Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 7th, 2022


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On the cloudy morning of September 3rd I spent several hours checking out the Blackland Prairie east and northeast of Austin. The annual crop of snow-on-the-prairie (Euphorbia bicolor) had come up and was doing its attractive white thing. The annual crop of new housing developments and commercial buildings was doing its springing-up thing, too. In the picture below, showing the Seasons at Carillon subdivision in Manor, the native plants were likely making their last stand; I expect by this time next year the land in the foreground will look like what’s in the background. Above, in the Wildhorse Ranch subdivision, I did my usual thing of getting low enough and aiming high enough to exclude all human elements.

The flowering vine in the lower left of the bottom picture is purple bindweed (Ipomoea cordatotriloba).
The gray pipe is a conduit through which a house will soon hook up to utilities.


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Imagine that the CEO (chief executive officer) of an ice cream company gets asked to list the company’s eight most important goals. Imagine further that the CEO puts “making the tastiest possible ice cream” as the last of the eight goals. Would that entice you to buy the company’s ice cream?

Similarly, imagine that the CEO of a car company, when asked the same question, puts “making cars that are safe” as the last item in the list of eight. Would you feel comfortable buying a car from that company?

I bring up these questions in light of Eric Gibson’s September 2nd opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Woke Ideologues Are Taking Over American Art Museums.” As someone who has visited quite a few art museums, I’ve been observing the increasing reality of that headline over the past decade. A few weeks ago, when we went to the latest exhibition at Austin’s Blanton Museum, I said to Eve about some of the “woke” explanatory placards in the show: “They just can’t help themselves”—with the “they” meaning the museum’s curatorial staff.

In Eric Gibson’s opinion piece he brought up

the remarkable article penned for the British magazine Apollo in 2018 by Kaywin Feldman, now director of the National Gallery of Art. At the time, she was running the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and her article included a list of her museum’s eight core values. At the top was “gender equality.” The list continued in a similar vein until finally getting around to “essentialness of the arts” at No. 8. The director of one of the country’s leading art museums placed art at the bottom of her list of institutional core values.

 You’re welcome to read the full article, discouraging as it is.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2022 at 4:31 AM

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