Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pollock was simply a man with little to say, but a lot to express.

No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock
1948, Oil on Canvas, 243.8 cm × 121.9 cm
Private Collection

Okay so I have known that I wanted to feature Jackson Pollock for the past week, and I even started this post like a week ago, I just never got around to finishing it and I just realized why. It's really freaking hard to try and explain Pollock with words. But I will try....

So I can't tell you how many times I hear about people hating Jackson Pollock. In fact, a lot of people associate the whole "modern art" category with paintings like Pollock's; weird, lacking skill, and NOT art. I think the reason I defend Jackson Pollock so much is because I know about his evolution as an artist. I guess the best way to explain it is to breifly explain art around his time. Right after World War II ended, art changed. It changed big time. Art quickly became the visual expression in reaction to the chaos and destruction that occured during the war, the movement was called Abstract Expression. Just like WWII ended with a BOOM (literally), art drastically changed almost instantaneously.

Pollock's best known works are his drip paintings. Now here's where it gets a little tricky. Part of the whole Abstract Expressionism movement had to do with expression. Pollock did something huge. Instead of putting the canvas upright, or on a easel, he layed canvas on the floor and methodically worked dripping paint onto the canvas while moving around his creation. This is where people might say, "Okay how is that art?!" Well my friends, it's art and it's art at its finest.

In regards to his painting technique, Pollock once said, "On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting." You see, Pollock didn't care about traditional artistic means. He didn't care about making a realistic image. He cared about creating a piece filled with expression. THAT is art. Also, it wasn't as if he shut his eyes and just started splattering paint everywhere, each stroke, each drip, and each splatter was meticulousy thought out and it definitely wasn't random as so many think.

In the world of Jackson Pollock, it wasn't about what he painted, it was about how he painted and in his case it made all the difference. So next time you see a Jackson Pollock drip painting, try to feel his mood, try to feel his emotion, and try to understand his form of visual expression.

Pollock was simply a man with little to say, but a lot to express.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Audrey Flack encourages our inner beauty.

Marilyn (Vanitas) by Audrey Flack
1977, Oil over acyclic on canvas, 96 x 96 in.
Collection of the artist

I can't believe I haven't done an Audrey Flack, she is one of my favorite artists. Audrey Flack is extremely talented and works and many many styles, but my favorite can be seen by the work above- photorealism. In a nutshell, photorealist's create images that look as real as an actual photograph. It began in the 1970's, and Audrey Flack is part of the first wave of artists to use the style. Pretty cool because she is a woman and it's pretty dang hard to get recognized in the art world if you are a female and don't do something with outrageous feminist undertones. Another thing to note, is that photorealism stemmed out of Pop Art thus you get a lot of bright colors, reactions to the media, and iconic symbols. I just like photorealism because it's really amazing how realistic it is. Time and time again I am looking at a photorealist piece thinking it is a photograph and then casually glance at the medium and think, "WHAT?! This is paint?!"

Marilyn (Vanitas) is one of Audrey's more famous pieces. A few things to explain. Vanitas is a old form of symbolic painting. They did it a lot in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is associated with still-life painting, which is also rich in symbols. Each still-life piece usually centers around a few main themes: death, life, and pleasure. Basically, "Vanitas" refers to a visual expression of the "vanities" in life.

Tearing apart Audrey's Marilyn (Vanitas) you can assume quite a few things. First, there are a few symbols of death: the hourglass, the calendar, and the clock all refer to the passing of time. Marilyn Monroe was a sex symbol and thought to be the quintessential representation of beauty, but Flack includes lipstick, a compact, perfume, and jewellery all to show that beauty is fleeting. The fruit cut open usually is some type of symbol of death as well, as once you cut it open it will rot away eventually. The paint brush either symbolizes blood, as in death, or the fact that her life was short-lived, like an unfinished painting. The reflection of the image in the mirror is not precise, which is a visual commentary to the imperfections in Marilyn and more importantly, that beauty is not everything. Audrey also made the piece personal, as she included an image of her and her younger brother when they were young in the center of the composition.

There are a ton more symbols, but you get the idea. I guess you might be thinking, why do I love a picture filled with so many death related symbols? Well, I suppose I haven't made the good in this piece prevalent. Marilyn is a commentary on one of the most well-known icons of beauty- Marilyn Monroe. Though many thought she had it all, she died at a very young age from a probable suicide. Audrey's piece suggests that beauty is definitely short-lived and doesn't always lead to happiness. I think a lot of us, especially in today's world of plastic surgery, tend to forget this. So I loved Audrey Flack not only because her work is just amazing, but because she inspires deep thought on ideas that really matter.

Audrey Flack encourages our inner beauty.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seurat, dot. Simple enough.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
1884, Oil on Canvas, 207.5 x 308 cm
The Art Institute of Chicago

I have been trying to write this post for two days now, but during the last week of school, your teachers like to lock you in a prison with no fun. With that said, as of today school is officially over (until the next semester)! So I can re-begin my love affair with Inadvertently Art. Now on to Seurat.

Seurat, dot. That pretty much sums it up. If there are any Herold fans that read this, YOU know what I am talkin' about. Anyways, Georges Seurat is considered to be a post-impressionist, mainly because he came after the Impressionists. Clever? Not really. Seurat was obsessed with color, so much so that he began experimenting with millions of dots close together, in a style art people call pointillism. Basically, he just painted a bunch of dots of different colors close to one another and created these really cool images. Up close, you can't tell what the crap anything is, but from far away you can see the whole picture, which is pretty huge by the way. It's pretty dang cool if you ask me.

As far as what the painting "means," eh well there are many ideas. Personally, I hate that every painting needs to have a structured meaning, and I tend to like those that no one can figure out or agree upon (eg. Bosch) but if we must..... A Sunday on La Grande Jatte can mean a lot, but here's my opinion. It's important to notice that the park is really crowded, but on one seems to be talking and everyone is in their own little neatly confined space. So despite the fact that the park is crowded and at first might give one the impression that it is busy, after second glace you notice that it is just the opposite. It really seems like a slice of time, which I love. But on top of that, it really evokes peace, which I love even more. Instead of thinking, "What a busy and crowded park!" one begins to think, "What a peaceful place." To sum it up, I just like how the piece makes me feel, relaxed and at peace. And I really wouldn't want to imply anything further than that.

Oh by the way, as of some time last week, the Art Institute of Chicago (where the piece is held) launched their project to raise money for the Museum and Institute. They do it every year, but this year is actually pretty cool. You can "Adopt a Dot" from A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and recieve a color button of the dot you adopted. It's $10 for one dot, $25 for three, and $50 for all six color dots. I think it's a clever idea. If you're interested you can find more information here.

Seurat, dot. Simple enough.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let Bosch let you escape for a minute.

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
1503-1504, Oil on wood, 87 in × 153 in

It's Bosch day people! If you're are thinking, "What the crap?" You are on the right track. What the crap is exactly right. Bosch is like the 16th century equivalent of modern day Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is really freakin' weird, if you don't believe go watch this. After I saw that video I was left staring at my computer screen with a "what the crap" expression on my face. The funny part is people like Lady Gaga are accepted, and even more weird, encouraged in today's society and media, but 16th century Bosch... not so much.

Bosch is puzzling, imaginative, and just plain weird. Let's take a gander in The Garden of Earthly Delights. Well I first should mention that the image I provided is part of a triptych, or a three panel painting, I just couldn't put that in here because my blog is structured narrow and it would cut off two of the panels. Oh and the second image is a close up from one of the panels. What's funny about Bosch is that no art historian has agreed on any interpretation for him. Actually it's even funnier when art historians try to explain Bosch. You get a whole lot of "odd like creatures" and "imaginative fantasy world," but that's where it stops. You can't get any further than that. A lot of people think that Bosch's work and symbols were widely reognized in his time, but seriously I don't believe this because one, why don't we know what they mean now, and two, yeah freakin' right. You can't tell me that an egg with tree stump legs and people living in it's butt was widely recognizable. True, some of the imagery is agreed upon. The triptych is called The Garden of Eathly Delights afterall, so you can infer some from that. Creation, Hell, Paradise, and Adam/Eve being among the few. For the most part, Bosch's work is just the typical pothead's splendor, but who am I to judge that!

Bosch just created these huge works of art with all these really weird things. It's hard to imagine even thinking like that, but he did. I mean I can draw a really weird thing just as well as the next two year old, but Bosch takes it to the next level. He creates these amazing fantasy worlds, much like J.K. Rowling does with Harry Potter, and as we know about the popularity of Harry Potter- people like that. People like escaping from their present situation and stresses into an imaginary world. Though Bosch's work might have been intended to show people the fate of the immoral, I view Bosch as an outlet for frustration. If I am ever stressed about school or something, I google Bosch and just stare. And each time, like looking at a "Where's Waldo" print, I find another creature feasting on the fish foot of a 6 legged monster with blue foam coming out of it's ears pierced with rainbow spears.

So for once, let's not try and find a mutual interpretation of a piece. Let's not suggest religious undertones, let's not try and spot all the influences, and most importantly let's just enjoy.

Let Bosch let you escape for a minute.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rachel Whiteread creates lasting memories.

House by Rachel Whiteread
1993, concrete cast inside a house
Originally in East London, now demolished

First of all, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to write this post. Not because I love Rachel Whiteread (though I do), but because it shows how I currently have a minute of freedom from school (though not long-lasting)! Rachel Whiteread is a British artist and is most famous for the piece above. This piece was so controversial, monumental, and ground-breaking (literally), she won the Turner Prize, bceoming the first woman in fact to do so.

House is both easy to explain, though incredibly hard to explain at the same time. Let me explain, ha! For the process Rachel essentially filled the interior of an old Victorian terraced house in East London with concrete, then removed the physical house leaving a eerie yet breathtaking scultpure. So basically, she reversed the negative/positive space of the house itself. Kind of insane when you really stop and think about it. The process was extremely difficult and took a while to complete, but when it was done it just stood there with this absolute pressence for the world to see.

What's so amazing about this piece is the part that hardest to adequately describe, though I'll try. First of all, some people might get all pissed off saying, "This is NOT art." Okay, that is a topic that is such a hard thing to explain, but the idea is this is most definitely art, but perhaps me saying it's inadvertently art will put you more at ease. This piece, though relatively simple to look at, possesses so many concepts it's really just crazy. Take the doors for instance, what once used to lead into the interior of the house is now a sealed piece of concrete, allowing no visitors into the solidified house. What once welcomed and held people's belongings, memories, and life now houses concrete and there is no way in.

Furthermore, a house that is empty is somewhat depressing, desolate, and brings emotions of vacancy. While this can be thought to be negative, I look at it completely different. When I house for sale, I see an opportunity for a new family to create new memories in a place that once held other's memories. Building upon past times of both joy and sorrow a 'used' house is as exciting as getting clothes from Salvation Army. Who wore them? Where did they go? Who did they meet? What memories did they make while wearing the clothes? Memories. Perhaps that's the main reason House holds my attention. This sealed off, empty, vacant house isn't depressing at all, instead it positively holds the memories of those who lived inside- forever.

Rachel Whiteread creates lasting memories. 

P.S. For a great short video on the process as well as some of her own commentary click here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quick Update!

Hello everyone,

I am in my last week and a half of the semester which means finals, so I won't be able to post as often as I would like! December 15th is the day I will be free and able to start my every day posting once more!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rest in peace Jeanne-Claude, you will be missed.

Hello everyone, I know I momentarily disappeared, but Thanksgiving came and so did my Mom, so I was busy!

This post is a few weeks overdue, but I needed to formally let everyone know that Jeanne-Claude passed away on November 18th, 2009. Christo is still continuing with the projects they were working on and as one might imagine is deeply saddened by his wife of 58 years death, as is the world. Jeanne-Claude was such an amazing woman. Dedicated to creating beautiful works of art, Jeanne-Claude knew the meaning of beauty. She was a compassionate wife, daring artist, and observer of the beauty all around us. If we learn anything from the life of Jeanne-Claude it should be that life is precious, the world surrounding us is true art, and that you are never too old to have really cool hair.

Rest in peace Jeanne-Claude, you will be missed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thank you Pope Benedict.

The Last Judgment by Michelangelo
1536-41, Fresco, 539.3 in × 472.4 in

So on Saturday Pope Benedict met with over 250 artists (including sculptors, architects, painters, and directors) in the Sistine Chapel to discuss art. The Church and art have always had an on again off again type of relationship. Take Michelangelo's The Last Judgment for example, painted for the Church to basically scare people. Michelangelo even included himself in the piece, however the self-portrait is a bit scary- he is the one who has been skinned by St. Bartholomew. Gruesome and shocking, the piece is still on the altar wall in the Sistine Chapel.

It was beneath this image, an image representing the height of religious artistic expression, that Pope Benedict declared, "Faith takes nothing away from your genius or art. On the contrary, it exalts them and nourishes them." I can respect what the Pope is trying to accomplish. He is acknowledging the world we live in, and most importantly acknowledging that art can impact it for the better. Art can move people. Art can inspire people. Art can create change. This desire for more spirituality in art is the start of a new movement- a movement that has the capacity to be miraculous.

Thank you Pope Benedict.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Donatello took risks.

David by Donatello
1440-1460, Bronze, 5’ 2 ¼” high
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

Well, here is one by Donatello as promised! Personally, this is my favorite David sculpture, though it is one that not many people can recognize. I still remember when I first saw this I did not think this was David of" David and Goliath." He seemed way too girly and sissy. That’s why I thought I should talk about this great piece as it’s pretty dang controversial and that’s always fun.

Okay first to mention is that this sculpture was a big deal. First, he is nude and coming after the Middle Ages where nudity was thought to be indecent, Donatello was making a big break from the past but at the same time reviving antiquity and Greek statues. Second, he was the first freestanding nude since antiquity- again Donatello was bringin’ it all back! Third, it was the first unsupported bronze casted statue in the Renaissance. Okay not as cool, but still when you are the “first” anything during the Renaissance you have done something worth mentioning.

I think David is quite a pretty little fella, which many think isn’t true to the David in the Bible, but it that isn't necessarily true.  He was just a little guy who had to fight this giant and he very well could have been a pretty boy. I mean, take a look at his facial expression up close. He seems contemplative yet confident. I see hints of a smirk with "Goliath you are SO going down” undertones, but maybe that’s just me. Oh yeah, and that cute hat. Well it’s not a hat it’s his helmet, just wanted to clear that up… it was another thing that used to confuse me.

You know what’s really interesting about this? Well first of all it was commissioned by the Medici’s and became a symbol of the independent Florentine republic. It was meant to show their prosperity and most importantly power. Notice what David has his foot on? Take a close look. Yep, that’s Goliath’s head. Not so sissy now is he? Secondly, there is a feather leaning up against David’s inner leg and thigh. Apparently, this was the most controversial point of all because it implied homosexuality- either of David or Donatello himself. During the Renaissance people were getting persecuted left and right for sodomy, so this was especially risky of Donatello. But, that is why I love Donatello. On the outside you see this feminine statue, but after you find out the facts you start to see that most of Donatello’s work was definitely meant to essentially push the envelope a bit. But, this is what every great artist in history did and still does. To make any impact on the art movement you have to try and push people’s buttons. Fun right? Yes.

Donatello took risks. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Van Gogh, we love you.

Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh
1888, Oil on Canvas, 81 x 65.5 cm 

Okay, so I realize that I said I was going to write about Bosch, Donatello, and Hogarth, but like any artist would- I changed my mind. Oops. Last night as I was trying to go to bed, it hit me... I haven't featured Van Gogh! What the heck is wrong with me? Van Gogh is thought to be one of the greatest artists of all time, right up there with Picasso, Warhol, and even Michelangelo. His contributions to the art world are monumental as his ideas contirubed to the progression of art in huge ways. 

What hurts me the most is to think that Van Gogh had a terrible life. No one appreciated him, no one took him seriously, and on top of all that he suffered tremedously with a bunch of mental illnesses. He had depression, so much so that it drove him to take his own life at age 37. I wish I could go back in time, find him, and say, "I love you Vincent!" I mean he killed himself right when his creativity was rising. All the great Van Gogh's everyone knows were painted during the last two years of his life. Imagine if he lived a great and long life, how many more great pieces he would have created!

Cafe Terrace at Night is one of my favorite Van Gogh's. Sure Starry Night is amazing, but Cafe Terrace at Night appeals more to me, perhaps because I my fixation with coffee culture. What strikes me the most about this piece is of course the lighting. It's just so quaint. Who can deny the beauty of France? Van Gogh took a scene that is so charming and calm, and made it a beautiful time piece. Now, Cafe Terrace is of course a huge tourist site. This also bothers me. Arles, the city where this Cafe is, is basking in wealth due to Van Gogh. They have created quite the tourist tour, where you can follow Van Gogh's footsteps. Cool? Yes, but also sad. They hated Van Gogh, and now they are making billions off of him. Poor Van Gogh, well at least people respect and honor him now. 

If you have never seen a Van Gogh in real life, for the love of everything, go find one! I am sure you have heard of his brushstoke technique, but seeing a Van Gogh in real life brings his technique to life. I love to stand in front of a Van Gogh and imagine him restlessly blotching paint on a canvas with frustration in every swipe. I try and stand as close as I can, literally like face to face. It's just so amazing. Though the security gaurds usually hate this, I love it because I always imagine Van Gogh doing the same thing. Van Gogh staring face to face with his canvas, wondering if the world will ever appreciate him. Van Gogh staring face to face with yet another creation that will sit on the floor of his room. Decades later, I stare at a Van Gogh and stand amazed. 

Van Gogh, we love you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Let the Lascaux cave paintings be your reminder.

Cave Paitings in Lascaux, France
Paleolithic Era, Approx. 17,000 BCE

So I thought, "I don't escape out of the 1800 and 1900's often." So tada! I give you a very old piece of cave for your viewing pleasure. This little beauty is old old old, I mean this is the essential starting point of any art history class (if it's not on a specific time period that is). You get your art textbook, turn to page one and you will find cave paintings. Okay, here's where the debate for the bulk of entry will center, but first let me just talk about the history behind the piece.

The cave paintings were discovered on September 12th, 1940 by a group of teenagers searching for their dog "Robot." I know, great beginning to any story. First of all, what 1940's teen names their dog robot? Second of all, why would they think "Robot" esapced into some hard to reach cave? Anyways, they stumpled upon the caves, however it wasn't an easy task. It involved prying open small entires to the cave, slipping through narrow crevices, tumbling on rocks, and using rope to find even more entries. I can't imagine what these boys thought when they saw these insanely prehistoric images on the walls of cave. I am sure they were thinking something along the lines of, "Cool, adventure!" Little did they know their discovery was going to be the biggest archeological find of the century. I wonder when the significance of the find hit them. Was it when they were slipping through narrow crevices? Or when they were running home to grab some rope?

Nevertheless, these boys discovered something insanely monumental. They single handily discovered a cave, that some people 16,000 years or so go decorated. The cave contains some 2,000 images ranging from human figures to horses, bulls, bison, and aurochs (a type of ox, that is extinct now).

Okay here's where the debate begins. WHY are the Lascaux cave paintings regarded as art? Sure, I understand that they are marvelous to look at and illustrate something- but why did everyone consider them art? In my modern art class last year, a huge portion was dedicated to trying to figure out just what makes art-art. This would be a huge deal in a modern art class because we are studying art form like splattered paint and urinals turned upside down, but it can also be viewed in terms of the cave paintings. It kind of drives me crazy that people talk about the Lascaux cave work as the 'prehistoric Sistine Chapel", using terms like triptych, perspective, and overlapping figures to described it. Why can't people just see these images and for once not attribute art history-ish terms! I mean, they definitely didn't paint these in hopes that one day someone would notice how they created a "triptych."

I guess my main beef comes from the idea that "art" wasn't even a word in prehistoric times. These images were most likely a guide to depict a means of survival. I mean, they did not create these images thinking, "Oh this will go great in the living room-" they did it so that their children would know the proper way to kill for survival!

So what am I am trying to get at? I guess I am trying to bring to your attention the whole idea of my blog title being "Inadvertently Art," making the Lascaux images my example. To us, art is something we like to look at- something that perhaps inspires us, something that gives someone a visual voice. While the Lascaux paintings can essentially be thought of as a visual voice, the motives were entirely different. However, the images present a new form of art and a form much more thought provoking. "Art" as a means of survival. Art does not have to be cut and paste or black and white, art can be as simple as a prehistoric cave filled with finger painted drawings of animals. Let's just leave it at that, please! Art can and should be flexible and most importantly, it should be thought of in a greater historical context.

Let the Lascaux cave paintings be your reminder.

P.S. This website takes you on this crazy virtual tour of the caves.  But beware, creepy music plays, so make sure your speakers are down. I, was not so fortunate and almost screamed when the music came on.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Faith Ringgold just inspires me.

Dancing at the Louvre by Faith Ringgold
1991, Acrylic on Canvas & Tie-Dyed, Pieced Fabric Border, 73.5 x 80"

In my opinion, Faith Ringgold definitely doesn't get the attention she deserves. She is amazing! Okay, she is this vivacious African American artist who is most famous for her "story quilts" but has also done a ton of other stuff like write children's books, sue BET television network, and teach at UCSD... to name a few. Just an all around lady who creates these amazing works of art. Her mother was a fashion designer, so that's where she got most of her inspiration for her quilts as she grew up around fabric.

Dancing at the Louvre is one of my favorite Ringgold pieces because it just illustrates her genius. See, she took a form that wasn't traditionally thought to be art- fabric, and combined it with things that are undeniably art- the Mona Lisa and Madonna on the Rocks, therefore created a unique piece of art. This particular piece is part of her "French Collection" series and all of the pieces have some type of unique combination of high art on fabric. Dancing at the Louvre is also the title of the book which contains all the pieces of the French Collection and is a story of a fictional character, Willia Marie Simone, who moves from Harlem (Ringgold's hometown) to Paris in the 1920's to pursure art. I need to get the book because I have read a lot about it, but never actually read it. It's so moving just reading the summaries. The art weaves the book together to create a political and personal commentary on so many levels. It's brilliant.

The more I read about Faith, the more I can imagine what type of person she is. I envision her as this strong, confident, culturally rich, artistic woman. She is someone I constantly dream about meeting one day. I can just imagine us sitting on her porch, drinking lemonade, and talking about how she has changed the world with her art.

Faith Ringgold just inspires me.

[P.S. She has a blog, and I recommend you go look at it because she just put up a quilt she made to tribute the great Michael Jackson......... http://faithringgold.blogspot.com/]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Annie eminates through every snapshot.

Michelle Obama by Annie Leibovitz
March 2009, Cover of Vogue
Well I having doing homework for my politics class all day, so look what happened. It's Michelle Obama day! This image of our First Lady appeared on the March issue of Vogue and was taken by none other than Annie Leibovitz!

You know there is a lot of pressure on you when you are taking a picture of anyone involved in politics. If you make them look bad, you will be blamed for something. But then again if you make them look too good, people are going to jump to accusations. You must find a way to portray them not too over confident, but you can't make them see like they could be your next door neighbor either. Sometimes it frustrates me that even artistic expression has to be applied to politics, but it is just that way. Take Shepard Fairey for example, he is currently going through this huge lawsuit for his Obama "HOPE" poster. Geesh.

Anyways, Annie didn't pay any attention to the pressure she had in taking shots of the White House family, she just did it- and did it flawlessly, like always. She presents to us a confident First Lady, with charm, poise, elegance, and most importantly a woman who is here for change. She isn't put on a high pedastal neither figuratively or literally;  she is casually sitting on a chair is a realaxed position gently smiling at the viewers. Also hard to ignore is the position of her arms, cleverly displaying her wedding ring further showing that her vow to her husband is now her vow to the Nation.

I love Michelle Obama not because of her and her husband's triumphant position as the first African American President and First Lady, but because there is just something about here that brings a breath of fresh air into the political scene. From her healthy and in-shape body, to her elegant and charming style, to her beautiful young daughters, to her commitment to our country- I love her. I especially love the comparisons made to her being like Jackie Kennedy. Perhaps we will see an image of Michelle Obama on a canvas tote one day. Her image was shed an positive and honest light when Annie took this picture. I can't help but think of Annie when I look at this picture. Annie, a strong and capable woman herself, can definitely be seen both through the lens and on paper.

Annie eminates through every snapshot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hokusai is undeniably appealing.

The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai
1829-1833, Color Woodcut, 25.7 cm × 37.8 cm

You know, truth be told I was really going to use another woodcut by Hokusai because this one is just so popular, but then I realized that is even more of a reason to explain it. This image is as common as Michelangelo's David or Leonardo's Mona Lisa, it's in practically every surfer's home, either to make them seem artsy or because it's a "wicked wave." It's in one bazillion dorms rooms, one bazillion stores, and surfing brands such as Quicksilver, took it and marketed it like crazy putting it on purses, board shorts, and surfboards.  But what saddens me the most about the popularity of the piece is the idea that so many people don't even know the artist and how amazing he was. The history behind the piece is so rich that it definitely deserves some attention. The Great Wave of Kanagawa comes from the ukiyo-e series Thirty Six Views of Mt. Fiji. Already there are a ton of things to address, so let's get started!

First, what the heck is ukiyo-e? Well the English translation for the word "ukiyo" is something like "floating world" but that doesn't help to explain much. Ukiyo-e is basically a genre of Japanese art where the artist focused on more naturalistic aspects of the world. Here's where the "floating world" aspect might a little bit of sense. Ukiyo-e artists concenrated on the fleeting beauty of the world and tried best to ignore the responsibility side of life, thus floating illustrates not being tied down to world things. Also, ukiyo-e brought about an art that could be appreciated by the mass, as they were easy to reproduce thus making them affordable. This style of art was not discovered by Westerners until around the 19th century, so Japanese ukiyo-e prints are unique and most importantly- inspirational.

Why I love and acknowledge Hokusai is not merely because his work is breath-taking, but because his work inspired a little group of artists we like to call the Impressionists. So many people don't know this simple fact, but the Impressionists were obsessed with Japanese prints and you can see evidence of Japanese influence in so many works (I will feature one soon just to show you!) Thus Japanese artists influenced Western artists, however the relationship went in both directions. Hokusai adapted Western techniques like perspective and realistic shadows in many of his prints. In fact, without perspective his Thiry-six Views of Mt. Fiji would loose a lot of appeal.

Oh right, I haven't explained the 36 views things. Well The Great Wave of Kanagawa is part of a 36 piece series depicting just what you would think- 36 views of Mt. Fiji. If you look at all of them you see how clever Hokusai was. I mean he traveled all around this mountain and with his artistic mind came up with over 36 ways to see the mountain in all it's beauty. Oh yeah, it's called Thirty Six Views of Mt. Fiji, but there are actually 46, guess he couldn't stop.

Okay like Warhol, Hokusai just has to be featured more because I still have a ton I could say about him. Nevertheless, Hokusai is just beautiful. There is such an appeal to Japanese art. I mean how many people do you know that has some type of Japanese related thing tattooed on them? Shoot, I have cherry blossoms on my back in a very Hokusai-ish style. To put it simply, Japanese art is just unavoidably beautiful just as...

Hokusai is undeniably appealing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A letter of apology.

Dear Blog,

I desperately want to write in you and have wanted to for the past few days, but I have been so tired and busy I just didn't have time to give you a good entry. I sincerly apologize but I will tell you what I have in store for you this week....

I know you are excited, so am I. I promise I will visit you tomorrow.

Miss you bunches,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Andy Warhol was just plain ironic.

Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol, 1967

All right people, today is the day! Today is the day Andy Warhol is finally given the glorious light he deserves. I am BIG Warhol fan but, not for the traditional reasons. Sure, his art is pretty cool, different, unlike his time, the whole bit- BUT, the reason I love him perhaps comes from my brief encounter with being a Psychology major. Warhol is insane, seriously insane- but THAT my friends is the beauty of good 'ol Andy, and THAT is just why I love him!

There are so many Andy works to choose from, but Marilyn conveys my point the best. Let me explain. Andy was literally OBSESSED with celebrities, but the whole idea of his silkscreen stuff was to reproduce the same image over and over until it seems as if he is mocking it. If you see something once, it has meaning, but if you see it like 500 times, not so cool and meaningful anymore (the only exception to this would be Disneyland of course). Andy didn't just like the whole Hollywood scene, he was so insanely fanatical about it that it consumed his every thought. If you look at all his images, I would say like 70% of time it has SOMETHING to do with being famous, money, Hollywood, or status- Andy was just uncontrollably into that.

On top of all that, he was pretty weird guy. Some facts: he had really bad scaring on his face, some say because of acne and some say because he had a disease as a child that caused skin blotchiness- either way he had been preoccupied with appearance ever since he was really young. He wore like an intense amount of face makeup, wigs, and always had sunglasses on. He actually looks a little bit haunting/creepy if you ask me, but I still love him! There’s a book, The Andy Warhol Diaries, that is just this insanely huge collection of entries (seriously, this is a THICK book) with the majority talking about his fixation with Hollywood.

I guess the main point I am trying to make is Andy Warhol was this guy who was so obsessed with celebrities, money, and fame yet in most of his work he basically mocks the whole idea of it. I will definitely have more entries on Warhol because there is some much more I want to say about him, but for now I will leave you with this…

Andy Warhol was just plain ironic.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Though it is an understatement, Caravaggio was marvelous.

Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio
1601-1605/6, Oil on Canvas, 3.69 m x 2.45 m
The Louvre, Paris

First of all, do yourself a favor and click here to see a bigger version, this small little image doesn't do a Caravaggio justice! Caravaggio is really something else. He is most known for his drastic use of lighting and shading, or chiaroscuro if you really want to get technical. Caravaggio was quite the controversy back in his day, he really loved to paint the way HE wanted and not the way the church wanted, so that generally didn't go over so well.

Take Death of the Virgin for example. Death of the Virgin was commissioned by a lawyer for his chapel in Rome, but as soon as the church saw the painting they were outraged! Why would they be appalled by such a beautiful piece you ask? Well for a few reasons. First of all, the model for Mary was a prostitute, and according to some sources- the woman Caravaggio loved. Secondly, Mary is pretty darn holy in the eyes of most religions, giving birth to Christ and all usually puts you in that position. Well Caravaggio painted her like she was just the same as everyone else AND on top of all that, she isn't dying peacefully with cherubs surrounding her, she is clearly dead. Her feet are swollen and her stomach is bloated, clear signs that she was not dying, but already gone. They rejected the painting because her attributes to death were far too realistic for their liking, plus they didn't like that her legs were showing, duh Caravaggio!

Now that I have told you all the reasons this painting was thought to be appalling, let's talk about the obvious amazing qualities. Okay, there is no denying Caravaggio's incredible ability to use lighting to his advantage. The light is directly on Mary, so that is where you eye is immediately drawn. You see a beuatifully depicted peaceful young woman lying in a bed surrounded by magestic deep tones of red. It isn't until the light begins to direct your eye to the people surrounding Mary that you realize she has died. Caravaggio had this insane way of depicting emotions through light. He uses this unknown light source to draw your eye around the canvas to the point where you yourself are filled with emotion.

I can't imagine seeing a Caravaggio in real life. I can stare at his work for hours and just be overcome with emotions. Not only am I in awe of his talent, but I constantly have to remind myself that this piece was denied at first. I mean, someone actually said, "No sorry, this is not acceptable." This blows my mind! Sure, I understand the rejection was due largely in part to the subject matter and the way he chose to depict it, but still- come on, it's breath taking.

If you want to treat yourself today, go and look at some of Caravaggio's work and marvel at his creations.

Though it is an understatement, Caravaggio was marvelous.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Winslow Homer wants us to just smile.

Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer
1872, Oil on Canvas, 22 x 36 in.

First and foremost, who remembers this game? I remember watching people play this, mostly boys, but I was a rather petite little child and playing this game just might have killed me. I avoided dangerous games like dodge ball, so I am sure this was definitely up there on the "No way Jose" list.  This game has been around forever- this and Red Rover are favorite recess games. Just look at the date of this picture, proof that it's been around for at least 100 years. Anyways, I love this picture. Winslow Homer illustrated for Harper's Weekly doing mostly Civil War stuff, but after the war he switched to happier things- like 19th century America, hooray!

Snap the Whip is just so precious. It reminds me of reading Little House on the Prairie during Christmas vacation- just simple and happy times. The little boys have not a care in the world and are just playing a game they love. Homer loved to paint the good 'ol days before the Industrial Revolution. I fear that when I show my kids this picture in many years to come, they will say something like, "You mean these little boys didn't have video games?" I admit, at times it is even hard for me to remember a time without technology, but I do remember dial-up internet- something I am proud of!

All and all, this image is just one of those timeless pieces. From the beautiful detail of the landscape, to the sky that looks like a storm is coming, to the little house in the background, to the little boys cute clothes, and to the little details of the flowers in the grass- this is just plain cute. You can not help but look at this painting and think, "Awww" while smiling. Winslow Homer created a lot of images that evoke a simple smile and THAT is something I can definitely appreciate.

Winslow Homer wants us to just smile.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grant Wood fills you with questions.

American Gothic by Grant Wood
1930, Oil on beaverboard, 74.3 x 62.4 cm

All right, if you tell me you have never seen this picture, or at least a reference to this picture... you either are lying are live in a shoe box. If you just haven't seen it, here's your chance. I present to you..... American Gothic, enjoy as you will never be the same.

Grant Wood seems like a pretty cool guy. He was a Regionalist,  who just concentrated on Midwestern subject matter, Iowa to be exact. Regionalism was a movement in the 1930's and 1940's and was started by a small group of people who wanted to depict rural life and ignore anything influenced by Europe. Now that you know what a Regionalist is, the next stop is figuring out just what the heck is meant by "American Gothic". Though it would be entertaining,  no "American Gothic" is not referring to a bunch of Americans wearing heavy eyeliner and dark clothes, sorry. American Gothic is actually a style of painting, Grant Wood just epitomized this style hence the name of the piece. In a very small nutshell, American Gothic simply refers to a style of American scence painting that is typified by more awkward and gaunt aspects. To put it simply, just take a look at Grant Wood's American Gothic.

The house in the picture is mid-west gothic revival. Notice the little window at the top of the house, it is suppossed to make you think of a pointed arch in a old Gothic cathedral. That pretty much explains the Gothic part. Next, the people! I bet you all are thinking "Man, what is their deal?" Well, many believe that Wood was just showing the rural medwestern people as everyone thought they were. Rigid, strict, plain, and boring. Notice how the woman is looking away, it's because she is a woman. The picture is suppossed to represent a Puritan dad and his daughter, basically just showing Iowa as it is.

A few fun facts. One, the guy who modeled for the picture was Grant Wood's dentist, the lady is Grant Wood's sister. Second, notice how the plants are wilting in the background on the porch? This symbolizes the lack of sexuality, not between the woman and man of course, but in the aspect of the daughter being protected by the father, therefore it's a big no no.

The reason I love this painting so much is not because I see it everywhere, mostly in a form of a paraody, but because it just is so real. Regionalism is cool because the artists were committed to depicting life as it was. No fake smiles, no fake beautiful buildings, and no fake emotions- just life. I also love it because of the expressions on their faces. He is staring directly at you, and it kind of makes you uncomforable. She on the other hand seems to be preoccupied and a bit worried. I always wonder what is on her mind. I LOVE THAT. I love when artists can paint a simple face that fills you with questions. To me, that's good art. Art should inspire and more imporantly art should be questioned.

Grant Wood fills you with questions.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Renior simply promotes the simplicity in life.

The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renior
1881, Oil on canvas, 129.5 x 172.7 cm (51 x 68 in.)
The Phillips Collection, Washington

Oh Renior, everyone loves you. First and foremost, I love Renior because he always paints happy things. Children, puppies, dancing, parties- the whole lot. Secondly, I love Renior because it's fun to say his name. You can't help but feel sophisticated when you say Renior. Say his name with a glass of wine in your hand and you are on the rise to greatness!

The Luncheon of the Boating Party is so charming. There are a few great things to point out. One, everyone is looking at someone else; no two people are making eye contact. What to make of that? For me I look at as a visual metaphor for love. So many people are looking everywhere for love, looking everywhere to find the "one", but no one ever stops and thinks, "Who is looking at me?" The Luncheon of the Boating Party shows this crowd of friends together, though everyone is in their own litte world. It's like a split second of individualism at it's finest- so clever. Second, Renior always paints people he knows and it just so happens that Gustave Caillebotte, the man who painted Paris Street Rainy Day, is sitting in the lower right corner. The lady looking at the dog is Renior's wife, but wasn't when he painted this. This painting is just full of secrets!

The Luncheon of the Boating Party is just typical Renior. Calm, happy, and sincere. What more could you ask for? Look at Renior's work when you want to take a breather from life and rest in the moment.

Renior simply promotes the simplicity in life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Caillebotte captured precise moments flawlessly.

Paris Street Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte
1877, Oil on Canvas, 212.2 x 276.2 cm

So, I am currently stranded inside a Starbucks due to a severe thunderstorm and I thought of this picture. Caillebotte is considered an Impressionist, however tends to be overshadowed by well-known impressionists such as Monet, Cassatt, Degas, and Renior. He is most well-known for his dramatic and exaggerated use of perspective. Notice the building in the back, doesn't it seem a bit exaggerated? True, this isn't realistic and he is a bit off with the essence of the building plunging into depth, however unlike art critics, I love Caillebotte because of his experimentations with perspective.

Paris Street Rainy Day is such a little gem. I mean, doesn't it just give you a good feeling? I also attribute it to Seattle and the beautiful rainy days.  I just love calm rainy days, the days that make you want to curl up next to the fire, get a cup of hot cocoa, and read your favorite book. Caillebotte's depiction is beautifully executed. I love the concept of a "snapshot" of time where everyone is still in time. I especially enjoy the people in the right hand side of the photo. They are quickly glancing to their right, however the viewer is unawre of what they are looking at. One can imagine they are briskly walking and have a destination in mind, they are not merely strolling along on a rainy day in Paris- they have a purpose. Also unqiue, is that the action of rain falling is not incorporated.  The only reason the viewer thinks of rain can be attributed to the umbrellas, wet ground, and title of the piece. Perhaps falling rain was too hard to paint, nevertheless I like the visual aspect of wet ground and umbrellas, it adds to the calmness and tranquility of the work.

It's great to think that this photo captured about one second of time, though the image will last a lifetime. A bit inspiring too. Artists can turn everyday instances into great works of art, merely by choosing them. Makes me want to yell "Pick me, Pick me!"

Caillebotte captured precise moments flawlessly.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michelangelo's life was creation.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangeo
1511-12, Fresco, 480 cm × 230 cm (189.0 in × 90.6 in)

I realized I haven't featured anything earlier than the 1800's, so here were are, in the High Renaissance! I didn't conceptualize the depth of this picture, until I recently studied it. First and foremost, Michelangelo was one of the greatest artistic minds ever. He dominated sculpture and considered it to be his true passion. However when he was asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he agreed. Not many know about the struggle it was to paint it. Not only did Michelangelo have to wrestle with the insane size of the ceiling and height, but the ceiling was curved! On top of all that, Michelangelo wasn't even all that familiar with the fresco painting style. Frankly, he wasn't a fan of any painting style, he was a sculptor! Nevertheless, Michelangelo prevailed!

Even more spectacular is the fact that it only took him about four years to complete the entire ceiling. It has over 300 figures, with as much attention to detail as the image above. Can you imagine reaching upwards for a period of 4 years? Imagine the strain on his joints, neck, and back! What a trooper.

Okay the Creation of Adam has a lot of pretty cool features, so sit back and get ready to be amazed! I will number them for your reading pleasure and convenience. My recommendation is to open a new tab and click "The Creation of Adam," I made it a link directing you to a large version, this will help!

1. Motion directs the entire composition. For example, your eye should first focus on God, the figure on the right. God's outstretched arm directs you to Adam followed by Adam's outstretched arm leading you to the child beneath God's arm. Which leads to...
2. Some believe that the woman beneath God's arm is Eve, though others believe it to be Mary. The child next to the woman is considered by some to be Christ. This leads to...
3. If Michelangelo meant to depict Christ, than the whole right-left-right motion explained in #1 has pretty insane applications- God created Adam, Adam is responsible for the fall of mankind, Christ dies and gives all redemption. Right-Left-Right. Cool right!?!? But you know what is also cool....
4. Besides the whole insanely neat right-left-right motion thing, notice the position God and Adam are in. The concave of Adam's body fits perfectly into the convex of God's body. Michelangelo articulated EVERY detail.

Okay, I hope I began to spark interest in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. These kind of amazing implications can be applied to every stinkin' panel on that HUGE ceiling. Fun? YES! Go ahead, buy yourself a book. You deserve it. Addtionally, I hope I churned the butter in your "Michelangelo is out of this world" pot. Michelangelo truly was one of the great's. He was a master of many mediums, and the type of guy who was not only 100% dedicated to a work, it was his life.

Michelangelo's life was creation.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are effortless.

Wrapped Reichstag by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
1971-75, Silver polypropylene fabric, Berlin

All right, where do I even start with Christo and Jeanne-Claude? Well, they’re mostly known for wrapping things. And not just like Christmas presents, they are more into wrapping say… islands, trees, roman walls, and oh I don’t know…. the REICHSTAG!

At first glace it is easy to think that this is merely just a case of termites and the exterminator has arrived. However, this is the awe-producing splendor of Christo! He, along with is wife Jeanne-Claude, wrap huge things and who would of thought it would create such beauty. A fun fact, he and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same day and supposedly the same hour, how precious. Anyways, Christo is considered an environmental artist as he simply wraps things in their natural environment. His main goal is to be able to take beautiful things and make then seen in another way; this is the majestic quality of Christo! So many artists try and try again to create a painting, or a piece of work that is new, fresh, and innovative, meanwhile Christo and Jeanne-Claude are walking by with their polypropylene fabric in hand thinking, “If they only knew!”

To tie in my earlier post about Annie Leibovitz, remember how I said she creates images that truly describe the person? Take a look at her photograph of Christo….

Christo by Annie Leibovitz

How can you not be a fan of Annie!? She photographed Christo covered not only because of his work, but so that the viewer has to debate whether or not this is really Chrito. Oh Annie!

To sum things up, Christo and Jeanne Claude are not only amazing because of their unique approach to creating art form, but they are simply a breath of fresh air for all those struggling artists out there. Through their work they are advocating simplicity, natural beauty, and tranquility all the while creating astoundment.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are effortless.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Keith Haring wasn't afraid to speak the truth.

Andy Mouse by Keith Haring
1985, Acrylic on Canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Everyone knows who Keith Haring is, or at least you have seen his work. I mean shoot, it comes preloaded on a ton of cell phones these days as backgrounds.  But, Keith Haring is the guy that people should stop and think about once in a while. He was mostly a graffiti artist, though also associated with pop art. Plus, you know he was cool as he was friends with people like Madonna, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. That's like saying in present day that you hang out daily with Beyonce, Damien Hirst, and oh I don't know, Oprah- you're just THAT cool. Besides his social group, Keith was amazing. He was that guy who didn't care what the world thought of him, he didn't care what you thought about his personal choices, and he had a passion to advocate for important causes. He did in 1990, at age 31, from AIDs-related causes. He spent his last years of life raising money for AIDs reasearch and creating a visual language expressing love, hate, drugs, war, and sex.

Andy Mouse isn't a work that isn't a typical Haring work, but as soon as I saw it I fell in love. First of all it combines some of my favorite things; Andy Warhol, Micky Mouse, and Pop art. Haring did several works of Warhol, similar to this one and I think they are so clever. He took two iconic images and combined them into a style of his own- what a genius.

Crack is Wack by Keith Haring
1986, Mural, New York City

This is more typical of Ketih's widely known style. This was a mural he did in NYC and I just love it. It has all of his classic symbols (by the way, if you are interested in symbolic meanings, Haring is great fun to research) and expresses a straight forward message. Keith wasn't afraid to be in your face.

Keith Haring wasn't afraid to speak the truth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Turner's possibilities were endless.

Rain, Steam, and Speed- The Great Western Railway by J.M.W. Turner 
1844, Oil on canvas, 91 x 121.8 cm

I understand that Turner doesn't appeal to many at first. Even I will admit that when I first saw this, I was not impressed with Turner. It seemed to me like a poorly done painting with little attention to detail. A lot of Turner's work has this same blurred look. Some of his paintings are hard to even tell what they are- the name is usually your only clue. But today I was studying early industrialization in my World History book and stumbled upon this image and realized I had been missing the essence to Tuner's work all along.

Industrialization was huge. Of course some hated the idea of industry and favored manual labor, but the majority viewed machinery as magic. When you could master a machine, or invent a new way to do something, you were heroic. My textbook said something like machinery displayed "the triumph of imagination over nature." J.M.W. Turner was an artist who admired this triumph as you can see by his work Rain, Steam, and Speed- The Great American Railway. Those who favored mechanization viewed it as romantic. Let me explain, if you look at the painting it seems as if the locomotive has no end and is zooming at you with no clear lines or definition. Turner was inspired by industrialization and he made the locomotive and railway seem as if it was a part of nature. The clouds and steam become one as the landscape and railway combine elements. This is so beautiful to me. I would love to go back in time and be there during a time when people were discovering new ways to do things left and right. At this time, industry portrayed endless possibilities and I feel that Turner adequately portrays this excitement. One can merely imagine where the locomotive was going or what it carried, it was simply endless. 

Turner's possibilities were endless.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Claes is simply genius.

Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg
Stainless steel and aluminum painted with polyurethane enamel
29 ft. 6 in. x 51 ft. 6 in. x 13 ft. 6 in. (9 x 15.7 x 4.1 m)
Commissioned in February 1985, installed in May 1988 
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

First of all, where have I been? Oh around, but I just started a new job that leaves me tired and without words to explain art.

Claes Oldenburg is really friggin' cool. He creates these insane giant sculptures of things that normally wouldn't be huge giant sculptures. Take Spoonbridge and Cherry for example. To some, this might just be plain stupid, who would put such a strange thing in a scultpure garden and call it art!? But to the rest of us, when we see this image we are filled with joyous emotions. First of all, it reminds us of ice cream, which brings about careless and simplier times. Second of all, it's just plain cool. Claes does things that we think would be a good idea, but would have no idea how to do it or where to put it. You can't say much about Oldenburg's work, other than there are just no reasons NOT to love it. He is a man with a child's heart who just wants to make things BIG and there is no harm in that. I challenge you to think of something ridiculous as a sculpture, then google Claes Oldenburg and tell me he didn't top your idea.

Claes is simply genius. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Dove of Peace passionatly urges you to break through.

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso

Just for the record, you can expect to see a lot more work by the artist's I put up during this first week, because they are all my favorites. Not many can deny Pablo Picasso's extreme contributions to the art world. I mean if you don't like his style of work from one decade, you are bound to fall in love with a style from another. His artwork went through cohesive progressions and when you study him extensively you start weave his life together through his work. This is one of the reasons I love him so much, Picasso provides a story not only through his work, but he created art for so long that it is so interesting going through his styles of progression and visualize his life.

The Dove of Peace is iconic and Picasso did numerous sketches, however it is this version that is my favorite. I love this piece so much that I have it tattooed on my body, but that is besides the point. I love all Picasso sketches, heck I love all artist's sketches. There is something so intriguing about an artists having hundreds and hundreds of different sketches of the same piece. Picasso began painting the dove as a call for restoration, a call for hope, and most importantly a call for peace. The dove has always been a symbol of peace, dating back to biblical times, however it was Picasso that presented this symbol at a time the world needed it most. Picasso's only form of expression was through his art and this dove enabled Picasso to make a statement.

Too many times we get caught up in life and forget about what's important. We get caught up in politics and find ourseleves debating the President's decisions more than debating why there are so much suffering in the world. Picasso didn't just paint this dove as something beautiful to look at, he painted it as a call to action. A call to stop and look at the world around you and not only notice unrest, but begin to visualize change. Peace is just around the corner, though at times we all stop a few steps before it- hesitant to break through.

The Dove of Peace passionatly urges you to break through.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Annie reflects the soul.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono by Annie Leibovitz
30.50 x 31.00 cm

This picture sincerely takes my breath away as it is a breath of fresh air- if that makes any sense. First and foremost, Annie Leibovitz is my all time favorite photographer. Looking at her work is as addicting as watching videos on YouTube; once I start I have to force myself to stop.What I love most about her, is her dedication to producing a honest photo. She doesn't simply talk on the phone with the person she is going to be shooting (no, not with a gun, though ironic for this post- I will tell you why in a second) and then go to their house and begin taking pictures, she gets to know the individual on a more personal level. I once read that before a shoot, Annie will research the person for weeks and reallly get to know who they truly are before she agrees to the photo shoot.

Her dedication pays off time and time again, take for example John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I know this picture is shocking and to some even offensive, but it's important to understand the beauty of it. John and Yoko's love was unmistakably passionate and Annie wanted to capture this. By putting John in a type of position reminiscent of being in a womb, she portrayed John's passion and deep connection with Yoko. I believe all can on some level relate with the passion and intimacy of this photo, though I admit it wasn't until after I fell in love with my husband that I began to truly grasp the affection and emotion portrayed in this image.

I belive this picture would be famous regardless of the simple fact that it was last picture taken of John Lennon. Just four hours after Annie captured this shot of intimacy and honesty, John Lennon was shot and killed. This image served as the cover of The Rolling Stones tribute issue to the awe-inspiring John Lennon.

Annie captures moments that we see in our dreams. Annie captures emotions that we cannot express verbally. Annie reflects the soul.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Find hope in Christina's World.

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth
1948- Tempera on gessoed panel
81.9 cm × 121.3 cm (32¼ in × 47¾ in)

I am a big Wyeth family fan.  I admire all the work that family has produced, however it is Andrew Wyeth that holds a special place in my heart.

Christina's World leaves me speechless. Think for a moment. What do you see when you look at this picture? What emotions does it make you feel? When I first started my passion for art, it took a while for me to break my habit of seeing a painting, reading the name, reading a small description, and moving on. But, I want this blog to enable people to see art in another way. To change their perspectives and truly dig beneath the surface.

To me, this painting can be summed up into one word: inspiration. Christina Olson, the woman depicted in the painting, was Wyeth's close friend and neighbor. She had polio and by age 26, she could barely walk. Her disability however never hindered her, she was a strong willed woman, perhaps you can tell by this picture. As Christina lies in a field with her house in view, one can only imagine her emotions. With her mangled limbs and fragile stature, Wyeth depicts Christina as determined not weak. Everytime I see this picture I remember Christina Olson. When life gets hard, I look at Christina's World  and reflect on a woman of courage, strength, and determination. That's what Wyeth wanted, that's who Christina was, and that's who I will strive to be.

Find hope in Christina's World.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alas, Inadvertently Art is here.

I am just a girl who has a passion for art history. I put a piece of art up every day, sometimes it is well known, sometimes it isn't, but most of the time it's inadvertently art.

I will choose pieces of art that  inspire me, pieces that motivate me, pieces that require attention. 

I hope that through this daily blog, others can find the time each day to see a piece of art and be inspired.

I want this to be a breath of fresh air in your busy day, as I know it will be in mine.

Posting will begin tomorrow.