Feb 152011
 
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

Splatter a red dot on a blank canvas and call it “modern art.”

Tonight at 5 p.m. in the University Center of the Art’s Griffin Concert Hall, esteemed art critic David Pagel will argue against modern art’s reputation of ambiguity.

In his lecture “Art Criticism and Citizenship,” Pagel will discuss his own views on art critique, and he’ll teach the audience techniques for writing newspaper criticism of contemporary art.

A regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Pagel has written almost 500 articles since he began working for the newspaper in 1997. He is also currently Chair of the Art Department at Claremont Graduate Univeristy.

While many students may be wary of their abilities to critique modern art, Jennifer Clary, director of marketing for the School of the Arts, assures that not just experienced art connoisseurs will benefit from tonight’s event.

“David Pagel’s lecture focuses on writing critiques of contemporary art that are accessible to many readers at many levels of interest in art,” Clary said.

Pagel, who has given lectures at other schools such as the University of Texas, Austin, was asked to come to CSU amid praise from his peers.

“We chose David because of the recommendations of other guests to the program and because of his wide-ranging activities in the art world. He is a prolific critic, but also a respected curator and teacher,” said CSU Art Museum Director Linny Frickman.

CSU has welcomed art critics like Pagel since the Department of Art initiated the “Critic and Artist Residency Series” in 1997. Since it began, the program has brought “prominent visual artists and critics to the CSU campus for exhibitions, classroom interactions and public lectures,” Clary said.

As a supplement to tonight’s more formal lecture, Pagel led a relaxed discussion Tuesday night in the University Art Museum galleries.

It was part of the museum’s “Tasteful Tuesdays Series” in which the public, led by an expert such as Pagel, discusses art, culture and the museum’s own works. Participation is free, and the evenings end at El Monte Bar and Grill, where discounts on food and drinks are offered.

Pagel’s lecture tonight will also be free and open to both students and the general public.

Griffin Concert Hall holds 550, and Clary predicts it will almost fill to capacity.

Students don’t have to fret over whether their student fees sponsor the event since the university utilizes contributions from the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund for guest lecturers, Clary said.

During a public lecture at Art Cologne in Germany, Pagel was recorded saying, “Art is a cruel mistress.”

At tonight’s lecture, he will not only attempt to tame the mistress, but he’ll teach eager art students to do the same.

Staff writer Colleen McSweeney can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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