Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Discussion 10: Political Art

In week 10 we looked at political art. Most of the artists we looked at came from or live in first world countries, so a lot of the issues they address just feel lost on me. However we did look at Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. I have heard of him before through stories on NPR and whatnot, however I never really looked at a lot of his art in great detail. I really enjoyed his Sunflower Seed installation piece. It consisted of hundreds of thousands of glass pieces shaped and painted to look like sunflower seeds. These faux-seeds are then scattered across the floor where viewers can observe and even walk on them. It really draws on the idea of the individual vs. the collective. Weiwei is constantly under scrutiny from the Chinese government as well and has been arrested multiple times (for his art). So basically of all the artists in the discussion, Weiwei really came across as the only artist that is actually being oppressed.

I am personally not into political art. There is something incredibly self-righteous about it to me. I try not to think or talk about politics mostly because it aggravates me. And it's not just the politicians. It's the people who blindly support any politician like they are the second coming of Christ. Anyway, here is my piece of political art doodling.

Darkseid is a fictional DC comic character created by the great Jack Kirby. Basically he is an interdimensional being who's motivation is to destroy life by solving the anti-life equation. So Darkseid and the Anti-life equation 2012!


Discussion 8: Collage

In week 8 we looked at Collage art. We looked at artists such as David Hockney and Larry Carlson. I was already familiar with David Hockney's photo collages. He did the album cover for the Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food. His collages are made up of many small polaroid shots that are then stitched together to create his final image. Below is an example.

However I have always been more partial to his pool photo collages. (Below)

Larry Carlson's collages were more traditional in that he took a lot of imagery from text books and magazines and such. His collages really remind me a lot of landscape painting, and the idea of the sublime and recognizing how small you are in the face of god's majestic creation. Except I feel that he takes a more modern approach to this by taking god out of the equation and shifting the focus on the forces that have come to create and dictate how our world works. Also it's really psychedelic which is cool too.

I have done some collage before (a lot of which you can see in past posts on this blog--or even if you look at my cover image at the top). I did one recently for this class so I can have something to post that goes along with the discussion.

I really only like the top half of it most though.


Discussion 7: Performance Art

So this week we discussed performance art which for me, is either hilarious (if I don't take it seriously) or incredibly pretentious (if I do take it seriously). We looked at artists such as Chris Burden, and Janine Antonini. Chris Burden had a performance piece which he called Shoot which would be right at home with the MTV Jackass gang. Basically Burden invited people to watch him get shot in the arm by a guy with a rifle. Shocking. But kind of funny I think.

Janine Antonini is a performance artist that falls on the other end of my spectrum. Her Lick & Lather performance included two busts of herself: one made of chocolate and one made of soap. She washed herself with the soap and nourished herself with the chocolate. Of course as she did this her image on the bust was slowly faded and disfigured until unrecognizable as her.

I personally do not gravitate to performance artwork. However through interacting with certain people (when I'm feeling ballsy of course) I will sometimes try to mess with them. For example, whenever I am asked for change by a random person on the street, I always turn it around on them by asking for a cigarette. It totally changes the entire situation and puts them on the receiving end for that moment. More often then not they'll just say no then leave you alone, but you never know. You might get a free cigarette. I have no real proof of me doing this and I doubt this counts as performance, but it is what it is I suppose.


Discussion 6: Fiber

In week 6 we looked at artists that use fibrous materials to create art with techniques like sewing and crocheting. The artist I enjoyed most in this discussion Anna Von Mertens. From a distance, a lot of her sewn pieces resemble field paintings and the "zip" paintings of Barnett Newman (see his painting Vir heroicus sublimins). However when looking at the detail, there is incredible line work sewn into these fields that take on the energy of a de Kooning. Violent and flowing in every direction. A lot of her work seems to deal with destruction and creation such as her pieces Tank Shrapnel and Black and White.

Above is Tank Shrapnel

I personally have not dealt a lot with sewing and fibrous materials. However there was this one time I had my grandmother teach me how to make a quilt. We did it one step at a time, and she explained everything and had me do all the cutting and sewing, and finally the quilting. It was quite an experience and for my first quilt, it came out pretty darn good.

There's a picture of what the overall pattern is. It basically repeats like that two more times in the upwards direction. And yes, the fabric does have a cat pattern on it.

And here is a detail of my actual quilting work (which is the thread that binds all of the material together). And a close up of the kitty-cats.