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SFMOMA Partners with Activist, Writer and Media Maker Alice Wong on Newest Season of Museum’s Raw Material Podcast to Explore the Intersection of Art and Disability

Released: February 23, 2023 · Download (303 KB PDF)

San Francisco, February 23, 2023–The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is partnering with disabled activist, writer, media maker and consultant Alice Wong on the newest season of its award-winning Raw Material podcast, launching on February 28. Each season, SFMOMA works with a different “podcaster-in-residence” to explore modern and contemporary art through the perspectives of artists and thinkers from around the globe. The previous season of Raw Material, which garnered over 50,000 listeners, featured writer, artist and radio producer Babette Thomas and explored the power of Black imagination. In the new season, Wong shares five episodes from her podcast Disability Visibility, with newly recorded introductions, putting a spotlight on the innovative work and creative wisdom of disabled artists and makers. The forthcoming season of Raw Material provides a fresh opportunity to engage audiences with the dynamic voices and practices of disabled artists, who for too long have been marginalized by the mainstream art world. Raw Material is available on the SFMOMA website or wherever listeners find podcasts.

Through compelling stories and interviews, Wong’s Disability Visibility shares the art-making processes and experiences of disabled artists, community members and advocates—from creative choices and adaptations borne of physical necessity; to the liberation, release and connection that making and experiencing art provide; to issues of access and inclusion in museum and performance settings. Each episode is paired with works in SFMOMA’s collection that touch on disability, accessibility and inclusion, creating new points of connection and opportunities for dialogue.

“As the title of my podcast, Disability Visibility, suggests, I wanted to create something for disabled people by disabled people. It was a great creative challenge and I feel good knowing these stories will now be in the world forever. It has been a pleasure to partner with SFMOMA to establish another platform for the artists and advocates that I’ve interviewed and to introduce new audiences to them through Raw Material,” said Wong. “I hope that art lovers come to think of disability as a vibrant culture and that they question their presumptions about ‘good’ art and how those presumptions are developed through an ableist lens.”

The launch of the latest podcast season follows SFMOMA’s announcement of several recent acquisitions by artists who work through Creative Growth, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California, that advances the inclusion of artists with developmental disabilities in contemporary art. The acquisitions are part of SFMOMA’s strategic vision, articulated under the new leadership of Christopher Bedford, to increase emphasis on acquiring and presenting work by artists with disabilities. The season also surfaces currently on-view collection works by disabled artists William Scott (who also works with Creative Growth) and Marlon Mullen, who works with NIAD, a Richmond, CA-based nonprofit organization that promotes creative expression, independence, dignity and community integration for people with disabilities.

“We are delighted to work with Alice Wong, an accomplished writer and activist who brings a critical perspective to SFMOMA’s program. An essential part of our vision for the future is to invite a diverse range of artists, innovators and thinkers to explore the nature, meaning and significance of art and culture, broadening our understanding of its development and importance to personal and communal experiences,” said Christopher Bedford, the Helen and Charles Schwab Director at SFMOMA. “Individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in our collection and in our program, a reality that we are working to rectify. I am delighted that we are taking an important step in that direction through our collaboration with Alice.”

Episodes from this season of Raw Material include:

  • “Disabled dancers with India Harville,” paired with art by Binta Ayofemi and Yinka Shonibare
  • “Disabled artists with Jeff Thomas,” paired with art by William Scott
  • “Art and technology with Lindsey D. Felt and Vanessa Chang,” paired with art by Rhonda Holberton and new universal design acquisitions from the Architecture and Design curatorial team
  • “Accessibility with Finnegan Shannon,” paired with art by Park McArthur and Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, designers of the Ed Roberts Campus
  • “Museums with Amanda Cachia,” paired with art by Marlon Mullen and Creative Growth artist Alice Wong

Past seasons of Raw Material have explored topics as varied as land art; immersive art experiences; sex and love; perspectives by Bay Area Black artists; and the evolution of San Francisco. Past collaborators include Tamar Avishai of the Lonely Palette podcast; artist and curator Chelsea Beck; the Kitchen Sisters (award-winning radio producers and audio artists Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva); audio producer Sayre Quevedo; and artist and writer Babette Thomas, among others. Future seasons of the podcast’s storytelling will focus on the museum’s increasingly diverse collection, exploring works from gender-marginalized and BIPOC artists and centering local creatives. Raw Material will continue to be a platform for an eclectic local podcasters-in-residence community to contribute their perspective, values and style.

Photo of Alice Wong in front of a cement wall. She is wearing a blue cardigan and sitting in a power chair. She is staring intently at the camera, wearing a bold red lip color, and a trach at her neck. Photo by Eddie Hernandez Photography, courtesy Alice Wong

About Alice Wong

Alice Wong (she/her) is a disabled activist, writer, media maker and consultant. She is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community dedicated to creating, sharing and amplifying disability media and culture. Alice is the editor of Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, an anthology of essays by disabled people, and Disability Visibility: 17 First-Person Stories for Today, an adapted version for young adults. Her debut memoir, Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life, is available now from Vintage Books. Disability Intimacy, her next anthology, will be out in 2024. Twitter: @SFdirewolf.


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