Thursday, August 15, 2013

My favorite artistic era would have to be modern art, more specifically art aimed at counteracting the destruction and lack of trust in government and society after the first World War. The efforts to combat the dazed and numb feelings broke off into two separate parts, one senseless and almost childish response and another extremely defined and regimented aspect of life. 

The first response was given the name of Dada, which can mean many different things in many different languages. One prominent Dada artist, Hugo Ball, wrote a series of almost meaningless words and phrases that sound like gobbly-goop when read out loud in a group. The actual text itself is a work of art because of the numerous fonts and sizes used. Its definitely not something I would buy for my collection, if I had one, but it is something to admire for the drastic changes from the previous eras.  Also in the same style bin was an artist by the name of Marcel Duchamp. His works more poked fun at what art was becoming with paintings like L.H.O.O.Q. which is his own code pronounced in french to mean "She has a hot ass". Of course this would be controversial to art critics if it were just a painting of a woman's behind but it wasn't just any woman, it was Mona Lisa herself. Duchamp's works also include a urinal signed incognito as R. Mutt and named it 'Fountain'.

The second form from this artistic era was a more structured form of art called De Stijl. It consisted of simply straight lines creating boxes, with black, white and primary colors. It was the most simple form of art because it could not be twisted by politics as everything around the artists had at the time. This form of art also inspired architecture like that found in the Schroder house.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

As compaired to early European art, South Asian art conveys different rich and vibrant artistic styles. The Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaykh to Kings by Bichitr exemplify these standards. This painting created allegorical references though symbolic references. It was able to use a hierarchy of scale with the transition from the portrait to frontal view of prominent to not as prominent view points in the artists eyes. 

The archetacture of South Asia has to be the most amazing structure I have seen, not comparable to anything else. Temples of Shiva as Sundareshvara and the Meenakshi are shrines dedicated to Shiva and one to his consort Minakshi. As majestic as the areas archetecture is, the Taj Mahal conquers the rest. This structure is a monster. Its center dome has a diameter of 58 feet and 213 feet tall. The project took twenty years to make which spent 32 million rupees. THe structure follows a free standing construction technique where there are many free standing pieces that come together in one. 

Southeast Asian architecture also has a lot to offer. The presentation and high esteem for gardens amazes me. The persian garden concept is very structured and aligned. In what seems like a garden for the OCD to the ignorant eye is really a living and breathing representation of the spiritual beliefs of their culture. 

The Ivan from Isfahan is by far my favorite work of architecture. Its beautiful architecture and vibrant color catches the eye from its inticing and almost gravity defying structure.   


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

                                                            The Bright Side  

This painting was created in 1865 by Winslow Homer. In the painting there are four African Americans and one whose head is sticking out facing the sun. Metaphorically this is saying that even though slavery was horrible and it crippled the African American community the war came and released African Americans from they're shackles. yeah times are hard and it may even be tough just to keep your land and survive,but at least you aren't picking cotton in the field. At least you aren't getting whipped or being taken from your family. African Americans were going through quite a bit and this painting is almost like telling them to suck it up and be grateful for the freedom they should have had anyways.


                                               The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

In this painting the viewer is disturbing the private activity of young children. The little girl on the ground looks up at the viewer as if she has just been disturbed.The painting was created by John Singer Sargent. Edward Boit was the son in law of John Perkins Cushing who was a friend of John Sargent's. The work of Diego Velazquez in Las Meninas had a huge influence in The daughters of Edward Boit.


                                                                  American Gothic 

This painting celebrates the good old fashion labor in western America. The artist intended to show that the beauty of America lies in its hard work and not in its material items. the reason its called American Gothic is because in the background the house has an architectural style. The two people in the painting are suppose to be father and daughter, but in reality are not even related . The man happens to be the artist's dentist and the woman is his sister. This painting is one of the most familiar paintings in the 20th century.

                                                         The Banjo Lesson 


Henry Ossawa Tanner was an African American artist who was the first African american to gain international attention. This painting the banjo lesson lets the viewers know that in the privacy of their own home African Americans actually do things that are productive that don't necessarily have to do with cleaning or labor work such as playing music. It also has an emotional impact on African Americans because in each of their lives they've had that one family member that taught them something they still do as an adult or did things with that to the average person would be simple and small but to them meant everything. It also shows the close relationship between a grandparent and grandchild passing the torch. The grandfather is teaching the grandson a skill that he's acquired and used as entertainment for most of his life.

                                                         The Two Fridas 

Frida Kahlo had a very painful life both emotionally and physically. She had an unstable marriage in which her husband cheated on her multiple times and she returned the favor. She was deeply in love with her husband but they struggle to keep their marriage intact. She was a very successful person in the art world and her success made it seem as if to drift from her Mexican culture. In this painting it shows how in her are two people. There's the person who everyone knows as the successful artist and then there's the one whose been engraved with her Mexican culture. It also implies that Frida's husband was in love with the woman who was more connected to her Mexican heritage than the one who was a successful artist. This also confirms the possible problems they might have had in their marriage.


                                                                The Bath 

The scene between a woman and her child creates a moment that is "special without being special". One hand protects the child while the other hand carefully washes the child's feet. The power of simplicity is once again seen in this painting just like it was seen in Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Moments like these are rare to have and the emotions are strong for the viewer. Not everyone is blessed to have a mother and a good one at that. Love is evident in this portrait, even in the child's position you can see it. The child presses on the mother's knee for support and touches her own thigh. This painting makes the viewer appreciate certain  moments as this one that might have been take for granted and heightens the amount of respect for women and mothers in that society.

                                                                    Mona Lisa 

In my many years of complex thinking, I've always wondered why the Mona Lisa was so famous. I understand that sometimes art isn't always famous for its beauty, but for the idea behind the beauty. Its just that no matter how hard I tried to think about it, there was nothing special or unique about this piece of art. Its just a simple painting. That's when I realized that maybe its the simplicity of this painting that is so mind blowing. If this woman was real she'd be ordinary, she'd be so average and typical that not very many people would put to much past her. She might have even been underestimated.Everything about this portrait is simple, even the smile this woman gives is not one of elated happiness but a simple gesture to be polite. Simplicity is often taken for granted so in a world so confusing and complex, anything simple can reach magnitudes. This painting is supposedly a portrait of a woman named Lisa del Giocondo. Lisa didn't live an extraordinary life. In fact she lived an ordinary life and was an average woman. The Mona Lisa really didn't even get the recognition it deserved until an Art Historian Giorgio Vasari. This painting teaches us that sometimes the most complicated things can be one of great complexity.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Harlem Renaissance

This painting created by Aaron Douglas, named Aspects of Negro Life, represents one of the greatest and most influential periods of our time, the Harlem Renaissance.  This oil on canvas   

Originally known as the New Negro Movement, the Harlem Renaissance was the period just after World War I (1914-1918) where the mass migration of African Americans drastically changed the demographics of cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Pittsburg, Detroit, Chicago, and Saint Louis.  Harlem is a neighborhood in New York City where this movement of African culture was intensely popular and influential not only nationally but globally, epically many French-speaking writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris, thus the name Harlem Renaissance was born.  Major Contributors to the Harlem Renaissance that inspired the arts include:

  • Langston Hughes
  • Jessie Redmon Fauset
  • Countee Cullen
  • Zora Neale Hurston
  • Richard Bruce Nugent
  • Wallace Thurman
  • Claude McKay
  • Jean Toomer
  • Alain LeRoy Locke
  • W. E. B Du Bois
  • James Weldon Johnson
  • Charles Spurgeon Johnson
  • Walter Francis White
  • Arthur Schomburg
  • Marcus Garvey
Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) created painting, murals, and illustrated artwork that became part of the Harlem Renaissance culture of influencing young African American artists to express their heritage and culture though art and music. Douglas’ works include;
  • Illustrations for The Crisis and Opportunity, 1925–1939
  • Illustrations for James Weldon Johnson, God's Trombones, 1927
  • Mural at Club Ebony, 1927 (destroyed)
  • Illustrations for Paul Morand, Black Magic, 1929
  • Harriet Tubman, mural at Bennett College, 1930
  • Symbolic Negro History, murals at Fisk University, 1930
  • Dance Magic, murals for the Sherman Hotel, Chicago, 1930–31
  • Aspects of Negro Life, murals at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 1934
  • Illustrations included in selected editions of Countee Cullen's Caroling Dusk and Alain Locke's New Negro. Illustrations also published in periodicals such as Vanity Fair, New York Sun, Boston Transcript, and American Mercury.
“Douglas created numerous large-scale murals that portray subjects from African American history and contemporary life in epic allegories. In 1934, he was commissioned, under the sponsorship of the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), to paint a series of murals for The New York Public Library's 135th Street branch, now the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Among his best-known works, the four panels of Aspects of Negro Life are characteristic of Douglas's style, with graphically incisive motifs and the dynamic incorporation of such influences as African sculpture, jazz music, dance, and abstract geometric forms. One of the murals, Song of the Towers, depicts a figure fleeing from the hand of serfdom. It is symbolic of the migration of African peoples from the rural South and the Caribbean to the urban industrial centers of the North just after World War I. Standing on the wheel of life in the center of the composition, a saxophonist expresses the creativity of the 1920s and the freedom it afforded the "New Negro." Douglas joined the faculty of Fisk University in 1937 and stayed there until his retirement in 1966. A true pioneer, his artistic insight has had a lasting influence on American art history and the nation's culture heritage, and is a testament to the themes of African heritage and racial pride.”  New York Public Library

Testaments to themes of African heritage and racial pride did not stop with Douglas’ work.  Below are selected examples from influential artists that worked during the Harlem Renaissance that still continues to inspire and celebrate culture heritage.