Why Hobart is playing Cornell in the (Syracuse University) Carrier Dome today

The lacrosse season-opener got moved – and I’m sure the Buildings and Grounds staff is VERY grateful. McCooey Field is astroturf, but imagine cleaning this seating area over and over again all day Friday and Saturday to try and keep ahead of this!

I guess I have to go to NYC for Spring Break to see the disbound Belles Heures at the Met.

Look at this. Yikes. 172 folios, displayed floating in air? This kind of show is rare – when a book has been disassembled for conservation work or rebinding you can see both sides of all the pages at once. More usually, when you visit the Cloisters you see whatever 2 page spread the books happen to be open to at the time. This is a really big deal – and the sweetener, if you needed one, is the display of mourners. From The Art Newspaper story:

Works created under the aegis of two of the greatest art patrons of the ¬≠period–Jean de France, duc de Berry (1340-1416) and the second Duke of Burgundy, Jean sans Peur (the Fearless, 1371-1419), will fill the Robert Lehman Wing and the Medieval Sculpture Hall. ”The Art of Illumination” presents the first, and most likely the last, chance for visitors to see both sides of all 172 folios from the duc de Berry’s richly illustrated Book of Hours.
This is the only completed manuscript by the Dutch illuminators to survive.
The folios were removed from their bindings as part of a decade-long conservation project and this is the last chance to see all of them simultaneously before they are rebound. ”Our biggest challenge was finding a way to present the folios in a way that conveys that they are part of a book rather than just mounted pictures,” says curator Timothy Husband.
Conservators devised a new method of display, floating the folios with silk thread strung through the holes made by the original binding. ”The Belles Heures is unique…its grandeur and ambition escalates as it goes on.

Image from Wikipedia.

Leave it to the Education Industry to take over the Census

“Here comes a prospect,” she said as a student walked up.

Ware explained that filling out the census form this spring could mean more money for the university and the surrounding neighborhood, one of the oldest and most diverse in the city. The student took some knickknacks and promised to fill out her form. Ware smiled.
“If we could get some more of that funding back, we could get some more services,” said Ware, 48, a member of the commuter school’s Student Senate who is among a group that has been pushing the census in classrooms, lobbies and hallways.

I.M. Pei is still alive??

Museum of Islamic Art, 3

Originally uploaded by Ammar Abd Rabbo.

Here’s an interesting career-retrospective interview with I.M. Pei at the Financial Times. Pei is one of those people who goes beyond surprising people that he’s still alive (he’s 92) but that he’s still designing major buildings. The picture is the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar (2008), which I would really like to get to at the end of my Islamic Art & Architecture course.

There’s a little bit of everything in the interview – a little biography, a little architectural criticism, and a little Jackie Kennedy (did you realize that JFK would have been 92 this year, too? Pei says the Kennedys chose him for the Kennedy Library and Museum in part because he was born in the same year as the dead president).

If it’s Thursday, my meeting must be about the Budget.

I go to too many meetings this semester – and Thursday is the depressing one. I ended up on the president’s Budget Advisory Task Force to talk about ways in which we might work ourselves through the “current situation” without losing our minds, our staff, and whatever makes us our own snowflake of a Small Liberal Arts College.*
In case you, dear reader, live on another planet and haven’t noticed, here’s a nice summary with a local angle on what the fiscal crisis has done to higher education giving.

A recent report by the Council for Aid to Education shows how, nationwide, colleges have also been hurt by an almost 12 percent drop in donations last fiscal year, which for most colleges ended June 30.
Alumni and other individuals, corporations and foundations tightened their purse strings.
The 20 colleges receiving the most donations got a total of $7.3 billion — 13 percent less than the top 20 reported the previous year.
No local college made the latest list, which Stanford University headed by raising $640 million.
Locally, the declines are more striking. The $120.8 million in donations received by 11 Rochester-area colleges for fiscal 2009 was 29 percent less than the $169.3 million recorded in fiscal 2008.
Suffering the biggest drop was the University of Rochester, which saw its contributions fall from almost $101 million in fiscal 2008 to about $64 million in fiscal 2009.
Alumni watching their pocketbooks were the biggest factor in the almost $7 million drop in donations received last fiscal year by Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. That was the second-largest local dollar decline.

The news brightens by the end of the article: “But there is cause for optimism — giving to Hobart and William Smith Colleges is 27 percent higher than a year ago.” At the meeting today I’m going to be asking what that 27% is – 27% more money? 27% more gifts?
I have to admit that the mood has brightened as the meetings have gone on; there is indeed a feeling of milder pessimism (it’s not really optimism – things are still hard!) in the room than when we started meeting, and markers like that 27% help. But really – if you know of any smart rich kids, send them my way. Admissions are the make or break in this game.
*Make that TWO smaller, coordinate liberal arts collegeS, thank you very much. Hobart AND William Smith. We get touchy about that here. Remember that story about our Admissions folks sending out 3-d glasses? Go back and read the comments. There are even faculty who see the increasing use of our initials (HWS) instead of our full name as a devious way of flattening difference.

The Genesis of one of the great collections of Islamic arts

I still can’t get over how recently two of the great collections of Islamic art were started. The Khalili Collection (based in London) was started in the late 60s or early 70s – and here’s the story of the al-Sabah Collection:

In 1975, Sheikh Nasser al-Ahmad al- Sabah, eldest son of the Amir of Kuwait, brought home a 14th- century decorated glass bottle and showed it to his wife, a committed lover of modern abstract art.
The beauty of the artifact and its design changed her mind and became the first of more than 30,000 items that now make up one of the world’s largest and most valuable collections of Islamic art.
“I realized that everything I loved about modern and contemporary art was in that piece of glass,” said Sheika Hussah Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah in Singapore, at the opening of an exhibition of 402 stunning items from the collection illustrating the wealth of India’s Mughal empire.

Read more about the exhibition (and a little more about the collection) here.

That February Feeling

I walked home in black oxfords totally dry-footed about 5.30. I’ve been sitting at my desk working on some notes for tomorrow’s Greek Art & Architecture (mmmm, Doric refinements!) for awhile. There’s a window within 5 feet, but I guess I hadn’t looked out until just now. When I see that it’s snowing. Hard. The shrubs dividing our parking lot from the Presbyterian lot are heavily dusted (though I can still see leaves through the snow on top), and it’s still coming down.
Oh, well – it IS February.

What we get from blogging…

I started blogging a good while ago — I’m too lazy to go through Google cache versions of my Blogspot version to find out quite when it was, but I was leaving a lot of comments on the early blogs of Amy Welborn and Megan McArdle. Both of them, in the nicest way possible, suggested that I should get one of my own. I took their advice.
I didn’t set out to meet any other bloggers when I started doing this, but it happens fairly regularly. I’ve never met Amy, just by the way things have worked. But Megan, who is still Miss McArdle for now, is in Upstate New York this weekend and managed to find time to stop by Geneva for dinner at the Red Dove. I enjoyed showing her my favorite room in downtown Geneva — and was reminded that it’s always good to meet the people we read. Voices spring to life; typing habits turn into verbal tics; tone that sounds happy proves to be a real smile.
I enjoy blogging. If you read several a day you might give it a try.