Joho the BlogJuly 2007 - Page 3 of 6 - Joho the Blog

July 21, 2007

Taking criticism

A few days ago, we went to the “Unknown Monet” exhibit at the Clark in Williamstown, MA. We loved it.

For reasons I don’t understand and in a way I couldn’t predict, Monet has always touched me. Renoir I find merely pleasant, Gauguin cartoonish and obscure, Seurat gimmicky, but Monet I become inarticulate about. (And, I do recognize that I’m being way over-articulate – i.e., ignorant – about those other masters.) The Clark exhibit showed early drawings and pastels by Monet that I found revelatory and beautiful. With a few lines — clear in ink and smudged in pastel — Monet showed light. He also did this other thing I like, although I’m not sure it’s an aesthetic response: He made me yearn to be in the places he depicted.

So, yesterday I read a review of the exhibit in the Boston Globe by Ken Johnson. He was not sold by the exhibit. The works were not impressive and do not contribute to our understanding of Monet, although Johnson was pleasantly surprised by the caricatures on display, which were the least interesting part to me.

It’s a terrific review. I learned a lot from it. Johnson’s main concern is one that I’m sure is obvious to people who study art as opposed to occasionally going to a museum, but it helped me both understand and appreciate Monet: Breaking with tradition, Monet didn’t build his paintings on drawings. Thus, he was able to see light, not outlines. (I’m paraphrasing crudely. Read the review.) Johnson thinks that the drawings at the exhibit prove that Monet just wasn’t very good at drawing. The drawings are, to him, workman-like at best, and thus do not contribute to understanding Monet’s ineffable paintings.

So, do I now like the drawings less? To some degree, yes. Sort of. Skill matters to how I see art. Now a critic who has better grounding to evaluate the skill required has downgraded it. That does change the way I view the drawings. But skill is just one component. The drawings still have a transcendent quality: I look at them and wonder how a person could bring forth these scenes with just a few lines. The scenes remain living, drenched, inviting, loving.

Johnson’s review does the proper job of criticism. He contextualizes, bringing to bear knowledge and wide experience. He has changed the way I see the Monet’s drawings and pastels. We see through education and experience. But, ultimately in this case, the review hasn’t changed the way the drawings and pastels speak to me. If I learned more, though, perhaps …[Tags: monet art ken_johnson ]

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July 20, 2007

Open SourceEO

Ross Mayfield, who has ably led Socialtext in all the right directions, is making way for the next CEO. He’s blogged about it, looking for recommendations. I can tell you personally — I’m on the board of advisers [disclosure] — that the Socialtext people are smart, solid and upright. So, if you know how to grow a company of 50 people and 3,000 customers, with a commitment to doing right in the new world, let Ross know… [Tags: socialtext ross_mayfield wikis ceo ]

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July 19, 2007

Map of MA broadband

David Isenberg blogs a map of broadband availability in MA, put together by the Boston Globe. Keep in mind that this map defines broadband as 1 megabit, which is five times higher than the ludicrous definition promulgated by the FCC, but is many times slower than what’s taken for granted in much of the developed world. [Tags: broadband net_neutrality fcc savetheinternet ]


Megan Tady writes about why it’s so hard to get information like that…including the FCC’s reticence.

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The Crow

The Crow

The crow is a well-shaped bird.
To the east, a fan splays out.
Crescents point west and south.
Beak down, tail up, it inquires
forward, but then flaps north
where it is not pointing.
The crow is a well-shaped bird.
And then it opens its goddamn mouth.

[Tags: poetry humor]

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Saw Sicko. See Sicko

Sicko is brilliant. And hilarious.

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July 18, 2007

Me and Mr. Keen

The Wall Street Journal online has published an exchange between Andrew Keen (“The Cult of the Amateur”) and me. The full version is here. The condensed version is here. (I recommend the full version.) [Tags: andrew_keen web2.0 cult_of_the_amateur everything_is_miscellaneous ]

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July 17, 2007

Susan Mernit learns from fads

Susan Mernit has a nice post about what we can learn from Facebook, Twitter, et al., even if you think they’re just fads.

My overall lesson from such sites – much in line with Susan’s — is that we really enjoy one another. [Tags: susan_mernit facebook twitter everything_is_miscellaneous ]

8 Comments »

Big news on the library front

The Open Library project has opened the doors on its demo, and it is a big, big deal. Read the about page (written by Aaaron Swartz) to see how exactly promising this project is.

From my provincial point of view, the Open Library Project addresses the miscellaneous nature of books: Lots of editions, lots of variants, lots of relationships.. So, include everything you can and enable the creation of rich metadata.

This is exactly the sort of infrastructure of meaning Everything Is Miscellaneous is so excited about. [Tags: everything_is_miscellaneous libraries metadata wikis ]

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A bear has been spotted wandering nearby

1. On Encountering a Bear
A poem in the form of a list

1. Make your self big.

1.a. No, men, you idiots. Not that way.

2. Make a big noise.

3. Be considerate. Try not to leave a mess.

[Tags: poetry bears lists ]

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July 16, 2007

The status of citizen media

Dan Gillmor has posted a terrific report on the past year in citizen media. Dan is a partisan, but is so innately fair and honest that this report from the front lines is invaluable. [Tags: citizen_media citizen_journalism dan_gillmor media journalism ]

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