The graduate office finally sent me the approval notice for my online thesis, meaning the PDF is in the VCU archive and readable for all. I also had to make a few hard copies for the c/ms office and other various peoples, so there is also a bound version of it if anyone besides M wants to buy it from LuLu. Unfortunately it will come with a blank front signature page because I can’t tolerate the page number nightmare of trying to upload a new version, but otherwise it is very nice copy (despite the strangeness of LuLu’s sale preview). I can also email a PDF for anyone who would rather read it that way. Keep in mind I am posting this notice because friends and family alike have been asking to read–and those that have read want the final version–“precarious loss”. So, take what version you like, I only want to know what you think, if I have not already heard at length, in return. Comments can always be posted below…hint, hint, hint.
May 27th, 2008 § 4 comments
May 23rd, 2008 § 0 comments
The moment people arrive in town they demand to see “the south.” Granted Richmond provokes this sort of the response, it clings to its history with a vigor that California lacks. Monument Ave. is a lovely tree lined street boasting statues of southern heroes, in stark contrast to the rest of America. I have gotten so oddly used to seeing Stonewall and Lee that it seemed strange that M, at a distance, guessed that the statue in front the of the capital building was Grant. Grant, I thought, now what is he doing there? But it is hard, I have found, to really get a sense of “the south”, usually referring to pre-civil war northern notions of what the south was, because if those notions even existed at all they are cloudy and hidden now. Susan, who has lived in Richmond for over twenty years, often says the people here cherish their origins and family tree, something I have never seen proof of. Even going to Monticello is tempered by the man Jefferson was, an inventor, an intellectual, and despite his contradictions and flaws, he was pretty interesting if only for the “stuff” he collected in his house.
May 22nd, 2008 § 1 comment
(on Dominique Nahas)
A few weeks ago I had a meeting with the critic we “voted” on to write the essay and description in our thesis catalog. Since I don’t waste my time going to GAA meetings I had no idea the critic had to meet with us, I was somehow under the impression he was simply writing an essay as a sort of credible decoration to our badly color balanced images (this idea being based on viewing last years booklet). It was sudden and unexpected when one of the grads came around with a sign-up sheet telling me that ‘so and so was here’ and ‘when did I want to sign up’. It was my understanding that painting had him the day before us and sculpture the day after, but other than that I had no idea who this “critic” was or what I was supposed to show, since my show was not yet up. I hung some work the night before and went in the next morning unsure of what to expect but rather unconcerned as well.
Following my meeting, needless to say, I did some research. So and so turned out to be Dominique Nahas, a NY based critic who is currently the critic-in-residence at MICA, reminding me of Volk’s role at VCU. All good art programs need a well connected critic-in-residence. I am also going to assume, although I could not find much biographical information, that Nahas has a degree (probably more than one) in Philosophy from somewhere prestigious. After my meeting, which went so strangely I was forced to prowl the school in search of gossip, I found out how he had behaved with others. There seemed to be mixed reports, some grads thought he was interesting, pretentious, mean, etc. One nameless printmaker in the second round was told that her problems were now his because he had to write about her work.
May 14th, 2008 § 0 comments
The Rape of Europa seems to fit in with a discussion myself and others had somewhat recently with a certain nameless historian (Shem) about if art simply reflects the condition of a culture, or if it is a force in changing that culture. As a documentary I thought the film was sporadic, unfocused and somewhat pointless, but it illustrated what in culture is valued and at lengthy costs preserved. Most artists I know argue against the idea that we are reflectors rather than innovators or the illustrators of perspectives otherwise unseen, though each side seems to depend on how the role of art is perceived within a particular society. The effort taken (during the second world war) to destroy, preserve, hide, restore, and protect works of art and monuments, proves to me at least that art is more than reflection. In Europe, something I found rather interesting, the self-identity of each city rested with a particular church, building, or museum. Thinking of our own country I know I am more compelled by landscape, it seems more a part of my “American” identity than any particular place.
Having studied in great detail the art of the Third Reich and the “artistic” minded tactics of Hitler as a politician, I find this a compelling argument for art as a leader of change. He was infatuated with mediating and controlling the art of his time, on keeping its potential danger away from the general public, perhaps because certain artists were “reflecting” the wrong vision. Many of our most recognized Modernists were seen as a threat to the dominant party, and those artists were part of a wider movement that was pushing ‘thought’ of all kinds, not just art, into new territories. As the film pointed out, the list of artworks Hitler wished to possess predated the countries he chose to invade and occupy.
May 3rd, 2008 § 0 comments
Of late I wonder if it all comes back to those adolescent musings on gender I entertained as an undergrad. When I think about the majority of my undergraduate I work I remember how so much of it had to do with myself and being a young woman in a world dominated and dictated by older white men, and being in a relationship of a particular kind very young. It seems silly now looking back to think I was so preoccupied, but if I think more carefully I can remember why. The position I had put myself in, both maritally and in terms of lifestyle, made me unique from others and a target of public perception. It preoccupied me because it was a large force in my life for many years. Every year we became older it was less of an issue to deal with, we became more “normal,” and the less it became a question to answer.
As a woman there seem to be certain ages you go through that get more attention than others. Say for instance teenage girls from about 13 or 14 to 18 or 19, who are prime targets for male flirtation from all ages. Somehow it seems to be a societally sanctioned age of sexiness, perhaps it really is an age where one exudes a sort of Lolita-like charm, but all aged men seem drawn by it. The early twenties are not the same, I don’t get the same kind of attention I used to, I assumed it was because I was married or had simply gotten uglier in the past few years, perhaps both. Lately, however, I am beginning to wonder if the middle of the twenties fall into another of those desirable categories. Perhaps it has to do with age groups, what can be accomplished and at what ages. Most men are not looking for a wife in their early twenties, so perhaps not being part of youthful social groups was useful, but now perhaps they are. I am not exactly sure what it is, but I seem to be getting a lot of “favors” and “attentions” I don’t remember getting since I was a teenager. I have also been noticing it is not the same kind of attention, it is more of a possessive adoration than an outright call for sex. No one really seems to want physical favors, they are just willing to do things for me they won’t do for others. In France I got very used to being ignored, unless it was to be stared at like a foreigner, and it is a little odd feeling to be back in a position of “control,” of sorts.