art | KCUR

art

An artist in a bright red wig and pink and black polka dotted blouse draws in her studio.
Magnolia Pictures

This rainy weekend will have some folks dreaming to be somewhere else in the world — exploring Japan with a famous artist, wandering the halls of a British High Court, maybe even participating in a Mexican museum heist. Through cinema, you can do all three. This weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics feature several stories that will take you around the globe. Enjoy!

Steve Walker

"Museo," not rated

Segment 1: Growing up poor in the Heartland.

Local journalist and author Sarah Smarsh has been getting a lot of national attention for her new book, Heartland. On this episode, we chat with Smarsh about the forces that shaped her Kansas childhood.

Segment 1: Recent study by KU finds gun owners are more politically active.

In the past few decades, American gun owners have become increasingly more involved in politics than non-gun owners. On this episode, we discuss the cultural shift in gun ownership and how that change influences the political climate.

Segment 1: Art isn't just fun and games.

To some, art seems more like a hobby rather than ‘real work.’ But, for many artists, that’s far from the truth. We visit with a Kansas Citian about what they discovered after being an artist for a year.

Segment 2, beginning at 23:03: How World War I sparked a lasting friendship between the United States and Australia.

Grecian-style columns wrapped in colorful banners. A sign that reads "Open Spaces" hangs below.
Kathleen Pointer / KCUR 89.3

For a while now, much of Kansas City's arts community has been abuzz about Open Spaces, the 62-day arts festival that's giving a platform to local, national and international artists. The plan, hatched nearly five years years ago by an arts commission Mayor Sly James put together, is becoming a reality this weekend.

Shy Boys

Segment 1: For All The World To See exhibit at the Black Archives of Mid-America.

A nationally touring exhibit from NEH on the Road has made its way to Kansas City. "For All The World To See" displays photographs and other visuals from the civil rights era. We talked about the ways art and culture influence each other.

Segment 1: New voters are projected to make a huge impact on the upcoming midterm elections. 

First time voters are less likely to affiliate with a political party, which makes them an attractive demographic for politicians from either side of the aisle. We find out how this offset of voters can impact the upcoming midterm election and what issues new voters are interested in. 

Jackson County Executive Frank White stands at a podium with the Jackson County seal on the wall behind him and to the right and an unidentified woman to the left.
KCUR 89.3 file photo

Segment 1: Frank White's way of doing business may be greatest obstacle to winning primary.

The race to be the next Jackson County executive is garnering attention as incumbent Frank White continues to refuse invitations to public forums and interviews before the August 7 primary election. We reviewed the issues surrounding Mr. White, including building a new county jail and and the investigation of his finances by the Missouri attorney general.

For many immigrants, art is a comfort — a home no one can take away. On this episode, we hear the immigration stories, filled with triumph and heartbreak, from the local arts community. 

Segment 1: How the invention of velcro inspired a scientific discipline.

Learn about bio-mimicry, where scientists use to solve modern day problems with natural world solutions. 

  • Becky Plumberg, educator, Science City

Segment 2, beginning at 14:20: Why a local artist uses lasers to craft traditional folk art.

After moving to the United States from Slovakia, a local artist turned to crafts to connect with her homeland.

Fidencio Fifield-Perez

As a second grader growing up in North Carolina, Fidencio Fifield-Perez was the school cartoonist. He won a few awards and certificates, and a local newspaper wrote an article about him. He’d newly immigrated to the United States from Mexico.

Years later, when he needed proof that he’d grown up in the United States in order to gain DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status, his early art skills came in handy because those awards and the newspaper story provided documentation of his childhood.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When First Fridays started in Kansas City, the whole point was to bring more people to the Crossroads to experience art. But for years now, critics have been saying the festive scene has lost all focus on art.

“Most contemporary artists in Kansas City have a tendency to hate or just throw vitriol at First Friday because they think it’s an annoying touristy trap of everyone from the suburbs,” said Melaney Ann Mitchell, an artist who runs a website called Informalityblog, where art critics write about what’s happening in area galleries.

Jessica Wohl

Artist Jessica Wohl searches for what everyone has in common — even if it’s a testy desire to be heard.

By looking at the seven quilts she’ll show in Weinberger Fine Art’s new exhibition, “Thoughts And Prayers,” it’s hard to say what Wohl’s political leanings are. But she contends that her particular opinions are not the point of this collection.

Tim Amundson / Turkey Creek Institute for Phenomenology

The Central Avenue Bridge, erected a century ago, is only 22 feet wide. The level that remains open to traffic sits in the shadow of the deck above, another 22 feet away. Driving across it, from Missouri into Kansas or Kansas into Missouri, feels like an act of loud levitation.

YouTube

Derek Klingenberg is kind of a farmer celebrity.

His YouTube channel draws more than 70,000 subscribers for ag-themed pop-music parodies, trombone covers and, more recently, cow art made with satellites.

This week, the Peabody, Kansas, farmer took his cow art to the next level, or altitude. He posted a video showing his cows to form a giant “Hi” as seen from the heavens.

Segment 1: Meet a dean at Haskell Indian Nations University.

What does a dean do? We talk with Julia Good Fox about her work at Haskell — and what she tries to communicate about her school through her "Tweet-alongs."

Segment 2, beginning at 24:50: Looking back on the life of a Cuban artist.

Infrogmation of New Orleans / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: Monuments, memorials and public art displays require accountability, years after installation.

Segment 1: Local poet writes collection based on his working class roots. 

For Robert Stewart, poetry isn't ethereal — it's a working class endeavor. He shares how his background as a plumber's apprentice, ditch-digger and truck driver shaped his worldview as a writer. 

John Singer Sargent / Public Domain

Segment 1: A great and dreadful tableau of Great War horrors.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

While Kansas City has a long tradition of black artists, their work tends to get overlooked, says textiles artist Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin. Today, we learn about a community project that's giving these local creatives online posterity. Then, we hear excerpts from a conversation with Democratic Missouri Rep.

Mike Mozart / Flickr-CC

Today, we meet two high school students from Kansas City's Central Academy of Excellence who are using art to tell stories about gun violence. 

Plus, find out how communities, both rural and urban, are affected by the expansion of dollar stores such as Dollar General.

Guests:

E.G. Schempf

Cardboard has a smell.

You notice it as soon as you walk into the glass-encased Kansas Focus Gallery at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, where eight of May Tveit’s cardboard sculptures emerge from the walls like sentries, layers of flat, precision-cut cardboard stacked into pyramids arranged in various rectangles. You recognize the smell; you just weren't expecting it in an art gallery.

But why not? As Tveit's exhibition makes clear, cardboard is an evocative medium. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When seven Kansas City poets read new work this weekend, it'll be inspired by colorful, layered collages — a pieced-together medium that holds deep meaning for one emerging area artist.

“I think about collage as a metaphor to describe black culture,” says Glyneisha Johnson, a recent graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and Charlotte Street Foundation resident artist.

Members of the hearing-impaired community often face unique, and sometimes difficult situations even when living in America. Today, we discuss the history of persecution against people with deafness in this country and the milestones alongside the path to equal rights.

For a full transcript of that segment, click here.

Plus, the story behind the song, "Hold On," by Isaac Cates & Ordained.

Guests:

Public Domain

If you voted last election, you may have noticed a few measures concerning parcels of park land. Today, we learn the reasons why they appeared on the ballot and what it means for undeveloped areas in Kansas City. Then, we learn the history behind a controversial series of Thomas Hart Benton paintings made shortly after Pearl Harbor.

Guests:

Courtesy of Jane Pronko

Jane Pronko has for years captured the spirit and flavor of Kansas City with her paintings, which have in turn captured the fancy of collectors around the world. Today, meet one of the metro's pioneering female artists.

CCAAL Inc.

For an artist, one year is plenty of time to develop new techniques and mature. Today, we check in on local artist Rodolfo Marron, who, after two residencies in New York, has returned to Kansas City with a new exhibit. Then, learn about Liberty's African-American heritage from the group dedicated to documenting and preserving its history.

Guests:

Wikimedia Commons

During the Vietnam War, military conflict in Southeast Asia aggravated flaring social issues back home. Today, we discuss how activism during the war advanced the fight for civil rights on many fronts, and how mass protests then compare to today's resistance movements. Then, renowned biographer Walter Issacson takes us into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci.

Last month, at Milan Fashion Week, the models at the Missoni show walked the runway under a colorful fabric canopy that was created by a Blue Springs native. We chat with artist Rachel Hayes about her fabric sculptures.

The racial divide in Kansas City and across the U.S. is not just the result of individual prejudice, and developers like J.C. Nichols. We'll discuss this and more, with author Richard Rothstein, who's coming to Kansas City soon to talk about his new book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Plus, is Kansas City's art scene homogenous? One outgoing artist weighs in. 

Guests: