Artist statement redefined- Phil Grasso

Art for me has been something that cannot be explained through one type of medium or concept. I thoroughly enjoy experimenting with different ideas, whereas, when I find myself excited about a particular theme or idea I tend to spend a certain amount of time corroborating different ways in which that idea can be displayed or viewed. When I spend too much time focusing on the constraints of a particular style I lose the meanings as a whole. Recently I have been excited about the fashion industry and will continue schooling in New York City where I hope to attain a job as a Graphic T-shirt designer. I had started drawing with geometric shapes and creating different patterns, paying attention to line shape proximity and symmetry of the drawings. I am excited to explore these studies creating larger representations using various media and color. Currently I am finding a lot of inspiration stemming from the works of artists such as Frank Stella, Jasper Johns and various street artists, and clothing designers.

Phil Grasso

Forgot my name...

Samaras, Warhol, Art 21

The readings this week were once again very different, in the sense that they were art pieces themselves. Each artist applies a manipulative thought process so as to bring to light certain emotions or ideas. The fact that they are so thought provoking shows me that The statements are very well manicured and done specifically, whether they are completely truthful of not is yet another question we must ask.

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.

Brandon- Warhol, Samaras, Art 21 Response

I thought the reading of quotes of Warhol on himself was very interesting. I've never done any formal research to speak of on Andy Warhol. So I was glad to get a candid glimpse of his perspective on his own work and its message and also more importantly, what its message is not, because of how influential and critiqued his work has been. The Art 21 videos I continue to find similarly interesting - I feel we (or at least I) get a lot out of personal interviews with contemporary artists. It changes the meaning of a lot of the gallery works I've seen and hearing things straight from the artists' mouth offers the perfect explanation/perspective. Hiroshi Sugimoto, a japanese artist from one of the episodes was of particular interest. He is a photographer and "craft" artist who shoots and develops almost entirely in large format film using natural light and is very set in this medium (and of course extremely proficient). Art 21 featured one of his architecture series' in which he photographed famous buildings that are now somewhat old and dilapidated, but he shot them out of focus so that all of the imperfections of the buildings blended away. I thought this was a genius way of implementing out of focus photography and now that I have been shooting a lot of out of focus work, I can appreciate the subtleties of blur in an image and his use of large format which may, to some, seem a bit overkill.

Kevin Keane, Response Warhol, Samaras, Barthes

The interviews were intriguing to read. The way in which the artist spoke gave me a sense of emptiness. Their lack of feeling gives off so much emotion in their words. The Lucas Samaras piece, in which he interviews himself, gives the reader a window into his peculiar mind. He asks himself “How old are you?” He then responds with “Nine hundred and seventy-one… I am as old as the things I know.” This is a very interesting statement. He then says that he panics when he thinks about it. There is a clear sense of two separate personalities in this interview. He is able to really make us feel as though he is having a conversation with another individual, not himself.
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.

Keith Croshaw - Exhibition Review 2

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.

Princeton Art Museum Write up-Danielle Inducci

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.

Keith Croshaw - Andy Warhol, Lucas Samaras, and Roland Barthes

These three articles are about three different artists, who have very different ideas on creative practice. Andy Warhol is a very interesting character, I’ve never come to a conclusion whether or not I enjoy his work or loathe it. Lucas Samaras is an artist who I feel really gets into his internal feelings through a simple interview. Roland Barthes is a wordy author who basically states that when an author or artist creates their body of work they in a sense die.

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.

Nick Biewer - Communist Manifesto 3

These two chapters were a bit more confusing then the last. After closer examining the writing I started understanding what the writer meant. As in the last two chapters communism is discussed. It also goes into the different styles of socialism and give details of each. It lists how the different types influence each other and what the positive outcomes are. The writing also breaks down the problems with capitalism. The problems it lists can relate to some of the ones in current civilization. After discussing these problems it presents communism as the solution. Marx’s ideas are presented very persuasively however I don’t think I can believe that communism is still the way to go.

Crystal Kan- Marx for Beginners

I don't think I like Marx For Beginners as much as Freud For Beginners. But, as the disclaimer says, it's hard to break down Marx's theories. Even though I read this after the Communist Manifesto, I don't think it gave me any more clarity on understanding it. I did enjoy learning about what led Marx to his theories and how he was living truly like a proletariat. It was also a nice lead up to analyze and quickly explain the history of philosophy and religion both separately and together. But it's comforting to know that at least his theories is a hopeful one of humanity eventually evolving to eliminate inequality.

Andy Warhol and Lucas Samaras readings: Dennis J. Quinn

I really like the reading from “Another Autointerview.” I find the repetition of questions works well because the answer can change just as many times as the question is asked. When the questions quickly change one after another, it becomes easy to see the connection of ideas that are asked and answered; sort of a rapid fire question and answer. Interviews usually seem straightforward and honest to me, especially video because you can read body language that links up with speech. Reading the dialogue can still cause some problems because important bits of info maybe left out or even edited.

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.

Eric Zimmermann

That was my response below I just forgot to put my name on it.. I keep doing that.

Andy Warhol, Lucas Samaras, Art 21 response.

Readings like the two we had to read this week I find very intriguing, and extremely enlightening. upon reading these two pieces you are able to see that both these two artists really have a handle on who they are why they create art, what it means to them and the ideas they are trying to convey through their art. I feel much like Lucas Samaras when he is asked about himself being an artist and how he felt about it, and how more recently after setting out to be an artist twenty plus years ago he is finally beginning to feel "unembarrassed" about the proximity of himself and the great men of the past. I feel that Samaras' autointerview in many respects has similar qualities to the way that I myself think about my art, but beyond just my art, art as a whole.

Andy Warhol had some very interesting quotes throughout as well. His quotes and philosophies were quite thought provoking, three of my favorites: "If everybody's not beauty, then nobody is.", "When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums.", and "I never understood why when you died, you didn't just vanish, and everything could just keep going the way it was only you just wouldn't be there. I always thought I'd like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well actually I'd like it to say "figment"." These along with the rest of the quotes have given me a much better idea of Warhol's thought process behind his art, and hopefully after these two readings I can better put into words my own experiences and influences that contribute to my art.

As far as the Art 21 clips, I find them to be extremely useful tools geared towards artists looking for inspiration and insight into other artists work and their own. I have watched the show on many occasions on PBS and will continue to as long as they keep making new episodes.

Crystal Kan- Gallery Exhibit 2

For the second exhibit, I decided to visit Grounds for Sculpture for the first time, with Allison. We went on a day where it was forecasted to rain, but it did not, so we essentially had the whole sculpture park to ourselves. In our exploration of the park, I found Brower Hatcher's work, which were three large steel and iron wires and glass sculptures enclosed in a small area. Each piece was named after the general shape that each of these sculptures imitated, “Wave”, “Tower” and “Fan”, each made in 1999. I can only presume this is a series of work that was an exploration of the materials and making large geometric shapes out of smaller geometric shapes and wires. I personally thought it was beautiful, even in the grey skies, because of how the colored glass worked together within the wired structure. But in placing this piece outdoors, I can only imagine that this series of sculptures would only be at their fullest potential on a bright and sunny day.

Crystal Kan- Art 21 + Readings

I liked Lucas Samaras's and Andy Warhol's statements about their art. It seemed like they had a solid concept on their artistic vision and the world around them. I liked the quotes from Warhol just because it allowed me to see American consumerism in a new light. Warhol explains that boring things can be interesting, which is what I like about the simple things in life. As for Samaras, he basically lays out why he is an artist and why he makes art. It's empowering to the artist to know these things because it shows that Samaras has a clear understanding of himself.

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.

Exhibiton 2 Whitney Museum (Jeff Barnard)

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.
One such artist was Georgia O'Keefe who made a lot of flower art and had it displayed throughout the 3rd floor. The dates on these pieces ranged from the early 70’s through the 80’s but all having a similar theme to them all. In all of them, there was vibrant color ranging from reds to blues and even colors in between. These were all paintings and they all were about the same size ranging from 3 feet by 3 feet to a few that were 3 feet by 4 feet. But he often seemed to use a close up on the stamen of the flower as though he was saying it was the most important part to him. Was he trying to send a message through his art be it sexual or not? I'm still not sure to this day as to what the intention is.
My next venture was the video called "Rock My Religion" which was completed in 1984 by Dan Graham where the goal of the piece was to suggest that music, particularly Rock and Roll, was an art form. You could tell the piece was a bit old because of the people featured and the graininess of the footage that was featured. This piece was shown through a projector in a dark room on a screen that I would guess to be at least 8 feet by 8 feet. It seemed to say that music was an experiment in conceptual art and was used for different purposes such as religion and politics. In the piece, there were featured artist such as Jim Morrison and Jimmy Hendrix as part of the subject matter. I've never really thought of music in that way because to me music was just something to listen to and enjoy. Although, I do notice that throughout history music has reflected the cultural theme of the time it was made in. In the end, the trip was a bit of a learning experience.

Warhol/Samaras Response (Jeff Barnard)

This week’s reading was a little different this week because it dealt with videos and not just a simple chapter to read. One such reading was “Warhol in His Own Words” which was a list of statements from Andy Warhol reflecting on his work and his outlook on certain things in society like TV and movies. I found it to be a unique experience to be reading words spoken by a famous artist rather than an analysis of his work and his feelings on it. As an Artist, this was great to for once read Andy Warhol’s true thoughts and find a link between us is our perspectives on certain things. For example, he says that TV today is the same thing in every show with a few details changed around to make them seem different. I can identify with that because there are some shows that follow a particular formula and because of that, I can predict what will happen and most of the time I’m right or at least very close. But then again, I can’t say the repeating aspects of the storyline are all bad because for some shows, that’s what helped them to gain a particular audience they wanted. Warhol was a unique artist and I think that’s what made him great.

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.

Warhol/Samaras write up-Danielle Inducci

Andy Warhol, Warhol in His Own Words: Untitled Statements was a very interested thing to read. I really enjoyed how the entire reading was various quotes from Warhol through different types of his life. It really gave me an insight into how he thinks and how he sees the world around him. He is an intriguing and unique person with many strange qualities, which is most likely what makes him such an interesting conceptual pop-avante garde artist. One quote I found captivating was “I like boring things. I like thing to be exactly the same over and over again.” He goes on in the next quote to say that he likes boring things, but is still bored by them. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else thinks its boring. He starts to describe television shows and how every show is exactly the same plot, the only thing that changes are the details. Warhol says he would rather watch something that is exactly the same over and over again because “the more you look at the same exact thing the more the meaning goes away and the better and emptier you feel.” A line like that really makes me think about what I feel about the situation. I would not want to watch the same thing repeatedly, I be bored with it and would end up turning it off. Oddly enough Warhol likes the feeling of boredom and intentionally doing so to disconnect himself from the materials. His though process is very different from me.

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.

Communist Manifesto C. 3 and 4: Dennis J. Quinn

These chapters’ further address the theory, policy and practice in which Communism would be based. It discusses the issues within Capitalism and the necessary transitional social state between Capitalism and Communism, which is called Socialism. The definition of socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. In Socialists parties, of for example Europe, the party generally becomes democratic. These theories still seem to be better on paper than applied to the natural states and behaviors of humankind. It is because of mans desire and need for independence that greed and power become the fuel that capitalism seems to work off of. It is hard, but ideal to imagine the world with resources evenly distributed and properties undivided and owned by everyone. I doubt America would ever become Communist, but certain theories like the spread of wealth sound nice. The struggle to survive will be difficult no matter what policy is in place because that is a law of nature. If does become easy we need to be weary.

Danielle Inducci-ch 3 & 4-communist Manifesto

The third and fourth chapter of the Communist Manifesto was more confusing then the first two chapters. It is not something that can be read through once. You have to reread and dissect the reading to get the understanding that the writers intended. The Manifesto was written at the start of Communism. These two chapters were informing us of the different types of socialism where as the first two chapters were more detailed with more meaning behind it. Chapter 3 & 4 explained the many different types of socialism such as True Socialism, Bourgeoisie Socialism, Petty Bourgeois and a few others. It was mainly about the pros and cons of each type of socialism and how they affect one another. Chapter four is about the Utopian society that will eventually turn out from the rise of Communism. Communism spread greatly by the time the Manifesto was published. In my opinion communism sounds good on paper, but I would not want to take part in it.
Liz Marchuk
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.

Danielle Kuhn

Communist Manifesto Chapters 3 and 4
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.

Leandra, Communist Manifesto (full text)

In the Manifesto, Marx and Engels lay out a critique of capitalism and class struggle, carefully dissecting the failures of capitalist government to serve anything other than the self-interest of the bourgeoisie, rather than that of the people as a whole; as well as proposing the basis of a solution in the form of communism, while not sparing reform-socialist groups from critique as well. Though the writing has become somewhat dated or archaic in certain respects, it certainly remains a relevant text insomuch as capitalism continues to be the predominant system under which the globe operates.

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.

Kevin Keane, Communist Manifesto 3 & 4

Similar to the first two chapters of the Communist Manifesto Marx uses the faults in other political movements to present Communism as a solution to the current problems that society is facing. The problems that he offers solutions to are all troubles that the proletariat faces. The proletariat being the majority of the population, he seems to be attempting to manipulate them into seeing problems in their government. In his last couple sentences he states, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win… Proletarians of all countries, unite!” Marx clearly says that the proletariat is not being treated as they should and they need to contest the current government. In the time period that this was written it would strike fear of revolt in the minds of the bourgeoisie. He is telling the majority of the population that they are being persecuted and that they can do something about it. I feel as though Marx is able to present his ideas in a very strong and convincing way.

Brandon-Communist Manifesto (full text)

Marx’s Communist Manifesto is a publication that intended to clear up misconceptions about communism that were developing among the public. It was meant to explain the theories, goals, and intents of the growing communist party in a way that the public could better understand. Marx argues that up until the text’s contemporary time in history, class struggles had always been an evolving part of our economic history. It was only until this time that these class struggles and suppression of the lower class(es) was “masked” behind things like religion, and now that the people can supposedly see exactly what’s going on, a communist revolution is inevitable that will end class struggles forever. Marx spends most of the first two sections discussing this development through history, and the details of how the proletariat is oppressed and used by the bourgeoisie as a “commodity”. He then discusses the Communists’ relation to the proletariat and some of the misconceptions that have developed. The third and fourth sections consist mainly of what in simplified terms would be his proposals. The types of socialism and communism, and how he believes the progression will take place.

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.

Communist Manifesto 3 & 4 - Amy Lu

Several thoughts ran through my head as I was reading these chapters. The first and most prominent one was, “what?” And then the second one was, “I’m glad that I don’t have to completely understand what I’m reading and then talk about it or be tested on it.” Despite reading about Marx and communism for 3 straight weeks, I find myself not interested in it beyond knowing a general concept. Feudal, petty-bourgeois, “True”, conservative, critical-utopian socialism? Now that’s just an excessive amount of reading. Chapters 3 was a painful to read while chapter 4 was a dream. Overall I am surprised by how much Communism had spread by the time the manifesto was printed. And, in expanding my knowledge about different philosophies out in the world, knowing something about Marxist theories, communism, capitalism and socialism give me a lot of things to think. From how it influences art to history and our world today, Marxist theories are surprisingly well embedded into various aspects of my life.

Crystal Kan- Communist Manifesto (Ch. 3& 4)

Chapter three was about several different types of socialism and discussed the pros and cons of each system with historical and social contexts. It is hard to understand at a glance, but once you read through each densely packed paragraph, he does a good job explaining how each type of socialism rose and fell.

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.

Communist Manifesto ch. 3&4 - Eric Zimmermann

While continuing this reading I was interested to see how it would progress, but it seemed to become jumbled to me in the way that it was written, and I found myself getting confused. I did however pick up on what I feel were the most important aspects of the reading: the historical social movements, and the idea that communism is the way to a better world, (this is of course debatable). The only problem with this in my opinion is that what is being sold seems to be very one sided and as with many other proposals throughout history, never really touches on the negatives of what is being proposed or discussed which in this case is communism. Aimed at the working man the idea of communism may seem great, but the inherent issues that will arise are never addressed. The ONE thing that will always be the downfall to communism and its ideas is individualism and one's own thoughts and ideas. No one person will ever want exactly the same thing as the next, our differences from one another will always be to the detriment to the idea of communism. For that reason alone it will never work, it is a flawed idea in my opinion.

Jess Adamitis Reading 8 Response

I really can only hope that the discussion will once again enlighten me as to what chapter 3 is really stating. I chose not to linger on chapter 3 and turn my attention to chapter 4 which was by far much more easy to understand because it really only states one thing. Communism fights for the working man. It is just one huge promotion that openly states what they fight for, who they fight against, and how they fight. This will allow alliances with enemies to fight a larger common threat. However, there will always be problems. Communism is not the solution to the working man. In theory it is the way of a perfect world, where all people think the same thoughts and want the same wants. But this is not our world. We are too diverse and different from one another. Ideas are destined to collide.

Danielle Kuhn

The whole first chapter of the Communist Manifesto was hard for me to read. I felt myself getting very antsy and hoping I would get near the end soon. A publication such as this is obviously going to be a bit biased, so I was prepared for that. I did find it a bit informative, but while I was also prepared to hear complaining, it just dragged on a bit too much for my taste. It didn’t serve as a very good introduction to the manifesto for me. I did get an idea though on how they assumed things would progress if no change was made. I do find myself ready to read more of the Manifesto, I have never read it on my own and I find myself wondering why I never have before.
There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion…
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
Liz Marchuk

The Communist Manifesto part 3 and 4 response (Jeff Barnard)

In this week’s reading, we continue with the Communist Manifesto and how it was trying to prove that communism was better. In the third part, they seem to give a long history lesson on how aristocracies of England and France used the government in dishonest ways to suppress the Bourgeoisie by spreading omens of a terrible future if they remained. It goes on and talks about how the communists and French Socialists overcame the “one-sidedness” and spoke based on the will of truth. This part, to me, seems to show that the communists are only interested in the truth and want to help the people as opposed to their government. I think that this was a good tactic to use because it makes Communists seems like a more honest bunch of people that are interested in shedding off bad forms of control.

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.

Eric Zimmermann - Manifesto

Throughout the reading it was obvious that its main focus was to address the issues that are apparent in modern society. It "describes" an ideal way to remove individual success and replace it with an overall success of society. It evaluates the limits of how far one person/group can be pushed before they essentially push back, and a revolution is started trying to overthrow those individuals who are at the top of the "food chain". I thought this reading was especially interesting and look forward to reading the next chapters.

Phil Grasso-Manifesto

This reading focused on the different levels of class and how they have changed over time. Moving from a communal guild oriented society to one that is controlled by the bourgeoisie, or upper-middle class manufacturer. these owners rely heavily on the labor of its workers, the lower-middle class proletariat. What Marx is suggesting is that the abolition of such sects, would increase communal wealth for everyone. Everyone has the opportunity to succeed together and not at the expense of someone else. As the bourgeoisie grow and grow the peasants, artisans, shopkeepers and other small manufacturers become weaker and weaker, thus expanding the gap in class. How far can the oppressed be beaten and battered before they get their fair share of the "pie". Revolution is next in line for those feeling that they are treated unfairly. By eliminating the upper sects and restoring community involvement, the scale will even out.

Communist Manifesto: Dan McCafferty

The communist manifesto touched upon more modern issues in society and discussed ways of fixing them. There were several ideas that were very precise but the main goal was to get communities to work together as a whole rather than individual units living with each other. Today this is nearly impossible due to the population and modern way of living. This issue was one not really mentioned in Marx but I also feel that it was irrelevant to his issues. They also talk about the way that some cultures and beliefs are being taken away or vanishing. I do believe this in modern society, I feel like a new culture in general is coming to be. Almost like everything that we used to know is merging into one. I feel like the art side of this reading was to realize that we should stay rebellious with our actions but at the same time we need to keep it organized. In tie with the idea of coming together as “one” in a society, the idea of abolishing private property seemed a little strange to me. I get the idea because it materialized certain things but I believe it was a step too far. I enjoyed the reading but some of the reasoning and ideas behind the concept seemed a little drastic.

Danielle Inducci-Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx presents ideas in this chapter about Communism and how becoming a communist society would fix the flaws of modern society. He is an intelligent man who presents valid arguments when he is trying to convince others of his crazy plans. One main idea of his was eliminating private property, allowing the community to come together and work side by side. Marx istrying to create a Utopian society through taking down dividers and making everything identical. This would force everyone to be equals and would get rid of all individuality. However many people would never allow themselves to be equally accessible to the community. Everyone has a right to their privacy and would like to keep it that way. This is Marx way of getting people to think outside the little box of society and branch out and explore different ideas and opportunities. This is very similar to how artists should and try to think when creating new and interesting work.

Keith Croshaw - Communist Manifesto

The writing starts out as expected talking about the oppressed and the oppressor. I found it interesting the diversity of the writers of the Communist Manifesto, although historically it makes sense. I find it interesting how the writing states that the proletariat and the bourgeoisie have been growing further and further apart since for some odd reason I’ve been feeling like many sub-levels of the main classes have been melding together over time. Perhaps I just haven’t though about it enough to see through the haze.

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.

Jess Adamitis Reading 7 Response

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.

Communist Manifesto - Nick Biewer

In this Manifesto, Karl Marx points out the flaws of modern society and explains that communism would fix those. His way of thinking is very out there, presenting problems and solutions in convincing ways. His ideas came down to one main theme, abolishing private property. He believed if this happened it would force the community as a whole to work together more. Without personal property, communism would take away the individuality of people and make all good equally made. Marx explains this as being a way of uniting the society, however most wouldn’t dare let their person property be equally accessible to the community. His way of thinking in this passage relates to how artists should learn to think and create outside the box. We need to take in the elements of the world and use them to think and create.

Communist Manifesto - Amy Lu

The Communist Manifesto, written by Communists of various nationalities, came up with a well thought plan, complete with attacks and counterattacks. I found more information in these few pages than the whole Marx for Beginners book. The second chapter reinforces Marx’s reach into all parts of society today such as philosophy, modern issues such as racism, education, politics, economics, etc. These were some of the things I do not remember seeing in the Marx for Beginners book. Although I am more informed; I still find it difficult to state strong opinions about how I feel about communism since it carries a different connotation in the world today (one that is more synonymous with words like tyranny and dictatorship); but it does seem to sound pretty thorough upon reading it. I still find the capitalist system very prevalent (at least in the US), but there have been strides to counteract this. At least in business, companies are more aware of their responsibilities, both morally and to their community in not continually and increasingly outsourcing.

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.

The Communist Manifesto: Dennis J. Quinn

The solution to a long history of oppression and class struggle is the aim of this writing. Many countries in the past have tried this single-ruled party and failed. There are currently 5 countries under the rule of communism, Laos, China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam. The thing that I don’t understand is, someone or some group has to be in power of the people of a given region, state or country. That group has to make sure things are split “equally.” If properties are no longer divvied for the individual, then what stops indecent acts of territory invasions or thefts ect.? This is one of the very big problems found within Communism. In order for things to be divvied up someone has to know the hard facts about where, for instance, product A is coming from, how many people need product A and how long it will sustain. From here, this is where the “authorities,” become greedy and power hungry. They begin to pocket more for themselves; which in turn takes away from the population. Again, the small lucky few become like dictators and rule the lands.
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.

Crystal Kan- Communist Manifesto

Marx's Communist Manifesto is a logical and well thought out solution to the oppression in our society. However, this can only happen in a perfect world where greed does not exist. It has already been tried in countries like Russia and China, but the problem is that instead creating a new equal society, it ends up repeating history. The few dissenting oppressors take advantage of the proletarians' misery and seize a majority of the power over the country.

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 for Beginners - Kevin Keane

Marx for Beginners, like the piece we read on Freud, presents the basic history of a thinker in an interesting way. The book is heavily illustrated making it very quick to get through. Although this work is very creative at some points I feel as though the comical images do start to take away from the material, and begin to get repetitive as well. I began to feel as though I was reading the comic section in the newspaper. Marx was a great thinking and I don’t feel as though this piece does his theories justice. His ideas are presented in a juvenile fashion that clash with his style of thinking. Unlike Freud for Beginners, which the psychotic sense that the imagery presented reinforced that material, Marx for Beginners is far less effective.

The Communist Manifesto - Kevin Keane

Karl Marx’s theory that inspired the Manifesto of the Communist Party is so innovative and outside of the box, that I was inspired as a thinker and as an artist. On paper communism sounds like a system without flaw. He was able to envision his ideas and present them in a persuasive way, just as artists are intended to present their work to the best degree.
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.

Communist Manifesto(Jeff Barnard)

In this week’s reading, it talks of the middle class, the Bourgeoisie, and the advancement of industry around the time it was written. It goes on to mention about how there were different social ranks and how there was a constant struggle between them. Also with the new land of America coming into use for trade and commerce, industry got a boost in production and money. This kind of reminds me of what’s going on these days where the middle and lower class are suffering the most, but the rich are keeping themselves rich with the bailout money. I guess that things haven’t changed much from then; the problems just changed their colors to look different.

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.
Liz Marchuk

The Bourgeoisie:
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
-no inheritance
-equal requirement of all to work
-free education for all children

Brandon - Marx Response

The Marx For Beginners reader was quite a bit more complicated than Freud. Understandably so, however, when one considers the depth and breadth of Marx’s philosophies. The author’s preface was surprisingly heedful because even he admits he still has more to understand. There were hundreds of terms to breakdown and the author struggled to reduce the number of them without reducing the definitions of the ideas. For me some of the most interesting material was the number of pages devoted to the history of philosophy. While the illustrations were less complex than in Freud, the book gave a very good summary of the entire history of the evolution of religion, philosophy, metaphysics, mechanics, etc leading up to Marx’s time and contemporary schools of thought. I was surprised to learn that Marx had such a huge breadth of work. And I think it’s interesting when considering his theories, to consider his personal life and the hardships that he faced due to lifelong poverty.

Brandon - Freud Response

I really enjoyed the way Appighanesi and Zarate portrayed and broke down Freud in this concise, easy reader. It talks about his life and his work and theories. Sparing any analysis on Freud’s own psych, it shows how his personal life and work at times were very closely related. I’ve studied Freud before, but never learned about any of his specific case studies like Anna O and the Rat Man, or the ways in which he developed some of his theories. The illustrations were entertaining but not so childish that they took away from the depth of the concepts. I thought his work with hysteria was particularly interesting because he broke from what had up until that point been believed about the affliction. He concluded that it did not only affect women, and developed his own methods of therapy (including free association) through his diligent attempt to cure patients. Freud’s ideas were evolutionary and although he was outcast for their extremity at the time, his influence on psychology and many other fields cannot be denied.

Marx for Beginners - Eric Zimmermann

This reading was the first I had ever encountered by Marx, I had heard of him before but never actually taken the time to read what he had to say or what others had to say about him and his theories.  This book was similar to Freud for beginners obviously due to the illustrations, but was not nearly as successful at conveying Marx's ideas in a way that related to me, which Freud for beginners did very well.  That being said, while the material was much dryer then the Freud reading Marx's ideas were still thought provoking and interesting.  I found a personal connection especially with his thoughts on the subject of the rich and the poor working but being headed in different directions, and that often those of us doing most of the work are the ones making less money then those who do little or no work.  Marx believed in his ideas so much that we are told he risks his health and children, a true gamble.  But I must give him credit, he had a vision, he saw what he wanted and believed in and he chose to persue it by any means necessary. 

Dan McCafferty: Marx for Beginners

I have heard of Marx in the past but I have never studied his theories. This book also explained his theories through illustration, which helped a little bit to explain what he meant. I did not feel that the images in this reading illustrated his ideas as well as the Freud reading. They did not seem as appealing or grasp the same type of humor and sense.
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 review: Allison Senak

Dan Graham: Beyond
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.

Marx for Beginners- Sophia Liu

I have studied Karl Marx philosophies in the past when I took a course in Sociology, but this reading assignment allowed me to gain a deeper understanding toward Marx’s theory. Like Freud for Beginners, this book aimed to clarify the complex ideas of Marx through the incorporation of illustrations. However, unlike the previous book where Freud’s philosophies were made easy to grasp and the dry content more absorbable and humorous, this book’s illustration failed to achieve the same intended effect.

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?

Phil Grasso-Marx

Whenever dealing with a read as politically in depth as this, you tend to have a hard time matching opinions. Two things never discussed among friends, religion and politics. Marx for example had a very knowledgeable understanding of the times he was living in. His followers were mainly like him in the sense that they were going through the same hardships that a socialist empire tends to have. The idea of socialism is a fantastic one in my opinion. Yet it seems to prove time and time again that the philosophy behind such sets are not realistic in a "today" world. I certainly believe in fairness, that is, the equal distribution of equal amount of work. The minute you have someone a. not working as hard as you or b. worging harder than you; there arrises conflict.
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.

Marx for Beginners - Leandra Bourdot

Having been literally a red card-carrying socialist for a couple of years (before gravitating towards anarchism), I found Marx for Beginners to be on the irritatingly simplistic side. While illustrations could be a vehicle for heightened clarification and understanding of complex or unfamiliar concepts and theories, I found them to be here more of a distraction. They simply lacked any real cohesion with or necessity to the text, and lent the book the air of a doujinshi (amateur Japanese fan-created comic book, for those unfamiliar with manga culture.) The Communist Manifesto is written in a straightforward enough manner that I feel the time would have been better spent simply focusing on that.
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.

Marx for Beginners - Keith Croshaw

The book Marx for Beginners is an interesting way to try to break down Marx’s theories and attempts to convey them through a comic style. Marx’s theories focus on class and materialism, which will always be very an issue, no matter what the political norms of the times are. Ruis’s position of Marx creating a better is bold but easy to see or follow. Marx’s ideas of class consolidation were groundbreaking and caught the attention of many people and political figures. Marx had a front row seat to the poverty, which put him in the perfect position to create his theories. One of the most interesting things that I found was his theory of God as a fabrication of man; I find it so interesting since there was always a connection of church and state since the mid-evil times.

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.

Nick Biewer - Marx

The philosophy in this book was difficult to understand but the images used helped to give meaning to some of it. They also lightened the mood of the book to make it more of enjoyable read. Marx goes into his beliefs on politics in this book describing his views on capitalism. He believed that capitalism would over take socialism. From these ideas I found that a lot of art can be branched off from these types of radical thinking. Art gets created in response to society and its problems or lack there of. I didn’t know much about Marx before this book and still am uncertain on a lot of his theories but the book did help me understand some things.

Whitney Museum - Amy Lu

What is the fascination with seeing oneself more than once in a limited area or in another space that is not the one that we know we occupy? Is it really the concept of uncanny that Freud would agree in or are human beings just that narcissistic? I tend to side with the latter but I do agree that the uncanniness introduces a split second of uncertainty. For me, what was more important was the relationship of being the viewer/audience and part of the art piece was an experience in and of itself. In some of my own pieces, I like there to be some sort of emotional response (sometimes not at all pleasant) from the audience to engage and enhance their senses. Upon reading his handout, I was excited that here was an artist that also “emphasizes the role of the viewer in art,” and how “ultimately, subjectivity defines perspective.” Dan Graham’s pieces really had an illusionistic and mind bending quality to his work, especially Opposing Mirrors & Video Monitors on Time Delay and Triangular Solids with Circular Inserts. The life size reflective and glass, as well as the creative usage of video made the gallery seem more like a subdued playground than inside a museum. The intentions or at least, viewer interpretations were easier to grasp yet interesting enough to want to experience another time and were more successful than his other works.
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.

Marx for Beginners - Amy Lu

This book was definitely not an easy read for me. There were times when I had a hard time understanding certain concepts, the differences between philosophers and had a hard time grasping the themes of importance as I read them. As I started to read the last quarter of the book, I felt more comfortable to be able to think about what I’ve read and not just try to understand them. A thought came up about Marx; rather than the philosophies of Marx – the history of philosophy, idealism, and materialism and eventually, materialistic dialectics in economics, politics and the social change to communism, what I got from the book was how hard it is to push and impose novel ideas towards society.
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?

Whitney Museum-Sophia Liu

Whitney Museum of American Art
“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.

Marx-Danielle Inducci

Karl Marx was a German political philosopher who was one of the founders of communism. Reading this book really helped to understand the material more because of the illustrations. It assisted me while reading to because philosophy is very heavy and it can get dry and irritating after awhile. The images and drawings were quite comical which help to lighten the mood of the book. Marx’s views on politics, philosophy and the economy have affected society greatly. The main aspects discussed in the book are the philosophy of Marx, his economic ideas, and historical materialism. He was a firm believer in capitalism and believed that one day capitalism would be replaced by socialism.

katie mccue marx response

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.

Whitney Museum-Danielle Inducci

The museum trip to the Whitney was very enlightening. All the different artists exhibited in this museum of American art was a great collaboration of artists work today. Georgia O’Keefe has been one of my favorite artists since I started drawing. I found her exhibition “Abstraction” very pleasing. Her use of color mixed with the surface of her work is so beautiful. The images are so smooth, crispy and defined. O’Keefe’s drawings are abstract representations of landscapes, flowers, rocks and animal bones. Its abstract I’m drawn to her work mainly because aesthetically I find it beautiful. I would be content just staring at her paintings all day.
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.

Exhibit#1 Dennis Quinn

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.

Marx for Beginners - Irene

First off, I think that the comic book style for this topic, or this book at least, does not work. Many times, I found the visuals unrelated, uninteresting, sometimes distracting and I questioned how necessary its presence was. To attempt to explain Marx's life, theories and influences(which requires a retelling of many different histories), I felt like I might as well just have read a history book, which probably would've be more organized, clearer and been more in depth about historical and social concepts.
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.
Freud for Beginners
Liz Marchuk

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.

Marx for Beginners: Dennis Quinn

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.

Freud for Beginners / The Uncanny - Leandra Bourdot

Freud has his place, certainly, as a poster child of the classes of the Victorian era privileged enough to indulge in the time's self-absorption in - simultaneously - pretense, vanity and repression. I find no validity in his over-arching theory that sexuality is the the prime motivating factor in human behavior beyond its application to Freud himself; it's a limited and reductive view of the mass of the remainder of humanity. Certainly, I don't think that it's an invalid or reprehensible drive for Freud himself, and it is definitely a lens through which the mind can be examined - but only one of many. In projecting this drive - which he concluded as the primary as based on his own mind - onto other people, he severely limited his scope for further exploration of the psyche.
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.