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NPR’s All Things Considered profiles the America: Here and Now project and its premiere in Kansas City.  Great audio excerpts from Public Space by Zayd Dohrn featuring Chioma Anyanwu and Coleman Crenshaw (follow the link below).

‘Taking The Temperature Of America’

All of the work is loosely organized and curated by the artists themselves. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman contributed to the program’s theater lineup.

“Instantly the idea was in my mind that what we should do would be a series of dialogues meant to be overheard,” Norman says.

Her peers, including Edward Albee and Tina Howe, created short, conversational works.

In Zayd Dohrn’s Public Space, an apparently homeless man draped in a blanket walks through the gallery and curls up under a painting. He’s quickly approached by a docent, who tells him he can’t sleep there — the gallery is a place for art.

“Everyone understood that they were kind of doing a verbal sampling of American life,” Norman explains. “It clearly wasn’t about them; it was about taking the temperature of America emotionally, in an instant, in a gallery.”

http://www.npr.org/2011/05/27/136717513/art-in-america-records-the-national-experience

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REPOSTED from KCUR’s site.

Stop by to listen to the radio preview.

“America: Now and Here” is a two-year national project combining poetry, theatre, film, visual arts and music. It launches Friday, May 6, in Kansas City, Missouri before traveling to Detroit in July and Chicago in October.

by Laura Spencer

Kansas City, Mo. “America: Now and Here” is a two-year national project combining poetry, theatre, film, visual arts and music. It launches Friday, May 6, in Kansas City, Missouri before traveling to Detroit in July and Chicago in October.

The goal is to start a conversation about the American experience in a new way: through ART.

America: Now and Here
May 6 – 28, 2011
Kansas City, Mo.

Launch: Friday, May 6, 2011, 7 – 9 pm with DJ Spooky
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center
2012 Baltimore
Kansas City, Mo.

May 6, 5:30 – 9:00 pm — AC: KC Opening Reception
Cocoon Gallery
115 W. 18th Street
Kansas City, Mo.

Julia Halperin over at Art Info has a great interview with Eric Fischl that overviews the America: Now and Here project from dream to process to future.

A quick excerpt:

When I did the shout-out to these artists, I wasn’t about to tell them what to do, other than in the most general sense of it. I had no idea what I was going to get back. It could have been a highly politicized, polarizing visual diatribe — “America’s Inequities,” or something. It was a crapshoot. I was very surprised by all the work that was suggested. It was kind of self-organizing. It became very clear that there were three broad topics that the work fit under. One was “America as Icon,” one was “America as People,” and one was “America as Place.” “America as People” was about a sense of community, a sense of family and relationships, different interest groups. For “America as Place,” it was connected to the history and tradition of landscape in America, that sense of the vulnerability to what was once considered majestic, powerful, and entitled to us. And “America as Icon” was represented by things like Jasper Johns’s “Flag” — images that recreate a sense of forward-looking America against the backdrop of Depression-era soup kitchens. Some of it was pretty straightforward, but there was also a lot of humor, irony, and cynicism.

Check out the full article.  Very interesting.

America: Now and Here makes its first stop right here in Kansas City May 6th.  Come down to the Leedy-Volkus Gallery in the Crossroads and experience this one of a kind, cross-discipline arts dialogue.  It is a great blend of national and local art and artists.

America: Now and Here will be installed here in Kansas City through May.  The gallery will be open from 11-7, Wed-Sun.  Come join us!