We are very lucky to have Prof. Erica H. Adams as a guest lecturer at our school this month. Prof. Adams is a talented woman with experience in a variety of aspects of the art world. In addition to being a working artist, she has also curated art exhibitions and teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.
In her six lectures, Prof. Adams is giving us an introduction to important moments in the history of American art as well as encouraging us to think about important questions underlying all artistic production: Who decides what art is and how it is conserved and presented? Who is art for? What is the relationship between money (art patrons) and what artists actually produce?
The first three lessons have already given me a lot to think about. Looking at the history of the museum, we have been asked to think about what the function of museums should be – conservations, education or innovation. What is the relationship between a work of art and the space it appears in? How much do artworks influence the architecture of the space they appear in and how much does the architecture of museums influence new works of art?
In "Motor City" Prof. Adams talked about the relationship between technology and the form of urban landscapes, and consequentially between people and changes in the landscape. In "The Great Depression" she spoke about art in a particular historical period, but also about the positive role the government can play to support art in times of economic crisis.
Prof. Adams invites everyone to keep a journal of questions and comments about the lectures so that we will be ready to talk about your ideas during the last lecture. This is a great idea. In the meantime, I would love it if you shared an idea or two here, just to get started!
What a lovely day of snow! Or at least it is if you like snow, which I don't. But lots of people do. However, the snowstorm has given me one present: it has made me remember a poem that I haven't thought about in a long time. It's called "Stopping by the Woods", and it was written by Robert Frost, an important American poet of the first part of the 1900s. The story is simple: a man riding his horse one winter evening stops to watch the snow fall in the woods. Some people have seen complicated meanings in this poem (Frost himself said these interpretations were mostly rubbish), but even if it is possible to find lots of symbols hiding in the text, I am not sure that it is important. This poem is one of those poems that are pure joys for the simplicity of expression and perfection of meter, rhyme and sound.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
If you are interested, here is a video of Frost reading his poem.
And what has this snowy day given to you?
This is a place where we can talk about things that we are not always able to talk about in the classroom. There are no marks, so don't worry that your English isn't good enough, because it is.
However, there are a few ground rules.
1. Only English.
2. Remember, this is the web, and everything you write here is 100% public.
3. All comments must be signed, but use a nickname or just your first name.
4. No insults and no rude language.
5. Feel free to disagree with ideas, including mine, but you must always be respectful of the people who express ideas different from yours.
So, that said, I'll start this discussion with a light topic this week. As you can see from the homepage of this site, I like quotes and aphorisms. The best ones give us the pleasure of an elegant combination of content and form. So my question is, "What's your favourite quote?" It can be funny or serious, by a famous person, anonymous or something that a family member or friend says. Share it and tell us why you like it!