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RESCHEDULED AGAIN: Glenn Andres to Lecture About Vermont Architecture

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

No, you’re not having déjà vu.

Since many people were turned away from his first two lectures on the Museum’s current exhibition Observing Vermont Architecture, Glenn Andres, Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, will reprise, for a third time, his introduction to the exhibition. His free lecture, scheduled for Monday, March 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Mahaney Center for the Arts, will survey buildings both grand and humble, and designed by laymen as well as prominent state and national architects. Sponsored by the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the Friends of the Art Museum, and Architecture Table.

**Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.**

Windham_County_Courthouse_72

Windham County Courthouse, Newfane, 1825, 1854 (Photo: Curtis Johnson)

Staff Art and Craft Exhibit – March 15th; 1-4 p.m.

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Browse and enjoy works of art and craft created by Middlebury College staff members. Exhibitors will include Maura Clancy with handmade baskets; Cheryl Burnham and Arabella Holzapfel with hand-knit and beaded items; Wayne Darling with rustic furniture; Sandy Bonomo with quilts; and Amy Holbrook, Jonathan Dow, and EJ Bartlett with visual works. Wine, beer, and appetizers will be served. Sponsored by the Middlebury College Staff Council and the Office of the President of Middlebury College. Free. For more information, click here.

Marina Abramovich: Art and Love

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

“The artist is present”, a documentary about the exceptional modern artist Marina Abramovich, is a transforming introspection into the life of the now 67-year old Yugoslavian artist whose daring art works have redefined art for good.

Marina Abramovich puts on stage everything that is considered unthinkable. Her works are so provocative, so radically different from everything else that we perceive as “art”, that people have continuously questioned whether her work is to be called art at all.

Pablo Picasso said that “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” But this is not the art Marina is creating for what she does is taking the dust of life and magnifying it, thus making it “worth our attention”.

Eye contact, for instance, is something we oversee in our busy daily lives. Marina takes it and enlarges it, and makes herself available to be seen, invites her public to be seen by her. The result is rediscovering a tool for human connection which is so powerful, so human and so basic, yet profoundly forgotten.

tumblr_m2cizu1SS41qf8fa5o1_1280 In her “Project 0” Marina creates a space for the eruption of our quiet emotions into their deeper, socially unacceptable counterparts. The passive aggression that inhibits our day-to-day communication is given the floor to present itself in its might, even if it is for the price of the artist’s life. The results are alarming, but “Art should be disturbing”- Abramovich asserts.

What is so incredible about Marina Abramovich is she deliberately presents herself as a co-creator of her work. She involves the public in her pieces, cutting off the gap between artist and observer. The individuals making up the crowd are no more mere spectators, but rather participants whose involvement is everything to the piece and to the artist. Allowing the public to fully integrate itself in her work, Marina creates art pieces that are unforgettable. Her art pieces are social experiments which offer insight and opportunities for dialogue and reflection long after they have been performed.

23527_marina_abramovic_filteredThe work of Marina Abramovich inspires me with its gigantic fearlessness. The artist dares to show and put herself in situations of absolute vulnerability as perceived through the lenses of our society. Naked, tortured, starving, she challenges our notions for beauty, she destroys our shared preconceptions as to what can be shown on stage. She triggers strong emotional response while not hiding her own vulnerabilities. And with that she threatens the way we imagine an artist to be like- for the creator is not someone who acts on behalf of a whim, sitting comfortably in front of a fire place, but, rather, quite literally taking on the role of Jesus sprung on a cross in front of the eyes of everyone.

A disturbing for me element of the movie was the revelation of facts about Marina’s personal life. What was difficult for me in particular was learning about her love life and her thirty-year long relationship with German artist Uwe Laysiepen (Ulai) which termination left Marina ever so motivated and ever so lonely.

Marina’s story of passionate romance and collaboration with Ulai reinforces the common assumption that powerful, talented women are bound to remain alone because they challenge the hetero-normative distribution of balance of powers within relationships. The documentary shows the insecurities of Ulai who never succeeded to reach the scale of Marina’s artistic success and genius. His break up with Marina was caused by his impregnating his translator whom he later married.

The turn-out of his relationship with Marina make me question whether powerful women are, indeed, destined to be alone for they always seem to be “too much” for their respective partners. Are there men out there who can take it all and live with us, women who burn in passion, and choose to live life to its fullest intensity? Is it men’s privilege to be challenged and transformed by women like Marina Abramovich, yet weakness to choose the path of least resistance when it comes to family life?

My personal take from the movie which introduced me to Abramovich’s work in depth is the reassurance that art doesn’t have to be superficial. That life and art are not opposites. And that real, present-time emotions are not just the outcome of art, but are part of its making- all the way from the beginning to the end. 


Creative Autobiography

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

DSC_0419This is my “Creative Autobiography”, prepared for my Arts Course this fall semester, called- “The creative process”, led by Middlebury College professor Claudio Medeiros. He asked us to turn this in, so that he can get to know us through our initial creative experiences. Here is what I came up with…

Creative autobiography
Of Maggie Nazer

  1. What is the first creative moment you remember? My first most meaningful creative act was creating a garden in front of my block of flats and getting everyone excited and willing to help me do it. The space was covered in long grass and trash and I succeeded to clean it all with the help of my friends  and we planted flowers and made table and chairs by putting stones together. This created a wonderful playground for us and also a great view for all the passing by people who lived in the block. I was in the third grade, when I started this very first project of mine and yet this garden is present up to this day.

2.       Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it? Yes, many people, in fact. It was clear that it had an impact as well as people appreciated the environment we improved and created.

3.       What is the best idea you have ever had? Starting a youth charity and volunteering organization and thus creating an active platform for exchange of inspiration, skills, service and more. Deciding to write a book including real life love letters or conversations about the nature of Love, relationships and more in addition to personal narratives which aims to show how my perception on Love had changed over the time- moving from pain-control-ownership-based relationships to alternative, conscious relationships in which partners are viewed primarily as individuals and not only as parts of a couple and love is viewed in the context of personal and mutual growth, unrestrained and free.

4.       What is the dumbest idea? I think there are no dumb ideas.

5.       Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea?

6.       What is your creative ambition? To finish my book soon and publish it (short term). To keep developing my creativity, intuition, my sense for arts, beauty, fashion; to be able to express myself better artistically, to develop my own psychological and therapeutic art instruments.

7.       What are the obstacles to this ambition? Lack of time and opportunities to work on it specifically.

8.       What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition? Creating agenda, watching out for opportunities…

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat? I used to travel a lot so I hardly had any repeating habits as every day used to be completely unique. Thought travelling often can also become a habit.

10.   Describe your most successful creative act? See N3.

11.   Describe your 1st successful creative act- See N1

12.   What are your attitudes towards:

  • Money- I do think that money are important. When people don’t have the money to meet their basic needs, they feel miserable, inconfident and restricted. They can not pay that much attention to arts or sports, literature or entertainment If their needs for food, shelter, etc. are not met (The hierarchy of needs, Maslow). Money are a great way to exchange value as well- in the present world money are the material form that your creative energy, diligent work and sweat transforms into.
  • Power- I believe in the power of human actions, inspiration and enthusiasm. As well as the power of intentions, positive thoughts and shaping your Universe through being able to find the lesson in every situation.
  • Praise- I don’t like praise, because I think it does not lead to anything constructive. What I have observed is that when people praise someone it is as if they look at him as a hero- a super human, rather than an individual who succeeds to overcome himself and create himself no matter of what he has started with.
  • Rivals- I used to be very competitive. When I was in the States for the first time on an exchange program in Wake Forest University, however, I experienced a massive decrease in my confidence- I felt despite all my emotional intelligence, experiences and skills, I could not compare to the factual intelligence of my peers, my English suffered as the more I tried to push myself to talk well in English (and I did have a high level of expression in English), I only sounded worse. I realized that If my confidence is based on the comparison with others, I will always suffer badly. Because there will always be someone better than me in one thing or another. I believe that each of us is a unique mixture of experience, characteristics, skills. And rivalry should be within- in your personal attempt to challenge yourself, your preconceived ideas, expectations, your very “natural” attempt to attach and secure yourself.
  • Work-is a great opportunity to develop yourself and practice happiness, If it is revolving around some passion of yours. Should be stimulating or made stimulating.
  • Play- you can play as you do almost anything. Depends on your attitude towards things.
  • The Divine- I believe that God is in each one of us and in everything that surrounds us at every moment and at any place.
  1. Which artists do you admire most? Robin Williams, Shimshai, Bob Marley, Vladimir Dimitrov Maistora, Claude Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, Lenny Cravitz, Ayn Rand, Oscar Wilde, Plato…

From the list you can see I do not really have much background in arts- but I want to learn and I want to become able to appreciate visual art and be deeply touched by it.

14.   Why are they your role models? I wouldn’t say they are my role models, but I am impressed by their being so authentic, revolutionary in their own ways, deep, sensitive, aware.

15.   What do you have in common with them? I am just aperson, yet I know that a single person can have a great deal of impact.

16.   Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?My mother, friends, poetry, music..

17.   Define muse. Someone who inspires you to create and express your Potential to the fullest.

18.   Who is your muse? Different people at different times- people with passion, and will, determination and positive aura. Many times I’m my own muse as well- I am proud of my achievements, of succeeding to practice the values I care about and tryong to be an open book and share as much as possible.

Thank you for reading! :)
CLICK HERE to continue with the second part :)
M.

 


God speaking through us

Categories: Midd Blogosphere, music

We shall lift each other upIt was a hot summer afternon and the city was sweating. It was my first time in Burgas since I was little, but I didn’t feel like sightseeing. I kept on pulling my suitcase after me as Tsvety and I searched for something to eat.

As we walked the main street we stopped to listen to some street musicians- two beautiful boys playing guitars and singing rock songs in Bulgarian. There was something different in their singing as they didn’t try to sound as the original performers, but sang as if they were the first ones to.

I put my suitcase on the ground and sat on it. There was a little crowd gathered around them  in a semi-circle. When they stopped playing we clapped and waited enthusiastically for the next song to begin. When it was over and I once again awoke from the trans I had fallen into, I asked them to play my favourite song.

I felt touched, unable to explain why. Same deep feeling of joy as when my friends and I gather and sing together, mumbling the words we don’t know and singing out loud the songs we love. And it always fels very special, very simple and authentic. And I never get bored.

Tsvety and I left quickly to grab some pizza for dinner and soon returned and sat again to listen. The boys smiled to us and we felt as special guests rather than strangers now.

As I was sitting on the ground, in the middle of the street busy with people, moving determined in all directions, I felt moved. My eyes were catching the eyes of the boy singing and we were both smiling, naked in the depth of the glances, in the song and the silence.

It was a most intimate moment between strangers.

With the end of the last song they asked us if we were waiting for the train and we nodded. They said they could finish a bit earlier this night and we all sat nearby to talk.

Within a couple of minutes, I was drоwning in dissapointment. Their voices were full with sarcasm and the music composed by their words was everything but inspiring. While the first boy was disparaging pretty much everything we tried to speak about, the other one was somewhat modest, but quite disilusioned. He didn’t seem to be happy with his life and referred to his being a musician as doing something for the sake of doing something.

As they talked to us about their fellow musicians, using them and people not caring about good music, the whole situation felt bitter-sweet. The joy was gone with the end of the last verse and was not coming back, at least not before the next performance. I felt sad and I felt offended. In the next few minutes I made the effort to give them something: my own, sincere feedback on their music and the atmosphere they created, which people DID value and appreciate. But it all felt as a cliche. Their souls if opened throughout the singing were now shut, scratching on the surface could only hurt me.

I said we had to go to catch the train and we left soon. No Facebook exchange done and no photos taken.

I can not have small talk, while I’m all naked.

*

The more I think about this evening, the more I try to find some sort of explanation to ease the pain I still feel remembering.

The pain is caused by the sudden intimacy born in the simple act of singing together and having each other in the hold of a gaze and the abrupt distance created right after.

This encounter shaked me somehow and made me think about being an artist and creating art- just as the noble men of Ancient Greece I expected that the beauty of the music created by the two boys was mirroring the beauty of their souls and intellect. And while this might not always be true, I have the feeling that there is more to that…

**

Last year when Carsten came to Bulgaria to be with me, but things did not turn out the way he expected them, I stayed speechless trying to figure out what to tell him to ease his pain. What I told him back then was that may be we have given each other what we had to give; we have learned what we had to learn from each other for the moment, and that we had to let each other go in order to be able to share intimacy and love again some day or not. I did not merely understand what I was saying back then. It took me about a month to realise its meaning. But while I was trying to fall asleep one night, I figured this is exactly what I had to understand myself months and moths ago after I broke up with my last boy friend who I kept loving insanely for about two years after. I realised that this is what it’s all about- meeting, getting to know each other, learning, raising each other up, not staying together for the sake of simply being together… And only then Love can be forever, even though still dynamic, evolving…

***

I believe there are these moments in which a power greater than us takes control of us and speaks on our behalf. Or sings. Or plays. Or draws. Or writes. God that is in us, whether we know it or not, speaks through us, and we ourselves are speechless in surprise. We only have to learn to live up to him.563798_10100475498289621_1349969739_n

♥Maggie Nazer is a social entrepreneur, activist, blogger and current Middlebury college student.


Museum Accepting Nominations for Middlebury College Student Arts Award

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Museum is now accepting nominations for currently enrolled Middlebury College students who deserve to be recognized for their outstanding work in or support of the visual arts. Initiated in 1998, the award is given to a Middlebury College student whose artistic ability and contribution to the visual arts at the college is worthy of distinction. In past years the award has been given to studio artists –- sculptors, painters, filmmakers, installation artists –- as well as to an art critic for the Campus. Last year the students who inaugurated M GALLERY were awarded the prize.

Nominations should be accompanied by a nomination form, found here, and must be received by Friday, March 22.

The award ceremony will be held Sunday, May 5 at the Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Friends of the Middlebury College Museum of Art.

For further information, please contact Emmie Donadio, chief Curator, at (802) 443-2240 or donadio@middlebury.edu.

Drawing On the Wall

Categories: Midd Blogosphere, video

The American artist Sol LeWitt was widely known in the 1960s for the temporary wall drawings he devised for others to produce per his instructions as part of a growing Minimalism movement.

In what might be the epitome of hands-on learning, a group of art history students installed LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #394 last week as part of their class, “Minimalism: Art, Objects, and Experience,” with professor Eddie Vazquez.

The drawing came to Middlebury’s Museum of Art with a detailed set of instructions, including specifications for materials used and orientation of lines. Museum designer Ken Pohlman and preparator Chris Murray created the pencil grid guidelines, and each student could choose from a limited selection of lines to draw. The whole process took about 50 hours to complete, and the finished product will be on view in the Overbrook Gallery through April 21.