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Naked Ladies at the Ath?

March 6, 2009

by Emily Meinhardt
Naked Ladies at the Ath?

"What's up with the naked ladies at the Ath?" I've heard many a student wonder.   Why the new art? Where did the painting with the lady and the dog go? Or the huge orange one? Or the one with the flowers?  WHAT'S GOING ON?????" Move over Marian Hewlett Pike (artist who did the old art). Turns out there's quite a story behind the new paintings...

Long ago, Leonard Cohen, uber famous singer/songwriter, spent some time at a Buddhist monastery on Mount Baldy (random, right?). He wrote a lot of poetry while he was holed up there-- some of it referencing the Village or Route 66 or the town of Claremont. He also did a number of sketches and small paintings around the same time.

Then, Cohen published the poetry as The Book of Longing and included some of the drawings alongside the poems (see very awesome display of poetry in the Ath lobby, which I had the pleasure of designing).

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Philip Glass, super well-known postmodern composer, read the poems and was also bursting with creativity, so he set the poems to music. And created the concert series that some of you recently attended, also called The Book of Longing.

So you've got three creative mediums going on here-- poetry, art, and music-- all coming together in this cosmic burst of energy right here at the Claremont Colleges.  Cohen wrote the poerty and made the art, Glass put it to music, and some important people thought we should display the art in conjunction with the concerts because, well, it's all inter-related.

The title of Cohen's exhibition is Drawn from the Heart and from what I'm told, the Leonard Cohen prints will stay on display at the Ath for the rest of the semester.  Plus, there's talk of bringing in other changing exhibitions in the future.

There you have it, folks-- that's why there are naked ladies at the Ath.

Image courtesy of Richard Goodall Gallery

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