Friday, November 14, 2014

Autumn Oak




On Wednesday I was teaching my architecture students how to visualize within Photoshop, importing base images, adding found textures to planes, tweaking them with exposures, levels, brightness or what have you to give a convincing sense of light and space. Then I caught the sliver of light, in the cleft between the pull-down projector screen and a wall, a space which mirrored the architectural slit between A.M. Stern's high class money and Donald Trump's trash money, an aperture that sharply focused the park as a luxury, a painting, as it so often is, an image of security and status. Olmsted was a genius.



I am employed at an institution, just one block from the park, where it is seen fit to salary its presidential figurehead at one million, six-hundred thousand dollars a year, it is reasonable to renovate the figurehead's floor every five years, where the handbook unashamedly stipulates that deans and their superiors have all drinks paid at social and business functions, but cannot see to provide students who are mortgaging their futures at forty thousand a year with the proper staffing and equipment, nor offer any incentive to keep good people on their staff, and doesn't wish to consider the financial pressures of life in this city. The College has become part of the problem. Yesterday, I resigned.

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Last weekend, on my roundtrip to Boston, across the oak-filled coastal New England landscape, I was struck by the intensity of color of the oaks this autumn. I thought there was something unusual going on, and maybe there is, but I figured it a local phenomenon until I caught these oaks on Broadway. They are simply brilliant this year! I've always felt oaks were somewhat drably colored in the autumn, -russet, maroon, sienna and ochre. Yet not this year, not at all.


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