The Tao of Glenn Goldberg

Most artists, or those who put anything out into the world, want what they create, or what they say to matter. To have impact beyond themselves, to say something which resonates so deeply into our world that the influence of who they are carries true significance. We do this so that we can not only feel that impact in our own lifetime – celebrate the genius of these creations with our friends and our family – but that after our last breath, these objects, paintings, stories ripple out and live far after our own time. What most fail to realize is that we often have no control over how our creations live on after we place them into the world, at best, we can let go, allowing the tide to take them, and hope that beyond ourselves, someone, somewhere, felt it. I can say that I have felt the ripple of Glenn Goldberg.

More From Issue Four

When I met Glenn it was the second semester of my sophomore year, he was teaching a six hour studio course, with myself and 15 other students. I was immediately surprised and in awe of the way he held himself and the course. Introducing ourselves, he let it be known there would be no assignments each week, no online portals to sign into and publish work. There were not no rules, the rules were just simply put: he asked us to create the work we were there to make. He was not going to force anything upon anyone, he was there to be present, and vulnerable, all he asked was for us to accept the invitation and maybe even practice the same. Most important of all, to do it for ourselves, “I think you gotta be reasonably okay with yourself, to venture out and ask questions and really want to look at shit for what it is, rather than making something that's palatable or gives you a sense of stability. Even though someone on the outside could say, 'It's not that interesting.' I think some people are just trying to have their spirit survive.”

He was interested in our spirit above all, the healthiness of it, and truly pushing it in ways it could grow through the art we pursued, and so our dialogue began. We’d grab coffee around the corner on our breaks of the six hour course, talking about printmakers, what we were reading, our moms, and most everything in between. It has been five years since that class and Glenn and I continue our dialogue to this day, we talk about the banal and the divine on the same plane. We’re constantly told if we’re lucky we get one great teacher in this life, I found Glenn on the 8th floor of a building in Manhattan as an assigned studio teacher, and the conversations we’ve carried through the years are some of the best I’ve ever had.