The AAW, Detroit, and the Future

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by C Edward Moore, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    Jovan - Is "moving forward into the serious art world", where pesumably a few very talented artists could make a lot more money with their creations, more important to the AAW than passing on the skills / knowledge of woodturning to new generations of turners well into the future? Personally, I don't think it is.

    Are the two objectives mutually exlcusive? They very well may be if not handled appropriately.

    Ed
     
  2. John Van Domelen

    John Van Domelen Retired Forum Admin

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    "As far as censorship and art is concerned, art galleries / musuems make decisions all the time about what will and won't be sold / displayed. Why shouldn't the AAW have just as much discretion (assuming a willingness to exercise such discretion (which seem to missing at the moment))." - Ed_McDonnell

    Ed, that discretion was exercised. Malcolm stated in another thread that the work was observed and an assessment made to allow it to stay.

    This is about not caving in to pressure from visitors to the gallery that found the work offensive. A decision was made, some people just don't like it...

    There was a time in history that nudes were defaced and marred. Paintings had clothing added, phallus's were hacked off of marble statues, all because someone found them offensive. Sounds pretty silly now, but it is really no different than the censorship (from outside the team making the decisions) that is being advocated.

    Today's controversies can become tomorrows classics.
     
  3. John Van Domelen

    John Van Domelen Retired Forum Admin

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    " Is "moving forward into the serious art world", where pesumably a few very talented artists could make a lot more money with their creations"

    Ed, I disagree with your basic premise.

    It is more thus I think: "A Tide on Which All Boats Rise" -- Claude Steele, 1996
     
  4. Malcolm Tibbetts

    Malcolm Tibbetts

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    Colonel Sheffy, I’ve known for a long time that it does little good to try to shake hands with a clinched fist, so I was reluctant to jump into this discussion. I attempted to find you in the AAW Resource Directory and then I tried to look you up in the WOW membership listing; I failed to find your email or phone number anywhere, so I'm force to respond here.

    You and a few others have expressed strong opposition to one of your fellow woodturner’s efforts at making a political statement with his art. That is certainly your right and privilege as an American citizen and/or as an AAW member (I assume that you are a member). And if you don’t appreciate my own occasional attempt at making a social comment with my art, then that is also your right.

    What I take exception to is the attempt to prevent your fellow member(s) from expressing themselves. I wonder what the general membership reaction would have been if I had removed this woodturning (or piece of paper) from the instant gallery. I’m quite confident that there would have been at least an equally strong expression of disgust.

    While I certainly respect members of our society who have served our country for the benefit of all (I myself served during the Vietnam “conflictâ€), I don’t understand any attempt at reducing the freedoms which have cost us so much.

    For the record, I have never in any way tried to influence the direction of the AAW or its board with any of my own personal opinions (political or otherwise). I have served with what I have always considered to be the best interest of all members as a whole. Someone must have thought that I had their best interest at heart during the last election. I will serve my term as elected or until asked by the board to resign. If you feel particularly passionate about my removal, then it is certainly within your rights to campaign for my removal. Quite frankly, I could use a break from the 100’s of hours annually that I dedicate to this organization that I dearly love.

    Malcolm Tibbetts
    AAW Board member (V.P.)
    Richmond Instant Gallery Coordinator
     
  5. Barry Elder

    Barry Elder

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    Ed,

    While I disagree with most of what you said, but not all, I wish you had started your rant on the "Back Porch".
     
  6. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    Malcolm - What if a piece had been entered along with a written statement advocating pedophilia or endorsing genocide in Darfur? Would you have felt just as strongly about protecting the freedom of expression of the "artist"?

    I hope that in such a case that common sense would prevail over artistic freedom of expression. If in fact there are some "works of art" that the AAW could conceivably find too offensive to allow their display at AAW sanctioned events, then the issue is not censorship. The issue is where to draw the line.

    If freedom of artistic expression is truly the ultimate goal of the AAW and "anything goes" is to be the policy, then perhaps that should be clearly spelled out to the membership so that each member can evaluate how the AAW is (or isn't) meeting their individual needs.

    Ed
     
  7. Truffuls

    Truffuls

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    Huh? WTF???

    If you find this piece so upsetting I guess you don't read many newspapers. This looks like a collection of headlines or quotes from the news.

    It most certainly is a turned piece. Not unlike the work of Binh Pho. Do you find his work offensive? his thin-walled vessels are turned, then carved and painted, just like this piece. I saw a giant piece on the wall that had NO turning in it at all and was predominantly made up of cut out letters. THAT piece, in my mind, was not appropriate as it was in no way turned.

    As far as the politics of the board, every organization has some kind of slant with their board. In fact, it is the board that usually cements my decision to leave an organization. We elect them, they get power crazed and all hell breaks loose.

    Oh, BTW, By "Detroit" I assume you are referring to MEXICO? The majority of "American" labeled cars are made in Mexico. Both my Toyota Siennas on the other hand, where proudly made by Americans in Kentucky.

    I never even saw this piece because I was too busy trying to get someone to help me with my purse being stolen. I found it extremely upsetting that no one helped me and that there was not better security in the gallery, especially when we were not permitted to hold our bags.

    The symposium was a stellar event for me, but Richmond, VA is a run-down dump and I will never set foot in it again. It has been more than a week now and I still don't have a police report. They are demanding I show up in person if I want one.:confused:
     
  8. Malcolm Tibbetts

    Malcolm Tibbetts

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    Ed, I don't think that I ever said that I support a policy of "anything goes". Actually, I’m on record as saying,

    “To censor an entry in the AAW Instant Gallery, I think the piece would have to be much more offensive that what I witnessed.

    This is just my personal view and in no way should it reflect on the remainder of the AAW board. When art galleries, even the AAW IG, start censoring anti-war statements, etc, I’ll know that our country is really sliding down a slippery slope.”


    And just in case there’s any doubt, I posted this statement on another forum…

    “During the Instant Gallery critique by Albert Lecoff, Steve Keeble, and Louise Hibbert, one piece was very favorably discussed because the maker had also displayed a series of "step by step" photos. In the panel's opinion, this really added to the enjoyment of the piece. In the case of my tribute piece to George Washington, I also displayed several additional items - a postcard from the 1930's showing the tree, a brochure from the 1932 George Washington Bi-centennial, and a copy of my recent journal article. Those documents helped explain my inspiration for creating the piece. In the case of this "political" piece, I accept the maker's desire to share his inspiration for making his piece. He didn't just put a picture on the table with a dead baby and overlay it with a "Stop War" banner. He created a "woodturning" and he displayed his inspiration for creating his woodturning. To agree or disagree with his views is every person's right, but I certainly applaud him for "taking a stance" and not being one of the millions who are so apathetic about what goes on in the world. He used his woodturning skills to “make a point”; expressing a “view” with art has been an accepted form of expression since almost the beginning of time. I’m really having a difficult time understanding why there seems to be so much resentment against this “woodturner” or against his including a few paragraphs of text next to his art.”

    This discussion has gone in enough circles, so I will no longer participate in this thread; it's gone no where and it's unlikely to change anyone's view. I will however respond to any emails at: malcolm@tahoeturner.com
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  9. steelguy

    steelguy

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    Wow!

    My, my, my...a review of this string of passion will find - turners who are green; - turners who are dry; - thoughts that are segmented; - thoughts that are skewed; - ideas that are slick; - ideas used as a gouge; - and folks who are scrapers, but with ground and honed ideas.

    I'd suggest that y'all lighten up, go find a piece of your favorite wood and turn something for the local hospital auction!
     
  10. Barbara Gill

    Barbara Gill

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    First of all, Richmond is not a run-down dump. It is like any other city with good and bad parts. Unfortunately the part of Richmond visitors are exposed to when attending events at the Convention Center is not a good part. I knew that eating and lodging would be an issue because of this.

    The second part of your post disturbs me but also leaves a question. unanswered. Was your purse stolen while under the responsibility of the volunteers overseeing the Instant Gallery? Each time I left my bag at the entrance point I removed my wallet. There was no way I would even consider leaving valuables unattended especially my wallet. The police report is something you should pursue with Richmond officials.
     
  11. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    Some conclusions

    I just rescanned the responses and I have a few observations:
    1. Most of those who hollered "Free Speech!" the loudest wanted my post out of sight on the Back Porch. That certainly sounds like "Free speech for me, but not for you!", which is consistent.
    2. Some don't know the difference between a reasoned discourse and a rant.
    3. Most objections came from newbies with 4 posts. They know the answers, but do they understand the questions?
    4. Twenty per cent of the membership looks down on and has disdain for eighty per cent of the membership. This is not healthy.
    5. All some folks care about 80% of the membership is that they pay their dues so they (the 20%) may continue to enjoy good demos.
    6. Some whose mantra is "Art uber alles!" failed to understand that all I was saying is "Art that is turned, please.".
    7. Many failed to understand that my main point was "Folks may vote with their feet if we don't wake up and show them some respect." I should have stated this more directly.
    8. Twenty per cent don't get it. Having the AAW choose art that is not turned is a slap in the face of the eighty per cent who want turned pieces selected. Reread #7.
    9. Fortunately, I was spared vitriolic personal attacks. The worst that was said was that I should run for the Board. :D
     
  12. Jerry Rhoads

    Jerry Rhoads

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    Wow
    It took me a long time to read all that
    I'm going out to the shop to turn something ( and have fun

    Jerry
     
  13. John Abt

    John Abt

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    I seldom get involved in political discussions in this forum because it frustrates me to see how easily out of hand things can get. I, too, have served over 20 years in the Air Force from the Viet Nam era thru Desert Storm. I felt that I was defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe that we should hold our rights dearly. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a right that says we have a right to not be offended, but the Third Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    I did not see the piece in question and I may have also been offended by it, but I will never condone censorship because I'm made to feel anger or outrage. As Voltaire wrote, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    This is a ridiculous arguement. You are trying to equate a political statement with crimes against humanity and felonious behavior. I won't dignify that analogy by commenting further.

    As for the direction that the AAW is taking, I have to wonder where all of the concern was during the general membership meeting on Sunday morning at the Symposium. The meeting was held from 9:45 to 10:45 and did not conflict with any rotation. I don't have a full count of the attendance, but I believe there were more board members than regular members. Angelo and the rest of the board specifically asked the few of us in attendance, "What can the AAW do for the membership?" I was able to ask my questions and I received some very direct answers. In light of the tangent that this thread had(has) taken, I can't help but wonder why so few members stepped up to show any concern for the organization's direction in the venue that could have brought it to the board's attention. I also wonder that, givien the attendance, whether there is true concern for the AAW?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
  14. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    I don't quite understand the %80/%20 I guess. But all of the art did use a lathe for some portion of it.
    I am reading this as because the organizations title has woodturners in it, your real actual issue here is the works aren't just wood, or just worked on the lathe exclusively or are altered or combined with some other medium?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
  15. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    John - So to sum it up, you'll defend free speech to the death unless such speech crosses a line as defined by you. You apparently believe that it is ok to censor anything that crosses your line.

    The only difference between you and the members you are trying to paint as enemies of free speech is where you draw the line on censorship. A failure to recognize that would be the ultimate in hypocrisy.

    Ed
     
  16. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    accurate quote?

    Steve,

    You have quoted me inaccurately. The smiley was after #9, not #8. That creates a false impression.

    Apparently you are trying to not understand me and you have succeeded. I have not objected to any substance used nor to any art. Many pieces are turned on a lathe and then embellished. Fine. Ed Kelle's excellent piece was turned on a lathe and then made to look like coral. Fine. The artist whose rectangular blocks were chosen had some elegant turned boxes that were not chosen. Why not choose his best work? In the IG I commented about this and was asked by a bystander where I would draw the line. I replied, "That's easy." and proceeded to draw an imaginary line with my finger between the two rectangular pieces and his turned work.

    This isn't rocket science.
     
  17. John Abt

    John Abt

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    Ed,

    I did not intend to state that it could not "cross a line" as defined by me. There are moral issues at stake with your examples. Pedophilia is a CRIME. Genocide is a crime against humanity. They are in no way connected to political statements. The Supreme COurt ruled that under freedom of sppech, you cannot yell "Fire" in a crowded theater and cause a panic. Likewise, you cannot justiify, by any stretch of the imagination, supporting pedophilia.

    I am not trying to paint anyone as an enemy of free speech. I stand by my statement quoting Voltaire. Yes, you have a right to express your opinion and I respect your opinion. Believe it or not, I may have even been offended by the piece in question. You are exercising your right of free speech just as I am expressing mine. I recognize that it may appear hypocritical to draw a line, but that's also part of being human. There's a little bit of hypocrit in all of us.

    Please understand that I am in no way trying to diminish your opinions. I thank you and everyone else here for being willing to openly discuss these issues. That is truly what living in a free society is about.

    Respectfully,
    John
     
  18. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    Why deal with hypotheticals?

    Ed,
    At the next symposium, why not make a piece and decorate it with Roman alphabet characters, extolling your values and call it art. Add to it, any further explanation/description that you feel further embellishes and/or explains the "artistic" image you wish to invoke?
    It would be a way for you to express yourself, and a chance for us to ignore your views (if we want to)... WAR IS GOOD... PERSONAL RIGHTS ARE FOR THOSE WHO AGREE WITH ME! (could be themes to work with).
    I finally got a look at the piece, from the images posted here. It IS pointed, and has an ideological point of view (in the name of full disclosure, much of which I agree with), but art over CENTURIES has had political content, clearly this medium is more difficult, without words.
    Free speech should be (IMO - humble or not) a goal for America, American, and the AAW. You (andI) have excercised it here.
     
  19. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    John - Thanks for clarifying. Our positions are probably a lot closer than my postings on this topic might otherwise lead you to believe. I'm not sure that some of the more strident opponents of censorship posting here fully understand or accept that censorship at some level is what separates a civilized free society from barbaric anarchy.

    Ed
     
  20. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    George - Woodturning is a chance for me to escape from the troubling realities of life. Why would I want to drag politics, social issues, whatever into it? Having to confront what I'm trying to escape (whatever position is being taken) is a quick way to diminsh the joy of participation in this activity for me.

    Ed
     

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