The History of Art

Art Moves Us

I invite you, no I encourage you to engage in Heather’s inquiry into how art moves us. Heather is chronically her intense learning journey with words and images (many of them hand drawn and painted)  on her blog.

Here are some of the questions she is unpacking:

What causes Art to Touch us?

How does it move us…or seem to move right through us?

Why do we have physical reactions to art?

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Speaking of Cubism…

As I was working on my art journal I came upon something that caught my attention and peeked my interest.  The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau stood out to me because it was stated that it is post-impressionistic.  Now, granted my idea of post-impressionism was/is not perfectly on target, I did not see how it could be considered to be post-impressionistic when it looked so cubist.  It’s lines were smooth and it’s brush strokes were nearly invisible. It had that not quite 3D yet not quite 2D quality to it that makes cubist paintings so unique. I remember when this painting came up in class and I thought, “I like this painting but there is something off about it that I definitely don’t like. It looks too cubist.” Well at the time I didn’t take any measures to find anything else about the painting but when I ran across it again I decided that I needed to get to the bottom of this painting and it’s “miss-named style.” Well the answer was not hard to discover, fortunately. After some Googling I discovered that cubism was the next large artistic movement to follow post-impressionism.  And as Henri Rousseau painted more toward the end of the post-impressionistic movement and close to the beginning of the cubist movement it makes sense that he would straddle the line between them in his work.

It was interesting for me to make this discovery because it made me feel better about my ability to recognize different styles of art. I know that we didn’t focus on the technical memorization part of History of Art or the “what makes this, this” part either, but the way that we did study, the way that we were able to research as we ourselves saw fit helped me to hone my art recognizing abilities and my want to discover the who, when, and why of various pieces of art. Thanks!!

C. L. Baker

At the beginning of this course our instructor told us to come up with a question having to do with art, something we have always wondered or something that pops into our head inspired by something in class. Well, to be quite honest, I just didn’t have any questions. Nothing I felt would make a good blog post or even just a good discussion in class.  It’s not that I don’t question things, we obviously know that, it’s just that with so many million other things going through my mind I never really took the time to look more deeply into the art and styles that we were being presented.  Yes, I can admit it that I didn’t put nearly as much effort into Art History III as I did in my other classes, and I was pretty shoddy at doing and turning in the homework on time.  I would leave the class, completely exhausted by the end of the school day, dreading the fact that I had to go to work directly after that class, and the fact that we even had homework would just fly out of my mind like the bug that gets caught behind the window glass in your car and darts out as soon as the window is rolled down. I had a truly great time in this class and the tense discussions we would have were quite fun for all their (at times) senselessness: ie. objective vs. subjective. I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed.  Not in the class; in myself. I made the same mistake that I made my freshman year by letting one or a few simple things get in my way of making a full effort and for that I will suffer greatly. I wanted to excel in this class and only ended up failing miserably. Save for the people at Prezi(rawr), I am entirely the one to blame, as always. It’s a difficult and almost (for me) impossible truth for me to recognize, but I will stand up and face it and whatever consequences may come from it.

So with that comes my question for the class, inspired by my own epic fail: Why don’t I like cubism? At the conclusion of this class I was met with this question as I researched Pablo Picasso, a cubist of whom I am a fan. I looked closely at his Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and felt that as I was drawn to the painting for it’s raw quality, I was also inadvertently repelled from it by the simple fact that it was cubism.  I asked myself why.  It’s colors were striking, it’s figures were beautifully grotesque, and the symbolism was perfectly laid before the viewer to see and interpret as they would. I knew that I loved the painting. And hated it. The longer I stared the more real the answer became. I was not happy as I gazed on that masterpiece because I didn’t want to be looking at it at the time.  It made me realize and see the hole I had dug for myself and just how deeply I had fallen down into it.  I realized that I didn’t like cubism because it worked liked my mind. It worked like the part of my mind that I always, always try in vain to ignore.  A cubist takes his/her subject and tears it into pieces, revealing it’s outside and inside, it’s front and back, its top and bottom, all at the same time.  Nothing is left unexposed. And yet, everything is still obscure, smothered in ambiguity.  I do this. When this part of my mind takes over I reveal myself in every way that I never wanted to.  It’s the moment when my mouth pops open and a thought bursts forth that I was not even conscious of thinking. I let myself go in that moment and always regret it afterward. Countless memories flood my mind now of all the times this happened and something was ruined because of it: a relationship, a friendship.  You can never really take back what you said.  I don’t like cubism because it is that moment that I hate to experience laid before me in mocking triumph. An artist can use that moment to his/her advantage while that moment is always to my disadvantage.  This may seem like a petty reason not to like something but it is my petty reason and against all reason I cling to it.  I can appreciate cubism for all of its qualities but I will never love it.

Long story short, I just don’t like cubism.

C. L. Baker

He’s here! My beautiful baby boy! Weighing in at 7lbs. and 1oz. and 22in. long! He was three weeks early and still a healthy size and he is absolutely perfect! We decided on Trannin about five minutes after he arrived. It was either going to be Ryder Trannin or Trannin Ryder. Trannin is after my three brothers, TRavis, shANNon, and kevIN! He looks a lot like my brother Shannon so we knew when we seen him. He was born Friday, the 4th of June on my mom and dad’s 39th wedding anniversary! Mason and Lydia could not be happier about their baby brother! We already cannot remember life without him! Have a wonderful Summer everyone…we know we will!

-Emily

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, essayist, and technology activist.

What does any of that have to do with Art History, though? Well, kind of a lot. In his book Content, is an essay titled Warhol is Turning in His Grave (page 171).  In the essay, he talks about going to a Pop Art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Works by many prominent Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol were exhibited, but there was a ridiculous amount of irony caused by the “No Photography” signs posted at the exhibition.

“These signs are not intended to protect the works from the depredations of camera flashes (otherwise they would read “No Flash Photography”). No, the ban on pictures is meant to safeguard the copyright of the works hung on the walls — a fact that every member of staff I asked instantly confirmed.”
These portraits were made by violating copyright, and now they are being protected by it? Something seems a bit funny here. As I understand it, when you violate copyright, you get sued into oblivion by the publishing companies.
Copyright wasn’t like that when Warhol & Co. were making their work, though. Copyright was used mostly to keep big companies from profiting off of other big companies’ ideas. Instead now, ordinary people are getting sued by people like Universal Studios for making a copy of a DVD they bought so their kids don’t ruin the only copy of Toy Story 2 the family owns. What does this have to do with Art, though? Aren’t artists the ones being ripped off by pirates? That’s not quite true. In theory, artists have their income protected so they can go on to make more art, but in practice all that really happens is that media companies have more control over how we can use our property.
Paul

Comics

I just wanted to talk a little bit about how much I enjoyed Raye’s presentation on comics! She did such an amazing job, I felt it was noteworthy to blog about :)!

But first, one thing I really loved about our art history class was the ability Candee gave us to open up and show who we are on the inside. She has such a great talent to make people feel good about themselves. I caught her complimenting people everyday, saying “Oh what a cute top,” or “I like your new hair color,” like she told me. Having such a positive teacher really helped our class open up and show who we really are and what we enjoy.

Raye’s presentation was fantastic! To put so much thought and time into a comic like she has, shows she truly is striving to be the very best she can be … which I think she deserves a lot of credit for, but okay enough of the bragging.

I really enjoyed the comics and learning a little about the Japanese culture. The comics were so different from what we read here, and from someone who reads daily it was so interesting to see that they read backwards compared to Americans!

All in all .. she helped make the art class the most enjoyable one yet! Thanks Raye 🙂

And a special thanks to all of the classmates who made art history great this quarter! and most importantly for Candee for allowing us to be ourselves and be proud of it. You really are an inspiring teacher and I feel I have learned a lot about myself from your class.

Best of luck to all the classmates!