Last night was the second of my “Visiting Critics” Mondays. I had a studio visit with a very notable contemporary artist.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
It was an honor to meet him and learn things from our discussion. At the same time, I think I need to understand the critique part of my Art school experience. It is a curious ritual, to have opinions from people who are not familiar with my practice. One of my colleagues called it a “cold read.” Indeed. I don’t get offended or angry about criticisms of my work, however. It is all a matter of personal taste. A the same time, I feel compelled to defend my work: After decades of listening to my father and a full decade participating in Wilde Chats, where I practiced vigorous diplomacy and argumentation, that I have gotten almost to good at a light form of adversarial discussion.
Yesterday I posted the announcement about my upcoming game at P******. I still haven’t cracked the code of how to get people to respond to me online. Is it just me? In any case, I need to put out another announcement tomorrow. In my sincere interest in getting information to people, I tried to write out what was going on, but maybe I fail in that way? Tomorrow I’ll have to give some incentives? Was it all “too long didn’t read,” as they say? I don’t know.
I leaned different lessons from the two very different critiques that I have experienced, so far. The first was with an artist from, let’s say, two generations ahead of mine. This means that her formative art experiences were informed by the 1960s and developed, most probably, in the 1970s. She was a soft-spoken, obviously progressive and earnest woman, most probably steeped in Gloria Steinem-style Feminism: My favorite style of Feminism, by the way.
The first visit was not focused on my work, directly. It being the first Visiting Critique and my not really having any new work to show, I simply invited the guest in, and we tried to carefully figure each other out. We discussed niceties like places of origin and schooling, and then moved into interests. Happily, we shared a love of drama, particularly Tennessee Williams, and she even gave me a copy of the The Oresteia by Aeschylus. I also thrilled her with my knowledge of art of the ‘60s and ‘70s and my interest in games and play. We discussed Antonioni and some of his films. In all, the session was lively and convivial. It felt like I had made a new friend and that was appropriate for my first session. I saw the woman a few nights later at Slide Night, and she excitedly told me about the Antonioni film which was showing at Film Forum. I had already seen the film, La Notte, a couple of nights before. I was pleased that we were on the same wavelength.
My second visit was, in a sense, more instructive. I’ll talk about it in my next post.
Today was my long day, consisting of my Art Criticism and Critical Issues classes, and the Visiting Artist lecture. All of those classes are moving along at a nice clip. A couple of my colleagues decided to cook a dinner for the students in between the Critical Issues class, which ends at 6:30pm, and the Visiting Artist lecture, which starts at 8pm. We enjoyed a “bowl”-style meal with rice, pulled pork and/or tofu, and an assortment of toppings. It was really nice of the classmates to take the effort to feed us, and the food was tasty. Still — and for better or worse — I went to McDonalds afterwards for Chicken McNuggets and fries. I don’t do it all the time, but I just had a taste for it.