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!