News and Features

Greetings From the Ozarks – And The Current State of American Art

IMG_7790fruiteditVincent Valdez, The Strangest Fruit, oil on canvas, 2013. The triptych is the San Antonio artist’s response to the fact that in Texas as many Mexican-Americans as African-Americans were lynched.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas has been establishing itself as a major art institution. It was founded three years ago by Alice Walton, the billionaire heir to the Wal-Mart fortune. Now Crystal Bridges has opened a nationwide survey of more than 100 contemporary American artists. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports a sizable contingent comes from Texas.

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Saturday Spotlight – Steampunk Invades Dallas Heritage Village

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For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re headed to Dallas Heritage Village for Steampunk Invasion. Steampunk combines science fiction with history and steam technology. Get into the 19th century mood with vaudeville performances, fencing demonstrations and lessons, and lectures including “What is Steampunk,” “Costuming on a Budget,” and “Victorian Horror and Its Influences.”

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Iran Meets The United States: Morehshin Allahyari

Last week, we kicked off the Frame of Mind series on KERA TV with Mark Birnbaum’s documentary, Swingman.   Tune in to KERA TV at 10 tonight. This week, we will be featuring works by three different filmmakers:

  • Vincent Valdez: Excerpts for John by Mark and Angela Walley, which follows Vincent Valdez, an artist, as he created a series of works dedicated to his childhood best friend, John Holt Jr.
  • Cielo Lindo by Iris Lopez which tells the story of a homeless young girl who uses her imagination to cope with her hunger and harsh reality
  • The Romantic Self-Exiles by Morehshin Allahyari which explores the idea of home, space, architecture, and our memories of them.
Photo: Morehshin Allahyari

Photo Credit: Morehshin Allahyari

 

Morehshin Allahyari was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007.  She is a new media artist and art activist, who works with 3D animation, digital filmmaking, performance, and much more.

 

I spoke with Morehshin about her work, The Romantic Self-Exiles:

 

On the background of The Romantic Self-Exiles:

The Romantic Self-Exiles was my creative research for my M.F.A. art show and thesis. I was really interested in exploring ideas that concern issues of home, space, diaspora, and our relationship as humans to our surroundings; mostly architectural spaces around us and our memories of them.

It came from thinking about the concept of exile and self-exile and trying to address and also question the romanticization of the experience of exile. I think when you live in diaspora, you continue to feel nostalgic about your past, memories, the place once you belonged to or called home. But I also wanted to be aware of this fact.. of this nostalgia and romantic thoughts/feelings that made me forget about other details that in firs place forced me to leave my country. So The Romantic Self-Exiles is both an awareness and exploration of all these feelings.

The Romantic Self-Exiles

Photo: Morehshin Allahyari

On creating the work:

 It’s interesting to look back at this piece after two years… when I was working on creating this work, I had no idea what the outcome would be… I was writing and at the same time creating these different 3D scenes. So I constantly went back and forth between writing and working on my animation. I looked for images and focused on places or objects that meant something special to me and then used those in my animation scene. I never have a structure or specific plan on where my work will go or how it will end. I have a general image and feeling in my mind and I let the process of creation to take over. I love leaving room for surprises and allow the process of my work to direct me.

The Romantic Self-Exiles

Photo Credit: Morehshin Allahyari

On her biggest challenge:

I think the emotional side of it was what I struggled with the most. It was hard for me to go through all of these feelings and thoughts about diaspora while consciously trying to stay away from dramatizing the situation. I think being aware about that and also sharing and talking about my work with my friends and mentors helped a lot in overcoming this challenge.

On her favorite Texas filmmaker:

Michael A. Morris is my favorite.

On her future projects:

Photo Credit: Morehshin Allahyari

Photo Credit: Morehshin Allahyari

A lot is happening since I have moved to California. I just had an exhibition at Southern Exposure gallery where I created a new work about the 2009-2010 protests in Iran called #AsYouScrollDown. More information here.

I am going to start working on a new series of animation/narrative based works, aesthetically similarly to The Romantic Self-Exiles I, but different concepts/topics. I am really excited to continue to push the limitations and also possibilities of experimental 3D animation and rendering.

Here is a list of upcoming and the most recent shows: http://www.morehshin.com/news/

On KERA broadcasting her work:

I am honored to continue working with Dallas Video Festival. Although I have moved from Dallas, I am really happy that I can stay in touch and continue working with Texas based artists, galleries, festivals, and curators.

You can find Morehshin’s other work on her website.

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The Big Screen: Hollywood Heads North

Foxcatcher Official Trailer

The eyes of many Texas filmmakers are focused north of the border this week – at the Toronto International Film Festival. Chris Vognar, who’s the movie critic at the Dallas Morning News and co-anchor of our Big Screen team, spent almost a week there.

zHe says a few things are different this year, including the fact that the film festival decided to push back the screenings of all films that had already premiered in North America. That meant the opening days were a little less glamorous than they had been in years past.

Vognar says there was no clear breakout film that felt like a runaway winner, but there were a lot of great performances. He particularly liked Reese Witherspoon’s role in Wild and thinks Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo will get a lot of attention for their performances in Foxcatcher.

Director David Gordon Green, a Richardson native, cast heavy hitters Al Pacino and Holly Hunter in a film called Manglehorn about a small town Texas locksmith.

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Art 21 at Texas Theater, Exclusively For Art&Seek E-Newsletter Subscribers

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ART21_Texas_TheaterHere’s a little something just for Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers.

Art 21 “Art in the 21st Century” is kicking off its 7th season on PBS.  This is the cutting edge of art. Every week the program features some of the most interesting artists working today, from around the world. It’ll air at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays starting Oct. 28 on KERA TV.

Goss-Michael Foundation is hosting an exclusive preview party at the Texas Theater on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m..  And you are invited, if you are an Art&Seek e-newsletter subscriber. ( Take care of that here if you are not a subscriber). The party is free, but you must rsvp to ruby@gossmichaelfoundation.org.

We’ll get a preview of the season. Afterward, Susan Sollins, executive director and curator of Art 21, will take questions from KERA’s Jeff Whittington, and from the audience.

Hope you can join us.

 

 

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The Big Deal: Chamber Music Society Of Fort Worth Presents The Unexpected Journey: Paris To Budapest

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Hitch a ride on the musical adventure, The Unexpected Journey: Paris to Budapest. This is the opening concert of the 27th season for the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth. For this inaugural concert, the CMSFW will host the popular Amernet String Quartet, violinist Charles Stegemen, and pianist Daredjan Baya Kakouberi. Prior to the concert, guests will be treated to a Pre-Concert Conversation with Program Notes author, Laurie Shulman. The winner of this Big Deal will receive a pair of tickets to the Sept 20 performance at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

After signing up for this Big Deal your musical adventure does not have to end here. Sign up for our other Big Deals this week – tickets to see The Sound of Music at Casa Mañana, and tickets to TITAS Presents Spectrum Dance Theater at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to travel with the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth on The Unexpected Journey: Paris to Budapest.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

 

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The Big Deal: TITAS Presents Spectrum Dance Theater At The AT&T Performing Arts Center

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Contemporary dance choreographer Donald Byrd does not confine his work to modern dance. He has choreographed works for contemporary, classical and opera companies from the Alvin Ailey Company, to the Joffrey Ballet, to the New York Opera. He earned a Tony for his choreography for the Broadways musical, The Color Purple. Byrd will bring his renown Spectrum Dance Theater troupe from Seattle for a one-night performance at the Winspear Opera House. Enter to win a pair of tickets to see the Sept. 27 performance.

While you are signing up here go ahead and preview our other offerings this week – tickets to see The Sound of Music at Casa Mañana, and tickets to the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth’s presentation of The Unexpected Journey: Paris to Budapest at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see the Spectrum Dance Theater.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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The Big Deal: ‘The Sound Of Music’ At Casa Mañana

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Win tickets to one of the most beloved musicals of all time, The Sound of Music. Your heart will want to sing every song it hears when Maria, the Captain and the children sing all your favorites from the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. For the show, playing at Casa Mañana in Fort Worth, we have a pair of tickets for the Sept. 22 performance.

After signing up for this Big Deal do not bid us farewell, au revior, or auf weidersehen. Sign up for our other two Big Deals this week – tickets to TITAS Presents Spectrum Dance Theater at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and tickets to the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth’s presentation of The Unexpected Journey: Paris to Budapest at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for your chance to see The Sound of Music.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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A Nervous Eduardo Mata Conducts The DSO In The Meyerson For The First Time

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Eduardo Mata. Photo: Dallas Symphony

    • Visit Secrets of the Meyerson to take a tour of the building, watch stakeholders answer five key questions, and take control of the acoustics (You can make the canopy and reverb chamber doors move.)
    • The Meyerson continues its anniversary celebration all week. Here’s a list of activities.
    • Listen to Quin Mathews’ report that aired on KERA FM:

The Dallas Symphony hated the distant acoustics of its old home, the Music Hall at Fair Park…so much it went to an Oak Cliff church when it made recordings. And for 12 years music director Eduardo Mata patiently waited for a new hall made just for symphonic music.

“I welcomed the idea of this hall being small because I want a sense of  intimacy when we’re performing there,” Mata said. “So I cant wait to see it happening.”

Then the day came.  1989: The first rehearsal in the Meyerson,  Mata gave me a ride into the hall.

finalfinalLogo“I’m very nervous,” he said.  “Very nervous because well I know for sure that half of the things that we need for the rehearsal to go well things are not going to be ready like risers for the orchestra, lights, I feel nervous because everyone wants to have the best impression possible of the hall and its capabilities.  And that probably won’t happen today.”

In fact it was noisy with construction still going on.  But the players heard what they had been waiting years for. It was magic, for Mata not a destination but a challenge.

“And what we want to see now, not only me but the Association in general is how ready the community at large keeps supporting the orchestra beyond the new hall.”

Eduardo Mata continued to lead the Dallas Symphony for four years in the Meyerson.  A little over a year after stepping down, he died in a plane crash in Mexico.  He was 52 years old.

 

 

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Art&Seek Jr: Let’s Take A Field Trip

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

About 3 times a year here at KERA, an archival tape or show will turn up missing and a mad search of the building will ensue. The tape might be critical for a project on deadline, requested by an outside party (“My grandma was on a show of yours back in 1974. I don’t remember the name of the show, but can you find it and send me a copy?”), or just required for some folly like the Letterman people calling for a clip of Scott Pelly. Whatever the reason, in most cases, the tape in question hasn’t been seen in eons, and like a unicorn or pixies in the forest, its mere existence is questioned.

Some say it’s my 20 years on the job and my razor sharp memory that make me the perfect candidate to find these elusive archival wonders, but I think it’s my experience as a mom who is constantly on the hunt for lost stuff that make me a natural at finding these MIA tapes. Whether it be  escapee cats, Barbie shoes, or missing archival tapes I’m your go-to gal for all things lost.

If normal searching fails, we’re forced to take more desperate measures–cue scary music and lightning–a “field trip” the 2-inch tape library. A large windowless storage room located in a very dark wing of the TV studio. It’s so pitch black back there that while I’m groping around for the light switch,  I always think, “this is how horror movies usually start.” We call it a “field trip” because few want to go down there alone. Only in groups.

This has all got me thinking of more pleasant field trips.  Here are a few super cool, not-scary-at-all  ideas for a field trip with the kiddos. Read More »

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