I think in this class key terms kept coming over again and again, which is why I chose repetition. Even though we constantly had different professors talking about wildly different angles and viewpoints on Mr. Prince’s work, the Veil kept reappearing, as well as “process”, jazz, the Dirge, different ways of thinking about time, downbeat dancing et cetera. It very much seemed like everything converged back to the theme of repetition, as if, as Snead wrote in “On Repetition in Black Culture”, “Narrative repetition tends to defuse the belief that any other meaning resides in a repeated signifier than the fact that it is being repeated.” The cut back to original principles meant that no matter what topic our discussion meandered to, there was something familiar to go back, which strengthened the original idea. Continue reading “Repetition”

Reading Pictures

On February 22nd Professor Cope gave a lecture about the spread of information in early modern Europe. This connected to class in many ways, one of which being that modern viewers have to learn to read the the information-packed woodcuts, similar to how we have worked to “read” Steve Prince’s woodcuts. Often in the woodcuts there is a circular flow of the eye. My favorite woodcut of all time is John Derrick’s “Image of Ireland.”

It is meant to show how the Irish people are savages with no understanding of proper manners, but it is so funny to a modern reader. These woodcuts were useful in the 1500’s because people had “different” literacy skills, ie analyzing pictures. I think in today’s world, since print is dead, the equivalent is video content, so I guess you could say that the need for different formats to spread information is a recursive trend.

From an ecological perspective, many of the concerns that Cope mentioned the English dealing with will increasingly come to affect us too. Displaced people will have to migrate to new places not destroyed by climate change, and so far we have made their existence without a home illegal, like under the Elizabethan laws. Personally what I found most interesting from this lecture was learning about morality before capitalism, where violating the sense of community would be punished in the moral economy. Communities like the ones Prince’s work nurtures used to play larger parts in everyone’s life, and I wonder if that will be part of the ecological solution.

Perspective of Nostalgia

February 15th’s class with Professor Nicodemi blasted me back into ninth grade geometry class. We used algebra to calculate where one should stand when looking at a painting to get the intended view of it. I had never heard this concept of proper distance to a painting before, so the combination of mathematics and art will prove useful during future museum visits. This technique mainly applies to Renaissance artists who were interested in lines and geometry. Prince borrows the checkerboard seen in many of his works from the Renaissance era, and often draws using an extremely skewed perspective. Continue reading “Perspective of Nostalgia”

Urban Garden Experience

The Urban Garden Experience on February 1st 2019 created powerful energy in the Kinetic Gallery, that I and many others in the room felt. Steve Prince and the jazz band and all of us gathered there together created a unique moment in time and space, and I keenly observed the ephemeral temporality of it all. This performance was just for us, but also open to anyone who happened to hear the music and poke their head in. Steve Prince was sketching the band in green and purple sharpie markers in front of us, and it was cool to see the layers of his process build on top of each other as he made his illustration in time to the music. This process of drawing that for him was so normal appeared to the audience as a live performance the same as the jazz. It seems like magic to watch a professional make art out of nothing in front of you in a few minutes. Steve Prince said he let the Holy Spirit move through him as he drew, and in his picture the Holy Spirit emerged out of the trumpet. Steve Prince was the focus in that moment, but the event was not about him. The crowd of people watching were also a participating community in the artwork surrounding Mr. Prince. I was very intimidated by the excellence of Prince’s figures and leaves, and hesitant to add something at first, but was convinced by other students that everyone is good enough to contribute. I drew a small figure climbing up a mountain, which represented exploration. I’m glad I made my mark I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for, but that day was a really great introduction to the spirit of the class.

Dancing Queens

Since being introduced to the Emmy award winning show RuPaul’s Drag Race my freshman year, I have watched it religiously every Thursday night. For those that aren’t obsessed or even familiar with the drag queen pantheon and culture the show has made famous throughout the world, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality competition hosted by the 90’s drag superstar RuPaul Andre Charles, based roughly on a combination of the show America’s Next Top Model and the drag ball culture shown in the 1990 cult documentary Paris is Burning. It is revolutionary gay representation on mainstream television. However, as a female fan of the show, sometimes, in the back of my mind I sometimes wonder why it takes men dressing up in drag to celebrate women.

Continue reading “Dancing Queens”

A Design Challenge

I believe my first experience with Dan Dezarn was when he was in the role of Director of Sustainability. I was part of an environmental club interested in reducing the school’s carbon footprint. At the time I didn’t know he had formerly been a professor of Fine Arts, and it is such an interesting transition in roles. For me I see overlap between designing the transition from a fossil fuel based economy to a carbon neutral world, and the Reconstruction era in the South overseen by the Freedmen’s Bureau that WEB Du Bois talks about in the “Dawn of Freedom” chapter. The design challenge of a whole new way of life as evaluated through some of the art vocabulary we learned in class, as well as the text and paratext of Dawn of Freedom will be the topic of this blog. Later in life, Du Bois became interested in Marxism (as evidenced by his book Black Reconstruction).

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Pall Bearers

I don’t know how to start this blog post. I want to talk about death. Generally American American culture compartmentalizes death from life. Instead of integrating into the “circle of life”, like the New Orleans dirge does, we see life as a linear start and finish. Death inevitably visits us all, and keeping death away from life slows the grieving process. I deeply appreciate when artists like Steve Prince speak about death and loss, as he did in his Kitchen Talk at Geneseo, which I will talk about below. When I see someone like Steve Prince who lives so wholeheartedly and creates positivity from painful experiences, I feel like I can talk about those things in my life too. The institutional, slow violence that Prince as a black man in America experiences and has spent his career being an activist against is different than regular medical tragedy, but death is a commonality that all of humanity can relate to.

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Art and Memes

We gather around the plate of glass onto which light purple, blue, and yellow paint is dabbed, overlaid on a picture in a magazine. Garth Freeman let us loose on the paints and paper after he spoke about his experiences as a collage artist. This method he introduced of plate glass printing allows free expression of color, replicability, and intertextual interaction between existing media like magazines, or copies of the Lamron, and us as the artists.

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