W. o’ W.: James Elkins

From Why Art Cannot Be Taught: “There is a cave chamber in Sarawak so large that it could hold five football fields—the largest subterranean chamber in the world. When it was first discovered, the spelunkers had no idea what to expect. They were walking up an underground stream when the walls diverged and left them staring into darkness. The room is so large that their headlamps could not pick out the ceiling or the walls, and they spent the next sixteen hours working their way around the room, keeping close to the right-hand wall, intending to keep going until they got back to the entrance. At times they were fooled by “house-size” boulders that they mistook for walls of the chamber, only to find that they were giant boulders fallen from the ceiling. At one point one of the cavers panicked, but eventually they all got out. Pictures taken on later surveying expeditions show the spelunkers’ lights like little fireflies against a measureless darkness.

“I think of this book in the same way. Like the people on that first expedition, we are not about to figure out very much of what takes place in art classes. There is still a good probability that we will get badly lost thinking about art instruction—and I think parts of this book do get lost. Perhaps that’s the best way for things to be. The cave will certainly be less interesting when it has electric lights and ramps for tourists. Isn’t the cave best as it is—nearly inaccessible, unlit, dangerous, and utterly seductive?”

2012 Twitter = 1912 Postcard

Everybody knows that twitter is limited to 140 characters. The character limit was determined by Friedhelm Hillebrand, father of modern text messaging, who came up with 160 as the ideal number needed to convey… something. When the deciding committee looked at postcards and found most of the messages were around 150 characters, the 160-character limit was born (twitter keeps the extra 20 characters for usernames).

I like to think of twitter as the 21st-century postcard, in that small packages of information are sent easily. Astonishingly, some people among us would be unaware of the conventions of postcards in current conventional use (outside of advertising) were it not for PostSecret, because their purpose has been trumped by texting, but texting has no remnant, nor any sense of presentation.

I don’t collect old postcards, but their appeal is enormous. If I acquire older postcards–used or unused–I use ’em. Even better: make your own.

Next Year’s Roster!


to next year’s new members

of the

Advanced Placement

2-D Design class:


Bianca Adams

McCall Braun

Grace Barbolla

Delaney Crouch

Mikayla Johnson

Marian Jostock

Jessica Loomis

Imran Mohsin

Claudia Nielsen

Kayli Putman

Michele Riefenberg

Stephanie Walterman

Maggie Ziolkowski


They join returning artists

Kristina Bastidas, Lauren Captain,

Alexa Hanaford, Fay Jenson, Sam La Bar,

Nikki Nixon, and Zach Rowe. Welcome in!

What’s New in the WWoP?

Not much.

Intrinsically Interesting

 Gary Gutting makes important points about the worth of a college education, but much of what he says applies to life at BHS.

“Teachers need to see themselves as, first of all, intellectuals, dedicated to understanding poetry, history, human psychology, physics, biology — or whatever is the focus of their discipline.  But they also need to realize that this dedication expresses not just their idiosyncratic interest in certain questions but a conviction that those questions have general human significance, even apart from immediately practical applications.  This is why a discipline requires not just research but also teaching.  Non-experts need access to what experts have learned, and experts need to make sure that their research remains in contact with general human concerns. The classroom is the primary locus of such contact.

“Students, in turn, need to recognize that their college education is above all a matter of opening themselves up to new dimensions of knowledge and understanding.  Teaching is not a matter of (as we too often say) “making a subject (poetry, physics, philosophy) interesting” to students but of students coming to see how such subjects are intrinsically interesting.  It is more a matter of students moving beyond their interests than of teachers fitting their subjects to interests that students already have.   Good teaching does not make a course’s subject more interesting; it gives the students more interests — and so makes them more interesting.

“Students readily accept the alleged wisdom that their most important learning at college takes place outside the classroom.  Many faculty members — thinking of their labs, libraries or studies — would agree.  But the truth is that, for both students and faculty members, the classroom is precisely where the most important learning occurs.”

Read the rest (and part 2 as well): http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/what-is-college-for/

A Current Guide to the Wonderful World. Of Photography.

Here are links to pertinent previous posts:




Work in Progess/Process

Not that anyone’s on tenterhooks, but some negatives are made, and what remains is what has been called the “photo-finishing.”

As a further preview, here’s a little sample ‘shopping:


Here Comes Summer. School.

Summer School Fo-Do, one of the better experiences in Barrington Huge School (if done right, with commitment and enthusiasm) will run from 7:20 to 12:00, June 13-July 1.

Some of you have expressed an interest in picking up work; please e-mail Yours Truly at least one day in advance in order to facilitate matters, and to make sure we’ll even be there. Work pick-up time will be noon on most days.

If you’d like to use the lab on a particular day, likewise get in touch ahead of time to be certain there’s room.

If we’re engrossed in some sort of media presentation, please do not mar our mood by doing anything with the door.

 P.S. As I understand it, this will be the first semester in memory without a mandated fire drill (despite re-tarring the roof), so please, no smoking.
P.P.S. Yeah, I know these are the same pictures we posted last year, but really, wouldn’t you do the same?

Just Another Stellar Day

Yesterday we saw pictures of the surface of Mercury for the first time. That was special, but it was just another in a series of exceptional darkroom days @ B”Fun”HS. How can the day be exceptional if it’s a similar one of a series? I’ll tell you how: it’s another in a series of exceptional darkroom days because every day is different. Here is a stunning collection of work prints in no particular order from periods 1 through 7.

These are the work of Kendall Wallin, Ola Susol, Zach Rowe, Charlotte Richardson, Myles Porter, Hannah Mills, Madeleine Lebovic, Kristin Kuhn, Justine Kaszinski, Mikayla Johnson, Caroline Horswill, Hannah Hornig, Michelle Henneberry, Molly Hendrickson, Alex Hallerberg, Nicole Deligio, Christina Buerosse, Kristina Bastidas, Brooke Baily, and Hailey Anderson.


 Steve Pyke (from “Photographs of Philosophers”):

Sam Taylor-Wood (from “Men Crying”):

Harry Callahan:

Philip-Lorca diCorcia:

Robert Heineken:

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