Pearls of wisdom

Back in February I attended a conference “Who’s Afraid of New Media” held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Wendy Richmond, who has recently published a book, Art Without Compromise* (Allworth Press, 2009), was one of the speakers. Art Without CompromiseDuring a break we had a delightful conversation on observation vs. voyeurism in the context of the work she presented (including “Overheard” and “Seen”). At lunch time, I picked up a copy of the book at the MFA bookstore. Richmond’s writing is observant and joyful, without a hint of sugary excess. The book brings together in an extended form many of the columns she’s written for Communication Arts since 1984. The book is structured in short chapters on a wide range of topics including observations on her creative process, media, and contemporary culture. There’s something in this book for artists, designers, and media makers, whether emerging or experienced. I found her discussions of process insightful. There’s a lovely chapter about Muriel Cooper, who she was fortunate to have as a mentor when she was in graduate school. It reminded me how lucky I’ve been to have wonderful mentors along the way like filmmakers Caroline Blair (when I studied at City College of San Francisco) and Glorianna Davenport (when I was a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab) who inspired me and provided valuable guidance along my journey. Richmond’s book offers pearls of wisdom on par with the best mentors.

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