Archive | June, 2012

Arts History Update for very late June 2012

25 Jun

Arts History Update for very late June 2012 by David Cummins


Well, Microsoft is dipping its toe into the hardware market. In time for Christmas shopping sales, you can purchase a Surface. That’s a heavier but thinner tablet computer than an Apple iPad, whose operating system is Microsoft Windows 8 known to and appreciated by millions of users. The cover for the tablet folds away to provide a keyboard to manipulate the 10.6 inch touchscreen, slightly larger than an iPad 9.7 inch screen. A slightly heavier and larger Surface model will compete in the small laptop or Ultra-book or Net-book market. No prices were announced on June 18, just the certainty of these items in the marketplace.


Of course this is Microsoft competing with its own customers, the hardware manufacturers who purchase and load in Microsoft software such as Windows 8 operating system and Windows Office Suite functionalities. I’m old-fashioned so it’s hard for me to arrive at a visual image of a Redmond Washington executive shaking hands with an OEM executive with his/her right hand while deftly sending his/her left hand around to extract the person’s wallet from a back pocket.


Who can blame Microsoft for doing this when Apple proved so successful in doing it, losing its earlier image as a rogue but brilliant operator. Silicon Valley veterans remember when they and many people thought Steve Jobs was a ruthless shark, and now he seems to be sanctified posthumously. Images and reputation are somewhat ephemeral.




The Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville, Louisville Kentucky had as its mission the creation of a visual arts center in downtown Louisville. In November 2006 the Cressman Center for Visual Arts opened and contains the Cressman Galleries. The Hite Art Institute also has exhibitions at University of Louisville Belknap campus a good distance south of downtown off Interstate Highway 65, including Belknap Galleries in Schneider Hall, the location of two exhibitions current through August 15, Art of the State and Jim Snodgrass: A Creative Life also




Nicole Eisenman’s prints are on view at Leo Koenig Gallery 545 W. 23rd Street in New York City through June 30. Here are thumbnail images of her works that establish her in the first rank of print artists. Nicole Eisenman: Selected Works (Leo Koenig Inc. 2006) Texas Tech Library OVERSZ N6535.E46 S4




Get outta town Buster !!


For lots of reasons the arts are worth traveling to attend. An option is Plainview Community Concerts for concerts staged by Plainview Community Concerts Association, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit entity whose mission is to bring to the area affordable cultural entertainment. The venue is Harral Memorial Auditorium on the campus of Wayland Baptist University at 1900 W. 7th Street in Plainview, about 43 miles north of Lubbock.


Here is the 2012 – 2013 season for which subscriptions are now available. The website says attendance is by subscription only. The price is very low $45 per adult or $9 for each of five concerts.


Redhead Express and the Walker Family, Monday October 1, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.


Jason Coleman pianist playing Legacy of Floyd Cramer music, Monday October 29, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.


Yana Reznik concert pianist, Monday November 29, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.


Ricky Nelson Remembered by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Thursday March 7, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.


Side Street Stutters a jazz band with vocalist Meloney Collins, Monday April 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.


More information by phone 806-293-4979 or by mail Plainview Community Concerts P. O. Box 1512 Plainview TX 79073-1512 or website on which there are descriptions of all entertainers and links to their websites.


Driving directions:

north on I-27 highway

take exit 49 toward Wayland Baptist University / US 70 Highway

merge onto I-27 frontage road heading north

turn right (east) on Olton Road for 9/10ths of a mile

turn left (north) on W. 5th Street for 4/10ths of a mile

turn left (west) onto Smyth Street for 2/10ths of a mile


Plainview Community Concerts received a $7,500 grant from Lubbock Area Foundation in May 2012 to help put on this season. Plainview Community Concerts Association Receives Grant, Plainview Herald Newspaper, May 11, 2012


Here are views of Harral Memorial Auditorium, the venue so you can see where you are headed. Here’s the exterior view so you know you’ve arrived at the correct building


In 1906 Dr. and Mrs. James Henry Wayland offered $10,000 and 25 acres of land if Plainview area citizens and the Staked Plains Baptist Association would contribute $40,000. They did and the Waylands came through so in 1908 a charter was issued to Wayland Literary and Technical Institute. Classes were first held in 1910 and the name changed to Wayland Baptist College. In 1948 Wayland became a four year college. In 1951 it admitted an African-American student on the same basis as others, becoming the first voluntarily integrated college in the states of the former Confederacy. In 1956 it became fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Harral Memorial Auditorium was dedicated in 1968 with additions for music in 1973 and art in 1980. Wayland became a University in 1981. Today it has more than 1,000 students on the Plainview campus and another 5,800 at fourteen other locations in the United States and in Kenya, as well as online students. The Lubbock campus is at 801 North Quaker Avenue off North Loop 289, the site of the former Charter Plains Behavioral Health System & Psychiatric Hospital.


On August 21, 2008 the University dedicated a larger than life size bronze statuary of Dr. Wayland as part of its centennial celebration. It depicts him sitting on a flat rock out on the plains with the
Bible in his hands and his medical bag at his side. Eddie Dixon of Lubbock is the sculptor and House Bronze in Lubbock is the foundry where it was cast. Here are two photographs of him, born 1863 – died 1948, telling about his 30 years of medical service in Hale County from 1891 – 1921.



Plains Art Association is conducting its 51st Spring Celebration of Art at the Abraham Art Gallery [formally the Malouf Abraham Family Art Center] on the Wayland Baptist University campus through June 30. Here’s a list of ribbon winners if you attend The Nicholl Award went to Carlos Jordan for his painting Practice Session (2011) depicting a young ballerina rewrapping her toe shoe.




European Art Fairs in Summertime are a tradition and a favorite destination for travelers. is an overview


Manifesta in Ghenk Belgium, June 2 – September 30

Documenta in Kassel Germany, June 9 – September 16

43rd Art Basel in Switzerland, June 14-17 and

65th Cannes Film Festival in France, May 16-27

Athens and Epidaurus Festivel in Greece, June – September

International Contemporary Art Fair in Zurich Switzerland, October 12-14

The Volta Show in Helsinki Finland June 11 – 16


etc. etc. If you’re going somewhere on the continent, ask about art fairs in the region and drop in. If your traveling shoes won’t leave town, try the narrower slices of shows, the narrower the funkier. The Peddler Show was held June 8-10 at the Lubbock Civic Center in the Exhibit Hall. Silver Spur Trade Show is June 30 – July 1 at the Exhibit Hall, the Gun & Blade Show is July 28 – 29 at that venue, and Fiestas del Llano is September 14-16 in the Civic Center Theatre. A fair can be any public event where one can be outrageously spontaneous. Perhaps the Thunder in the Canyon Drag Boat Races at Buffalo Springs Lake on July 13 is an option. Remember to send a postcard to your friends announcing your attendance and survival.












Arts History Update for late June 2012

18 Jun

Arts History Update for late June 2012 by David Cummins


Jonathan Israel completed his trilogy, all published by Oxford University Press. In order they are:


Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650 – 1750 (2001)


Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670 – 1752 (2006)


Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750 – 1790 (2011)


Each book is massive but a shorter summation 276 pages is Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (Princeton University Press 2010). Israel, a longtime University of London professor, is now at the Princeton New Jersey Institute for Advanced Study, a true think tank without students or classes of any kind.


The intellectual strains evident in a society at any particular time, are not indicative or explanatory of the entire society and its social and political movements. They do however set a context of thought against or within which many principal actors perform. Thought does not describe an impetus or explain actions. It tries to make sense of events including disparate and conflicting actions. Critical thinking seems to make things clearer, i.e. elucidate [shine light on] events and actions. It’s worth doing even if it doesn’t change any events, and even if it does not describe why people act as they do, since more often than not the principal action is taken partially or completely irrationally.


Thinking doesn’t make a widget. But without thinking no one would have wanted to make a widget, so someone somewhere thought hard about making something that turned out to be a widget. That is justification enough for thinking. But the intriguing notion is that the impetus for the transaction came from the thought that the absence of a widget is a deficit that could and should be remedied. That might have been an irrational thought. Not all hard thinking is critical thinking or rational thinking as is done by intellectuals. And one need not be an intellectual person to engage in quite critical or rational thinking. Intellectual people just do it more often or even most often, that’s what makes them useless. I feel useless even while reading Revolution of the Mind.


Is Jonathan Israel right when he expresses conclusions rarely expressed and certainly not widely agreed upon? I don’t know, and perhaps it doesn’t make a difference, because just thinking hard about possibilities somehow reifies the Enlightenment process and its consequences. I feel enriched by this kind of thinking, as well as useless.


The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (W.W. Norton Co 2011) by Stephen Greenblatt is a very interesting book. Texas Tech Library PA6484.G69 Nearly anything that wins both a Pulitzer and National Book Award is worth reading. Yes, the Renaissance must have been an amazing time when the Ottomans were besieging Constantinople, reducing the eastern capital to the last bastion not only of eastern Christianity but of the retention of Classical thought from Greece and Rome. As scholars fled they carried copies of retained items such as Lucretius On The Nature of Things (54 BCE). In the late Middle Ages, specifically in a German monastery in 1471 CE, the reader knew it to be a beautiful poem but one expressing dangerous ideas such as that the universe functioned without the aid of the gods, that religious fear was damaging to humans, that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion that often collided and then swerved in new directions. The monk ordered the poem copied and distributed.


The Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas was hard for the church fathers and controllers of thought to encompass since it pushed at the edges of religio-centric Catholic thought, but after considerable struggle the church fathers had come around slowly and tenuously embraced a small place for exploration of nature and the universe. How small that place was, is made clear in the trial and strictures [house arrest for the remainder of his life] placed on Galileo when he observed through his telescope that which the church could not and would not observe. Lucretius, a millennium and a half earlier, had said so much more than Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler who were seen as enemies of the church.

And once the Renaissance was born, ideas and experiments testing those ideas became rampant over the continent. Isaac Newton, with his repeated alchemical experimentation, became a true polymath with amazing discoveries in optics, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, and physics so that he was labeled The Father of Science. He did most things in secret until his masterwork Principia (1687) was accepted and then he flooded the English nation with his earlier discoveries. His contemporary Baruch Spinoza wrote Theologico-Politico Tractatus [Treatise on Theology and Politics] in 1670 and the church knew its counter-reformation wasn’t just against Martin Luther admiring Germans and those upstart Calvinists in Geneva, but against nature itself. See an interesting book Steven Nadler, A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton University Press 2011). B3985.Z7 N34 in Tech Library.


I am currently reading Jonathan Israel, A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (Princeton University Press 2010). Tech Library JA84 E9.187 The author credits Baruch Spinoza as the linchpin from which other Enlightenment philosophers emerged.




Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo Ohio has current exhibitions that include Manet’s stylish not quite impressionist paintings, Ansel Adams photographs, John James Audobon’s etchings, African Owo [part of Nigeria] People carvings, and a Jules Olitski 1922 – 2007 retrospective of his paintings. Most museums would scramble to put up one of those exhibitions, but all are current at Toledo this Summer.




An exhibition in New York City at three museums Caribbean: Crossroads of the World is fresh and revealing of more fine art than we had known about. It spans Studio Museum in Harlem, El Museo del Barrio [5th Avenue at 104th Street], and Queens Museum of Art in Flushing. These second tier or lesser museums in New York have succeeded by their collaboration. Holland Cotter, Islands Buffeted by Change, New York Times, June 14, 2012 El Museo del Barrio




West Texas Book Festival is September 18 – 22 with the major event on Saturday September 22 at Abilene Civic Center where John R. Erickson of Perryton Texas will receive the A.C. Greene Award for 2012. He’s the author / illustrator for the Hank the Cowdog Series. is his website. If that date isn’t satisfactory you can travel to Roswell New Mexico on September 14 for his Hank the Cowdog in Concert program at Roswell Convention Center. Adaptations for the stage include the musical Hank the Cowdog and Monkey Business performed on June 21 – 24 by the Tulsa Oklahoma Repertory at Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Odyssey Productions is putting together a film to be released in 2013.


Back in Abilene on September 22 you’ll get to meet Diane Kelly, author of three Tara Holloway mystery novels Death Taxes and a French Manicure,Death Taxes and a Skinny No-Whip Latte, and Death Taxes and Extra-Hold Hair Spray. The whispering grass saysshe is very humorous, and she’s a luncheon speaker.










Arts History Update for mid June 2012

10 Jun

Arts History Update for mid June 2012 by David Cummins


Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier is an exhibit at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta Georgia through July 22, 2012 comprised of sixty painting and works on paper collected by a Maryland person Arthur J. Phelan. Artists who were the first to see and depict the magnificent western United States, such as Frederick Remington, Albert Bierstadt, Karl Bodmer and John James Audubon, are represented. Here is the list and a thumbnail image of each of 64 works in this touring exhibition set up by Exhibits Development Group of St Paul Minnesota




Tyler Museum of Art will exhibit Wyeths Across Texas from September 7 – December 9, 2012

N.C. Wyeth of Chadds Ford Pennsylvania and his talented progeny included his daughter Henriette who would marry her father’s student Peter Hurd and settle at the Sentinel Ranch near San Patricio New Mexico Peter Hurd did the Pioneer Mural (1954) fresco in Holden Hall on the Texas Tech campus [at the time, that rotunda was smack in the middle of Tech’s initial Museum], and their son in-law Peter Rogers [husband of Carol Hurd] did the India ink mural (1973) in the lobby entrance to the current Texas Tech Museum. Their youngest son Michael Hurd has a painting Rising Hills (1999) in the West Hall Visitors Center at Texas Tech / He lives on the Sentinel Ranch and manages it. Michael Hurd will be present at the Museum on Friday June 15, 2012 and provide a gallery talk for the exhibit of his father Peter Hurd’s World War II Sketches at 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.





These were said, by Michelangelo, to be the “Gates of Paradise”. They were sculpted by the metalsmith / goldsmith /sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti who won a 1401 CE competition to create doors for the north and east sides of the Baptistery of the Florence Italy Cathedral [Duomo]. He completed the north doors first in which there were 28 panels depicting stories and scenes from the Old Testament. For the east doors he chose to create ten larger panels depicting stories and scenes from the New Testament, and he used new ideas about perspective and representation. It is the east doors that attracted so much attention and the praise of Michelangelo. The image above is a replica of the original east doors and it is that replica that tourists and visitors see and photograph endlessly. The original doors were damaged in a flooding Arno River event in 1966, and then repaired and reinstalled, but that repair deteriorated and the doors were removed and a replica put in place in 1990.


For more than twenty years the original doors have been undergoing restoration that is now complete and a date set in September for first public viewing. The doors will not return to their outdoor venue at the Baptistery but will be in a display case in a museum, viz. Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Tourists and visitors will continue to tramp toward the Duomo and gather before the east doors to the Baptistery and admire Ghiberti’s genius but they are really looking at a modern replica. Here’s a great photo in 2007 of people photographing the doors believing them to be a half millennium old.


For my taste, there should be a plaque nearby a replica that identifies it as a faithful replica and indicates where the original is located or that it is destroyed. Perhaps it is just an American truth in labeling / packaging mentality that wants this.















Arts History Update for early June 2012

7 Jun

Arts History Update for early June 2012 by David Cummins

On May 26, 2012 the National Women Airforce Service Pilots WASP Museum in Sweetwater Texas paid tribute to both its historic past and expanding future with its annual Homecoming event. Festivities featured 21 surviving members of the WASP program. The WASPs participated in a groundbreaking for the museum’s upcoming $3 million expansion. The project, which museum directors hope to complete by the end of 2013, will add an entirely new building to the existing WASP Museum hangar. That climate-controlled building will include a theater, museum store and additional displays. The museum is located at 210 Avenger Field Road , west of Sweetwater. Here is the WASP story

Texas Woman’s University is home to the national archives of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and recently received a $500,000 gift from the estate of WASP Dorothy “Dot” Ebersbach for the endowment that supports the archives. addition, a gift of $100,000 was given to the WASP Endowment last fall by an anonymous donor to support the archives. These gifts will allow TWU to continue to digitize the WASP collection of more than 1 million pieces of paper, 25,000 photographs and almost 700 oral histories. The endowment also supports the TWU Blagg – Huey Library’s efforts to lend portions of the collection for exhibits around the country.

A website for remembrance and respect is


The Barnes Foundation emerges from years of controversy and litigation with a newly opened museum in downtown Philadelphia. Here is the story. Jeffrey Toobin, Battle for the Barnes, New Yorker Magazine, January 21, 2002 at p. 35 The current update is Peter Schjeldahl, Moving Pictures: The Barnes Foundation’s New Home, New Yorker Magazine, May 28, 2012 at p. 79 The quality of this collection, stipulated to never be loaned or toured, is justification alone for a visit to Philadelphia.

A side trip to the suburb Merion Pennsylvania from which the collection was moved, is warranted as it is now an arboretum, archive and glimpse into the life of Doctor Barnes.


Looting of art and cultural artifacts has a long history. Agamemnon and his Mycenean troops looted the city of Troy and then burned the remainder about 1200 BCE, Titus and his Roman Army sacked the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, during the Fourth Crusade soldiers from Venice looted Constantinople in 1204 CE bringing back to St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice the four giant brass horses known as the Horses of San Marco, and then Napoleon Bonaparte trumped them all by his organized grand scheme looting the continent in the early 19th century. In part he restole what the Romans had earlier stolen. Some thievery was more specific such as Lord Elgin removing the Elgin Marble from the Parthenon and transporting it to London where it remains in the British Museum. Certainly at the time it was a wise move to preserve the priceless antiquity when a weak Greece could not do so against its Ottomon enemies.

Nazis, the German National Socialist German Workers Party from 1933 – 1945 when Adolph Hitler was Chancellor, focused on art and culture as part of its nationalist scheme, branding some art as degenerate and banning it, and looting acceptable art and removing it back to Germany. As a boy Hitler dabbled in art while living in Linz Austria. In 1907 he left home for Vienna and took an examination in an attempt to enter the Academy of Fine Arts there. A panel of judges twice rejected his application. Four out of seven of the panel of judges were Jews, a fact known to Hitler at the time. It was no accident that by the mid-1930s he was able to strip German Jews of their citizenship. After 1939 when he started a continental war in Europe his agents systematically plundered, in part for his own museum in Linz.

Fogg Museum of Fine Art at Harvard University saw what was happening and began a project of compiling lists of major European art pieces in preparation for a later protection and rescue program. In 1943 the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas was established. Many volunteers, some middle-aged, became conscripts in the U.S. Army to serve in this cause. The work continued for years after the war ended. Robert M. Edsel, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (Center Street 2009) Texas Tech Library D810.A7 E23 The Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art was created to commemorate and support these soldier-scholars and their singular work and accomplishments. this is the foundation website

On April 10, 2003 Iraq’s military unit the Republican Guard set up defensive positions inside the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad, itself a violation of international law when a cultural repository is used as a military position during combat, and when the Guard left as American troops entered the city, that national treasure house was temporarily unguarded and Iraqis looted their own museum of 14,000 items. Some have been returned, some have been identified and custody will remain outside until cultural stability in Iraq is established. Some whereabouts are unknown or have passed through black market sales. The looting over a 36 hour period is a national disgrace for Iraq, and a casualty of war. Matthew Bogdanos & William Patrick, Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine’s Passion for Ancient Civilizations and the Journey to Recover the World’s Greatest Stolen Treasures (Bloomsbury 2005) also in Texas Tech Library. Bogdanos was at the time a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

The museum reopened early in 2009 and reports say that perhaps 5,500 looted items have been returned. Eight of its 26 galleries were opened to visitors in 2009. The website of the museum is


Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pelvis with the Distance (1943) must have been a delight to Salvador Dali who could see the convergence of the real and the surreal in it. She was so original in her perception and ability to paint it. When we look at her work we immediately realize that denizens have copied and imitated her.


Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown Massachusetts has in its collection and currently on view Edward Hopper’s Morning in the City (1944) and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Skunk Cabbage (1922) . It has borrowed from Yale University Art Gallery Pablo Picasso’s Shells on a Piano, Paris (1912) and it is also on view in an exhibit called Expressions. Do those students know what they’re seeing when they stroll in on a campus walk?

If they do, then that exorbitant tuition is worth every penny.


George Segal’s Circus Acrobats (1981) sculpture has been donated by the Segal Foundation to Princeton University and now graces the entrance to its Art Museum

It reminds us how well Charles Umlauf’s Prometheus (1967-1968) graces the entrance to Texas Tech University’s Library. It marked the entrance to 1st National Bank at 1500 Broadway Street for many years but then was donated to Texas Tech which appropriately sited it at the entrance to the Library.


Winslow Homer 1836 – 1910 began his career as a graphic artist / illustrator and never strayed for long. Snap the Whip (1873) [wood engraving on paper] for Harper’s Weekly Magazine Sept. 20, 1873 is an example of a hugely enjoyed scene of children playing a game in a field outside a cabin on exhibit at the Morris Musem in Morristown New Jersey June 7 – October 7, 2012. Some other illustrations from his body of work, 250 published illustrations, are on view.