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Twenty-eight years ago me and my horrible hair graduated @sunyplattsburgh, thanks to the mentorship of Professor David Mowry. We lost him yesterday. Read my very emotional tribute to him at #philosophy #collegife Hi listeners! Do you want to see our host Jack Russell Weinstein (@diasporajack) in person as he deejays fun and exciting music? Come down to @ojatadogmahal records this Saturday for the fourth installment of Ska and Waffles! Rehearsing for Tuesday night! Want to hear #Klezmer music live? Come to Why? Radio’s 10th anniversary party, Tuesday at 6:30. Details at @prairiepublic @diasporajack @empireartscenter Above two folds! Thanks @gfherald @prairiepublic ❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩
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Join the party for food, an interview with legendary Jazz flutist Mark Weinstein, and live Klezmer music! All for free!

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Award winning Jazz Flutist Mark Weinstein plays World Jazz and Straight-Ahead with world-class musicians rooted in the music of Cuba, Brazil, Africa, Argentina and his Jewish heritage. A Latin Jazz innovator, Mark was among the first jazz musicians to record with traditional Cuban rhythm sections in an epic album, Cuban Roots, released in 1967 with Chick Corea on piano. He also has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a professor of Education at Montclair State University, in New Jersey. His music is the soundtrack to Why? Radio. You can learn more about him at 
Stay after the recording for a live concert, as Mark joins the Balkansi Klezmer Band for a jazz-infused exploration of the classic Jewish folk music, Klezmer. Balkansi is an ensemble based in Grand Forks that specializes in traditional music from one of the richest and most diverse musical regions in the world. The members of the band include Tamara Auer on violin, Haley Ellis on clarinet, Edward Morris on guitar, Zephaniah Pearlstein on cello, Michael Ferrick on bass, Rachel Agan Muniz on percussion.

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So, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has “acquired” the @ for it’s collection, meaning not that it purchased it and all of its rights, but rather that it has included it into its collection as a piece of art worthy of display. (Ownership would require, besides a huge overstepping of copyright laws, an immense commitment to German Idealism that even the MOMA might balk at.) The argument is that the symbol is an incredibly interesting act of design that is worth of inclusion as an art object. Details and a very interesting history of the symbol can be found at their blog.

At first blush, I thought this was odd, but I actually think its kind of cool. @ is a marvelously interesting symbol and reminds us of the efforts put into the creation of letters, fonts and typefaces, and other linguistic elements. (Michael Beard, a colleague of mine in UND’s English Department is working on a book about the Arabic alphabet focusing, I believe, on the same historical and design issues that the MOMA has in mind.)

This acquisition brings many of the same issues as my previous post especially asking what art is in the first place. But this also necessitates a different set of questions, including whether an object’s ubiquity — whether the fact that something is every-present in our field of vision — disqualifies it as an art object. Andy Warhol thought it didn’t, of course, hence the soup can, and neither did Marcel Duchamp who went so far as to place a urinal in a museum exhibit. Others however think these two pieces are not at at all. What do you think? And, what other everyday objects do you think ought to be added to the MOMA collection as outstanding examples of design? (Added difficulty level: no Apple products.)

One comment on “Can everyday objects be transformed into art objects?

  1. Jaynicks says:

    I am told the Navajos say something like.

    As I walk, as I walk
    The universe is walking with me
    In beauty it walks before me
    In beauty it walks behind me
    In beauty it walks below me
    In beauty it walks above me
    Beauty is on every side
    As I walk, I walk with Beauty.

    Seems a nice sentiment. So I can have a dozen cups from Dollar Daze, or two hand thrown ones.

    Two is good.

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