In Part Two, my conversation continues with Rabbi Michael Lerner— a renowned author, activist and humanitarian based in Berkeley, California—who along with Vaclav Havel and Noam Chomsky, Rabbi Lerner was chosen in 1998 by Utne Reader as one of the world's "100 top visionaries". And among other things, in 2005 Lerner received the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize from Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..
Earlier this year I conduced a feature podcast with Ruth Ericson, a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) about the epic Black Mountain College (BMC) exhibition she worked on under the direction of Helen Molesworth, who spearheaded the touring exhibition and presentation. In Part Three of our conversation Ericson and I first talk about pottery at BMC, and about Ruth Asawa’s prolific body of work created while at BMC. In conclusion, we talked about the African-Americans involved with BMC, including Jacob Lawrence.
Peter Voulkos, Rocking Pot, 1956, stoneware with colemanite wash, 13 5⁄8 x 21 x 17 1⁄2 inches. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of the James Renwick Alliance and various donors and museum purchase © Voulkos Family Trust
Until 1967 less than “a dozen museum exhibitions had featured the work of African American artists,” and though things have slowly gotten better for Black artists, it didn’t happen by magic. It happened because African-American artists were courageous enough to take to the streets and demand change! So I’m calling on African American Artists of a Certain Status to do the right thing and speak out forcefully against homelessness and the social acceptability of poverty, the ongoing [extrajudicial] killings of African-Americans, the school-to-prison pipeline, the slave-like conditions of the federal penitentiary and all other forms of “Jim Crow 2.0.”
There’s no shortage of unique and interesting homes in San Francisco, but at least one street in the city has more than its fair share, and it’s called Laidley Street. Built by Ross Levy Architects, the Abelson Gunthrie House truly represents modernist residential design on a grand scale. (Editor's Note: This article was originally written and published for MaxEternity.com in December 2013)
A popular resurgence of interest in Black Mountain College (BMC) continues to grow nationally. There are numerous exhibitions happening this year recalling the school’s rich historical past while holding high its living legacy, with a show entitled Geometric Vistas: Landscapes by Artists of Black Mountain College opening on August 6th at the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina. On display at the museum, as well, is a trio of striking installations by Hoss Haley, Sharon Louden and Sol LeWitt.
What happens when the police oath to “Serve and Protect” citizens morphs into an authoritarian demand to “Obey or Die”? And in an age referred to as post-racial America, why are there so many stories illustrating how the lives of America’s most vulnerable youth, and its adults, are precariously put at risk—resulting too often with the poor and voiceless in this nation finding themselves treated as political fodder for well-paid talking heads, all the while a roll call of dead black bodies lie in America’s blood-soaked streets?
J. Michael Welton is a major recorder of all things interesting and worthy in the world of art and design, and very few hold the gravitas of Welton when it comes to modern and contemporary Architecture—including practices in sustainability—and basically, the last century of building-at-large.
Can it be that Donald Trump represents the future of global politics? Sociopolitical experts like Robert Reich, Gina Apostol, Walter Baier and Eric Weitz, say extremism is here to stay—that however objectionable, Donald Trump and his ilk are protected by a new Salonfähig, which formerly ensured the swift rise of Nazi Germany.
Without the past there can be no present or pathway to the future, and with the knowledge that the telling of history determines who is most enfranchised in the everyday, there is at least one story about the history of art and education in the 20th century deserving a much closer and careful examination. This is an epic story about the roots of modern art told in a new book I'm writing, entitled From Bauhaus | To Black Mountain.
Around the world, we must fight for education, architecture and art. Because, being civil means being willing to do the work necessary to protect a vision of beauty—to enshrine local, national and global treasures—to stand up and defend the ability to express oneself creatively. These things make the life water of the soul.