Endless Summer

August 31st, 2009 § 0 comments

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I have a sneaking suspicion that the arrival of Labor Day, lovely as the long weekend promises to be, officially marks the end of summer. Offices such as mine end their summer hours and the magic of half-day Fridays revert back to those painful hours stretching themselves out before the weekend officially starts. Retailers have begun selling fall coats and winter skirts, and even though the weather should hold out for another month, people are making plans for that last summer trip before considering early holiday preparations. This summer was slow in coming, perhaps the east coast rain disguised it, but I have a feeling I was simply too preoccupied to realize it was here. Without the schedule of school semesters summer is now denoted by weather rather than time to spare. Still, it was perhaps the busiest summer of all.

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I Wasn’t There

June 5th, 2008 § 0 comments

Expectations for artists have changed, perhaps because of post-modernism or changes in institutions, where the ability to lecture/discuss/critique is valued over the artwork. Visiting artist programs have taught me, through observation alone, that younger artists are expected to be well read, articulate, well informed and well connected, knowledgeable of their own field as well as others–mainly philosophy and politics. These qualities don’t sound unpleasant, but they don’t feel too good when they are expected of you. They seem to be distractions added onto the pressure of making, or alternative ways to gain validity and recognition when art objects are dismissed. “Research” seems to be one of those promising new vocabulary words, akin to studio “practice.” Our chair stated the other day, “if you hear someone who lectures well send them my way, but not if you only like the work.”

I was thinking about artistic expectations while watching both The Last Waltz and I’m Not There. Since Dylan and The Band are connected, I thought they would be interesting to watch in succession. Both films were dominated, or made worth while, by one central person: Robbie Robertson in Scorsese’s documentary (1976) about The Band’s last performance, and Cate Blanchett, playing one of the many Dylan’s in Haynes film. Both movies seemed only average, I’m Not There is a frightfully confusing mixture of visual tricks and cinematic genres, and Scorsese’s documentary, though thoughtfully sequenced, was marred by his own questions and The Band’s general lack of intellect.

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