It’s so easy for a kind-hearted remark to be received poorly or for someone to ignore and dismiss it.
Grade 9 students in the Collective Voice program at Aden Bowman Collegiate share their lives and opinions through columns. Selected columns usually run on Mondays in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
By Andrea S.
Why does giving compliments feel so forced and receiving them feel so awkward?
According to Psychology Today, “There is only one way to receive a compliment — graciously, with a smile.” However, is it really that simple? What if someone’s compliment has a tone, or a message disguised underneath?
Initially I thought that compliments were just simple comments that fill in the space in a conversation. Yet, the more I looked into it, the more I realized it was more complicated. There seems to be an art to receiving and giving compliments. You have to say certain things at certain times; you can’t be “fake,” and it’s almost an expected gesture.
So what is the perfect compliment?
Nick Haslam, a psychology professor at the University of Melbourne, thinks fake compliments have the opposite effects of genuine ones. He talks about how an individual who receives a compliment might feel that the compliment is insincere. This feeling of doubt can counteract the positive effects that were initially intended.
I personally have felt uncomfortable receiving certain compliments. I find it very difficult to interpret the sincerity of a compliment, often leaving me feeling insecure or uncomfortable. Having these feelings made me consider if I’m the only one who feels this way when receiving a compliment.
Do I make people feel this way?
I think that the compliment and the message the person is giving are not the only important aspects. We also have to consider how someone may receive the compliment. It’s so easy for a kind-hearted remark to be received poorly or for someone to ignore and dismiss it.
The factor of self-esteem also plays a big role. Someone with low self-esteem might feel awkward or not know how to accept or react to a compliment. That’s something that I’ve also found difficult to do myself. It’s hard to accept what someone is saying when you don’t believe it yourself.
Even though giving or receiving compliments may seem scary or messy, having good intentions is key.
So are compliments a good thing or could they just lead to more negative outcomes? A study supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science took people and tried different scenarios with different praises. The outcomes were interesting.
The study lead, Professor Norihiro Sadato of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, stated that “to the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation.”
According to Sadato, giving compliments has the potential to provide beneficial effects such as increased performance and positive outcomes. Compliments can be used as an effective positive reinforcement tool.
From what I’ve learned, giving and receiving compliments is overall a great thing. It can increase people’s performance and can make their day. An important thing to remember is not to force compliments or say things you don’t truly believe. A perfect compliment is a kind-hearted one.
Positive and truthful praise can really help someone change their life around.
Delay of Philip Guston Retrospective Divides the Art World – The New York Times
The decision by four major museums to delay until 2024 a much-awaited retrospective of the modernist painter Philip Guston, which was announced earlier this week, is roiling the art world, with some calling the decision a necessary step back during a period of surging racial justice protests and others deeming it a cowardly avoidance of challenging works of art.
The decision came after museums organizing the exhibition decided that Guston’s familiar motif of cartoonish, haggard white-hooded Ku Klux Klansmen needed to be better contextualized for the current political moment.
The Guston retrospective, the first in more than 15 years, was supposed to open in June at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. It would then move to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, then to Tate Modern in London, and finally, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Titled “Philip Guston Now,” it contained 24 images with imagery that evokes the Klan, a spokeswoman for the National Gallery said, and two more where the imagery is less obvious. In total, there would be a selection of roughly 125 paintings and 70 drawings, though the final selection would have been different at each museum because of budgetary concerns and logistics.
This week, the directors of those museums released a joint statement saying that they were “postponing the exhibition until a time at which we think that the powerful message of social and racial justice that is at the center of Philip Guston’s work can be more clearly interpreted.”
When the news of the cancellation spread on Thursday evening, it prompted a deluge of criticism from inside the art world.
Guston’s daughter, Musa Mayer, who wrote a memoir of her father, said she was saddened by the decision and said that his work “dared to hold up a mirror to white America.”
Darby English, a professor of art history at the University of Chicago and a former adjunct curator at the Museum of Modern Art, called the decision “cowardly” and “an insult to art and the public alike.”
And Mark Godfrey, a curator at Tate Modern in London who co-organized the exhibition, posted a searing statement on Instagram saying that the decision was “extremely patronizing” to audiences because it assumes that they are not able to understand and appreciate the nuance of Guston’s works.
But the National Gallery had the support of its board of trustees, including Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, the philanthropic giant. Mr. Walker said in an email that if the museums had not taken a step back to rethink the exhibition, it would have appeared “tone deaf.” He added that the National Gallery’s director, Kaywin Feldman, had surveyed the trustees, and said that there was unanimous support for the postponement.
“What those who criticize this decision do not understand,” Mr. Walker said, “is that in the past few months the context in the U.S. has fundamentally, profoundly changed on issues of incendiary and toxic racist imagery in art, regardless of the virtue or intention of the artist who created it.”
A spokeswoman for the National Gallery, Anabeth Guthrie, said the directors consulted a range of employees at the four museums, including staff in interpretation, education, and community partnerships.
In their joint statement, the directors of the four museums said that “additional perspectives and voices” would be necessary before the show could go on, and that such a process would “take time.” Yet the curators — Harry Cooper at the National Gallery, Alison de Lima Greene at the M.F.A. in Houston, Mr. Godfrey at Tate Modern, and Kate Nesin at the M.F.A. in Boston — had already brought together a wide range of contributors for the show’s authoritative catalog, which is already in the shops.
The curators, as well as artists such as Trenton Doyle Hancock and Glenn Ligon, who are Black, and the cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who is Jewish, all offered perspectives on Guston’s personal experiences of confronting the Klan in his youth, and on the formal and political innovations of his cartoonish Klansmen. In mid-June, following the killing of George Floyd and intense debates over racial inequities in art, curators worked together to revise and broaden the exhibition’s wall panels and educational materials. Of particular concern was the debut of his Klan paintings in 1970. They reached out to artists, critics and others who had seen the show then, in order to reconstruct how Black viewers reacted to that initial display.
The exhibition was to include many of Guston’s paintings from 1968 through 1972, a period in which he was “developing his new vocabulary of hoods, books, bricks, and shoes.” Some of the figures in Guston’s works included caricaturish white-hooded figures smoking cigars, riding in a car, or, in one of Guston’s most well-known works, painting a self portrait at an easel.
Mr. Godfrey, the Tate curator, and author of “Abstraction and the Holocaust,” a 2007 study of art after the genocide of European Jewry, was left to ask why “the institutions are proud to put their name to a catalog where Klan paintings are reproduced on 26 different pages, but not confident to show them on their walls.”
Ms. Mayer noted in her statement on Thursday that her father’s family members were Jewish immigrants who fled Ukraine to escape persecution and that he “understood what hatred was.”
“This should be a time of reckoning, of dialogue,” she wrote. “These paintings meet the moment we are in today. The danger is not in looking at Philip Guston’s work, but in looking away.”
Guston, who died in 1980, at 66, was a leading Abstract Expressionist until he made an artistic about-face during the Vietnam War, influenced by civil unrest and social dissent. Calling American abstract art “a lie” and “a sham,” he pivoted to making paintings in a dark, figurative style, including satirical drawings of Richard Nixon.
Mr. Hancock, who wrote an essay for the catalog analyzing one of Guston’s works that included Klansmen, said in an interview that he saw the artist’s use of the white-hooded figures as a way of “implicating America, the New York art world and himself in a system that celebrates the horrors of white supremacy.”
The work that Mr. Hancock was examining, called “Drawing for Conspirators,” is one of the more graphic and disturbing images drawn by the artist. The 1930 work, which Guston drew when he was 17 years old, depicts a lynching — or what Mr. Hancock calls in his essay the “aftermath of a successful Klan business meeting.”
Art museums have in the last three years increasingly found themselves on the defensive for showing works that depict polarizing subjects and racial violence. Some observers have protested the showing of work considered traumatizing to communities scarred by that violence; others have objected that institutions put that pain on display gratuitously. Recently, some work has been removed from major exhibitions.
In 2017, the Whitney Museum of American Art faced a backlash for its display of the painting “Open Casket,” which depicted the mutilated body of Emmett Till, a Black teenager who was lynched by two white men in Mississippi in 1955; the key point of controversy was that the artist, Dana Schutz, is white.
That same year, in Minneapolis, the Walker Art Center removed a work by the white artist Sam Durant, called “Scaffold,” a gallows-like sculpture intended to memorialize several executions, including the hanging of 38 Dakota men in Minnesota after the United States-Dakota war in 1862, after local Native American communities objected to it.
Just this summer, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland canceled an exhibition of the artist Shaun Leonardo’s drawings of police killings of Black and Latino boys and men after several Black activists and some of the museum’s staff members objected to it. The artist called the move censorship; the museum’s director, Jill Snyder, later apologized to Mr. Leonardo for canceling the show, saying “we breached his trust, and we failed ourselves.”
Nearly two weeks later, she resigned.
The decision to postpone the Guston show for four years — when the organizing museums still had ample time for education, outreach and dialogue — struck many artists and curators as an act of self-censorship. “Museums have become scared of displaying and recontextualizing the work they had committed to for their programs,” Mr. Godfrey, the Tate curator, argued in his statement.
Hovering over the postponement or cancellation is a larger dilemma facing museums: how to account for growing demands for equity and representation on the gallery walls when the Covid crisis has shrunk budgets substantially. The M.F.A. in Boston has eliminated more than 100 staff positions since the pandemic began, while the Tate saw protests after cutting more than 300 jobs. The Guston exhibition, which would have eaten a substantial percentage of any museum’s budget before 2020, now weighs more heavily.
Novelist Ali Smith Finds Art for All Seasons – The Wall Street Journal
Visual art has long played an important role in the novels of Ali Smith, 58, one of Britain’s leading writers and a four-time Booker Prize finalist. Her 2014 novel “How to Be Both” is jointly narrated by the 15th-century Italian artist Francesco Del Cossa and a British teenager in the 21st century, who becomes obsessed with one of his paintings in London’s National Gallery. She has collaborated on projects with her longtime partner Sarah Wood, an artist, curator and filmmaker.
But when Ms. Smith began her tetralogy of novels named after the seasons—whose final installment, “Summer,” was published in the U.S. last month—she didn’t know how important art and artists would become. In the four years covered by the books, a large cast of characters—among them a centenarian songwriter, a young art lecturer, a nature blogger, a brilliant near-juvenile-delinquent and a movie director—fall in and out of love, form de facto families and debate the political issues of the day, particularly immigration and Brexit. In each volume, fictional characters mingle with real-life artists, who play significant roles in the plot.
In 2015, when she was planning the first volume, “Autumn,” Ms. Smith happened to see a magazine reproduction of “Colour Her Gone,” a 1962 picture by the British Pop artist Pauline Boty. The painting is divided into three vertical sections: In the middle Boty depicts Marilyn Monroe at her most seductive, surrounded by flowers, while the flanking panels feature austere, abstract designs. The disconcerting effect is heightened by the way the Monroe panel is placed off center.
Boty, who died in 1966 at the age of just 28, struggled to be taken seriously as a female Pop artist. Her work addressed social and political issues head on, just as Ms. Smith does in “Autumn,” which she was writing at the height of the U.K.’s Brexit debate. Ms. Smith decided to make Boty a character in the novel, giving the artist a monologue-like chapter to herself. “A great many men don’t understand a woman full of joy, even more don’t understand paintings full of joy by a woman,” the character says. “Boty’s spirit—it’s the spine of that book,” Ms. Smith says now. “I’m thankful for it.”
Each volume in the series features a different 20th-century British artist, though in different ways. The second book, “Winter,” discusses the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, whose pierced stone abstract sculptures recall the work of Henry Moore. Ms. Smith says that Hepworth “knows how the physical universe and the human world come together and come apart.” In “Spring,” has-been director Richard Lease is inspired by the contemporary artist Tacita Dean, especially her 2017 work “The Montafon Letter,” an enormous picture of a mountain and avalanche: “As he stood there, what he was looking at stopped being chalk on slate, stopped being a picture of mountain. It became something terrible, seen,” Ms. Smith writes.
Finally, in “Summer,” Ms. Smith introduces two German artists who fled Nazism and took refuge in the U.K.: Fred Uhlman, known for his vivid landscapes and surrealistic drawings, and Kurt Schwitters, best known for his collages. In 2020, the 104-year-old Daniel, one of Ms. Smith’s fictional characters, recalls being interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man during World War II alongside the two artists.
Daniel recounts that Uhlman spent his time making drawings in which a little girl with a balloon moves unscathed through wartime horrors: piles of skulls, ruined buildings, hangings. In real life, children were on Uhlman’s mind at the time: The internment had prevented him from finding out any information about his pregnant wife. After the war, Uhlman published 24 of these drawings under the title “Captivity” (1946).
The antic Schwitters, by contrast, barks like a dog, sleeps in a basket and, for lack of better material, makes sculptures out of porridge that then molder and turn green. “These sculptures are alive…there is no higher accolade,” Daniel diplomatically assures Schwitters. In real life, Schwitters left the camp in 1941 for London, where he met with little success, though his work was later recognized as a forerunner of Pop art.
For Ms. Smith, the purpose of making art and artists so central to these novels is that the arts “ask response. They ask for our thinking, feeling presence. The visual arts do it with an immediacy we think we’re used to…but we’re never used to art, which will always shake us out of ourselves and into new, renewed selves.”
Art enthusiasts are invited downtown for a distanced Art After Dark experience – Kingstonist
Art galleries and art loving businesses will once again open their doors for Art After Dark tonight, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020.
This biannual event has been running for over 10 years and is always met with great reception by art enthusiasts who are starting or adding to their personal art collections, according to a release from Downtown Kingston! dated Friday, Sept. 18, 2020.
From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight, Kingstonians can tour downtown’s galleries, and enjoy great conversation and compelling art, while maintaining physical distancing based on KFL&A Public Health guidelines. According to the release, if visitors are not able to tour the galleries while maintaining physical distancing, businesses will encourage returning at another time to enjoy the art.
“At Martello Alley and Martello on Brock we are looking forward to celebrating with the local community,” said David Dossett, owner of the Martello locations. “It gives us an opportunity to thank Kingston for their continued support during these challenging times.”
“And, we are excited to show Kingston our new store, Martello on Brock as well as the newly-renovated Martello Alley,” Dossett continued. “Come and enjoy the sounds of Euro Café Duo as they perform live at Martello Alley while you wait to shop. Their Parisian music will take you to another place and time.”
Art After Dark patrons will be able to enter to win a $500 voucher towards the purchase of original art at every participating location they visit. This is a great opportunity for fans of Art After Dark to consider what they would buy if they won.
|Amanda’s House of Elegance||70 Princess St|
|The Amber Room Kingston||34 Princess St|
|Cloth||131 Princess St|
|End of the Thread Antique Emporium||201 Princess St|
|Gallery Raymond||334 Princess St|
|Gallery Raymond- The Warehouse Gallery||273 Brock St|
(entrance off Clergy St)
|General Brock’s Commissary||55 Brock St|
|Happy Thoughts||95 Clarence St|
|Downtown Kingston Art Studio||181 Sydenham St|
|Martello Alley||203 B Wellington St|
|Martello on Brock||66 Brock St|
|Montreal Street Collective||39 Montreal St|
|Salti Yoga Kingston||80 Princess St|
|UNDR for Men||68 Princess St|
“We are excited for this safe and fun event to celebrate local Kingston artists who have been hit hard during this pandemic,” said Marilyn Doherty, Project Manager – Marketing for Downtown Kingston!
Art After Dark is a biannual event celebrated in concert with the Downtown Kingston! BIA – an association of 700+ businesses located in downtown Kingston.
More information and artist profiles can be found here: https://www.downtownkingston.ca/events/2020/fall-art-after-dark-2020
A map of participating locations can be seen in the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/343873140130990/?active_tab=discussion
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