Monday, October 18, 2004

People who are professors at most major Universities are generally expected to be very active in their field. They are usually expected to do research, to publish, to participate, etc. This is often a requirement in order for them to become tenured.

Are art professors under a different set of rules?

When I was an art student at the University of Washington School of Art, in beautiful Seattle, nearly all of the professors that taught there, people like Jacob Lawrence, Alden Mason, Frances Calentano and others all had one thing in common: they exhibited their work regularly and were a vibrant part of Seattle's great art gallery scene.

With a few notable exceptions, when I visit area universities to look at student shows (which I do regularly), I often look up the names of the faculties at these same schools and I often encounter names that I do not recognize.

Nothing unusual there, but it would seem to me, that as a person who visits 25-30 gallery shows a month, plus receives over 100 invitations to openings every month, that I should be able to recognize a high percentage of the names in our area's art schools' faculties.

So, just for fun I am going to look up a few art faculties from some of our area colleges, and see if I can figure out where they are exhibiting, or have exhibited, or plan to exhibit.

And if I can't find that information, then I will take it as a 21st century negative mark in the sense that if you are an art professor, you should have a good, solid Internet footprint.

I'll start with the Maryland Institute College of Art, one of the best art schools in the nation.

In two clicks I can find this impressive page about MICA's faculty. Question: 231+ people in the faculty? WOW! That's a lot!

MICA gets an A+ for their Faculty listing (A-K here and L-Z here).

And in these faculty listings I find some good things and also some holes. For example, one of the persons teaching Foundation courses' most recent exhibition was in 1995! Compare that to Timothy App (whose work I know and recognize). He has a solid and consistent exhibition record; however, App does not seem to have a website. Perhaps MICA just needs to pay more attention to updating their faculty's resumes online.

Some of the Faculty Directory listings have links to the teacher's websites. But MICA needs to augment this directory with a link to every single art teacher that has a website. And if any of them does not have a website... then that tells me something, doesn't it?

MICA boasts some very well-known names in their faculty listing. People like my good friend Joe Shannon, Jyung Mee Park (no website that I can find), Raoul Middleman, Connie Imboden, Trawick Prizewinner Richard Cleaver and many others.

So MICA gets a passing grade, but they really need to stay on top of the website and update it, and definately link it to the person's web presence.

Thinking About Art has an excellent gallery crawl set of small but insightful reviews of several DC gallery shows.

Zoe Myers is looking to open a new gallery in the Greater Washington area and is looking for space. She'd like about 2,500 square feet, preferably nearby the new gallery concentration around 14th Street, but she's willing to look anywhere.

If anyone has any leads on available space, email me.

I am still unpacking from my move, and still re-discovering stuff. When I was in my teens, this sunny poem below was my favorite poem. It is "Song of a Mad Minstrel" by Robert E. Howard. Allow me to share it with you:

I am the thorn in the foot, I am the blur in the sight;
I am the worm at the root, I am the thief in the night.
I am the rat in the wall, the leper that leers at the gate;
I am the ghost in the hall, herald of horror and hate.

I am the rust on the corn, I am the smut on the wheat,
Laughing man’s labor to scorn, weaving a web for his feet.
I am canker and mildew and blight, danger and death and decay;
The rot of the rain by night, the blast of the sun by day.

I warp and wither with drouth, I work in the swamp’s foul yeast;
I bring the black plague from the south and the leprosy in from the east.
I rend from the hemlock boughs wine steeped in the petals of dooms;
Where the fat black serpents drowse I gather the Upas blooms.

I have plumbed the northern ice for a spell like Frozen lead;
In lost grey fields of rice, I learned from Mongol dead.
Where a bleak black mountain stands I have looted grisly caves;
I have digged in the desert sands to plunder terrible graves.

Never the sun goes forth, never the moon glows red,
But out of the south or the north, I come with the slavering dead.
I come with hideous spells, black charms and ghastly tunes;
I have looted the hidden hells and plundered the lost black moons.

There was never a king or priest to cheer me by word or look,
There was never a man or beast in the blood-black ways I took.
There were crimson gulfs unplumbed, there were black wings over a sea;
There were pits where mad things drummed, and foaming blasphemy.

There were vast ungodly tombs where slimy monsters dreamed,
There were clouds like blood-drenched plumes where unborn demons screamed.
There were ages dead to Time, and lands lost out of Space;
There were adders in the slime, and a dim unholy Face.

Oh, the heart in my breast turned stone, and the brain froze in my skull-
But I won through, I alone, and I poured my chalice full
Of horrors and dooms and spells, black buds and bitter roots-
From the hells beneath the hells, I bring you my deathly fruits.