Hello, I am Virgil Hammock a professor emeritus of fine arts at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. I am a past president of the Canada section of the  International Association of Art Critics and past president of the Universities Art Association of Canada. I would like to talk about beauty and art and hence my post on beauty.


Who’s Who in Canada

HAMMOCK, Virgil, B.F.A., M.F.A., A.I.C.A.; professor emeritus; b. Long Beach, Calif., USA 5 Aug. 1938; s. Elisha Virgil and Jean A. (Beatty) Hammock; children: Päivi L.A. Klausing, Claudette V. Hammock, Demian V. Hammock; e. San Francisco Art Inst. B.F.A. 1965; Indiana Univ. M.F.A. 1967; PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF FINE ARTS, MOUNT ALLISON UNIV. 2005–  ; Prof. of Fine Arts, Mount Allison Univ., Sackville, N.B. 1975–2004 (Head, Dept. of Fine Arts 1975–84, 1987–90, 1993–99); US Army 1956–59; immigrated to Canada 1967; Instr., Univ. of Alta. 1967–68, Asst. Prof. of Art 1968–70; Assoc. Prof. of Art, Univ. of Manitoba 1970–75; Dir., Univ. of Alta. Art Gall. and Museum 1968–70; Dir. of Exbns., Gallery 1.1.1., Univ. of Manitoba 1970–73; Acting Dir., Owens Art Gall., Mount Allison Univ. 1988–89; Pres., Universities Art Assn. of Canada 1973–79; Pres., Cdn. Section, Internat. Assn. of Art Critics (AICA) 1976–80, 1987–91, Mem., Internat. Council of Admin., AICA 1975–  , Vice-Pres., Internat., AICA 1987–90; mem. Ed. Bd. Vie des Art 1973–80; Artfocus 1990–  ; Artsatlantic 1999–2004; Pres., Mount Allison Fac. Assn. 1979–80, 1982–84; Pres., Sackville Co-op 1995–99; Bd. Mem., N.B. Arts Bd. 1996–2002; mem., N.B. Fdn. for the Arts 1999; Renaissance Sackville 1998–  ; Councillor, Town of Sackville 1999–2012; Pres., Rotary Club of Sackville 2001–02; Bd., South East Economic Comn. 2000–02; Pres., Tantramar Civic Centre 2002–07; Bd. Mem., South-East Regional Health Authority 2004–08; Commissioner, Tantramar Planning District Comn. 2005–12; Adjunct Curator, Beaverbrook Art Gallery 2013–  ; co-author: 16 Quebec Painters in their Milieu 1978; Pol Mara 1990; Herman Muys en Monique Maylart 1992; Jacky DeMaeyer 1993; Edward Leibovitz 1994; Paul Smolder 1994; Juan Kiti 1995; Cesar Bailleux 1996; Liberal Education and the Small University in Canada 1996; Daisy Wilford 1997; Guy Van den Bulcke 1997; Silvain 1997; Hélèn Jacubowicz 1998; Marijan Kolesar 1999; Guy Van den Bulcke: His Presence in the United States 2003; author of num. articles in Cdn. and internat. journals and magazines; honours: Hon. Rotarian, Rotary Club of Sackville 2005–  ; Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Club of Sackville 2008; Home: P.O. Box 6058, Sackville NB  E4L 1G6.


  1. Hey Virg,
    Welcome to the blogosphere. Good to see your manifesto on beauty getting some exposure. Just a suggestion, though, if I may. In this age of short attentiton spans, it might be an idea to publish something that long in serial form — say one or two paragraphs per day.

  2. Sandy, you right perhaps this article is to long for people to digest at one go. Harold had similar thoughts, but, hey, it is out there. I am going to sit back and see what happens. I do need to get people to find my blog. I will try facebook for a start.

  3. It is not too long to publish in one “go”. People can choose either to read it all at once or return to it several times. Personally I would not return to a blog every day to read a few paragraphs. Will read this later! Thanks Harold for the excellent advice.

    • Thanks for looking, Janet, I look forward to your thoughts. Virgil

    • Janet. Did reply on the blog. This is all new to me. Did you ever think of buying the domain janethammock.com? You can likely get it. Don’t think that there are too many Janethammocks out there. Virgil

  4. Does no one else have ANYTHING to say?

  5. Hi Virgil:

    This might seem too much like revenge on an undergraduate art history professor, but here are some of small points:

    Paragraph 3: Are you referring to Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology?

    Paragraph 4: I think that most of us actually like Isaac Shoenberg these days.

    Paragraph 5: Which abstract expressionists? Also you are very formal in your understanding of art. (me too, its our time)

    I think that the main point of your essay is here with:

    “This points directly to the idea that rightness in visual imagery has more to do with the human condition than any esoteric art theory. ” Which I tend to agree.

    Paragraph 7: How exactly do you define “Post modern”? You seem to be discussing Reconstructive Post-modernism (Suzie Gablik, 1990) that seems to be popular with education theorists. If that is the case it is not post-modern at all. Postmodern is a condition, which means that it is inclusive. It is mainly a jump from idealism to the consideration of lived experience.

    Paragraph 11: I like Kapoor too but again, it is because he is very formal. Kosuth is a little more deeper than this and of course, students always ape what is popular (I certainly did)

    “However, only an ardent deconstructionist would be able to split an object of aesthetic desire neatly into three equal parts. ” Why do you keep taking picking on the postmodernists?

    Finally, is art made for a market? (not mine for sure)



    • Good points, Andres, give a day or two to think about it and I will come up with something brilliant. Virgil

    • Alright, Andres, I do love the idea of revenge. I have read Merleau-Ponty and it is somewhere in my mind and comes out now and again. So not directly, but perhaps indirectly. I was talking about Arnold Schonberg. Who is this Isaac guy? I might like him too. As for Arnold, he is important and I have a lot of his music on CD, but they are not much fun to listen to. The AE guys–quite a few. Prime example would be Mark Rothko. Mind you Jackson Pollack work as well. Happy to be a formalist. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. I guess I agree with you about Post-modern being a condition and that it is inclusive. I just find much of the art boring. I am at my roots a romantic and out of touch with reality. I wish more of my students would have aped Kapoor (which would have been hard) rather than a Kosuth which was easy. You, my son, if I remember, were a ‘good’ student. I do keep picking on Postmodernists because they are an easy target and it is fun. Is art made for a market? You bet, but a fool and his money is soon parted. Hey, this is fun. Regards, Virgil

  6. […] free screening of Gasland is sponsored by CHMA radio, The Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Councilor Virgil Hammock, Mount Allison Universities Department of Geography and Environment and Cinema Politica Sackville […]

  7. virgil

    bienvenue au web — bon approche! beauty is in the eye of the public – as is art and cannot be mitigated by circumscription….
    if ever you want bird tower for park – alan is interested

    • John, have him write me. I don’t know what I can do, but we do have a public art project going for our new town hall. Regards, Virgil

  8. Hi Virgil,

    I am Sara and I work with ArtsLink NB. You are the first art critic that I have come across in NB! Very interesting article on Beauty as well. We are conducting a study, and was wondering if you might be willing to participate. Please see our homepage to get full details.


    Sara Griffin
    Executive Director,
    ArtsLink NB

  9. Professor Hammock,

    I am trying to date and source and article you penned titled “Painting exhibition found confusing, old fashioned”; the exhibition took place almost certainly in Edmonton and mentions, amongst others, the painter Thelma Manarey. I daresay it was written in the 70’s or very early 80’s. I’ve tried finding it in the Edmonton Journal but so far no luck! Your help would be greatly appreciated…

    Many thanks, and lovely text

    Florence (Montréal)

  10. I will leave a message here. Any other social media? you are involved in? Do you remember who I am. I studied under you for 1 year ( 1989-90 ) at Mount A.

    Andy Gill

  11. Hello Dr. Hammock, I am an art historian at the University of Manitoba and am conducting research into the history of art history at the University. I wonder if you would mind entering into an email correspondence with me about this. with kind regards, Oliver Botar

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