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Raw Material

Raw Material is an arts and culture podcast from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Each season focuses on a different topic, featuring voices of artists working in all media and exploring the inspiration and stories behind modern and contemporary art.

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Raw Material Mixtape: The Beholder's Share

Catch a sneak peak of what’s coming this season on Raw Material's "summer mixtape," from SFMOMA.Season update: Raw Material is temporarily suspending this season to create space for more urgent stories and conversations. Black lives matter.


1 Jun 2020

Rank #1

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Landfall Episode 1: Mounds, Jetties, Trails

“As long as you’re going to make sculpture, why not make one that competes with a 747, or the Empire State Building, or the Golden Gate Bridge?” Discover artists who did just that by creating monumental works meant to withstand time or succumb to its passage. Reflect on your own relationship to the land with a post-apocalyptic tale that might dig up more than you expect.Artists featured in this episode: Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, Walter de Maria


20 Nov 2017

Rank #2

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Six Degrees Episode 1: Sayre

Sayre Quevedo begins Raw Material season six by breaking into his ex-boyfriend’s apartment. His goal is to retrieve twenty-two love letters he wrote to a man who doesn’t deserve them. Join Sayre as he searches for signs, symbols, closure, and perhaps, real connection.


21 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Manifest Episode 1: The Land

Art is a journey. This episode considers hidden histories through artworks that explore the movement of people, goods and ideas across distant lands. Hear about works made from curry, a 25-part installation on Angel Island, and an immersive three-channel film piece that uses imagery of the sea to evoke larger themes about history and politics.Photo: Flo Oy Wong, by Geraldine Ah-Sue.Artists featured in this episode: Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, John Akomfrah, and Flo Oy Wong.


1 May 2017

Rank #4

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Otherworld Episode 5: The Vibration

Artists discuss how they both add to and draw from from Earth’s vibrations. A conceptual artist presents a chapel he has built for bees, and a free jazz improviser talks about making music with natural biological rhythms.Photo: Terence Koh, by Ross Simonini.Artists featured in this episode: Terence Koh, Milford Graves, Nat Evans.


28 Nov 2016

Rank #5

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Mixtape Episode 8: Amy Sherald by Note to Self

In the long history of portraits of First Ladies of the United States, none has drawn a reaction quite like the painting of Michelle Obama by Baltimore native Amy Sherald. Hear the artist discuss art in the age of Instagram. This episode is produced by WNYC Studios and Note to Self. More episodes at .


6 Aug 2018

Rank #6

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Six Degrees Episode 2: Jazmin

Jazmin Jones is pathologically inept at returning phone calls. In an attempt to clear her conscience (and voice-mail box), the artist decides to make a series of anxiety-inducing phone calls she’s put off for far too long. Listen in as Jazmin painfully catches up with friends, family, and accusatory ex-lovers.


28 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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Mixtape Episode 7: Carolee Schneeman Yoko Ono by A Piece Of Work

Carolee Schneemann and Yoko Ono have created provocative art throughout their careers. Learn how these artists have dedicated their lives to exploring the pleasures and the vulnerabilities of the human body. This episode is produced by WNYC Studios and MoMA. More episodes at https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/pieceofwork.


30 Jul 2018

Rank #8

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Otherworld Episode 6: The Presence

Artists share personal experiences they have had with ghosts and the paranormal. A conceptual sculptor describes creating a piece using a “presence” as his primary material. Artists featured in this episode: Tom Friedman, India Cook, Rosemary Brown, Elizabeth Robinson, Micki PelleranoImage © Tom Friedman; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.


12 Dec 2016

Rank #9

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Manifest Episode 2: The Body

Art is material. This episode explores art in relation to the body. Hear artists reflect on gender and performance, transform themselves into cockroaches, and sculpt self-portraits from chocolate and soap.Photo: Xandra Ibarra, Nude Laughing, performance at The Broad, Los Angeles, 2016. Photo by John Tain.Artists featured in this episode: Xandra Ibarra, Cassils, and Janine Antoni.


15 May 2017

Rank #10

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Six Degrees Episode 3: Yetunde

The sounds of rain, a family kitchen, a song, a late-night conversation—do the moments they encapsulate make us who we are? In this episode, Sayre Quevedo travels through artist Yetunde Olagbaju’s memory via a series of intimate recordings that constitute what they call a “living archive.”


4 Nov 2019

Rank #11

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Manifest Episode 4: The Mind

Art is an exercise in perspective. This episode highlights works that invite new ways of seeing. Artists reflect on how they see themselves, how others see them, and how to look at the world through performance, portraiture, and abstract painting. Photo: Toyin Ojih Odutola. Photo by King Texas © 2015.Artists featured in this episode: James Luna, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Katherine Sherwood.


12 Jun 2017

Rank #12

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Luvvers Episode 4: Silence Equals Death, So Fuck Loudly

The connection between the art world and the queer scene has not always been as openly discussed as it is today. Delve into the complex relationships between art, activism, and queer identity, and discover the power of making noise through making art.Photo: Douglas Crimp by T.L. Litt, 1990.Interview with Douglas Crimp is courtesy of SFMOMA's Open Space, from a conversation with Claudia La Rocco at the Lab in San Francisco.


26 Nov 2018

Rank #13

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Luvvers Episode 1: What Get's You Hot?

Nayland Blake doesn’t create art to express who they are, they create art to investigate the possibilities of identity. Hear the artist discuss their explorations of the queer, BDSM, kink, and furry scenes, and learn more about their unique approach to one of art’s oldest subjects—sex. Image © Nayland Blake, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.


15 Oct 2018

Rank #14

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Six Degrees Episode 5: Every connection

After a series of false starts, rabbit holes, and mind maps, the time has come for Sayre to (possibly) meet internationally acclaimed artist Nikhil Chopra, the sixth degree of separation. Nikhil is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, splayed upon the floor. Sayre is intimidated, alone, and buried behind a crowd of Nikhil’s friends and fans. Will the two finally connect, or will fate have it otherwise?


25 Nov 2019

Rank #15

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Mixtape Episode 2: Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein by Stuff You Missed in History Class

Gertrude Stein is often credited as a driving force behind Modernism and Cubism while her lifelong partner, Alice B. Toklas, is frequently left out of the story. Learn about this power couple and their roles as movers and shakers in the world of 20th century art.This episode is produced by Stuff You Missed in History Class © Stuff You Missed in History Class 2018. More episodes at https://www.missedinhistory.com/.


25 Jun 2018

Rank #16

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Luvvers Episode 3: Make Time, Make Love

Through looking at a variety of relationships, Chelsea investigates the many ways desire can be expressed. Hear the famed love letters Frida Kahlo sent to Diego Rivera, as well as to the lesser-known, though no less poetic answering machine messages left by Chelsea’s husband.


12 Nov 2018

Rank #17

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Six Degrees Episode 6: Nikhil

Sayre Quevedo, Raw Material’s podcaster-in-residence for Season 6, is at the end of his journey. It all started with a curiosity about the surprising ways humans are connected, and a wild plot to make his way to various artists through “degrees of separation.” When we first meet Sayre, he’s stealing love letters back from an ungracious ex. In this final episode, where does this experiment leave him?


13 Dec 2019

Rank #18

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Luvvers Episode 5: My Art is Gay

Facing persecution in her native Uganda and unwilling to live an inauthentic life, fierce queer artist Leilah Babirye made a choice. She fled her home to discover a world of sexual and artistic exuberance in a new creative community on Fire Island, New York. Learn more about her extraordinary life and her bold body of work in this episode of Luvvers.Photo: Leilah Babirye


10 Dec 2018

Rank #19

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Mixtape Episode 3: Georgia O'Keeffe by The Artsy Podcast

Many people know Georgia O’Keeffe for her flower paintings and depictions of the New Mexico landscape. Discover the very different setting that captured O’Keeffe during her time as a commissioned artist for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company—now the Dole Food Company— and how an initial distaste turned into great inspiration.This podcast was hosted and produced by Abigail Cain © Artsy 2017. You can find more episodes of The Artsy Podcast at on Apple Podcasts.


2 Jul 2018

Rank #20