My visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art really enhanced the overall appreciation of a wide variety of art master-pieces that were studied in class. One of the first things really caught my eye while wandering around the museum was that there is a noticeable color distortion that takes place when seeing an art piece in a book or a computer screen. In order to illustrate this point, I will reflect on the Fauvistic painting “Boats on the Beach” by the prominent, avant-garde artist Georges Braque (1906). Out of all of the paintings that I could have picked, I chose this one particularly because Fauvism is a movement that is characterized by the use of wide array of colors, and instinctive brush strokes. One of the first things I instantly noticed in this painting was that the aggressive, inconsistent brushstrokes create a sense of texture to the painting. This type of texture is hard to grasp on when seeing a virtual image of the painting.
It is also worth commenting that this work was developed during one of the early stages of Braque’s life, when impressionism can be accurately described as the “denier cri” of modern art. Nevertheless, despite presenting a lot of characteristics of a impressionist works (i.e. aggressive brush strokes, the impression of a dock on a peaceful beach, ect.), this work pushes the boundaries of what impressionism in itself by experimenting with all of the characteristics one would expect an impressionist work to have. After appreciating this work for quite some time, I noticed that the paintings of the expositions at LACMA were arranged in such a way that it allows for people to presence the evolution of modern art. It was almost like a timeline. This is important, but can nonetheless be shocking, especially because some of the cubist works that were placed right beside “Boats on the Beach” present a change in style that is nothing like the works he developed early during his life.
After hearing this unique music piece for some time, it is hard not to notice that every single musical note was highly thought of. Though not a pleasant or easy-to-listen to composition, it will certainly make most people react in some way or another. What really made me react to these piece though was the score. It is a piece written on no apparent key, with extremely complex note inflections that seem not to resolve unto anything. This leaves me anxious, waiting for the piece to resolve, but yet it never does. As a musician I try to resolve this music in my head, but yet I find it extremely difficult. It is something that my traditional musical education does not allow me to comprehend, but that is the whole purpose of this. This strenuous musical composition is written in such a way that it does not allow anyone to resolve this in anyway. Moreover, this is what has lead Arnold Schoenberg to be identified as an “Expressionist”. The main reason for this is the fact that most of his musical compositions abruptly refuse to adhere to the implicitly pre-imposed traditional music norms. It is Schoenberg’s heart and intellect in its purest form, presented and transmitted by music. Strongly dissonant and yet beautiful in its own way. One of many “acquired tastes” people can get in life. Paradoxically, what makes this music “ugly” is also what makes it beautiful, and worthy of attention.
All in all, I can say that Albright was right. This is indeed as complicated as Einstein’s equation E = mc^2 or his relativity theory. Something so complex that could only be proved 100 years after its prediction. But yet this music piece is still a puzzle for most people that could perhaps be deciphered (or accepted) in the future?
Stein writes about one of those everyday moments many people enjoy. Coffee time. Through the use of stream of consciousness, Gertrude Stein portrays what many people consider to be an everyday moment and transforms it into a complex portrait. Complexity that reflects a desire to take meaning out of something many people do not even think of. After reading this, it gives you a feeling that can only be described as pleasurable. It forces the reader to be in the present moment, to feel the moment, and ultimately to disregard the past and the future to take meaning out of the present. To take meaning out of what might be normally considered trite.
What really catches an eye in “piece of coffee” is how the author systematically describes the moment of coffee time. The imagery it projected goes from the moment in the morning when it is time to drink the coffee, until it is time to clean up. In the process, the author forces remembrance, and actually gets meaning out of something trivial. When she talks about cleaning up, she begins by saying that she would use soap and silk to take care of the yellow coffee stains of coffee. Then she says that these actually look pretty and shape “very nicely”. This might give us the impression that the coffee stains signify how people do not live in the present, but actually tend to live in the past and future most of the time. That is why these stains will remain there after that trite moment is long gone and lost in time.
All in all, piece of coffee, can be described as a call of attention to the audience. Furthermore, the point she is trying to make is that as society evolves and becomes more “modern”, people just seem to be more focused on the past and future rather than on living the present moment.
For many years, the area of art had standard guidelines that had to be followed so that something can be considered “art”. After sometime, the avant-garde concept of “art for art’s sake” started making some noise. Nevertheless, this movement now called ‘Dada’ is looking to defy the concept of “art’s sake” in itself. It puts into question everything we know today about art; this is why it is often called the first anti-artistic movement.
When trying to appreciate dada art, it is important to consider the context in which the art-piece is being looked at. I imagine myself picturing Duchamp’s sculpture “Fountain” (1917) in a totally different context. Would this still be considered art? But more importantly, would this create the same emotional impact? I am firstly inclined to answer that I would not perceive a toilet as being artistic or awe-inspiring in any way, but ultimately when appreciating “Fountain” that is what I am looking at. Then… What is art? What is dada? And lastly, what is its ultimate purpose?
Although no real empiric answer can be provided to these questions, I am going to try and answer with my own axiomatic perception of things. By looking at the dada manifesto, the first thing I noticed was that the very own manifesto is dadaistic in itself. This is paradoxically interesting because, even though the author’s point does not always come across, that is the whole point of it. It is looking to defy all aspects of human rationalism. “A concept that had promised much but only delivered the senseless destruction seen in the conflict” according to Sam Phillips. So, is dada something that appears in consequence of the Great War or is it just an attempt to free the human mind from cultural locks? Well, with all of this, I think that I can finally try and answer the question:
For me dada happened when life for many started losing its purpose. It surges due to the hardships that humanity was experiencing at the time because of the “Great War”. It is a movement that is looking to defy, challenge, and put to question the idea of Western Rationalism, and art itself. Does it make sense? Maybe not, but that is the whole point of it. It is not suppose to make sense, and it is not suppose to be normal. But in the end it is beautiful and full of emotion, because as Victor Frankl once said: “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”
During his youth, most of George Braque’s artpieces where influenced and inspired by the works of Henri Matisse and André Derain; the founders of Fauvism. It was a movement that was mainly characterized by the use of bright, vivid, and polychromatic colors. This, along with the use of “rough”, and “instinctive” brush strokes is what coined the term “Les fauves”(Wildcat in English). I first encountered The painting “Der Ölbaum (1907)” by George Braque on what appeared to be an antique catalogue that was used by the “Salons” at the time to cultivate public interest on any ongoing expositions. Considering that color printing was so expensive at the time, the catalogue showed a black and white version of the painting.
After looking for an online picture of the painting, what appeared to be the post-impressionist work of a prominent artist, transformed into something totally different. Patters of peculiar clashing colors designed to shock the audience depicted something that totally opposed the colors of the mental picture I had for the painting. By virtue of that, and because Fauvism was largely about embracing the use of irrational color patterns, the feel and emotions of the landscape in the painting depict a much more vibrant and bright atmosphere. Furthermore, the colored version of the painting also allowed me to obtain a better visualization of the aggressive brush strokes present. A style that is often present in a lot of the former artistic movements (such as impressionism), and were often designed to shock the general public; because of this, I believe that the style of this painting reflects the cultural desire of the time to reveal against conservative art ideals.
Overall, I can say that the color and style are the main mediums through which Fauvism sets itself apart from other artistic movements. This is important because the fact that I first encountered the painting in black and white, allowed me to obtain a better appreciation for it. Sure, I was totally shocked by the color selection and aggressive style used, nevertheless, the impact this had on what once was a more conservative public is what makes these innovative movements such as Impressionism and Fauvism revolutionary. This “entrepreneurial” approach many of the modern artists took is what laid the foundations for future artistic movements at the time. In this case, this is what laid the foundations for the early XXI century movement, Cubism.
Phillips, Sam. –Isms: Understanding Modern Art. New York, NY: Universe Publishing, 2012.
Pablo PIcasso was a prominent painter, widely known for his fluxing and contrasting painting styles that kept aggressively changing over the course of his lifetime. “The Old Guitarist” was painted in 1904 with oil based paint on a canvas. It was painted during the artist’s “Blue Period” which was characterized by a heavy use of various tones of blue. In most paintings, this had a profound effect in the feelings they each depicted. In fact, most of the paintings that were created during that period are often perceived as somewhat “cold”, “melancholic”, and overall “depressing”. Furthermore, this painting was influenced greatly by the ideals of the expressionist movement. It was all about painting “how you see something” contrary to the past impressionist movement which was all about depicting an impression about “how you felt about a moment ‘en plein air’ “. That is exactly what one can see in “The Old Guitarist”; a detailed painting of an old, week, blind man hunched onto his guitar in the streets. Nevertheless, what makes this painting rather depressing is not the objective but rather the subjective. It is the lens through which Picasso depicted that situation what really makes this painting shocking to the public in general. It is that monochromatic selection of different tones of blue that create an emphasis on the lack of emotions thereof. Nevertheless, that monotony is broken by that one object that this man is holding… the guitar. All of those blue tones make this old man appear, spiritless, it is as if this man just passed away. This is why for me, the guitar represents a symbol for something that will live well after this man’s death. It is the music that he once created the one thing that will prosper well after this man’s death, this is the reason why this man is holding onto the guitar so strongly.
All of these elements unite to create a dull, shocking painting that reflect a situation through the perception of the artist. It is not an impression but a perception of reality. Furthermore, this change in ideals from impressionism to expressionism can be reflected in the difference of painting styles. Rather than depicting an impression about how something feels through the use of broken, dappled colors on a canvas, this painting uses monochromatism to represent a reality through a subjective mean.
The painting “Haystacks” by Claude Monet is a revolutionary work that depicts a sunset on a rural setting. The appearance of the rough-and-ready brush strokes in this painting are a way for the artist to manage to capture an impression of a landscape en plein air; it is like a way of mimicking all of the current conditions of the moment right before they vanish. This creates an effect that allows the public to feel the conditions of the sunset that Monet is trying to capture. Broken colored brush strokes painted diagonally to the left mimic the effect of the wind blowing of what in the distance appears to be a colorful plain of flowers; it is all about how the wind makes you feel, it shows a subjective depiction of the landscape, rather than “objective” view of it. The directions of the brush strokes are equally important, because the artist uses them to create an effect of contrast that allows the public to clearly appreciate the houses that are better appreciated when one takes a step back to observe the landscape.
What really stands out in the painting are the tones of purple that Monet used to play with the light of the scene. He used dark, strong shades of purples for shadowing and lighter, brighter tones for portraying the landscape. All of these elements work in synchrony to create a snapshot; the impression of a retrieved memory that shows a peaceful landscape.
Phillips, Sam. –Isms: Understanding Modern Art. New York, NY: Universe Publishing, 2012.
@beCraftsy. “4 Impressionist Techniques to Try Yourself.” The Craftsy Blog. 2014. Accessed September 19, 2016. http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/02/impressionist-techniques/