Monday, April 11, 2011

Blog #8

In last week’s class we had a brief conversation about Lee Krasner a Female Modernist Artist whom is the wife of Jackson Pollock. During class and now as well as I review the power point I’ve thought about how Lee Krasner during this time became a name, and how in the power point it was significant to the class and to our professor to mention that she is the wife of Jackson Pollock. Why couldn’t Lee Krasner just be her own modernist artist, without the association of her husband? Could she have become a name in the art world without the influence and stature of her husband? The feminist art movement at that time was so interesting and obviously female dominated that it is interesting to discuss an artist and refer to her as the wife of someone important. To me it takes the feminism out f her art, and leads me to believe that she really isn’t such a strong feminist as she portrays to be. Would she have been a significant artist without the aid of her husband? Without the dominant male influence? Many women at the time of the feminist movement were married and were famous for their art and their art alone.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog #7 (4/5/11)

“Women artists of the feminist generation differed from the women artists of the fifties and sixties most of all in the deliberate grounding of their art in their socialized experience as women and -the corollary of that position-in their acceptance of women’s experience as different from men’s but equally valid.” The idea of “de-colonizing the female body” took multiple forms in the feminist art movement. One of the ways was in how feminists artists and their art asserted a new position for “woman” in art, as subject rather than object, active speaker and not passive theme. Another form was through ways that artists such as Faith Ringgold, Adrian Piper and Eleanor Antin did which was to reclaim women’s bodies from the societal straitjacket of sex-objected through semiplayful exploration of dieting and fasting, ways in which social expectations literally shaped the female body. An example that comes to mind of how the African American artists we have learned about have “de-colonized the female body,” would be through the semiplayful usage of the stereotypical female “Aunt Jemima” which is a large, African American woman who is older, and works all day long cooking and cleaning wearing a bandana in her hair. The artist Betye Satar painted a piece called, “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972. This painting was portraying the early images of Aunt Jemima, both the older full figured images, and the later thinner, brown-colured, wearing a less flamboyant head-tie, but nonetheless smiling and caring for the white children. This was a way to liberate and decolonize the image and belief behind the mammy figure of the African American culture. (pg. 201 AAA)

Another obvious usage of women artists decolonizing the female body is solely in the artist Faith Ringgold. Since the late 1960’s Faith Ringgold has used her art to voice her dissatisfaction with racism and gender inequality, and the absence of the black image and subject matter in contemporary art. (pg. 197 AAA)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blog #6

Blog prompt for 3/22/11.

No specific question for this blog prompt. Simply respond in some meaningful way to the text and see what connections you can make to things we have talked about in class

“In the 1960s Andrews refused to let curator’s pigeon-hole him as a ‘black artist’ i.e. an artist only interested in African-American subject matter and overt African designs. This limited his access to the mainstream market.” This statement reminds me about the first few days of our course when we discussed the overall theme of identity and claiming a space. Andrews is clearly stating that he is not to only be regarded as a ‘black artist’, which according to the text is an art that, “usually realist style-which stemmed from a strong nationalistic base, and encompassed historical events, heroes, and ideas. It identified the ‘enemy’ using contemporary political and social events, and involved anticipating a better future after the ‘struggle’.” Andrews makes a stand to overcome the claiming of the identity of a ‘black artist’, but then as author Sharon Patton suggests that Andrews was unable to profit a few years later. Because the tide change in 1966 caused black images from African-American artists to be viewed as fashionable.

An artist that is a great example of black art is Vincent Smith, Smith’s most famous piece is the Negotiating Commission for Amnesty (1972). Smith “portrayed a universal humanism in the context of modern black life and culture, expressing his beliefs on social justice.” Page 197 Faith Ringgold was also a popular name mentioned throughout our reading. Ringgold was an extremely big artist and advocate because she “used her art to voice her dissatisfaction with racism and gender inequality, and the absence of the black image and subject-matter in contemporary art. She really helped outside of her art and helped in finding the Women’s Group, Where We At. Her reason for forming this group was from rejection and male dominated group in which she was excluded. It’s enlightening to read about artists that not only produce such inspiring art, but also go out into their community and culture to make a difference. Her story seems similar to the one we watched a movie on and read about Tim Rollins, and his ability to make a difference in lives.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blog Post 5

 This week's blog prompt will involve providing examples for two important metaphors that relate to your education and to the art we are studying. In the opening pages of the Gomez-Pena piece, he says he is attempting to "observe a new world with new eyes." One of my colleagues has the following quotation by Sydney J. Harris on her email signature: "The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." Please respond to these two quotations by providing examples in this week's text AND anything from the NY trip or our class discussions that you think are examples of observing a new world with new eyes AND turning mirrors into windows." 

I really like Gomez-Pena's approach at "observing the world with new eyes." For me, this is all about shifting focus and understanding so that we can get to the heart of experiences and issues. Gomez-Pena is creatively and blatantly sharing the ways that he sees the shifts in the current global culture. He isn't judging them (as he says), but he is sharing them for what they are. Once he names what's happening, we're able to move a step deeper. At the end of his essay, he provides some ways that questions can be re framed to explore a phenomenon (problem, trend, whatever) more deeply. When we shift and look at something in a different way, with a different focus, this affects the action that we take. I really loved a lot of the statements that Gomez-Pena made in this essay, and it's clear to me that he is really questioning how he can continue to be effective with his art. I think that he was unable to carry on with his work without stepping back and going back to basics with this piece, because things ARE changing, and it wouldn't make sense to carry on without recognizing this shift. 

I can definitely see evidence for his statement that artists are having to wrack their brains to find ways to engage their audiences, now that (privileged) audiences have so much at their fingertips and are harder to please. I think that people are looking for an experience, so artists are shifting to that realm. Krzysztof Wodiczko's "OUT OF HERE: The Veterans Project" felt like exactly that; it provided an experience that I could engage in to shift my focus and see the experience with new eyes.

I also agree that one purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. It again goes back to needing to go deeper. If we only rely on our own experiences, we end up with completely internal knowledge, and it's very easy to filter experiences through knowledge base. We all do it, and it's how we make sense of the world. We don't grow, and we don't learn if we stay in our comfort zone. A step has to be taken to get past the "mirrors" of our own experiences (though this is valuable knowledge, to be sure) and also be able to grasp the experience of the world from another's perspective. We can't be compassionate without taking that step (which I think Gomez-Pena points to in his essay.)

I can't quite explain how this connects to the prompt, but I really love this quote from the text. "What certainty do we have that our high definition reflection won't devour us from the inside out and turn us into the very stylized freaks we are attempting to deconstruct? And if we are interested in performing for nonspecialized audiences, what certainty do we have that they won't misinterpret our "radical" actions and hyperethnicized bodies as merely spectacles of radicalism or stylized hybridity?" (pp. 14)  This is a perfect example of how complex and how difficult identity, creativity, and power are. Over the past few years, I have felt a  strong focus towards my ability to define identity and experience by my own terms, and have repeatedly run into this same sentiment. How do I insure that misinterpretation won't happen? Especially with art, something that cannot be completely explained and relies (maybe?) on the interpretation of the audience, is that risk of misinterpretation just something that comes along with sharing a message?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog Prompt 4

Lippard discusses how “Irony, humor, and subversion are the most common guises and disguises of those artist’s leaping out of the melting pot into the fire” (pg. 199.) Further into the chapter she explains that “by reversing stereotypes of submission, the artists are invalidating the external naming processes that make them outsider and rediscovering the wicked power of humor as an equalizer. Their task is not just demystification, but reclamation” (pg.202). I believe she is referring to the fact that it is easier to cope with difficult situations and make them into something easier when using these mechanisms.
She also explains that “Irony and subversion are used strategically to connect past, present, and future without limiting art or audiences to one time or place” (pg. 200.) I think with these words she is addressing the grave issue of when people become so consumed at looking at something they become accustomed to it whether the issue is good or bad. If you look at the Ester Hernandez, Sun Mad piece you will understand what I am referring to. You will see that upon initial glace it looks like the Sun Maid raisins, which is what I also saw. However when you really examine the piece you see that the artist is referring to and making a statement about the raisins that had been manufactured in her hometown had been contaminated for years from water with too many chemicals.
Of all the art in this chapter I enjoyed, Robert Colescott, Knowledge of the past is the key to the future piece. It shows a black man and a white woman shackled together “in passion.” The fading lips are to represent the surrealistic notion of the piece. The figures to the left and the open and closed books are representing the rewriting of history. All of the books that are closed in a pile to represent history that has pasted and the one open books not in the pile to show that they are free to express themselves how they please.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blog Prompt # 3

In this chapter the author defines the term “mixing” not only to “racial” blending, but to cultural and even esthetic mixtures and collaboration, introducing a full spectrum of contradictory decisions about identity and change (page 151). A good example of this kind of collaboration is with Tim Rollins and the “Kids of Survival (KOS)”. Tim Rollins is a working class white man from Maine and the KOS is under performing students from the Bronx. Tim Rollins began teaching in “Learning to Read Through the Arts”, in this program the students gained more knowledge about art and later showed their own talent. They became very well known and started showing up in downtown galleries. The KOS were kids that were shut down by the educational system and later by society, however because of Tim Rollins they got to express themselves to society and show how they were being affected by racism and discrimination since they were not educated.

If Tim Rollins had not collaborated with these kids they would not have been able to stand up for themselves and get motivated to do more things in life. A quote in the text that the kids said which I thought was very powerful is “We paint about what is, but we also paint about what should be. Some day we’ll be a part of history ourselves, and maybe we’ll be an inspiration for that person to keep on.”(page 169). I thought this was very interesting because they did become a part of history and now they want to inspire other people as well. In my opinion, a collaboration like this can work in today’s world and should!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Response to Blog Prompt 2

Lucy Lippard draws the correlation between land and spirituality as“ the relationship between religion and land is often forgotten in modern belief systems. Yet even the religions that have been carried across the oceans and around the world bear imprint of their original places-“ (page 108) The land tells a story, and many other stories, it holds the spirits and truths of its people, and although the land may belong to someone else later in time, it still holds meaning to it’s people. The Native Americans recognize land as a symbol of belonging and home. Native American artists portray the land in their work as something other than nature. They portray the land in the way they see it both figuratively and literally. “Even deracinated Native Americans, do not, in general treat the land in their work the same way the average white artist does.” (page 112) Lippard explains “landing” in this chapter as not only a piece of nature but a piece of the people it belongs to. The land brings the indigenous people spirit, health, food, life, and a sense of home. She also mentions how the culture of the people also ties into the land. The culture of the lands people helps to identify its people, religion, and home.

The conversations we had about Islam and Christianity in Tuesday’s class was very educational. The most interesting part about the two presentations we witnessed from two individuals that identified with their religion was eye opening. Both presented their religion in two different views, the view of the general public of their religion, and their religion to who they are and for what they see it as. The discussion post presentations made me question my knowledge of all the discrimination in today’s society. Most people recognize stereotypes and discrimination as it refers to themselves, and their lives. But when you see someone present the horrid words used to describe their people it makes you wonder how you can change how others view and speak about people. Like Professor Scott says, we all need to give each other a “freaking” break. But overall the discussion was enlightening, esp. as someone that doesn’t practice religion, and knows little about the Islamic religion it was educational. I would have never assumed that some girls and women that practice Islam made a choice to cover themselves. But again, that is what we don’t know as outsiders, and the assumptions we make of others.