Tag Archives: art

The Titular, Circular, Cyclical and the Forlorn: Rescuing Robert Frost from Himself

Robert Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry.  He was an earthy icon and, in some eyes, an American shame, for the man could love only himself and not his children or his wife. I’m not sure if that’s a crime against himself, or his promises, but there is no denying the man was an original and he knew how to write and he knew what he was.

Marred by the mistake of genius, Robert Frost cared only for his poetry, and his legacy, and that’s why the new fascination with protecting Frost’s legacy on the page is so intriguing.

Read more

Michelangelo’s 16th Century Cipher Image Communication

One internet meme that is taking flight on social media is the handcrafted glory of a grocery list Michelangelo created in the 16th century for his illiterate servant to use while shopping.

Because the servant he was sending to market was illiterate,” writes the Oregonian‘s Steve Duin in a review of a Seattle Art Museum show, “Michelangelo illustrated the shopping lists — a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and ‘a small quarter of a rough wine’ — with rushed (and all the more exquisite for it) caricatures in pen and ink.” As we can see, the true Renaissance Man didn’t just pursue a variety of interests, but applied his mastery equally to tasks exceptional and mundane. Which, of course, renders the mundane exceptional.

Read more

Education as an Abstraction: Teaching with Real Things

When teaching becomes an abstraction and not something real, the learning doesn’t stick in the student very well.  Imagination must first be grounded in a hard reality.

As we move closer into living in a 24/7 virtual world, it is important for all of us to keep in mind that learning is best fostered using real things, in real-time, in the same, real, room with each other getting real.  That is important in all human interactions, not just the classroom.  We’re always trying to learn from each other and doing it with real objects is a powerful experience that binds.

When you’re teaching about a flower — is it better to show a computer image of a flower, or hand out a flower printed on a piece of paper, or is it best to share a real flower plucked from a garden in your alive hand?

A real flower authentically engages every bodily sense and creates a sensation in the mind.

Read more

Coloring History: Should Facts Remain Black and White?

Every so often, we get someone who steps forward to decide our shared, national, record of events isn’t good enough in standard black and white — and so they take the task upon themselves to “convert” the established, memed, facts of black and white history into their color-coded version of hues — to reset, in their mind, what really happened.

This modernizing filter of alleged aesthetic and absolutely craven creativity is just as disturbing to me today as it was 30 years ago when I was an undergraduate Freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln taking a film class with the great Dr. June Perry Levine.

At the time of Dr. Levine’s course, Ted Turner was in full-burst mode in his effort to “colorize” old black and white movies and television shows by adding color to give them new life on his cable channel.

Turner’s effect was horrible and gross as skin colors were orange and backgrounds were dark blue and clothing was all a shade of a mossy green: Time travel at its complete worst.

Adding new color to old black and white images is like repainting a fresco of Christ.  The ultimate effect of each effort is the shared shameful same.

Read more

Breaking Banksy: Painting New York City Red… with a Balloon

The great street artist Banksy is in New York City for the month of October and he is leaving his mark tagging the urban core.  We have celebrated the enigmatic work of Banksy and we have always appreciated his mocking of vulgar American institutions.

The arrival of Banksy in New York City has set expectation of Art and commerce in whole new, confrontational, context that confounds the commonplace understanding of what we want to last in society and what was created to simply disappear or be defaced.

Read more

The Venus Effect and the Artifice of Assumption: Watching the World Watch You Watching Your Screen

The Venus Effect” is a fascinating concept in painting and film that shatters the illusion of the perceived, the perceiver and the preceptor.  In the example below, the woman is peering into a mirror.

At first glance, we think she is looking at her own reflection, but the angle of the mirror deceives us, because she is really directly looking at us, not herself.  In fact, the artifice of assumption is something of an aesthetic cheat because we fail to realize she is watching us while we watch her.  She is incapable of viewing her own reflection in that particular angle of yaw.

Read more

Curtains Make Good Neighbors and Bad Art

The quickest way to lose any social argument is to hide behind claiming the wellbeing of your children is at risk while not standing in front of them and offering them direct protection.  If you’re truly concerned about the welfare of your offspring, instantly act on their behalf, and don’t slog into the courts to beg a remedy to a simple matter of privacy that could be solved simply by drawing the curtains.

There’s an old saying in the Deaf Community when it comes to watching other people’s Sign Language conversations from across the room — “eyes for for?” — meaning “my eyes are for watching, and if you don’t want to be watched, then move out of my line of sight. Make your own privacy.”

Today, we could say the same thing about a camera in situ — “photos for for?”

There’s a big hoo-hah here in New York City over the right of a family to demand privacy in their floor-to-ceiling windowed apartment — even though they leave the curtains open — so anyone, and everyone, can see directly into their living space.

One neighbor, Arne Svenson, found the patterns of the family’s windows intriguing and took a series of images of them as part of his “The Neighbors” photography series.  Here’s an example from his fascinating collection:

Read more

« Older Entries