Typing on an iPad

Getting Schooled On Tools

A working artist visited our school. He talked. We listened.


Two nights ago we enjoyed the inaugural the VALS, or Visiting Artist Lecture Series. The visiting artist was from Britain, and he is scheduled to engage in the first of a few performances tonight at a gallery downtown.

Visiting Artist Lecture
“Listen to what the man said….”

I appreciate the artist and the impressive body of work he’s amassed. The art was contemporary and engaging and — hey! — he made it in the Art World.

Unfortunately, the lecture went on a 1/2 hour too long and the organizers were too timid to remind him of the time limitations, or didn’t mention them at all. I certainly don’t mind late sessions, but on “school” nights (which one isn’t?) I prefer to be heading home by 10pm. At least I got to bed by 1130  and slept well, rather quickly. Now I understand how that part of my art school experience will unfold. Discipline. Does this sound uncool?

There are some administrative challenges with taking electives “anywhere” in Columbia. I want to take the Art Criticism class at Barnard. The first day of class the professor kept referring to our taking the class as “auditing,” which is, essentially, sitting in on a class for no credit. However, we NEED credits for the electives. Upon asking him about the necessary procedures to get credit for the class he mentioned I should sign up for an Independent Study in MY school and when the semester ended, he would tell the professor in the proxy class whether I had passed or failed. Fair enough, but this means that due to the computerized system, I don’t have access to his class discussions OR his readings.  As a consequence of that I had to….

… Go to the library for the first time, which was a pleasant experience, although it took a bit of time.  I walked the dramatic, sombre steps up to the building that said “Library” (Low) to discover it wasn’t the library. Wikipedia notes that a popular traditional quip is that the building is, “Neither low nor a library.”  Instead, I had to pivot 180 degrees to visit the building across the yard, which is the actual library, called Butler. Ah, but for the art related book for which i was searching, I would have to visit yet another library on campus, called Avery. The whole adventure served as a pleasant and instructional tour of at least two libraries. I found the book, my much-beloved “Inside The White Cube,” by Brian O’Doherty, and scanned the readings for emailing to myself.

Columbia University Low Library
This is NOT the Library.
Columbia University Butler Library
THIS is the Library.

After the library, I ate a quick lunch and hustled uptown for wood shop training. The real-world session was accompanied by an online test which I had to complete the same day. The test required an 80% pass-rate. I happily scored 86%, which wielded me a virtual certificate that proved I had passed the test.

Wood Shop Training
Getting Schooled in Tools.

The actual orientation was lengthy but informative. The school’s wood shop is nicely equipped and we covered the major pieces of equipment and workrooms, which included a spray-painting chamber, sanding room, saws, drill presses and assorted other amenities. After the digital lab and now the wood shop, I have only one more mandatory session,which is the metal shop. I’m not at all interested in metal work, but I’ll go with it.

Now that all signs are pointing to go, I need to plan my next weeks, as time will surely escape, if I don’t seize what it offers.

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