Why teachers can’t have ‘normal’ lives (The Washington Post)

February 5 original article here.

Though this article is written with grade school teachers in mind, I find many of these points to be true about college professors and instructors as well.

(By Charles Rex Arbogast/ AP)

These posts are originally from an article by Alice Trosclair and appeared on the appeared on The Educator’s Room website. I am modifying these for college educator.

“Oh you are a teacher? It must be so nice to have two months off. I just have a normal job with only two weeks’ vacation.”

Me: In the case of the professor, we generally teach over the summer to make extra money and the “breaks” we get during Christmas and in between semesters are generally filled with meetings, curriculum revision, paperwork, and let’s not forget research and publication because as we all know, publish or perish for most of us.

Valerie Strauss:

We have all heard it — and to be honest, we are sick of it. Sure, we get summers “off.” I should not need to mention that during that time we attend workshops, plan lessons and rewrite curriculum we rework to meet changing standards, but, apparently, I do. Here are some things people may not realize about the lives of teachers.

Free time.  Our free time is spent grading papers, planning lessons, and researching new ways to teach concepts. The majority of us are more than teachers; we are tutors, coaches, and sponsors. We spend time after school (me: or before and after class as well as during office hours) helping develop talents and skills, for no extra pay. We give up time with our families to help mold your child (me: adult).

Little or no privacy. We cannot go to Walmart in shorts, no make-up, and a pony-tail because we might run into a student and parent … Or a student might see a bottle of wine in our cart and when Monday comes, we hear students saying making jokes, like Ms. So and So is a wino, or Ms. So and So, you didn’t listen to the DARE lady.

Me: I don’t know the last time I left the house in questionable clothing or looking just slightly disheveled even to go to the gym for fear of running into a student. Forget going to bars,clubs, or concerts and not always having in the back of my mind that I have to maintain an image.


Then there is social media, which has become a dangerous land mine. You have a bad day or a bad customer? No problem; many of you can rant online.  If teachers do that, we get pulled into the office for our negativity. We even get chastised if a friend posts an inappropriate post on our page. Even with privacy settings, things get out, so if it is not PG, it doesn’t go on my page. Everyone says we have freedom of speech, but anything can be taken out of context and lead to a dismissal. Oh and did I mention homecoming week? Everyone’s house is victimized. If you are loved by students,  only toilet paper awaits. Hated? Get ready…


Forget even having a social media account that isn’t dedicated 100% to my professional life. I gave up on social media the moment I realized I can easily be found by anyone at any time. I am terrified of social media and my friends, who may possible curse in a post on my page. This could result in a student or administrator seeing it and be pulled into an office for a discussion on image. God forbid a student for one reason or another decides to have it out for me (maybe for an F they rightfully earned), social media becomes the perfect easy access target for ammunition. As far as my students are concerned, I do not exist outside of the school and my interests are nil other than art history and teaching.


Sickness. We can’t get sick and stay home — at least not without guilt.  When many people miss work, a desk is empty or a register stays closed. We have 30  or so souls who need to learn. Somebody has to do a sick teacher’s job, and that somebody is either a sub or a teacher who gives up preparation time to cover the class.


In 9 years of college teaching, I have not used one sick day. I have come in with broke legs, on crutches, blinding migraines, 24-hours after I was released from the hospital, you name it. As long as I am not carrying a contagious disease, I am there at the start of class of before, without fail.


We save the world. It is not all bad. We save and guide our students’ lives. Teachers help choose majors, guide interests, and build confidence. We inspire and redirect. We don’t have superpowers, but we do have impact. And when things go well, we are thanked, years later. Our students remember us when they get older. They are at class reunions and say, ‘Remember when Ms. So and So said that? She changed my life.’

That is why we cannot live a “normal” life. We are not “normal” people.


There is always that one student who begins the semester and is only taking my class “to fulfill a credit requirement” but somewhere in the middle of the semester, I start to see the spark. They get the art bug. Next they are sending me articles and checking out galleries, none of which was required for class. Sometimes, I even get emails that students have changed their major or decided to apply to a graduate art history program. That’s when it’s really worth it.

Oh, neither Valerie in her article nor I mentioned the crap pay, but its there. No Bugattis or mansions for me!





Copy Makes Perfect: Sturtevant at MoMA (Hyperallergic)

by Cynthia Cruz on February 11, 2015 original article here.

Installation view of 'Sturtevant: Double Trouble' at the Museum of Modern Art (© 2014 The Museum of Modern Art; photo by Thomas Griesel; all works by Sturtevant © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)

Installation view of ‘Sturtevant: Double Trouble’ at the Museum of Modern Art (© 2014 The Museum of Modern Art; photo by Thomas Griesel; all works by Sturtevant © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)


The concepts of appropriation and replication were on the lips of many presenters at the College Art Association (CAA) conference this year. In light of the buzz on this topic, I thought this article would be appropriate.

Repetition is displacement, repetition is difference; repetition is pushing the limits of resemblance and limitation — it has some other factors or dynamics. So it’s not like saying you repeat. For instance, Andy Warhol repeated, but he did not do repetition … But repetition has nothing to do with repeating. —Sturtevant

The multiplication of things under an absolutely identical concept has as its consequence the division of the concept into absolutely identical things. —Gilles Deleuze

The Museum of Modern Art’s current retrospective of Sturtevant’s work, Double Trouble, is a study in movement. Along with her many near-replications of other artists’ work (including takes on Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Félix Gonzalez-Torres, and Joseph Beuys) it features her more recent video works. These videos — “Finite Infinite” (2010), a corridor-long projection of a dog running; “Dillinger Running Series” (2000), in which Sturtevant-as-Beuys races along the wall to a pounding beat; and “Pacman” (2012), featuring footage of the eponymous game, with Pac-Man racing after and consuming dots and fruits — each introduce elements of a pervasive theme that relates to racing, consuming, and being consumed. Juxtaposed with her “copy” pieces, these videos shed light on her work: Sturtevant’s practice consumes pieces by other artists as she races ahead, making herself invisible behind the work of others in order to avoid being consumed in turn.

Installation view of ‘Sturtevant: Double Trouble’ at the Museum of Modern Art (© 2014 The Museum of Modern Art; photo by Thomas Griesel; all works by Sturtevant © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)


She is, of course, not actually invisible. She exists in the space between the original work and the copy. In this way, she stays ahead of the game. And it is in this space, this trace, that Sturtevant’s genius exists. In Of Grammatology, Derrida describes trace as the difference between two signs. For example, the meaning of woman will always have the shadow of man behind it. The space between is the trace. It is the “mark of the absence of a presence, an always-already absent present.”

In an interview with SUNY Purchase art history professors Bruce Hainley and Michael Lobel printed in the MoMA catalogue, Sturtevant says that she read Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition in its original in French in Ibiza with the assistance of a French-English dictionary. Years later, when the book was translated into English, Sturtevant reread the book, which, as one might imagine, was an entirely different text from the one she read in 1968 when it was first published. Deleuze’s central idea is that when, for example, Marcel Duchamp makes a copy of a urinal, the new copy is the event; it is no longer about the (so-called) original copy. This concept infers a sense of movement, the movement from so-called copy to copy, and it is in this movement of copying that Sturtevant’s artwork occurs.

Sturtevant’s work is often confused for an act of “appropriation” and consequently taken as a gesture of anger directed at the male artists whose work she “appropriates.” It is revealing to contrast this with the work of male artists deemed “appropriation artists,” like Richard Prince or even Andy Warhol, neither of whom has been construed as angry or even political. As a result, her work is often dismissed as an affront. One example is a review by Vincent Noce in the French newspaper Libération of Sturtevant’s 2010 exhibition, The Razzle Dazzle of Thinking, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Noce writes:

A pioneer of the “appropriationist” trend, the artist asserts facsimile as artistic process. She confuses replicating with copying, which are two distinct notions: a replica is realized by the artist him- or herself. In music or literature, such a debate would be unimaginable: a plagiarist who reproduced a score note for note, or a book word for word, and then affixed his or her name to it would be covered in shame. But in the visual arts, legitimacy is acquired through obscurity of discourse. What is fundamentally at stake is aesthetics. One must see these copies to realize just how ugly they are: crudely made, with mediocre materials, gloomy colors, all the life having run out of them. Parody is a gesture that might have had meaning in the 1960s. But just as spluttering does not make a story, posturing does not make art, and imposture even less.

Sturtevant, "Study for Muybridge Plate #97: Woman Walking" (1966) (Glenstone; photo by Alex Jamison; © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)

Sturtevant, “Study for Muybridge Plate #97: Woman Walking” (1966) (Glenstone; photo by Alex Jamison; © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)

To confine Sturtevant’s work to “appropriation” art is to miss the beauty and the genius of it. At MoMA we are helped by interviews in which she speaks frankly about her impulse and what drives her. Discussing Duchamp, Warhol, and Deleuze, she returns over and over to the theme of repetition. Repetition as the guiding force; appropriation as the means by which to make repetition. Compulsive repetition does several things. For one, it negates: when an image is repeated, the second iteration erases the first. In other words, the second replaces the first — the first is negated. Say the same word over and over and the word will eventually lose meaning. This is what Sturtevant means when she proclaims, in the introduction to the Double Trouble catalogue, “I wanted to make an artwork that could disappear.” The same can be said for the artist.

Installation view of 'Sturtevant: Double Trouble' at the Museum of Modern Art (© 2014 The Museum of Modern Art; photo by Thomas Griesel; all works by Sturtevant © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)

Installation view of ‘Sturtevant: Double Trouble’ at the Museum of Modern Art (© 2014 The Museum of Modern Art; photo by Thomas Griesel; all works by Sturtevant © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)

By repeatedly taking on the roles of other artists and making work that replicates their work, Sturtevant vanishes, in essence, into the background. But so do the artists she imitates, whose “originals” are consumed by her “copies.” In interviews, she has stated that she does not want biographical information included in relation to her work. Biographical information overshadows the work, she said, and then people wont look at the work. In order for her work to work, she needs to vanish.


Installation view of ‘Sturtevant: Double Trouble’ at the Museum of Modern Art (© 2014 The Museum of Modern Art; photo by Thomas Griesel; all works by Sturtevant © Estate Sturtevant, Paris)






Florida Isn’t Passing Out Satanic Coloring Books—Yet (artnet news)

Sarah Cascone, Tuesday, October 7, 2014 original article here.

The Satanic Children's Big Book of Activities, now available in public schools in Orange County, Florida. Photo: the Satanic Temple.

The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities Photo: the Satanic Temple

Although reports that Florida’s Orange County school district has granted Satanists permission to distribute coloring books (see “Satanic Coloring Books Distributed at Florida Public Schools“) have triggered online protests, the reports are in fact premature. So far, the Satanic Temple has not approached the school for permission to pass out The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Nevertheless, the story has gained traction in the Catholic community. Robert Ritchie, executive director of the Pennsylvania-based America Needs Fatima—a Catholic organization dedicated to the “Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property,”—has responded with a furious email campaign, posting on his blog that “we must not turn away and surrender our school children to the Satanists!”

School board chairman Bill Sublette and vice chair Kat Gordon have received 8,150 email messages from Ritchie and his followers urging them to save the children and cease the distribution of said coloring books—which, as it turns out, haven’t even been printed, let alone handed out.

This seems similar to the furor over the Satanic Temple’s planned Oklahoma Statehouse Baphomet statue (see “Satanic Temple Monument Almost Ready for Oklahoma Statehouse“), which only exists in maquette form, and has not been acknowledged by the state government. (Oklahoma is not allowing any new statues to be installed until the controversy over a Ten Commandments monument has been resolved.)

According to district counsel Woody Rodriguez, the Satanic Temple has not yet made a formal request regarding the coloring book, and any materials would have to be reviewed and approved by the district before being given to the children. Sublette, for his part, is in favor of risking future law suits by banning the distribution of all religious materials from outside groups at Orange County schools (the current controversy was triggered after another group was allowed to give Bibles out at local high schools).