Wednesday, June 6, 2007

And Cut

Hailing to the Green and Gold of Patrick Henry High School, it still amazes me what a fantastic education we had, all for the low low price of free as a public school. Among the steller teachers I had, one of the most profound, and energetic was Mrs. Mary Baldwin.

Known to be one of the most passionate educators I have ever seen, she would take us on her daily caffinated adventures inside the ages of art, from a cave painting in Lascoux to reprodcutions of urnails cleverly renamed fountain as per Marcel Duchamp. Her lectures were performances. Every one of them. But these were not performances to entertain, although it was one of the many side effects. These performances engaged us, pulled us inside the world of the visual image.

On her lecturn, desk rather, she had her prepared lecture, which amounted to her handwritten notes, her typed notes, and three six-inch volumes of the leading art history texts: Gardner, Janson, and Stockstad, rotating them hapazardly to weave together the most inclusive, tightly written script. Each peice was alloted 5 minutes between one of two screens, for which to describe itself to the class. While she narrated her fifty minute production, you tried to write and simultaniously massage your hand to negotiate the information onto your notebook.

On occasion, although very rarely, the word smith found herself speachless. One such lecture involved a misunderstood manic depressive who found his emotions too powerful for this world. He attempted to describe them with a brush and palatte. Baldwin lassoed those raw expressions into a slide show. She did so with the archaic tools she had, two 1950's slide projectors and a tape recorder. But it remains one of the most powerful lectures. I have since tried to recreate it but never found the time. With the help of Youtube I found something similar.

Thank you Mrs. Baldwin.

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