Arts History Update for very late September 2012

26 Sep

Arts History Update for very late September 2012 by David Cummins


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Texas Tech University, shortened to OLLI, is a short course for adults age fifty and up, to engage with current and retired faculty and staff at Texas Tech to learn about what’s happening on campus and in various disciplines and fields of study. It was featured in an article within RaiderWire Texas Tech Faculty and Staff Electronic Newsletter James Hodgins, Bringing the Community Back to School: OLLI and Texas Tech faculty offer classes to improve community engagement, September 10, 2012


Try this link but it may require an eraider account user name and password to gain access.



Another geography lesson for 21st century folks. What are the boundaries of Catalonia? Everyone knows that Barcelona is the seaside capital and major art center, among other qualities, and that Catalonia reaches to the French border and the border of tiny Andorra, but what are the western and southern boundaries? And we know that Catalan is an operating language of the region and first language as compared with Spanish for many Catalans. I’ve read two books first published in Catalan and later translated into Spanish and English.


September 11 is the traditional Catalonia Day and typically there are 50,000 marchers who take to the streets of Barcelona and lead everyone in festivities. This September 11, 2012 was a different story. Spain’s fiscal problems and Euro imbalances led to nationally imposed austerities, disappointing and sometimes angering Catalans. 1.5 million Catalans took to the streets, many waving the traditional Catalan flag and this time chanting for independence rather than more autonomy from Madrid.


Spain has little flexibility to deal with any serious secessionist move. The truth is that the Basque Country separatists, even though some were violent, never posed a serious threat to Spain and it could by a stroke of the pen let go of the unruly, small and isolated area thrusting it back into a 19th century rural economy. Spain would be unaffected. Catalonia is an entirely different matter, a much larger region, much more prosperous and perhaps when viewed as a separate region, the most prosperous in Spain. Its distinct culture, language, long seacoast and interior depth allow it to be self-sufficient if required to be. It is the main supply point for the Balearic Islands including Majorca [Mallorca], Ibiza and Menorca on all of which the main language is Catalan. There is a rich history on these islands in the Western Mediterranean, occupied by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, and Muslims ending with the Christian Reconquest led by King Juame I of Catalonia and Aragon in the 13th century. During the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s the islands were Republican and ultimately taken by Franco’s forces.


I feel about Catalonia as I did about the referendum voting in Quebec. It’s their call and I welcome their independence if that is their choice, and welcome their important place within Spain if that is their choice. Our respect and admiration for Catalans is not at issue or in question.





Everyone knows about electronic books offered for sale by, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, and other big box electronic book stores. Here is a list of Independent Book Stores selling electronic books. There is quality and access to the planet’s best books on offer, even when a big box store doesn’t offer something. Notice several book stores physically based in Texas.


Some publishers are now publishing books only in electronic digital format. The New York Review of Books just commenced a NYRB Lit series and its first e-book published in this series is Lindsay Clarke, The Water Theatre: A Novel (New York Review of Books Lit, September 4, 2012) and you can purchase it at for Kindle or PC Reader for $7.69. The book was published in the UK in paperback (Alma Publishing Co., April 1, 2011, hardcover 2010) and may be purchased in acceptable condition at ABE for $5.91 including shipping & handling from the UK. New York Review of Books publishing department has had success republishing nearly forgotten or recently ignored classics in its series NYRB Classics.


Clarke’s prize-winning earlier novel The Chymical Wedding (Knopf 1989) is at Texas Tech Library PR6053.L3295 C47 also available in good condition from ABE $3.63 inc s&h. Whitbread Best Novel Award 1989, now Costa Book Awards. [intertwined lives of six people in two different eras and centuries, with themes of alchemy, the occult, fate, passion and obsession]


Clarke is a contributor of an essay as well as editor in The Gist: A Celebration of the Imagination (ed. Lindsay Clarke, The Write Factor 2012) available in Kindle electronic at $6.99 or in paperback but $54.80 incl s&h from ABE. This large differential in price is occurring more often and I have responded by reading on my digital electronic tablet, or rarely but sometimes in the Cloud Reader on my PC or laptop. It’s nice to have multiple access options particularly when traveling.




Pablo Picasso painted the women he loved, such as the Russian – Ukrainian ballerina Olga Khokhlova 1917 – 1927 For him she was mostly serene and statuesque. Then came the 17 year old Marie-Therese Walter;_ylt=A2KJkPnViGFQXHEA4teJzbkF?p=%2Carie+therese+walter&fr=ush-mailn&ei=utf-8&n=30&x=wrt&y=Search and his famous bulbous sensuous curves. Finally there was Dora Maar, the painter poet and photographer;_ylt=A2KJkK5QiWFQVgkA4QGJzbkF?p=dora+maar&fr=ush-mailn&ei=utf-8&n=30&x=wrt&y=Search


By noticing how many times and moods in which he painted these women we get a glimpse into what it is that supplies the muse for an artist.




Barry Lopez will appear and speak on Wednesday October 3 at 2:00 p.m. in the Formby Room of the Southwest Collection and Special Collections Library on the Texas Tech campus. Free event. Music by Curtis Peoples and Janet Veal will precede the conversation. He’s a naturalist, author, landscape photographer, and all-around good guy. In 2011 he received the Honorary Geographer Award from the American Association of Geographers. His book Arctic Dreams won the National Book Award in non-fiction for 1986. Here’s a video of him talking and here is his acceptance speech



On his website you will discover that Lopez has donated his manuscripts, field notes, etc. to the Special Collections Library and he makes two visits per year to Texas Tech as its Visiting Distinguished Scholar. In the academic trade he is known as a non-resident scholar. He lives somewhere near Blue River Oregon east of Eugene bordering the Willamette National Forest. Saturday September 29 is National Public Lands Day so no day use fee will be charged that day in this forest a day that often draws volunteers to work on projects in public lands. In San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro proclaimed the day for celebration at Hardberger Park


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