Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MIA Exhibit

The pieces in my exhibition are from three different Czechoslovakian photographers working in the Czech Republic. Each work of art was hand picked to represent the modernist, surrealists and contemporary figure photographers of that era.

The first stop at the exhibition is a photograph by Josef Sudek titled "Still Life ." This piece is the most significant to the exhibition because it is the work of one of the best known modernist creative photographers. It is a black and white gelatin silver print from the early 1950's of fruit and a glass of water.

The second piece in the exhibition is a photograph by Eva Fuka titled "Harmony." This piece is also a black and white gelatin silver print from the early 1950's. It is a simple photograph of a woman pushing a baby stoller down the sidewalk. The lighting in the photograph is unique in how it lights and creates a path into the lower right corner for the woman to walk down.

The last piece in the exhibition is titled, "Pohled z Mého Okna". It is another black and white gelatin silver print photographer but this time by the contemporary figure photographer Jan Saudek. This piece, created at a much later dat (1984), is a photograph of a possibly naked man sitting in a chair and gazing out a window that seems to lead nowhere; just another wall or maybe another building next door. Lighting is very limited in this photograph. What we can see is some light trying to peak through the window but not much. This really sets the tone as sort of dark and depressive. The room itself is very old and run down and empty as well.

Artist choice

I have been taking trips to to the MIA since I was a little girl. My grandma took me to see children's theatre plays and to explore the museum. When I realized that I wanted to make art my life, I started looking at the pieces very differently.
One day I took an extra look at Rembrandt's Lucretia. I instantly noticed the power and emotion in the brush strokes. I was drawn into her eyes. I had never seen a work that conveyed such raw and uncomplicated human emotion. Usually the viewer needs to see a story or understand the context for the feeling to be communicated, but thin this piece all you need to do is look in her eyes.
The technique is flawless. You can see very fine detail without there being fine and intricate brush strokes. The eyes are a different story though. I can see every glint and glimmer of the light reflecting off the tears in her eyes.
Once you get past the initial impression of the painting, you can look into the subject matter. Lucretia was the wife of a Roman noble man. She had been raped by the Sextus Tarquinius, the son of the tyrant in power at that time. The day after it happened, she told her father and husband about it and decided to kill herself right then. She chose "death over dishonor." The image shown it the momen right after she stabbed herself in the presence of her husband and father.
You can see what she was thinking in her expression. She was sad and ashamed of herself for what happened, but she knew she had to do something about it. To her, this was the right choice. She is sorry that she had to die, but it needed to happen in order to protect the people that she loved.
I may know the story behind this beautiful painting, but I wouldn't have to in order to understand what she was feeling. That makes this painting a masterpiece. That is what I try to achieve with my works. I want the viewer to instantly feel my meaning upon looking at my work.

Artist Choice


Joel-Peter Witkin's photograph, titled "Ars Moriendi" is, well, not the type of work I'm usually drawn to to say the least. I love the chilling feeling I get when I look at Witkin's work, he truly never fails to make my hair stand on end. The nude woman in the picture is beautiful, her fair skin and soft expression is calming. She's comfortable and inviting. She looks real, like she could be in front of you. Inevitably, I notice other parts of the photograph- what's that in the foreground? At first, my eyes don't want to believe the mottled figures below. Severed human heads' fallen jaws seem to howl at the figure above, although her response to them seems altogether welcoming.
Ars Moriendi, literally "The Art of Dying" was the title of two books from the 1400's, the books purpose was to help prepare one for death, and essentially helped one accept the inevitable. What an appropriate title for this photo. The woman in the picture is surrounded by death, and not only isn't phased, but is entirely relaxed. To take the title, "The Art of Dying," more literally, she has most definitely maintained an elegance and style about her in the company of death.
The photography of Joel-Peter Witkin is some that never fails to astound me. His images of corpses and nude figures, often with physical abnormalities, always capture my attention and keep my eyes from looking away- no matter how I try.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Helen Frankenthaler’s painting titled “Alloy” in the Benches and Binoculars Exhibition is one piece at the Walker Art Center that caught my attention instantly. I wasn’t initially attracted to it in a positive way though. I picked Frankenthaler’s piece out of the dozens in that exhibit because I do not understand the point of it. It is blobs of different colored paint on a canvas. What the hell is that point of this piece? Could I be making big bucks throwing paint on a canvas and calling it art? I probably could but I’m not going to because to me, there is no point in creating “art” that looks like this piece.

Alloy is an acrylic painting on a larger rectangular canvas. There are blotches of pink, tan, yellow-orange and navy blue “somewhat” flowing throughout the piece. The swashes of pink and tan appear to be almost squeezing the swash of bold yellow-orange. This and the minor curvature of the shapes creates movement throughout the piece. Also in some aspects the swashes of navy blue at the top middle of the piece and the lower left corner have this feeling of being separated from the piece as a whole because they do not press up against the other colors. On the other hand, the contrast between the color choices is really well done. The colors all seem to complement each other well. There is smug or spot above the large stroke of yellow-orange paint though that seems to bleed into the white negative space and that might distract the viewer somewhat.

Helen Frankenthaler is a famous second generation Abstract Expressionist. Her different, new methods and techniques she used to create her art pretty much defined her as an artist and made her work considered art. Her most famous technique when creating art is called staining or Color-Field painting on a cotton, unrolled duck canvas (such as with the piece Alloy). This process consists of pouring diluted paint onto a blank canvas and allowing the colors to seep in, staining the fibers and creating this affect we can see in her work pictured above.

A laid out explanation of Helen Frankenthaler’s thought process behind creating this particular piece of art would allow for a more cohesive understanding of the piece as a whole. The little background information about the artist and her creative process that was found was not enough to even slightly clue me in on the meaning or purpose of her work.


Jasper Johns found at your local supermarket

Jasper Johns
Mixed Media, Multiples, Other embossed lead, oil paint, paper

Without even entering the Walker exhibits itself I was struck by something placed behind a frame at the far end of the lobby. There it was a piece of white bread behind a glass frame hung on a wall. It began to make my blood boil and think ‘why the hell am I going to art school?, If this is what makes millions of dollars. Hell any bread section of your local grocery store could be considered ‘art’ now. I began to wonder who created this so-called piece of art and the culprit is a man named Jasper Johns. Who is this so called Jasper Johns? I began my research as soon as I came home from the Walker Art Center. He was born in Georgia but spent most of his life with his grandparents in South Carolina. He attended two different colleges one being Parsons School of Design. But what made this man so worthy to be Artist of the year 1989? I began to look at John’s other works and I found them much more interesting then the one titled ‘Bread’. His paintings were beautiful and full of a physical movement to me. Jasper Johns likes to poke fun at American Culture and for that I applaud him. I now can appreciate his work, though the piece ‘Bread’ at the Walker isn’t my favorite he has done. I can at least appreciated the man who designed it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Haegue Yang

Yearning Melancholy Red


Aluminum venetian blinds, mirrors,

moving spotlights, infrared heaters, fans,

drums, MIDI converter

When I walked into this installation I was instantly dumbfounded by it. I couldn’t think of anything but why is this considered art? All that came to my mind was that I felt like I was walking into a Menards to pick out blinds for my house with really bad lighting.

When you first walk into the space there were aluminum venetian blinds hanging in the center of the room in what seemed to me no particular rhyme, reason or order. Were they just hung there to be there? The way they were hung left only a little space around them all to walk along the wall or to go underneath them, how is the audience suppose to go about viewing this piece and walking around it.? The room only had red lights, some were moving spotlights with red bulbs and others were the infrared heaters, which left me feeling nauseated and irritated. Walking further into the room there was a drum set behind a separation wall and only the drum set was under a white light, the drum set was the only interactive thing about the installation and when people were banging on them it just made me want to rip my hair out.

The concept of art for arts sake has never sat right with me. The fact that there was no information about how to go about walking around this installation angered me. I understand that we are supposed to experience things in our own ways and feel our own feelings but if something is as off the wall as this installation I want to know how I am supposed to interact with it, I want to know what the artist was intending us to feel while viewing the art. This has always been my feeling about art and thats why I have a problem with modern art for the most part.

Haegue Yang baffles me. Born in 1971, she lives and works in Berlin and Seoul. Her use of none traditional mediums are informed poetry, politics and human emotions. She represented the Republic of Korea in the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. She has a very impressive list of shows that have featured her pieces in a wide variety of places and even after all of the research done about this artist and her works I still do not understand a thing about this piece but I understand how it is considered an installation piece.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Walker's "Empty Room"

From all original intents and purposes, “Empty Room” by Peter Fischli and David Weiss should not be considered art. Shoved under a small staircase and almost completely hidden from view, the piece goes by practically unnoticed unless one happens to bend over and realize something is in fact piled under those stairs. There is a moment of question as to whether or not the objects piled there are intentional or not. The piece consists of paint cans, stir sticks, brushes, spare sheetrock, and other various construction tools all replicated from the Walker installation crews' materials. It amounts to the understanding that a work crew was half finished with an installation set up and shoved the whole process aside, hidden under the stairs in hopes of not being noticed. Is the audience supposed to notice it? Is it really even supposed to be here? And if it is intentional, who's going to bother to see something under stairs that shallow?

Obviously, it is supposed to be there. If the fact that nothing in the Walker is ever accidental isn't reason enough, then the discovery of the plaque that accompanies every piece in a museum gallery certainly is. But even accepting that this collection of in-progress construction equipment is an intentional piece of art still leaves doubt as to its value as art. Just another one of those readymade art pieces that involve absolutely no work. That sort of modernist style is a cop-out and riddled with hypocritical standards - it's art for art's sake and no outside information should be necessary; but if you're not up on your modernist lingo and political philosophies that fight for the cause, it's just too bad. You're out of luck and not cultured enough to participate in the art world. It's a style and belief system that basically exists to serve and preserve the elitism of cultured “high” art while exercising the power of the museum gallery and critic politics to regulate the value and sales of the “preferred” form of art.

So why should Fischli and Weiss's work be considered any different? The first hint is in the gallery's plaque accompanying the art work. The installation is a French artistic tradition called trompe l'oeil – to deceive the eye – in which objects in a piece are handcrafted to resemble everyday objects. Which means there's something more to this installation than just kicking some paint cans under the stairs – actual work went into this piece.

Further study finds that Fischli and Weiss are far from the elitism of modernism and the found objects style. Time and time again, it seems that really what they're here to do is play. The world – and art – is a playground filled with creative imagination, conversation, and time-wasting strategies that are basically meant to ask the question of where the line between reality and the stage is drawn. Their subject matter is not outrageous or taboo with the intent to shock or disgust. Rather, they work just below the radar of people's everyday lives to bring a sort of irony into focus. It spikes a calm sense of curiosity and humor – after all, “Empty Room” is a piece of installation art about creating installation art.

There is interest, too, in the idea that they've created a piece about creating a piece – that isn't even finished considering they're “hiding” the work-in-progress under the stairs - and they actually built it. “Empty Room” is constructed out of polyurethane, a styrofoam-like material, when by the found object standards, they could have just used premade materials. Instead, they built everything, and there's something curious about that.

To an extent, it does seem to be a bit of a challenge against “high” art. Fischli and Weiss use a wide range of materials for their various works from this polyurethane to photography to film to human sized animal suits to food to clay. And they've stated that one of the reasons for these choices in materials is simply because they aren't considered high art. Clay and styrofoam are a far cry from acceptable in the art world – they're handicrafts and toy school materials that are generally considered taboo, or at the very least “lesser” art forms. Any yet Fischli and Weiss have no problem adopting these materials, as it fits with the fantastical playground world they have created. It also adds a touch of a smirk to the piece as they have ultimately just created a teasing statement about the idea of highly cultured found object art by building found objects out of a taboo material in an art piece about building art.


“Empty Room.” Peter Fischli and David Weiss. 1995-96. Walker Art Center.
Feaver, William. “Review: Flowers & Questions, Tate Modern, London.” ARTNews. Feb 2007. 143.
Heiser, Jorg. “The Odd Couple.” Frieze. Oct 2006. 196-205.
Matthew Marks Gallery.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Die grossen blauen Pferde by Franz Marc... I have a problem with you.

Die grossen blauen Pferde by Franz Marc
Oil on canvas

The first thing that came to my head when seeing this painting is, "This is... quaint." If there's one thing I can't stand, it's something that can't surpass "quaint". Quaint is the equivalent to a fake smile and weak handshake. It's sugar coating dinosaur fecal matter. I don't look at war and see flowers and horses trotting about. That would be a lie to myself. This painting is a pretty sunset with some blue horses. Is this some form of escapism from reality? So who is Franz Marc? What can I take from this painting to figure out about this man? From the title of the painting I can tell he's either German or Austrian. That's about all I know. With researching Franz Marc, I'm hoping to find out more than just a painting that looks great in some yuppie house from the 90s.

My guess as to him being either German or Austrian was correct. Franz Marc was born in Munich, Germany in 1880. His dad was a professional landscape painter and his mom was a strict Calvinist (which, according to Wikipedia, is "a theological system and an approach to the Christian life"). Marc attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He frequented France, involved himself in artist circles, loved van Gogh, visited Greece with his brother, had a troubling love life, yadda yadda yadda. I'm still not interested. I need something to make Franz Marc seem interesting, not like an average, quaint (there's that word again) artist. Come on, Franz. Change my mind!

Here's something interesting (finally)... in 1911 (why, isn't that the same year the painting that caused all of this was created?!) Franz Marc formed the Der Bluae Reiter artist circle. In 1912 he met Robert Delaunay, who ended up majorly influencing Franz Marc. Alas, this time goes beyond the time of the painting and though he seems to finally catch my interest, I need to stop here. I need to focus on the painting itself and find a convincing argument within it to change my mind (at least a little bit, perhaps?).
According to the Walker Art Center website, "The Blue Rider (Der Bluae Reiter) ceased representing the 'real' world and, instead, painted visions derived from the 'inner mind.'" Okay Franz, I'll give you that. But why? Why escape reality in a way that makes me think nothing but the word I'm sick of using? The Walker's site continues to explain the painting. Franz chose horses because of his belief that animals have a "purer, more sublime relationship with the world". I'm also informed that the blue and the line is to show "their spiritual harmony with nature." Okay, Franz. This painting doesn't seem as bad to me now. It makes sense. Animals are extremely pure, I agree. I also agree that they are spiritually harmonious with the world and nature.
It looks like you were a pretty smart fellow, Mr. Franz Marc. You win, you win. Your painting isn't just some quaint, sugar coated image of some horses. Even though the meaning is great, I'm still not visually attracted to the piece (slightly more than before though, I must admit). I guess the best way for me to end it is saying that the meaning behind the painting is great. It's a beautiful thought to have (but I'm still going to stand by the fact I think it'd look great in a yuppie's house from the 90s). Good game, Franz Marc. Good game.


Slant/Light Volume: Robert Irwin

"From a phenomenological viewpoint, to make the observers necessary to complete the quality quotient of Art is probably the most human, the most emotional, most sensory thing to do."

At the walker I ran across this piece entitled "Slant/Light Volume" when walking in there was a rack holding mats and a sign that read "please return mats when you are finished". I looked all around read the blurb about the piece even read the vinly that had stuck to the wall about the artist. I didn't know what the mats where uses for but I walked into the next room any how and I still didn't get it. I still don't. However I did learn a little bit about Robert Irwin and am taking steps into trying to understand this peculiar instillation.
Robert Irwin began as a studio artist to become a instillation artist where he focused on altering the experience of the room and believe that his work was not fully done until someone was experiencing it. He focused on using light and space and your own visual perception- that is key (how I am still really not sure). He wanted to orchestrate how you perceive things. He coined three terms that define the relation of his work to it's setting: site-adjusted, site-determined, site-dominant.


I would like to take you down a long hallway depicting the human form distorted. Going down the hall way you will be lead down other narrow hallways that open up into a small room with a singular light above each piece. The narrow
er hallways would be opposite each other and at the end of the hall way leading you to the adjacent hallways will be a big room with the final piece. I choose this set up because I want each piece to be expirienced indivually and intimately. I
thought the only way to do this was to isolate each piece from one another as well as the viewer from each.
Down the first narrow hallway you would be lead to...a piece that I could not find a picture of anywhere on the internet however should be seen.
It is called "Torso" and it's by Arthur B. Carles. He uses thick brush strokes and vivid color to depict the female torso it is beautiful as well as haunting.
The next would lead you to "Ida as The Playcard" by Jan Saudek a Chek photographer and painter. Here it shows a woman dressed as a man in joker like
make up with a J to the left of her reading as the Jack in a deck of cards however if you flip the image she is just a woman exposed with a Q to the left of her reading as a queen in the deck of cards.
Through the third hallway you would be brought to a piece titled "Study For Portrait VII" by Francis Bacon. Which is a dark painting with a masculine figure which resembles a distorted religious figure. Screaming. The pictures background is plain with little going on so that it is hard to draw your face away from the man is obvious agony.
Finally you will be lead to a room where "The Crucifixion" by Georges Rouault will be on display. The image shows jesus on the cross being crucified however not in the typical beautiful portrayal that we are so accustomed to but in a new way. He uses thick paint that looks as if it was put on using a pallet knife. The colors are dark as well as bold. The overall painting has very little detail.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Walker: Like Button

Akasegawa Genpei, One-Thousand-Yen Note Trial Impound Object: Mask (1963) and “Greater Japan Zero-Yen Notes” and Bottled Money from Exchange (1967)

Unlike the Todd Norsten piece, this work has a message; a point. It tells the story of his value of money. Originally, he printed pretend money and handed it out as invitations and used it as packaging paper. It was as valuable to him as any other paper. Unfortunately, his government did not think his irony was so funny. They charged and convicted him of fraud.
The trial brought such attention to his ideas that this kind of art became recognized and legitimized in Japan. After the fiasco, he went on to make these pieces. "Zero-Yen Notes." This is an even bolder way to express his feelings about money.

Walker: Dislike Button

Todd Norsten's "Ceaseless Boundless Endless Joy" is displayed that the Walker Art Center. Todd is an American who was born in 1967. He has had shows in New York City, Seoul, and here in Minneapolis. He actually had a solo show at the Midway Gallery.
This is a 78 x 66" oil painting on canvas. The painted on letters are meant to appear to be masking tape. It was done in 2008.
I really do not like this piece. It seems pointless and uninteresting, but I will admit that the craft is good. Until you get right up close, it really does look like masking tape. I honestly thought it was until I took a closer look. Nonetheless, this painting says nothing to me. It doesn't even speak the words that are painted on it.
There is no information available about what this work is supposed to mean. Why was it made? What is it supposed to say. It is possible that the feeling of the piece is supposed to contradict the actual text. It also could just be that the artist enjoys the idea that people generally try to read a painting as much as they try to read words on a paper.
This artist has done several pieces with this theme. He uses these words over and over. In fact almost all of his work involves large, bold text on canvas. These words are meant to be dramatic and shocking. One of his paintings is called "You Fuckers." It is a 60x48" painting. The background is a mid-gray color and the words are almost white. The text takes up about 70% of the canvas. In that piece, the text is less bold because the words are. In this piece, the words are clear, but they are not as shocking.
It was interesting to learn about Todd's techniques and his ideas, but I still don't believe that his work belongs in a museum. He is not saying anything Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

portant. It seems like he is just playing around with the concept of words combined with paintings. Art means more to me than that.

MIA Three Work Theme: The Illusion of Layers and Texture

I have always been extremely impressed by the masters painters and their ability to create the illusion of textures and layers without physically making the texture they want.

If I was creating an installation with the Illusion of Layers and Texture theme, I would grab people's attention by starting with Chuck Close's "Frank." This piece is very bold and impressive. For my entire childhood I thought this was actually a photograph. when, in reality, it is just a very realistic painting in black and white. Close uses large scale and high detail in small brush strokes to create the illusion of hair and skin textures. This is a contemporary piece that would normally never be seen next to the other works I have chosen. When placed near the others, the viewer is forced to look at it in a new way. Those technical achievements were important before, and they still have a powerful impact today.

The next piece would be Nicolas de Largilliere's "Portrait of Catherine Coustard, Marquise of Castlenow, wife of Charles Leonor Aubry with her son Leonor" (1699). It is done in oil on canvas and the fabric of their clothes is completely lifelike. The blue velvet of her dress has always drawn my attention. It looks like you could reach out and feel the soft velvet. You can see every tiny direction change and light reflection. This is all done with flat, smooth oil paint.

I would follow that up with "I know a Maiden fair to see, take care" by Charles Edward Perugini in 1868. This is just another example of the realistically painted fabric, but it was painted later Catherine Coustard, and the material appears to be silky rather than velvet. This is a more romantic and emotional piece than "Frank" or "Catherine Coustard." It is also much smaller. The illusion has much less space to do its work. The viewer cannot just stand far back and get the idea of silk or satin. They need to come up closer, and that makes achieveing that illusion much more diffecult.
Last, I would show "The Veiled Lady" by Raffaelo Monti in 1860. When you look at it from far away, you would think that this marble bust actually has a sheer veil over her face. This sculpture has the shape or texture of neither a face nor a veil, but somehow we can see both. There appears to be two layers here when there is really only one.

These works progress from the cold and technical exicution of illusion to a romantic and expressive method. The peices can convey a soft and silky feeling using tone, light, and color; not just reprodution.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Micro Sculptures - Great Ted Talk

Hey Guys
This has nothing to do with your blogs - but this a great talk from Willard Wigan

Video Taken from the Ted Talks:  Willard Wigan 'Hold your Breath"

MIA | Transformation of Animals

Animals are portrayed in so many ways. Natural form and color, cartoon and illustrative, abstract, etc etc. The three pieces I have chosen from the MIA all relate to each other in the sense of transformation from their natural state.
The key to this exhibit is the lack of color, the over abundance of white and hygienic. The rooms must all be this way to show the make the colors jump more. Keep this in mind throughout the layout.

Panda by Takashi Murakami

The first piece, in the center of a room, is Panda by Takashi Murakami. The viewer notices the cartoon like qualities of the panda... the bright colors, the big smile, the goofy eyes. The viewer recognizes it's an animal, just a variation of it's natural form. It brings thoughts of cartoons and possibly even pop music on speed. The animal is recognizable but it has been abstracted from it's natural state. The bold statement of color brings the viewer in and wondering what could possibly be next.

Tribe, from "Survival" by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Going through a doorway the viewer is brought to another room with a partial wall placed in the center of the room. On the partial wall, the piece "Tribe, from 'Survival'" hangs. It shows a hare. It's easy to recognize the animal it is by it's tail and ears, but it's still not a detailed animal. It's less detailed than the Panda sculpture. It involves less color, too. It seems like it's only a silhouette... so it transforms into a shape with no depth. It's becoming more simple. How is this relating to the sculpture Panda that was in the room before? Though the painting is quite simple in comparison, it still has a two bold colors, yellow and red, to create the hare. The notice of bold colors and theme of an animal is what keeps these two cohesive.

Golden Bird by Constantin Brancusi

Through the last doorway, the viewer is brought to the third and final room. In the center is the Golden Bird by Constantin Brancusi. The final transformation. The color, the shape, the depth... nothing of this resembles any animal at first glance. The only way it is even legible as an animal is the graceful movement in the sculpture. It's beautiful and simple, just as a bird is. No bird has this sort of gold in reality, though they may capture that essence. What about this one? How is this all still a cohesive unit? Gold is bold. It isn't quite like an average color palette color, it's just bold in itself. It seems luxurious rather than brash, like the past two. It has an elegance to it that nicely contrasts the past two and their differences. The Golden Bird is the final piece... the transformation is now complete. The gallery is over.

Image Sources:
Panda by Takashi Muramaki -
Tribe, from "Survival" by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith -
Golden Bird by
Constantin Brancusi -

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Upon the visit at the Minneapolis Institute there were many different works and themes a person could choose from. One theme that stuck out the most was how bright vibrant colors can change the mood of a piece of work. There were three pieces that stuck out the most. If all three were put together in a gallery they would really give a different perspective into the world of color.

Panda by Takashi Murakami

The first piece that one would see when entering the gallery is Takashi Murakami’s piece called Panda. It would be front in center in a long hallway that twist and turns. It would make the viewer feel uncomfortable and out of place. The way the colors pop against each other makes one want to look away. Also it gives a sense of excitement that you the visitor should be ecstatic that you entered the gallery.

Andy Warhol's Portraits of the Locksley Shea Gallery

The second piece would be Andy Warhol’s piece Portraits of the Locksley Shea Gallery. The piece itself would be installed to float down from the ceiling. The way the soft pastel colors are used gives the visitor a feeling of being calm. The bright colors makes one feel relaxed and not feel so hectic as the first piece did. It will make you want to keep going town the twist and turns of the gallery to see what is next.

Kehinde Wiley's Santos Dumont-The Father of Aviation II

The final piece that would be placed in the gallery would be Kehinde Wiley’s painting titled Santos Dumont - The Father of Aviation II. It would be placed at the end of the path against a white wall that is in the form of a rectangle. The way the colors are used in this piece brings a feeling of sadness. The two figures in the painting are contrasting with the bright blue sky in the background. Yet at the same time the figures give the viewer a sense of peace with the smooth pastel colors they are wearing.

MIA visit

The three pieces i chose at the MIA where: "standing girl" by egon chile, a mexican statue called "Choc Mule" and a conganiese mask called "Peme." To me these works convey very different meaning but come together in a non formative text. The works are all abstract depictions of the body and relate in that way. Its was interesting to see how the different views of the human body where articulated. THis lead me to think of art history and ultimately to Venus statues cultivated from many different country's. in These statues you see basically the same thing, a woman with her sexual organs exaggerated and the face and other parts of the body made smaller or nonexistent. These three pieces give you a look at three very different cultures but ultimately shows how humans view the body.

comedy comedy comedy

This show at the midway was very entertaining. the artist used the whole gallery to convey a closed in feeling that was reflected in his work. i chose his pen drawing. this work to me looks like a monster. this fit well into his show because it was very different from everything else. this difference contributed to the uneasy feeling that any viewers of this show where left with. I think the medium of this work really conveys the feeling that i believe that artist wanted to achieve and overall it is a great piece of work

Comedy Comedy: Midway Gallery

Sketch of "untitled" created in 2009 by Justin Thomas Shaefer

I walked into the Midway gallery seeing the first and biggest piece of stone building blocks put into a preposterous formation blocking my view from the rest of the art work surrounding it. I immediately thought "I really hope that this isn't it." It was.

Walking into a dark blue room it consumes you, if you don't watch where you are walking you may walk right into the opening piece of cement rocks placed in the middle of the space. The art work is hung all around seemingly no rhyme or reason to it. The artwork is obscure and leaves that "what the fuck" feeling lurching. Walking through the gallery three times I missed this little gem on the floor with it's arms and legs that are spread out the length of one wall and around to the next. It was so peculiar and just like a child that you might forget about in the corner of this same gallery but it was a part of the work. Unattached from everything else on display, in it's own unique way. The figure had a red hat that stood out the most rather than anything else on its persons. Like a dunce hat or perhaps a joker. From looking at this piece I feel like I got the "comedy comedy" title however in the context of the rest of the work I am just bemused.
I left longing for the sunlight and to get out of the claustrophobic space. However I did take a little piece of sunshine with me through my sketch of "untitled".

Saturday, February 13, 2010

MIA funerary processional

Upon completion of a standard visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, there is one final room a visitor must encounter. A whole world and thousands of years worth of art have already been experienced, but it's always good to take one last final glance before proceeding back out to take on the rest of life. The last gallery room is a single long hallway with freestanding art pieces spaced evenly along the central line of the route – a processional of sorts, set to tell a story. The gallery is duskily lit, with a weary, end of the day feel to it, and each art piece in the room is then individually lit within the room as if to imply completely separate entities; though the separation on a narrowly directed pathway still forces one piece to lead the viewer on to the next of the journey.

Sarcophagus of Prince Cheng Ching (Yuan Mi). Northern Wei dynasty. Black Limestone.


The first stop en route is the Sarcophagus of Prince Cheng Ching from the Northern Wei dynasty in China. A beautiful black limestone sarcophagus intricately carved with landscapes and ten scenes illustrating “paragons of filial piety.” The acute attention to detail in the engraving shows the care with which this Chinese prince was buried as well as the importance of honoring family and ancestors passed on before.

Cartonnage of Lady Tashat. 1085-710 BCE. Painted and varnished linen; polychromed pine coffin.


The second display seems an easy parallel to the first, the Cartonnage of Lady Tashat (1085-710 BCE) from Egypt. This cartonnage was more than simply the means of burying an Egyptian lady; this was to be the eternal home of her ka, her immortal life-force. Both the coffin and the cartonnage, therefore, bear representations of the lady's youthful face and are inscribed with hieroglyphs and images of protection, prayers, and offerings. Her elaborate and carefully thought out burial preparations were intended to provide comfort for her ka's eternal afterlife.

Grave Stele. 9th century BCE. Marble.


The third piece is a grave stele originating from Greece in the 9th century. Unlike the previous two pieces, this stele celebrates the memory of the life of the deceased rather than what their afterlife might entail. However, there is still a sense a peace within death and honor to the dead, whether that be in memory or in an eternal afterlife. The relief carving shows the couple either biding each other farewell until they may meet again in death, or perhaps greeting each other once again in death. In either case, the Greeks, like the Egyptians and the Chinese, found the passing on of a fellow human being important enough to devote their time and carefully created artwork to.

Armor. 1520 CE. Steel, leather, copper alloy.


Continuing on, the fourth piece at first seems an odd break from the first three – a suit of armor from Germany (1520 CE). The processional has moved away from the ancient, more developed cultures to a much younger European culture. And with this adjustment of time and place, so too has the focus of the art changed. The armor develops as a parallel to fashion and warefare: the new arenas for art. The armor is designed to be defensively functional, taking blows from various weapons and protecting the wearer, while simultaneously emulating the fashion of the current time to showcase the man's high level of taste. Protection is made by men to protect from other men. The value of life is of man's world, not that of the gods and the afterlife.

Smallsword w/ unicorn. 1650 CE. Steel. - Smallsword. 1770-80 CE. Silver, steel.

Smallsword w/ Messien porcelain grip. 1768-69 CE. Steel, silver-gilt, porcelain.

Smallsword. 1780-89CE. Steel, silver, gold. - Smallsword.1815 CE. Silver, steel. - Smallsword. 1800 CE. Steel.

Smallsword. 17870-80 CE. Silver, steel. - Smallsword. 1680-1700 CE.Steel, wood.


Fifth is a case of six smallswords standing upright so their silver, gold, and porcelain hilts are vividly on display. They have been collected from across Europe: the Netherlands, Portugal, France, and England and ranging in date from 1650 to 1815 CE. They are all beautifully designed with precious metals and great care; a lighter and more refined gentleman's weapon for a more “civilized” age in which dueling itself had become a fashion trend and an art form of the highest regard.

Flintlock rifle. John Bonewitz. 1790-1800 CE. Iron, maple, brass, silver.


In the sixth display two American flintlock rifles (1790-1800 CE) sit proudly in their case. Designed by John Bonewitz, they are considered to be the finest craftsmanship possible in this style of gun with elegant proportions and prized scrollwork and engraved brass butt plates. Across the ocean from Europe, in the great new country of America, art and the value fine craftsmanship has been refocused away from the civilized gentleman's smallsword to a form of weaponry even more brutal and distant – a humans connection to death is no more than the result of a simple pull of the trigger.

Funeral torch. 1720 CE. Gilded and painted wood, wrought iron.


One last piece stands alone at the end of the dusky hall, a bit more removed from the rest of the pieces so the details are not immediately noticeable. It appears to be nothing more than a tall stand, a 6 foot tall torch of sorts. Stepping closer, one finds that it is a funeral torch from Italy (1720 CE). So perhaps European world does honor their dead in their art just as the ancient cultures before them did. Except this sole indication of a European and American connection to funerary proceedings through art is not honorary, respectful, and peaceful vision of the eternal afterlife that came before them. This sole funerary torch is adorned with a macabre skeleton twisted around the wrought iron torch pole, seeming to smile or perhaps laugh down at the viewer from his perch. Amidst all the art pieces within the MIA and the various rituals and artistic celebrations of the ancient dead, this skeleton is what's left at the end of a trail of weaponry showing how the Western cultures see fit to celebrate the lives of their dead.

**All photos courtesy of Claire Marrinan. Art pieces all currently on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Dates and individual artwork details courtesy of the MIA didactics. 02.10.10

MIA Extracted Pieces

Strength in the Horse Installation

The installation pieces have a broad relationship in being all equine sculptures. All the pieces however vary in material, size, area of origin, and time of creation but all have a common thread in showing the strength that a horse can have. Being created from different areas of the world give each sculpture a different visual composition yet this common thread ties all.

The installation would be set up in a triangular shape having one piece at each of the points because it is one of the strongest geometric shapes. The installation would consist of three hallways of a dimmer light making a triangular shape with an area at each of the points where the sculpture piece would sit under a brighter light then the hallways giving it more emphasis. Arrangement of the pieces would go as follows:

1. Untitled (Celestial Horse)

1st Century, China, Bronze

Showing the audience the strength within the horse’s stance. The horses stance showing bravery and endurance to withstand anything that crosses its pathway.

Shown first to show the brute power behind a horse even when standing still, to show the audience how powerful a horse can be without doing any of the typical activities that are paired with strength.

2. Galloping Horse

19th Century, France, Cast Bronze

The muscular structure that is shown in this sculpture is a clearly giving this horse strength in motion, pushing itself from its back legs to gain speed. This sculpture representing the power that a horses body has.

Shown second in the group of pieces to help the audience equate the power behind the first piece of the horse standing still and the power that it is generating against this piece where the horse is thrusting itself forward showing great power and strength.

3. Horse Jumping Through Hoop

1865, North America, Copper, Zinc, Gilt

This sculpture was placed last to represent the devoted strength of a horse to the task that is set in front of it. The ability of this horse to aim its body through the hoop that surrounds it shows great strength and muscle skill.

Shown last this piece is meant to bring all the pieces to an end and close out the installation comparing it to the first two pieces in that this piece is showing its strength by jumping through the hoop and showing great skill in managing its muscles and strength.

The pieces round each other out by showing the strength of the horse in three different poses and actions and showing how they all would react to one another if places in one installation show.

Comedy Comedy at the Midway

(I have my sketch, my scanner isn't working, will give to abby next class)

Walking into the gallery of Justin Schaefers 2009 installation show at the Midway Contemporary Art Gallery in Minneapolis was a very visually pleasing piece on the far back wall of an assortment of flowers and leaves behind a 48 x 48inch Plexiglas plate. Consisting of flowers of a wide range of colors including yellows, maroons, purples along with altering colors of green from the stems and leaves all attached to the wall by small nails behind a piece of Plexiglas that was attached a half inch or so away from the wall. When the piece was installed it was done with freshly cut flowers, now that time has passed since the installations opening the flowers have withered away and become more frail. The flowers being nailed right to the gallery wall let the viewer easily take in the color of the wall which was a deep rich blue color that gave the flowers great contrast.

All the pieces in Schaefers installation are untitled and no artist statement was given which leaves something to be desired. The pieces seem to take on their own life for each individual that comes across them without the preconceived titles and descriptions though, which one would have to imagine was something that Schaefer was aiming at accomplishing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Charles and Ray Emes (Power of 10 video)

Eric picked a furniture piece by this couple, and was trying to connect it to the rest of his pieces... and I mentioned to him that not only did they make amazing furniture, but were very involved with science and film. 
It's an oldie - but a goody

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Comedy Comedy

Sketch of
Name of work: Untitled
Artist: Justin Thomas Schaefer
Date of Creation: 2009

Midway Contemporary Art Gallery

When first walking into Justin Thomas Schaefer's 2009 Comedy Comedy installation at the Midway Contemporary Art Gallery, you are stopped abruptly by this large concrete structure in the center of the room. Splattered with blue and pink latex paint, grey cinder blocks are stacked one by one; each pile being a different height. It is an untitled piece of art with variable dimensions throughout the piece. Whether or not there was a true design to the way the cinder blocks are laid out is unknown to me, as well as the interaction between the cinder blocks and the other pieces in the installation.

The interpretation of Schaefer’s artwork is ultimately up to the viewers of his installation because there is no given artist statement for his work. This was my first experience ever visiting an art gallery. And having never heard of Justin Thomas Schaefer or being given any sort of insight into his vision for the pieces in his installation, I found myself feeling very lost, confused and almost agitated after viewing his work. I’m not sure what to think of it, because I don’t know where to even begin.

Out of all the pieces in the gallery, the structure of paint splattered cinder blocks stood out to me the most based on the fact that I just don’t understand it. The only question that has come to my mind is, “Is this what I should consider art?” Or better yet, “WHY should I consider this art?” More and more I wanted to know the reasoning and meaning behind it. I feel a bit unsettled and discouraged not having a clue about an art piece.

At the same time, maybe I shouldn’t consider it anything. The installation after all is title Comedy Comedy.

Midway Contemporary Art Gallery

Sketch of Untitled Piece
Artist: Justin Thomas Schaefer
Comedy, Comedy (2009)
____One component of Comedy, Comedy, that particularly appealed to me was that of an untitled figure resembling a sort of jokerman. The piece, made entirely of fabric and sand, first caught my eye as I was walking around the gallery and happened to notice a foot and a hand on the floor. I followed the 20 some feet of limbs along the length of the wall, rounding the corner, and continuing to the next wall. At the center was the torso of the figure, slumped over, with his bright red hat touching the ground. The work conveyed an immense amount of emotion. The slouching position of the jokerman and the choice of medium, gave the impression that he was heavy with the weight of despair. That combined with the elongated limbs made it seem as though he was worn thin, tired, vulnerable, and hopeless.
____A question I struggled with upon entering Midway was, "Is this supposed to be one piece of art, or a collection of pieces?" The longer I was in the gallery, the more apparent a relationship between everything became. I also noticed that exhibit was titled "Comedy, Comedy" but none of the individual pieces had a name. This gave me the impression that the artist intended the work to be seen as a whole. Justin Thomas Schaefer also didn't provide a statement along with the exhibit, so I felt free to interpret the work as I pleased. The connection that seemed most apparent to me was that of feeling trapped in the perception those around you (or you, yourself) have created. The exhibit captured what is not always seen or let to be seen, the contradiction. The jokerman is supposed to be funny but he is obviously engulfed with sadness. He is also placed far away from the other pieces. I saw this theme fit with the majority of the works in "Comedy, Comedy." The mime is meant to entertain, but he is trudging, and cowering against the wall. The richly colored flowers are trapped behind glass and placed far out of reach. The clothing racks are dark and uniform but the light form coming from them is interesting and beautiful. I think that if the artist had put glass on top of the concrete blocks like he originally intended it would have added a lot more to the work. It would seem to signify a means to keep others out, to keep them from seeing the inside.
I really enjoyed Justin Thomas Schaefer's "Comedy, Comedy"