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Arts Interview with Nancy Kranzberg

Nancy Kranzberg talks with artists, performers and movers and shakers in the arts community. Interviews cover music, visual arts, dance, literature and performance. Produced by Nancy Kranzberg and Jon Valley. Edited by Jon Valley, with engineering assistance by Mid-Coast.
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Now displaying: October, 2021

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Nancy Kranzberg talks with artists, performers and movers and shakers in the arts community. Interviews cover music, visual arts, dance, literature and performance.

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Oct 25, 2021

Independent artist Mary Sprague stopped by to speak with Nancy about her long career both as a creator of art and as a teacher.

Mary Sprague, longtime Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History at Meramec Community College in St. Louis, draws, paints, and most recently thinks with clay. After completing her Bachelor and Master of Arts at Stanford University in California, she moved with her husband and four children to the Midwest and has been immersed in the St. Louis art community for the past forty-five years. Her persona has been described as, “a lively and openhanded mix of infectious friendliness” and “a woman who lives her life head on with gusto and good humor” (James Yood, on Mary Sprague).

With this in mind, Sprague’s expansive repertoire of style and content has included notable studies of mysterious domestic interiors, vibrant equestrians, and currently chickens with a certain extra amount of cluck. “Sprague’s big drawings, some are more than six feet tall, do what a lot of largescale drawings from nature fail to do – they preserve the spontaneity of small life sketches while offering up magnified views of beautiful natural forms” (Margaret Hawkins, Chicago Sun Times). Trained in an era of abstract expressionism, Sprague has been able to combine color and form from multiple eras to suit her own tastes and unique almost caricatures of domestic American scenery.

 

 

 

A few of Mary's works below:

Podcast Curator and Editor: Jon Valley with Technical Support by Mid Coast Media

Oct 18, 2021

Tamara H. Schenkenberg, Curator at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, stopped by to talk with Nancy about an exhibition currently at the Pulitzer, namely, Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake. The exhibition runs through Jan 16, 2022.

Tamara H. Schenkenberg

American artist Hannah Wilke (1940–93) created innovative and provocative art to affirm life. Her work embraces the vitality and vulnerability of the human body as essential to experiencing life and connecting with each other. She explored this subject in sculpture, photography, video, drawing, and performance. Wilke used her art to challenge gender inequality and empower all of us to realize a more sensuous connection to life and a more liberated society.

Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake is the first major presentation of Wilke’s groundbreaking work in over a decade. This career-spanning exhibition encompasses the full arc of Wilke’s practice from the 1960s to her untimely death in 1993. It features some of the artist’s most iconic works in addition to some that have rarely been shown. This selection of nearly 120 works demonstrates Wilke’s versatility and innovative approach to materials. The exhibition offers new perspectives on this influential artist, revealing her to be a trailblazer who was as invested in advancing the position of women in society as she was in developing a unique artistic practice.

Some of the work in Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake

Podcast Curator and Editor: Jon Valley with Technical Support by Mid Coast Media

 

 

Oct 14, 2021

Amy Kaiser, Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, stopped by to talk to Nancy about her 50 year plus long career, as well as the The Arts and Education Council lifetime achievement award that she recently received.  Also discussed is her radio show, Musical Moments on Classic 107.3 fm.

Amy Kaiser

Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus since 1995, Amy Kaiser is one of the country’s leading choral directors. She has conducted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Mass in E-flat, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and sacred works by Haydn and Mozart, as well as Young People’s Concerts. Guest conductor for the Berkshire Choral Festival in Massachusetts, Santa Fe and at Canterbury Cathedral and Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York for 12 seasons, she led many performances of major works at Lincoln Center.

Other conducting engagements include Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, Peter Schickele’s PDQ Bach with the New Jersey Symphony, and more than 50 performances with the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Principal Conductor of the New York Chamber Symphony’s School Concert Series for seven seasons, Kaiser also led Jewish Opera at the Y, and many programs for the 92nd Street Y’s acclaimed Schubertiade. She has prepared choruses for the New York Philharmonic, Ravinia Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, and Opera Orchestra of New York.

Kaiser is a regular pre-concert speaker for the SLSO and presents popular classes for the Symphony Lecture Series and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. A former faculty member at Manhattan School of Music and The Mannes College of Music, she was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford University and holds a degree in musicology from Columbia University. A graduate of Smith College, she was awarded the Smith College Medal for outstanding professional achievement.

 

Podcast Curator and Editor: Jon Valley with Technical Support by Mid Coast Media

 

Oct 9, 2021

Gina Grafos, Director of Visual infrastructure for the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the happenings around the galleries associated with The KAF, including the exhibition "Lost Library" by Stan Strembicki at the High Low Literary Arts Center.  Also discussed was the new KAF space, Sophie's Artists Lounge.

Gina Grafos

For the exhibition “Lost Library” at the High Low, Stan Strembicki photographed books from a flooded library in the Lower Ninth Ward — a historic, Black neighborhood hit hard by the storm — that were scattered in a field. For three years, Strembicki visited the location every few months and documented the books as they decayed.

One of the Photographs from "Lost Library" 

Sophie’s Artist Lounge and Street art gallery is an immersive art lounge servicing up high fidelity audio-visuals with a cocktail-focused menu.  You can Immerse yourself in their street art gallery and listen to Resident DJs provide the music. Open Wednesday- Saturday from 5:00 PM- 1:30 AM w/ St. Louis and International DJ’s from 9:00 PM- 1:00 AM.

A photograph of Sophie's Artists Lounge

 

Podcast Curator and Editor: Jon Valley with Technical Support by Mid Coast Media

Oct 6, 2021

Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American art at the St. Louis Art Museum, stopped by to talk about the new exhibition, Art Along the Rivers, which runs October 3rd, 2021 until January 9th, 2022.  Other happenings at the museum are also discussed.

Melissa Wolfe joined the Art Museum in 2015 as curator and head of the Department of American Art. She oversaw an extensive reinterpretation of the museum’s American art galleries that opened in 2016.

Melissa Wolfe

Melissa previously was curator of American art at the Columbus Museum of Art, where she has worked for 14 years on a succession of important exhibitions, catalogues and collection development. Her projects “George Bellows and the American Experience” (2013), “George Tooker: A Retrospective” (2008) and “In Monet’s Garden: The Lure of Giverny” (2007) were awarded significant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art.

Wolfe received undergraduate degrees from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and a master’s degree and doctorate in the history of art at The Ohio State University, where she also served as adjunct professor.

In conjunction with the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s statehood, Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration explores the remarkable artwork produced and collected over 1,000 years in the region surrounding St. Louis. The exhibition presents more than 150 objects from Missouri as far north as Hannibal, west to Hermann, and south through the Old Mines area. It also encompasses the Illinois region along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, from Cairo north through Carbondale and Alton. Although the region that has shaped the exhibition’s objects is small, it has played an outsize role in the history of North America due to the confluence of powerful rivers and major trails and routes within its borders.

Art Along the Rivers includes a surprising range of objects that vary widely in medium, function, and the prominence of their makers. For example, it brings together Mississippian sculpture, Osage textiles, architectural drawings for iconic landmarks, musical instruments, German and Creole furniture, African American decorative arts, prize-winning paintings from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and contemporary artists’ responses to these historic objects. While at first these works might appear to have few connections, the exhibition arranges them by theme rather than by culture or chronology to establish dialogues around the region’s geography, raw materials, and pressing social issues.

The exhibition is curated by Melissa Wolfe, curator of American art, and Amy Torbert, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator of American Art.

Joe Jones 1909-1963 We Demand, 1934 Oil on Canvas 48x36

Attributed to Anna Jane Parker, American, c.1841–1918; “Quilt Top, Pieced Log Cabin”, 1875-1900

 

Podcast Curator and Editor: Jon Valley with Technical Support by Mid Coast Media

Oct 1, 2021

Independent artist Alicia Piller, stopped by to talk with Nancy about her exhibition, Unearthed: Time Keeping Mound City, at Craft Alliance, which runs through October 23rd.

Los Angeles based artist, Alicia Piller was born and raised in Chicago and received her  Bachelors in both Fine Arts (Painting) & Anthropology from Rutgers University in 2004. While  working in the fashion industry; living a decade in NYC and three and a half years in Santa Fe,  NM, Piller cultivated her distinctive sculptural voice. Continuing to expand her artistic practice,  Alicia completed her MFA focused on sculpture and installation from Calarts in May of 2019.  

As a method to locate the root of human histories, Alicia merges the new and discarded,  experimenting with a wide range of materials to construct large scale works that mimic forms  of cellular biology. Piller envisions historical traumas, both political and environmental, through  the lens of a microscope. Piller’s mixed media practice is as much about materiality as it is  about content. Attempting to reconcile questions about the current state of our times; she  works on a macro/micro level, breathing life into materials that have been removed from their ‘natural’ environment. Manipulating things like resin and latex balloons (stemming from her  background as a clown); each work becomes a biological unfolding of time, examining the  energy around wounds societies have inflicted upon themselves and others.

 

Alicia Piller

Alicia Piller investigates place. She believes a city, a country, or a specific location can be seen as an object that can be held, explored, dissected and mended back together. “Tracing humanity’s roots has always been at the forefront of my interests,” states Piller. “Most recently, focusing on my own roots and the Americana in general.” Piller’s studio practice focuses on one place and dives deep into how the earth connects with humanity and how humans connect with the earth. Centering her investigations on history, Piller draws references from both the political and environmental traces of a city. When invited to have a solo exhibition at Craft Alliance, St. Louis became the catalyst for her work. 

Piller has always been fascinated with fossils, minerals and botanicals. These earthly elements are where she begins her studies of a new place. Much like a hidden gem, St. Louis started to reveal herself to Piller; stories of how we interacted with the land began to unfold, and tales of struggles and resilience revealed themselves. In this exhibition, Piller leads us on a journey starting at the Cahokia Mounds, speaking to the impact this early civilization had on our history. Identifying native botanicals, fossils and land formations, Piller weaves this imagery into her multi-material sculptures. 

Piller examines St. Louis race relations in relation to the natural landscape of the region. This juxtaposition is the root of her work. “This show is meant to get people to think about the intricacy of existence, to examine and discover the connectivity of the past to the present,” Piller explains.   “Highlighting the St. Louis area chronologically through photographic imagery and other mixed media materials, I want the viewers to touch down on moments in time. Examining the inhabitants of a Missouri once covered by ocean, look back to ancient civilizations wiped out and forgotten; recognizing colonial invasion and its effects on society, while presenting a sense of resilience from an American city through tragedy and activism.”

Piller’s work brings us through the creation of Mound City, to the Dred Scott case, the St. Louis 1917 race riots, Delmar Divide, Mike Brown, and ends with hopeful voices of current activists. Her work moves us through the past and the present, reminding us that we are connected to the earth by paralleling history with native botanicals from the area. We are connected to each other and to the land. “This work is a moment of hope and growth, an explosion of positive energy and transformation. From each work, I want people to get a feeling of movement, a feeling of progression, a  feeling of time expanding and moving. In this way, I want the works to feel like organisms shifting and changing, shedding their skin."

Remains. Tectonic Forces. Vanishing Seas.  

Pedals Fall.  Seasons Change.

 

Podcast Curator and Editor: Jon Valley with Technical Support by Mid Coast Media

  

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