America: Now and Here is essentially a mobile museum similar in concept to a traveling circus. Enormous in scope and subject matter yet local and relatable at the same time, this concept of the traveling museum is pure cool. It combines artwork (from music and visual art, to film and poetry) into one show. It showcases work by famous contemporary American artists displayed side by side with local artists. And it’s an opportunity for artists of any medium to get together and start a national dialogue at a community level with citizens of the host city. Thus, as you might imagine, I feel very fortunate to have been honored with the opportunity to show my previous film, Into the Unknown in the Tribeca Film Festival curated national program “A Better Life” within the roadshow.
The preview run of the roadshow kicked off in Kansas City in the heartland of the Midwest. Shows will follow in Detroit and Chicago. I was there for the opening celebration.
Here’s one of the trucks decked out in artwork by Barbara Kruger. The truck arrived behind multiple marching bands from local schools.
One of the gallery spaces during the private opening celebration.
Performance artists were also active during the celebration.
The following day I was invited to the “American Dialogues: From State Dinners to Interstate Diners” luncheon in the gallery space.
Over lunch, artists and civic and business leaders sat down to discuss various issues over a thematic lunch created by the chefs, Nils Noren and Christina Wang.
The dishes in each of the different courses represented various thematic and historic references to Kansas City. For example, Lewis and Clark extensively explored the Kansas City area following the Louisiana Purchase in the early 19th century. Thus as a side snack for the luncheon, biscuits (hard tack) like the type that Lewis and Clark would have carried during their expedition, were at the table.
Apparently earlier European explorers that traveled though the area weren’t too keen on eating fish, which was a staple in the diet of the local Native Americans. So instead… the explorers ate dog. Thus as a joke to our Kansas themed lunch, our chef made “hot dogs” of salmon :-)
I was fortunate to be at a table with many interesting people including the artist and sculptor Bryan Hunt who recounted stories of living in Los Angeles (Venice) during the 1970’s… including a story of the time he witnessed Chris Burden’s piece “Trans-fixed” (Burden was crucified on the back of a Volkswagen Beetle).
The last day I was in Kansas City the Tribeca program was screened outdoors following a showcase of local artists’ films curated by the documentary filmmaker Ben Meade.
|setting up for the screening|
America: Now and Here is in Kansas City for about a month before moving on so please check it out if you’re in the area! And of course, please support the roadshow by visiting the website and following the updates!
As a side note to my previous post, here are some songs that emotionally remind me of my time in Kansas City (not literal connections). Enjoy!
Sam Cooke “Bring It On Home to Me” (thanks R.J. for sharing this song to me originally)
The Gaslight Anthem “She Loves You”
LCD Soundsystem “Someone Great”