Tag Archive for arts

John Frazer: Professor of Art, Emeritus Taught Drawing, Film for 42 Years

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes consecutively at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He's pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own paintings. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He's pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

After 42 years of teaching, and a lifetime of painting and drawing, John Frazer isn’t ready to rinse his brushes clean just yet.

Although the professor of art, emeritus, is wheelchair-bound after six knee surgeries, his art studio remains intact. Set-up easels, brushes and oil paints, a painter’s palate and untouched cotton canvases await his return.

“I haven’t been able to paint in over a year, but I will return to painting. I am sure of that, but I prefer to work standing up,” Frazer says. “It’s the only way I’ve ever worked.”

Frazer, a Texas native, came to Wesleyan in 1959 for a one-year appointment teaching painting and drawing to undergraduates.

“I got off the bus on Main Street in Middletown, walked up to campus and looked at the Davison Art Center, and said, ‘I’m going to stay here,'” he recalls.

Frazer, now 76, was 27 years old at the time. He had recently completed a Fulbright grant

Alumni Involved in Arts and Culture

Books
William Evans Jr. ’40 Is a Figure in World War II Book
A new book by Robert Mrazek, A Dawn Like Thunder (Little Brown, 2008), tells a little known story of 35 men in the almost forgotten U.S. Navy Torpedo Squadron Eight that helped change the course of history at the epic World War II battles of Midway and Guadalcanal.

These men displayed acts of courage, loyalty, and sacrifice and went on to become the most highly decorated American naval air squadron of the war. Williams Evans Jr. ’40 was one of the heroes in the squadron, and his story is one of many covered in Mrazek’s stirring narrative. The book notes that Evans kept a personal journal and shares some of his thoughts about entering the Navy.

Joshua F. Moore ’94 is the author of the book What’s in a Picture?: Uncovering the Hidden Stories in Vintage Maine Photographs, published in 2008.

Moore ’94 Writes About Vintage Maine Photographs
Over the years, Joshua F. Moore ’94, deputy editor of Down East magazine, has written that publication’s popular feature “What’s in a Picture?” for which he has traveled the length and breadth of Maine to find intriguing historic photographs that capture unique people, places, and situations within the state. Moore is now the author and editor of What’s in a Picture?: Uncovering the Hidden Stories in Vintage Maine Photographs (Down East Enterprise, 2008), a collection of 50 historic and sometimes hilarious photographs. Through his interviews and in-depth research, Moore shares the fascinating stories behind the photographs, which cover a range of unusual events, oddball occupations, ingenious machinery, and creative pastimes.

Music
Opera by Cuomo ’80 Inspired by North Indian Music
The first full staging of Arjuna’s Dilemma, an unconventional new opera by Douglas Cuomo ’80, was presented at the Harvey Theater of the Brooklyn Academy Music in November. The opera is based on the renowned sacred text of Asia, the Bhagavad-Gita, and deals with a crisis faced by a young warrior prince in ancient India during a civil war. Cuomo has written music for theater, classical ensembles, and film and television (including the theme song for Sex and the City). For his new work, he draws upon North Indian music as well as elements of classical Western music and jazz. National Public Radio featured the opera.

In his enthusiastic review of Arjuna’s Dilemma in the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini describes Cuomo’s score as “appealing and unabashedly eclectic.” He comments: “Arjuna’s vocal lines, a stylistic blend of Indian chant and Western lyricism, are enriched by a chorus of five women, singing in English. … I liked the score best when Mr. Cuomo pushed the complexity to extremes, piling up Arjuna’s solos, choral counterpoint and instrumental textures to create haunting, astringent, multilayered music, with cluster chords in the electric keyboard and spiraling flights in the strings and winds.”

A recording titled Dragon's Head by bandleader Mary Halvorson '02 and the Mary Halvorson Trio was released in November 2008.

New Album Features Guitarist/Composer Halvorson ’02
The talents of acclaimed Brooklyn-based guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson ’02 are showcased on her debut recording as a bandleader, titled Dragon’s Head, which was released on the Firehouse 12 label in November. The album features ten new original compositions written specifically for her working trio with bassist John Hebert and drummer Ches Smith. The recording allowed Halvorson the opportunity to experiment with different compositional forms, as well as varying harmonic, melodic and rhythmic components. She has previously composed music for recordings with her chamber music duo with violist Jessica Pavone and the avant-rock duo, People, with drummer Kevin Shea. At Wesleyan, Halvorson took classes with Professor of Music Anthony Braxton, the celebrated musician and composer, and has also performed with his music ensembles.

In a profile of Halvorson and her music in the New York Times in November, Nate Chinen discussed the new recording. He noted: “More than an auspicious debut, it is among this year’s standout jazz albums and one of the more original recent statements by any jazz guitarist, let alone a female jazz guitarist.” She was also featured in All About Jazz.com.


Theater

Nikolchev ’08 Presents Solo Show in Chicago
Actor and writer Anthony Nikolchev ’08 presents the Chicago premiere of his solo show, Look, What I Don’t Understand, as part of Thirteen Pocket’s first season devoted to original works. This one-man drama draws upon historical narratives experienced by Nikolchev’s family during their 1960s escape from the totalitarian hostility of communist Bulgaria to detainment in America, challenging himself and audiences to comprehend the experience of past generations through the perspective of present generations. Told through the words of a middle-aged Bulgarian immigrant at the gates of the U.S. border, the show integrates documentary theater with fictional narrative while it challenges the audience’s ability to process the alleged objectivity of history.

Several directors were employed to bring as many different perspectives to one story as possible to reflect the myriad of ways one historical event can be interpreted. These included Jane Kaufman, a dance choreographer; Joe Stankus, a film director; writer Lily Wahrman; and Justin Denis, a political activist and a recent field organizer for Obama during his presidential campaign. Yuriy Kordonskiy, assistant professor of theater at Wesleyan, was the supervising director for the show. Nikolchev and Kordonskiy are recipients of a Wesleyan University Project Grant.

Post-show discussions with Nikolchev and guests will be held following the Sunday matinees on Jan. 11, 18 and 25, and Feb. 1, 2009 (free with paid ticket).

The show runs from Jan. 8, 2009–Feb. 1, 2009 at the Athenaeum Theatre Studio 1, 2936 N. Southport Avenue. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays. For tickets, call 312-902-1500 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $15 for all regular performances; $10 for students and seniors with ID, and for each in groups of 10 or more; $10 for industry members on Sunday shows.

Green Street Arts Center Topic at Cultural Identity Conference

Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships, is a distinguished presenter at a cultural identity conference Oct. 23.

Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships, is a distinguished presenter at a cultural identity conference Oct. 23.

Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships, will investigate two partnerships between higher education institutions and urban communities during a conference at Trinity College Oct. 23.

The day-long event, titled “Cultural Identity through the Arts in Urban Communities,” will pursue how academic institutions can develop new and innovative collaborative projects with diverse communities in urban settings.

10 Artists Featured in Documentary Photography Exhibit

Nina Felshin explains a recent exhibition of Eric Gottesman and Sudden Flowers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Curator Nina Felshin explains a recent exhibition of Eric Gottesman and Sudden Flowers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

By Intisar Abioto ’09

The current Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery exhibition Framing and Being Framed: The Uses of Documentary Photography, challenges the traditional space between the artist, the subject and the viewer.

The exhibition of two-dimensional photographs, photo installations, video and web-based works features art by Ann Messner, Perry Bard, Matthew Buckingham, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, An-My Lê, Emily Jacir, Alfredo Jaar, Eric Gottesman and Kota Ezawa.

Curator Nina Felshin planned this exhibition after meeting with Jennifer Tucker, chair and associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, associate professor of history, associate professor of science in society, several years ago. Tucker organized a university-wide, photography project, Eye of History: The Camera as Witness, a semester long series of exhibitions, films and talks exploring how photographs shape the ways in which people remember historical events.

Buddhist Prints on Display in Mansfield Gallery

Buddhist Prints from the Derge Parkhang" is on display at the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Gallery through Dec. 7.  The Derge Parkhang is one of the foremost cultural, social, religious, and historical institutions in Tibet.

An exhibit titled "The Pearl of the Snowlands: Buddhist Prints from the Derge Parkhang" is on display at the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Gallery through Dec. 7. Founded in 1729 by Denba Tserenone, the Derge Parkhang is of the foremost cultural, social, religious, and historical institutions in Tibet.

Schorr Displays Paintings in NYC Gallery

David Schorr, professor of art, has a solo art exhibit titled “Goods,” which runs from Oct. 16-Nov. 29 at the Mary Ryan Gallery in New York, N.Y.

The exhibit features Schorr’s new product paintings. An opening reception was held Oct. 16 at the gallery. Samples of his work are above.