David and Art

Monday 4:44am, 6:44am, 8:44am and 5:44pm

Art reveals the world to us in new ways.  On KWBU, we have a new weekly feature focusing on art.

The module is hosted by David Smith, an American historian with broad interests in his field.  He’s been at Baylor University since 2002 teaching classes in American history, military history, and cultural history.  For eight years he wrote an arts and culture column for the Waco Tribune-Herald, and his writings on history, art, and culture have appeared in other newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to the Dallas Morning News.

The very first record he remembers listening to when he was little was Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic’s recording of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and that set him on a lifelong path of loving music and the arts.  He’s loved history for almost as long, and finally saw them come together in his career.  He believes that history illuminates the arts and the arts illuminate history—that they co-exist and are best understood together.

Follow David on Twitter @DavidASmith12

David and Art - Remembering McCoy Tyner

Apr 6, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

McCoy Tyner was a pianist whose influence can be heard across half a century.

In 1990, I was… Quite a bit younger. My musical tastes were relatively typical: I was into pop music, some hard rock stuff.  I was a bass player so I was into the group Rush.  I hadn’t yet discovered Earth, Wind and Fire.  I thought I knew jazz because back in high school I’d played in the jazz band and sorta dug some big band recordings like Glen Miller and Count Basie.

Somehow there drifted into my CD collection an album of solo jazz piano by an artist that I’d never heard of.  I ordered it from some place but to this day I don’t know why I bought McCoy Tyner’s 1988 album Revelations.

Tyner was born in Philadelphia in 1938.  Like Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane and Miles, he was a 

David and Art - "Theatres that are Closed"

Mar 30, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

When theaters are dark, we lose out on the stories that make us human.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d want to see my life acted out on a stage. A dramatic rendering of my foibles, failures, vanities and inconsistencies? No thanks. I know of few people who’d relish being the subject of such a display.

On the other hand, we as a society need to see such things because it does us good to be reminded of our potential failings and weaknesses before they erupt and cause trouble. If Macbeth could have seen 

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Helping artists navigate legal questions is a good way to help the local arts scene

A couple of weeks ago when I was talking about the new gig economy law in California, I mentioned that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about who counts as an artist in the eyes of the law.  The day-to-day realities of being a working artist are so far removed from the experiences of most people—certainly from

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

People who play a musical instrument are witnesses to the power of art.

I was walking through the music building the other day at the university and I passed down a long hallway lined with practice rooms. Over the course of a just a couple of minutes—I was walking slowly just to take it all in—I heard violins, pianos, flutes, clarinets, a French Horn, percussion, and a bassoon.  All of the players were working on pieces that sounded difficult, but all were likewise nailing them pretty well, at least when I took my walk.

David and Art - "No Twitter"

Mar 9, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

A culture that wants its information in tweet-sized packages is going to have trouble appreciating art.

 

When the number nine hitter comes to the plate with one on and no outs in a close game, he’ll often square to bunt. As the pitcher begins his windup the first and third basemen charge in and the person playing second wheels over to cover first.  It’s a complex series of events that unfolds quickly but because it’s not immediately evident what’s going on, those who aren’t familiar with baseball are often left scratching their heads. But if you’re patient and take time to figure it out or ask someone, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for the subtleties that go on between every pitch. (read more)

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

A word that musicians have long used to refer to performances is today being heard far from the arts world.

Sometimes during my senior year in high school, I would slip out of one of my elective classes and go hang out in the band hall.  Very often only the assistant band director and I would be in there talking or listening to jazz or whatever, and any time he had to leave the room for something, before he walked out he would say “If my manager calls, take the gig.”  I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but thought it was just about the coolest thing I’d ever heard anyone say. (read more)

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

A word that musicians have long used to refer to performances is today being heard far from the arts world.


David and Art - "Federal Architecture"

Feb 24, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

In what way could the architecture of government buildings say anything about the government itself?

Last week, I mentioned former President Theodore Roosevelt’s harsh disapproval of some contemporary art in a 1913 New York exhibit.  He was critical of paintings that he felt didn’t meet his standard of what art ought to look like, and was particularly dismissive of European Modernists.  You will have noticed perhaps that the current President is likewise outspoken in his cultural opinions. (read more)

David and Art - Federal Architecture

Feb 24, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

In what way could the architecture of government buildings say anything about the government itself?


David and Art - Federal Architecture

Feb 24, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

In what way could the architecture of government buildings say anything about the government itself?


Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

An art show from over one hundred years ago broadened American tastes like none before or since. Here's this weeks edition of David and Art with David Smiith.


Throwing everything called "art" into a big pile and letting people sort it out isn't the best way of knowing what's worth our time and attention. Fortunately there's help. 

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Sometimes lost works of art can reappear, allowing us a chance to rediscover an artist we'd forgotten about. 


David and Art - Cultural Touchstones

Jan 27, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Art can provide a good way for diverse groups to communicate with each other if we don’t shut ourselves to it.


David and Art - Making a New Discovery

Jan 20, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to start looking for art that’s new to you.


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