More Faculty Fun Stuff

Johanny Vazquez Paz has a book release party for her new poetry collection Querido Voyeur.

The party starts at 6pm at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (3015 West Division Street), and admission is free! Go hear some poetry and congratulate Johanny!

And congratulations to Alberto Aguilar, named a 2012 Breakout Artist by NewCity Magazine.

And congrats, too, to Caroline Shoenberger, who has been honored as a 2012 DePaul “Women of Spirit and Action.”

And, if you still get Time Magazine, maybe you saw Megan Ritt’s byline on the review of the new Rufus Wainwright album, which she reviewed for the music blog she writes for called The Consequence of Sound. Check it out

Did You Know About This?

Some interesting teaching/discussion possibilities here (and here) related to China and the recent crackdown on dissent. From The Wall Street Journal:

The U.S., Britain, France and Germany called for the release of Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most-famous artists, as his detention by Chinese authorities raised fears among his supporters that he could be charged with subversion or held indefinitely in extra-judicial custody as dozens of other activists have been over a six-week crackdown on dissent.

Mr. Ai, an outspoken critic of the government who has more than 70,000 followers on Twitter, has been out of contact since Chinese officials prevented him from boarding a flight from Beijing to Hong Kong on Sunday morning and then led him away, according to several of his friends and assistants.

Interesting, no?

Controversy at Robert Morris

The whole story here is kind of, well, kind of crazy. There. I said it.

A Chicago dance team that performed in straitjackets last month has drawn criticism from a mental health advocate who said the outfits displayed insensitivity toward people with mental disorders.

The Robert Morris University competitive dance team wore the costumes, which included wild, frizzy hair and dark eye makeup, at a national contest in Minnesota. Chrisa Hickey, a Barrington mother whose 16-year-old son has schizoaffective disorder, complained to the school after she saw an online photo of the dancers last week.

“It’s accepted as entertainment,” she said. “But if you’ve seen your kid restrained and medicated because he’s having a complete psychotic break, it wouldn’t be entertaining.”

Robert Morris President Michael Viollt said the costumes were inappropriate and will not be worn again. Outfits for the dance team, which until now have not been approved by the school, will go through the same committee that approves the uniforms of sports teams, he said.

I don’t mind the complaint, really; I even sympathize with it. It’s the President’s response that strikes me as ridiculous and particularly weak.

When it comes to art and “offense,” I would say the appropriate response is something like, “What would you propose that we do?” followed by thoughtful discussion about how to take the opportunity to make the moment a teachable one for those involved. The goal would be to make sure that if and when they decide to do something with straightjackets, they are aware of all of the possible implications and interpretations (i.e., be aware of their own blind spots), to help them expand their moral imaginations and so help them develop as artists and people, rather than think a vague criterion like “inappropriate” and a committee process will do the same thing.

Then again, that might just be the do-gooder in me. I’m guessing that MathArt’s response would have been something like re-staging the performance in the Barrington mall. I have some sympathies with that approach, too, to be honest.

Google Art Project

Well, I’ve been told that The Lounge is celebrating an anniversary this week and I was asked if I’d like to contribute. The answer is yes, and I will share a link that was brought to my attention by our esteemed colleague, Armen.

Google Art Project

I’ve not had an opportunity to view the entire site, but from what Armen tells me, it will be yet another great resource to our Art, Architecture, and Humanities courses. Here’s a link to ‘Learn More‘ about how to use and view the images. I hope you find the site of interest and of good use in your classes, regardless of discipline.

A big congratulations to The Lounge on this milestone. I’m sorry that my posts have been far and few this past year. I will not say the same regarding my visits and the time I spend reading the posts and replies.

Again, congratulations to The Lounge. It’s a great resource!

Experience Art: Alberto Aguilar’s “A Personal Dinner Invitation”

News from our HW Curator, Vanessa Smith:

The President’s Gallery at Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake Street, proudly presents a lecture titled “A Personal Dinner Invitation” a Year Later by Alberto Aguilar, a faculty member of the department of Art and Architecture. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, December 8 at 6 p.m. in room 103, and is free and open to the public.

It has been a year since “A Personal Dinner Invitation”, a project created by Alberto Aguilar to inaugurate his 36th year.

Using a popular social networking site, Alberto Aguilar befriended then invited over 1000 strangers to come into his home and have dinner. From those who agreed to attend this event, he chose 36 people to come to six separate dinners of six guests each. On all of these evenings, Aguilar hosted a six-course Mexican meal, gave a tour of his home and presented each guest with a hand-made gift box.
In this presentation, Alberto Aguilar will discuss the events that led to this project, the dinners themselves and the impact that they have had on his life. All attendees will receive a small gift bag at the end of the presentation.

This lecture is held in conjunction with the exhibition on the 11th floor of the college – Assembly: The Faculty Biennial Exhibition, on view through January 14. This exhibition celebrates the work of fifteen faculty members and a few of their collaborators, with works ranging among ceramics, photography, print media, painting, architecture, video and sound. Exhibiting artists include: Alberto Aguilar; Jess Bader and Heather Coffey; Michelle Bolinger; Helen Maurene Cooper; Max Alexander, Davy Bisaro and Balta Pena; Jessica Taylor Caponigro; Turtel Onli; Richard Repasky; Felicity Rich; Galina Shevchenko and Phylum Sinter; Ivanhoe Tejeda; Joseph Trupia; Vassi Vasevski; Rebecca Walz; Craig Yu.

Be THERE, people. Sounds awesome.

OpenHaus III–Cool Art Is Happening RIGHT NOW

Get to the 8th Floor. Right now!

2D Design Student Exhibit – between the elevators and room 826.
Visiting Artist Workshop – Attend and participate while artist Armita Raafat conducts a drawing workshop related to Islamic architecture in room 829
In and outside room 810 and 818 – Architecture students exhibit projects and hand-crafted cardboard chairs…
Advanced Drawing students display their work in the hallway outside room 829.
Visiting artist lecture- Artist Armita Raafat will discuss her past and recent work in room 103.

Open studio – stop by to visit a beginning level painting class in progress.

What Up?


Ador’n is a Feminist Arts Group, with whom one of our Humanities adjuncts

works, is having an art show (FREE!) showcasing up and coming Chicago

artists; it’s called “In the Flesh.” You should go…unless you have something

better to do.


What are you doing, anyway?

The Effects of Art Explained Through Neuroscience

The article is called, “Six Ways that Artists Hack Your Brain,” and it’s a really interesting combination of Neurology and Aesthetics (called “Neuroaesthetics!”):

Since humankind first put brush to canvas, artists have played with the mind and the senses to create sublime atmospheres and odd impressions. It is only recently, with a blossoming understanding of the way the brain deconstructs images, that neuroscientists and psychologists have finally begun to understand how these tricks work.

Here we take you on a grand tour of the burgeoning field of neuroaesthetics. You’ll find out how Claude Monet bypasses your consciousness and plugs straight into your emotions, how Salvador Dali triggers neural conflicts and how Renaissance art and trompe l’oeil fool us into believing the impossible. And we turn the spotlight on the artist’s mind, revealing how Wassily Kandinsky drew on his synaesthesia to produce some of the most celebrated artworks of the 20th century.

Check out the whole thing here.

Summer Reading or Publishing the Exquisite Corpse

Check this out–I think I just got my May reading list–from the New York Times Sunday Book Review, an article called “Text Without Context” reviews a collection of books about a new phenomenon (or an old one in new clothes):

THESE NEW BOOKS share a concern with how digital media are reshaping our political and social landscape, molding art and entertainment, even affecting the methodology of scholarship and research. They examine the consequences of the fragmentation of data that the Web produces, as news articles, novels and record albums are broken down into bits and bytes; the growing emphasis on immediacy and real-time responses; the rising tide of data and information that permeates our lives; and the emphasis that blogging and partisan political Web sites place on subjectivity.

Is it the death of art or the beginning? I guess Hip-Hop sampling didn’t kill music, so maybe old-fashioned story telling still has a chance