WPKN Archives: Live Culture with Martha Willette Lewis

Episode Info

Live Culture

Original Aired:
Monday, October 1st, 2018
12:00PM to 1:00PM

1 hour

Monday, October 1st, 2018 12:01PM

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Episode: Live Culture with Martha Willette Lewis

 Originally broadcast Aug. 25, 2018

This month's show features two guests and begins with a conversation with Stephanie Wiles, the new Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, a post she began this summer, on July 1st.

We will talk about the future she envisages for the art gallery, and find out what might be in store for us under her tenure, as well as the challenges that lie ahead for museums and arts venues in this current social and economic climate. YUAG has a rich and encyclopedic collection that offers a myriad of possibilities, and Stephanie's record is one of innovative partnerships and initiatives.

Stephanie Wiles comes to Yale with over 20 years of experience leading college and university art museums. In her prior roles, Wiles has led efforts to connect the visual arts to other areas of university life by developing interdisciplinary courses, reimagining gallery spaces to be more inviting to visitors from campus and beyond, and spearheading exhibitions and publications to showcase research.

One of the most visible of her projects at Cornell was the negotiation and completion of Cosmos, a site-specific light sculpture by Leo Villareal, made up of 12,000 LED lights. The work, named in honor of scientist Carl Sagan and visible across campus and from many parts of Ithaca, is a beacon attracting visitors to the museum.

During the second half of Live Culture I speak with The Fairfield Museum’s Exhibitions Curator Laurie Lamarre, about the new exhibit: Flappers: Fashion and Freedom which opened August 16 and runs through February 2019.

This exhibition showcases women’s fashion of the 1920s and explores how “flappers” – locally and beyond – embraced a glamorous and rebellious identity. The New Woman of the 1920s represented a daring freedom of movement, behavior, and athleticism, and championed a new fashion aesthetic and attitude. The new styles included shorter skirts, freedom from corsets and bobbed hair. Flappers had social lives independent of the domestic landscape, that included frequenting dance halls, speakeasies and sporting events.

The year 1920 marked a watershed in the ongoing struggle for American women’s equality, as women secured the right to vote and claimed full citizenship alongside men. As they moved increasingly into colleges, workplaces, and public life, a new generation sought further social freedoms to move, dress, and behave as they pleased, flouting earlier standards of social behaviors for "respectable" women. Driving cars, smoking, and dancing, the flapper represented a youth-oriented search for freedom and parity. The flapper was as much cultural style as a reality, and women across social lines embraced the fashions of flappers and in doing so, embodied "modernity".

Despite this, nearly a hundred years later, we still inherit the internal contradictions that she faced as we continue to seek and advance American women's equality economically, in the workplace, at home and in self-determining our bodies. This exhibit examines that parallel and focuses on the intricate and exquisite fashions of the day and the lives of such women locally in Fairfield County, making for an innovative look at feminist history in visual format.

Show: Live Culture

Live Culture is a discussion of ideas in and around contemporary art, with monthly themes and guests. Join host Martha Willette Lewis on the last Saturday of every month from 11am - 12 noon for an engrossing hour of talk and music.

Listen to PODCASTS of the show on the PKN Soundcloud LIVE CULTURE playlist here!

SUBSCRIBE HERE for  monthly information about the forthcoming episode.

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