“I’m hoping to give an interesting spin to art history for people that don’t know a lot – or anything – about it.”
–Jennifer Dasal, producer and host of the podcast ArtCurious
by Jessie Ammons
N.C. Museum of Art associate curator of contemporary art Jennifer Dasal says she loves the area’s wealth of art aficionados and benefactors. But her daily work in the public museum highlighted a gap: “I regularly have people say they don’t like art because it’s boring, or they don’t know much about it.”
Some think art is “lifeless and not as interesting as dance or film, something that moves,” she says. Dasal obviously thinks differently, and she has all sorts of resources at her fingertips to stoke her interest and boost her knowledge. But what about everyone else? She had an aha moment when she thought about the ways she learns about new things herself: “I’m a big fan of podcasts,” Dasal says, especially the ones she stumbles upon on subjects she knows nothing about. So she decided to use her curator knowledge to create a podcast of her own.
ArtCurious launched last summer and releases new episodes every two weeks. “I’m hoping to give more of an interesting spin to art history,” Dasal says, putting historical stories in a modern-day context and weaving in interesting parallels and sidenotes. For example, this month she’ll discuss proposed medical diagnoses of figures depicted in art: “Imagine a doctor or nurse looking at a figure in a painting and guessing that the model had breast cancer,” Dasal explains. “Strange, but totally fascinating!”
Dasal regularly seeks input from her listeners for future subject ideas. “It’s been a lot of trial by fire – and a lot of fun. My main audience was people that don’t know a lot about art history, and I’ve now heard from people that they are that person and they’re now excited about art.”