Thursday, January 31, 2008

Film, Video, and Installation Art Practices-A Series

This just in from SAAM - another John Hanhardt lecture series.

Re:Making the Moving Image: Film, Video, and Installation Art Practices-A Series
In this three-part lecture series, John G. Hanhardt explores the different
strategies artists employ to create work using the moving image. Each talk includes
examples from the classical cinema, independent film and video, and installation
art.

See SAAM's online calendar
(http://americanart.si.edu/reynolds_center/calendar.cfm) for details.
McEvoy Auditorium --Lower Level

Thursday, February 7, 6 p.m.
Wednesdays, February 13 and 20, 6 p.m.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

When it was announced late Friday, or early Saturday, that Barack Obama would have a rally at American University's Bender Arena, I actually thought if I went to Obama's website and got an e-reservation that it would actually mean something. The event, scheduled to start around 12:30 (doors opened at 10:30), had lines stretching from the arena to Massachusetts Avenue and down to the Seminary School at 9:30 AM. Getting into the arena truly became the audacity of hope. An overflow was established in "The Tavern," AUs former on-campus bar before the school went dry in the mid 1990s. The started refusing admittance around 11:45. Now there is another overflow in a basement auditorium in one of the buildings across campus.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Your Apple Isn't Vegan

I'm in the finishing stages of determining the budget for a grant application, and I was looking for some inexpensively priced shellac. Shellac's wikipedia page popped up, though I had not intended to do any wikiResearch today. Do a Google search a wikiPage pops up.

Shellac "is also used to replace the natural wax of the apple, which is removed during the cleaning process[2]. When used for this purpose, it has the food additive E number E904. This coating may not be considered as vegetarian as it may, and probably does, contain crushed insects. It is definitely not vegan."

Interesting. Just when you were questioning your carbon footprint when buying an apple from Ecuador or New Zealand comes the news that the apples you serve at parties can no longer be consumed by that one vegan friend you have. Pity.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hasbro seeks to make Facebook Irrelevant

Oh, the woe. About 2 weeks ago it was announced that Hasbro has sent a cease and desist order to the makers of Scrabulous, the online Flash generated version of Scrabble - which was not created with the permission of Hasbro. Sadly I just learned of this yesterday... so much for the pace at which information can be exchanged on "the Internets." Hasbro has once again shown a narrowness of vision since the Scrabulous website (and application in Facebook) can do little more than increase the interest in the board game for a newer, younger generation of Scrabble players, thus increasing sales for Hasbro.

What is worse, for someone like me, eliminating Scrabulous will virtually make Facebook irrelevant. At one point in time, when I was teaching 200 students a semester, Facebook was a marvelous tool to match a name to a face after receiving an e-mail from a student. Of course, that had two caveats: 1) the student was on Facebook, 2) the student posted a photo that was relative to his or her likeness (and not of a vista or of Carrie Bradshaw). Since I have elected to only teach one course at one university this semester (instead of five between three), practically all I do on Facebook is play Scrabulous.

I currently have membership in 4 or 5 social networking communities, and for no other reason than "I thought it was a good idea at the time." Basically, those sites contain the identity of my former self (some with viewable resumes over 12 months old!). Perhaps if my name was not so common I would care more about those forgotten usernames and passwords and update whatever I have on LinkIn and Doostang. For now, I'm not too concerned. But the death of Scrabulous will inevitably make my Facebook account just as irrelevant. I guess I'll have to hold more dinner parties and break out the Scrabble board to get my fix. Hasbro and Safeway must be in cahoots.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Stephen Colbert at the National Portrait Gallery

Apparently Stephen Colbert will have a portrait hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, near the President's hall (and the entrance to the bathroom), for the next six weeks.

300 MPG



I stumbled upon this while doing visual research for a client. While Bush moans to Abdullah about the price of oil, he should probably spend less time trying to influence the side of supply and do more to encourage or introduce legislation that modifies and controls the demand. Besides, the selling price of a barrel of crude does not give a clear picture of how that crude is processed, according to this link (some of it gets rendered into asphalt and tar), or how that cost/barrel breaks down for the (American) consumer at the pump. For instance, what is the cost to refine, how much does the oil company add to the profit margin, and how much is the gasoline taxed?

Despite how encouraging it is to know there will be a hybrid car that gets 300mpg available to the market by 2009 (for just under $30,000), they built and tested it in So. California. How would the same car do in Duluth or Bangor during the winter months?

Monday, January 07, 2008

I Love DC

A Story Problem for the Modern Mathematician.

I live within ear shot of the D2-bus, and a 6 minute walk of Wisconsin Avenue, where I can find half a dozen 30-buses. Leaving Canal and Wisconsin, and seeing no bus in sight, I decide to walk to Q street where the aforementioned buses intersect. It takes me 8 minutes to walk the distance of .5 miles. At the intersection of Q and Wisconsin I wait... and wait... After 16 minutes of waiting, two 30-buses finally arrive. It takes 4 minutes to travel the distance between Q and Calvert, whereupon I take 6 minutes to walk home. 2 minutes after I arrive home, I hear the D2 pass.

The total distance between my apartment and the intersection of Wisconsin and M is 1.8 miles.

Based on these figures, estimate how many more months it will take me to realize that it is in all likelihood faster to walk to Georgetown, from my apartment, than it is to rely on DC public transportation?

Odds and Ends - Part One

Preparation for an Invasion of Chinese Soldiers.
Last month I was excited to learn that portions of Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Army is going to be on display at the National Geographic Society Museum. I found the press release... it turns out they'll be in DC beginning November 2009. I don't even know if I'll be in DC come November 2009!

Textile Museum
Gretchen and I spent a portion of our weekend visiting the Textile Museum, which is tucked away in the Kalorama neighborhood of DC, north of Dupont Circle on S street between Connecticut and Massachusetts Avenues. It was the final day of Textiles of Klimt's Vienna, which displayed an array of fabric samples from the Weiner Werkstatte, which date back to the turn of the last century. I suppose Klimt was used in the title because if you mention Kolomon Moser or Joseph Hoffmann to anyone as an influential designer, you'll get a strange look. Gustav Klimt, however did "that kiss painting. Right?"

A surprise was seeing the work of Lia Cook, who creates photo-representational tapestries. In the summer of 2005 I got to hang one of those tapestries at the CCVA Gallery in Chautauqua, New York, when I was working there as an assistant gallery manager. Of late, Chuck Close has been receiving a lot of attention for his recent exhibition of tapestries at Adamson Gallery, and his tapestries closely resemble some of Cook's (and probably sell for double or triple).

There is a discrepancy between what we define as art and what we define as craft.

Etymology Lesson
While on holiday in Boulder, I thumbed through a book on Etymology. The first word I looked up was art. If I read the text correctly, the word first appeared in the 13th Century. It's meaning then: the execution and application of a craft.

Annie Leibovitz at the Corcoran.
I interviewed Paul Roth several months ago about this and Ansel Adam's exhibitions. Unfortunately, I haven't had a time to venture down there, until this weekend. Gretchen and I trapsed from 23rd and S (Textile Museum) to 17th and E to see the exhibit. Instead, we saw a line. A long line. Stretched along 17th Street, from the front door to E street. As encouraging as it was to see a line in front of a DC museum, after walking two miles to get there I was a bit irritated. It's funny, people won't go to an exhibit if they don't know an artist - which is the very reason why they should go. However, show an photographer readily available at any magazine stand, or on a calendar, the masses flock.

Friday, January 04, 2008

They Never Learn.

I am a little behind on the news, but apparently Iowa State (my alma matter) unveiled a new logo for the 2008 academic year in September (pictured above). The last time they changed their logo was in the mid 1990s when they merged the marching cardinal and the cyclone into this:

Which everyone hated.

I might argue that the I is an improvement. But, much like polishing a turd, no matter how much you polish, it's still a turd.

The great issue here is who the Athletics department consults. Or, rather, who they don't consult, which is the Graphic Design department. If memory serves me correctly, the graphic design department at Iowa State never got a say in the design chosen in the mid 1990s, and I will wager my two BFAs from Iowa State that they did not consult them for the new I-logo, either. My former professors regarded the Cardinaclone with light-hearted scorn, rolling their eyes on how much money Iowa State University wasted to buy that crap.

I have no idea who created the proposed version for 2008 - it looks like some generic computer rendering from the late 1980s that a teenager with moderate sense created in MS Paint - but I know how it was selected: the fans voted! How heart-warming... (groan) And irresponsible! Sweaters, t-shirts, caps, uniforms, folders, stationary, etcetera will be created in the next few months for a logo that will likely be replaced in less than 10 years.

They have a well respected and highly ranked graphic design program, and yet they let corporations design the logos and morons vote on them. Strategery inaction.