Final reminder / a sonnet / some more art for you to enjoy or ignore

The hour of reckoning is almost upon us. Your final exam will take place tomorrow, Tuesday 17 December 2013 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. in our regular classroom, Humanities 1003. Be there or be square (where square = satisfied with your current grade as described in previous announcements). No graphing calculators allowed. You can write on both sides of your cheat sheet.

The format is as follows: section one has two problems, both of which you must answer. Sections two through four have three problems each; you must complete two problems from each of these sections.I wrote a sonnet for inspirational purposes. It’s Petrarchan in spirit, if not exactly in form (I go ABBACDDC in the octet, rather than ABBAABBA).


No spirit wearies not, to bear the toll
Of daily life, small burdens, cruel misdeeds.
Unsated tastes and unacknowledged needs —
Too common, all too toxic to the soul.
And weakness gestates, stealthy and perverse
When granted berth by pettiness and greed.
It siphons strength; the impetus to lead
Subsides, our fate resigned to with a curse.
But let reserves of heroism swell!
Until the reservoir o’erflows its side.
Though latent genius seems always to dwell,
It tarries not beholden to the tide,
Nor to the stars. Assert control; live well.
Reject malaise and mount the world astride.


Caspar Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter. He killed the game.

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog:

The Sea of Ice:

Friedrich didn’t get too many props in his day, but by the turn of the twentieth century a lot of peeps were like “Ayo Caspar was pretty dope tho damn!” and he is now cited as an influence on many artists from that period forward, including Gerhard Richter, the man whom a recent Vanity Fair article declared “our most admired living artist” based upon the results of a survey of 100 art-world cognoscenti. The top six artists were, in order: Richter, Jasper Johns, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman, and Ellsworth Kelly. No big surprises there. Ai Weiwei, John Baldessari, Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, and James Turrell were among the also-rans. I was slightly surprised that Chuck Close didn’t garner any votes. His massive portraits at the Met are worth long looks, but you really have to see them in person.



Incidentally, Gerhard Richter gets hipster cred by virtue of the fact that Sonic Youth used his painting Kerze (“Candle”) as the cover art for their magnum opus Daydream Nation.


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