“Everyone wants to be an Artist”

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.

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Youth & Age

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.

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Ten Steps & Counting

January 3rd, 2008 § 3 comments

“…Silence is un-American…”


It was perhaps a month ago that I was talking to my Dad, or listening rather, as he ranted about the latest book he had read on oil, global warming, torture, US supported dictators in South America, and into my mind popped memories of Germany. Images and words from that trip ran through my head as though they had something to do with the conversation on the other end of the line: the camps, the ovens, the museums, the monuments-standing on Hitler’s speakers stand at Zeppelin Field-the rally grounds in Nuremberg, the wasps at Sachsenhausen. I remembered the historians who came to speak with us, the Germans who tried to give us a sense of how they see their own history, and the things we muttered to ourselves. And, for whatever reason, as I came back to the conversation at hand, I thought this is why they didn’t leave. Movies, books, and Americans have often judged the Germans for not leaving their country in time, for “not seeing what was coming”, they ignored what seems to us in hindsight as obviously clear signs saying GO! As I listened to the unpleasant truths my Dad is just discovering that the Fossil comments upon everyday, I pictured Americans doing the same thing, not leaving because it seems impossible, because things will get better, the “pendulum will swing back”. We are “ignoring” just as obvious-possibly- signs that show many things that might be coming. Later that day, J sent me a link to an interview with Naomi Wolf about her new book on Democracy Now. She began the interview by mentioning the conversation that inspired her research, telling how one of her friends, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, kept saying to her, “this is what happened in Germany” which she thought at the time was, as she put it, “extreme language”, until she began investigating the “blueprint” she would illustrate in her recently published book.
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I Carried Che

March 19th, 2007 § 0 comments

protest DC

My first American protest and the coldest day to be outside dawn to dusk. I consider it a large personal sacrifice for the cause. When I got home I felt completely exhausted, bruised rather than sore, and my arms were limp from trying to keep the wind from smashing my sign down upon the heads of the marchers in front of me. The march illuminated the dirty side of America, the counter protest made me think of Jill and her famous saying of agreeing to disagree peacefully. Verbal abuse, I find, is physically abusive. It seemed surreal that a whole group of men could be looking at me and without knowing me at all shout such filth.

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Foreign Affairs

March 10th, 2007 § 4 comments

(Bush struggling in his South American tour)


“So my trip is to explain as clearly as I can that our nation is generous and compassionate, that when we see poverty, we care; that when we see illiteracy, we want to do something about it.”

I wonder if anyone in this country thinks this is true? I am glad some people, somewhere in the world, call a spade a spade, or in this case a fascist a fascist.


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