Tyler Hicks is a photojournalist who won a Nobel Prize for his documentation of the 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya. Hicks was able to reconnect to the woman in his photograph after it won the Nobel Prize. After the attack began by islamic extremists at the mall Hicks rushed in to begin documenting the scene. Hicks was pleased he was able to Skype with the woman, because as a photojournalist more often than not they are not able to connect with those they have photographed.
While posting after each writing would have been more logical, I ended up writing all my blogposts on one massive word document because I would often write them on the go after watching documentaries or TEDTalksX for my self, and connecting them to the course. Below are the links to all the “sparks”, and the word document of where I responded to them.
“Not What Happened but Why” – New York Times article – Responding to Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others”
Sebastian Salgado – The Guardian article – Making beautiful pictures from tragedy
Bocas de ceniza – Juan Manuel Echavarría – My response to this video shown in class
11 powerful photos from the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide – The Washington Post article – Reading the article and critically analyzing the “beauty” of the photos
To Succeed in Business, Major in Art History – Huffington Post Article about why being an Art Historian is important in the way you view the world
“Let my photographs bear witness” James Nachtwey – TEDTalkX on War Photography
Audacious – Denver Art Museum Exhibit – “British artist Damien Hirst famously said, “Art survives through its effect on others.” As a leader in the contemporary art world, he, like his peers, considers making art a way to convey ideas about culture, human relationships, the environment, and politics.” – (DAM website)
Doris Salcedo – The video we watched on her public works/activism and how I reacted to it.
Mi Tierra – Denver Art Museum Exhibit – I intern(ed) at the DAM for all of this past semester, and I had the privilege of seeing the installation of this exhibit, which explores the idea of home. In the FUSE BOX space, there is a piece on Native Americans and the land they lost through war and the repercussions they are still effected by.
Sebastian Junger Remembers Tim Hetherington – Vanity Fair article – Reaction and remembering Tim Hetherington
One of the most important pop art artworks to come out of the sixties was actually one that was dedicated to war. Roy Lichtenstein studied art before serving in the U.S. Army for World War II. Although he served for the army, he worked as a draftsman in a non-combat role and never saw actually combat.
He began working in abstract expressionist art in the 50’s and 60’s and Whaam! Was made in 1963. It was adapted by a panel by Irv Novik from the “Star Jockey” story from issue No. 89 of DC Comics “All American Men of War”.
Whaam! shows a fighter aircraft in the left of the panel firing a rocket at an enemy plane in the right of the composition, which is in the midst of transforming into a vivid red-and-yellow explosion. The cartoon style is emphasized by the use of the lettering “WHAAM!” in the right panel, and a yellow-boxed caption with black text at the top of the painting. The textual exclamation “WHAAM!” can be considered the graphic equivalent of the sound the explosion in real life would make.
The painting takes from the comic style intentionally, as a representation of how warfare is perceived and portrayed to pop culture. Wham! exemplifies the kind of heroic and exciting persona that was transcending into pop culture, and use of vibrant comic style colors and text is a metaphor to this kind of perception of war. Whaam! was bought by the Tate Museum in London in 1966, and is still on display at the museum.
Last week we spoke about the role of museums in the art world. This is something that I have been thinking about on my own time when visiting museums and galleries. My biggest thought is that these institutions are deciding what art is important and what art goes together. When an exhibit is organized, it is the role of the curator to decide what artist will go best together to get their vision across. The audience is then guided into thinking a certain way.
At the Clyfford Still Museum this past semester I saw the selections of Stills work chosen by Julian Schnabel. The public has never seen much of this work. What was presented was what Schnabel thought was necessary for getting the idea of what he felt Still wanted his audience to feel. I also realized that this meant that there were a lot of other Still paintings that the museum had that have never been shown to the public. This meant that somebody was deciding what the imporatant pieces of Stills work to evoke the emotional response that Still wanted to present. I find this problematic especially with abstract expressionism because everybody has his or her own response to each work. I find individual works to mean much more than others contradicting another person’s feelings completely.
I continued thinking about this concept of the museums being in control over the way we consider art history while visiting the Portland Art Museum. They had four different floors of contemporary art. These were then divided into different movements of the contemporary art history. These were decisions that the museums made. The museum or curators then decided what artists would be placed into each movement and what artists would work well in conjuncture with another. They were writing art history.
I have no problem with the role of museums in art history as long as you are aware of it and capable of making your decisions. The museums are by no means wrong and are essential for preserving art history.
Jacques-Louis David was a painter in the 19th century who was considered to be one of the founding fathers of the Neoclassical movement, where he would begin to venture away from the previous and more popular Rococo style at the time. Born in 1748 in Paris, France, he became very well known for his unique style of history painting during the Rococo period.
In one of his pieces of Napoleon Bonaparte he depicts him sitting securely on a horse while in uniform striding down a snow covered mountainside appearing like a hero and leader of the army that he was. Napoleon is wearing a large red cape that is fluttering in the wind, while one of his hand grips the reins of the horse, while the other is pointing straight up to the sky. If you look a little further into the background under the horse, you can see a much more bleak and depressing landscape of the common foot soldiers pushing the equipment up the treacherous landscape, while Napoleon appears to be safe on his horse.
This painting is Napoleon and his army crossing the Alps into Italy in the pursuit of various military victories that were won by Napoleon’s forces. This painting is done in an extremely idealized manner, as the scene appears to be much more peaceful than how it would actually be in this circumstance. In this image Napoleon show’s his dominance by how he’s not having to do any of the hard work, while his soldiers in the background are grueling to carry all the equipment because they were prepared so inadequately, in where most of this stuff was meant to be carried by a horse or mule. This piece is important because Jacques was commissioned to make this piece for Napoleon and show him in a glorified way as a ruthless dictator and conqueror.
Napoleon Revolution. http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/napoleon/art-and-design/A-Closer-Look-Jacques-Louis-David.html (Accessed April 25th, 2017)
The 2017 Venice Biennale opens this May and the Iraq pavilion is featuring an interesting exhibition of archaic and modern art. The title for this year’s Iraq pavilion is “Archaic” and features includes artifacts dating back over 7,000 years. These pieces are originally from the National Museum of Iraq which was looted after the US troop invasion of 2003. The museum remained closed until 2015, and the artifacts in the pavilion will be seen for the first time since they have been returned. The museum reopened in 2015 in response to terrorism and a way for Iraq to regain control over the protection of their culture and heritage.
In conjunction with the pieces from the National Museum of Iraq, there will also be pieces from contemporary artists Francis Alÿs, Sherko Abbas, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji and Ali Arkady. The Ruya Foundation that is sponsoring the pavilion described the selection of these artists and their pieces because of the contrast they would provide to the older pieces.
“Many artists working in Iraq today continue to abide by an orthodox aesthetic tradition that has been limited by mid-century education trends and the lack of cultural exchange in Iraq in recent decades. All of the Ruya Foundation’s work seeks to nurture and promote artists who move beyond these paradigms and as such installation, video and photography will be represented alongside more traditional media such as painting and sculpture.”
Francis Alÿs will be featured in the show, and is known for his videos and installation work such as The Green Line. The pavilion focuses on the way that Iraqi artists both connect with their heritage and respond to the current political climate of their country. The artifacts act as a signifier to universal themes present in every society, and the way that artists are creating work that can survive through war.
Here are some links with more info on the Pavilion: