Arts History Update for mid March 2014

13 Mar

Arts History Update for mid March 2014 by David Cummins


George F. Kennan 1904 – 2005 was an American diplomat, political scientist and historian who was enormously influential in establishing the containment policy that existed throughout the Cold War between the two superpowers United States of America and the Soviet Union. X is his famous 1947 article issued from his position inside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. It arose out of his 1946 Long Telegram from Moscow


He wrote volumes so his theses and their founding principles are well-known, as they needed to be, since there were always hawks who wanted a war with the Soviet Union. He studied his topic closely such as George F. Kennan, Soviet American Relations, 1917-1920 (Princeton University Press 1956) Texas Tech Library E183.8 R9 K4 a study of the foundations of the Soviet Union guided by Lenin before Stalin became a power figure. Presidents Truman and Eisenhower chose to follow Kennan’s policies and succeeding presidents continued those policies until the Soviet Union imploded from within in 1989-1991.


John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan: An American Life (Penguin Press 2011) Texas Tech Library E748.K374 G34 earned its author a Pulitzer Prize. is Gaddis addressing the U.S. Naval War College


John Kukacs, George Kennan: A Study of Character (Yale University Press 2007) E748.K374 L84


Nicholas Thompson, The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War (Henry Holt 2009) E744.T494


The Kennan Diaries (ed. Frank Costigliola, W. W. Norton & Co. 2014) Texas Tech stacks awaiting processing, reviewed by Fareek Zakaria, A Guest of My Time, The New York Times, February 21, 2014 Kennan had referred to himself as “a guest of my time”.




Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation (Knopf 2014) a novella at 179 pages, it chronicles in a most deft way the unraveling of a marriage in Brooklyn. Reviewed at Roxane Gay, Bridled Vows, The New York Times, February 7, 2014 This is another message for Tolstoy, Joyce and others that literary quality may be accomplished in smaller doses. Hardcover $17.34 Kindle $ 9.59 ABE Books $16.22 incl s&h.




The Plow That Broke the Plains (1937) 27 minute documentary film written and directed by Pare Lorentz is viewable on You Tube seeks to explain how we got to the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930s.




James Salter, All That Is: A Novel (Knopf 2013 paperback Vintage 2014) 290 pages reviewed at Malcolm Jones, A Changed Man, The New York Times, April 26, 2013. Here’s a You Tube video of Salter reading from the book in May 2013 ABE Books in very good condition $4.99 incl s&h Lubbock Public Library FIC SALT





Manuel S. Franco, Quanah Parker, Last Chief of the Comanches (2011) 18 inch bronze bust is on display through March 28, 2014 at The Art Center 1819 South Dumas Avenue in Dumas Texas adjacent to the Window on the Plains Museum. His paintings, mostly realist style watercolors, are also on display and his website is


A photographic exhibit Our People, Our Land, Our Images depicts indigenous peoples and their culture in photographs taken by indigenous photographers February 24 – March 28, 2014 at The Abraham Art Gallery at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview


Yasaman Moussavi, I Was Hidden From My Own Sight (2013) and other paintings by her are on exhibit at the Texas Tech Satellite Gallery at 5th Street and Avenue J in Lubbock north of LHUCA Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts March 7-15, 2014 Moussavi will soon receive her MFA at the Texas Tech School of Art.




The combined choirs of Lubbock Christian University and Wayland Baptist University will sing a Haydn composition with orchestra on Friday April 4, 2014 at McDonald-Moody Auditorium on the



LCU campus at 7:30 pm. Free event.





Ra Paulette makes sculptural art in caves in northern New Mexico. Here is a trailer for Cavedigger (2013) 39 minute documentary film and and here is his website He ran into difficulties with his commissioning patrons who found him uncontrollable and uncooperative toward carrying out his patrons’ intentions, preferring his own artistic intentions. He jettisoned them and went off on his own. Eventually his hope is to invite people, the public, to visit his caves and experience the underground luminosity and carved bio-morphic art he is sculpting with hand tools.


For obvious reasons his current destination is not made public.


The documentary film was nominated for an Academy Award but did not win. The Oscar went to The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. Here are the Oscar winners and nominees for 2013 films




I was a Soldier (1970) 40 minute documentary film by the late British film-maker Michael Grigsby 1936 -2013 was followed by his last documentary film, a look at those same three Vietnam War veterans from that small sheep-herding Texas area in We Went to War (2013) 77 minute documentary film by Michael Grigsby and Rebekah Tolley. The locations are Menard, Brady and Mason Texas north of the Hill Country.


Michael Grigsby‘s haunting Granada television documentary is perhaps the first sustained treatment on film of the phenomenon of the ‘Vietnam veteran’, later a familiar cultural archetype, and in particular a recurring character type in Hollywood feature films. The vivid quality of some of the fictional Vietnam War vets is in no way prefigured by the three real war veterans recently returned to small-town Texas who are the subjects of Grigsby‘s film. The camera observes them in awkward silence as well as in speech, for to varying degrees they struggle to articulate their feelings about how the war affected them. Among other things this makes it immediately obvious that these men are not used to being asked to recount, let alone reflect upon, their recent experiences. The film includes no war footage, and is instead filled with gentle pastoral images of rural and small-town Texas, leaving the viewer to imagine what searing memories may remain stuck in the subjects’ heads.

The quiet and sympathetic approach is in keeping with almost all Grigsby‘s films, dedicated to giving a ‘voice to the voiceless’. As distinct from some of his more outspoken films, however, a political agenda is not to the fore and the film is a more straightforward exercise in humanism.

A number of Grigsby‘s other television films enjoyed a later life on non-theatrical film circuits, but I Was a Soldier has remained generally unseen since its first screening. Seeing the film today, viewers are likely to be just as moved by it as those who tuned in in 1970. They are also likely to wonder how life has treated its likeable but haunted, inarticulate subjects in the years that have followed.

Patrick Russell Went to War (2013) is 77 minutes reviewed at is a sad unhurried film Michael Grigsby’s documentary We Went to War, his last film before he died this month at 76, is a poignant footnote to his 1970 film I Was a Soldier, which interviewed three dazed US soldiers in Texas, back from Vietnam. These figures are now revisited, 40 years on. They look heart-breakingly young from the original footage, although with a lifetime’s agony in their eyes: men prematurely old in spirit. Now we see how age has caught up with two of them; the other has died, and Grigsby talks to his family about the anger and depression they had to live with. This is a sobering film, conveying a sense that time and space stood still for these veterans. It seems that they were frozen emotionally by the war’s impact and this film is a rebuke to anyone who assumes that the pain gradually lessens. Perhaps the reverse is true: the pain gets worse, the world moves on and there are fewer people who will understand or want to know. This sad, unhurried film is like a short story by Larry McMurtry.

Rebekah Tolley, co-filmmaker, spoke to a Lubbock audience on March 6, 2014 and screened both films. Ms. Tolley thinks that exposure of her film to general audiences will influence American politicians not ever to go to war again. Her naïve view of American politics is disappointing.

There is art in these films, but there is bathos and pathos as well and I am too close to this scenario to comment with objectivity. Four years as an enlisted member, then a direct commission, and served out through Lieutenant Colonel, I have a sense of comrade-ship with enlisted members not shared by most officers. Have had many inter-actions with veterans who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome long before it was identified and awarded that name. The Vet Center at 3106 50th Street Suite 400 has an active counseling program that serves veterans who need conversation and perspective on what happened during their active duty. Veterans Resource Coordination Group is another Lubbock entity that is a resource for veterans in need of counseling.


Diana Kersey grew up in Lubbock, daughter of Jim and Sally Kersey, and has a BFA [Bachelor of Fine Arts] degree from Texas Tech University. She is now a San Antonio ceramics artist and has an exhibit Equipoise at LHUCA Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts John F. Lott Gallery through March 29. On March 7-9 she was in town to conduct a clay workshop at the Helen DeVitt Jones Clay Studio at LHUCA.

Back in 1993 while an undergraduate student Diana played on the Women’s Basketball team under Coach Marsha Sharp and those Lady Raiders won a national championship. Diana is still a champion.


The British Museum exhibit in London England October 17, 2013 through March 23, 2014 is ending, but looks fascinating on the Internet at Beyond El Dorado [the golden one] Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia focusing on the culture of Colombians before Europeans discovered them in the 16thcentury.


March 16, 2014.  ART EXHIBIT OPENS AT FORT STANTON MUSEUM AND RUIDOSO PUBLIC LIBRARY.  “Fort Stanton, Inc. and the Ruidoso Public Library are collaborating to present an unprecedented exhibition of artwork and photographs created in New Mexico during the Great Depression. Featuring numerous artworks at both the Fort Stanton Historic Site Museum and the library, “The New Deal in New Mexico Art & Photographic Exhibit” will be open to the public from March 16 to June 1 (June 15 for Fort Stanton Historic Site Museum.) . . . The Ruidoso Public Library is located at 107 Kansas City Road. Library hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information, call the Fort Stanton Historic Site Museum at 354-0341. The museum hours are Monday, and Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.” To see the complete article go to “New Deal In New Mexico Art & Photo Exhibit comes to Fort Stanton Museum and Ruidoso Public Library,” Ruidoso News (NM) – Thursday, March 6, 2014. The opening event at Fort Stanton Museum Galleries is March 16 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm suggested donation $5 Nineteen original watercolor paintings in the collection of Fort Stanton Inc will be on display at Fort Stanton Historic Site Museum, from the days when it served as a Marine Hospital for injured sailors, along with forty prints of New Deal art and photographs. The Civilian Conservation Corps opened a camp at Fort Stanton during the Great Depression.

The National New Deal Preservation Association is headquartered at Santa Fe New Mexico.






























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