The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced the second season of its PORTRAITS podcast, which explores the real stories of extraordinary people. This season, the Portrait Gallery’s director and podcast host, Kim Sajet, chats with historians and thought leaders to explore how a single moment in time can contribute to a long-lasting legacy for some, while a lifetime of daily activism for others can be left off the canvas. Sajet will ask, “Even when a picture is made, how do you convey the vastness of a person’s achievements or the essence of a lifetime through a single image? And what life of its own does that image take on when shared?” All new episodes for season two premiere bi-weekly, on Tuesdays and will continue into June. A trailer for the season launched Tuesday, March 24.
“The PORTRAITS podcast allows us to go beyond the frame and unpack the important stories that humanize the faces within our collection,” Sajet said. “In light of the recent COVID-19 virus and the museum’s temporary closure, episodes in season two take on new meaning in this moment of social distancing by highlighting the portraits and lives of individuals who took action to better the life of a nation.”
Season two dives deeper into the stories of people who became iconic, whether by intent or happenstance. Episodes will examine the legacy of Harriet Tubman (guests: Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and film director Kasi Lemmons), the life of the humorist and vaudeville actor Will Rogers (guest: Portrait Gallery’s Historian James Barber) and the connections made between President John F. Kennedy and the artist Elaine de Kooning (guest: Portrait Gallery’s Chief Curator Brandon Brame Fortune). Season two will also feature special episodes on “Social Distancing with Portraiture,” with insights from the museum’s team of art historians.
Listeners can download the full first season of PORTRAITS and all new episodes, as season two unfolds, at npg.si.edu/podcasts or through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, PRX, Radio Public, Spotify and Stitcher. The first season of PORTRAITS featured guests including Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III; Jill Lapore, history professor and staff writer for The New Yorker; artist Hope Gangloff; Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium; the late historian and news commentator Cokie Roberts; and Portrait Gallery curators Leslie Ureña and Ann Shumard.