Professor Joachim Pissarro’s Art
Professor Pissarro is a distinctive authority of art at Hunter College. He holds a named professorship, and besides being a superb teacher, he is the great grandson of Camille Pissarro. As visiting students, my colleague, Dr. Ulli Kotanko and I felt privileged to be part of his class, which alternated between question and answer in a conversational tone with students, explaining the evening’s topic of The Fluxus Movement and listening to guest lecturer Japanese artist Ushio Shinohara, live in the classroom, speaking about his reverence of Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and the Fluxus movement which converted detritus to art.
Students getting MFA and MA degrees are writing entries and will assume roles as curators for a future Fluxus exhibit at the Hunter College Times Square Gallery in midtown Manhattan. The title of the exhibit chosen by the students at our visit was Notations Under the Influence of John Cage.
Cage, we learned, was not only an artist, but also a serious mushroom student, a mycologist, who won serious money on a quiz show with his vast knowledge of mushrooms.
The Fluxus Movement attracted many well-known names, including Jock Reynolds, who is now director of the Yale Art Gallery, and Yoko Ono. The Movements artists shared the desire to, according to Pissarro, “produce a form of art that is valueless.”
A video with Yoko Ono, John Lennon and John Cage brought Professor Pissarro’s comments to life.
Not only was the material engaging. Pissarro was amazing in the variety of his teaching approaches, always engaging the students through questions, guest speakers, videos and PowerPoint presentations. And most amazing of all was that a three hour class could feel like one hour!#