Wednesday, August 24, 2005

College Murder

Jackie O'Nastie protests the killing.
Speaking of Thanatos, The Woodruff Arts Center Board today voted to kill the Atlanta College of Art. We know who was Lady Macbeth in this murder, the half- million- a- year- plus president of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).

"Out, Out Damn ART!"

SCAD will consume ACA -- and most of us are unclear of the consequences for faculty, students, and alumni. There is no question that artistic freedom will suffer. Read the petition to stop the takeover-- last count 850 signatures-- with vital comments, by people who know:


A protest march is taking place as I write. How I wish a good journalist would uncover the dark side of this takeover, and the long, infamous history of SCAD and its cancerous growth. There is a somewhat detailed account of the takeover in the AJC at

Art school uproar

Here is my too tame letter published in the AJC, 8/24/05 :

The demise of the Atlanta College of Art is a great loss for Atlanta. That is not to say that the decision to turn the school over to the Savannah College of Art and Design has no merit. Atlanta is a business city and this is good business for the Woodruff Art Center. SCAD's vision, ambition, and material success are famous. ACA's reputation, on the other hand, is as a small, intimate educational institution known for high standards and rigorous study. ACA has always lacked the sort of broad vision of public success, eschewing graduate programs and high visibility in the community. This was its downfall.
In a perfect world there would be room for both an ACA and a SCAD. Serious artistic study could survive along with popular, attention-getting shows and entertainment. Unfortunately, in this case, quantity will quash quality.

The paper noted that I have taught at both institutions. Past tense.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Eros and Thanatos

Yesterday, the nation's newspapers were filled with obituaries for Six Feet Under. My favorite was in the Boston Globe:
A poignant, satisfying end for 'Six Feet Under'

Since there is no reason for me to rehash the story of love and death in Six Feet, I'd like to make some other observations, instead. I thought the next to last episode in which an Iraq war veteran, maimed almost exactly as Senator Max Cleland was maimed in the Vietnam War, was especially poignant. The soldier decides to commit suicide and the family of the soldier perpetuates the lies for which he lost his life. Claire's attack on the SUV-driving family is brilliant. Nonetheless, her Christian, Republican boyfriend comes to Claire's rescue when she needs it. Ball's insight into character and passion is as good as Shakespeare's. So too is his political acumen. His interplay of love and death, Eros and Thanatos, is equally brilliant: Jung and Freud haunt his dream sequences.

There is now, perhaps in part because of Iraq, a fascination with death. The Sept./Oct. issue of the Utne Reader features a cover story on death. Alan Ball is just one interview in a series of articles. I predict we shall see much written on the subject of dying in the year ahead.

The last scene of Six Feet Under is of Claire, youngest of the Fishers, driving from California to New York, as the future fast forwards before our eyes. The vast open road of the West is of course a metaphor for life itself. It could just as well be the view from the prow of a ship. It is the path, the Tao, the Way. And death is as much a part of the Way as love, sex, and adventure are. Claire lives to be 102, which is fitting, somehow. The artist lives longest and last.

Happy Trails.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lucinda brings us home-- or, still under the spell of the Mediterranean.

  photo by Jack

After weeks in Europe, like ripe olives upland from the Mediterranean, we have fallen, pits and all, back to Atlanta.

Yet, tonight, Lucinda Williams
has brought us back to Earth from our sea voyage with such a performance that we are ready for anything.
When she sang "Lake Charles," all that magic from Louisiana came flowing over us like the water of the Delta over the levee. We were swept away. And when she sang "My Joy," Lord, we were all so filled with her joy that the quarter moon came right out of the clouds and shone. Lucinda Williams and her three-man band simply transcended, and we were all transported from the Botanical Garden and transformed, like the frogs whom she saw in the pond before the stage, into princes of the kingdom of music.

OK, I had too much wine. OK, I've just returned from weeks of Dionysian rule. Weeks of Revelry at Sea plus all those inland jaunts along the Mediterranean. Weeks of San Giminano Towers over Italy. Weeks of swimming, usually naked, in the sea of Ibiza or the beaches of Mykonos. Weeks of the splendors of civilization: Byzantium's Hagia Sophia, Rome's Pantheon, The Parthenon and Arch of Hadrian in Athens, or gazing at that noble, divine bust of Antinous.

Darryl Sips Retsina on our balcony below the Parthenon.

Yes, and dancing on the deck of the Millennium with lasers, and the music of the last few decades--- and last, this new uncharted century. Mardi Gras, Toga, Disco parties as our vessel divided the seas. And Istanbul greeted us with gardens, mosques, lamb, and the Bosporus. We were sailors of The Odyssey, and of the Sirens , filling the night at sea with our song.

Here are Photographs, mere images of an experience so aesthetic that all I can say is:
Life is a Banquet and we have feasted.

With Love,
Jack Jameson