Why Is That Art 4

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WHY IS THAT ART? (#4) A fourth answer to that pesky question:

WHY IS THAT ART? (#4) A fourth answer to that pesky question

4. “The artist has something interesting to say. She makes me see the world in a new way.”:

4. “The artist has something interesting to say. She makes me see the world in a new way.” Judy Baca , The Great Wall , a history of Los Angeles, 1976-84

Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1495-98 Santa Maria delle Grazie, fresco, 181 x 346”:

Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper , 1495-98 Santa Maria delle Grazie, fresco, 181 x 346”

Gustav Courbet, The Stonebreakers, 1849-50 (destroyed during World War II) AVANT GARDE:

Gustav Courbet, The Stonebreakers , 1849-50 (destroyed during World War II) AVANT GARDE

Theoretical Perspective: COGNITIVISM:

Theoretical Perspective: COGNITIVISM Cognitivists believe that art provides knowledge of the world in unique & powerful ways--& that such knowledge would be lost to us if it were presented in forms other than artistic forms. Art is a special way of knowing the world. One of the ways of knowing is through emotions. (This is where Cognitivism overlaps with Expressionism.) Other ways are intellectual, physical, and process-oriented.

Fred Wilson http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/wilson/:

Fred Wilson http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/wilson/

Slide 7:

Fred Wilson, “I get everything that satisfies my soul from bringing together objects that are in the world, manipulating them, working with spatial arrangements, and having things presented in the way I want to see them.” Below: Mine/Yours , 1995

Fred Wilson’s E Pluribus Unum, for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail:

Fred Wilson’s E Pluribus Unum , for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Slide 9:

Wilson is one of America’s most-honored artists. Typically his work uses installations of pre-existing objects to raise new questions about race-driven historical narratives — or to make points about how those narratives are formed. In 1999 he was awarded a MacArthur ‘genius’ fellowship. In 2003 he represented the U.S. at the Venice Biennale. He is a trustee at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Yet people have planned a protest of his new work.

SAUSSURE & SEMIOLOGY:

SAUSSURE & SEMIOLOGY Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), Swiss linguist Developed semiology, the study of signs The SIGN consists of the SIGNIFIED & the SIGNIFIER The relationship between the two is always culturally constructed & ARBITRARY We cannot separate reality from the way we represent it in language or the narratives we construct about it. Today, we would add: we cannot separate reality from the way we represent it in the mass media.

Rene Magritte, The Treachery of Images, 1928-29 LACMA:

Rene Magritte, The Treachery of Images , 1928-29 LACMA

Slide 12:

John Berger, Ways of Seeing Seeing comes before words. The child looks & recognizes before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see & what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight. The Surrealist painter Magritte commented on this always-present gap between words & seeing in a painting called The Key of Dreams .

Cindy Sherman (born 1954):

Cindy Sherman (born 1954)

Untitled film still:

Untitled film still

Slide 15:

Sherman’s series of photographic self-portraits, Untitled Film Stills (1977-80) raises important questions about the role & representation of women in society, the impact of the media (especially film) & the nature of the creation of art.

Film still:

Film still

Color still:

Color still

Sherman socialite still:

Sherman socialite still

Slide 19:

Sherman has also “become” male painters from the Renaissance.

Sherman Girl on Floor:

Sherman Girl on Floor Cindy Sherman

Yasumasa Morimura as Cindy Sherman:

Yasumasa Morimura as Cindy Sherman

Slide 22:

Proto-Impressionist Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere (1882) & Postmodern Yasumasa Morimura’s “cover” of it from the 1990s

Morimura appropriates previously existing images--often famous ones--thus raising issues about creativity & originality in our mass media era.:

Morimura appropriates previously existing images--often famous ones--thus raising issues about creativity & originality in our mass media era. Because he also “becomes” women or men of other ages & races, his work also raises issues about personal identity.

We-Feeling:

We-Feeling Noted American psychiatrist Fritz Kunkel conceived of a way of behaving he called “We-feeling.” This focuses us--as individuals--on cooperation, service, and the cultivation of relationship and empathy between self-and-other. It takes us out of our smaller, egocentric, self-involved self into the world where others can be our main focus. ~From Marsha Sinetar, Elegant Choices, Healing Choices (1988)

Kunkel’s ideas can be used to describe the work of LA artist JUDY BACA. :

Kunkel’s ideas can be used to describe the work of LA artist JUDY BACA.

The Great Wall, a history of Los Angeles, 1976-84:

The Great Wall , a history of Los Angeles, 1976-84

Some of the more than 400 kids who worked with Judy on The Great Wall.:

Some of the more than 400 kids who worked with Judy on The Great Wall .

Recollections (2002) Baca’s collaborative project in Durango, Colorado:

Recollections (2002) Baca’s collaborative project in Durango, Colorado

Baca’s World Wall: A Vision of the Future without Fear (a movable mural from 1986-2004) engaged people from all over the world in the process of imagining PEACE:

Baca’s World Wall: A Vision of the Future without Fear (a movable mural from 1986-2004) engaged people from all over the world in the process of imagining PEACE

Slide 34:

“I want to produce artwork that has meaning beyond simple decorative values. I hope to use public space to create public voice & consciousness about the presence of people who are often the majority of the population but who may not be represented in any visual way. By telling their stories, we are giving voice to the voiceless & visualizing the whole of the American story while creating sites of public memory.” Judy Baca (Above: Seeing Through Others’ Eyes , LAUSD Robert F Kennedy School)

Another LA artist who engages social affirmation & community is KIM ABELES:

Another LA artist who engages social affirmation & community is KIM ABELES

“In the early 1980s, I began to involve viewers in my creative process. Since then, I have created artwork in conjunction with collaborators such as the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Frankenstein's Hearts is one of several installations created with direct community collaboration.”:

“In the early 1980s, I began to involve viewers in my creative process. Since then, I have created artwork in conjunction with collaborators such as the Bureau of Automotive Repair, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Frankenstein's Hearts is one of several installations created with direct community collaboration.”

Slide 37:

Abeles & the students made “Paper Person” from the paper trash discarded one day at Harvard-Westlake School.

Why study art theory?:

Why study art theory? Studying Art History & Theory gives us tools for understanding art, which is often complex & difficult. It helps us connect to the art by giving us historical & cultural context for art production (who made it & why) as well as various interpretations of how we view it (what theorists call its reception). Marc Hauser, professor of psychology & anthropology at Harvard, argues that what makes human beings unique is our capacity to recombine information in order to gain a new understanding . Studying art history & theory gives us tools to recombine information—i.e., art images & cultural ideas—& thereby come up with new understandings. Remember, artists do NOT illustrate theory. Most of them don’t care much about theory—even the ones who know it. WE viewers are the ones who use theory to understand art better.

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