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Art1100 LVA 1-3

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Art 1100 Introduction
Living with Art Chapters 1-3

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Art1100 LVA 1-3

  1. 1. Art 1100 Joan Jonas “They Come to Us without a Word” U.S. Pavilion,Venice Biennale, 2015
  2. 2. So…what is art?
  3. 3. The Arts: Humans make objects, stories or sounds that reflect on what it means to be human. Art History is the study of those creations and how they change over time. In the process we glimpse different ideas of what it has meant to be human throughout the ages.
  4. 4. Venus of Willendorf, c. 23,000 B.C.E.. Few Ancient works survived, except those of durable materials in a nondestructive environment. TheVenus of Willendorf, a mere 4 3/8” tall has exaggerated reproductive features and braided curls of hair. Her great age and pronounced female forms quickly established theVenus as an icon of prehistoric art. She was soon included in introductory art history textbooks as an example of Paleolithic art. The Oldest Art
  5. 5. 4 3/8 in
  6. 6. Because its culture has long since vanished and we have no written records from that culture describing it’s use... we have a problem of interpretation. Q: How do we know what the statue means or what it was used for? The Oldest Art
  7. 7. Theory 1: Fertility image The traditional theory first given after it was discovered in the 1908 was that the figure represented a fertility idol. Because she has no face and her breasts, hips and vagina are emphasized, the theory goes, she couldn’t have been a portrait and thus must instead be an anonymous sexual object. Many ‘primitive’ cultures worship such statues, so this must also be one. Even her name reflects this conclusion; Venus being the goddess of sex and beauty from ancient Rome.
  8. 8. Theory 2: Actual Woman She appears to be obese rather than pregnant. Since it was a hunting and gathering society, she may have had a high status to eat so well. Furthermore her hair is rendered equally as well as her body. Female Paleolithic images far outnumber male ones. Possibly suggesting a culture giving special place to women or even a matriachy.
  9. 9. Without eyewitness accounts we can only make educated guesses about what the statue was made for. Not only that but the characteristics of our guesses reveal our own beliefs and biases. Which view is correct?
  10. 10. • The impulse to create and communicate has existed since at least 30,000 BCE. Many times, we are only knowledgeable of a people’s existence because of the discovery of their art.The discovery of this cave pushed back our history of art by several thousand years. • What compels humans to create visual records? In this case there are several theories: to decorate his dwelling space, to “pray” for magic and success of hunts, to educate hunters as to the movement and nature of prey. • It seems that there is something fundamental, if not clearly definable in humanity that compels it to create pictures. The Oldest Art
  11. 11. Chauvet Cave Paintings, France (30,000 BCE)
  12. 12. Chauvet Cave Paintings, France (30,000 BCE)
  13. 13. In this documentary, filmmaker Werner Herzog and a small crew are given a rare chance to film inside France's Chauvet Cave, where the walls are covered with the world's oldest surviving paintings.To preserve the art, people are allowed to enter the site for only two weeks a year. Examining the 30,000-year-old drawings, Herzog discusses how the artwork represents humanity's earliest dreams with scientists and art scholars conducting research at Chauvet. Release date:April 29, 2011 (USA) Director:Werner Herzog
  14. 14. What compelled these humans to create visual records? In this case there are several anthropological theories: 1). to decorate their dwelling space, 2). to “pray” for magic and success of hunts, 3). to educate hunters as to the movement and nature of prey. How would one decide which of these descriptions is correct? What is Art?
  15. 15. Con+Text Con = with, together (as in... connect, confide conspire) Text = from Latin texere meaning “to weave” Context is then the stuff that comes with the “text”, in this case and art object. Context is the woven structure of meaning around the artwork.This can include many different things... 
 Such as? What is Art?
  16. 16. One consequence of the culture cycle is that no action is caused by either individual psychological features or external influences. Both are always at work. Just as there is no such thing as a culture without agents, there are no agents without culture. Humans are culturally-shaped shapers What is Art?
  17. 17. So art objects ... 1). Embody current philosophical ideas. 2).Are used by or created for cultural institutions. [museum, church, shopping mall, etc.] 3). Reflect aspects of earlier art and daily life. 4).Are the product of an artist’s individual life experiences. What is Art?
  18. 18. In this class we will spend a lot of time reading history and philosophy in order to understand that for each time period that we study, what were their ideas about what makes good art and how does the form of the art reflect that. In some senses the museum is full of objects that were the "greatest hits" of their day. By learning about them we get to experience them more closely to how they were experienced in their time and get new ways of thinking about the world for our own time. What is Art?
  19. 19. Our Goal: To understand how the the culture of the past influences the culture of the present so that you can better understand how your world around you is shaping who you are.
  20. 20. “No layperson opens a botany textbook and shuts it with an irascible bang if they do not understand it straight away! Since art and culture are at least as complex as the life of plants, it would be strange if talk about them were any more instantly comprehensible. Yet a lot of people who are not surprised to find botany hard going are mildly outraged not to be able to understand an account of a sculpture or novel. ” …
  21. 21. “And this is for an interesting reason.Art and culture are supposed to deal with ‘human’ questions rather than ‘technical’ ones - with love, death and desire, rather than with the law of tort or the organic structure of decopods. And we can surely all understand the ‘human’. In fact, this is a fairly dubious distinction. For Aristotle, being human was in a sense a technical affair, as was love for Thomas Aquinas, desire for Sigmund Freud, and death is for a mortician. And it is not easy to sort out the ‘human’ from the ‘technical’ in the case of art.” -literary theorist Terry Eagleton
  22. 22. •Artist and Audience •Art and Beauty •Art and Appearances •Art and Meaning •Art and Objects LVA Chapter 2
  23. 23. Artist and AudienceArtist and Audience Rouen Cathedral:The Portal (Sunlight), 1894 Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926) Oil on canvas Claude Monet was part of an art movement we’ll cover later called Impressionism.This new style of art was originally criticized, but later accepted by art critics and art collectors. Monet lived to see his reputation soar, and his works in galleries and museums. Most artists are not this fortunate, and some do not aspire to create works to be bought and sold as a commodity.
  24. 24. Francois Joseph Heim, Charles X Distributing Awards to Artists Exhibiting at the Salon of 1824 at the Louvre (1827) The Salon beginning in 1725 was the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Between 1748– 1890 it was the greatest annual or biannual art event in Europe and an influential arbiter of “taste”. Artist and Audience
  25. 25. The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly ca. 1950-1964 James Hampton (1909-1964) James Hampton, while very talented and creative, created his works privately, and may not have shown them to anyone.This is an example of Outsider Art, work made by an untrained artist. Hampton earned his living as a janitor. Using found objects and cast- away furniture, he transformed them with silver and gold aluminum foil into dazzling sculptures. His spiritual inspiration came from the biblical Book of Revelation. They were discovered after his death in his rented garage by someone who recognized them as art.Today these pieces are in the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art for the public, to enjoy.
  26. 26. Hampton's full creation consists of 180 components—only a portion of which are on view.The total work suggests a chancel complete with altar, a throne, offertory tables, pulpits, mercy seats, and other obscure objects of Hampton's own invention. His work also includes plaques, tags, and notebooks bearing a secret writing system which has yet to be, and may never be, deciphered.
  27. 27. Bellini, Pieta, c. 1500-05. Art and Beauty
  28. 28. Does art need to be pleasurable or beautiful? The Pieta, while beautiful, is not pleasurable, but serious. This sorrowful scene is intended to evoke religious meditation. Bellini beautifully employs all of the Renaissance skills and compositional techniques: the logical symmetry, triangular composition, repetition of light values in rhythmic curves (cloth and path), contrast of cool and earth colors. When we analyze the formal qualities of this painting, we are objectively contemplating it.To appreciate a work of art, we must use both our detached intellect and our emotional senses. Art and Beauty
  29. 29. Aesthetics: The philosophy of the nature and meaning of beauty, as it pertains to art. Came about during the Enlightenment, in late 1700’s Europe. From the Greek work for sensation or perception, aisthesis. Kant: Thought that there was a ‘universal’ beauty. Hume: Thought that taste was ‘intersubjective’. Art and Beauty
  30. 30. Immanuel Kant: Beauty promotes the ‘free play’ of the human imagination. This is more directly felt when the beauty (purposiveness) is separated from other functions. Thus: “Purposiveness without purpose.” Beauty without use-value... Emphasizes an object’s “form” or “design”. a.k.a. how it is arranged. Art and Beauty
  31. 31. Illustrate Kant? Morris Louis, American, 1912–1962 Intrigue, 1954
  32. 32. Francisco Goya,The Third of May (Execution of the Defenders of Madrid), 1814 Art and Beauty
  33. 33. This painting was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain, upon Goya’s suggestion, to commemorate the invasion of Spain by Napoleon’s troops in 1808.At the time it was painted, the painting was considered groundbreaking and revolutionary, as it presents the horrors of war that had heretofore not been openly illustrated. The painting focuses on one man, illuminated in white light in the middle of the painting, arms held out to the sides, facing a French firing squad. His slain companions litter the ground. It is thus considered one of the first pieces of modern art. Art and Beauty
  34. 34. Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son 1823 Judgements of beauty are analogous to judgements of ugliness. What is the artists responsibility to ugliness? This painting is a rendition of Saturn, the Roman mythological character, who, fearing that his children would one day overthrow him, ate each one of them upon their births creating an analogy to Spain’s troubled political climate.
  35. 35. Art and Appearances
  36. 36. The Spanish painter Picasso showed talent as a young child. Born the son of an artist, he mastered the traditional Representational techniques as a teenager and completed the painting on the left, called First Communion at the age of 15. After art school he moved to Paris, the center of new directions in the art world at the time. He experimented with many styles, including Cubism, which launched him into fame and fortune. Pablo Picasso, First Communion, 1895-96. Representation (Naturalism) =Images that resemble things in the world or that privilege eyesight.
  37. 37. Abstraction: Distorts,exaggerates or simplifies the natural world to provide essence or universal. David Smith, Portait of aYoung Girl 1954
  38. 38. Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907. Some people are surprised to see his early work, assuming that he was not skilled if his work was this Abstract. Picasso had grown bored with the skill he had mastered so easily. Picasso also asked “Why should the artist persist in treating subjects that can be established so clearly with the lens of a camera?” The adventure of the 20th century in art was a search for the essence of things not merely their lookalikes.
  39. 39. Duane Hanson, Housepainter III, 1984/1988. “trompe l’oeil” or hyperreal = Art that attempts to approximate lifelikeness exactly. With the implication being to trick the eye. i.e. CGI
  40. 40. Head of a King, from IfeYuroba, c. 13th century. Seated Couple, Dogon. Art and Appearances This same contrast in styles existed in other cultures and other times, depending on the artist’s audience and intent. Compare these two African sculptures. The Representational portrait sculpture was designed to commemorate a specific kingdom’s ruler. The “Seated Couple” is not about specific people, but about a universal concept about a bond and marriage.
  41. 41. Kandinsky, Composition IX, 1936. Nonrepresentational (Nonobjective): Contains no reference to the natural world as we see it.
  42. 42. Music in the form of classical music was not totally dependent on a storyline or lyrics. Listeners appreciated the technique and formal composition for its own sake. Wassily Kandinsky envisioned shape and color as musical correlations for tone and pitch. This artist is using flat shapes arranged on a flat surface, not giving the illusion of three dimensional depth or offering the viewer a “window on the world.” The formal principles in this painting are similar in music: rhythm, movement, emphasis. Rather than dealing with universal issues, he is dealing with formal art concepts or aesthetics: the Elements/Principles of Design. It can be likened to Classical or “Pure” music.
  43. 43. Broadway Boogie Woogie Mondrian, Piet, 1942-1943 Oil on canvas, 127x127 cm. Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Even seemly non-objective artworks like this painting by Mondrian have their sources in real life events. Here Mondrian is inspired by the streets of NewYork after his emigration to the USA to escape WWII.
  44. 44. Art and Appearances Trompe l'oeil (Eye-foolingly real) Representation Abstraction Non-objective (Utterly unrecognizable)
  45. 45. When analyzing a work of art, we begin with describing the basic form: the artist, title of the work, date, and the media used.This information should be near the piece in a gallery or museum but we’ll learn to identify some of that on our own when we discuss the materials in their respective chapters. Also we’ll be able to pick out the era and culture as well, once we’ve done some history. Form: How a work looks, including: Media: materials used Style: constant recurring or coherent traits Composition: the organization of Design Elements & Principles Art and Meaning Subject Matter:What the work portrays. Iconography Culturally specific signs.
  46. 46. Form + Subject Matter = Content Content is what the work says to us, including: Message (more specific) Meaning (determined by the viewer) As always, HOW you say something effects what the hearer takes as your meaning. i.e. “I love you” (said sincerely) “I love you” (said sarcastically) Art and Meaning
  47. 47. + view larger Do-Ho Suh "Public Figures" 1998-1999 This is a sculpture by the Korean artist Do-Ho Suh. The sculpture depicts the subject matter of a typical public monument but in a mixed up form.
  48. 48. Do-Ho Suh "Public Figures" 1998-1999 Instead of having a single figure in bronze on top of the monument, Suh instead makes many anonymous people in bronze carry the pedestal. Form + Subject Matter = Content.
  49. 49. "Let’s say if there’s one statue at the plaza of a hero who helped or protected our country, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who helped him and worked with him, and there’s no recognition for them. So in my sculpture,‘Public Figures,’ I had around six hundred small figures, twelve inches high, six different shapes, both male and female, of different ethnicities." - Do-Ho Suh The subject matter of the artwork is the public monument, and the form is the inversion of the usual structure by having many people in bronze and all on the bottom. But the content of the work, it’s meaning as an artwork is more like “It’s important to remember the workers and citizens of a nation as much as their leaders.” Art and Meaning
  50. 50. Iconography (the story including symbols or references, people, events, etc.) Requires knowledge of a specific time, beliefs or culture. Iconography are conventional signs. Art and Meaning
  51. 51. This is a Navajo hataali, or religious shaman, performing a healing ceremony.The sand painting is part of a sacred activity and photography is not permitted.After the painting is completed, the patient sits in its center, while the singer touches the painting and the patient to transfer healing powers. Part of the ceremony includes disassembling the painting by sweeping the illness away. During the 20th century as a part of Modernism many artists felt art had to be separated from life by focusing on objects for display and contemplation. Many cultures see art as part of important social functions.
  52. 52. Joseph Beuys I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974 Art and Objects Contemporary artist’s have taken the artwork into the direction of performance or theatre.
  53. 53. Joseph Beuys viewed performance art as a medium with the potential for self healing and social transformation. He believed that by enacting self- invented rituals, he could assume the role of a modern-day shaman and affect the world around him. His performances, or "actions," utilized elements of the absurd and contained layers of meanings and symbols. But even within a seemingly chaotic environment, Beuys attempted to create an atmosphere for his viewer that would unite the intuitive, passionate soul with the intellectual mind, and thus prepare the individual for a spiritual evolution. His public persona, "Beuys the artist," was created almost immediately after his first public performance and soon became indistinguishable from "Beuys the man." He wore a signature costume of jeans, felt hat, and fishing vest, both onstage and off, and repeatedly used certain materials in his work, such as fat and felt, which referenced his earlier life and wartime experience. "The whole process of living is my creative act," he said. Art and Objects
  54. 54. Joseph Beuys I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974 Art and Objects
  55. 55. TheValue of Art: • To create places for human purpose. • To elevate ordinary objects • To record and commemorate historical or personal events. • To attempt to describe the indescribable. • To give a shape to feelings or ideas. • To refresh our vision and see the world in a new way What do artists do?
  56. 56. Insert 72 dpi visual Suggested visual: figure 1.6 Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1982 Create places for human purpose What do artists do?
  57. 57. This is a picture of theVietnam War Memorial created by Maya Lin. Her task was to create a memorial that honored the human sacrifice of war, while neither glorifying nor condemning the controversial war itself.TheV-shaped wall of granite is inscribed with 58,000 names of the missing, captured and dead.The polished surface reflects the Washington Monument and the visitors themselves.As viewers enter, they are on level ground, which represents the barely noted beginning of the war.As viewers continue their descent the wall grows taller until it towers overhead, with names multiplying.As the corner is turned, the wall begins to diminish, and viewers are directed toward the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial. It is a journey downward to reflect on death, then upward toward hope, healing and reconciliation. What do artists do?
  58. 58. The jury selected 21 year old Maya Lin’s proposal from 1421 entries.
  59. 59. Maya Lin,Vietnam War Memorial Art and architecture can begin to create places and opportunities for social interaction, commemoration and relationships.This is one of it’s values.
  60. 60. Text Maya Lin was 21 at the time she won the blind juried competition. Critics emerged calling it a “black gash of shame.” This second statue was designed by Fredrick Hart, the third place finisher called “Three Servicemen.” What do artists do?
  61. 61. Insert 72 dpi visual Suggested visual: figure 1.7 Kente cloth, Ghana, mid-20th century. Elevate ordinary objects What do artists do?
  62. 62. This West African textile woven by the Asante people is more than a garment. Since the early 18th century, kente cloth has been an important part of Asante royal regalia. Known for its bold, contrasting colors and dense patterns, kente has a striking visual impact when worn.Traditionally,Asante men weave kente. They begin by making a long strip, two- to three-inches wide, on a horizontal loom.When finished, the strip is cut into sections of equal length and sewn together edge to edge to make a complete cloth.The heaviest and most elaborate garments may join as many as 24 strips. Each of the hundreds of patterns bears its own name, history and symbolism.A king would choose a new pattern to be used for ceremonial purposes, which distinguished him as an extra-ordinary version of an ordinary human being. What do artists do?
  63. 63. EMANUEL GOTTLIEB LEUTZE,Washington Crossing the Delaware 1851 Record & Commemorate What do artists do?
  64. 64. Nikolai Ernestovich Radlov Russian, 1889-1942 Agreement of the Greatest Historical and Political Significance, 1941 after July 14 (date of the full-scale version) Ne boltai! Collection Record & Commemorate
  65. 65. Shiva Nataraja, anonymous, India, 10th century C.E. Give Tangible Form to the Unknown What do artists do?
  66. 66. Humanity has always been intrigued with personal images from spiritual motivations.We might admire the grace of this bronze casting, but unless we knew something about the symbolism & context, we might miss clues.This is a sculptor’s depiction of the Hindu god Shiva in his guise as Nataraja, the Lord of the Dance.The ring symbolizes the end of a cycle of time and the beginning of the next cycle, or rebirth and destruction in an endless circle of flames.What are the hands symbolizing? The upper right hand holds the drum to summon creation.The left holds the flame of destruction. One hand points to the foot beneath which worshipers may seek refuge. The fourth raises its palm in a gesture known to mean “fear not.” What do artists do?
  67. 67. Bosch,The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1505-10. What do artists do? Give Tangible Form to the Unknown
  68. 68. Give Tangible Form to Feeling What do artists do? The Blind Man's Meal, 1903 Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) Oil on canvas
  69. 69. Pablo Picasso Spanish, worked in France, 1881–1973 The Old Guitarist, late 1903–early 1904 Picasso's paintings from late 1901-04, referred to as his Blue Period, depict themes of poverty, loneliness, and despair. In The Blind Man's Meal from 1903, he uses a dismal range of blues to sensitively render a lonely figure encumbered by his condition as he holds a crust of bread in one hand and awkwardly grasps for a pitcher with the other.
  70. 70. What do artists do? Give Tangible Form to Feeling Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989
  71. 71. Urs Fischer,  A place called Novosibirsk, 2004 See the World in New Ways What do artists do?
  72. 72. What do artists do? Andrea Zittel, Indianapolis Island, 2010
  73. 73. We often gravitate to familiar ways of viewing things due to selective vision and familiarity.Artists can recombine the objects around us to draw attention to drama of our daily lives and make us see them again as if for the first time. There is beauty even in the the most mundane of objects. Andrea Zittel,American, b. 1965, Indy Island 2010, About 20 feet in diameter, Indy Island is a fully inhabitable experimental living structure that examines the daily needs of contemporary human beings. Each summer, the island will be occupied by one or two commissioned residents.They will collaborate with Zittel by adapting and modifying the island’s structure according to their individual needs. What do artists do?
  74. 74. What do artists do? Andrea Zittel, Indianapolis Island, 2010 http://www.imamuseum.org/visit/100acres/artworks-projects/indy-island
  75. 75. TheValue of Art: • To create places for human purpose. • To elevate ordinary objects • To record and commemorate historical or personal events. • To attempt to describe the indescribable. • To give a shape to feelings or ideas. • To refresh our vision and see the world in a new way What do artists do?
  76. 76. Key Terms • Context: Knowledge of artist, time & culture • Aesthetics: Philosophy of meaning & nature of art • Representation (Naturalistic, trompe l’oeil) • Abstraction (Stylized) • Nonrepresentational/Nonobjective • Form: Media, Style, Composition • Subject Matter: Objects, Narrative or Iconography • Content: Message, Meaning