Jasper Johns’ extensive body of work, while not overtly political, has been interpreted as quietly so. It has been seen to manifest coded pronouncements about sexual identity through consistent investigations and representations of the body, uses of language, and humor. Among the myriad of interpretations of Johns’ work, a political or activist analysis is possible, but this has, at times, been overlooked in favor of an aesthetic or populist analysis that disregards any inherent political message.
Today, a target roundel in a work of fine art might seem fairly unremarkable; yet sixty years ago, in a very different social and political climate, Jasper Johns’ Target paintings were freighted with hidden meanings. Pictured: l-r Art in Society enthusiasts Joaquin Eaton Sharon, Alex Kuykendall, Hannah Wakelin.
Music Major Ashley Leung began her Idy Talk by handing her violin to a member of the audience and asking her to play it. Of course, the baffled woman could barely hold the instrument. “Not as easy as it looks,” chided Ashley who, after retrieving her instrument, did, indeed, make it look easy. Ashley then talked about her journey, as a ninth-grade music student, from her home in Hong Kong to Idyllwild and the academy, and the growth that migration has produced, both musically and culturally. Ashley’s concern for others is the very definition of Art in Society – “Each year, I invite four or five students who attend Idyllwild Arts to come with me to teach music and art to underprivileged students in my native country.”
Called “Teach Music for China,” its mission statement captures Ashley’s personal goal of offering music instruction in areas where it is not readily available. “Our mission statement is ‘to enrich and cultivate music education as a form of self-expression in an underprivileged school in China. Music is a powerful tool to transform lives.’”
Theatre Major Geronimo Angel opened his Idy Talk with a song that had the audience swooning. He then launched into his life story that started sixteen years ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has taken him many places, but fortunately for us, he’s completing his third year at Idyllwild Arts. You can watch his presentation here.