Flipping through the nation’s family album, what’s missing? That question led director Thomas Allen Harris to create “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People,” a film that examines how photography shaped the identity and perceptions of blacks in America.
“In some ways, it is a history lesson, although it’s kind of a different take on history because we have a lot of contemporary artists in the film,” Harris told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “In many ways, as they do this, they reshape the way in which we view history.”
This weekend, the Dance Theatre of Harlem performs as part of the Dance St. Louis fall season. Yet the company is here to teach as well as perform. Since Oct. 27, teaching artist Theara Ward has been teaching ballet and diaspora history at Normandy High.
“The main thing is for young people to understand history, how they connect to history and how history connects to them, their culture, their community, but also how the arts can be used as a powerful tool to express yourself,” Ward said.
After 20 years, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art has its first site-specific installation.
“During our first 20 years, we had thematic shows that often included many artists,” museum director the Rev. Terry Dempsey told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter. “Each one of the works that is in place over at MOCRA right now is essential to the other works that are there. This is very special.”
As women strive to gain equal ground in the workplace, they’re also working to establish the same ground in the arts. The Women in the Arts Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis will feature lectures, demonstrations, papers, performances and workshops from 27 speakers on Nov. 6-8.
“Everyone thinks the playing field is level,” said Barbara Harbach, a composer and director of the Women in the Arts Conference. “It’s not quite as level as you might think.”
Black-owned galleries display African-American art all year long. Many others tend bring out such work only during February, Black History Month. But that’s changing.
Recent shows bucking the trend include an exhibit opening Friday at the Philip Slein Gallery in the Central West End. African-American-themed work from private St. Louis homes comprises “Other Ways, Other Times: Influences of African-American Tradition from St. Louis Collections.”
For pianist Lang Lang, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is special.
“Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto is a classical music workhorse — everybody plays it,” Lang Lang said Thursday. It’s also the first piece he played, at age 17, with the Chicago Symphony, and he credits it with making his career.
Lang Lang will play that piece again Saturday at the St. Louis Symphony’s Red Velvet Ball.
"I knew it wasn't the hair, and I knew it wasn't the eye," Michael Gunn, a senior curator at the National Gallery of Australia, said of a sculpture of Polynesian god A'a. "It became clear that it's that space between the eye and the eyebrow. I realized that's the part of us where our visual imagination is located. It just shows you the attention and the focus that the people had and the value they place on visual imagination."
The Saint Louis Art Museum's "Atua: Sacred Gods From Polynesia" exhibition takes a closer look at sculpture and religion, but it's not the first time the museum has explored art from the region.
"The museum's been collecting Pacific art since the 1900s," said Nichole Bridges, associate curator in charge of the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the museum. "Most of the permanent Pacific arts collection comes from Melanesia; we have very little that comes from Polynesia. This is a nice complement to our collection."
Butcher shops are changing. Whole-animal butcher shops, using local farm-raised animals, are popping up in St. Louis. In this month's Sound Bites segment on "Cityscape," we talked to local butchers about the benefits of the new trend.