BootsnAll Travel Network

My day job: loving it!

Great day in the classroom! One of the courses I teach is “Humanities”–a polyglot course created as an alternative for students who hate to read and can’t handle literature classes but have to get a “humanities” credit to satisfy the State of Texas that they’re educated. I send them out into the streets and public spaces of Houston to experience paintings and drawings, sculpture, music, architecture, dance, theatre, photography, and film. I challenge them to find “art,” and I give them some basic terms so they can talk about what they’ve seen. Today I left the classroom in a state very near levitation. Here’s why:

Students’ questions and comments:

“I thought I hated art, but if comic books are art, hey! It’s in my heart, you know,” (pounding his chest), “it’s like they say in X-Men, ‘Men can die, but symbols live forever.’ If Superman is art, then I’m an art-lover.” (Blushing and ducking his head in embarrassment) “I can’t believe I said that, man.”

“Hey doc, where can I get more information about this guy Andy Goldsworthy, that you showed us the video about? I wanna see more stuff he’s done. I told my buds about him, and I wanna buy a book so I can show my mom. This guy is way cool.”

“I went to the car show this weekend, and I’m lookin at it a whole new way, like every car is a sculpture. I’m lookin at these cars, and I’m thinkin balance, and line, and proportion. I’m thinkin negative space and positive space, and complementary colors. And it’s like I can SEE these cars better all of a sudden.”

“I’ve got this poster by a guy named Alex Gray. It’s been hanging on the wall in my room since I was in high school. This guy used to illustrate albums for Nirvana, back in the day. When I look at it, it makes me want to walk out the door and expect the infinite. Does that count as art?”

“I went to hear this screamer band, and like, I don’t usually like that kinda stuff, but I had to go somewhere for this class, so I went. I listened to the words, cause I knew I was gonna have to talk about meaning and stuff, and it turns out these guys are really spiritual. There was this one song about how nobody sees anything like anybody else sees it, and how it makes you lonely when you think about it. And it’s true. Who knew the screamer guys were really saying something?”

“I went to a museum for the first time in my life, and it was way out of my comfort range, but I ended up getting lost in there. I mean lost in a good way. I ended up looking at this one picture, by Edgar Degas, and it was like the dancers popped out of the frame at me. It was oil paint, but it looked like you could see the light through it. And I just stood there, looking at it, and I don’t even know how long I was there. It’s like I completely lost track of time. It was just this little bitty picture, but I felt like I was walking around inside it.”


-1 responses to “My day job: loving it!”

  1. Irv says:

    The last comment (about being “inside” the Degas painting) really moved me, and I’m sure was gratifying to you, Kendall. Next time we’re at the MFAH I’m going to look for that painting.

  2. Nacho says:

    Sounds like a totally cool class Kendall!

    Kendall, thanks for the well wishes in my blog. It ended up that after Phoenix started with nose bleeds, his coughing got worse, and the Doc said he not only had the flu, but viral pneumonia as well. He missed more days of school, but life seems to be going back to normal. He still has the cough. When one gets a bad cough like that it takes a while before it leaves the body. Nasty things.

    Glad to be back, just in a very busy semester!

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