Episode No. 516 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features art historian and author Mary Beard and artist Tabitha Soren.
Beard’s new book is Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern. It details how for more than two millennia, portraits of the rich and powerful have been informed by portraits of Roman emperors (and often by portraits believed to be Roman emperors), and investigates how 12 murderous rulers came to be so prominent in the work of artists — and in the minds of patrons — ever after.
The book descends from Beard’s 2011 Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery of Art. Indiebound and Amazon offer the book for about $35.
Material referenced on the program includes:
- Aegidius Sadeler II’s prints after Titian’s Eleven Caesars (which were destroyed by fire in 1734).
- Hall of the Emperors, Capitoline Museums, Rome.
On the second segment, Tabitha Soren discusses her work on the occasion of “Surface Tension” at the Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, Calif. The exhibition features work from Soren’s series of the same title, pictures of iPad screens made to reveal how we interact with digital screens in ways that join touch, art history and the present. The exhibition is on view through December 12.
Concurrently, RVB Books has published a book of pictures from the series. It’s also titled Surface Tension and includes an essay by Jia Tolentino. It’s available from RVB Books for 29€.
Works from the series have previously been shown at museums such as the Davis Museum at Wellesley College and at Transformer Station in Cleveland. Soren’s work is in the collections of many museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the George Eastman Museum.
Air date: September 23, 2021.