Robert Bassler, '57 (BardCorps)

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Oral Histories

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Bassler, Robert
Bard Digital Commons
Peter Stone; Harvey Fite; Stefan Hirsch; Heinrich Bluecher; Orient Hall; sculpture; Student Fire Department; Cal Avery; Dick Avery '56; Buildings & Grounds; laundry service; Hungarian refugee students; Pete Seeger; Eleanor Roosevelt; Opus 40 residency; Blithewood Fountain; Seclusion; Education; History; Oral History
audio description
Bob Bassler was originally drawn to Bard for its focus on visual arts and its lack of exams at the time. As he puts it, he was enticed by Bard's "small classes, for starters, a lot of dependence upon individual research, few lectures, very few lectures." He recalls his freshman year as a "disaster," and in the following year he initially failed moderation into the art department. However, at the behest of his friends, Bob was given a second chance to moderate, and succeeded at Bard from that point onward "with flying colors." Bob describes his experiences with the art department and the transition from painting to sculpture; his work with the Student Fire Department; and his encounters with Bard's various visitors, including refugees from the Hungarian Revolution, Pete Seeger, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Bob remembers his time in class with Harvey Fite, and working for Harvey at Opus 40 for seventy cents per hour. He also recalls his experience creating the Blithewood fountain sculpture, Seclusion. All in all, Bob says of his time at Bard, "The minute I stepped on that ground I knew it was the place for me [...] It was an enormous learning experience on all levels."