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Abbi Jacobson Knows Modern Art

The Broad City Star Goes Deep in a new podcast recorded in New York’s Museum of Modern Art

Sophie Aroesty
July 11, 2017
Getty Images
Abbi JacobsonGetty Images
Getty Images
Abbi JacobsonGetty Images

“In a world of paint, canvas, and plaster of Paris, one woman dares to ask the question: What the hell is that?”

Would you expect anything less tongue-in-cheek from Broad City writer and star Abbi Jacobson? The woman responsible for exploring topics like using a strap-on during a first sexual encounter or pooping during a party is now the host of a podcast about fine art.

Titled A Piece of Work, and produced in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art and WNYC Studios of New York Public Radio, the show will follow Jacobson as she wanders through MoMA’s galleries with a mic and a guest to look at the wonderful and weird world of contemporary art. The ten-episode series is going to explore topics like minimalism, pop-art, and abstraction.

In the first episode, released yesterday, Jacobson explains her credentials for running such a high-brow production. She studied drawing, painting, and video at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and, through video, discovered her love of acting and moved to New York City after graduating to pursue both of her passions. But only one really took off, so like her onscreen persona, being an illustrator took a backseat. But she still loves art.

The meta-ness doesn’t stop there. The first guest of the podcast is Hannibal Buress, who plays Lincoln on Broad City. He and Jacobson talk about Bicycle Wheel, a piece that is simply a bicycle wheel on a stool. Jacobson explains how the piece challenged what could be considered art, and who could make it. “That just look like some high shit,” Buress says initially. But then he realizes the metaphor, adding, “maybe he was trying to inspire people.”

The lesson seems fitting, when that was essentially the arc of Jacobson’s stardom. Broad City started out as a web series that she and Ilana Glazer created, wrote, starred in, and published on YouTube seven years ago. Once Amy Poehler discovered their genius, she signed on to be executive producer and the show was picked up by Comedy Central. The rest was history.

The first episode of A Piece of Work also features one of our favorite elements of Broad City: Jacobson’s unapologetic Jewishness, even if she’s not “super Jewy.” She explains how her love affair with MoMa began, when she asked for a membership for Christmas. “Christmas… Hanukkah,” she offers. “We celebrate both-it’s fine! It’s great.”

Episodes will air every Monday and Wednesday. You could subscribe now and make sure you don’t fall behind, or wait till they pile up and binge all at once (the same way I like to enjoy Broad City). And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a gallery-attending, wine-sipping art lover or a TV-binging, weed-smoking millennial. A Piece of Work is going to work for you.

Sophie Aroesty is an editorial intern at Tablet.

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