Sunday, May 25, 2014

Manifesto for Self

This post was written on my iphone pretty much as a collection of notes. It contains some ideas I revisit from time to time and some randomness.

I am snarky cynical and sarcastic. I don't want to be in any club that would have me as a member. Everyone deserves a chance but not everyone is equal in talent, drive or good fortune.It isn't easy being anybody but no one is better at being you. Make the world a better place even as you will be cheated. Clarity of vision in not necessarily a good thing. As you travel through life, my brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole. Drive fast, I'll meet you there (Maybe). If I love you, you get one get out of jail free card. Live fast. Die out of town. Keep your head while all others are losing theirs. If you have wisdom, try to give it away to someone young and more credible than you. Epitaph: here lies...he died of peer pressure. Leave the party early but never leave a baseball game until the end of the ninth. The greatest gift is given anonymously. Although I have been accused of being a leader, it is not the case. I am more likely the first one down the path of least resistance. Don't succumb to politics. Instead, change the rules of the game. Hildred said: “Rude, crude and ill mannered.”  Go Crusaders! God exists but he might not care, or worse he (or she) is laughing at you. Until we die, we cannot know that death is not the greatest joy. You may not know it now but your brother is your best friend. I will do anything for you kids as long as you remember said the woman who eventually can't remember their names. Be a fearless biller. You have talent and that has value. No effort goes unrewarded. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around. Remember to stop and smell the flowers. Every engagement begins with the intent to be part of the solution. As time goes on you compromise and thereby are part solution and part problem. Try to avoid becoming only part of the problem. (Easier said than done.) If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. Pay attention to negative space.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rubric for Art?

Rubrics have become popular with teachers as a means of communicating expectations for an assignment, providing focused feedback on works in progress and grading final products. Although the word rubric can be interpreted in slightly different ways, the commonly accepted definition is a document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria, or what counts, and describing levels of quality from excellent to poor. Sounds reasonable, right?

This Spring the rubric Archeology of Place is identified in an exhibition catalogue called Mound City at Laumeier Sculpture Park. The catalogue boldly proclaims that this show is, in fact, the fifth exhibition to be so governed. That means these exhibitions are somehow judged by how well they live up to the academic quest intended to “celebrate and critique the unique role our city plays in the history and myths of America.” Really? If so, where is the scorecard for the five shows?

Mound City (2014), The River Between Us (2013), Camp Out: Finding Home in an Unstable World (2012), Dog Days of Summer (2011), Night Light; (Indoor/outdoor video exhibition 2010) - these five exhibitions, of which I have become somewhat familiar, are ephemeral for the most part. Most of this work will no longer be on display in ten years, (or in one year for that matter). Artists are invited to participate and commissioned to contribute. Sometimes grants help offset the costs. The director and chief curator of the park is the driving force for each show. She is knowledgeable and plugged into academic circles, museums, art collectors and the galleries that tend to shape perceptions in contemporary art. Presumably, she is held accountable to the board, of whom she selects. These well meaning citizens are buying the rhetoric and are pleased with the results. The partnership between the county parks and the foundation seems healthy and happy.

Work is underway for a new exhibition space and renovations to the estate house. Membership drives and fundraising activity continues. It seems that all is well. I’m just wondering where I can view the scoring rubric for five years of art exhibits. Or is that too much like suggesting the Emperor has no clothes?

Question for discussion: What role should a museum play in presenting contemporary art?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Haiku for You

Haiku poems date from 9th century Japan to the present day. Haiku is more than a type of poem; it is a way of looking at the physical world and seeing something deeper, like the very nature of existence. A haiku poem consists of three lines, with the first and last line having 5 moras, and the middle line having 7. A mora is a sound unit, much like a syllable, but is not identical to it. Since the moras do not translate well into English, it has been adapted and syllables are used as moras. 

Here are three examples of the haiku. From Basho Matsuo, the first great poet of haiku in the 1600s:
An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

And an example of the haiku of Yosa Buson from the late 1700s:

A summer river being crossed
how pleasing
with sandals in my hands!

Here are a haiku from Kobayashi  Issa, a haiku master poet from the late 1700s and early 1800s:
O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!

Natsume Soseki (1867 – 1916) was a novelist and master of the haiku. An example:

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.

And so I offer you (humbly submitted for your review) some haiku poems of my own. They are fun to write.
Haiku Just for You.
Something fun and new to do.
Wonder of Words yet a few.

Go mighty tigers
Teaching routine kindness, calm
Character counts here. 

Blue skies and green grass
The Summer days here at last
A day in the sun

Family fun day
Memories abound for now
Gone, not forgotten

Olympic Fever
Ribbon for the Throw, Run, Jump
And the day ends with a smile

Sunset on the lake
Camelot Forget me not
Edgewater Estate

Red Yellow and Blue
Making Orange Purple and Green
White Light goes Into the Night

So the end is near;
Climate Change, Political Maze,
Miles to go before we sleep

A flower in spring
We know now, it does not mean
It is here to stay