Saturday, July 11, 2009
Monday, July 20 - Art Historian Sarah Schrank
Monday at noon my guest is Sarah Schrank. She teaches History at Cal State University Long Beach when she is not writing about art and the region, about which she is an expert. She’s recently published Art and the City: Civic Imagination and Cultural Authority in Los Angeles, a review of which I read in the LA Weekly, where writer Kristine McKenna argues that Schrank “deserves a medal” for this careful and thorough and smart go-to book on the politics of civic culture, and which explains the political relationship of Modernism to public art. Schrank received her PhD in history from UC San Diego. Her terrific new book explores the place of what she calls “broader public participation” in historic decisions about public art and culture, which requires that we reconsider what participation is, and recognize a variety of elements that have constructed our artistic landscape. And the stories she tells, of Mexican muralist David Siquieros in LA and the reactionary attack on the 1951 All-City Outdoor Art Show and the city’s confusion over the Watts Towers not only reveal a hidden history but make sense of it. There's something so wonderful about hearing a story told by a careful, entertaining, smart teller. Such a writer is Sarah Schrank.
Stay tuned for a 12:30 rebroadcast of my interview with Louis Masur on his The Soiling of Old Glory. Thanks for listening to Bibliocracy on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, 98.7 FM in Santa Barbara and online or as a download at www.kpfk.org