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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Portrait of the Artist

Length: 52 mins
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In this hour, Cultural critic David Shields wants to change the way we think about art. His manifesto is called Reality Hunger. He talks about it with Steve Paulson, making a case for spontaneity and artistic risk.

Next, esteemed British novelist Ian McEwan reads from his latest book, Solar, and talks about it with Jim Fleming. The story is a comic tale about a Nobel Prize winning egotist physicist and climate change.

After that, Harriet Reisen has written a biography called Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women. Reisen tells Anne Strainchamps that Alcott loved to anonymously write racy thrillers and organized women's political activity decades before suffrage was won.

And finally, Patti Smith was born in South Jersey. She grew up determined to become an artist. She's just released a memoir, called Just Kids. Steve Paulson talks with her about her early days in New York, her success as a rock star and a poet, and her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. [Broadcast Date: April 21, 2010]

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  • (P) and ©2010 Wisconsin Public Radio

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