Oh, Xmas Tree, Oh Xmas Tree

Many folks spend hours and a pile of cash to get the “perfect” Xmas tree.  Not me. Some 20 years ago, the Mrs developed a liking for those fancy glass Xmas ornaments, so we promptly hit the after-Holiday sales and started a collection. Came the next Xmas, and we weren’t happy with how the ornaments clashed with any “natural” tree that was less than 12 feet tall. What to do? The next summer I shared a brainstorm with my Dad, an inveterate folk-art woodworker. Who immediately joined me in a project day to convert a large, leafless branch of manzanita … Continue reading Oh, Xmas Tree, Oh Xmas Tree

Larry the Barbarian

Over at Monster Hunter Nation, Larry Correia puts us hip to a delightful and creative approach to F&SF book covers: incorporating the author as a cover character.  This one of L.C. and wife rocks it: If you’re not tuned into Larry’s worldview, you can get the 2-minute summary by clicking to the adjacent blog entry “Hoon for America: Manatee Party Stickers Now Available.”  And I concur: get off my lawn. Except you kids, you keep the porch pirates and daytime burglars away. Continue reading Larry the Barbarian

The Fate of the “Fountain”

Richard Bledsoe isn’t impressed with Conceptual Art A certain segment of the glitterati like to flaunt their ability to see shit as sophisticated art as a badge of honor, for some reason. and tells a delightful story about its early critics (“It broke!”). I have to agree, and now I’m off to learn more about William Glackens, The Eight, and the Ashcan School. Continue reading The Fate of the “Fountain”

Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize

Everybody’s got an opinion on this one, and here’s a doozy: The Nobel Prize is in fact the ultimate example of bad faith: A small group of Swedish critics pretend to be the voice of God, and the public pretends that the Nobel winner is Literature incarnate. … Mr. Dylan may yet accept the prize, but so far, his refusal to accept the authority of the Swedish Academy has been a wonderful demonstration of what real artistic and philosophical freedom looks like. Bob Dylan could not be reached for comment. Tip from Maggie’s Farm. Continue reading Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize

Glamour from the 20th Century

Recently finished Virginia Postrel’s The Power of Glamour, and finally understood what all the fuss has been about. Although people often equate them, glamour is not the same as beauty, sylishness, luxury, celebrity, or sex appeal….Glamour is, rather, a form of nonverbal rhetoric, which moves and persuades not through words but through images, concepts, and totems….By binding image and desire, glamour gives us pleasure, even as it heightens our yearning.  It leads us to feel that the life we dream of exists, and to desire it even more. (p. 6) After reading the whole thing, I’ve concluded that America has … Continue reading Glamour from the 20th Century

Art Meets Science

On a day that I’m overbooked, running around campus doing minor, but essential chores, and feeling a bit grumpy about the whole academic enterprise, I stumble upon a jewel like this: Not in a gallery or the administration building, but in a hallway between classrooms.  Where thousands of students, and the odd faculty member, can marvel at what talents sometimes pop up where we least expect them. Continue reading Art Meets Science

Uh-oh. More Art that actually looks like something.

David Clemens interviews and reviews post-modern, neo-classic artist David Ligare in “Art that Thinks and the Gravity of Our Own Time.” I believe that much if not most of [modern and contemporary art] is now academic and because all things shocking and transgressional have become clichés, I believe that going `in’ is the answer. By `in’ I don’t necessarily mean back but `back’ is where the true thinkers are and we need art that thinks. You can see more Ligare’s work on his website. Continue reading Uh-oh. More Art that actually looks like something.

More Revolution

A few years ago, I was chatting with a professor from our Art Department.  He startled (poor, ignorant, unsophisticated) me saying “Art is not about beauty anymore; that’s not what we study.”  My unspoken response was (and is) “If not you, then who?” Enter Jacob Collins: “My general feeling in terms of art making is the train got off the rails in the 1860s and 1870s, and my practical instinct is to go back to where it was, try to put it back, fix it up, and start going again.” “Our culture,” he continued, “has inherited the idea that if … Continue reading More Revolution