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.
Another interesting aspect of this first chapter is how they feel that the bourgeoisie has stripped down “he physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.” Upon reading that statement I never would have thought any differently about these disciplines. Everyone respects people in these positions but I always have thought of them as just another job, and I wonder if I would have before capitalism. The writing also goes on to say that capitalism has done the same thing to the family, saying a family is just a money relation now; which is apparent now and even more apparent back before child labor laws were placed into affect. It is always very interesting to me taking a step back and looking at how I, and those around me live our daily lives and the meanings behind all of our actions.
The bourgeoisie: the upper middle class of modern capitalists who are the employers of wage labor and the industrial owners. The proletariat: the lower middle class of wage laborers who sell their labor for money to live. According to the Communist Manifesto the bourgeoisie is destined to fall and that by creating the proletariat it had also created the weapon that will be used against it.
The bourgeoisie will ultimately become corrupted and seek to turn all virtues of life into an object of monetary value. It forces the growing community to rely on it and molds the world in its own image. Hence the proletariat, who turn their hard work into that of wage labor to be used and exploited by the bourgeoisie.
However the constant exploitation of the worker can only lead to one thing: revolution. The worker will turn on the bourgeoisie individual who has taken so much advantage over them and destroy the industrial instruments of production which compete with the proletariat. They seek to make their class known and not be out-competed by the industrial machines. As the grow they will group and form unions to fight against the bourgeoisie and keep up the rate of wages. The bourgeoisie fall to the proletariats is inevitable.
Personally I don’t have much to say on this reading. Marx describes this competition as akin to a war zone and perhaps it is. I wonder if the proletariats created art to help support their revolution and what it could look like. I think it would be similar to motivational posters. Perhaps during Thursday’s discussion there will be some art presented that reflects these ideas.
If there is one thing about this reading that I do not agree with, it is the idea that national differences are vanishing with more and more connections. I still believe that the deep seated culture history, rituals and beliefs are as strong as ever. I think that what is increasing is the understanding of cultures and ethnicities rather than the vanishing of them. With understanding, there are sometimes spikes of antagonism when beliefs are not compatible, but overall I do think antagonism is slowly vanishing.
From this reading and the last reading, Marx seems to be very informed about the governmental policies and system of his time and of the past. He is able to see the system as it is and find the glitches that really need to be changed in order for equality to exist (or at least to lessen the oppressed peoples). The main issue that keeps popping up is the issue within the human condition, which exists in a wide spectrum of qualities and flaws. Altogether, any Utopian idea created for a society is going to be de-bunked because it is not in our nature to be “perfect,” or “flawless.”
I would like to transcribe perfection and flaws into art. In my opinion, the great part about art is that art can have perfection in flaws. In general, these flaws do not bring direct harm people. Perfection cannot be found in a flawed system because that system would not function properly, if at all. But within art, there may be no reason for function.
And now I am losing my train of thought.
I think what is strange about this whole article is the idea to abolish private property. This is probably because the idea of materialistic goods has been so ingrained into our brains that we cannot imagine a world without it. By sharing everything, that means all goods have to be equally made, which would mean destroying all individuality in objects. After all, we, as humans, love giving personal qualities to everything from playing with dolls to naming your car. So once your private property is removed, your ability to call something your own has vanished. That, is possibly the scariest part of Communism that cannot be fathomed in a Capitalist society.
Marx sees the flaws in the system that was currently in practice and develops a solution. He traces the problem back to where it begins and states that communism can be summed up in a single sentence, “Abolition of private property.” To be able to see the government system on such a large and small scale at the same time is what gave Marx’s theory the persuasiveness that it possessed. He was able to see the problem that was present and then trace it back to its origin. This is not just a skill that is useful for a theorist such as Marx, but a talent that all thinkers must be able to utilize. As artist, we are thinkers as well and we need to be able to analyze the world around us from all angles.
Chapter two deals with the Proletarians and how the Communists are better than them in various ways through government and connection to the people. There is mention of wages being unfair by being based on production as well as other errors that the Proletarians as well as the Bourgeoisie have made against the people of the middle class. The more I read this, the more it seems the writer wants to promote thought about this issue and possibly join the communists if they want out. I know if I were around at the time this was written, this writing would make me think of going against my government and joining them. But things at this time seem to be more manageable since then and people don’t have to worry as much.
In conclusion, this was an interesting read because it was clearly written to make people more aware of their situation and go against it. The way this is written would make any person who felt wronged by the ruling body angry and want to switch to a better way of life. I can see why through history, the communist party was seen as a threat to most governments because it promoted revolution and a loss of money for the rich. But I guess through time people saw that it was more of a smoke screen created by those ruling the party so they could use the people for their goals instead. In the end, I think that the manifesto was a great tool but it was used wrongly and thus failed its purpose.
Bourgeoisie, the middle class, came about as the result of the advancement of industry.
The middle class grows with the expanding market and consumer consumption. But
as the masses of laborers crowd the factory, they become slaves to the middle class and the middle class manufacturer. Now begins a new struggle for the bourgeoisie, with machinery increasing its productivity and needing less labor.
-brings the common interests of the group
-interests of the movement as a whole
-abolition of private property
-equal requirement of all to work
-free education for all children
Marx theory on church and state seemed to grab my attention because I seemed to understand and believe a lot about what he was talking about. Marx dealt with hard times but I believe it was because of his actions in what he believed in. He chose his side and risked his health and his children. Overall the read was a little difficult but the concepts were interesting. His ideas on the rich and the poor working all the same but down different paths was very interesting because I find it true. One person may work harder than another but be in a different position where he gets paid less. Everyone decides their own path in life.
Whitney Museum of American Art
September 17, 2009
Opposing Mirrors and Video Monitors on Time Delay
This piece stood out to me the most out of all Dan Graham’s works. The title of the work is fairly self-explanatory in that it consists of two video displays of opposing ends of the room. However, there is a several-second delay between what actually happens in front of the one display and what appears on the other side of the room. Therefore, you could perform an action in front of one display and go to the other side of the room in time to see yourself doing it on the other display. You could also see yourself in the reflection of the mirrors on either side of the room. I spent time with this piece along with several other students in the class, which made the experience even more memorable and complex.
Opposing Mirrors, like many of Graham’s works, invites the viewer to be an active participant with the piece rather than a passive observer. Particularly, his mirror works compel the viewer to travel around it and through it to see what changes occur to his or her own reflection. Graham playfully gets his viewers thinking about the way they perceive themselves and how easily something as familiar as their own reflection can be externally manipulated. It also provokes thought on how others perceive us in a larger context. I personally responded to the meaningfulness yet lack of seriousness prevalent throughout his works, which I believe makes his work more easily accessible to a larger audience besides the art world.
Aside from learning more in-depth of Marx’s theory, it was quite shocking to read about Marx’s lifelong financial struggle. In his pursuit of the truth and the solution, he goes to a point where his family and his own health/life were neglected and even sacrificed. What also interests me is Marx’s view toward the ‘creative act’ of man, which he believed has been transformed into a possession with mere monetary value. And while we know how to perform with the tools of our trade, do we necessarily own them? And while we believe art is a free expression, is art truly free from the tyranny of commercialization?
He than discusses his thoughts on Capitalism and the range in class, from the richest rich, to the poorest of the poor. Basically stating that a certain class of people have the right to better themselves throughout there life. The harder you work the greater reward. With this however it can complicate the process of the economy. Breaking people up into tax brackets that are usually ridiculous. allowing the rich people to pay off their taxes with out any financial worry. While the poor people continue to struggle because they have basically been locked in. This than makes it much more difficult to regain financial freedom. Given it is entirely possible, yet much harder. This leaves room for much argument on either side. Whereas some say 'those who have worked the hardest don't have to worry about that' this then gets refuted by something like; 'just because you get more money, you think you work harder than me', come find out. These laborers who deal with a lot of physical wear and tear created a Union system, with the help of Karl Marx's philosophies. In such they all banded together to demand better wages and benefits.
My drift from socialism has less to do with Marx than with those influenced by him; communism and anarchism in effect come down to the same thing in ultimate outcome, and are simply approached from different angles of organization and struggle against the still-present capitalist system. I feel that his writings are invariably still relevant, and will continue to remain so for as long as capitalism staves off its own inevitable collapse upon itself. This comes down not simply to the areas of economics, materialism, and communist politics, those fields commonly associated with him. Marx's theories have implications for all social constructs which are today societally operational, including sexism, xenophobia, racism, etc - all those arbitrary and false divisions convenient for keeping the working class divided against itself rather than uniting and working towards the next phase in social development.
On a sidenote, inspired by Marx and not his fanboy: I've always found an interesting parallel between the teachings of Marx and the Buddha in that both deal with the topic of elimination of desire, taking up either side of the coin. Marx approaches this from a materialist standpoint, speaking to the political and economic process towards the goal of elimination of need through provision of necessary elements to all people rather than their withholding by the bourgeoisie for the purpose of their personal (insatiable) gain; essentially, elimination of suffering towards the end of desire. The Buddha-dharma, on the other hand, speaks to the process of spiritual and psychological elimination of desire, and thus the cycle of suffering / dissatisfaction. This is, of course, only a very simple summation of this idea.
The read itself was laid out very uniquely, in a comic style, which seemed to be a bit distracting at times, but being a book hater I appreciated it as it kept my attention. Relating the theories conveyed in the reading to art was a bit difficulty. I see the connection between art, the modern word and politics. Philosophy has always been something that intrigued me. It has such potential to work and fix so many of societies problems, but it also usually has certain flaws, which lead to its’ demise. Capitalism seems to be working for America, but who knows, with the country headed down this hill we are we may have to bend or break.
Sadie Benning’s works were also enjoyable, but on a deeper level to begin with. From reading the description that the video was going to be about the heightening of perception that accompanies periods of loss, I never would have expected the style of video that I actually saw. This two- channel video projection was not necessarily inviting, but the content made me want to understand what it was about. What I noticed was that the sounds eventually quieted down towards the end and that despite the seemingly random pictures and visualizations, I understood that there was some story with tension and sometimes, a numbness because the video did not highlight particular objects, stay in one place for a long time and there was no sort of climax or surprising noises. In fact, I barely remember the sounds at all which might have been the intention of the artist. Overall the trip to the Whitney on September 17th was educational and I would want to go back again sometime soon.
The dedication and passion that affected not only Marx, but philosophers as early on as Socrates are admirable, choosing to lead their lives through what they believe in – but was it fulfilling for them? Along with admirability, there is also a sense of self centeredness – Marx could have chosen a different job, to make more money and therefore, have more of a chance to keep his children healthier. But would life have been easier if Marx had a job that paid or had been a bourgeoisie or capitalist? The dissonance between beliefs and actions might have been more unbearable than the hard life that he lead – where is there a time to choose priorities and head down one path? How set is a person’s morals, beliefs and actions?
“Dan Graham: Beyond,”
Our class trip to the Whitney Museum was very rewarding, and I am really glad that I was able to view Dan Graham’s exhibition in person, versus merely reading about it on art magazines. Because I have always been interested in architectural forms and their explorations in space, I was actively drawn to Graham’s large installation pieces, much more so than his videos. Upon viewing his pieces, I immediately thought of the recent article I read in Architectural Record about the recent ‘trend’ among architects to use architecture (not interior design) to create spatial experience; and specifically the recent project done by SANAA- Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa-team on the Derek Lam shop in SoHo. This connection was made in particular because of the usage of glass/mirror as structural partitions.
By using translucent /reflective glass, mirrors, and videos, Graham artfully creates minimalistic spatial experiences that implore us to question the relation between self vs. image, subject vs. object. Among all his works, I find Opposing Mirrors and Video Monitors on time Delay most fascinating. It was very surprising to see my presence in a space that I was no longer occupied carrying out a past action. Once I realized what the project is about I couldn’t resist but to interact with the space longer than I should (enough for the security guard to cast me warning glances). I think this is what makes Graham’s works so effective, which is their ability to draw the viewers/the viewed-self/ and the spectator into one shared space; and the awkwardness, or the playful interaction that results from it.
Before reading this book, I knew a little bit about Karl Marx, but mostly just basic ideas behind his theories. Of course, reading through this text helped to lighten the subject matter a bit through the use of drawings and humor, to a level where I could really understand it better. Karl Marx was more then just a philosopher, but a politician, economist, among other things, which is clearly seen and understood in his writings and theories. His stance on capitalism is one that I am sure many can support and stand by, especially during these rough times. Its interesting to read about his philosophy on our government and as human beings in general due to the fact he was an individual who faced many hardships, and was able to place things in a clear and distinct context. All in all, I saw where Marx was going and have a better understanding on what he stated so many years ago, due mostly to the book itself. The comic like drawings and illustrations, coupled with the text, really gave light to the different issues I was not sure of on the whole Marx philosophy.
Dan Graham was one of the big exhibits to be seen that day. His exhibition titled “Beyond” was very unique. I was hesitant at first to see his work, but his exhibition surprised me. When I saw his work I actually found it very intriguing. I really enjoyed his playful use of mirrors and how he created illusions with the large sculptures. I enjoyed watching other people walk through the pieces and seeing the reactions of the viewers. One of the museum security workers asked me to step inside one of his pieces called “Triangular Solid With Circular Inserts (Variation E)”. This piece was not only visually appealing but it was entertaining. When you enter the sculpture, you walk through the round circular entrance. You stand there as the viewers walk around. There are mirrors on each side of the triangle. However when looking through the mirror on one side I disappear completely. This creates a perplexing situation for the audience, because the person inside the triangle is still there and actually reappears when viewing it from the opposite side. The exhibitions were successful in capturing the audiences’ attention and creating work with meaning and purpose.
The Grounds For Sculpture: October 6, 2009.
Original Painting: Boating Party: by Renoir.
Sculpture re-enactment: Were you Invited? : By J. Seward Johnson
J. Seward Johnson's “Were You Invited?” is based upon French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir’s nineteenth-century masterpiece, The Luncheon of the Boating Party. In this specially designed and landscaped environment, viewers can actually step into the scene and mingle with the diners. In addition to the members of the Impressionist’s boating party are four figures seated around another table at the far end of the tableau. Joined in convivial conversation are realistic representations of sculptor Johnson himself with artists Bill Barrett, Red Grooms, and Andrew Pitynski. A dashing character in period costume brandishes his cane and addresses those at the table asking, “Were you invited?” Phillip Bruno, collector and art gallery director, posed for this gentleman keeping out the party crashers. Since 1994, Johnson has been creating life-sized three-dimensional works based on well-known paintings that, as Johnson has said, “allow an intimacy with the paintings that the paintings don’t allow themselves.” – (Courtesy of The Grounds For Sculptures’ website).
As you walk around the park you see an array of sculptures from many different styles that coordinate and decorate the tight spread of landscape. Within the park there are a few re-enactment sculpture scene: a few of Monet and this one of Renoirs Boating Party. If you know the painting before you enter the scene you will be amazed at how well the sculptures are placed to recreate the painting in real life. If you stand at the vantage point where Renoir supposedly stood to paint his picture, you will be amazed at how close the sculpture comes to the real thing. It is even more captivating to walk into the painting, as the 2-D painting now becomes life like and 3-D. If you look at the painting and the picture of the sculptures scene I have provided there are only a few differences. Everything to the canvas roof, which is still bronze casted is perfectly placed in a static manner. People are looking, standing and sitting in the same direction as the painting depicts as well as the placement of objects like the wine bottles and fruits. The color may vary from picture to picture so it is hard to say if the sculpture is off or not. The coolest part is the addition to the scene that the sculptor adds, which can only been seen through walking within the scene. The sculptor adds himself J. Seward Johnson and another Johnson Atelier legend Andrew Patynski into the background. They sit at a table, which is not seen in the painting. This is clever and adds it’s own artistic twist to the scene.
This sculpture scene that depicts Renoirs’ Boating party is absolutely astounding and completely succeeds in the artist intention, which was to re-create a 2-D painting into a 3-D bronze casted scene. This work delves into the issues social status, masculinity and femininity, modernism, impressionism and the good life of leisure. This is something you must see for your self. I recommend checking it out with the picture in your hand so you can see how close the artists came to the real picture that Renoir intended.
Because of the nature of humans, we will always prioritize, place different values in different things, and this includes our love of the self and love for others. This inherent gap in value can only get wider, and systems of oppression will naturally come into place and cannot be eradicated. Capitalism only further exploits this and can solve no problems. To combat it, Marx came up with the idea of unions, which is the idea of oppressed laborers banding together to improve working conditions and wages, not just for oneself, but for the future as well.
On a visual journey of Freud’s life, the authors cleverly travel through Freud’s triumphs and failures. With complicated material, it is broken down to the level of a comic book. Whether you are a believer of these theories or not, you will be able to understand the thoughts of Freud during his long life time of work.
From theories on Hysteria to Self-Analysis, study of Dreams to Sexuality the book simplifies very complicated subject matter.
Freud for his time was very radical in his ideas and most certainly opened a vast area for exploration. Today his theories have been well studied and with much research some have been disproved.
Class struggle is a big issue that would emerge from early man. After the ages of teeth and object trade, somewhere material money manifested and became the source of all material things needed and desired. With this new material, whether paper, coin or “valuable resource, like gold ect.,” came a struggle of the classes and the ability to do/not, or to have/not have a given desire or necessity met. A class generally ranges from upper or high class, middle class, low class, to down right poverty stricken people. How is it that one class or group of people could have more money than another group? This is where you can tie in religion and god. It is said that the upper class were royalty, or somehow linked to the ideas of god, that if you had money you were more important or higher up on the hierarchical scale than the next class (which was usually in line with the Catholic religion). The only real difference between the classes is money. Did god invest his energy in a select few of our social nature to rule the world? This idea is as ancient as pre-Egyptian, Egyptian and still exists today. In fact today, it is thought there are super/world powers at work, which have an agenda to rule or take over the world. For each and every era this all links into mans desire for power. To have power is to be higher up in the social class than the next and have the power to do as you please which would reflect freedom. The lack of vulnerability and fear that an individual / group or nation may possess. This freedom is what all species deserve, desire, expect and crave. Marx understood this separation of power. He understood that “the Boss,” pays his employees to do certain work that may or may not be necessary to anyone else but that individual. The wealth that this person holds is what puts them in power over the working class while the boss just sits back and only worries about finical gain and expansion at the cost of his laborers. The only way to beat this system is to acquire your own substantial money load so that no one can tell you what to do. The situation of wealth lets you create your world around you as you please rather than work your ass off for all hours of the day just to survive with barely enough to buy what you want or even what you need. Materialism comes into play when capitalism forms which seduces you to buy, buy, buy, or sell, sell, sell for the betterment of the rest of a nation. But this leads to vast amounts of bullshit and greed. Overall with this capitalist way of life the rich get richer and the poor stay or get poorer. In my mind, it’s very important for people like Marx to come around to articulate these complex struggles that can be so easily over looked by the layman or the laborer who has not enough time to think for himself.
Likewise, I find his theory of the id, ego, and super-ego to be similarly limited. It's not a bad compartmentalization of the human mind, but it is only that, and there are countless other lines along which divisions of the mind can be constructed. Once again, in limiting himself to the single view he hit upon, he precludes himself from exploring the array of other possibilities. In the field of dream interpretation, he once again hits on something interesting but can only take it so far, as dictated by his own limited parameters; and in general I tend to find Jung's views on dreams to be rather more lucid and open to further exploration and interpretation.
I found his writing on the Sand-man to be interesting with regards to the story itself, but somewhat abysmal as to his interpretation - the loss of eyes is as metaphoric for castration as castration is metaphoric for the loss of eyes, and these metaphors can be carried on exponentially. The story of the Sand-man itself, derived, I assume, from the ballet Coppelia, fascinates me (and strikes a particularly personal note, in that my own story does dwell on loss of eyes, though in a rather different light.) The tension created by the synthesis of the boy's recurring mythology with his everyday life, of "real" and unreal, of something other - which, in the case of the Sand-man story, are catalysts for an atmosphere of fear and loathing - is one which I find intriguing and compelling as an inspirational force.