Art professor gives lecture at Janice Mason
by Hawkins Teague
Feb 20, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Janice Mason Art Museum began the first of a planned series of lectures to celebrate its 10th anniversary Sunday afternoon.

Western Kentucky University professor Dr. Kim Chalmers was the guest of honor, and he gave a loose talk on how art has reflected the changing of ideas in society as he presented slides that demonstrated this concept. He warned the audience of about 20 to listen but not to take everything he said too seriously.

“Make sure you take it with a grain of salt, because a lot of this is speculative,” he said.

Chalmers said that he had been surprised to read an article recently in the Harvard Business Review that claimed that a Master of Fine Arts was the new Master of Business Administration. He was shocked to read a statement like that in such a publication, but then he saw the same thing in Forbes magazine. These magazines were saying that MFAs were now being valued by companies more than in the past because it would take creative people to redefine the business world.

Chalmers theorized about the purpose of the drawing of animals on the walls of caves in southern France, which are some of the earliest artistic works known to humanity. He noted that they were not close to where groups of people would lived at the time, so they were probably not intended to be pretty to look at. The drawings were pockmarked with what appeared to be attacks, and some think that hunters went down in the caves with their torches to draw the animals to prepare themselves mentally for important hunts ahead of them.

“This way, they could react faster at the hunt,” Chalmers said. “It’s actually a pretty functional tool.”

Chalmers said that most people in society can’t keep up with all that is going on around them because everything moves so quickly and they have lives to lead, which results in most people being five to 10 years out of sync. An artist’s job, though, is to be focused on what is happening in society and to reflect that in their work. Still, much of the work from the past might as well be contemporary.

“This is today’s news, not last week’s news,” Chalmers remarked after showing the audience a few war-themed pieces.

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