The Artist Statement:
Dennis J. Quinn
$ -------- An artist's statement (or artist statement) is a brief text composed by an artist and intended to explain, justify, and contextualize his or her body of work.
!--------- Artist statements can be viewed as having a negative and/or detrimental effect on artworks and the art world. Where an artist uses text to explain their artwork it could be seen as an argument that the artwork itself is unable to convey those ideas.
For my first body of work “ The Creature Kit,” it requires a statement because the concept is overall obvious. I decided early in the semester to wrap my drum set with a new approach. I wanted to take a photo of something I loved, manipulate it, and then figure out a way to wrap it around my kit. I chose vinyl for its’ durability and preservation of image quality. This piece could be looked at as a ready-made, Anti-art or a product ready for mass production. This kit is geared towards the modern industrial world where making money is a must. I intend to pitch this idea to drum companies.
My second body of work, “Is it too late?” demonstrates my growing sense of Anti-art. Through learning the various avenues taken by artists and the history that brought us to where we are, I found that I am simply unsatisfied with creating anything that resembles another’s work. I am not saying that this work is completely original, but it is not traditional and I have never seen a piece like it. I am proud of the process and the concept behind the work. I feel is not necessary to define the concept because there are many ideas that I would accept as valid. You be the judge.
My last piece is a composition I call, “ A Pulsar Star Composition.” I am so fascinated by the pulsar star sounds, and space in general; that I had to make something of the files I got from my Astronomy teacher. I took the raw files and subtly manipulated the sounds and created something that for me is a mediation or stress relief mechanism. I then created an image to look at while listening to the composition. The image projects the mood and sensations of these crazy sounds. The image started as a picture of a star that I took looking through binoculars with a cheap digital camera. The light trail from the slow shutter speed created the starting point. From there, I tweaked the space within the canvas to my likings. This piece is semi John Cage inspired. My passion for the sounds and sight of deep space and mind travel will never cease.
I have chosen an awesome painting by Yvues Tanguy. Being that I love surrealists painting, I gravitated towards that part of the MOMA. As I walked through room after room, I did see many pictures that I liked and some I didn’t care for. When I walked into the room with this painting, “The satin Tuning Fork,” I just had to get up close and personal. I had to see what the painting was all about. I looked it over and over. I got inches away and then stepped back ten to fifteen feet. I left the room and walked back in. I left the painting and then came back fifteen to twenty minutes later. This painting, to me, was the one I was going to choose to write about because I have a certain attraction to it that I can explain but it is truly hard to understand why it is this particular painting.
As I walked by the room with Yvues painting I immediately saw the diagonal thrust within the dark frame. I stopped where I was and tried to see even deeper. I then noticed and pondered the vast amount of space towards the top of the painting. I now stand about five feet from the painting completely looking it up, down and over. It seems to me that the colors coupled with the textures created catalyze a connection or attraction with the painting. The tones, hues, shadows and lack of outlines placed at the edges of objects or space create the sense of depth. The painting seems to have this barren desert meets ocean floor quality. It’s as if the objects exist within both places at the same time. I was then seduced by the layout of the objects. The objects depicted that exist in the foreground and background at the same time complement each other by the link of that large diagonal thrust. The perspective of that diagonal thrust brings those objects in the back ground into a space that is undefined. The objects create a random composition of vast space and then bit of clutter. Although minimal objects are depicted it still makes you feel a sense of chaos that is in suspended animation. I can imagine that if someone were to hit the play button the objects would fall over or down through the almost cloudy water like ground. This painting also seems to knock on the door of a dream world. Again, the textures that also include light and shadow reflect an almost hazy feeling to the soft toned blues, grays and reds. The cloths being draped look like silly putty or some melting of plastic. There seems to be wood objects within too. The scene depicted seems very serious but moody. Even though the painting seems serious and moody it also projects a cartoonish vibe because of the colors and forms of the objects.
This painting has certain aesthetic qualities that I seek for in creative work. I think the fact that I am seeking something within a painting means that I have my own perception of all of these elements that seems to remind me of Clive Bells’ Hypothesis of Significant form. As formulated by Clive Bell, significant form should be the determining collection of ideas, elements and concepts that are needed for a great piece of art work to speak to the viewer through aesthetics, but untimely through an emotion response. The emotion that springs up from my experiences and perception are bi-products of myself. The fact that I connect with this painting makes me wonder if I would connect with the painter? Or am I connecting with myself and the painting seems to be speaking a language that I need or seek. I do know that I really have a sense of what I like and what I don’t like when it comes paintings and other forms of art. It is only until this class that I have realized that the emotion being radiated through the application of paints to the canvas is due to the aesthetic qualities of forms. The aesthetic qualities, which Bell calls significant form, generate an aesthetic response from an observer by the virtue of its form. By form we mean line, shape, color, texture, and some basic design principles, balance, unity, and variety. Validity and quality does not depend on representation but on the form in which it is represented.” With that very definition, it becomes a bit easier to label the factors that lead to an aesthetic transposition of an emotional response.
In this painting by Yvues, the sense of 3-d space catches your eye just as much as the objects. I think it is important to also note the frame in which the great piece rests. The simplicity of the blackened wood and the gold inlay tie in nicely with the generally simple composition of the objects on the canvas. I do believe the frame of the painting can also make or break it. Imagine if the frame was red or white, it would completely change the initial reaction to the painting and the significant form could be come altered by way of the retina. I do not know if Bell took much into account for the framing of the good and bad works he criticized but I am sure it must be important.
This work has significant form. I do not know if it’s just because I like it or because it has significant form. I would imagine that both play a role. It’s the mood it projects in my mind. It’s what the painting makes me think and feel when I look at it or even pass it by. The language that this painting projects, seems to speak to me. It is the combination of colors, lines, tones, shapes and composition that create the piece overall which in turn translates into significant form which translates into projecting an emotional response through the form represented and not by the represented form. My connection with this painting hangs out with the colors and composition most. The size of the canvas is important too because the painting is eye level and needs to be searched rather than gobbled up in a small all encompassing look of that of a smaller canvas. It is not so large though that the forms are construed and abstracted. It is lastly important to realize that this painting creates an emotional and technical response of abstracted forms. This is important because it proves that because of the forms represented and not the represented forms that even abstracted images can create a sense of emotion in which the viewer can connect to whether it be to the artist or to the canvas.
I conclude however, that even though there is a definition that is universal for significant form it is up to the individual to decipher their definition. This must be true due to the fact that, simply, someone may not like or connect with this painting. Someone may disagree that “ all,” of Picasso's work is great. Of course, respect must be due to an artist who pioneers movements and creates new paths for others to follow, but the truth that someone can and will like only what they like, wither through persuasion or their own intuition is the reason that for me, significant form does exist, and is present in great work but it is not the entire solution to how and why we can connect to and emotion through painting.
Do Ho Suh has an amazing sensibility in his repetitions. The way that he thinks about scale, size, especially in the usage of the space that he is provided is extremely exact. He thinks about alternate ways to make a simple plastic model person into different pieces using color, shape or size. From his interview and his Art 21 video, I have realized that he is influenced by his youth in the precision of his father’s style of scholarly painting, his time spent in the mentally exhausting mandatory training and locations, whether in NYC or Korea. I have a profound respect for the focus and command of a feeling that he can elicit in his pieces.
Andrea Zittel has simple concepts, but the process up to the realization is complex. Her pieces are influenced by her family life and the concrete environments where she lives, whether that be NYC or L.A. They comment on the everyday materials that we use that may go unnoticed. There is a lack of interaction when she “experiences” a piece, such as living on an island or mobile home.
Tim Hawkinson’s pieces have a fascination with using and morphing himself, whether on the surface or within. His “emotor” piece deals with mechanically creating different emotions. Pieces like “Uberorgan” explore “sculpting air” in a sense that can parallel with an exploration of what is inside himself in its biomorphic quality.
Layla Ali’s artwork is deceptive. They look simple in their color and figures, but behind is an almost psychotic control in how a color is picked out, what brushes to use for what colors and how to keep it all organized. The way she works as well as her pieces have something to do with her youth, from the lack of control of how she grew up to playing dodge ball and the alienation that comes with being a single minority. While I commend her for the way that she does her work, I also realize that I would never want to work the way that she does.
Museum Visitation #2
Grounds for Sculpture
While at the Grounds for Sculpture I found many different pieces that intrigued me but none so much as Justin Shull’s piece “Terrestrial Shrub Rover”. The piece itself is fully functioning but while on display is always at rest and has its door open. The door of the “Shrub” being open allows those viewing it to see inside, and see that actually mechanics that are going on while whomever is driving it is inside. The piece was created as a reflection of the spirit of exploration partly in relation to the upcoming expeditions to the moon in 2020. The Rover is solar powered and is equipped with cameras on its exterior hidden in the foliage allowing the driver to see his surroundings. Overall I think the piece is quite successful, although I had to go on the Internet to find videos of it in actually use. I feel that perhaps a video looping through showing this video would possibly make the piece more successful to a viewer who can not on their own envision this process.
One thing she does do that I like is she takes files and hangs them on the wall. She puts cut outs from newspapers into categories, which seems to cultivate new ideas or projects. I wish, for her sake, that she tried a new approach to art because she is boring me with the images and her tonal expression of her own art. But, what do I know. This is just my opinion.
Most of his installations relate to architecture and definition. I can not pinpoint what movement it would fall under but I feel like his sculptures mimic types of Korean paintings. A lot of his pieces have a variety of color and some focus on a certain color such as red. Some of this inspiration could have come from his father because he was a painter.
The artists represented in these particular readings all coincide with a conceptual outlook on art, in a sense that inspires critical thought as well as an innate aesthetic beauty. Do Ho Suh is an artist who’s work I have had an interest before. He creates large-scale sculptures using glass as a staple in most. I find his pieces quite interactive in the sense that the different colors, which are reflected by natural night, constantly change the viewers perception. Mostly inspired by his Korean heritage his concepts are well versed and explored pushing the boundaries of art much like the Dadaist of the 20th century.
Andrea Zittel who’s focus coincides with personal space and the recreation of natural beauty using the mundane as a starting point and transforming the thought processes by isolating them from their original environment. The intimacy puts the viewer in a place that is quite comforting and familiar. This attribute is very important because it engages the viewer by making them feel apart of the work, making them interact and most importantly think about how these particular instances reflect their own lifestyle and hopefully gives a new appreciation for the usual everyday items in our life.
These two I found to be the most interesting of the ones discussed. I have researched them prior to this reading and found a natural attraction to their work. The surreal quality established in the making of each is present along with the meticulous and very attentive detail that entices the viewer in the first place,
Similar to Do – Ho Suh, Andrea Zittel takes influence form the Dada movement. Her work features environments created out of “readymades.” The Zen school of Buddhism inspires her work. Her clean aesthetic and the way in which these products are presented to me represent serenity. She uses objects together to create environments that represent her beliefs in them.
“Zoopsia,” meaning visual hallucination of animals, is a body of work by the contemporary artist, Tim Hawkinson. In this body of work he takes images and uses them out of context to make the illusion of animals making the title “Zoopsia” appropriate. In a different way then the two previous artists, Hawkinson uses images, rather than objects, to represent something that it’s not.
Laylah Ali creates gouache paintings that she uses meticulous detail in the subject matter, color choice, and brushes that she uses. A similar style of meticulous detail is seen in Georges Seuret’s work, specifically “Sunday Afternoon on the island of La grande jatte.” In this piece Seuret construct the image with pointillism that reminds me of the detail that Ali uses in her work.
I was most drawn to the work of Andrea Zittel. I find her investigations into the simple, taken-for-granted components of everyday life and interaction with objects fascinating. The creation of her own world, as processed completely through the filter of her self, is an element of artmaking which I find one of the most compelling in my work, and the completely immersive spaces which result are interesting dissections of the backdrop of common experiences. I was particularly drawn to the piece Pocket Property - the elements of control, isolation, self-sufficiency and living are all part of what drives my own work, in ways that are both very different and uncannily reflective.
I am also fascinated by the process by which Laylah Ali creates her work. The degree of thought, planning, gleaning and organizing which informs each visually simple piece is astounding. I'm always interested in the precise process through which artists create their work; in Ali's case, I am astounded. The personally-derived nature of her work is very much mirrored in the systems of organization and development she utilizes; seeing the full skeleton of what she creates brings a new layer to the work itself.
I found Do Ho Suh's pieces incredible in their sheer scale; and the reconstructions of commonly experienced phenomena is poetic in pieces such as his monument and his Seoul / LA home. The ambition which informs each piece is incredible, and I enjoy the questioning rather than message-conveying quality of his work.
When it comes to Tim Hawkinson, I am impressed simply by the skill with which he makes pieces which are compellingly beautiful or fascinating and utterly repulsive at the same time. His bird pieces are ones which also resound with me, initially because of my personal working with them. Upon realization of materials, however, the pieces become nearly transcendental: they are delicate, beautiful pieces made of materials considered disgusting to the point of nearly taboo, and the pieces, ultimately, shed the connotations of good or bad, and simply are what they are.
Andrea Zittel reminds me a lot of time based art in terms of setting conditions for herself to live through and creating an intimate experience for the audience to interact with. Her work involves adapting a limiting environment to accommodate human needs. Zittel's work is quite utilitarian by creating multiple purposes for one piece. For example, in the Art 21 video, they were drinking out of bowls that look small enough to be a glass for beverages but also large enough to be a bowl for meals. Zittel has a lot of control over her work, which creates isolation as a byproduct.
Tim Hawkinson has a lot of organic shapes and textures in his sculptures. He tends to use his own body or found objects that are readily available for him to use. There is a lot of transformation of his body to create other objects, such as animals. He is also inspired create environments that involve sound, including creating his own instruments. I can't exactly think of a precise predecessor for Hawkinson in art, but when I think of using one own body in art, I tend to think of Cindy Sherman. But when I first saw his "Zoopsia" series, I immediately thought of Georgia O' Keefe in terms of colors and organic shapes.
Layla Ali's art style is inspired by graphic art and comic strips in the newspaper. She pays a lot of attention to detail in terms of colors by keeping a log on how she makes certain colors and using a different brush for each color. Ali's work is inspired by her past and social commentary, especially since she grew up as the only black person in her school. Much of her art illustrates the before or after of an act of violence to her imaginary green and blue men. It seems that her art is much inspired like many of her African American predecessors in terms of race and power struggles experienced from life.
Like Marcel, Do-Ho Suh used objects that were associated with one aspect of society like the military and used it as something else. In the piece ‘Some/one’, he took thousands of military dog tags and linked them together so as to make a dress out of them. This was done to illustrate that every soldier was part of one large body and were not just individuals. This comment on the military seems exactly what a surrealist would do in order to bring this to the attention of the people in order to get a reaction to it. When I look at this piece, I feel a sense of awkwardness knowing that these people served their country and yet their tags are used to make a dress which seems like an odd choice of clothing to me. It seems like something an emperor would wear to show his bond to his military or his victory over his enemies.
In conclusion, I think that Do-Ho Suh was an artist that could be linked to the Surrealism/Dadaism movements of the early to mid 20th century. His art seems to reflect the attitude of someone who finds it necessary to use found objects to comment on society. He also reminds me of other artists that would use found objects to create a more conceptual piece like Tate Gallery and Tracy Emin. His subject matter would include many different aspects of society as well as himself including the military dress and the arch way to his family home in Korea. Do-Ho Suh was an interesting person and one of many who should be thought of if anyone considers Surrealism as inspiration for future art.
I thought the video was really great. I was completely immersed into another room in conversation with a metal fish. The fish was beautiful and so was the room. Her voice took me into the story and with the inflexion in her tone I really felt as if she were talking to me. She would raise her voice and I would shrink back as if I were in trouble. She made me feel small and uninformed, but I wasn’t offended. Her stories were a bit vague or imaginative at times. I was constantly trying to comprehend what she was trying to convey as I also tried to fill in the gaps. I was fascinated but felt like I was given snippets that I had to interpret for myself. The fish couldn’t give me any straight answers but she could give me ideas as a starting point. There is so much to appreciate in the animation. The conversation is so intriguing that you want to know more and truly understand. The actresses voice is perfect and very manipulative; you believe her, want to please her, and feel like she has so much to offer you. The scenery is beautiful, and the animation is wonderful; the way the fish glides and moves through the air is so physically correct and gracefully beautiful. The way the camera pans around really pulls you in as if you were in the room, and every time you turn a corner you’re anxiously awaiting to see what else will be revealed to you. It is a very smartly done animation; I would love to watch it over and over. I was told that the animation is clearly inspired by a book of the same name, “Chariots of the Gods.” I will certainly read this book now. I also hope to be able to view some of Matthew Weinstein’s other animations.
During the trip to the Whitney, a group of seniors also went to the Chelsea galleries to get the most out of our New York City experience. Amongst the many galleries that we went to, the pieces of Nancy Graves, called Nancy Graves at the Ameringer, McEnery and Yohe gallery still sticks in my mind. Upon entering the gallery, all that I saw were little splashes of color in odd arrangements. This, unlike some pieces where huge pieces were on display, enticed me to come take a closer look. Being a color lover, it was interesting to see such vibrant colors in sculptural form, accented by the white walls. This gallery displayed bronze pieces in a variety of organic and manufactured items which were welded together and then painted with rich and color patinas which are oxide coatings. These pieces are designed to defy gravity and generate a balance from their imbalance. This tilting and shifting of perspective was enjoyable in its imperfection and the way that they were uplifting and, despite their metal material, did not seem extremely solid. The colors were pure and playful and form not representational. In fact, I did not even see a need to interpret a more recognizable shape onto them, but just saw them as they were.
The piece shown above, simply titled Untitled, was not only exhibited well, but embodied the “balance by imbalance” best for me. All of the pieces were sitting on small white blocks protruding from the wall near eye level so all of the pieces were straightforward. Because of the height of this piece, it seemed to tower over me, dangerously, since it seemed to curve. The colors on all of the pieces were like paintings and were enhanced, not inhibited by the 3D shape of the sculpture. Not only was I attracted to the colors, but there seemed to be more and more details to see in the bronze itself, just like how plaster holds the shape of the tiniest detail in the mold.
Upon researching more about Nancy Graves, I realized that she also has paintings which are 3 dimensional, her description including that her “…works represent Graves’ continuing exploration of the tensions that exist between painting and sculpture, as well as her juxtaposition of real and fabricated imagery drawn from nature, art history, and western and oriental cultures…” She has also produced work in film, costume design, glass, polyoptics in addition to welding, painting and sculpture. Her vast experience in world cultures and her interest in reality and artificiality in pushing the boundaries of art and knowledge of techniques are things that I want to explore.
I always really enjoy watching the art 21 videos. Mike Kelley discussed how he is interested in repetition and how art itself is repetition. He also said that his art has to be available to the lazy viewer and the sophisticated viewer. I think this is very true even though I’ve never thought of it that way before. This way it can appeal on many different levels. I remember watching the Identity chapter before, and I really enjoyed Kerry James Marshall. The introduction to this chapter was great too. Marshall discusses making things seem fresh even when they’re not. This is certainly something we’ve been discussing in class recently. When every subject has been covered already, how do we present it in a new way that doesn’t seem played out? I really enjoyed the piece Marshall does on home. People are obsessed with knowing what others are doing in the privacy of their own homes. In the chapter about Fantasy Cao Fei discusses the understanding of society as a whole. She recognizes that many people are discontent with their roles in life. People play out fantasy lives to try to get something that they feel like they are missing. Another section I remember watching is the Structures video with Matthew Ritchie. He was one of my favorites in the series. He recognizes that we can only process so much, and that to understand anything we have to continually tune out things around us. It is how we get through the day. I love his Universal Cell piece and his ideas on everything being a part of the same thing, a continuum. I found Lucas Sarmaras’s auto interview to be very humorous but also sad. It is very honest and true; it is a very intimate interview. I think it is a wonderful look at someone inside their own head. He mentions that art is dealing with people on your own terms. This gives being an artist a sense of control. You chose how much it is necessary to show. You chose the interaction of the viewer with your artwork. He also says how he isn’t interested in reaching out to the masses. He is interesting in reaching the equivalent of himself amongst those masses. “For continuity” he says. I found the Warhol quotes to be very surprising. I’ve never been interested in his work but I would see it everywhere. His approach to his own artwork is unlike what I’m used to hearing. He says the more you look at the same exact thing the meaning goes away and the better and emptier you feel. I found this surprising, since it’s such a depressing view. He also says he is not a social critic, which I assumed he was. He simply paints what he knows best. He doesn’t think, he just paints; his work is very distant from himself. I’m not sure how seriously to take some of his quotations. There is obviously some truth to what he says, but it is hard to believe he isn’t thinking about what he’s doing. It seems like he does think very much about how to portray himself.
The artist that caught my attention the most was the abstract painter, Mary Heilmann, in the fantasy section. Her way of talking about art being able to transport a person without fear of any consequences, able to express emotion and even the technical aspects of what a 2 squared painting does to a space and on the wall was definitely enlightening and made me want to share in the experience of what her art does. I have always wanted the audience to feel something when interacting with a piece of my work, sometimes in a very uncomfortable way, and I feel like this can be another direction to head in when thinking about how to paint and particular piece. The strokes of her work have a specificity and carelessness to them which I respond to strongly as well.
An autointerview is a great way to direct a conversation – each question and answer is exactly what you want it to be. Samaras turns this into an art form, and through it, portrays a persona much like Warhol does. A similarity that I got from both was not being entirely sure which part was the truth and what was artificial or only for the public. Is it necessary to hide or to portray only a sliver of you as an artist? Is that what our art pieces are doing? Is it necessary to market ourselves along with our work? What purpose would that have?
Roland Barthes’s reading brought up the topic of originality possibilities. Is it really possible to have an original piece of work? Is the artist’s hand as important in the work anymore? How much power is in the viewer’s hands as compared to the artists? As enlightening as this negative piece of work is, I believe that every piece of artwork is original. Even if it were exactly the same as another piece, the fact that artist is different, that it was made in a different time, makes the piece new. I also believe that it will also be possible to make original work. Each artist is guided by unique experiences, that, although might be similar to someone else’s, can still provide the basis to making original artwork.
Andy Warhol was a very unique individual, a kind of "rebel" in the art community. He at one point states how the definition of art is unknown to him, and the fact that he is creating art has no influence on his perception. it seems as tough he would create art for the sake of it not being art, and that concept in and of itself has become a genre that many artists indulge. The simple things in his life were apparently the most enjoyable for him, stating that the more bored he is the happier he becomes. He liked things obviously I repetition so it seem as though he would like everything outside of his wor to be the same way. referring to television and sitcoms, and the constant repetitive nature or similar characteristics hat are clearly evident, only displaying minor differences.
Lucas Samaras' piece was quite nice to read. I found it difficult a times not incorporating another person. His style and attitude towards himself was really putting him in as vulnerable a spot as he would allow. In a sense I understand how this could be good or bad, especially when it comes down to dissecting yourself mentally. If the same interview had occurred with another person asking the questions, it may or may not have been more personal. Comfort ability has a lot to do with what information will be revealed. If interviewed by another he lacks the knowledge of knowing which questions will be asked making it much more confrontational, or controversial. By this he then is conceding to what everyone thinks they should know about him. Having done this himself he can reveal what he would like, and since the questions and answers to some are quite strange, that alone tells us more about his humor, mental process and creative inspiration, than a simple "normal" response.
The Art 21 videos I always find quite interesting, some intrigue me more that others but over all very informative. I have seen many of these episodes in previous cases and on my own since they are free to watch on the internet. I enjoy them because they provide a level of inspiration for me when ever I am at a loss in my own concepts. Overall the entirety of the assignments this week provided a level of inspiration in how I should question my goals and intention in the art world. what would I like to provide that can make a statement about who I am. Something powerful, cohesive and inspiring that can have myself among others excited about creating work.
Andy Warhol has a similarly strange personality. What I found interesting and beneficial in understanding his work was when he talked about how he likes boring things, and why they are interesting. What the average people find interesting, in his mind is so repetitive, they lack the change in details that he find interesting when you look deeply into the same exact thing. His work demonstrates his fondness of what would generally be considered boring. As a visual artist, Warhol finds the more interesting parts of life are the details that are easy to miss, or find boring.
The work Kozyndan reminds me of Warhol’s aesthetic. They focus on simplicity without the loss of the detail involved. They do album art, among other things, in this fashion. Their work captures the essence of life in a very uncomplicated way.
Two weeks ago I finally went to grounds for sculpture, which is pretty sad because it is right in our backyard and I finally went now. There were so many amazing sculptures but for some reason J. Seward Johnson’s recreation of Monet’s Dejuner Sur L'Herbe just tickled my fancy. I think the reason I was so drawn to it was because I enjoy replication, especially something as imaginative as to take an impressionist painting and make it 3D. The piece was really well done, all the way to the overlapping trees by the creek. Johnson adds a bit of lifelikeness to the piece, which was obviously hard to avoid, but I feel like the piece would have been more effective if perhaps the figures could have somehow retained that painterly quality. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a picture of it since it began to rain right as we got to the piece.
I went to the Princeton Art Museum and explored the entire gallery. I came across the Asian art collection. This is one of the permanent collections in the museum. I took Art History of East Asia last semester, so when I was walking through the exhibition I found a lot of familiar pieces and artists. One that caught my eye was a screen painting by Maruyama Okyo called the Hozu River 1772. It is a 6 fold screen in ink and light colors and gold on paper and is about 6ft tall and 11 feet wide. In the gallery this piece is on a platform and not surrounded by any other work. I feel this helps people concentrate on the piece and the amazing intricate brush strokes. This piece is from the Japanese Edo Period 1600-1868, which was one of my favorite time periods to learn about in my art history class. I really enjoy this piece because if the composition and the brush strokes. It is a landscape of the Hozu River in Japan. The image itself is very simplistic, however the stylistic rendering is quite beautiful and complex. On the left side of the screen is a faded hill with hardly any detail. As it shifts to the right you start to see some clouds and a few trees. Finally the strokes begin to get darker and more detailed and show this amazing landscape of these gorgeous trees along side the river. The drawing is done in a mostly monochromatic palate, which puts more emphasis on the composition and skill of the painter.
Andy Warhol’s interview really sums up how I have interoperated his work, in his own words, “boring.” Now perhaps you think I’m not looking into the deeper meaning of his work or the way that he kind of just slaps the label art on anything, which is pretty risqué, but I feel that there is no real emotion or drive behind his work. I do agree with one of his statements in the interview in which he states that just being alive is work, and this is the other half of me that sees where he is coming from. He states that making money is art, and while that is the taboo of the art community money is the basis of our capitalist society and if you can procure it through work of any kind than that is a skill.
Lucas Samaras starts out his interview very defensively, stating he does his interview to protect himself from people’s imaginations. The interview asks the same questions over and over to the artist, each time getting a different answer, I almost envision this being filmed and for each time he is asked the same question he is wearing some different disguise or outfit. He also mentions that his body feels like a separate portion of himself, which could let him down. Roland Barthes is an interesting writer who writes about how an artist dies when they complete their body of work and the viewer is born when they view his or her work. This is an interesting concept, but what happens when the artist or writer creates a new body of work, are they resurrected, or reincarnated as a new being? One of his ideas did seem to resonate with me, which I interoperated to mean that a reader or a critic might never really truly understand the meaning behind the work.
Andy Warhol has some really simple concepts and principles that he believes in. I like simple. One simple thing that I really connect with is this, “After I did a thing called “art,” or whatever it’s called,” Andy states on page 342. I feel this is important because Andy Warhol himself is a well-known artist. He is an artist that does not know the definition of art or believes in one particular definition of art, but yet America believes he is an artist because of the art he has made. I like this because it is so true and I can relate to the concept. We get taught things in such a “this is the way it is,” manner. When you step outside of what is generally known or even accepted, thought and planning seem to vanish and you create with a flow that is what I believe most artist and musician strive for. Warhol goes on to say, “As soon as you have to decide and choose, it’s wrong. And the more you decide about, the more wrong it gets.” I can’t express enough how much I agree with this statement. I can’t stand art or music (when creating my own) if I have to think. It’s like the gold thread in Poetry that either Wordsworth or Whitman spoke of. The more you tug the thread the less of flow will follow. The more you let things happen the more things will happen in the right way and the way you wanted your ideas to manifest. (this is just a my take on an idea that came from a poet, that I cannot remember.) This is why, for me, waiting for that moment and knowing yourself helps to create things or ideas. In turn, If i do not love everything about an idea, I most likely will not have a flow of creative power helping me manifest.
I am going to the wait till I go back to NYC on the class trip to write my last exhibit paper. It will be on a painting. I miss looking at paintings.
Out of all the Art 21 videos, I think I enjoyed Cao Fei's works the most. She had a lot of interesting social commentary and take on the concept of fantasy. Perhaps the reason why I responded to her work so well was because it was within a culture I was already well versed in. But I related more to Kerry James Marshall's reasons for doing art. It reminded me of the reasons why I chose this path in high school and is the main reason why I really wanted to pursue animation. I'd like to be able to make people feel excited about animation the same way previous animators have inspired me to do so.
When I first got in to the museum, I went to see that art film about an airplane trip on the first floor. The animation of the piece was very basic and the sounds were typical airport noises. But I felt the narration of the piece was very well done with the animation matching the sounds we heard. This seems, though basic in nature, that it would have taken a lot of time to get it nailed down correctly. After that, we went on to the 3rd floor where there were paintings from various artists.
Lucas Samaras’ “Another Autointerview (1971)” was yet another unique reading because it was in a interview format but it was done by the person being interviewed. Questions often repeat so the details of the topic can be thoroughly explained and Samaras tends to ask odd questions and gives odd responses. I found this reading to be a little biased because he’s only giving the information he wants to give out about himself and not allow someone else to get the info that people may want. But in one of his answers, “So that I can protect myself”, it seems that he wants to be open with the audience with his art and his mindset. Answers like this one seem to show that he is trying to open himself to us and be free of the information people seek from him. Then again, when I read this piece it makes me want to ask questions like why ask certain things of yourself and why particular responses were made.
In, conclusion I think the goal of this week’s reading was to show how artist reflect upon themselves as well as what’s around them. Warhol wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion on various aspects of society or on his own work because he wanted to be known for it and be noticed. Samara conducted his own interview so that he could get what he wanted out and not have his answers modeled after a typical interview format. This was a good reading because I think it was meant to encourage us to stick to what we think about art and how we create art. In the end, the most important perspective for an artist to have is his own and to keep it that way.
Lucas Samaras’ piece entitled Another Auto interview was very different. I enjoyed reading this because it is an unconventional interview. The point of conducting an interview is to find out information about someone else you do not already know. However in this situation he is interviewing himself. He has arbitrary questions and often repeats the same question to get him to elaborate more on the topic. He asked himself multiple times why he was conducting this interview. Two interesting responses were “So that I can protect myself”, another being “It’s a way of releasing guilt.” I believe he conducted this interview to get his mind to be relaxed and cleared. By performing this interview, Samaras is allowing himself to be free and let his mind wander. Although he is asking the questions himself he is answering with sincerity and openness. I really enjoyed reading this piece and find that it is a good exercise for many artists to do to help enhance their mind and their work.
From painting - to music - to videos, the artist’s explain what motivates them in their art. It is interesting to see how they feel about the viewer and society. I have always liked Andy Warhol’s philosophy how the wealthiest and poorest can both share in Coke. Coke is Coke no matter how much money you have. He realizes the importance of business in art and that making money is art, and working is art, and good business is the best art. He says that if everybody’s not a beauty, then nobody is. And all his films are artificial, but then every thing is sort of artificial. He does not know where the artificial stops and the real starts.
I thought the auto interview with Lucas Samaras was a little like catch-22. “Why are you conducting this interview?” travels a path of interesting questions. I think it is a cleaver way of explaining many things people do not always ask. It travels self, place and every thing in between the imagination in the mind of an artist.
Kerry Marshall visits stereotypes, self awareness and portraitures. His work is simplified and extremely colorful with a powerful message. He likes to see paintings in stages no matter how ugly they are until the refined finished piece is completed.
Mike Kelley works with the help of a computer to generate music performance. His work is visually exciting with the use of color, movement and light.
Cao Fei’s work is a mixture of pop culture and street culture with humor.
I was hoping to gain more insight on the original intentions of The Communist Party through reading The Communist Manifesto. The information I was hoping to find wasn’t what I got. We were presented with an informed reasoning of the problems with Capitalism and the society at the time (which is relevant to society today as well.) I found the break down of the different types of socialism to be very helpful in my understanding. The Communist Manifesto provided me with some insight as to what they deemed wrong with Capitalism, how things could progress if no one did anything to reform it, and how socialism came about. It ends with declaring that The Communist Party is for the working man. I was disappointed at the end when I realized I wasn’t going to get the information I had expected. I wanted to know goals and strategies, how they intended to fix things instead of what they intended to fix. I realize though that this is asking a lot. This document was written at the birth of Communism, it was meant as an introduction, not an instruction pamphlet. The Communist Manifesto does serve very well as an introduction as to why these people were (and are) uniting at an attempt to reform government. It is important to always question things around you, especially your own government. If you just accept things as truth, how will you ever know other ways of thinking and come up with your own opinions.
The stigma revolving around revolutionary socialism / communism has been massively enforced through disparate modes of propaganda; these social critiques and consequent solutions are often dismissed, without being actually thought about, by such gems as "It's a nice idea, but it only works on paper, we've seen what happens and it's dictatorship" and "There is a failure to take human nature into account." With regards to the former, those nations commonly identified as communist are such in name only; Russia in particular was led to revolution through the Bolsheviks, a vanguard party in an industrially unique country (which went through a completely different industrial development than their western neighbors, jumping from tsarism to revolution to, ultimately, state capitalism - inevitable due to the isolated nature of the revolution in only one country rather than internationally, and coming to that state under the leadership of a vanguard party rather than a grassroots movement.) Without an international revolution, communism does not exist and is in fact impossible - we have yet to experience an actual revolution. The closest we have seen yet has been the indigenous uprising of the Ejercito Zapatista Liberacion Nacional in Chiapas, Mexico, which remains an autonomous region - but only by virtue of the fact that the Mexican government sees no profit in taking back the land, which is sufficient to support the Zapatistas but useless for capitalist fortune-seeking endeavors.
With regards to the argument of human nature, there is one particularly sticky problem: what informs, creates, and molds that nature. The "human nature" touted by Marx's critics is based on what they have observed from a long-standing history of oppression through class-based societies, and a capitalist system which has been in place during the entire lifetime of anyone who has been alive to read Marx's works and critique them. "Human nature" is not formed in a vacuum; it is not an absolute; it is informed to an incredible degree by social context and convention. Thus, the human nature spoken of is only that mode by which humans attempt to survive in a competitive capitalist society, which practically necessitates selfishness and greed for the attainment of what is viewed as "success" in a capitalist society.
Marx and his party’s theories are all rooted in a very fact-based interpretation of history. However I feel that Marx failed to consider a number of other factors for the propulsion of this continuing class struggle, seeing it almost exclusively from an economic point of view. Religion, cultural factors, and probably most importantly basic human nature are things Marx did not fully consider.
Chapter four finally explains what everyone was waiting for, the purpose behind Communism. I feel that the idea of being revolutionary and supporting those who are against the current social and political system is ludicrous. It basically means that the principles behind Communism are encouraging anarchy in every nation, no matter what the social strife may be about. However, from an academic standpoint, it is amazing because it tells people to constantly question the status quo and encourages people to change what is wrong for humanity. I think that this mindset is important for art, as we are always constantly questioning society and ourselves and using our own individual ways to solve these problems.
Off topic, I apologize that I still have not completed a reaction for Marx for Beginners. The book came in late and I had a double header for thesis this week (glass case and discussant in the same week! oh my!) I will have the reaction up as soon as possible.
It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The fourth part is short and sweet saying that the Communist supports any and all groups that are going against corrupt government. It is clear that this part is the rallying section of the Communist Manifesto and to show that they encourage revolution if it is needed. Having now read the entire thing, it’s clear that the first few parts were specifically written to address the problems of government and the next parts were to provide a better solution or alternative. I can see how this would be an effective tool to promote themselves as the saviors from corrupt government. The Communist Manifesto parts 3 and 4 are meant to be a promotion of communism and the support to overthrow what the people feel is ruining their lives.