Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Central Park has a beautiful purpose.

Central Park by Frederick Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux
New York City, USA, 1857-1887

Though I have never been there, Central Park has always fascinated me. It was designed by these two landscape architects and has become one of the most prized possessions of NYC. It really is pretty amazing for more than just visual appeal; Central Park has a purpose. 

With the rise of skyscrapers and big cities came a major shift in design and concern. People finally started to think, "Hey, we should probably try and save some of our natural environment," and began to incorporate our environment into our urbanized world. Central Park was planned with the desire to keep a part of nature in big city Manhattan. Though big cities are appealing the crammed space and polluted air isn't. 

Now, some people might be thinking why I am writing about a park in my art blog. Well, nature is most definitely art and landscape architects are most definitely artists. Landscape architects have to try and figure out how to keep our natural environment while making it better suited for human use. When you think about it, that's pretty dang hard. Not only do they have to figure the best way to incorporate nature, but nature affects presentation. So landscape architects not only have to think about where they will create, but what will surround their creation. That's a lot to consider! 

Central Park is just a beautiful creation. It is this 2.5 miles long and about a half mile wide park filled with a ton to do. You can go to a musuem, a theater, the zoo, the lake, the pool, the rink, many monuments, or you can even walk along several trails and gardens. Each tree, each flower, and each pathway has a purpose: to keep natural beauty in our big city world and THIS is art at it's finest my friends.

Central Park has a beautiful purpose.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Norman Rockwell's work is always full of purpose.

Portrait of John F. Kennedy by Norman Rockwell
On the October 29th, 1960 and December 14th, 1963 issue of 
The Saturday Evening Post

Oh Norman, I just love you. Norman Rockwell is like The Beatles in a lot of ways, every time I listen to the Beatles I find another song that I have to put in my top ten favorites. Well, every time I look through Norman Rockwell's work I find yet another one of my favorites. I must have like a top twenty in Norman Rockwell's, but this portrait of John F. Kennedy definitely makes the cut. 

All right, I admit it. I am really obsessed with John F. Kennedy, actually the entire Kennedy legacy,  but I love Norman's portrait of him more than the official presidential painting of him (the one where he's looking down). As I have stated before, Norman Rockwell illustrated for The Saturday Evening Post and this was the only image that ever graced the cover twice, once right before the election and once for the tribute issue right after Kennedy was assassinated.

The only way to adequately describe why I love this work of art so much is so explain my love for John F. Kennedy. From the moment Kennedy was elected monumental change swept through the White House. From the interior design of the White House to political policy, Kennedy was behind a great deal of change. For being the youngest president in history, his brief presidency is something that inspires me daily.

Now, look at the portrait of him. What do you see? I see a man with confidence, determination, and hope. His expression is flawless and his poise is impossible to ignore. This is why I love it. Presidential portraits are difficult, but as always Norman was able to create a piece that was effortless and full of purpose.

Norman Rockwell's work is always full of purpose.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Giacometti encourages positivty.

L'Homme qui marche I (Walking Man I) by Alberto Giacometti
1960, Bronze, 180.5 x 23.9 x 97 cm

People are going Giacometti nuts today, so I thought I'd address the insanity. Basically, the sculpture above sold for $104.3 Million last night in London at Sotheby's; meaning Walking Man I is now the world's most expensive piece ever sold at an auction. Honestly it doesn't surprise me much that it is was a Giacometti that broke the record because well, it's Giacometti! In the world of art (and the world in general) he is a pretty big deal. In fact, there are plenty of leather bound books written about him. 

So just who is this guy? Well Alberto Giacommetti was a Swiss man who created a whole lot of art, but his sculptures are what remain the most famous. As you might imagine his work is analyzed a lot and a bunch of people have different interpretations (like always). He had a strange style and through the years his figures just got longer and thinner, almost as if Giacometti was merely trying to see how much he could stretch the sculptures out. 

I have to admit that one reason why I love Giacometti is because his name is just so dang cool to say out loud. It just rolls off the tongue beautifully. However, the main reason I love Giacometti is the message I feel his sculptures portray. These figures are shown with the idea of motion, but their feet are rooted to the ground. While one might see this as portraying stagnation or isolation, I like to view it as completely opposite. Notice how the figure is standing straight and tall, with it's head held up? Well, this is the beauty of Walking Man. While the figures feet may be grounded, it's head it upright and it is confidently looking toward the future. To me Walking Man says: No matter how hard things get and how many people try to bring you down, you must always stand up confidently and continue onward. It's the positive messages that I love most in art. There's just something special about seeing a positive message over hearing something say something like, "You can do it!"

Giacometti encourages positivty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Siqueiros creates art that can not be overlooked.

The Echo of a Scream by David Alfaro Siqueiros
1937, enamel on wood, 121.9 x 91.4 cm

I promise I didn't do this on purpose, but both today and yesterday's image are responses to the Spanish Civil War. I am not trying to make this "Spanish Civil War week," it just happened to coincidentally happen.

Siqueiros was as interested in creating art as he was in creating bold and moving political statements. A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, Siqueiros created numerous politically charged murals, however it is his The Echo of a Scream that hits me the most. Much like Picasso was outraged with the deaths of the innocent civilians of the Spanish Civil War, Siqueiros took his anger and created a piece that was both visually moving and visually disturbing. He chose to take the most innocent of all, a baby, and amplify the pain and horror of the war through the child's innocent scream of anguish. The child sits in a pile of debris, all of what is left of his world, and is alone, helpless, and in pain. Why did Siqueiros paint the larger head? Well, it symbolizes the lost lives and pain of all the victimss we don't see.

I know this isn't the happiest of posts, but there really is no other way to explain The Echo of a Sceam. If it wasn't the artist's main intention I would haved ignored the sad aspect, but that's the point.... I just can't. That's what Siqueiros wanted to do; he wanted to create a piece that was so visually distrubing it was impossible to ignore. Picasso chose to make a piece charged with symbolism so that the strange imagery would intice the viewers to read more into the piece, only then learning about the horror of the Spanish Civil War. Siqueiros chose to paint a piece that bluntly showed you the atrocities of the war. This is often how Siqueiros creates. His works are in your face, to the point, and in the process they are impossible to ignore.

Siqueiros creates art that can not be overlooked.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guernica is our reminder to continually strive for peace.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso
1937, oil on canvas, 137.4 in × 305.5 in

Okay, so I am pretty sure this is one of those paintings that everyone has seen. See, I don't remember the "common" art pieces because after studying them all so much I forget which are the more common that everyone knows and which aren't. Nevertheless, Guernica is something everyone should know, or at least be familiar with. To sum up the story behind the piece, it was painted after the city of Guernica was bombed by warplanes during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso was commissioned to do this mural and after much deliberation and contemplation, he created this amazing piece. 

There's a few things I love about this piece. One, it brought about world-recognition for the Spanish Civil War, and more importantly, for the hardships of war. Two, it's filled with symbolism, which is always interesting and three, it's visually moving.

You know, I have been wanting to do a post on Guernica forever. It's just one of those pieces you HAVE to talk about every so often, but after starting this post I realized that the immense amount of symbolism in the piece isn't something I want to focus on (and if I did this post would be way too long). What I find so moving about Guernica is what happened after the work was created. Guernica was displaued in Paris at the World's Fair right after it was painted and it brought about this immense acknowledgement of the Spanish Civil War. Too many people often neglect the tradgedies of war and forget that others are suffering. Picasso painted this out of his anger and rage with so many innocent people dying, but little did he know that through his anger and hurt the mural he created would become an internationally known manifistation of peace. It was through the pain, the suffering, and the sadness that others would see Guernica and reflect on war. Reflect in a way that served as a reminder for the continual fight for peace, a fight that should and always will be never-ending.

Guernica is our reminder to continually strive for peace.