Archive | February, 2016

Arts History Update for early March 2016

29 Feb

Arts History Update for early March 2016 by David Cummins

I was asked what I thought about the standoff between Apple Computing Corporation and the United States Government in this case the FBI. The latter wants Apple to unlock the iPhone that was owned and used by a terrorist in the San Bernardino California shootings. Apple refuses saying that its locking of all its iPhones is a pledge to consumers of its product and it doesn’t wish to create software that would achieve an unlocking as that would jeopardize all of its phones and consumer relations.

As is so often the case, the lines drawn in the sand are not the only lines that could be drawn.

One way to achieve the quite reasonable need of the FBI to find out what was on the terrorist’s phone, mostly to find the terrorist’s connections with other terrorists and to avoid a future terrorist deadly incident and future harm, and for Apple to keep its product secure from government surveillance, is to adopt the following compromise. Apple could create unlocking software, the FBI would deliver the phone to Apple, Apple would unlock and transcribe all the information and turn the transcription over to the FBI, and Apple would return to the FBI a useless phone, and Apple would destroy its unlocking software so that all its other customers are protected and secure.

The FBI doesn’t like Apple doing the searching of the phone, it wants its own experts to do it, but one makes compromises if one respects the other party and wants to be cooperative and get the facts without interfering with Apple’s functional, legitimate and otherwise appropriate and approved business model.


Viva Aztlan Festival is on Friday and Saturday March 11-12 at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, the 22nd annual festival

On Friday March 11 there is a concert at a Saxophone Conference in Lubbock and David Cho, conductor for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, will conduct internationally recognized saxophonists Julia Nolan, Taimur Sullivan, Claude Delangle, Kenneth Tse and The Mana Quartet. The concert is at Broadway Church of Christ at 7:30 pm. Cost is $20 per person to attend. Tickets at 806-762-1688.


Christian Conrad in an Arts History Lecture on the painter John Steuart Curry showed us Curry’s oil painting Baptism in Kansas (1928) in which the focal point is the preacher in a black suit holding the young woman dressed in white prior to dunking her into the livestock water tank on a Kansas farm. Clouds are high in the sky with rays of sunlight shining through and down to the scene below. Beneath the clouds but above the water tank are a circling raven and dove. What do they signify?

Holy Bible Book of Genesis 8:7 after the flood and after Noah had landed the ark on the shoulder of Mount Ararat, he sent out a raven and a dove, essentially as reconnaissance of the area. The raven didn’t return but the dove returned with nothing to show for the trip. Some time later Noah sent the dove out again and it returned with an olive sprig in its beak revealing that the waters had receded and there were trees in bloom. Still later Noah sent the dove out again and it did not return, revealing that there was a habitable environment for the bird. Noah then released all the occupants of the ark to populate and multiply.

Another flood narrative is Babyloniaca of Berossus that said

Xisouthros released some of the birds. . . . But finding neither food nor a place on which to alight, the birds returned to the ship. After a few days Xisouthros again released the birds and these again returned to the ship but with their feet covered with mud. On being released a third time, they did not again return to the ship.”

Another flood narrative is the Epic of Gilgamesh

When the seventh day arrived, I released a dove to go free, The dove went and returned, No landing place came to view, it turned back. I released a swallow to go free, The swallow went and returned, No landing place came to view, it turned back. I sent a raven to go free, The raven went forth, saw the ebbing of the waters, It ate, circled, left droppings, did not turn back.”

A raven is carnivorous and a scavenger bird while a dove is a vegetarian bird. If a raven does not return it well may be that there are plenty of dead beings [carrion] on which it may dine, and that assumption or conclusion may well have told Noah much about conditions. When a dove returns with no information that’s bad news for Noah. When a later dove returns with an olive leaf sprig that’s good news. When a still later dove does not return it means that it found a vegetarian habitat suitable for its needs. That’s very good news.

Edgar Allan Poe’s imagination would later tell us more about the raven and what it had been up to. The Raven (1845) and

Native American lore is replete with stories of the raven, most important in its mythology. and

Mr. Curry’s raven and dove below the cloud but above the livestock water tank would have drawn, on first viewing, knowing nods by a religiously trained rural populace in Kansas. The painting is in the collection of and on permanent display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City


Elsie Montgomery Wilbanks, Art on the Texas Plains: The Story of Regional Art and the South Plains Art Guild (South Plains Art Guild 1959) 166 pages Lubbock Public Library 709.764 W664A three copies, Texas Tech Library N6530.T4 W6

This book has many pictures of local artists and their pieces of art in black and white, none in color, and ends with a pictorial directory of the Art Guild members. Some of those artists have their works on view at the Buddy Holly Center through March 6, 2016

Lubbock Art Association is another grouping of local artists. Conny McDonald Martin, Art Lives in West Texas: The History of the Lubbock Art Association and of Art Activities in Lubbock and 21 Counties 1951-2003 (Pecan Press 2003) 465 pages ABE Books fine condition $41.50

The Llano Estacado Art Association is nearby in southeastern New Mexico communities.


In this political season when well-known people, who would lead us, say some of the most obviously faulty things, one returns to oneself and self-care, to look inward and as Socrates implored “know thyself”.

1. Read Lucius Annaeus Seneca 4 BCE – 65 CE on How to Fortify Myself Against Fear and Misfortune – Letters From a Stoic

2. Read Albert Camus on Strength of Character – The Almond Trees (1940) a four page essay at the height of the new onslaught by Nazi Germany

3. Read Ralph Waldo Emerson on The Key To True Personal Strength – Circles (1841) an essay

4. Read Friedrich Nietzsche on Why Difficulty is Essential for a Fulfilling Life – The Will To Power reference to Types of my Disciples Manuscript 910 (Spring -Fall 1887) Nietzsche had counseled young free spirits — “become master over yourself, master of your own good qualities… acquire power over your aye and no and learn to hold and withhold them in accordance with your higher aims…”

5. Read Martha Nussbaum on Agency and Victim-hood – Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions reference to Why Embracing Our Neediness Is Essential for Happiness and Healthy Relationships

6. Return to Seneca – On The Shortness of Life

You and I will be less downcast and disappointed and more rededicated to spirited living of our lives.

As for politics there is no there there. It is and will be what it is and we will endure and be what we are actively becoming. Some pay it little heed, if not all the way to “never no mind”.


The teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff help people access their easily reached consciousness and then their expanded consciousness. Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff 1872-1949. He was born to a Greek father and Armenian mother in a province of Russia within historic Armenia, and grew up as a boy at Kars, then Armenia but today an eastern province of Turkey that borders Armenia. After tramping around the middle east and central Asia he settled in France with his devoted followers.

Gurdjieff’s way of developing the inner life of people is often referred to as The Fourth Way. By moving forward on this way, the person develops an awareness of his/her essential nature and spiritual life. Another way to describe this way, is transformational psychology.

Seymour B. Ginsberg, Gurdjieff Unveiled: An Overview and Introduction to Gurdjieff’s Teaching (for the beginning student, for the inquiring seeker, and for the simply curious) (Lighthouse Workbooks 2005) is available as a free download in the form of a 156 page pdf document



Arts History Update for late February 2016

18 Feb

Arts History Update for late February 2016 by David Cummins

Christian Conrad in his lecture on George Bellows showed us The Cliff Dwellers (1913) with denizens of immigrants crammed into inner New York City housing prior to The Great War and my mind raced ahead to Millard Sheets, Tenement Flats (1934) a Los Angeles scene the painter, who lived in Pomona east of the city, must have known well. Did Sheets know of Bellows earlier work? How very apropos of the west coast and east coast locations these paintings depict.

One wouldn’t have to know the title or artist and could just at a glance say that one was a tenement setting on the east coast and the other on the west coast.

I lived in New York City once and would guess that the Bellows scene is the Lower East Side, now gentrified and trendy but once a veritable slum between the Bowery and the East River. Since 1988 Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street tells us about life as it was lived in 1913 when George Bellows painted the scene. It’s a step back in time to take a guided tour in the Tenement Museum.

Within several blocks of the Museum is PS 42 [Public School # 42] at 71 Hester Street where thousands, indeed generations, of immigrants learned how to be “American” as they gradually became American citizens It’s still open today and doing its job.

Close to it is the Daily Forward building at 175 East Broadway where socialists fought for worker rights for the exploited immigrant work force. The Daily Forward was a Yiddish language newspaper that sought to forge a path for Eastern European Jews who found themselves in New York City.

At the corner of Orchard Street and Canal Street was the Jarmulowsky Bank Building (1912) now scheduled for conversion into a boutique luxury hotel. Immigrants would have put their life savings into that bank established back in 1873. It failed during The Great War 1914-1918 and there was no Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation FDIC guarantee on deposits to reimburse the depositor for the bank failure. FDIC was invented by the 1933 Banking Act after the stock market crash and bank failures of 1929 and thereafter, beginning the Great Depression.


An exhibit at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York City is Peter Fischli David Weiss: How To Work Better on view from February 5 through April 27, 2016. This is a retrospective of the duo’s career partnership since David Weiss died in 2012. The body of work includes three hundred items including sculptures, photographs, video film and installations.

In addition, two pieces will be displayed on the streets of the city. How To Work Better (1991) a monument to labor, is a wall mural at the corner of East Houston [pronounced house ton for those Texans who usually pronounce everything spelled that way as if it were a relation of Sam Houston] Street and Mott Street from February 5 through May 1, 2016. Busi [Kitty in English] (2001) will appear momentarily at 11:57 pm each night February 1 – 29, 2016 in Times Square as part of the Times Square Arts Midnight Moment program.

Here is a picture of Busi [Kitty] at Times Square

Here is the How To Work Better wall mural on the back side of the building at 302 Mott Street Two blocks to the east at E. Houston Street and Bowery Street is the famous Houston Bowery Wall given over since 2008 to mural painting courtesy of Tony and Janet Goldman’s Goldman Properties Arts Program. Here is a list of mural artists who’ve done work there

Here is a transcript of an interview with Fischli and Weiss several years ago.

The Swiss pair are an example of a style of art emerging in the 21st Century.

Fischli and Weiss are highly prestigious, blue chip contemporary artists who work with sculpture, photography and video, positioned at the very cutting edges of new art. They represented Switzerland in the Venice Biennales of 1995 and 2003, and won the Leone d’Oro prize in the latter for their slide show Will Happiness Find Me? is an air of quiet unpredictability. The mood of the work ranges from the humorous (a clay figure group of 1981, for example, entitled Mick Jagger and Brian Jones Going Home Satisfied after Composing ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’); to the banal (a photographic series devoted to Airports); and even the apparently invisible (their Untitled installation, simulating through minutely detailed polyurethane sculptures an unfinished exhibition site). the Quiet Afternoon series, photographs of miraculously balanced objects. The pair’s work also seems able to overcome the constraints of time and space, for example in their apparently endless journeys, resulting in the innumerable Visible World picture-postcard photographs of cities all over the world. With a truly unique body of work which is sometimes childishly thrown together, sometimes a virtuoso triumph of sculpture and moving image, this is the first book to draw together the mystery and contradiction of Fischli & Weiss. include the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988) and the Tate Modern, London (2005).


New sumptuous hotels in Austin Texas include Hotel Van Zandt, A Kimpton Hotel at 605 Davis Street downtown—%20ALL and South Congress Hotel at 1603 South Congress Avenue—%20ALL


W.T. Waggoner Estate Trust property, historic Waggoner Ranch, was sold to Stan Kroenke, billionaire sports club and ranch owner in several states, for approximately $725 million. It stays as one integral unit more than 800 square miles and more than 500,000 acres. Ranch headquarters is at Vernon Texas.


Reagor Dykes Auto Group is moving in to the renovated refurbished Myrick Building (1928) 1215 Avenue J renamed Myrick-Green Building in the 1960s, and adjacent Cobb’s Department Store Building (1948), now designated as a historic landmark in downtown Lubbock. Italian Gardens Restaurant will be in the first floor. Zach’s Club gymnasium will be in the basement. Walter Asbury Myrick Sr. and his son operated Myrick Hardware Company in the first floor of the building when it opened in 1928. The buildings have been vacant since 1978 before the 2013 purchase by Reagor Dykes Auto Group and the ensuing renovation. Here is what things look like now


Henning Mankell, Swedish playwright and crime mystery writer of the Wallander series [police procedural format] and others, died October 5, 2015 at age 67 lung cancer.

Kenneth Branagh played Kurt Wallander in a PBS-TV series. Mankell spent time in Maputo Mozambique, Africa as artistic director of a theater company. In the southeast of the continent Maputo is a port city on the Indian Ocean and once was a Portuguese colony.


Thursday February 11, 2016 and the last of the occupiers at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge surrendered to the FBI. They will be taken to Portland Oregon arrested and charged with crimes. On the previous day Cliven Bundy 69 year old father of Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy, involved in the occupation and incarcerated in Portland, arrived in Portland and he was arrested and charged with crimes for his activities in the southeast Nevada standoff with the FBI in 2014.

Here is the story in April 2014 in Nevada near Bunkerville that is 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas Nevada astride Interstate Highway 15, and about 5 miles from the Arizona border and 45 miles from St George Utah. Ammon Bundy does not live or work on the ranch. He lives in Phoenix Arizona and operates a valet car fleet service. Ryan Bundy does not live or work on the ranch. He lives in Cedar City Utah and operates a construction company.

It would appear that the standoffs with the federal government in 2014 near Bunkerville Nevada and in 2016 near Burns Oregon were staged by Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy as armed political activism, some might call it sedition or treason or terrorism.

The roundup is proceeding by the FBI who on Thursday February 11 arrested Blaine Cooper in Springdale Utah. He was one of the early occupiers at Malheur Wildlife Refuge but left some time ago. His home is in Arizona and he was arrested at a Springdale motel.


Plainview Point Bison Kill Site in Plainview Texas received a $2,500 matching grant from Chapman Forestry Foundation of Lubbock to plant ten hackberry trees at the site. The location is in Running Water Draw within the city limits of Plainview south of 5th Street on Joliet Street. 5th Street at that point is U.S. Highway 70 From this Draw the White River rises and flows through Blanco Canyon and is dammed to create White River Lake reservoir before the White River flows into the Salt Fork of the Brazos River that merges with the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River to begin the Brazos River east of Aspermont Texas.

Dating of artifacts at the Site reveal habitation by native people around 7,500 BCE. The Plainview Point is a flinted spear point that native people used to bring down the bison and another spear point was used to dress the animal into meat, pelt, hide and skins. Botanists, archaeologists, and anthropologists generally agree that the vegetation at or near this site several thousand years ago, included hackberry trees so planting of this specie is most appropriate.

Chapman Forestry Foundation (1983) is a California non-profit company and its principal officer is Christie H. Billing of Lubbock Texas.

Hackberry trees


Federal Bureau pf Prisons uses Criminal Alien Requirement CAR facilities for those detained immigrants who entered the United States undocumented, i.e. illegally, and who have committed a crime in the United States and have been sentenced by a federal court for it. CAR facilities are private contractor operated facilities, and do not have to meet some of the requirements of a federal prison, including some health care requirements. CAR facilities in Texas are CI [Correctional Institution] Reeves I, II and III all three in Reeves County near Pecos Texas, CI Giles W. Dalby (1999) at 805 North Avenue F Post Texas in Garza County, CI Eden at Eden Texas in Concho County, and CI Big Spring Texas in Howard County.

The private contractor for CI Giles W. Dalby is Management & Training Corporation MTC that operates 11 other prison facilities in Texas including the West Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility for the State of Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Brownfield Texas. Here is the contract awarded to MTC for that facility

Dalby is a minimum security all male inmates prison and each confined person is classified as deportable as soon as the sentence is completed. There is a You Tube three minute video on the Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility Type in that name.

Most CAR facilities only have a minimal nursing staff and so refer inmates to local or nearby dentists, physicians, laboratories, etc. for treatment of the inmates’ conditions. ACLU American Civil Liberties Union and other watchdog organizations monitor CAR facilities to ascertain if health care treatment is adequate and humane.


Expired or other unused prescription drugs should be disposed of properly and should not be tossed in the alley dumpster as trash, in part because misusing people will dumpster dive to get them, and unless absorbed into a dispersed fill material are dangerous in the sanitary landfill, and should not be flushed down the toilet as they can harm our water resources environment. By request the Lubbock Police Department has opened an anonymous drop off program for prescription drugs, and when a critical mass is collected will incinerate them, no charge to the public.

The collection point is the LPD Property Room at 816 Texas Avenue north of police department headquarters at Municipal Square, on the west side of Texas Avenue across the street from CitiBus Garage. Drop off hours are Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm and at other times may be dropped at the police department headquarters front desk at Municipal Square. Liquids such as cough syrup should be handled separately and handed to the person on duty at the Property Room. Texas Avenue at this point is a one way street heading south, so if you are approaching from Marsha Sharp Freeway take the Avenue L exit and proceed south on Avenue K [into which it merges] just past the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal building to 8th Street and turn left [east] and cross Avenue J and turn right [south] on Texas Avenue and park in front of the LPD Property Storage Building.

Congratulations to the Lubbock Police Department for partnering with the community and addressing concerns for the safety of our community in a positive way. Now it’s up to the public to participate in the program.


Art & Architecture Cinema Series is at local movie houses with a $15 ticket price for adults $14 for seniors. Movies 16 in Lubbock is participating so at 7:00 pm one night only Thursday March 31 is a 100 minute film Leonardo Da Vince The Genius in Milan.


National Arts Advocacy Day is March 7-8, 2016 in Washington DC Texans for the Arts will participate. Its board of directors includes Dr. Linda Donohue, professor at Texas Tech University School of Theatre & Dance.

Texas Commission on the Arts is a state government agency in Austin and it designates arts & cultural districts across the state including that district in Lubbock Lubbock Arts Alliance is the local arts council organization that spearheads and promotes arts and cultural activities within the district and is the sponsoring organization for the annual Arts Festival at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center each Spring this year on April 16-17. and it is the sponsoring organization for the annual Artist Studio Tour in the Fall, most recently on November 14-15, 2015


The Andy Warhol Museum 117 Sandusky Street Pittsburgh Pennsylvania just named Jose Carlos Diaz as its new curator. The Warhol is one of four Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh Eric Shiner is Director of the Museum.

Jose Carlos Diaz was most recently curator at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Florida and previously worked at Tate Museum Liverpool in England. Diaz will be the Milton Fine Curator of Art at The Warhol.

Arts History Update for mid February 2016

4 Feb

Arts History Update for mid February 2016 by David Cummins

TED Talk Interview with Martine Rothblatt is 21 minutes in length recorded March 2015. She trans-gendered at age 40 from Martin Rothblatt to Martine. She’s very smart and wealthy, being a co-founder of Sirius XM Satellite Radio, thereafter founded and currently operates United Therapeutics Pharmaceutical Company producing so-called “orphan drugs”, and she’s now digitizing the characteristics of a human mind and personality creating a mind file for a singular human being [starting with her wife Bina] encapsulating the mind file in a robotic machine [Bina48] that exists and can exist long after the human body of that person fails. One might call it digital immortality of a human being. She carries on this latest project through Terasem Movement Foundation Inc. In addition to the technological aspects of the work, Terasem is a justification for being or becoming a trans-humanist and that means a spiritual attitude about who we are and why we are, apart from an ineffable creator God from before the time of Abraham.

Most people would stop and ask why we would want to implant our minds and persona into a digital mind file encapsulated in a robotic machine, but Martine Rothblatt jumps way ahead to a final destination of eternal life robot style with each robot being a singular individual. She wants that and she wants us to want that. Frankly, I’m not convinced that I should want that, and do not presently want that.

Martine writes about “bringing mind-clones from chatbot infancy to human simulacra”. Terasem is a faith with four tenets “life is purposeful, death is optional, God is technological, and love is essential”. On inquiry as to why that is so, she replied “for us God is in-the-making by our collective efforts to make technology ever more omnipresent, omnipotent and ethical. When we can all joyfully experience techno immortality, then God is complete”.

Maybe she’s right but I respectfully disagree. She essentially gives up on human beings and the present, and puts all of her faith and hopes into a future without the human beings who’ve been so destructive and harsh in our present world. She privileges the techno future over the present and discredits every human created institution except those she created. She’s a rank pessimist and I’m an optimist. Sure, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin were bad guys and together accounted for more than 25 million deaths, but we survived them and are still struggling to make good productive lives for ourselves and our progeny. For me humanity has not come a cropper. I haven’t given up on us or the present. Good luck to Martine Rothblatt and all experimenters and explorers. I also want to progress to a better future but I see it for human beings with our defects and foibles as well as our good character, industriousness and generosity.


Relatively inexpensive lithographs from major artists are sometimes available, as these from ABE Books This is a reputable source and if, after receiving a lithograph, you were to handsomely frame it, you’d have a very enjoyable piece of art.


Pontiac Michigan Silverdome inflatable roof structure hosted a NFL National Football League Super Bowl XVI football game in the dead of winter 34 years ago. Today, the $80 million structure lays in ruins and was sold for $580,000, less than what the buyer will pay to raze the structure, remove the utilities and debris, bulldoze the site, and prepare it for land development as something else From big dreams and promotion to dust decay and ruins, it reminds us of Emperor Nero’s dismissive statement “let them have their bread and circus”.

Los Angeles is giddy about getting the St Louis Rams to come back home to Los Angeles and the plans for the new stadium in which it will play are audacious. Ground was broken in January 2016 for City of Champions Stadium in Inglewood three miles from LAX Los Angeles International Airport Construction costs are estimated at $2.66 billion. [not a typo, 2.66 billion dollars]

The City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and other governmental agencies “will give away the store” to get the Rams to play ball here and have a world class event center. The package has not yet been agreed upon or disclosed.


The annual Lubbock Arts Festival is April 16-17. 2016 Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sunday noon – 5:00 pm with a Premiere evening at 6:00 – 9:00 pm on Friday April 15. Venue is Lubbock Memorial Civic Center at 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock. Call the office of Lubbock Arts Alliance 806-744-2787 or e-mail with your donation and/or your offer to volunteer for the event.

Premiere Night will honor longtime supporter of the arts Evelyn Davies. She is a donor of art collections and funds to support their display at Texas Tech Museum, in particular the Diamond M Collection [Evelyn’s maiden surname was McLaughlin] and the William C. and Evelyn M. Davies Gallery of Southwest Indian Art. Featured artist is Texas Tech University professor and sculptor Von Venhuizen. John Erickson author of Hank the Cowdog will perform as will Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklorico company.

A not to be missed annual event.


In southeast Oregon the armed militia occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge compound by more than 150 people heated up on Tuesday afternoon January 26 when Oregon State Police and FBI agents intercepted a group of militia occupants in their vehicle on U.S. Highway 395 headed to John Day, Oregon 70 miles north of Burns. The group resisted arrest and shots were fired from the vehicle. Fire was returned and LaVoy Finicum, often the militia spokesman to the press, died with his weapon in his hand. Five others were arrested including Ammon Bundy, his younger brother Ryan Bundy, Shawna Cox, Ryan Waylen Payne and Brian Cavalier. Later that day in Burns Oregon two militia occupants Peter Santilli and Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy were discovered and arrested. The arrested persons were transported to Portland Oregon and taken into custody. Another militia occupant Jon Ritzheimer, who had left the compound earlier, surrendered himself to the FBI in Arizona.

The day’s activity ended with one dead and eight militia occupants captured, arrested and in custody. Criminal charges are being filed against them.

The Oregon State Police and FBI continue to set up roadblocks on area highways and are trying to interdict supplies for the compound and to arrest those militia occupants who want to approach the roadblocks. Authorities have not closed off utilities to the site so it’s possible for occupants to survive.


We all know that it’s difficult to live with failure, but should success as a museum be this costly? Museum of Modern Art, New York City MoMA now admits umpteen millions of people to its galleries annually, has expanded its collection by 40% in recent years, includes performance art regularly into its programs, has a burgeoning paid membership, and is riddled with success yet its recent expansion and renovation plans have been cut back to remove the most interesting and inviting aspects of the architectural plan. Construction begins in February 2016 on the $390 million project


Art21 has a new executive director since its founding and initial director for 17 years passed away Its programs to introduce the most stunning of contemporary art media and connect art with the 21st century experience, proceed apace. We’ve been watching the Peabody Award-winning PBS broadcast television series ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century. A new season starts in Fall 2016 Here are some previews, clips and episodes to watch online

The Art Assignment by PBS Digital Studio is another television show worth watching

National Gallery of Art London England is another series


Here is the story of Texas Tech football running back Timmy Smith 1986 who went to the NFL and two and one half years later was out of football after a brief show of brilliance. A drugs dealing conviction put him into a federal prison. They still remember him in Hobbs New Mexico and Midland Texas.


Demuth Museum Lancaster Pennsylvania is a museum of paintings located in the artist’s former studio and home at 120 E. King Street. Charles Demuth 1883-1935 studied and painted in Philadelphia, New York City, Provincetown Massachusetts, Paris France, Bermuda and of course Lancaster PA. The Demuth Tobacco Shop operated by his family since 1770 was next door at 118 E. King Street. Demuth was an American Modernist and more specifically a Precisionist or partial stage Cubist.

Portrait of Louise Michaelis (1907) demonstrates that he understood and mastered the Impressionism techniques, but it was not to be his passion. The Bay # 4 (1912) that he understood and mastered the French painters style known as the Fauves or “wild beasts” who gathered around Henri Matisse. At Marshall’s (1915) that he understood and mastered abstraction expressionism.

On a trip to New York City he gathered with fellow artists, writers and intellectuals in the newly emerging jazz clubs, hotel cafes, and basement bars. At Marshalls depicts artists Marcel Duchamp, Edward Fisk and Marsden Hartley in the jazz bar of the Marshall Hotel. Stairs, Provincetown (1920) demonstrates his expressionism and cubist pairing as does Sail: In Two Movements (1919) and Trees and Barns Bermuda (1917) and He met Georgia O’Keeffe and in tribute to her style painted Irises (1925) so gorgeous that it could be passed off as an O’Keeffe.

His precisionist partial cubist technique is demonstrated by I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928) a tribute to William Carlos Williams the poet, and it is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Williams’s one sentence poem The Great Figure is “Among the rain and lights I saw the figure 5 in gold on a red firetruck moving tense unheeded gong to gong clangs siren howls and wheels rumbling through the dark city.”

In the 1920s Demuth became obsessed with the relics of the Industrial Revolution and the straight lines its architecture used when nature seemed to be all about curving lines. His precisionist masterpiece is My Egypt (1927) a face on view of a two silo grain elevator in his hometown Lancaster Pennsylvania. He suppressed every brushstroke or gesture. The vertical lines speak of the weight of commerce and industry. He was aware of the Egyptology mania that struck America after Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. He looked at the twin pale silo shafts and pedimented cap of the grain elevators and called the painting My Egypt (1927) on view at Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City

Barbara Haskell, Charles Demuth (Whitney Museum of American Art 1987) 240 pages Texas Tech Library ND 237.D36 A4

Betsy Fahlman, Pennsylvania Modern: Charles Demuth of Lancaster

(Philadelphia Museum of Art 1983)

Betsy Fahlman, Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth’s Late Paintings of Lancaster (Amon Carter Museum 2007)

Letters of Charles Demuth, American Artist 1883-1935 (ed. Bruce Kellner, Temple University Press 2000) Texas Tech Library ND 237.D36 A3

Robert Hughes, American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America (Alfred A. Knopf 1997) 648 pages Lubbock Public Library 709.73 H894A


The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities William D. Adams visited Texas for three days on December 6-8, 2015 and on the final day announced three grants from the Endowment for $500,000, for $168,000 and for $12,000


The Sundance Film Festival 11 day run is over and a major prize-winner is The Birth of a Nation (2015) directed by Nate Parker, a slave revolt story, and Fox Searchlight just paid $17.5 million for distribution rights. At this time of year in 2017 will it be a nominee for an Oscar?

Doesn’t hurt to have stuff on our radar.


New Art Museums this year 2016, a year to take note ……….

1. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art SFMoMA has a $305 million addition that brings its space to 460,000 square feet, three times the size of MoMA New York City. This ten story colossus on the Left Coast doubles the footprint of the original building designed by Mario Botta. It’s scheduled to reopen on May 14, 2016 and locals will croon “west coast, best coast, baby”.

2. Not actually an art museum but close by is Les Caves du Louvre in Paris France. This wine bar, wine tasting and wine-making classes venue, winery tour site is housed in an 18th century cellar. It’s gorgeous and groovy!

3. Also not actually an art museum is Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The trippy, skeletal shaped museum is dedicated to contemporary science like emerging technologies, climate change, and biodiversity. It’s sited on a plaza on Guanabana Bay, a destination in itself regardless of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

4. Singapore took its former Supreme Court building and City Hall building and joined them by a $380 million project to create The National Gallery of Singapore. It opened in November 2015 and is twice the size of London’s Tate Modern. It houses the largest collection of Southeast Asia art.

5. Faena Forum will open this Fall in Miami Florida with a lecture hall, performing arts theater, and exhibit spaces. Rem Koolhass’s architectural team provides us with an updated NYC Guggenheim style building, new and contemporary enough but with a shout back to Frank Lloyd Wright.

6. Louvre Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is a structure floating on a $19.4 billion island in the Persian Gulf. I’m not writing science fiction, that’s the short accurate statement of what happened in this playground for the super rich. It’s a futuristic domed structure that opens later this year where there is 260,000 square feet for permanent and temporary art installations.

7. FIFA [International Federation of Football Association] World Football [Soccer] Museum will open in Zurich Switzerland in February with more than 1,000 exhibits dedicated to the sport.

8. The Folk Art Museum on the campus of China Academy of Arts, Hangzhou, China, is as much an architectural masterpiece as it is an art museum. It’s built on a former tea plantation with 53,800 square feet of space and looks like a small village of zigzagging houses, an optical illusion created by stainless steel latices and thousands of angular roof tiles. The architect is Kengo Kuma, a Japanese. There are seven galleries and craft workshops for engraving, ceramics and textiles.

9. Casa Vicens, Barcelona, Spain will open in 2016 as a public museum. It was Antonio Gaudi’s first major work and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gaudi was a surrealist architect so look for this structure to be Salvatore Dali on steroids. If you travel to Barcelona, visit Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia [unfinished Holy Family Cathedral], Parc Guell, and Casa Batllo.

10. Camera – Italian Center for Photography opened in October 2015 in Turin Italy and is a contemporary gallery in the arts district near the National Cinema Museum, the Royal Palace and the Egyptian Museum.

11. In Fall 2016 the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open on the Mall in Washington DC, a 400,000 square foot edifice five stories tall above ground and five beneath ground level. It was designed by David Adjaye. part of the Smithsonian family of museums.

12. National Blues Museum will open in April 2016 close by the Gateway Arch in St Louis Missouri. There is a stunning 150 seat theater in which to hear that musical genre.

13. Palestinian Museum, Israel will open on May 15, 2016 displaying Palestinian art and culture in a LEED certified building north of Jerusalem. $30 million was spent on this terraced complex.


I’m not a Democrat or Republican and believe that these major political parties have ill-served the nation, essentially because they stopped being political parties not long after World War II and became mechanisms for electing people [who aligned and bore their banner during an election] to public office and to remain in public office. Office holders often took positions and performed contrary to the tenets of the political party but there was no discipline and the party always kept its election mechanisms open and available. The result is now an absolute hodge podge of beliefs and actions by elected officials, and a common use of scare tactics staged confrontations with the other party or within their own party to encourage people to elect and re-elect one person in order to protect against what another person could or might do.

As an Independent or no political party affiliation person, I am sidelined in America’s system of partisan politics and of no observable significance or influence. That seems like a bad thing but at least I have my moral integrity intact. Some people forget that Independents are the majority of Americans and their votes are the deciding votes in most if not all elections. The bad news is that whoever is elected does not represent the Independents or Republicans or Democrats who elected the person to office. The office-holders are free-range politicos who do whatever they wish to do, and quickly become beholden to the lobby industry, political action committee PAC and super political action committee SUPERPAC groups, that finance their re-election campaigns and essentially serve as the office holder’s guide to the office-holding process. None of that serves the totality of the American people, or the totality of the Independents (the majority) or the Republicans (a significant minority), or Democrats (another significant minority). Money, usually a good thing, has broken our political system. Another round of money won’t and can’t fix it. Only wisdom and conscience and moral high ground can fix it.

When folks say “nothing gets done by Congress” or “the state legislature” or “the president” or “the governor” what they really mean is that our obvious and endemic distress modalities go un-redressed.

An example is the continuing rise in prescription drug prices in America while the huge and wealthy pharmaceutical manufacturing industry becomes more and more an oligopoly of a few large companies. Mergers and amalgamations have taken place without restraint amd drug prices rise as a direct consequence. Drug prices rose in America in 2014 on an average of 12%; we don’t yet know how much they rose in 2015 but it will be higher than 12%. While that number is troubling the actuality is that quite a number of drugs that are principal sources of profits within the industry, rose much more steeply, some by 1,000 percent or ten time. There is no mechanism to prevent that. Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015, 114th Congress isn’t a panacea but would take some steps toward addressing this problem. Read it for yourself. It can’t get out of committee. Fifteen huge pharmaceutical companies have an obvious economic interest in keeping it bottled up in committee. Three hundred thirty million Americans have an obvious human and economic interest in getting it subjected to hearings, amended, marked up, brought to the floor, and passed or rejected by roll call votes. “nothing happens” is a paradigm.

Would you please lay down, temporarily, your partisanship and just ask yourselves the question for the topic that most concerns you? Why doesn’t something happen, or get done, or resolved? What really is lacking and why? What would it take to reverse that?


Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings at National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, recently curated an exhibit Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye at Kimbell Museum of Art, Forth Worth. She gave a lecture at the Kimbell on January 22, 2016 and it’s now up on You Tube 54 minutes in length as of February 2, 2016 under the title “Who Is Gustave Caillebotte?” There are a number of other videos on Caillebotte on You Tube channels as well.


Zika Virus, a mosquito borne virus of the dengue fever variety is now in the Western Hemisphere in South and Central America and a single case is verified in Travis County and another in Dallas County Texas. The Center for Disease Control approved flu vaccine for 2015-2016 is not effective against this virus, so if you or someone you know has fallen ill, get that person to high quality medical care immediately.®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0