Episode #1003

Artists and Obama

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Studio 360 Episode 1003, Artists and Obama Shepard Fairey designed this Obama portrait at his own initiative, but cleared it with the campaign. (Courtesy of Shepard Fairey)

To mark the Inauguration we asked poets, actors, and musicians to leave voicemails for the new president. Artists who turned Obama into an icon during the campaign, find themselves in a quandary. And Kurt has an exit interview with departing NEA chairman Dana Gioia. Plus, all of New York City fits into a single room in Queens.

"Are You There, Barack? It's Me, Artist."

We asked some of our favorite artists what they wanted from our president-to-be. Listen to voicemail messages of their answers - no holds barred. In this installment: David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet, writer Cintra Wilson, and poet Edwin Torres. All voicemail segments produced ...


Dana Gioia

Kurt asks Gioia, the departing chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, about his sense of where the arts in America are headed at this moment of flux. Gioia was a Bush appointee, but he's down with a Democrat who reads poetry.

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Voicemails for Barack: Part II

More special requests for the president-elect from saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, choreographer Elizabeth Streb, chef Wylie Dufresne, and actor Sarah Jones.

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The Making of an Icon

Art played a bigger role in this presidential election than ever before. Especially that heroic red-white-and-blue image of Barack Obama. You know the one. It's by a street artist named Shepard Fairey. WNYC's Siddhartha Mitter talked to him and some other Obama image makers, who confessed ...

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Voicemails for Barack: Part III

Musician DJ Rekha, monologist Mike Daisey, and actor-writer Iris Bahr tell Obama what they want from his presidency.



In her one-woman shows Iris Bahr uses an amazing arsenal of characters whom she writes and performs. One of them is Svetlana, the Russian prostitute with serious pretensions. She's something of a cultural commentator, and she has her own ideas about the transfer of power.

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Yo-Yo Ma

The virtuoso cellist performs in a quartet with Itzhak Perlman at Inauguration this week. He's a household name, but as Ma told Kurt when he performed in our studio, he loves collaboration.


Voicemails for Barack: Part IV

Sculptor Richard Serra tells the president-elect what he's hoping for after January 20th.


Panorama Kid

Stephen Talasnik's drawings, on view now at the Queens Museum, are detailed blueprints of fantastical architecture. They're inspired by the museum's Panorama - a meticulous scale model of New York City. Produced by Eric Molinsky and Derek John.

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Design for the Real World: Diner

Culinary Arts Museum curator Richard J.S. Gutman explains why an American classic from the aluminum age never goes out of style. Produced by Kathryn Eident.

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