Friday, August 24, 2012

Some online resources

While I'm finishing my syllabus, I thought I might as well add some online resources I'll be using this semester (while I'm still thinking about it).

"Time Wastes Too Fast," by Maira Kalman
Gorgeous visual essay about the artist's experience at Monticello, and her thoughts on Jefferson's many and varied passions.

"Paintings That Shouldn't Work: Elisabeth Condon," by Franklin Einspruch over at Art Critical
I really like these features from Art Critical. They are a great example of visual analysis (and sometimes research)....they write a researched analysis in my class that is very similar to this style of writing.

TED Talks are always fun. Last semester, I used Stefan Sagmeister's piece on how design can make you happy. This one (by Ursus Wehrli on "Tidying Up Art" is pretty funny and creative).

The Museum of Non-Visible Art (a James Franco-related project--HA!). This is a Kickstarter project that asked backers to purchase non-visible (aka imaginary!) art based on the description (these are located on the right-hand side of the page---you can scroll through them here). Someone actually purchased the non-visible conceptual project called "Clean Air" for $10,000 (no, I'm not joking---the woman who bought it said she did it for her own publicity, hilariously enough). As an in-class activity, I have students write-up a a project for this museum (setting price, title, description, etc.). It's usually pretty funny.

I have a YouTube playlist called Inspiration and Creativity--some of the videos I've mentioned are here, and others you might find interesting/useful. I love showing the Sally Mann video (it's not too long, and I love how she talks about her process), and Lynda Barry is on there (I adore her), and also Shea Hembrey (he created a faux-biennial where he assumed the persona of 100 different artists, creating work in their styles (and bios and artist statements!) and curating an exhibition. That's a great one.

Looking forward to seeing what you post! Have a wonderful first week.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Frank O'Hara's "Why I'm Not a Painter."

I'm not sure that O'Hara tells us exactly (or at least clearly) why he is not a painter, but I always use this poem early in the term to introduce themes of collaboration, friendship, revision, interdisciplinarity, and... fun.

LA 190 Relevant Films (Suggested by Charlene Fix)

Art School Confidential (set in Brooklyn, I think Pratt)
The Shape of Things (boyfriend becomes senior thesis project)
Bagdad Café (totally feel-good movie with a painter character)
The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman) (the images, especially the Knight playing chess with Death, are so utterly iconic: we have an obligation, no? to make our students culturally literate)

What films have you screened with success (or not) in LA 190?


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Possible Texts (with links where available) for LA 190 Reader: (Suggested by Charlene Fix)

 “On a Streetcar Named Success,”  Tennessee Williams
Really fabulous little discussion of the value in making art as lying in the struggle, and that commercial success, in removing the struggle, can be devastating.

“Take this Fish and Look at It,” Samuel Scudder
A true oldie but goodie, turn of the last century piece on the value of looking (and looking and looking).

“The Unknown Masterpiece,” Balzac
An amazing novella that obsessed Cezanne, Picasso, and other artists—prescient in its implications about Abstract art.

Classic piece super-relevant today.

“On Beauty,” Susan Sontag
Another classic piece with timeless relevance.

While not specifically about visual art—and our selections don’t have to be—this speaks volumes about the downside of dedication and perfectionism, also the fickleness of public taste.

Something by Bruno Schulz  (on drawing in childhood or title story from Sanitarium Under the Sign of the Hourglass?). 
Like an effervescent Kafka, a brilliant writer and visual artist who sometimes illustrated his stories.

“The Dog That Bit People” or other story with drawings by James Thurber
So Columbus, so funny (the kids need to laugh sometimes), & so charming!

“Cathedral,” Raymond Carver
A beautiful story about bonding through drawing.

What is Art by Leo Tolstoy (excerpts?)
Another classic.

“The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami
A stunning short story that has a little in it of relevance to drawing, industrial design, and much of relevance to the environment and the imagination.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Denis Dutton's "Has Conceptual Art Jumped the Shark Tank"

A somewhat unwieldy essay that I have much success with for in-class discussions and as a source article for student essays.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Just click here for a batch of Milton Glaser essays. "Since Then" is a talk and feels like a talk and so isn't an exemplary piece of rhetoric.  It is also a bit dated (think post-2004 election and not beyond), but Glaser does raise the issue of artist / (or vs.) designer. "Ambiguity and Truth" raises questions regarding the ethics of design. "Dark and Light: The Strange Case of the Decline of Illustration" of course talks about... the decline of illustration, but also looks at root causes, like the influence of media, particularly television. Please note that all of these essays are available in PDF format and so with some patience and wrangling can be easily linked to on Go Studio.

I've found that Glaser is helpful for starting discussions and raising issues. Because the arrangement of his essays / talks can be somewhat sloppy, students sometimes try to respond to incongruous parts of the essays, and often struggle to write cohesive responses. I always make sure that if a student plans to respond to Glaser that she does so in a pointed way and that she carefully frames the debate. Go to Glaser for engaging and sometimes controversial ideas, but not for exemplary organization. (I should add that he is a good example of a writer/rhetor who is able to use autobiography in the persuasive realm.)