchamp. [3:11]: Where do you start with caricature, the body or the soul? [5:40]: Drawing with a pen – “no such thing as a mistake.” [7:09]: The difference between illustration and “fine art”. [9:55]: Use of the geometric in Steadman’s work, ink spatter, a conversation with the paper. [13:10]: Coming to the U.S. in 1970, David Hockney “Paranoids”. [14:30]: Use of photographs and text in drawing. [15:15]: I, Leonardo, the terror of the blank canvas, and “prorogation”. [17:53]: Style, “exposing depravity” and being purified by drawing it. [22:33]: Early career before collaborating with Hunter S. Thompson, alchemy, gonzo. [29:08]: Favorite faces to draw. [30:48]: 2020, the pandemic, and finding the birdsong in doom. Interview Webpage: http://bit.ly/38erSJX Music Used: The Blue Dot Sessions, "Crumbtown" Support the Show: www.patreon.com/lonelypalette
37 min
Culture Call
Culture Call
Financial Times
Shantell Martin on how to draw a line. Plus: Gris returns!
Welcome to our Season 3 finale! To wrap up the year, Lilah is joined by the artist Shantell Martin. Shantell draws big, bold lines. Everywhere. She makes a strong case for taking out a pen. We discuss how to teach art to the next generation, what it means to 'sell out' in the art world, British versus American racism, and an urgent question for this time: who are you? Afterwards, co-host Griselda Murray Brown stops in during maternity leave to talk about motherhood and this season's themes. Thank you for joining us on this journey. You can keep in touch with Lilah on Instagram at @lilahrap, on Twitter at @lilahrap and @ftculturecall, and by email at culturecall@ft.com. Links from the show: For free 30-day access to all FT journalism, sign up to the Coronavirus Business Update newsletter with this special link. —Shantell on Instagram —Shantell's work at the New York City Ballet —Dear Grandmother, a collaboration between Dot and Shantell Martin —New Tricks, Shantell's British detective show recommendation, is on Amazon Prime —Janelle Monáe music video for Turntables —A great recent FT interview with Mary Gaitskill, author of Lost Cat —Morning Song, a poem by Sylvia Plath —Great back catalogue episodes: start the six-episode journey of this season with episode one: Miranda July! Some standout Gris interviews include Tyler Mitchell, George the Poet and Jia Tolentino. Some standout Lilah interviews include Ira Glass, Maaza Mengiste and Esther Perel. --- “Turntables” is an original song by Janelle Monáe for the Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés' 2020 documentary film All In: The Fight for Democracy. Courtesy Bad Boy, 2021   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
56 min
Future Perfect
Future Perfect
Vox
Rethinking meat
How can we convince people to change their relationship with meat? Melanie Joy has been grappling with this question for a long time. To answer it, she takes us back to other points in history when new technology helped make social change palatable. She digs into how the invention of the washing machine and other household appliances, for example, helped make feminism easier to imagine. Then, she looks to the future, at our latest meat technologies — plant-based meat and lab grown meat — and asks: Could they make it easier for us to move away from meat altogether?  Further listening and reading:  Joy’s books, Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation and Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.  Vox’s Ezra Klein interviewed Joy for an episode of The Ezra Klein Show in 2018. Hear that interview and read her book recommendations here. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Melanie Joy (@DrMelanieJoy) Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22 min
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