Present at the Creation
Jen Graves’ recollection of her teaching experience (“See Saw,” September) gives me an opportunity to compare notes. The contemporary art survey class at Cornish was established in 1986 and its founding instructor was a Seattle-based art critic, namely myself. An active critical mind, eye and imagination are a must for a subject that is in continual flux and prone to getting its validation outside of the normal art-historical channels. (I taught the course from 1986 to 1998, adding new content as it came. Jen has another decade of material to cover now.) I do believe that historical knowledge helps ground the discussion of contemporary art. As it happened, I eventually taught the entire spectrum of art history while at Cornish, including topics well beyond my expertise.
— Ron Glowen, Arlington
P.S. I started my survey with Jasper Johns’ Target with Four Faces — faces with no eyes.
The Kids Are Alright?
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read about artist Mary Henry (The Curator’s Eye, September). Billy Howard says she is to be admired because she “pushed back society’s expectations for a woman.” How? Leaving her children with her mother to study at the New Bauhaus School?! That’s the only example he gives. How sad that we’ve become so cavalier about the abandonment of kids, even if it’s for art. I bet, if she were asked, Mary Henry would say that wasn’t one of her proudest moments.
— Karen Shiveley, Edmonds
Billy Howard replies: In the limited space available, I focused on Mary’s achievement as an artist. Of course her children were well cared for by her mother while she studied in Chicago.
Jacob Lawrence’s mural, Games, was reproduced in both our August and September issues. In both instances its ownership should have been attributed to the 4Culture and King County Public Art Collection, which lent the work to the Northwest African Amercan Museum. We regret the omissions.