Art Matters | WYPR

Art Matters

First Friday of every month 4:44 PM

"Art Matters" with Baltimore Museum of Art Director Christopher Bedford connects listeners with some of the most interesting and innovative artists working today.  As the 10th director of Maryland's largest art museum, Bedford is recognized as a dynamic leader who recognizes the powerful role that art and artists can play in shaping our society.

Tune in the first Friday of every month to hear how artists from Baltimore and beyond define themselves and their work.

Candice Breitz

Oct 2, 2020

BMA Director Christopher Bedford and Berlin-based, South African artist Candice Breitz talk about her inspiration for the two works, Love Story, which addresses the worldwide refugee crisis, and  TLDR, a film about the treatment of sex workers in South Africa.  Ms. Breitz’s immersive, multi-media installation, Candice Breitz: Too Long, Didn’t Read, will be on view at the BMA through January 10, 2021.

Elissa Blount Moorhead

Sep 11, 2020

Baltimore-based artist Elissa Blount Moorhead talks with BMA Director Christopher Bedford about Back and Song, her multi-channel video collaboration with cinematographer Bradford Young that explores the pursuit of healing and well-being, especially through music, is at the root of the black experience. Elissa Blount Moorhead and Bradford Young: Back and Song is on view at the BMA from September 23, 2020 through January 3, 2021.  

Katharina Grosse

Mar 6, 2020
Mitro Hood


German artist Katharina Grosse talks with BMA Director Christopher Bedford about her gallery enveloping fabric and paint installation—her first in a U.S. museum—and describes the immersive experience awaiting visitors. Katharina Grosse: Is It You? is on view at the BMA through June 28, 2020.

Ellen Lesperance

Feb 7, 2020
Maximilian Franz

Portland, Oregon-based artist Ellen Lesperance talks about her paintings inspired by sweaters worn by activities at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, creative non-violence, and her Congratulations and Celebrations Sweater, which is worn for personal acts of courage and posted on Instagram.  Ellen Lesperance: Velvet Fist is on view at the BMA through June 28, 2020.

Betty Cooke

Jan 3, 2020

Baltimore-based artist and jewelry designer Betty Cooke talks with BMA Director Christopher Bedford about her early career, the artists she admired, and why she has chosen to stay in Baltimore. A selection of Ms. Cooke’s jewelry is on view in Free Form: 20th-Century Studio Craft at the BMA through June 7.

Mickalene Thomas

Dec 6, 2019
Mitro Hood

New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas talks with BMA Director Chris Bedford about the recent national and international recognition for black women artists are getting and A Moment’s Pleasure, her new immersive new commission that has transformed the BMA’s East Lobby into a living room for Baltimore.

Leonardo Drew

Nov 1, 2019
Jennifer McMenamin Photography

BMA Director Christopher Bedford talks to New York-based multi-media artist Leonardo Drew about how the artist gives new life and meaning to the found materials he uses. Mr. Drew also discusses his appreciation and respect for viewers’ different interpretations of his art. Works by the artist are on view in Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art at the BMA through January 19.

Free admission will be available to everyone November 23 & 24 courtesy of Bank of America, and city residents December 14 & 15 courtesy of CareFirst.

William T. Williams

Oct 4, 2019
Jennifer McMenamin

Artist William T. Williams talks about his long career as an abstract painter and his role in mentoring the next generation.  Works by Williams are on view at the BMA in Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art and Every Day: Selections from the Collection and in New York at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

Melvin Edwards

Sep 6, 2019
Alexander Gray Associates, New York.

Artist Melvin Edwards talks with BMA Director Christopher Bedford about how his experiences in Africa have influenced his work—including his ongoing Lynch Fragments series—and shares details about his upcoming installation at The Baltimore Museum of Art.  Melvin Edwards: Crossroads is on view at the BMA beginning September 29.

Clifford Owens

Aug 2, 2019
Mitro Hood

Photographer and performance artist Clifford Owens talks with BMA Director Christopher Bedford about vulnerable interactions in his performance work, growing up in Baltimore, and the BMA’s newly reinstalled contemporary galleries.

Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick

Jul 5, 2019
Chandra McCormick

New Orleans-based artists Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick discuss their work documenting the men incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola—including how they began this project more than 30 years ago and the daily struggles for those incarcerated, released, and exonerated. Their photographs are on view in Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex: Photographs by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick at the BMA through October 27.

Wangechi Mutu

Jun 7, 2019
Maximilian Franz

BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu about her transition from working in collage to bronze sculpture and this moment of success for her and other black female artists. Mutu’s Water Woman sculpture is on view at the BMA. 

Joyce C. Scott

May 3, 2019

BMA Director Christopher Bedford talks with Baltimore-based artist Joyce J. Scott about the new exhibition pairing her artwork with that of her mother, Elizabeth Talford Scott, and the legacy of artmaking in her family. Hitching Their Dreams to Untamed Stars: Joyce J. Scott and Elizabeth Talford Scott is on view at the BMA May 15-December 1, 2019.

Paul Rucker

Apr 5, 2019
Mitro Hood

BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews Paul Rucker, an artist determined to create compelling works of art that provoke the mind, body, spirit, and conscience of this ethically embattled world of the 21st century. Their conversation focuses on Paul’s work and the artist’s role in addressing social problems.

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg

Mar 1, 2019
Courtesy of the Artists and Lisson Gallery


BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews Berlin-based Swedish artists Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg about their creative collaboration making psychologically charged, Surrealist-inspired stop-motion animated films, sculpture, and immersive installations. An exhibition of the artists’ work is on view at the BMA through May 26, 2019. The artists will be in Baltimore for the next Art After Hours event the evening of Friday, May 24, where Hans will debut selections from his new recording of electronic house music.

Ken Royster

Feb 1, 2019


BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews Baltimore-based photographer Ken Royster about the process of creating his black and white documentary images and his recent embrace of color digital images,  as well as Ken’s perception of the changes in Baltimore and his experiences in Africa.  



Lauren Boyle

Jan 4, 2019

BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews Lauren Boyle of the New York-based artist collective DIS. Boyle explains how she, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso, and David Toro came up with the collective’s name and describes how they conceive their pop-culture-influenced edutainment videos on view at the BMA through November 2019.

Ebony G. Patterson

Dec 7, 2018
Mitro Hood

BMA Director Christopher Bedford discusses the work of Ebony G. Patterson, whose exhibition at the BMA includes an opulent tapestry with dazzling arrays of found and fabricated materials—glitter, sequins, toys, beads, faux flowers, jewelry, and other embellishments. Patterson talks about these materials and her new work in the BMA’s American Wing, a sculpture that comprises 150 hand-embellished toy guns presented in dialogue with Joshua Johnson’s painting Charles Herman Stricker Wilmans (c. 1804).

Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin

Nov 2, 2018
Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Sprüth Magers

BMA Director Christopher Bedford explores how the artist collaborators Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin met and how they work together developing scripts and viewing environments for their frenetic, non-linear movies. The artists’ work is on view at the BMA through January 6, 2019.

Mark Bradford

Oct 5, 2018

BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews the acclaimed artist Mark Bradford who represented the U.S. at the Venice Biennale in 2017. The artist talks about the exhibition he created for Venice, its presentation in Baltimore, and about his work with the Greenmount West Community Center.

Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day is on view at the BMA through March 3, 2019.

Tavares Strachan

Sep 12, 2018

Christopher Bedford talks with Bahamian-born artist Tavares Strachan about his work with scientists at MIT in Cambridge and the Allen Institute in Seattle, the meaning of his compelling new light installation on the BMA’s historic façade, and his ambitious new project for the Carnegie International exhibition in Pittsburgh.  

Maren Hassinger

Aug 3, 2018
Mitro Hood

Artist Maren Hassinger discuss how her sculptures came to incorporate everyday materials such as newspapers, wire, and plastic bags, as well as her 20-year career as director of the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The BMA recently opened Maren Hassinger: The Spirit of Things, a solo exhibition with sculptures, drawings, photographs of performances, and videos that span the artist’s career. The exhibition is on view in the BMA’s contemporary wing through November 25, 2018.

Shinique Smith

Jul 6, 2018
Jason Mandella, Courtesy David Castillo Gallery

Artist Shinique Smith joins Christopher Bedford for a conversation about Baltimore’s influence on her work, the evolution of her artistic practice during her years at the Maryland College Institute of Art, and her current and upcoming projects. Shinique’s work will also be on view at the BMA in an exhibition from The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection in summer 2019.

Oletha DeVane

Jun 1, 2018
Courtesy the artist. ©2018 Oletha DeVane

Maryland-based artist Oletha DeVane joins Christopher Bedford for a conversation about how her work conceptually links the physical and spiritual worlds and is influenced by African and Haitian spiritual traditions. To see examples of her paintings, prints, sculptures, and videos, visit

Meleko Mokgosi

May 4, 2018
Mitro Hood

Botswana-born, New York-based artist Meleko Mokgosi speaks with Christopher Bedford about his new exhibition at the BMA, Meleko Mokgosi: Acts of Resistance. Presented in the BMA galleries adjacent to the European Old Masters, the artist’s paintings ask us to consider images of black men and women as embodiments of love, intimacy, and strength in a post-colonial world.

Stephen Towns

Apr 5, 2018
Joseph Hyde

Christopher Bedford talks with Baltimore-based artist Stephen Towns about his first museum exhibition, Rumination and a Reckoning, and his choice to use quilting as a medium to narrate the life of Nat Turner and his 1831 rebellion. Towns is also a Sondheim Artscape Prize Finalist whose work will be on view in another exhibition at the BMA June 20 – August 5.

Spencer Finch

Mar 2, 2018
Mitro Hood.

Moon Dust (Apollo 17) transforms the BMA’s majestic Fox Court, evoking in viewers a sense of wonder. For the next seven years, museum visitors can enjoy the sublime light installation by Spencer Finch. For this episode of Art Matters, the New York-based artist spoke with BMA Director Christopher Bedford about Moon Dust and how the installation’s 447 lights and 150 fixtures are a scientifically precise representation of the chemical composition of moon dust gathered during the Apollo 17 mission.

Zöe Charlton

Feb 2, 2018

Chris Bedford and Baltimore-based artist Zöe Charlton discuss the meanings behind her surreal life-size figurative drawings and how people relate to images of bodies.

Senga Nengudi

Jan 5, 2018
Mitro Hood

BMA Director Christopher Bedford delves into the career of performance artist/sculptor Senga Nengudi – from her pioneering work in Los Angeles in the 1970s to recent exhibitions that include more artists of color.

Tomás Saraceno

Dec 1, 2017
Mitro Hood

For this episode of “Art Matters,” BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews Berlin-based artist Tomás Saraceno, who recently created a stunning new work titled Entangled Orbits for the BMA’s East Lobby. Chris and Tomás talk about the artist’s fascination with spiders—how they influence his work and how they can help us consider new ways of living in this galaxy.