Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hood Director Brian Kennedy steps down

So Provost Carol Folt announced in an email this morning. Mr. Kennedy will begin as the director at the Toledo Museum of Art this fall; read more about it here.

During his tenure at Dartmouth, Mr. Kennedy's artistic choices tended to disappoint. Surely the most infamous (and likely most expensive) example would be united nations: the green house, Gu Wenda's strings of hair strewn throughout Baker-Berry Library. While Gu Wenda produced some fine art in the earlier part of his career (that is, before he became famous, and even these better works sometimes seemed derivative of the more talented Xu Bing), his latest work tends toward a seamless dovetail of aesthetic ugliness and intellectual shallowness. In short, Gu creates maximal hype with minimal artistic merit: this is, of course, exactly what he brought to Dartmouth. (A New York Times article about the installation can be found here.) The combination of the elegant Baker Library, already painfully dated Berry Library, and garishly colored strings of human hair hanging throughout could not have been less appealing. Needless to say, I studied in Sanborn.

Other pieces for which we have Mr. Kennedy to thank include Peter Iniq's Inukshuk, a pile of rocks sitting outside McNutt Hall—a fine way to gloss over Dartmouth's troubled historic relationship with Native Americans and make anyone who loves great art, or anyone who can see through higher education's mania for multiculturalism, roll their eyes.

I do, however, appreciate Mr. Kennedy's acquisition of the Hood's sole Jackson Pollock painting. In addition, Mr. Kennedy's exhibitions at the Hood were as a rule coherent and well-done. 2008's "Ruscha and Pop: Icons of the 1960s" was the finest exploration of Pop Art (not that there's that much to explore in that movement, but still) that I have yet seen.

I wish Mr. Kennedy all the best in Toledo. I have an unpleasant feeling that his replacement, which Carol Folt said would be announced "shortly", will be a distinct downgrade. But here's to hoping Ms. Folt will prove me wrong.


Dartmouth Government professor Bridget Coggins has an excellent piece in the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine about the perils of modern piracy, replete with some excellent graphs that breakdown pirate methods and objectives. Her conclusion? The world hasn't yet devoted the necessary resources to stopping sea banditry: "With just a handful of vessels matched against a pirate playground larger than the Mediterranean, the plunder goes on."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Students Rally to Save Fun

On June 23, Associate Dean of the College for Campus Life April Thompson announced the closing of the Connecticut River swim docks, garnering a new coalition of students fighting the seemingly perpetual onslaught against the Dartmouth experience. A Facebook group fittingly named "Save The River Dock" founded by Travis Blalock '12 has already grown to nearly 200 members.

Furthermore, Blalock drafted a letter to Dean Thompson on June 28 requesting that the safety review which led to the closing of the docks be made public. Blalock encourages all concerned parties to take action against the closing of the swim docks.

Monday, June 28, 2010

NYT Highlights Pilobolus at the Hop

The New York Times gave Dartmouth's own Hopkins Center some much-deserved attention on the front page of Monday's online edition. Alastair Macaulay's write-up of the Pilobolus weekend dance show is a paean not only to Pilobolus (founded by Dartmouth alums), but also to the College itself and to the Hop, "one of the leaders in commissioning modern-dance works." A priceless piece of promotion for the Hop and the College's public affairs office.

Also priceless? Joe Mehling's photo credit in the Times. His ubiquity knows no bounds.

For those who don't closely track the world of modern dance, Pilobolus is perhaps the best-known group in the country. They performed at the 2007 Academy Awards, and the group got its own feature story on 60 Minutes in 2004. Pilobolus has its origins in a 1971 dance class at the College taught by instructor Alison Chase. Here they are on Conan last summer:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

USMNT Falls to Ghana 2-1

Hard fought game by the US, but in extra time we saw more Ghanaians flop on the ground than Dartmouth students will into the Connecticut River this summer. Since I'm not really a huge soccer fan, someone enlighten me: is this the point at which we riot and cause an international incident?

Friday, June 25, 2010

On the Role of Trustees

Over at the John William Pope Center, William Leonard has a piece on Trustees and financial management that our Board would be wise to read.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

McNutt Murders Bear

I ran into this in McNutt, just outside the Registrar's office on the first floor. This is one of the College's animated polar bears. These things are spread throughout campus, primarily in dorms in the McLaughlin cluster and New Hampshire. Depending on the energy use in the building, the animation will change from the bear sitting serenely on a glacier to him fleeing, Wile E. Coyote style, from a crack in the ice. The worst possible result is displayed below, where the College's energy use is somehow enough to melt what I'm assuming to be the north pole. As you can see from the picture (I apologize for the low quality; I took it with my phone), that makes the bear sad, presumably because he can't shoot Coca-Cola commercials anymore. Awwww.

The humor, however, comes from the note on top of the display which reads, "Please don't worry about the Polar Bear! He and a bunch of new staff members have just moved in. We're getting used to life in McNutt together." I find it funny that the College assumes we care less about the energy use than about that bear. What's next, screens above paper recycling pins showing a squirrel escaping loggers?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dartblog back?

Dartblog has begun posting again, featuring the musings of old standby Joe Asch.

Here's hoping he sticks around this time.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Dartmouth Atlas Shrugged?

Over at National Review Online, Avik Roy has an excellent piece on the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare, which came under fire recently for its methodology (incorrectly in that case, Avik believes, although he does see some issues with other parts of the Atlas's methodology). The College, for its part, was quick to defend the Atlas.

It makes for an interesting article, especially since the Atlas has been used by the Obama administration to argue that much of health care cost is waste.

Friday, June 04, 2010

NYT Quotes Tuck Professor, Refers to "Dartmouth University"

You just don't like to see this: in an article about the faltering leadership of BP chief executive Tony Hayward, the New York Times quotes distinguished professor Sydney Finkelstein at "Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business:"
"People want to know someone is in charge, that the right person is there, but someone who says the stuff Hayward has said doesn't engender confidence," said Sydney Finkelstein, a professor of strategy and business at Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business. "We understand he is overwhelmed, but that also might suggest he's not the right man for the job."
The quality of writing and editing at the NYT continues to demonstrate why the Old Gray Lady has been obliged to sell herself to Carlos Slim.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Who Reads The Dartmouth Review?

Karl Rove, for one.

The Young Cons At It Again

It's always a pleasure when Josh Riddle '12 and David Rufful '12, both Review editors release a new song. Their newest effort remixes Mistman's "Airplane." Enjoy.