Arts History Update for mid October 2012

10 Oct

Arts History Update for mid October 2012 by David Cummins


Neil MacGregor, Shakespeare’s Restless World (British Museum Press, Sept. 22, 2012) hardcover 336 pages serves as the catalogue for the exhibition Shakespeare: Staging the World at the British Museum until November 25, 2012 25 pounds



This is a fascinating look at history through the eyes of the people who lived through it. Shakespeare lived in a pivotal time in human history when thrilling changes were taking place: the discovery of the New World revealed radically different cultures and old certainties were beginning to crumble. Here, Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, takes you on a journey through these times by examining key objects from this period.

This book puts you in the heart of the 1590s and 1600s, in a country fired up by stories of exploration and adventure. What was going through the minds of the groundlings at the Globe? What ideas and assumptions did Londoners bring with them when they went to see Shakespeare’s plays at the time- what were they thinking? What was it like living in a world so radically different from anything their parents had experienced?Shakespeare’s Restless World uncovers the fascinating stories behind 20 objects from Shakespeare’s life and times to recreate his world and the minds of his audiences.

The objects range from the rich (such as the hoard of gold coins that make up the Salcombe treasure) to the very humble, like the battered trunk and worn garments of an unknown pedlar. Each of them allows MacGregor to explore one of the defining themes of the Shakespearean age – globalisation, reformation, piracy, Islam, magic and many others. MacGregor weaves Shakespeare’s words themselves into the histories of his objects to suggest where his ideas about religion, national identity, the history of England and the world, human nature itself, may have come from. The result is an excitingly fresh and unexpected portrait of Shakespeare’s dangerous and dynamic world. 

This book is based on the acclaimed BBC radio series of the same name.





The Annual Art Faculty Exhibition is ongoing at Texas Tech University School of Art Landmark Arts Gallery through October 28 at 2802 18th Street on campus. The exhibit is outstanding and impresses us with the talent on the art faculty. Park on the fourth floor of Flint Avenue Parking Facility, pay at a pay station and place the receipt on your vehicle’s inside dash, take the elevator down to the first floor, and walk across 18th Street. Gallery hours are Mon – Fri 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday noon – 4:00 p.m.




The metalwork on the front doors of the Kent R. Hance Chapel at Texas Tech University was supplied by sculptor Joe Barrington and is called Seis cuatrifolios (2012). Seis means six and cuatrifolio [quatrifolio] means a leaf-like ornament with four lobes. Thus seis cuatrifolios means six such ornaments. They are arranged three to a door, top middle and bottom, and are composed of forged steel, reclaimed steel, cast brass, and powder-coated door panels. Barrington’s Red Star Studio is located in Throckmorton with an extension in Albany Texas. Here are four photos of the doors from Facebook placed there by the Texas Tech University System Public Art Program. The Chapel is open to the public for daily meditation Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.





Joe Geshick 1941 – 2009 was an Ojibwe Native American enrolled at Bois Forte seat of tribal government on the reservation. His paintings depict the spirituality of a man and culture connected to the earth and its inhabitants of every species. Private collectors were asked to loan their Joe Geshick pieces and 24 paintings were loaned for the exhibition Joe Geshick: Journeys May 31 – June 30, 2012 at Edge Center for the Arts Gallery in Bigfork Minnesota. Here is a You Tube video 6 minutes about that exhibit which includes a few moments from a 2006 interview with Joe. A key part of the exhibit was matching up several sketches from his sketch book with the final painting now owned by a collector.


He was born near Faribault Minnesota and and grew up on the Nett Lake Reservation north of Duluth and began painting in 1960 but his career took off when he went to New York City in 1979 at age 38 and entered the Art Students League. He painted in Nevada and South Dakota for several years and then relocated to the Lac La Croix Reservation in Ontario Canada to live again near relatives. He last settled on the outskirts of Ely Minnesota 30 miles from the Canadian border with his wife Leeann McComb Geshick, a weaver. If you’ve read a Louise Erdrich novel you may have seen a book cover illustration by Geshick as he did five covers for her books including Antelope Wife. Erdrich is also an Ojibwe. Some of his best-liked paintings are Deer Spirit Helper, Sacred Circle, Bear Clan, Feeding the Spirit, Stone People and Circle of Life. In my living room hangs an original lithograph Circle of Life (1991).


For those of us who live in the Southwest, we gain a similar feeling and aesthetic as when we view paintings by R. C. Gorman 1931- 2005 The Bill and Sue Hensler art collection at the Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado has three pieces by Gorman and one by Geshick.


Dottie Indyke, Native Arts: Joe Geshick, Southwest Art Magazine, September 2007.


Native Report, Season 7 Episode 14, dealt with Geshick’s passing and the plans for the 2012 exhibit in which Leeann McComb Geshick speaks about the motivation for her late husband’s work.





Julian Barnes wrote a novel The Sense of an Ending published by Jonathan Cape in 2011. It was awarded the Man Booker Prize, United Kingdom’s highest honor. Its characters are underimagined and its plot unrefined. Its narrator, at late middle age, looks back on his life and that of his mates, with loss and regret and an aged awareness of non-accomplishment. It is the inner life of the narrator that is the topic of the book, and all that such a life can speak to the reader about the Englishness of an Englishman or every Englishman or universal Englishmen.


The novel isn’t really a novel at all, although that is its format. The reader should quickly understand that, and acknowledge that a skilled craftsman like Barnes is telling us about the characteristics that rob the ordinary man of his life long before his death. It is a story of a life gradually being underlived. For Tony Webster, narrator, death will be a release from the quotidian and mundane. Barnes for England is doing what Cervantes did for Spain when the caballero was the planetary role model for manliness, and Cervantes wrote about a squirrely unhinged man from La Mancha and his aimless obstinate but loyal sidekick Pancho.


Neither novel unfolds like a contemporary mystery thriller with a gripping plot and suspenseful anticipation by the reader about what will happen next. The Sense of an Ending is a craftsman’s portrayal of ennui. If the book cover had alerted us that we would be treated to a literary description of tedium and lassitude, we would not have purchased the book.


Barnes succeeds because he doesn’t provide a clinical description, but rather lets Tony demonstrate or show us ennui by how he suffers the slings and arrows, too many unwittingly from his own quiver, and recasts his life story in a way his mates do not or would not recognize.


Barnes is dragging around some serious garlands. Also in 2011 he received the David Cohen Prize for Literature for a lifetime of literary performance. He won another European Prize and in France he was awarded the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2004.


The Sense of an Ending is much more positively and literarily reviewed below. I do my best with Julian Barnes but must admit that I’ve never finished one of his books. For his style of book I prefer the author Ian McEwan.


Coim Toibin, Going Beyond the Limits, New York Review of Books, May 10, 2012


Michael Wood, Stupidly English, London Review of Books, September 22, 2011


Liesl Schillinger, Julian Barnes and the Emotions of Englishmen, The New York Times, Nov. 10, 2011 $13.39 hardcover $ 10.17 paperback $11.99 Kindle, but used in good condition at ABE $8.64 including s&h, Texas Tech Library stacks PR6052.A6657 S46 if you wish to borrow or peruse it.




Friends of Lubbock Public Library makes many thousands of dollars each year that are then spent to improve and maintain the excellence of the Library. It does so at annual and occasional public book sales from the basement of the Mahon Library 1306 9th Street. The next sale is Friday October 26 through Monday October 29, 2012 Fri-Sat at 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sun at 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and Mon at 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Friends also sells books online at ABE Books For instance: go to ABE and click on Booksellers and then type in Lubbock and click search and you get the Friends of Lubbock Public Library bookseller. Using the categories or if you know a title or author do that and find a listing of a book or books you may wish to purchase from FOL through ABE. As a member of FOL you are entitled to a 25% discount and of course pay no s&h, if you buy locally and go down to Mahon Library and pick up the book.


An example is a born in Texas writer Deborah E. Crombie who wrote A Share in Death: A Mystery Introducing Superintendant Dunkan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James (Scribner 1993) ABE Books sells in hardcover in very good condition from FOL for $15.00 plus $4.00 shipping & handling. Since you are a member of FOL you could note the bookseller’s inventory # 015574 at ABE and then refuse to purchase there, but contact FOL or phone 806-775-2852 and identify yourself as a member and agree to purchase the item, you can get it for $15.00 less 25% $3.75 for $11.25 and no s&h if you go to the Mahon Library basement to pick it up. That’s how you would cruise online to find the FOL catelogue of books for sale and then purchase locally to gain your membership discount and avoid paying shipping and handling costs.


In this particular case you might want to save a good deal more money by noticing that ABE Books through all booksellers has this particular book in paperback reprint of 1994 in good condition for $3.95 including s&h and no sales tax, so you might just want to purchase it at ABE Books and receive it in the mail ten days or so later.


If you don’t need to own the book, go to Lubbock Public Library website and notice that it has two copies for borrowing.




If you’re planning to attend Timothy Egan’s presentation on his book The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin 2006) at the Texas Tech Student Union Building Allen Theatre Friday October 12 at 7:00 p.m., you may wish to view the film The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) and participate with Jack Becker in a discussion at 3:00 p.m. Thursday October 11 at the Texas Tech Library Room 309 a free event. Timothy Egan hosts a Q&A session Friday at 2:00 p.m. in the SUB Escondido Theatre in the basement floor. He hails from the Pacific Northwest now living in Seattle and previously in Spokane Washington, and has written three books about the area The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest (Vintage 1990) Breaking Blue (Knopf 1992) and The Winemaker’s Daughter (Knopf 2004). Egan’s book influenced a television documentary Surviving The Dust Bowl (WGBH-TV Boston 2007) video F595.S92 at Digital Media Studio in Texas Tech Library.


The Worst Hard Time was selected as the Tech President’s 2012 Freshmen/women Summer Reading selection for Core Curriculum students at Texas Tech so it is being discussed in many classes on campus this and next semester. The Q&A session may be well attended and intensely interactive. 


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