Intellectual Profile: Andy Burns

1. Give some basic information about your studies and fields of interest.

I am an integrative physiology major and am primarily involved with studies concerning the human immune system and endocrine system.  Ironically, despite my major, I hate hospitals and could never work in one.  In fact I am planning to avoid working in healthcare at all costs.  My primary interest is animal health, and I am planning on pursuing veterinary medicine in my future.

2. Describe an exhibition that you liked or found impressive. Tell us why. Please provide a link to a website, if possible.

The Clyfford Stills museum has actually been the most impressive thing I’ve seen in a while.  I checked it out over the weekend and was really blown away.  This fascination was not entirely directed towards individual pieces, but rather on the stylistic evolution of Clyfford.  His directional shift from the portrayal of physical emotion in the faces of subjects to the visual depiction of the human spirit was incredible.  It was just really cool to such a spiritual exhibit.

3. Which books did you read of late (art, fiction, non-fiction)? Pick one and go into detail about it.

I recently read a non-fiction book called “13cent killers”.  It was about the 5th marine sniper division in the Vietnam war, or conflict.  I wish I had something a little more artistic to go into detail about, but really this book was just pretty violent.  The moral of the story is that the 5th marine sniper division was very accurate.  Another interesting piece of the story is that many of those soldiers had no mission; they basically ventured through the forest and engaged random enemy targets.  Obviously this took a major psychological toll, causing many of them to return home with PTSD.

4. What are your main interests besides art?

My two primary personal interests are nature and music.  I grew up in the woods and naturally have a strong attraction to the outdoors.  It has a calming effect on me and is very important.  I’ve always felt that for some x amount of hours one spends indoors, one must spend y amount of time with themselves in nature.  Music is also a huge personal interest.  I play guitar or piano at least once every day, and that has become my primary form of artistic expression.

5. Which blogs do you check regularly?

This is actually my first experience with blogging.  When I first checked out the blog for this class I thought it looked like a very confusing attempt at utilizing technology in class.  After figuring out how to actually post, I feel much better about it and am beginning to actually like it.

6. Which cultural event has really impressed you lately? This can be a museum, a concert, or anything like that, but also a sports game (if you consider this a cultural event for which there are good reasons). Or anything I am not even thinking of … Again, tell us why.

The attempts to pass SOPA and PIPA has impressed me, but not in a good way.  The fact that our government is trying to increase regulation over the free domain of the Internet is something that bothers me.  I feel that the US governments attempt to infringe on the freedom of its citizens is definitely culturally significant (and I’m not some hippy surfing the pirate bay, stealing music and eating hot pockets).  Censorship will always lead to a loss of freedom, and if that occurs, I may consider Canada as a future residence.

7. Please describe briefly an article in a newspaper or a magazine that got you thinking lately. Reading online is fine, and what you introduce here does not have to be about art. If the respective article is available online, please link to it!

http://news.yahoo.com/breakthrough-seaweed-biofuel-reported-140651710.html;_ylt=AjGFctbj.ZqFJnOD4.Ke99V7hMgF;_ylu=X3oDMTRnZ2J1cmRhBG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBTY2llbmNlU0YgRGlub3NhdXJzRm9zc2lsc1NTRgRwa2cDZGI3MGUyYjYtZjViZC0zNDc0LWE1ZjAtZjllNWRjMWQ2MTQyBHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzdjMjRmMzIwLTQzNzAtMTFlMS1iZmZmLTc5ZTM0ZWNiZjU5Mw–;_ylg=X3oDMTJmYjY1OWZqBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANzY2llbmNlfGRpbm9zYXVycyAtIGZvc3NpbHMEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnMEdGVzdAM-;_ylv=3

I’m not sure why the link is so long, but the article is fantastic.  The article describes how the development of enzymes capable of metabolizing seaweed could enable seaweed to be used as an energy source.  Such a possibility would enable our fuel to be grown underwater, in environmentally safe conditions.  This breakthrough would be able to decrease mining, and could save hundred of thousands of acres of untouched wilderness in Canada and Alaska.  This could also enable our country to be completely free of middle east oil, allowed us to increase American jobs.

8. Please share with us a thought or an idea that really widened your intellectual horizon. Again, this must not be limited to the visual arts. If possible, give a source for this idea so that others know where to go to if they are interested.

The ideas mentioned by Aldous Huxley in his 1954 book “The Doors of Perception” really launched my interest into the metaphysical world of expression.  No longer was I constantly thinking in physical terms, but rather in spiritual and symbolic terms.  The book really opened my mind to the ideas though of as being outside the box.  It definitely enhanced my understanding of abstract expressionism as well as certain forms of abstract music and poetry.

9. Have you been to the Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver and BMoca Boulder? Describe one art object or a show you remember seeing.

I’ve never been to either of those museums so I am unable to comment on them.  I can however, describe my reaction to a particular art piece at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The particular piece was the cubism painting “Nude Descending a Staircase” by Marcel Duchamp.  I really love cubism and this one was particularly interesting due to its lack of bright colors typically seen in other cubism paintings.

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