I’ve had the book The Growth of the American Republic (volume two) by Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager (1962) for a long time and I just recently began reading it to increase my knowledge of second half of 19th century USA history.
In relation to the growth of railroads and trusts after the Civil War, the Supreme Court ruled on the ability to regulate interstate commerce. I was struck by the following quote from a Court decision as it relates to the current issue of Net Neutrality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality), and thinking about how we should regard the internet as a public utility:
When private property is affected with a public interest it ceases to be juris privati only… Property does become clothed with a public interest when used in a manner to make it of public consequence, and affect the community at large. When, therefore, one devotes his property to a use in which the public has an interest, he, in effect, grants to the public an interest in that use, and must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. (Munn v Illinois 1876)
By the way, this 50 year old book is pretty interesting, well-written, obviously with a liberal lean.
I finally got to the Portland Art Museum to see In Passionate Pursuit–The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection and Legacy and Blue Sky–The Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts at 40. These are very important exhibitions, both for the quality of work presented and for the great contextual information for those who haven’t been living in the Portland area for several decades.
But while the works were great to see, I was disappointed.
Both shows look gloomy. Example number one:
What is the point of the tan walls for the Schnitzer exhibition? This gallery always feels stuffy and keeping the walls medium dark just makes it worse.
And for Blue Sky, the walls are gray.
While my friend Chris Rauschenberg says that you should avoid bright white walls because, by contrast, they can make your white mats seem dingy, the gray here keeps the whole show from being bright.
When I went up to the contemporary northwest galleries, I saw bright spaces that let the exuberance of the works speak.
Spaces don’t need to be museumey. Let the work breathe.
I recently came upon these quotes from interviews with John Cage in Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp. To me these anecdotes could be very useful when someone asks, “What is art for?”
“In the case of Duchamp, I was at this exhibition of Dada, and his work acted in such a way that my attention was drawn to the light switch on the wall, away from–not away, but among–the works of art. So that the light switch seemed to be as attention-deserving as the works of art. In the case of [Mark] Tobey I left the gallery and went to catch a bus on Madison Avenue when it still ran both ways, and I happened to look at the pavement, and–literally–the pavement was as beautiful as the Tobey, hmm? So the experience of looking at Tobey was instructive about looking at the pavement.”
“Art is said to be involved with ideas–relationships–and also with a certain sensuality. It appeals to the sense of looking. When you look, your mind goes into a state of finding relationships. Your heart goes into the field of the emotions. In Germanic thought these are supposed to come together. There’s supposed to be some sort of marriage–of form and content. When you find that… that it’s “satisfying”–another word frequently used in the arts – when it’s satisfying you get stuck! So that the art seems to be an end in itself.”
When I began at Portland State College in fall term 1967 (Portland State became a University in 1968), I was working part-time as a stock clerk at Leed’s shoe store in downtown Portland. I was paid the federal minimum wage, $1.40 per hour. (There was no state minimum wage then.)
Tuition for my first year at Portland State was $123 per term. So I had to work 88 hours to pay my tuition.
Nowadays, federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. PSU tuition is $1740 per term.
A student working at the federal minimum wage would need to work 240 hours to pay for a term’s tuition. Luckily, if they live in Oregon the minimum wage is $9.10 per hour, so they only need to work 191 hours.
But wait! When I was a student, $123 covered tuition for 12 credits or more per term. I often took 16-18 credits per term for $123! (Or more in later years, but still, tuition was based on a fee for 12 credits or more. I think you could take up to 19 credits without special permission.)
Sixteen to eighteen credits at PSU now costs $2,320-2,610, so that would be 255-287 hours.
If Oregon minimum wage were keyed to state university tuition, then the minimum wage should be $19.77–so that 88 hours of work would pay for tuition, like in the good old days.
Recently (August 20) I published Getting my MFA, about my Master of Finds Art degree conferred by Fat City School of Finds Art founder Lowell Darling. I was thinking that I might have some more info about that time, and in my files I found these items:
The announcement for all of the events that Darling had scheduled. And this article by Jack Eyerly about Lowell Darling:
I also found a draft of an article I must have written for Willamette Week, but I don’t have a printed copy.
A couple years ago, when I was staying at Captiva, Florida, my brother-in-law came down to visit and stayed at South Seas Island Resort—which looked like a big motel, but since it was on the water, I guess it is a “resort.”
As we were sitting around one evening I looked up to see this event, and took the picture:
I just recently came upon the picture again. It shows an example of a construction error that many would not notice, and because many would not notice, they decided not to fix it.
I’m just wondering about what the finish carpenters thought and said when they were running crown molding and came upon this vent inserted just a few inches too high.
Somebody wasn’t coordinating the trades (HVAC and finish carpentry). And, when the problem presented itself, it had to be decided that fixing it correctly would just cost too much.
They figured nobody would notice or care, not anticipating a nitpicky guy like me.
A real life absurdity—maybe it’s art.