I loved going to LACMA. It was a great opportunity to finally see some of the art or art similar to what we have talked about and viewed in the classroom. The first impression after viewing the art in person is that the artists we have talked about in class are even more impressive than I initially thought. My favorite area was the new artist gift section. I really enjoyed seeing George Braque’s painting first hand. I was enamored by “Boats on the Beach.” This painting is definitely more on the surrealist end of Braque and displays more colors than most of his paintings. I expected the colors on a lot of the paintings to be more washed out than they are on the computer, because photoshop allows for color enhancement, but I was proven wrong. If anything the colors are more vibrant! Additionally being able to see each individual brush strokes adds depth and intrigue to this painting. The painting is also quite large and it was framed in a beautifully white wood carved frame. I think going to LACMA made the whole class a lot more purposeful, because I got to apply the knowledge gained from the course to the paintings I looked at. I think I will go back to LACMA because I only got to go through one building really thoroughly. Great Experience!
Schoenberg’s music challenges the qualities of classical music, just as Duchamp challenged the qualifications of what is to be considered arts in general, or as Hugo Ball challenged the qualification of using real words to create beautiful poetry in, Karawane. All of these challenges initially received negative responses and harsh critiques, but now we are able to look deeper into their intentions. Essentially, I think that all of these iconic artists challenged values of all forms to assert that there isn’t a wrong way to express one’s creativity or inner being and there isn’t a wrong part of inner being to express. In Schoenberg’s case in his pieces Serenade and The Moonfleck, I believe he was expressing creativity with his atonality and Sprechstimme, but I don’t believe these pieces place him under the Expressionism category. The pieces were modeled after Pierrot Lunaire poems so they weren’t expressing Schoenberg’s personal feeling or inner being. In Albright’s, Putting Modernism Together states expressionism is supposed to “express the inner workings of the mind” and since these pieces are partially another artist’s work, I think that it is impossible for them to achieve that individual deep level of expression.
Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917), which is essentially an old urinal that he rescued from a bar that is decorated by “ R. Mutt 1917” written in drippy black paint, is one of the most famous ready-made pieces. Ready made pieces were popular in the Dada movement because they posed questions towards the relevance of art and the role of an artist. The effort put into making Fountain, for an example, versus creating a beautiful painting is quite minimal.
For many pieces like Fountain, may be offensive. They minimize the effort that many artists apply to their work. Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto 1918, is the epitome of this rhetoric that many find offensive. It essentially states that art is offensive to reality.
Personally, I am a fan (or at least intrigued by) of Dada. I think dada approaches art through a sociological lens. Dada questions the social construct of art. Dada deliberately went against the values of the bourgeois, the affluent people of society who set aesthetic values. The people of the data movement posed questions like “What makes a painting more appealing than urinal ?” “Who decides this?” They were determined to remove the stigma of art and what makes art successful. I like their approach because I think it is beneficial to question beliefs, rather than to accept a belief because it is easier.
During my visit to special collections, I was interested in the photography journal, Camera Work. This journal was one of the first to introduce
photography as a form rather a useful tool. I found this book because photography is my favorite form of art and the only one I successfully participate in. Camera Work was published in 1903 by Alfred Stieglitz.
The journal displays black and white prints of pictures that encapture nature, people, and buildings. It is evident that each print was developed in a different way, so while some appear more clear and detailed, others appear more vague and almost appear as a sketch or a painting. Another aspect of the journal that contributes to the design, is the font of the articles. Each letter that starts an article is larger than the rest and very articulate and detailed. Additionally, even the ads featured in the magazine are well designed and contribute to the detailed aesthetic of the full journal.
Finally, being able to inspect Camera Work in person versus online was very impactful to my viewing of the work. I was able to feel the rough-edged thick
pages, and see the prints of the photography in the same quality as those who viewed it in 1903. These details are important because they reinforce the period that the work comes from, which is important when viewing the photographs, and reading the content. Although many of the photographs pictured may seem ordinary to the current day viewer, they were the first photographs that were taken that were meant to be visually appealing.
Upon looking at Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of a Child, I was immediately intrigued by the progression of detail in the piece. The child is facing profile, from the bridge of her nose to her eyes is very detailed and realistic , but as her head progresses the detail becomes more vague and abstract. Another
aspect, I noticed about the portrait, was the contrast between the grim facial expression of the little girl, and the cartoonish loopy quality feature of the little girl’s hair. This portrait was painted in 1951, during Picasso’s final style period, that was highly influenced by expressionism. This period (1938-onward) was influenced by the war. Picasso conveyed the anticipation and terror felt by any and himself in his work. Perhaps, the grim expression of the little girl in Picasso’s portrait is representative of an emotion felt by many after the war. The style of this portrait is different from impressionism. Unlike in impressionism, the facial features of the young girl in the portrait are quite detailed. Additionally, the portrait is a sketch versus a paint so brush strokes and light usage do not come into play as they do in impressionism. This painting is not something that one would typically associate with Picasso, and that is what drew me to it.
In Claude Monet’s illustration , he depicts winter nontraditionally. Monet utilizes qualities of impressionism such as visible brush strokes to construct structures in the painting. He uses short choppy brush strokes to illustrate the buildings, while he uses long flowing brush strokes to illustrate the mountains and the piles of snow. This contrasts the man-made aspects of the painting (the buildings) and the natural aspects (mountains and snow). Another contrasting part of this painting, is the transition from warm colors on the left side of the canvas, to neutral colors in the middle (the lake), to colder colors on the opposing side. Composition wise, there is no specific object that Monet focuses on, each part of the canvas is essential to the overall effect. The transition of color from one side of the illustration to the other side of the illustration in conjunction with the short brushstrokes conveys the illusion that the sun has set, and the remnants of light are hitting the mountains. The warmth of the sunset brings a new sense of beauty to otherwise dull winter scene . The light projected by the sunset makes the audience feel like there is hope and happiness in winter, a seemingly cold lonely season.