By Joseph Kellard
Nicholas Provenzo over at Rule of Reason wrote about art historian and professor Lee Sandstead on the web site of the new Founders College in Virginia.
I’ve been to several of Lee’s museum tours, usually at the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York, as well as some of his art lectures at universities or other venues.
During his tours and lectures, Lee comes across as very passionate and knowledgeable about art. Nick captured Lee’s animated style well when he wrote: "‘There are two basic ways to look at reality,’ said Professor Sandstead. ‘You can choose to focus up there’ as he emphatically reached toward the heavens, ‘or you can choose to focus out here,’ as he reached to signify this world.”
It’s true that Lee can explain art in a way that you can learn to enjoy a piece of art that, at first glance, seems dull. Even if, on a sense of life level, you find yourself uninspired by the art work, Lee teaches you how to appreciate it in other ways, whether its how the artist conveys certain ideas through his choice of subjects or their actions and expressions, or through certain details, from the use of colors or light to symbolic touches. At least at the tours I’ve attended, Lee come with a theme for each. One of my favorites was his history on nudity in art. Lee guides you through museums to many, various works of art so that he can drive home his themes quite thoroughly.
So enthusiastic does Lee become during his tours, he unintentionally turns into a sort of pied piper of art. That is, when his tour-goers follow him from painting to painting or sculpture to sculpture -- his voice booming with excitement (and often he’ll through in some humorous lines) -- Lee attracts more and more museum-goers along the way, to the point where, by tour’s end, there is literally a mob of art-lovers following him. It’s really quite a spectacle -- but then so is Lee.
As an aside, I would also suggest that you explore Lee’s outstanding art photography at his web site at www.sandstead.com
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Copyright © 2007 Joseph Kellard