Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A visiting artist gig.

Here is a picture of Shattuck, the school at which I am teaching. I went to this school forty years ago. It was a military academy then, it is now a coat and tie school. It has been fun to walk around the halls and through the classrooms in which I spent part of my youth.

Located on a bluff above Faribault, Minnesota the school is an elite college prep school, I believe the tuition runs about 45,000 dollars a year.The students are from all over the world. They are bright and engaging for the most part. Their mothers must have been good looking because they are beautiful a group of young men and women as I have ever seen. They are way too interested in athletics for my purposes though. There is a small group who are interested in art and I have taken them outside for a few lessons. There are one or two who have really responded to the outdoor painting thing. I am used to teaching workshops for adults, who have traveled a long way and spent money to be there, they hang on your every word. Most of the students with whom I have dealt are conscripts and that's a new experience for me. I am very impressed with the hard work done by the art faculty here, they work extremely hard and for long hours. They seem to have built a core group of students who are the art kids. I could not do their jobs.

I am working up a post defending the ashcan school from the charge of tastelessness which is quite wrong. I have some good images and I imagine I can generate some appropriate text.

17 comments:

Dot Courson said...

The school looks wonderful.I hope you enjoyed your years there!

Just a thought on the ashcan artists... "Ashcan" doesn't conjure up a dignified or beautiful imagery. It's a rather grungy name!
I love reading Henri's writings...and the idea of painting the "common" theme, just as I love the Barbizon artists (Millet) for depicting the common rural life in France. Wondering why - or maybe it's just me - but it seems like both groups used relatively muted colors?

billspaintingmn said...

I guess now is as good a time as any to express my thanks to all Teachers out there.
Their work,(job) is invaluable, and the minds they help mold is a must.
Hopefully we all have one or two we can remember. I do.
Thank you all Teachers!

Jeremy Elder said...

Wow, that school sure beats the concrete tilt-ups I learned in.

That is very gracious of you to stop by and encourage the students.

Philip Koch said...

Billspaintingmn got me thinking about my own past.

I went to public schools from K through 12. Looking back at it, I think I had a remarkably high number of good teachers. Collectively they had a lot of imagination, humor, dedication and patience. Sadly, I never thought to thank any of them at the time.

Stape, I'd be surprised if many readers of your blog think the Ashcan School painters were in fact tasteless. I think you're going to be guilty of preaching to the choir on this next post.

alotter said...

I heartily endorse the philosophy behind "ashcan" art. I even have a painting of my own with a couple of trash cans in it. Oddly enough, it also has snow in it. (Ashcan paintings seem to include disproportionate number of snow scenes.) I was trying to include that painting in this comment, but not sure how folks have managed to attach an image. If I don't succeed, and if you are that curious, it's at this URL (Nutfield Lane): http://web.mac.com/alotter/Paintings_by_Aline/
Index_to_Painting_Albums/Pages/Studio-NH_Landscapes.html

jeff said...

George Bellows was one hell of a painter. The cityscapes and all those amazing boxing paintings. Not to mention the work he did in Maine.
If it was not for the Ash Can chaps Bellows would not have developed.

George Luks, Sloane, and of course Henri. All wonderful painters.

Luks was apparently was a bit of a brawler and died after being beaten up after a brawl in a bar. They found him slumped over in a doorway I think.

jeff said...

Sorry for another post on Luks, he was one my favorite of this group.

From Wikipedia:

Luks was a born rebel. He prided himself on being the "bad boy" of American Art, and downplayed Henri's influence on his artistic development. Luks was a heavy drinker, and his friend, one-time roommate and fellow member of "The Eight", William Glackens, often had to undress him and haul him to bed after a night of drunken debauchery.[4] Although many sources confirm this tendency, they also equally characterize him as one with a kind heart who befriended people on the street who often became his subjects for his works of art. An example of this is The Rag Picker (1905), in which Luks depicted exquisite details of the elderly homeless person who knew all too well of the harsh realities of the street. Luks's friends adored him because of his humor and the way he inspired them. They understood and accepted his unusualness.

Luks was found dead by a police officer in October, 1933 after he had died in the early hours of the morning after a bar room brawl.

Ira Glackens, the son of William Glackens, wrote of his recollection of Luks's death, stating that the papers proclaimed George was found dead at the doorway when he had planned on going to paint the dawn, when in actuality, the harmless old man had been beaten to death by one of the other customers at the bar.

In reference to his funeral, it was crowded by family and past and present friends. He was buried in an eighteenth century embroidered waistcoat that was one of his most important and valuable possessions.

Durinda Cheek, Director said...

Lovely school and I am sure the students will remember your teaching for years to come. They actually absorb more than you think by their attitudes some days.
BTW, I appreciate your perspectives on art history. You are truly an artist who teaches.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Dot:
I am writing a little anbout that tonight.
.......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill;
I am grateful to my teachers.
.......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill;
I am grateful to my teachers.
.......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

JeremY;
Tilt ups, that sounds grim.
............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Philip:
That blog is coming up. I don't mind preaching to the choir.
..........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Aline:
Good luck with your new show!
...............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Jeff:
Hey, thanks for that. I enjoyed learning this.
......................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Durinda:
Thank you. Most of them were unimpressed to say the least.
......................Stape

Michael said...

Kids act a certain way among their peers, almost always. You'll likely never accurately be able to gauge the impact you had, or not. If you gave all you had, genuinely, from your heart, there's more than a likely chance that someday, 40 years from now, there will be some painter teaching some students somewhere who says, "One day this amazing painter came to our school, and this is what he helped me see..."