Intellectual Profile (Chanel Host)

Intellectual Profile: Chanel Host

1. I am an avid learner; I enjoy school and have a variety of intellectual interests. I find my biggest problem with school is wanting to learn too much about too many subjects, and being unable to focus on only one field.  I am currently a senior majoring in English. I chose to study English because I have so many intellectual interests I was having trouble choosing just one field of study. I found that through English I was best able to investigate other fields such as art history, creative writing, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and religious studies. In my final semester of college I find myself torn between wanting to graduate and move on to life beyond school and wanting to stay in school forever. I am currently applying to graduate schools to study art management and museum studies. Though I am an English major I have always know that career-wise I see myself in the art world.

2. I was fortunate enough to visit Damien Hirst exhibit For the Love of God in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence last spring. I did not by any means like this exhibit, however I did find it impressive in that I still feel riled up just thinking about it. The ticket prices to see the so called “exhibit” were 18 euro, which is quite expensive for students who are normally admitted to the museum for free. After entering into one of the museums large galleries, an old palace reception room filled with Renaissance masterpieces, you are funneled into a line to get into Damien Hirst’s exhibit. Only four or five people are allowed to pass in through a very small door which leads to a tiny hallway filled with more small renaissance paintings. From here you are led to a black curtain which is pulled back, to reveal the “exhibit,” which consists of a diamond covered skull sitting in a glass box on a pedestal in a pitch black room.  You are only allowed to stay for a minute or two before the attendant shuffles you out the other end through another dark curtain. You emerge into a different part of the museum because it turns out the hallway was a secret passage for the duke of Florence to escape from unwanted visitors.  The ‘exhibit’ was so short and out of place within the normal context of the museum that it defiantly left a lasting impression on me, though the work itself was unimpressive and in my opinion undeserving of such a remarkable display.  http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/tuscanyarts/damien-hirst-diamond-skull-palazzo-vecchio/

3. Over the break I read Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty, which was a fun interesting read about a girl in the 90’s art market in New York. However, the ending was very disappointing and the book became slightly repetitive. I have been reading and re-reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass because I am currently writing my thesis on this poem, which I find inspiring and would recommend to everyone. Also over break I began to read Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, which is a difficult book to explain. If anyone is familiar with Murakami’s illusive abstract and somewhat mystical style this book is his longest work to date and I already find it captivating.  The best book I have read recently is Ada or Ardor by Nabokov. This is a book, which depicts in detail a family history and an erotic love story between two young cousins. It is written so well and with such attention to detail and language that the seemingly disturbing themes become beautiful. The book traces the cousins and their relatives through childhood into their older years when they recall their love story and the complexities of their family upbringing.

4. I have many interests besides and alongside art. I am passionate about design and aesthetic spaces, places, and things. I am equally drawn to nature and I have a love for the desert. I like to camp, hike, and walk as much as possible. I love the sun and warm weather. I work in retail which I find enjoyable and intriguing sometimes. I love to travel and spent half of last year in Italy, which was extremely impressive and enjoyable to me. I am very interested in film and movies, I just saw a movie called Melancholia which was one of the best things I have ever seen. This movie will be playing at the CU film festival and I would encourage everyone to try to see it. I am also very interested in literature, reading and writing. I feel like a very academically minded person, I love to ask why things are.

5. I have never read a blog outside of those for class, nor do I plan to, I have to many things I want to read or actively do to sit in front a computer any longer than is required for school.

6. I went to the Clyfford Still Museum opening and was obviously so overjoyed it is difficult to describe. Still’s work is some of my favorite art I have ever seen and the museum is beautiful. I anticipated its opening for months on end.

7. I just read two articles on the topic of ‘African American literature’, which are in dialogue with one another. The first is an article by Ken Warren, “Does African-American Literature Exist?” (http://chronicle.com/article/Does-African-American/126483/) which makes the claim that African American literature can no longer exists because it is rooted in a historical time period and climate that has since dissipated. This article has been much read and debated, as it is an extension of Warren’s provocative book which suggests the same. The second article is “Something of a Beginning” by Erica Edwards, refuting Warren’s claims. (http://lareviewofbooks.org/post/6482760433/what-is-african-american-literature-a-symposium). This article is very insightful and argues that by pushing aside the genre of African American Literature, one does not create an opportunity to have the genre progress or change into something current. She explains that Warren’s argument only explains the start of African American literature, without allowing for the possibility that such modern African American literature is inalienable from history just as is true for all art forms. By proclaiming a definite end to this form of literature he is condemning the already written works to a static cell, and works of the future are given no space or history from which to grow out of. I think this debate can be applied to other fields, especially art history, which similarly distinguished specific movements by time periods, which once over, are supposed to bring an end to that movement.

8. One of the most eye-opening arena for ideas I have been exposed to is in my geology classes. Seeing a visual display of the microscopic appearance of humans in the grand scale of time is incredible and humbling. It is crazy to think that we have been on this earth for such a tiny fraction of its existence and life’s existence has gone on without humans for millions of years, millions of years! Even more startling then is the fact that we are actually able to alter the earth, which has for so long governed its own processes, in such a short period of time. I find this truly amazing and terrifying all the same.

9. I have been to all three of these museums multiple times. I visit BMocA every few weeks during the farmers market. One exhibit I remember transformed the top floor gallery into a bizarre child’s playhouse environment. There was a large canvas tent shaped like a tepee, which you could crawl inside. The inside was rounded and covered in white fur so you felt like u were in a nest or fuzzy bed, I fell asleep in there! The lights were dim throughout the exhibit, which made me feel like I was inside a scenic nightlight or something. It was really fun and different. All the walls were covered in different materials somewhat like those toys that babies play with that are soft, or crackle, or shiny, or rough. There was a tunnel you could gaze through that was made of pieces of black rubber.

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