Artists have pretty much abandoned the idea that the business of art is to hang on the wall and look beautiful. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a sculptor talks about a piece that kicks the wall it hangs from. Also, the free spirit of prison art, Van Gogh's search for the sacred, and a prize winning Canadian novel about an artist who can see not cannot feel.
Martin Kersels is a sculptor who makes "performative objects" -- i.e. pieces that move and make noise. In this rollicking and hilarious conversation with Steve Paulson, Kersels describes some of his pieces, including the prosthetic leg that kicks the wall it hangs on, the piano that drags itself across the floor until it pulls its own plug, and the attempt to raise the temperature of a container of water by yelling at it.SEGMENT 2:
Phyllis Kornfeld has been teaching art in prisons since 1983. She tells Judith Strasser about some of the extraordinary work the inmates produce and how careful she must be to avoid bringing in art supplies that might be considered contraband. For example, black ink gets stolen for jailhouse tattoos, and erasers can be used to make impressions of keys. Kornfeld is the author of a brilliantly colorful book - "Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America."SEGMENT 3:
Frederic Tuten thinks the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh reflect a profound spiritual quest. He tells Steve Paulson that Van Gogh actually ministered to poor miners before he turned to art. Tuten is the author of "Van Gogh's Bad Cafe," a novel that celebrates Van Gogh's struggle to bring the spiritual world to the community. Also, Canadian writer Jane Urquhart won this year's Governor General's Award for her novel "The Underpainter." She tells Jim Fleming that it's the story of fictional artist Austin Fraser who, despite his extraordinary visual perception and memory, is unable to respond emotionally to the world around him. Urquhart also talks about the ongoing blossoming of Canadian writing.
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