How Impressionism routed the old guard

If reading War and Peace can be likened to running a marathon, getting through The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King is analogous to completing an Ironman triathlon, began a Calgary Herald review Jan. 14. But if Ross King’s third non-fiction study of the world of art is dense and difficult, there is a reward at the end: it’s just plain fascinating, even for anyone not conversant with the minutiae of the art world, said the Herald. Born and raised in Saskatchewan with a 1992 PhD in English from York, King has lived in England, near Oxford, since 1992. His previous non-fiction works, Brunelleschi’s Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, were both best-sellers, despite their seemingly esoteric subjects. King, who has also written two novels, brings to The Judgment of Paris the same wit and vivid descriptions that put the reader right in the scene, a talent that marked his earlier works. The title of the book is a play on words, hinting at the cutthroat competition at the annual Paris Salon and a drawing by Raphael – The Judgment of Paris – turned into an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, upon which Manet based his first success de scandal, Dejeuner sur l’herbe.

York students mentor teens at open-mike program

At an open mike night in Toronto’s west end, a stone’s throw from where two men were gunned down last summer, two young Latino-Canadian York students host a night of spoken word, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 17. Twenty-year-old Pablo Godoy and 19-year-old Eduardo Ramon know all too well the way that words can negatively influence impressionable young minds. Organizers at the Maria A. Shchuka District Library on Eglinton Avenue near Dufferin Street started the Art Starts Teen Open Mic Night two years ago, hoping the program would provide youth with a venue to showcase their talents. Those who participate are also mentored by Gadoy and Ramon, and are encouraged to engage in social issues. Godoy and Ramon both appreciate rap and hip-hop – it helped each of them recognize where they were heading. After brushes with the law, both are now enrolled as full-time students in York’s Faculty of Arts. They recognize rap has become the informal language they use to express everything they have been through.

Economics profs better to avoid election endorsements

Tenured professors can theoretically do what they please, but the university may not be very happy, said York Prof. Bernie Wolf, in a Toronto Star story Jan. 17 about economists number-crunching for political parties during an election. “I would be comfortable evaluating all three parties but I wouldn’t do it for one particular party and let them use me in their advertisements,” said Wolf, director of the international MBA program at the Schulich School of Business.

Grad crystallizes own business

Four years of preparation – and no sales – was time well spent for Riyaz Datoo, reported Metro Jan. 17. Using lasers, the Toronto entrepreneur, fresh out of York’s Schulich School of Business, developed a method that implants an image into the centre of a crystal block, so a photo appears to be floating in the crystal. His first opportunity to present his innovative product to the public was at last summer’s Canadian National Exhibition. Judging by the 90-minute lineup to order one of the crystals, the research and development paid off. “The idea in terms of innovation was how do I combine these [laser and facial imaging] technologies together and revolutionize the photo gift sector,” says Datoo, the director of Crystallize It! The answer: personalized crystal products.

Trusts and dividends: a two-tier tax plan

As the Baby Boom generation approaches retirement, tax-advantaged income will increasingly be the goal of non-registered or “taxable” investment portfolios, reported the National Post Jan. 17 in a special report on tax strategies. In choosing between dividends and trusts, investors could own both to diversify by tax treatment and hedge against unknown future tax rates and rules, says Moshe Milevsky, a professor at the Schulich School of Business.

On air

  • Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, commented on the shifting mood of voters in the 905 area, on CFTR-AM’s “680 News” coverage of the federal election Jan. 16.