Posts Tagged ‘brandeis’

… I have to believe she will do it. She’s a miracle girl.

Let me begin at the beginning. Almost exactly three years ago, I wrote a blog post about a girl from a deeply conservative family in Herat, Afghanistan, who secretly took up golf and opened a whole new world for herself.

It was through the radio show “Only a Game” that I learned about Shagufa Habibi and how she had gotten herself to a golf competition in Bangladesh and then bravely applied to college there and matriculated without the knowledge of either her family or the abusive husband she was forced to marry at age 16.

Fast forward to early 2020, when I get a message at the blog from Shagufa thanking me for my 2017 post. Turns out she now lives half an hour away from me in Massachusetts.

This is a young woman who makes things happen for herself. After a few emails, she asks if I could help her prepare for the graduate record exam (GRE). She wants to go to grad school to acquire the tools she needs to set up a South Asia foundation for girls in sports that will empower them to break free of traditional constraints and dangers.

Shagufa’s vision combines access to sports (which poor South Asian girls usually lack), education in skills such as leadership, and a stipend to help the young women financially so their impoverished families will be less pressed to marry them off for the bride price.

I know. Pretty far out, huh?

But when I consider all she has already done, including being accepted for fall 2021 at a top grad school and awarded a generous scholarship, I know she will do what she sets out to do.

But here’s the rub. Despite the generosity of the scholarship from Brandeis, Shagufa still can’t afford to go. She has no family here to help her, and they definitely do not support her goals. In fact, if she returned to Afghanistan right now, her life would be in danger because she is regarded as having “dishonored” her family.

Read her description of the situation and her ambitious dream in the GoFundMe link below and consider whether you want to help her with a donation or just cheer her on. Maybe you’d be up for telling someone you know about her.

I have been speaking with Shagufa via What’s App once or twice a week since we met. We alternate between work on advanced vocabulary (you wouldn’t believe how she studies and retains the most difficult words!) and GRE-type essay topics, because even though Brandeis waived the GRE for now, Shagufa still plans to take it. Often we spend part of the hour just chatting and learning about each other’s culture.

The GoFundMe site for Shagufa is here.

Shagufa Habibi, Afghan miracle worker.


Read Full Post »





I held off on posting about this Globe art review until I had seen the show myself. My husband and I went yesterday, and it was as elegant as reviewer Cate McQuaid suggests.

She wrote, “Fred Eversley, the subject of a minimalist, cosmic show at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, started out in life as an aerospace engineer. His sleek sculptures, crafted and finished with precision, have the lean economy of industrial design.

“But these works don’t belong on a spacecraft — except, perhaps, to signal to an alien species the breadth of human consciousness. They are oracular. …

“In the mid 1960s, Eversley gave up his job at California’s Wyle Laboratories to become a sculptor. He was 25. By 1970, he had a solo show at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. …

“Eversley found his technique quickly, casting liquid polyester resin to first make gleaming, translucent blocks, cones, and arcs, then the wondrous parabolic circles he calls lenses. …

“Neighbors of his there included John McCracken and Larry Bell, artists in California’s Light and Space movement. …

“McCracken gave the young sculptor a can of black paint, and the work that sprang from that companionable gesture makes up this show. Eversley set aside the seductions of emeralds, wine reds, and honeyed yellows for a starker palette. These sculptures may be less intoxicating, but they are commanding, taking on life, death, and cosmology.

“The black pieces mirror, confront, and suck you in; black holes come to mind. White ones cradle and comfort. Gray ones are shrouds, sometimes parting to reveal whatever lies beyond.

The show’s installation, orchestrated by Rose curator Kim Conaty, is a marvel.

“Look through one work at an array of other ones (they are all untitled), and that frame shifts things: Suddenly, you’re not appraising objects in a gallery, but viewing another world, one both distant and intimate. The lenses act as gyres into the imagination.

“They stand on edge. In one suite of three, a nearly open gray circle sits between a black concave lens and a white one. The glossy inward slopes of the outer two slide us right to their centers, where the pigment clears.

“These small openings prompt the gaze of a spy through a keyhole, or a scientist through a scope. We’re discovering a world within. Peer through the black one, and the others resemble a lineup of planets. The wall sculpture beyond, a black-and-white arc, might be a falling star. The world within is galactic.”

More at the Globe, here. See Eversley bio here.

A bonus: we bumped into Kim (the curator) and her charming family, friends of Suzanne, Erik, and the kids. The little ones were about to get a treat at Dairy Joy in Weston, having just been good as gold at a concert in the museum. Kim described the concert on instagram: “#JennieCJones led @brandeisuniversity musicians in an improvisational reading of the score she developed in response to installation instructions by #LouiseNevelson from her 1967 exhibition @roseartmuseum.”


Read Full Post »

I was reading about the community outreach of the artist chosen to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2017. How inspiring to see a once-disadvantaged kid reach back to help others after he meets with success!

Sebastian Smee writes at the Boston Globe, “The next artist to represent America at the Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event, will be the Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford. And his exhibit for the US Pavilion will be presented by the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. …

“The recipient of a 2009 ‘genius’ grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Bradford grew up in South Los Angeles. He worked for many years in his mother’s hair salon, which later became his studio. …

“Bradford, 54, is known for his tough, large-scale abstract works made from layers of paper, much of it salvaged and repurposed, and bound together with clear shellac. Using power sanders and other devices, he then works back into the surface, exposing the layers underneath. The results are some of the most beautiful, raw, and inventive works in recent art. …

“Bradford and his partner, Allan DiCastro, along with the collector Eileen Harris Norton, established a private foundation called Art + Practice, which combines an exhibition space with the provision, among other things, of job training and other forms of support for children transitioning out of foster care.”

More at the Globe. Check out Bradford, Norton and DiCastro’s nonprofit, Art + Practice, here.

Photo: Caitlin Julia Rubin
Christopher Bedford (left), director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, with artist Mark Bradford at the Rose in 2014.

Read Full Post »

A lovely, warm day for walking, grandkids, and friends.

Here are a few photos, including one of director-playwright Jermaine Hamilton with cast members at Brandeis University.

I was so happy I managed to get to Jermaine’s senior-thesis play about inequality of U.S. high schools, Bridging the Gap. What a challenge to make it work for both his social sciences major and his theater minor! A great bunch of natural actors and Jermaine’s lighting and sound collaborators pushed it over the finish line, and judging from the audience comments in the talk-back, the issues that the play presented struck chords.

Jermaine has a teaching job lined up for next year, after graduation. The school is lucky to have him.

Jermaine, standing, joins his cast for a talk-back with the audience. The other pictures are walking-around shots.





































Read Full Post »


This was a weekend for looking at art. The quilts on the left are by Valerie Maser-Flanagan and are on display at the Concord Library. My favorite was the one with the vertical stripes.

My husband and I also visited Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum, back in action after being threatened with extinction by a president who lost his job over the ensuing uproar. I must say, the Rose presents some pretty inaccessible stuff, but the weird films by Mika Rottenberg were the highlight of the visit for me today. Mesmerizing.

The films carried me back to Kenneth Anger’s and Andy Warhol’s experimental movies in the ’60s. I didn’t understand those films either, but I was fascinated. Rottenberg’s kooky stories also was reminded me (my husband, too) of an offbeat video Asakiyume lent us recently called Cold Fever, which we loved. (Saying it was about a young Japanese businessman getting lost in Iceland in winter — on a quest to honor his dead parents with ceremonies he doesn’t believe in — hardly does it justice.)

Sebastian Smee at the Boston Sunday Globe has more on Rottenberg’s videos, and he covers the other exhibits, too.

Also this weekend, I stopped in at a gallery I like in Lincoln. They were featuring several interesting artists, including the photographer Leonard Freed, below. And they have other great work coming up March 4 — take a taste here.

Photo: Leonard Freed
From “Black and White in America” exhibit at the Clark Gallery in Lincoln. See review by Mark Feeney in the Boston Globe, here.

Read Full Post »

I am psyched. I blogged a while back about UBS banker Geoff Hargadon, who is also a conceptual artist with a crazy sense of humor.

After Brandeis University’s then president made noises about selling the art collection of the Rose Museum, Hargadon put a sign outside on the grass: “Cash For Your Warhol.” It looked like the signs on telephones poles or in abandoned lots that lure the unwary into deals too good to be true.

Hargadon has put his signs up hither and yon, like the street artist Banksy in a way, or Shepard Fairey.

Yesterday I noticed one in the Boston financial district as I waited for the light to change. It’s at the corner of Congress and Franklin streets. I came back today and took a picture. Anyone want to call the number?


Read Full Post »

You knew that the poet Wallace Stevens was a lawyer for the Hartford Insurance Company in Connecticut, right?

It’s fascinating, the double lives many creative people live. In this post, for example, I mentioned Kyan Bishop, a colleague with a pretty businesslike job, who turns out to be an accomplished conceptual artist.

Today I have two gentlemen from the financial-services industry, which whatever else one might say about it, pays enough for a guy to indulge an artistic bent.

Consider first Geoff Hargadon, now showing at the Kayafas Gallery in Boston.

Art critic Cate McQuaid writes in the Boston Globe, “Bring up conceptual art, and some people’s eyes glaze over. So before we dive into the conceptual underpinnings of the work of … Geoff Hargadon now up at Gallery Kayafas, let’s say this: It’s funny, wry, and self-mocking — accessible on many levels.

“Hargadon’s ‘Dealers Protected!’ features signs that he has put up, first around Boston and then during the Frieze Art Fair in London in October, and during Art Basel Miami Beach earlier this month. Perhaps you have seen them. They read ‘Cash for Your Warhol.’ This show features the signs themselves, and photos of them in situ.

“The artist, who is an unlikely hybrid of street artist and senior vice president at the financial services company UBS, was inspired by the ‘cash for your house’ signs he saw on telephone poles during the worst of the economic collapse. He hilariously posted his first ‘Cash for Your Warhol’ sign outside the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis in 2009, after the museum announced controversial — and later canceled — plans to close and sell off its collection.” Read more here.

Second is the late Warren Hellman, Wall Street financier and devoted banjo player. “After nearly 20 years at Lehman in New York, he started several money management businesses, including Hellman & Friedman in San Francisco, one of the country’s most successful private equity funds. More recently Mr. Hellman focused on philanthropy, bestowing millions of dollars on cultural, educational and medical charities in the Bay Area. The three-day concert he founded, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, held each year in Golden Gate Park, has been financed entirely by him.” Read about Hellman in the NY Times obit.

Read Full Post »

Juliette Kayyem,  assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the United States Department of Homeland Security, often writes op-eds for the Boston Globe. Her piece today is on new polling by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center. An interesting finding of the poll is that among different religious groups in the United States, American Jews are more likely to see Muslim Americans as loyal to the United States.

“Jewish Americans are much more likely than any other non-Muslim faith to see US Muslims as loyal. Eighty percent of Jewish Americans have trust in Muslim Americans as Americans. (Only 56 percent of Protestants and Mormons said the same.) Muslims and Jews are the most likely to believe that Muslim Americans have no sympathy for Al Qaeda.”

Kayyem sees common ground here, and she moves on to what William Brandeis said in 1905  as the first Jew named to the Supreme Court. His paper “What Loyalty Demands,” she opines, is a powerful argument for the belief that adherence to one’s own religious values is “the greatest form of fidelity to America.”

Read the article here.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: