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ARH 301 Flaherty - Test 1 Study Guide

by: Samir Riad

ARH 301 Flaherty - Test 1 Study Guide ARH 301

Marketplace > University of Texas at Austin > Art and Art History > ARH 301 > ARH 301 Flaherty Test 1 Study Guide
Samir Riad

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These notes have been proof-read by Professor Flaherty and provides everything you need to know for the test.
Introduction to Visual Arts
George F Flaherty
Study Guide
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Samir Riad on Thursday August 25, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ARH 301 at University of Texas at Austin taught by George F Flaherty in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Visual Arts in Art and Art History at University of Texas at Austin.

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Date Created: 08/25/16
Artistic Agitations – the Relationship between Art and Activism - An artist is someone who expresses himself, does something to get a reaction out of an audience, an entertainer, someone who creates, someone who makes imagination become manifestation - An activist is someone who’s motivated by a cause or belief and tries to affect change by taking an active role in making people aware of a situation that needs that change. - Activist art is art that brings attention to the need for social change, to problems we didn’t notice before because of their large scale and elusiveness. Tania Brugeura: - Cuban artist that explored issues of body, power and control, and the promises and failings of both the Cuban Revolution and American society. Cuba’s government is repressive, stifles freedom of speech and protest. - Tatlin’s Whisper #6: o A podium is set up with a mic to let anyone speak for one minute. A white dove is placed on the shoulder. This alludes to the white dove Fidel Castro’s shoulder when he gave the speech that sealed the triumph of the Cuban revolution. Therefore, the dove represents that the speaker is speaking to the nation, and that the speaker has enough power to counter Castro: both peace and revolution. o Two moderators wearing uniforms escort you or even shove you when you’re done. Both this and the one minute limit represent the Cuban government stifling free speech. o People are influencing and inspiring each other + the media coverage reaches many viewers = greater push for change and art being dispersed. o Cameras and press discourage government intervention o Camera position allows us to see the press and audience. This is a human view that shows there’s no false image o The title references Vladimir Tatlin, a constructivist artist in Russia who wanted to fuse art and politics. Constructivism is the rejection of the idea that art is autonomous; it’s a part of society. - Tatlin’s Whisper #5: o Two police officers on horseback control a crowd who is viewing art in a museum. Alludes to mounted police in the 90s and represents government control. This lively art instills feelings of discomfort and subjection toward power in the audience. - Interview: o She is defined as a counterrevolutionary. But she thinks she is trying to implement the Revolution by demanding that Cuba lives up to its promise that it can survive by understanding each other. The government is counterrevolutionary because it wants everything to stay the same. o It’s hard to criticize Cuba without being characterized as completely revolutionary or counterrevolutionary. Questioning one aspect of the Revolution means condemning all of it. o People are afraid to speak out so they censor themselves and young people are leaving Cuba. Ai Wei Wei: - Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn: he drops an artifact and breaks it. It is done in protest and rejects cherished beliefs. - Coca-Cola Vase: he painting a Coca-Cola logo on a Han Dynasty vase. This represents globalization and the influence of American products in China, taking over China’s original culture. - He is drawing attention to the unnoticed destruction that is occurring throughout China due to modernization; thus his art is destructive. This encourages us to think about the destructive tendency of industrialization and the exploitation of natural resources. - He says that Beijing isn’t designed to consider the lives of ordinary people, so they don’t feel like a part of the large cities. Construction isolates neighborhoods. You are under one party’s control Villages get torn down without public input to make room for skyscrapers. - Flipped off Tiananmen Square and the White House. - Straight: after a 2008 earthquake that collapsed schools, Weiwei made this out of the failed rebar to show every individual is important and not just a number, they must be remembered. - Sunflower Seeds Piece: o Each piece is individually painted = symbolizes each individual is unique and shouldn’t be categorized as one being with one need, which is what the Chinese government is doing. o Evokes the Cultural Revolution when the Chinese people were said to be sunflowers turning towards Mao, the sun. - Jed Perl: o Although his art is about China, his most responsive audience is in the West, because his art is modernist and modernism hasn’t taken a hold in China yet, but it has in the West. o His art has too much elements of spectacle. He doesn’t care that a work of art must be realized in a particular medium. His means to create art are purely instrumental, just a way to get an end. They don’t push against limits. In this way, Weiwei fails to meet the challenges of art. o Perl still respect’s Weiwei’s courage to stand up to the Chinese government, and thinks he works better as a designer. Steinberg (Reading): - Academic art is art that is widely accepted by artists. Avant-guarde art is art that is revolutionary, that has an unfamiliar style, that pushes against the current notions of art. This art will is denounced by artists because they feel insulted, betrayed, left out. But in several years, this art will become accepted and will become academic art. - The plight of the public is a role played by all people including artists. The plight is feeling shock and anger at seeing an unfamiliar art. - Liking new art is sacrificing your own ideals. Contemporary art invites us to applaud the destruction of values we cherish. The result of contemporary art is self analysis. Body Ana Mendieta: - Was sent to a refugee camp as a child from Cuba. “The Lost Apple” is a documentary on these camps. - Used self portraiture as a genre to convey messages about identity and show emotions in an honest light. She’s being brave because she is exposing herself and making herself recognizable. Portraiture use to be used to attest to lineage/wealth/status. - By using her body in her art, she leaves herself open to criticism, but that criticism won’t affect her sin since, by expressing herself in art so boldly, she has become completely comfortable with who she is. - Facial Hair Transplants: She put a man’s facial hair on herself and took pictures. Challenges gender stereotypes. Represents transforming yourself but still being recognizable - Glass on Body Imprints: she presses her face and body against a glass panel to disfigure it and take pictures. Renders them unrecognizable. She is using her body as media. Questions gender stereotypes and the notion of being “looked at”. Are men and women looked at each other the same way? - Blood Sign #2: she puts the blood of an animal on her hands and drags her wrists down a wall. Has several potential meanings like suffering or connection. The blood leaves a mark. Blood elicits a reaction - Silhouettes: o She leaves traces of her body on the earth via rocks, fire, snow, mud, etc. o May show how our idea of the female body is engrained in us but can still change since the silhouette isn’t permanent since it’s exposed to the weather. o What she says: she was torn from her home in Cuba as a child. She feels cast from the womb (nature). Her art is a dialogue between the female body and nature that reestablishes her bonds to the universe. Her sculptures allow her to reassert her ties with the earth. Martha Rosler: made Semiotics of the Kitchen where she names each tool in alphabetical order in a monotone voice. Depicts the gender stereotype and shows it removes any kind of respect from women who have to be babied about their role in the kitchen. The disconnect between her monotone voice and her exaggerated actions suggest frustration, anger. Cindy Sherman: - Made “film stills” aka old school black and white photos. A film still was a photograph that teased a film. Sherman calls her photos film stills because they tell a story, also appropriates the visual elements of genres like noirs. - Cindy dresses up as a variety of women, some showing cliché gender roles and appropriation, and some showing better (ex: businesswoman). Even the housewife has a powerful gaze looking at something = gives some power back to housewives. Digital Photography: the Selfie Era - Photography was at first associated with science and pseudo-science. Pictures of humans were taken to study and even categorize and control (Nazis looked at difference between Aryan and jewish skulls). Because of photography’s close ties to science there was debate about if it could be an art. - Two art movements in photography: o Pictorialism: said that photos are artistic when they are similar to paintings. o Modernism: explored photography as just photography. Interest was in form. For example, the human body might be educed to shape, light, and shadow. - Snapshot culture exploded after WW2 and most middle class families started getting camera.s This was the rise of amateur/popular photography. Pictures were taken of everyday lives instead of special events, causing the scope of photography to expand and the hierarchy between artists and amateurs to shrink since artists might employ amateur tactics. This was a democratization of photography. - Diane Arbus: took photos of people in their natural habitats. This shows us the worlds we didn’t know before - Robert Frank: travelled all over the US taking photos that show not everyone is prospering from the prosperity and joy of the late 50s, there a lot of poor people. Images of boredom, emptiness. In black and white. - Larry Clark: made the photobook Tulsa. He went to Tulsa and photographed poor people, people taking heroin, etc. Closeness to everyday life. This showed a side of America not shown in magazines or literature, therefore it expands the definition of America via photography. Nan Goldin: - Took hundreds of photos of her family and friends and everyday life without much thought of setting, frame, and other technical stuff. She normalized the use of a camera by using it so often, causing her friends to not get self conscious when being photographed. In this way, Goldin got to show life for what it is. - Photographic act: an expanded act that includes whatever’s happening for the subject, the interaction between subject and photographer, and interaction between viewer and photograph. - The Ballad of Sexual Dependency: o Is a slideshow presentation of an archive of photos shown with music that shows human relations, love, sex, loss, drugs, violence, disease, etc. The varied music serves as narration that affects the theme of the photos. o A ballad is a poem or song that tells a story. They are usually of unknown authorship, instead being passed on orally from one generation to the next as part of folk culture. o The title references Brecht’s Treepenny Opera. Brecht was a music producer interested in detaching the audience. For example, he would say “hello audience” and turn on lights very brightly. Goldin does the same thing by making her photos push you out and prevent you from being lost in the subject matter, causing you to view the photos AS photos. o Goldin’s photos blurred the boundaries between art and common life. Because the subjects are not acting and are being natural, the photos have a sense of intimacy. But she can be criticized as exploiting her friends and showing personal things about them that shouldn’t be shown. Tension between intimacy and exposure. Goldin responds to critics by saying her art is a manifestation of her love for her family and friends. o This art shows we live in many cultures. Culture is about identity and a sense of community/having similar aspects with others that create a bond. o Goldwin uses saturated color to create an emotional or psychological effect, and uses flash to put light on the subject and highlight shadows, thereby emphasizing the small size of some settings. o Goldwin: this art is her diary that she allows people to read. It is a form of control over her life, allowing her to record and remember every detail. These pictures come out of relationships, not observation. Susan Sontag, On Photography - Compares photography to Plato’s cave. Plato’s cave is where people are trapped and have never seen the real world, so they think shadows are the real world. But those shadows are just illusions, just like photos according to Sontag. However, the relationship between photos and reality is different than what Plato says because photography enlarges our notion of what we have the right to observe – it enlarges the cave - Art is interpretation while photos are reality, unless they are altered. - Photos are different than painting because photos can capture much larger numbers of subjects. A painter has to improve reality via self-imposition while the photographer has to prove that nature offers perfect compositions everywhere. - Photos have become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, suggest time conists of interesting events worth photographing. Photos give those events a kind of immortality. Photos freeze time. - When an ugly thing is photographed, it becomes beautiful since it was deemed worthy of being photographed. In this way, photos create the beautiful and photographers can challenge existing notions of beauty. However, when beautiful things are photographed for so long, they eventually become forgotten. This happened to nature. - Photos can’t create a moral/political position but they can reinforce one. But the more photos you see of shocking things, the more desensitized you become, and we just say that injustice is inevitable. - Photos have brought a new notion of information: reality consists of small, disconnected units; the world is a series of unrelated particles. - Edited photos falsifies reality. The history of photos is beautification vs truth telling. Photos have increased the value of appearances and have changed our notion of reality by making us view things through the lens of photos. - The “heroism of vision” is displaying a certain unique, avid sensibility. The camera delivers a new sense of beauty. - Photography influenced Cubism in painting. It also usurped the painter’s task of providing images that accurately transcribe reality, freeing painting for abstract art. But soon photographers began pursuing abstract images. - Photographic seeing is the practice of dissociative seeing due to differences between how a camera sees and how the human eye sees, is used to shock us and violate our ordinary vision. - The main effect of photography is to convert the world into a department store in which every subject is depreciated into an article of consumption, promoted into an item for aesthetic appreciation. Photos make the entire world available as an object of appraisal. - A photo changes according to the context in which it is seen or through a caption. - We now depend on photos to interpret reality. Realities are understood to be images. A society is considered “modern’ when one if its chief activities is producing and consuming images which become substitutes for firsthand experience and become indispensable to the health of society. And then when they DO experience it for real, they are disappointed since phots subtract the feeling of experiencing something for the first time. - Photography is a way of acquiring or controlling a subject. Example: photographing a planet means rendering something hug and far away into a photo small and close. This depersonalizes our relation to the world . - We think as photos as a material part of ourselves and loved ones. We won’t tear up a photo of a loved one because it symbolizes rejection. - Two attitudes underlie the presumption that anything in the world is worthy of being photographed. First: finding beauty or interest in everything – there is nothing that should not be seen. Second: everything is an object of some present or future use – there is nothing that should not be recorded. Cameras. - Cameras define reality in two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for the masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers). - The final reason for the need to photograph everything lies in the logic of consumption itself. As we make images and consume them, we need more images. Unsatisfied lust because the possibilities of photography are infinite and because the project is self-devouring. Institutions - Museums are social, economic, and political institutions. Are closely tied with the state and have private donors. Museum trustees donate to museums on a regular basis. - First example of institutional critique (detailed analyses of networks of power and systems of represntations) is Hans Haake: Fred Wilson - His art practice is institutional critique: critiquing museums and American/global history the status of Africans, African Americans, and native Indians. - Guarded View: o Four black mannequins wearing security guard uniforms and no faces. Their similarities save a few details dehumanizes black guards by making them all look expendable. o This pieces makes visible several things:  As a guard, you’re on display like everyone else. They are invisible professionally, but Wilson is now making them visible.  Blacks in museum mostly get lowly positions like guards while curators are mostly white, they don’t get a say about the art in the museum. This shows that institutions that display diverse art aren’t really diverse themselves.  You don’t need a PhD, anyone can understand art. - Mining the Museum: o To “mine” he goes into storage and put pieces there on display. Mining = excavating, bringing out, laying claim to. o Inanimate objects speak to us through symbolism, placement, lighting, temperature, color. Etc. o Maryland:  He displays three pedestals with no busts on them for famous abolitionist Marylanders, displays three pedestals with busts on them for famous white leaders not from Maryland, and in the middle is a globe with “truth” written on it.  A bust shows the person depicted has power, prestige  The placement of the six pedestals divided into two groups represents division between races.  Pedestals without busts indicate loss and erasure from history  The globe is just a trophy.  Shows that history is just a spectacle written by those with the most power. It is hard to get the real history since there are little to no records about it. The globe shows that this is true in all of the world You can’t tell the history of black Marylanders if it’s not written. o Fancy chairs are arranged to face a whipping post. Represents the publicized torture of slaves that anyone could watch. The chairs are diverse and from different time periods, showing how long slavery lasted. And the fact that you sit on them further shows no one is doing anything to stop this o Paintings: Wilson shows paintings whose subjects are white masters and slaves are at the borders. HE is playing with centrality to represent marginality. The blacks aren’t the subjects, but they aren’t invisible either; they haunt the works o Metalwork: shows fancy silverware surrounding shackles. Uses juxtaposition to show that the success of the US and Britain was built on the back of slaves. You wouldn’t have the silverware without the shackle. But we mostly see the silverware = we forget about the contributions of slaves. o Statues of Indians used to advertise cigars being sold in the show they’re in front of is appropriation (using another person’s culture to your benefit in a way that is disrespectful to them) of their culture. Wilson placed these statues to face a wall. o Wilson placed art outside of a museum; locations can create a new meaning for art. He shows us an alternate way of envisioning history or reality o Speak of Me as I Am: he arranges blacakmoors throughout the museum. They are “beautiful” objects depicting Africans in servitude. This shows how widespread slavery was and shows how cultures are related (blackamoors carrying sculptures of white faces) - Jennifer Gonzalez: o Wilson’s art interrogates relations of power by examining the politics of display and an ongoing reevaluation of the role of the museum as place where curators and audiences participate. He recognized that museums have been historically structured around colonial and imperial relations. o Museums are institutions that produce ideologies of cultural containment, cultural hierarchy, and cultural legitimacy. The power of patriarchy and race discourse operates through social institutions such as museums. o Museums combine material, visual, and linguistic registers into “totalities” that are labelled as culture/race/art. These “totalities” create conditions of subjection for the audience, offering partial narratives that repress other possible stories. o Wilson reminds us that museums stage an account of “civilizations” by positioning viewers as either insiders or outsiders in a spatial and cultural ritual. Appropriation


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