Thursday, September 23, 2010

Misc. Stuff

The Professor be Bloggin
Nice to sit outside and smoke and have a bit to drink and talk at Jay's house. The weather has cooled just a bit. This is the first day of Fall and  a full moon.  No wonder so much craziness is going on. The Professor washed his cell phone again and has a new one to be activated at the cell phone store tomorrow..
The Professor is never surprised after 18 plus years teaching at the college. 3 weeks of classes and his attendance is diminishing. Drawing 1 was down 10 this afternoon, an important class, beginning perspective. One Point perspective is basic knowledge for drawing just  like shading. The next class is 2 point perspective and he wonders how many will be there. Next week is devoted to free hand perspective and those that come back will be clueless.  There will be the usual excuses.
He is always amazed with those who take his Drawing 2 class who have taken Drawing I from other schools who have no idea to how draw...What were they taught?
His Design I class at 8 am is holding and doing very well. Painting class? there are those that are always there and some come once in a while. He has one person who he has failed before, back again and doing the same....not being there. Survey of Art History I has it's first test tomorrow over Prehistoric and Mesopotamian and Egyptian Art, always a sobering moment. Art Appreciation class which was bursting without enough room to sit now has plenty of room; Only one class a week at 7 PM, a ten question test over the previous material that is in the book and covered in the lecture, is down by over 10 students. One person told  the Professor that he just got the text, therefore did not pass any of the tests and  thought it was a drawing class.  He was having trouble... meaning flunking the tests. I could barely understand him, his speech was so poor. As teachers we cannot make them come to class, read the text , take notes or study. How did they get out of High school? The Professor answers " by showing up". It happens every semester.
                                                                           The Professor paints.
Stage 2... fermenting for a while

Here is a 48x60 : Stage 1

Stage 2
The Professor read on Facebook James Surls comment about art critics.  Where are they? Or what is their importance? What the Professor reads are Fluff pieces. Don't offend. He remembers one critic who said of his work that it was "beyond the pale". He liked that, a real opinion, a criticism and a complement. That was in New York. The critics that he liked such as James McKeverly or David Hickey were good as long as they stuck to general theory. He saw a show that Mr. Hickey curated in Santa Fe a few years ago which was to say the least shallow and trendy. One artist was so out of place, Kermit Oliver from Texas a realist. The Professor likes his work. It is very personal and knowledgeable. Ah Santa Fe the self pronounced 3rd largest art market in the USA. A three month market in which to make a profit before the tourists leave and winter sets in. Anyone with enough money and social ambition to open a gallery without any knowledge of art history can open a gallery. They will have 1000s of Artists panting, nose pressed against the door to show their work. The Professor watched  a  tourist market selling feel good "art" with plenty of Knock-Offs of Knock-offs of  supposedly sellable "art". Is it art if it is shown in an art gallery? The Professor likes the anonymous Houston art market where it is part of the general economics.
Keep it personal. Use yourself for source material. Know your art history. Do not follow trends. Celebrate who you are.


  1. This from Andy Feehan in France:Earl,

    Art criticism fell by the wayside some time ago, at least the journalistic variety. The economic engine that drove a lot of it is simply out of gas. Consider how many newspapers have folded. Magazines, too. Some critics have survived because they have been working for magazines that have also survived. I'm thinking of Calvin Tomkins and Peter Schejldahl in the New Yorker. Robert Hughes was Time Magazine's art critic. All three of them have written books, too.

    It's easy to pick on art magazines because they are mostly driven by advertising. Like fashion magazines, sometimes it's hard to discern the text from the ads. Like fashion magazines, art magazines are still working on a yearly calendar....the fall collection starts us all off until we see what's new for spring. In summer we all go to the Hamptons (or, increasingly, Fire Island) , at least for August. Over here we all go to Spain for August. Writers for the magazines are also paid to write catalogs for gallery shows. It's all a big circle jerk. I was amused by the pretenses of Postmodernism, which in theory was opposed to any idea of "progress"...that being integral to Modernism. In spite of Postmodernist theory, the fall collection always displaced last year's styles. Where would we be without New Product?

    I mentioned Tomkins, Schejldahl, and Hughes offhand, but it's not accidental that they have been affiliated with non-artworld publications that have survived the downturn in the periodicals market. Tomkins and Schejldahl are regulars at the New Yorker, and Hughes was with Time, although I don't know what he does now. As much as I admire Tomkins, I have found his choices for official blessings questionable from time to time. His championing of Julie Mehretu made me choke, mostly because she had no compunction about accepting a very large commission for the headquarters of Goldman Sachs, right at the time when the company had fleeced the world and was being bailed out by a complacent Obama administration. Mehretu claimed that neither the Medici nor the Gonzaga were highly moral...they just had good taste. Therefore, she was ok with her choice as well. Following that line of reasoning might eventually allow her to do some frescoes down in Mexico for the drug cartels. You know, like Rivera working for Rockefeller and Ford. What's the diff?

    I may very well be on a blacklist back there. I don't know, really. You know privately that some people and some institutions in Houston have behaved in a shabby manner towards me. They know who they are. I prefer being in France now because even at the age of almost sixty and without any gallery affiliation I am not discouraged or depressed by the past in Texas. I'm doing my best work now, and I am able to support my family by teaching. When my art is recognized here, and it will be recognized, I will still have my integrity.

  2. Nancy comments:
    Hi Earl,
    I enjoy reading your blog! and was following along with the James Surls
    It seems to me that in Jansen Village of long long ago, and I loved my old art history book from 1965, because it tidied up life into one thread,
    there were artists who formed a community, and little by little they ooched away from Romantic and Classical art to a personal expression of what they felt and saw of the world.
    We were taught that art HAS to be connected to the past, or it makes no sense and has no context.
    If art criticism developed as a viable art and literary endeavor on its own, then it had to follow and not create what was ''art'', but in the world we live in, how does one depart from the past to say anything new when there is not a basis for departure? No one cares anymore about anything.
    I remember living in a highly shockable world. The length of one's hair, the length of one's skirt, what one said, or did, made a huge impact on people.
    Now no one cares in this post shock world.
    What NEW can be said? Hence what can be criticized?
    When the pilot fish became larger than the shark, they both sunk to the bottom of the ocean and died.
    When the baby emerged larger than the mother, there remained no context at all for growth or nurturing.
    When I was growing up, it seemed important to aspire to college. I worked hard to get the grades and the resume to submit, so that I could go to college. But now people can go to college and play hooky and
    not do their work, and still be who they are? just dumbasses.
    We tried to do better.
    Well, enough out of me.
    thanks for the posts, they make me think.