Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Linda Weintraub Speaks @ Goucher

Chair of the art dept, Allyn Massey and speaker Linda Weintraub

Linda Wientraub, author of Art on the Edge and Over, and other publishing endeavors, spoke to a full audience at Goucher College's Kelly Lecture Hall on art and "egocentrism," an appropriate topic for Earth Day.
Weintraub broke the lecture down into a seemingly irrelevant set of artists, Andy Goldsworthy (and how could she not mention him?), Damien Hirst, Wim Delvoye and Claude Monet.

A packed Kelly Lecture Hall

To open, she posed the quetion of our individual impact on our environment as stationary members of the audience, asking us to then consider our impacts in other life activities. She showed slides highlighting important works from the artists she selected, but neglected to comment on their "carbon footprints" as artists. She instead asked us to consider what their art made us think about...Goldsworthy, she argued, lulled us into a false contentment, Hirst showed us truths we would conventionally shy away from, etc.

This sort of breakdown seemed inappropriate and disappointing to those who had taken the time to dig around on her website. Personally, I had hoped to hear more on contemporary eco-artists, people conscious of their movement and decisive about the ecological importance of their creative message...but I suppose, when speaking to a mixed audience, one tends to boil an issue down to the basics.
I know she knows what is up, and this talk merely an introduction into the vastness of this subject, but I wish she had addressed artists who were more current and direct in their messages. Seeing 10 pieces I had seen before added nothing to my understanding of the work, or my perceptions of each artist.
Weintraub could easily have spoken for an additional hour, at which point she probably would have scratched the surface of the current eco-art movement, and only begun to satisfy my curiosity, I mean it was Earth Day, I wanted to hear about fungus!

But, please do visit her site, there is much to be learned, and many artists balancing a sense of humor with a sense of environmental responsibility...which produces some amazing artwork.