Monika Weiss, who is an internationally known multimedia artist, stopped by to talk with Nancy about her work and her life.
Monika Weiss Artist portrait, 2019. still from video interview: Adam Hogan and Laura Stayton
In a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses video, film, performance, sound, drawing and sculpture, the Polish-American artist Monika Weiss moves between the political and the poetic to explore questions of the body, history, and gendered violence. Her work is intimately engaged with processes of witnessing and remembering as it attends to traumatic histories, thier transmission, and commemoration.
Weiss frequently employs her own body to navigate the aftermath of different traumas, raising questions of how one can articulate these without enacting further violence. The female body does not only become a vehicle of expression, but also forms a key site from which an affective politics may emerge, through touch, vulnerability, and the visceral. Her mixed-media, embodied practice foregrounds sensing as a modality through which we can develop an ethics and politics of remembrance and of being together in the world, simultaneously challenging modernist assumptions concerning a duality of mind and body. By frequently attending to events and histories that she has not personally witnessed, Weiss fleshes out the multidirectional character of memory and seeks to forge new solidarities that exceed national boundaries.
Monika Weiss Studio, 2019. artist filming and choreographing a performer (right) in real time.
Photo: Adam Hogan and Laura Stayton. performer: Melissa Gollance
Stills taken of the Monika Weiss exhibition Sustenazo.
Cassie Brand, Curator of Rare Books for Washington University in St. Louis, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the Olin Library and the Rare Books Collections at the University.
Cassie Brand: Curator of Rare Books Olin Library at Washington University
Cassie Brand has been Curator of Rare Books at the Washington University Libraries since 2017. She enjoys sharing rare books with others through outreach programs, teaching classes, and curating exhibits. Her research focuses on the intersection of the book as a physical and cultural object and on the histories of book collecting and libraries. Cassie received her library degree from Indiana University in 2011 and is currently working on a PhD. Cassie’s dissertation, which is in progress, is tentatively titled “How Books Became Rare: The History of Special Collections in America 1880–1940.”
Among the topics discussed is the rare copy of the Declaration of Independence held in the library's collections.
When the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections opened in 1962, the Washington University Libraries owned a small rare book collection, the finest pieces of which had been donated by St. Louis collector William Keeney Bixby. Now, the Rare Book Collections include over 70,000 printed pieces and represent all the disciplines the University Libraries collect.
The Rare Book Collections include books from all Special Collection areas. The collections’ primary strengths are in the areas of literature; the material culture of the book, including the history of printing, graphic design, and the book arts; and aspects of American and world history.
Spanning seven centuries of written and visual communication, these collections support teaching and discovery across the University and are freely accessible to students, scholars, and visiting researchers.
Dan Reich, Curator & Director of Education at the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the mission of, and the happenings at, the museum. After 22 years at the museum, Dan Reich will be retiring soon.
Dan Reich. A photo from the museum's archives, depicting a Dachau Death March.
Among the topics discussed is the upcoming expansion of the museum. Set to open in mid-2022, the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum will quadruple the space of the existing facility to 35,000 square feet. The new facility will fuel the Museum’s mission to preserve the legacy of the Holocaust, teach about the Museum’s many purposes, and empower visitors to make the world a more tolerant place by rejecting all forms of hate, racism, and bigotry.
An artist's rendering of the upcoming expansion, set to open in mid-2022.
Also discussed is the moving story of Ben Fainer, Holocaust survivor and co-author of "Silent for Sixty Years." Ben Fainer spent the entire war as a Nazi prisoner, surviving for six years in six different camps. After losing his mother, three siblings, and over 250 other relatives in the Holocaust, Ben was liberated by American soldiers while on a final death-march in the spring of 1945. Ben didn’t just survive, he thrived. He was able to put his tragic childhood behind and live an incredible post-war life. Ben became a speaker at the museum, sharing his story to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Ben passed away in 2016.
One of the aspects of Ben's story that is discussed is a bracelet... Ten years ago, a bracelet was uncovered in Germany that was made by Ben Fainer in his youth in a concentration camp. After Ben's passing, his family donated it to the museum to honor him. The bracelet will be part of the exhibition in the upcoming expansion.
Ben Fainer shares his story with students before his passing.
To hear stories from other Holocaust Survivors, click here.
Tom Ridgely, Producing Artistic Director of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, stopped by to talk to Nancy about the 2021 festival its adjustments due to Covid.
The Festival this year includes a main stage Shakespeare in the Park performance of King Lear, which stars Tony, Grammy & Emmy winner André De Shields and is Directed by Carl Cofield. King Lear will run June 2nd through June 27th in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.
Also discussed, is the 2021 touring production of Othello, and the Shakespeare in the Streets program, which will focus this year on The Ville neighborhood. Shakespeare in the Streets is a "grassroots theatrical experience that invites St. Louis neighborhoods to tell their stories. A Festival-selected creative team leads the neighborhood in developing an original play based on one of Shakespeare’s works—a play with themes that reflect the community’s character."
Nancy and Tom also discuss the history of the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.
Kristin Fleischmann Brewer, Deputy Director of Public Engagement for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the exhibition Chloë Bass: Wayfinding, which is open now through October 31st at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.
Chloë Bass (b. 1984) created Wayfinding, an installation of sculptures inspired by public wayfinding signage. Bass designed a set of more than thirty signs placed throughout the Pulitzer’s outdoor spaces. These works are organized into four sections. Each is anchored by a billboard posing a question that explores human emotions ranging from compassion and desire to anxiety and loss. Accompanying sculptures include archival images and statements written by the artist that encourage private reflection in public space, intensifying everyday moments.
Wayfinding also includes a site-specific audio artwork narrated by the artist and local collaborators.
Click here to learn more about CHLOË BASS.
Sally Van Doren, independent poet and artist, stopped by to talk with Nancy about her poetry and a new upcoming exhibition of her artwork at Longview Farm House Art Gallery June 3rd through July 15th.
Coles L'Hommedieh, owner of Midtown Sound House stopped by to talk to Nancy about the new recording studio facility in Grand Center and about his day job as an Orthopedic Surgery Specialist.
David Kirkland, owner and chef at Turn Restaurant, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the restaurant, its menu, and why it's called "Turn." Kirkland is not only a chef, but also a turn-table-ist as well.
Susan Sherman, Co-founder of the St. Louis Fashion Fund, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the Fashion Fund's upcoming move to its new location at 3333 Washington, as well as the other goings on in fashion in St. Louis.
Chris Hansen, Executive Director of The Kranzberg Arts Foundation, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the goings on at the Foundation, including a new multipurpose building in the Grand Center Arts District and The re-opening of the Big Top. He also speaks about the current state of affairs at the foundation venues concerning the pandemic.
Dana Turkovic: Curator at at Laumeier Sculpture Park, stopped by to talk about the parks response to the pandemic as well as new exhibitions at Laumeier, including The Future is Present: Art and Global Change.
Susan Colangelo, President and Executive Director of Saint Louis Story Stitchers, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the work they do.
Founded in 2013, Saint Louis Story Stitchers, is an artist collective where professional artists work alongside disadvantaged youth (ages 16 to 24) to make art about St. Louis.
Erin Prange: Executive Director of Big Muddy Dance Company stopped by to talk with Nancy about the goings on at the Big Muddy, including some virtual events in March and April and a live event in May.
Dr. Mary Meadows: Head of Andrews Academy stopped by to talk with Nancy about the goings on at the school and the special collaboration with Gateway Media Literacy
Andrew Hahn: Executive Director of the Campbell House Museum stopped by to speak with Nancy about the museum and the new additions including an elevator to make all floors even more accessible.
Sefanie Kirkland: Deputy Director of Craft Alliance stopped by to speak to Nancy about their new location, and the goings on.
Frances Levine: President and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society stopped by to speak with Nancy about the Covid Protocols of their various museums, as well as the exhibitions currently being shown.
Linda Vredeveld: Visual Artist stopped by to discuss her career and her exhibition, "Glass Slipper and a Hot Flash," which is on display at the High Low through February 20, 2021.
Deborah Douglas: Visual Artist and Educator stopped by to speak with Nancy about her career and her exhibition, "Some Things I Know, Some Things I Only Believe," at the Kranzberg Arts Center through February 20, 2021.
Gene Dobbs Bradford: President and CEO of Jazz St. Louis stops by to talk with Nancy about Season of Stream, the virtual performances offered by Jazz St. Louis, as well as the online education programs.
Marilynne Bradley: Independent Artist and Author stops by to talk with Nancy about her career as an artist, focussing on watercolor, and her new book, St. Louis in Watercolor: Living History in the Gateway City
Note: this interview was recorded in early October, prior to the release of the book, before it was known exactly when it was to be released. It was released on October 15th, 2020, and is available at the link above.
Mike Isaacson: Executive Director of The Muny stopped by to tell Nancy about The Muny's reaction to the Covid 19 crisis and the Muny Magic series that they held over the summer, as well as the upcoming season in the Summer of 2021.
Cara Starke: Executive Director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation stops by to discuss the happenings at the PAF, and about their covid era policies.