Musings de l'Art

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Jay Defeo and Rudolph Nureyev: Legends

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San Francisco is a hub of cultural activity as a metropolitan leader in the art world. In the Bay Area, we are afforded countless opportunities to view the most acclaimed art, theatre, music, dance and productions. The M. H. De Young Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are both large, architecturally original museums who house prestigious permanent collections and host world-renowned temporary exhibitions.

I visited the SF MoMA for the Jay Defeo retrospective this fall. The large-scale, two-ton painting, The Rose, stood out to me as the centerpiece; set in its own room on a stage, The Rose takes its proper place as the “star” of the show. Defeo had worked on this piece for eight years without ever completing it. The painting became a part of her personal and artistic life, occupying a window in her apartment as she constantly altered it in an eternal struggle.

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The exhibition space are set up in a straightforward, easy to follow manner. A wall text introduces each room with dated titles, summarizes Defeo’s production during that time, and then highlights certain pieces. The viewer is lead through the white-walled rooms through Defeo’s artwork. The Rose exists outside of this strict chronology. Since Defeo started working on the painting in 1958 and it was first exhibited in 1969, the curator places “The Rose” room after the room titled “The Early 1950’s” and before “The Early 1970’s”. The piece occupies its own room, departing from all the other numbered rooms, as The Rose is still incomplete in Defeo’s mind. She was never happy with the finished product. As a curator, I would have lead the viewer back to The Rose room after the completion of the rest of the chronological exhibition that ends in 1989.  This setup would emphasize the important never-ending struggle that this piece was to Defeo.

Spatial limitations must always be considered when looking at the art of dance as the body moves throughout the allotted space. The De Young exhibits the life of ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev, named A Life in Dance as a eulogy to the deceased legend. As the viewer moved through Defeo’s work, Nureyev’s work moves through the viewer in this special exhibition.

Unlike the MoMA show, A Life in Dance is not set up in a linear fashion. The viewer enters into the darkness as the show begins. Wall texts note information on Nureyev’s personal and professional life along with artifacts, photographs and costumes. The dancer and his partner Margaret Fonteyn’s torn-up shoes are on view along with smaller framed photographs of Nureyev rehearsing. There are several blown-up photographs of the “larger-than-life” Nureyev dancing while costumes that he wore lifelessly hover in front of them. From the beginning of the show, we are made aware of an absent life that is clearly missed. Four beat-up, leather theatre seats placed in front of a large projection of Nureyev dancing recreate the atmosphere of a theatre. We are transported to the time of the dancer’s tremendous impact on the world, getting to witness a ghost of the famous ballerino.

The second part of the exhibition consists of over eighty ballet costumes grouped by show and hung up by transparent strings or on black mannequins that seem to vanish into the background. Music accompanies these costumes that appeared in ballets that Rudolph Nureyev danced in or choreographed. As the viewer weaves through the maze, he is transported in time and place to the different performances of Nureyev’s career. In the presentation of Swan Lake, a video of the original performance is projected onto a somewhat transparent curtain that the costumes float behind. This set-up seamlessly combines the performance with the costumes in a way that does not detract from either. There is no clear path for the viewer to take, as the set-up rather encourages her to wander through at her own pace. This curatorial choice goes well with the subject of the exhibition as a eulogy to Nureyev, not as a straightforward retrospective, but an attempt to communicate the beauty of a single life. The art of dance cannot be examined in the same way as painting or sculpture; the energy of the performance cannot be recreated after the artist is gone. More testimonies of viewers and friends of Nureyev could have been added in the first part to elevate the exhibition to a more personal level, though overall, A Life in Dance fairly credits the amazing life of Rudolph Nureyev.

The set-ups of the Jay Defeo retrospective and Nureyev homage both work well because their flows are defined by the kind of art on display. The differences in the exhibitions are necessary to best credit the artists’ life works. Jay Defeo’s work is displayed in an linear fashion, with one exceptional work bursting through while the more free-form Nureyev show leaves the viewer with a feeling of nostalgia and sadness for the loss of the beautiful dancer. The curatorial choices in both shows display the exceptional work of both artists and lives.

A Performance of Everyday Objects

Virginia Overton’s solo exhibition at The Kitchen gallery entertains the viewer with a performance of construction materials. The Tennessee-born artist works with rough, rural materials in her post minimalist creations that stress the process of her art. She is linked to artists like Robert Morris and Richard Serra, as their work also interacts with the space it is exhibited in, creating a relationship between the viewer, work, and site. Her work examines the process involved in its creation, as this process is evident in the finished pieces. Overton’s sculptures and installations in the past take the form of minimal objects placed in structural doubt. At a show at Mitchell-Ines & Nash last year, Overton constructed a giant triangle composed of three thick poplar boards wedged between two of the gallery columns. This piece draws attention the gallery space as boards are held in place by only gravity and friction dividing the space by use of the architectural elements.tumblr_lkg51nuWqH1qdeys9o1_500

For her current exhibition, Overton had one week and free reign in the gallery space to gather whatever materials she wanted to create her show. The Kitchen opened up every nook and cranny for her. She found her materials upstairs, downstairs, on the roof, and in closets. Since the gallery is usually a performance space, the pipes, pedestals, and wood serve as perfect mediums for her work.

In her current show curated by Matthew Lyons at The Kitchen, Overton again explores the relationships between architecture, materials, and viewer. Above the reception desk in the first room of the gallery is a light box with the gallery’s name in black letters. This piece replicates the original sign that was above the main doorway of the gallery when it first relocated to its current location in 1986. The glowing box is also reminiscent of the “ON AIR” sign used during live radio and television broadcasts. The presence of the gallery’s name announces that this show is site-specific in the strictest sense. She also created a poster with the gallery’s original brick wall as the background for her pick-up truck.

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Overton uses another light in this space: a light bulb attached to a hanging plank of wood suspended from a wire.  The plank hangs flat, balanced like a mobile. This balance is thrown off by the light bulb commanding attention at one end. This piece references building materials, invoking a plank being lifted up in the construction of a building. One may think of a stage as the single light shines as a spotlight, illuminating the performance of the suspended wood. The viewer is made aware of the space as the sculpture hangs from the rigging in the ceiling. There are also lights that illuminate not only the walls, but lead the eye upwards toward the ceiling, again making the viewer aware of the specific space he or she is in.

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Eighty-six pipes lean against the adjacent wall; each a different height and color. Scrapings, tape, rust, and even a price tag are visible as these materials are being reused. The wall is an integral part of this piece as it holds the pipes in place. Interacting with each other and the gallery, these pipes, usually used for rigging in set creation compose a performance. Another pipe cuts the opposite wall in half, as Overton breaks up the classic white gallery wall with a pipe that fits its location perfectly.

Eight white pedestals levitate in the next room. Held together by small wooden wedges, the scuffed pedestals invoke a past performance. One uses a pedestal to put something on show. Here, the pedestals are the show, performing their levitation act through friction with the walls, threatening to come undone. Overton uses friction again to cover an entire room’s floor with 2×4 wooden planks. The red, black, and natural wood pieces fit together to occupy the floor space; each one fitting perfectly with the surrounding pieces to create a random pattern. Though each piece has been worn down uniquely, all the individual pieces function together as these found objects form a floor fit for walking on. They creak and bend slightly under the weight of a person, creating a symphony of misfit objects.

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Virginia Overton often uses and reuses the materials and images, creating a sculptural vocabulary that reacts to the specific installation site. These materials create makeshift solutions for the problems and challenges that the space provides. She does not use these materials to construct a set, but gives them life as they take the stage in this performing arts space. Overton called this show an “unscripted production” as she improvised her work about, of, and at The Kitchen. Her sculptures challenge the viewer’s idea of space and how it functions, drawing attention to the objects that are usually just part of a builder’s toolkit. These unique pieces are simultaneously fragile and monumental. In each piece, Overton successfully uses the available space and materials to successfully assemble an astonishing performance.

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Strictly Visual: An Analysis

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     Subhankar Banerjee photographs many stunning natural landscapes. The beautiful landscapes that one sees in his photographs present the viewer with a pleasant image, though his images are meant to be read from other angles as well. A specific text captions functions in conjunction with each photograph, explaining the event that is taking place in the photo. Looking at these photos in a strictly visual sense is therefor challenging since each piece of art is supposed to be intertwined with its textual explanation.

     Caribou Migration I exists inside an eighty-six by sixty-eight inch rectangle. This large scale allows for one to see closer details of what is happening in the photo. The beauty of the landscape is magnified in this photograph as we can see individual plants and animals as they move throughout the landscape. This format allows one to take at the beauty of the Utukok River Valley as a whole while also allowing one the option to take a closer look at what is really going on.

      The artist also deliberately chose to photograph this scene from the air. This has been a desired vantage point in war photography, allowing one to see views only available from high above the action. From this viewpoint, we get a more complete picture of the caribou and their migration paths than we would from the ground. This viewpoint also helps us to think of the species as a whole, and not of each individual animal, and how they are connected to other things.

     The framing choice is also interesting to look into. In this rectangle, we only get to see part of a narrative. There are caribou emerging from three points outside of the picture frame. The viewer sees the caribou on their way somewhere, but what is left out of the frame leaves us to question where they began and where they will end up. It also may inspire a want to see more, to zoom back further to reveal what is going on outside of the frame. Are there more caribou? Are they behaving differently than the ones present here?  The framing can spark a viewer’s curiosity and make one want to see a more complete picture.

     The composition is mostly white. Banerjee stresses color not as a medium in his work, but as a motif. Most people think of the Arctic as a barren wasteland that only consists of snow and ice. Banerjee wanted to create an image of this landscape with blue and white to reveal the diversity that exists in this place and counter beliefs that this area is a harsh wilderness wasteland.

            The white areas seem to be a mixture of snow and ice. This is not a monotone white; one can see the brown plants, imprints of footprints in the snow, traces of the light blue water at the edge of the river, as well as the caribou themselves. The snow does not seem to be very deep, as one can see the life poking through. There are two patches of white in the blue part of the photo that resemble islands. One may see them as a humorous outlook on the cold winter that seems to be depicted, as islands are usually associated with the tropics and warmer climates.

     There seem to be two forms of frozen water presented here, again underlining the idea of diversity that Banerjee often stresses in his work. A light blue form intersects the mostly-white composition. A light blue ice river cuts through the white coming from the bottom left corner and continuing across the composition horizontally. There are white patches in this blue river where one can be reminded of water. The crescent-shaped patches resemble caps of waves, invoking the moving body of water that has frozen; the water seems to be frozen still in time as the body of water has physically become frozen in this arctic landscape.

     There are darker paths of gray in this blue river form as well. Since the caribou are literally walking over these patches, we know that they are not indentations in the ice. These gray lines may indicate a current deep under the ice. They form lines that may mirror the flow of the river. This flow-like quality is echoed throughout this photograph and can inspire the viewer to contemplate the connectivity of this scene to the rest of the world.

     The caribou first appear as black dots, though if one looks more closely, one can make out the body shape of the caribou and see the directions they face. The path seems to be moving downward in general, which gives the photograph a weight toward the bottom. One may think of the force of gravity, another natural force, in alignment with the caribous’ instincts to move wherever they may be heading. The caribou path intersects the blue river as the animals move downward, creating an interesting dynamic in which the natural landscape and the animals present in it function on their own and together.

     At the top of the photograph, one single line of caribou emerges from beyond the frame. There are several caribou off to the left of this line and we cannot see a clear line of footprints that would connect them to the main line. They seem to be disconnected from the downward motion of the entire photo. As this line continues downward, it oscillates in a haphazard way. The line breaks and then forms again closer to the river as some caribou seem to move away from the main line of the general flow of the animal movement and then make their way back. As this line crosses the blue portion of ice, they split into two distinct groups. The group on the right seems to be turning inward as the caribou form a curved line. One may get the sense that this group will meet up with the other four caribou and they will move toward the more distinct line of caribou who are also crossing the river to the left.

     This group of caribou emerges from the center of the left edge of the photograph. These caribou are more spread out at first and join together near the edge of the river, creating a funnel-like form. Two somewhat parallel lines are created as the caribou cross the river and continue downward, outside of the picture frame. The breaks in this line are more evident; the eye can pick up on the gaps as the caribou are positioned closely together in the connected part of the line. Since this line of caribou can be read more easily as a line, the space where there are no caribou is more alarming to the eye. One can also follow the direction and flow of the line more easily because the footprints in the snow are deeper and more visible, creating a line even when caribou are absent.

     The three caribou that are apart from the group as they cross the river are more noticeable and seem to be more isolated, as they contrast with the clear main line. Their bodies seem to be pointed toward the group, which could indicate movement in that direction or simply their awareness that they are part of this larger group. Below the river, the two lines continue downward at a slight diagonal and out of the picture frame.

     There is a line of five caribou emerging from the bottom left corner that seems to be swooping down and possibly then upward, creating a “U” like shape. Since there are so few caribou in this group, they could blend into the landscape and be overlooked. They emerge into the photograph on a patch of white, adding to the isolation that this group exhibits.

     All of the caribou resemble ants, possibly invoking the idea of looking at something very small. One may be inspired to think of the connectivity of all things, big and small, as they move throughout the environment. The paths the caribou create seem to be deliberate, as they follow each other in line; we are unable to tell what is really happening without the element of time passing. This photograph captures one moment in the lives of these animals, marking this moment as important and leading us to question where they are headed and why. 

A Rubbery Contemplation

The Penitent MagdalenGeorges de La Tour  (French, Vic-sur-Seille 1593–1653 Lunéville), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Penitent Magdalen
Georges de La Tour (French, Vic-sur-Seille 1593–1653 Lunéville), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Penitent Magdalen, painted by the French artist Georges de La Tour, depicts the biblical figure Mary Magdalen in a contemplative state. The symbols that surround her and the painterly style that La Tour uses to construct her body and the setting she resides in denote the story of Mary Magdalen’s conversion and penance as she chooses to reject sin and follow Christ. This subject is represented through weighty forms, as light is used to dramatize the scene. Georges de La Tour used his style of painting while employing symbols to communicate the theme of reflection in this painting.

Little is known of this painting’s early provenance. It’s location was first documented in 1890, when it was housed in a private collection bordering the Lorraine in France. The son of the private collectors moved it to Côte d’Or in 1920, where it remained until it was sold to the Galerie Heim in Paris in 1963. In 1978 Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman both bought the painting and gave it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (“Metropolitan Museum of Art”)

Georges de La Tour painted many religious scenes that appealed to the followers of Catholicism, the dominant religion in France in the early 17th Century. French art remained under the influence of Flanders and Italy as they were recovering from religious wars. La Tour’s work was popular during his lifetime and then forgotten about until the 1930’s, when French art historians began to explore the roots of 19th Century Realism. (Sutherland Harris 277-278)

The oil painting depicts Mary Magdalen seated with her hands crossed over a skull that rests on her lap. She was a sinner who renounced her worldly pleasures for a life of reflection and penance. In this version of the Magdalen subject, she is depicted in the moment of her conversion, as she renounces her worldly life. On the table lie a candle, a rope or jewelry, and a gilded mirror, in which one can see the reflection of the flame and candle. The composition shows her seated in full length in a loose white shirt and red skirt in a dark interior setting.

He painted at least five versions of this same subject. It was characteristic of La Tour to concentrate on one theme and create different renderings of it. In each painting, he made alterations in design and mood, though in all four of the known Magdalen paintings, La Tour included the seated, full-length figure, skull, and a lighted candle or lamp. In the painting of the same name that is housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the flame is blocked by a skull, whose reflection can be seen in the mirror. This figure holds a classic pose of melancholy, with her head in her hand. It seems that La Tour chose to represent a different moment in the story of Mary’s conversion.

The scene in The Penitent Magdalen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art emphasizes Mary’s contemplation. She is shown here repenting her sins and appears to be deep in thought, as she gazes toward the candle. Her attention is moved inward, as we cannot fully see her face but only her profile. She does not appear to be looking at the candle, but past it, to the mirror.

There are many symbols embedded in this piece that aid in the exhibition of its introspective quality. The skull symbolizes mortality, as it invokes a dead body. Humans will die and their bones will be the only things left of them in the physical world. The mirror represents vanity and reflection, as one uses a mirror to look at oneself. The deeper meaning embedded in the mirror symbolizes a looking into oneself. Looking at one’s own exterior alludes to inner reflection, as a mirror’s function is to reflect. The candle symbolizes the shortness of life as it can go out at any moment. A flame is also often a symbol for the light of the Divine Presence; God may be with Mary at this time. We can see the resonation of Mary’s sigh as the flame of candle is altered. The rope may be a tool used in penance, where one physically harm oneself with it to experience the pain that Christ went through before and during the Crucifixion. The rope can be used to reflect upon Christ’s suffering and grow closer to Him. If that form is in fact jewelry, it could symbolize the earthly pleasures that Mary gave up to follow Christ. The pearls are strewn onto the table haphazardly.

The luxurious trapping such as the gilded mirror and red fabric with glinting gold along with the graceful turn of the head mark this painting as the most elegant of La Tour’s Magdalens. (“Metropolitan Museum of Art”) The mirror and the pearls on the table are opulently painted, as we can see them glimmer in the candlelight that illuminates the scene. These luxurious objects may be indications of Mary’s legendary past as a courtesan, when she would have been able to afford such expensive goods.

After he found his style, La Tour isolated himself, closing his mind to the influence of other artists. His unique style set him apart from others, but leads one to question his artistic influences. It is unclear as to whether La Tour found his stylistic influence in Utretch or Rome. Michelangelo Mersi di Caravaggio, who painted powerful religious scenes in Rome, influenced the northern Caravaggisti. As one can see in Caravaggio’s The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, the light provides the viewer with a focus point, the body of the saint, as the background is almost completely dark. His followers took interest in Caravaggio’s dramatic use of light, emphasizing the contrast between light and darkness in their work. It was typical of these Caravaggisti to include the light source in their paintings. La Tour uses this technique to create his own visual language, as the light can have a deeply religious meaning, as the flame is very symbolic as the light of God.

La Tour simplified the forms that one would see in daily life into cylinders and volumes as they become almost abstract. The rubbery treatment of figures gives them an almost waxy look. This simplification is especially noticeable in Mary’s hands. Her fingers are each individual tubes that are intertwined over the rubbery surface of the skull. These forms lack intricate details as they are painted evenly and appear to be solid. The crease in between her arm and her hand looks very flat and we do not see the individual wrinkles of the skin. The figure’s hair sweeps down onto her back in a fluid motion. It shines and creates the illusion of a single form, instead of several individual hairs. The textures of her clothing are also depicted as volumes, though they do not appear to be as rubbery in quality. The red skirt and her shirt have visible folds; we can see that they are of a different texture than her body.

The light source in this painting is present and not hidden. The viewer can see the effects of the light on all the forms in the painting. One can make out subtle contrasts of the light and shadows on the wall. Even Mary’s fingers cast shadows onto her hand and the right side of the skull is shaded as well. We can see where the light from the candle does not reach as we see the shadows it creates from its two sources: the candle itself and the reflection of the candle.

As the light falls on the simplified forms, there is little complication of the surface, drapery, or texture that would deflect or splinter the light. Like the forms, the light is also geometrically simplified as it is cast upon smooth volumes. This invokes a classical stability and stillness, a sense of calm. (Davies, Denny, Hofrichter, Jacobs, Roberts, and Simon) La Tour uses a restraint in creating these forms so that the emotional feeling can come across more clearly.

The expression of the subject does not define this piece; there is no grand gesture taking place and we cannot make out any minute details. The light is the most dramatic aspect while the gesture and attitude of the figure are understated. We do not know what Mary is thinking about, but she seems to be in deep contemplation. Around her are symbols that relate to mortality, giving this painting a serious tone. The light is the center of the painting, creating a reflective mood as we see it illuminate part of the composition.

Bibliography

Davies, Penelope, Walter Denny, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph Jacobs, Ann Roberts, and David Simon. Janson’s History of Art: The Western Tradition. 8th. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

Kleiner, Fred. Gardner’s Art Through The Ages, A Concise Western History. 2nd. Boston: Clark Baxter, 210. Print.

“The Penitent Magdalen Georges de La Tour (French, Vic-sur-Seille 1593–1653 Lunéville).” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011; adapted from Ref. Fahy 2005. Web. 9 Apr 2012. <http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110001283&gt;.

Sutherland Harris, Ann. Seventeenth Century Art and Architecture. 2nd. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 2005. 277-278. Print.

My Take on Las Meninas

Diego Valazquez, Las Meninas

Las Meninas, painted by Diego Velazquez is one of the most analyzed paintings of all time. The Spanish court painter’s masterpiece brings up questions of the painter’s status and 17th century societal norms as it pushes the limits of painting as a medium.

Leo Steinberg approaches Las Meninas by trying to understand what is actually going on in the painting, designating the focal centers and the viewer’s interaction with them, the groupings of the figures, and the recirculation of the real and illusory space. Jonathan Brown goes about his interpretation in a slightly different way. He states past interpretations and then tries to understand what is happening in the painting by trying to understand what Velazquez was trying to portray in the action of Las Meninas. Brown focuses on the artist-patron relationship, including Velazquez’ role in the Spanish court and his many attempts to further his status as an artist. He then questions what is on the canvas in the painting and what the painting means as an attribute to the status of the artist and painting.

Steinberg begins with a self-addressed memo, explaining that he first wrote this article during the Con Edison blackout of 1965, while he was at Vassar College. With an informal tone, he combines his personal life experiences with the influence of Las Meninas. He acknowledges the debate over the painting’s meaning and the many interpretations that have been brought forth over the years. Steinberg argues that if the painting is not discussed anymore, Las Meninas itself will fade into a similar blackout, thus the purpose of his essay.

He tries to understand what the painting actually depicts, what this famous moment can mean to someone who is not well versed in its importance. Steinberg is interested in examining how this painting seems to take a grip on the viewer’s consciousness. Since the importance of the subject is not clearly defined and the appearance seems to be loosely improvised, one wonders how the viewer can feel so closely connected to the event. A reciprocal relationship seems to exist between the viewer and the characters in the painting. This relationship bypasses the pictorial plane, making the picture only one half of a complex, centerless system. We see ourselves being seen in the painting as our presence evokes a response in the figures.

The actual event does not hold much weight; a picture is being painted as a disturbance in the stillness is occurring. The painter hesitates as he looks at King Philip IV and Queen Mariana of Spain enter into the room. The reflection in the mirror reveals that the couple is standing to the viewer’s left as the other figures in the painting also focus their attention on them.

In this interactive piece, the focus keeps changing depending on where the viewer is centering his or her gaze. The three centers are triangulated and dispersed. Firstly, the median of the width of the painting lands on the Infanta’s left eye, again focusing on sight. The orthogonals made up by the horizontal lines that run along the right wall and the ceiling lights lead to the man on the stair in the background, the vanishing point of the central perspective that is opposite the viewer’s vantage point. This man is stopped in his tracks, looking at something outside of the painting.

The room’s central axis converges upon the mirror image of the royal couple. Velazquez’ “scatter effect” is emphasized as the whole scene depends on the deferred center; both the dramatic and psychological center of attention is actually outside of the painting. The image of the king and queen in the mirror can be read in two ways: as a reflection of the image of the painting on the canvas within the painting or a reflection of the actual king and queen. The mirror reveals Velazquez’ skill and the “truthfulness” of a painter’s art.

As viewer’s, our own consciousness is called upon in reaction to Las Meninas. We must respond to the action and different perceptive acts of the painting. Radiant signals of lights are received from several points as the background’s dull surface interacts with the luminosity of the mirror. Velazquez only depicted those things associated with vision: there are no extra pieces of furniture or objects in the room. The sight lines of the characters maintain the painting’s design and composition.

Even the figures are grouped by what they see, not what they are doing or who they are.  Velasquez forms three triangles in his composition. The Infanta, the curtseying girl, and the dwarf form the first as they look outside the painting toward the viewer. The boy kicking the dog, the kneeling menina, and the female chaperone behind the first grouping form the second triangle and have a less focused gaze. The guard, painter, and man on the stair compose the third triangle as they look to the outside world or the canvas. The viewer and the king and queen’s reflection make up another triangle, though it is less clear as the couple’s position is ambiguous.

Velazquez gives us real, reflected, and depicted images that all operate independently. This cycle can only function with the participation of the viewer, make this painting multi-dimensional. The viewer can recognize him or herself through the encounter that the painting creates. When the mind “knows itself known”, infinite possibilities of the psyche are created and the process of seeing and reacting to the painting can continue indefinitely. The mirror is the key of Las Meninas, a metaphor for the “mirror of consciousness”, an idea Velazquez invites us to explore forever as viewers of art.

Jonathan Brown uses a more formal tone as he delves into the meaning of Las Meninas. Velazquez has turned a snapshot of seemingly everyday life into a picture that represents the court and value of the artist himself. This painting is hard to understand, as rational and intuitive understanding are impossible to grasp. Since every generation is called to interpret the painting, Brown attempts to do just that. A brief description of the characters and setting do not give us any clues to the painting’s actual meaning. The name Las Meninas cannot tell us anything, since it was probably written to generally describe the piece.

Brown discusses the different interpretations that have come up in the past. In the late 19th century, Karl Justi called Las Meninas “a faithful counterfeit of reality”. In his opinion, this exemplary genre painting is no more than a reproduction of the world, as it exists. Charles de Tolnay calls it “an allegory of artistic creation”, bringing in the self-portrait of the artist and the creative process necessary in the making of a painting. Another critic, Ramiro de Moya recreated the scene of Las Meninas himself by implicating the rules of perspective. He concludes that Velazquez used a mannequin for himself and the royal couple’s reflection is of the painting. There are two realities depicted here: the one that follows the rules of perspective as well as the scene interpreted by the artist.

No one can deny that Las Meninas is Velazquez’ masterpiece. The size, complicated composition, and great technique employed make one wonder even more what is going on in the picture. The action is linked to the understanding that something is going on outside of the painting pictorial frame. The characters seemed to be stopped in action. King Philip IV and Queen Mariana incite the action. The man in the doorway holds the door open for someone or something that has just passed through or will shortly. The living monarch and painter are represented together in one image, the central event being the “royal epiphany” (Brown, 92). The action stops as the royal pair enter Velazquez’ atelier.

Jonathan Brown moves on to discuss the history of the relationship between artist and patron. An ancient Roman text, Pliny’s Natural History tells the story of Alexander the Great’s relationship to his favorite painter Apelles. Painting is given credit as it is appreciated, patronized, by the king. A painter had been considered a craftsman, working with his hands, and not an artist. The idea of the artist as noble had been more accepted in Italy at this time, and Velazquez was aware of this change in social status. Though in Spain, artists were not considered to be knowledgeable or skilled beyond a common worker. Pacheco, Velazquez’ teacher and father-in-law was also interested in the status of the artist in society and used Velazquez as an example in his writing as an exemplary artist that illustrated the nobility of art.

Pacheco’s accounts prove that King Philip IV visited Velazquez as he worked in his studio and Las Meninas further illustrates the king and artist’s special relationship. The key that hangs from the artist’s waist is a symbol of this relationship, revealing his position as aposentador of the Royal Palace. This key could open every door in the palace, including the door to the king’s chamber. Philip IV obviously trusted Velazquez a great deal and favored him over anyone else in the Spanish court. The entire court, revealing that Velazquez was a very important figure indeed, would have understood this sign.

The painting itself is very large and the figures have life-size proportions, making it an illusion of reality. The size clarifies the painting and makes it more significant as Velazquez masterpiece and a statement of his position as an artist and important court member. The artist employs the science of perspective, a long-standing tool that elevates an artist to the status of a mathematician while displaying his knowledge and skill.

Velazquez was not only a painter, but an architect as well. As part of his position as aposentador, he made an octagonal and room of mirrors in the palace. He was sent to Italy to study Baroque Illusionism, a popular practice of the time. Using the tools of Baroque illusionism, Velazquez was further able to blur the line between illusion and reality so that he could make the king and queen’s presence more realistic. The space of the picture plane that is extended melds with the part of the room that is not depicted in the painting itself.

Another room that Velazquez remodeled was the very room that the painting exists in, the pieza principal del curato de Pricipe. The portrait on the canvas that Velazquez is painting in Las Meninas could be a portrait of the royal couple, the Infanta, or Las Meninas itself, which would allude to the nobility of painting.

The room was filled with copies of Rubens’ paintings. Rubens had been knighted, an artist whose status was elevated to that of the nobility. Velazquez wanted to achieve a similar status, though it was difficult in the Spanish court for an artist to gain access to the most prestigious order, the Order of Santiago. Ten years after his first attempt, Velazquez is finally admitted into the order, though this occurred two years after Las Meninas was completed.

Las Meninas is a testament to the social conditions of 17th century Spain as well as Velazquez’ personal ambitions as an artist. This painting depicts nature as it is while it surpasses nature. Philip’s consent to be portrayed is a sign of his approval of Velazquez’ art and possibly painting in general. Velazquez’ self-portrait invites the viewer to consider the possibilities of a noble painter and painting itself.

Steinberg focuses much more on vision than Brown. He constantly relates his arguments back to where the figures are looking, why, and how the viewer’s gaze comes into play. He emphasizes the infinite reciprocal relationships produced by the painting. Steinberg’s approach is much more psychological, dealing with the consciousness of the viewer. He states his opinions in a more informal way, closer to how he would convey his own thoughts about the piece. He does not deal with the history of the reasoning behind the artistic choices that Velazquez made. Steinberg writes for an audience more concerned with Las Meninas as breaking a barrier between the world of depiction and that of reality. He does not go into specific detail of history, like Brown does, but underscores the painting’s importance in the idea of sight and the limitations of what a painting can be.

Brown seems to be more concerned with the history of the status of the artist. He does not analyze the iconography or composition as much as Steinberg. Brown focuses more on the facts of history to explain the important status of Las Meninas and why there is so much attention paid to it even today. He writes for an audience that would need concrete historical proof of the choices that Velazquez made, veering away from its psychological meaning.

Together, Brown and Steinberg compose a complete analysis of Las Meninas on a psychological and historical level. The status of the artist is emphasized in both readings, as the two writers are in agreement that Velazquez was making a point there. Of course, I still have questions about Las Meninas. We cannot know for sure what the reflection in the mirror or what is going on, though I find value in both authors’ opinions.

Works Cited

1. Brown, Jonathan. “Images and Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Painting.” Princeton Essays on the Arts: 87-110.

2. Steinberg, Leo. “Velazquez’s Las Meninas.” October 19 (1981): 45-54.

Music and Painting in Cardinal del Monte’s Household

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I had never thought about music being portrayed in Caravaggio’s art, but now very clearly can see the strong connection between the two. It is interesting to try to understand how a painting was seen when it was created and what it meant to the viewers. The Caravaggio musical paintings discussed in this article were meant for private viewing and were enjoyed in del Monte’s palace.

Caravaggio painted his five musical paintings in between 1595 and 1601, when he was living at one of the home of Cardinal Francesco Maria de Monte. Since Caravaggio was living in his patron’s home, these paintings very much reflect del Monte’s taste and affinity for music. Del Monte played a very important role in the 17th century Roman music world and his tastes reveal this.

Caravaggio painted for his patron’s love of music. His North Italian style of descriptive naturalism brought out the beauty of the intricately-made, contemporary musical instruments. These instruments were thought of as status symbols and Caravaggio was sure to highlight them in his work. He also made sure to prominently place musical notations in his paintings, which was common in paintings of the time, both with an obviously musical subject matter and without. These notations are identifiable by musically educated viewers and they enhance the understanding of the paintings. Caravaggio also used symbolism to evoke themes of certain pieces of music.

Caravaggio’s paintings “capture the essence of the subject matter”. The content of the pictures are attached to musical performance. The artist had to understand singing techniques to so accurately display them in his work. Singing was very important to del Monte; he trained singers in his own home. Caravaggio may have spent time with these singers and learned a lot about vocal technique then. Caravaggio’s musical paintings truly express del Monte’s love for and understanding of music in the early 17th century

An Exploration of Abstraction at the Centre Pompidou

Vassily Kandinsky, Jaune-Rouge-Bleu, 1925

Dans ce tableau abstrait, on peut seulement voir des formes. Il est composé de beaucoup de formes géométriques et des lignes.  La grande forme d’un rectangle jaune à gauche, les deux éléments rectangulaires qui se croisent au centre, et la grande cercle bleu à droite montrer les trois couleurs primaires. Ces éléments principaux sont accompagnés des autres formes. Il y a beaucoup de lignes en noirs d’une variété d’épaisseur. Quelques lignes sont parfaitement droites, comme ils ont été dessinés avec une règle. Il y a aussi des lignes horizontales, verticales, diagonales, courbés, courbé « libres », et courbés ondulées ou oscillantes. Au gauche, il y a le forme d’un tete en profile créent par les lignes et une cercle pour l’œil. Il y a trois  cercles parfaits en noirs qui ont des cercles de couleurs autours d’elles. Il y a trois carrés qui ont plus de carrés dans leurs intérieurs. Deux sur trois ont des carrés colorés et les couleurs ne semblent pas d’être dans un ordre particulier. Dans la partie jaune, il y a plus des bruns profonds, du rouge virant au bleu, au violet et au noir. L’impression générale du tableau est de la tension entre les deux côtés, mais aussi de l’équilibre des choses en opposantes. (Pompidou, 1998)

Jaune – Rouge – Bleu est une grande toile peinte en huile. Cette peinture est en forme rectangulaire aux dimensions parfaites : le « divine proportion ». (Pompidou) Elle est divisé en trois sections, nommant par le titre. Ces trois sections de couleurs primaires fassent deux centres, une chose que Kandinsky a fait souvent. Le rectangle jaune et le cercle bleu sont les deux centres et les deux points focales. Il ya une division entre la cote droite et la coté gauche. Dans la parie jaune on se trouve plus d’ordre avec les lignes géométriques. La partie droite a plus des formes libres. Aussi les couleurs à gauche sont plus claires que les couleurs à droit. (Taschen, p.145)

Il n’y a pas de perspective dans cette peinture. Kandinsky ne fait pas un point de fuite et toutes les formes sont ramènent directement au surface. Les coups de pinceaux sont un peu visibles.

Même si cette peinture est composée de trois éléments majeurs en les couleurs primaires, les couleurs secondaires comme le vert, l’orange, et le violet, se complètent leurs couleurs primaires. Il n’y a pas de vraie figuration dans cette peinture, donc il n’y a pas des couleurs arbitraires. Si la partie jaune est une tete, toutes les couleurs qui le se composé sont arbitraires. (Pomidou)

Dans son livre Du spirituel dan l’art, Kandinsky décrit le regarde de la couleur comme une doublé effet. Premièrement, il y a un effet purement physique de l’œil qui peut provoque du plaisir. Il y a aussi un effet plus profonde, ou la couleur peut faire un « résonance intérieure » dans l’ame. Quand nous voyons une couleur seule, nous regardons la chaleur ou la froideur du ton coloré, et la clarté ou l’obscurité. La chaleur est associe au jaune et la froideur au bleu ; ils forment une contraste dynamique. Le jaune semble de bouger vers nous et le bleu semble de s’éloigner. Le jaune est terrestre, associe à la violence. Dans l’autre cote, le bleu est céleste, associe au calme. Le mélangé de les deux, le vert, fait le calme totale et l’immobilité. Il y a aussi un contraste sur le noir et le blanc, concernant la clarté et l’obscurité. Chez Kandinsky, le rouge est une couleur chaude et vivante. Il s’agit de le mouvement et l’agitation. Mélangé avec des autres couleurs, il crée les couleurs secondaires. Le brun, jaune et noir, est dur ; l’orange possède un mouvement d’irradiation et le violet est un rouge plus froid. (Kandinsky, 1989)

Dans Jaune-Rouge-Bleu, la théorie de la couleur est bien appliquée. Le jaune chaud et le bleu stable sont en opposés. Le jaune semble de continuer au delà du tableau dans ce forme de nouages. Le cercle bleu semble plus détaché du fond jaune et entre les deux polarités, il y a une multiplicité des formes. Cette peinture abstraite peut représenter un soleil et une lune par les parties jaune et bleu. Les couleurs opposées sont comme le jour et nuit. (Pompidou)

La peinture Jaune-rouge-bleu marque un développement signifiant de la carrière de Kandinsky et l’histoire d’art moderne. La carrière de Kandinsky est caractérisée par un mouvement progressif vers l’expression abstraite. Jaune-rouge-bleu est clairement un exemple du style abstrait de Kandinsky et la peinture représente un achèvement signifiant du développement de l’abstraction, dans la carrière de Kandinsky lui-même et également dans la progression générale de l’art moderne. De plus, l’œuvre exemplifie les liens entre Kandinsky et un mouvement de l’art et de l’architecture moderniste du Bauhaus et la musique de Arnold Schonberg, qui sont parmi tendances les plus remarquables de la première moitié du vingtième siècle.

Quand Kandinsky peint Jaune-rouge-bleu en 1925, il est au beau milieu des expériences artistiques et abstraites. Pourtant, l’œuvre montre que le style de Kandinsky change définitivement du début de sa carrière. Kandinsky, né à Moscou en 1866, commence à étudier l’art à l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris après qu’il abandonne ses études de droit. Il ne commence pas comme peintre abstrait ; ses premiers œuvres ne suggèrent pas qu’il serait considéré un jour « le fondateur de l’abstraction ». Au début, il est influencé principalement par les impressionnistes, les artistes les plus radicaux de la fin du dix-neuvième siècle. Kandinsky raconte que la peinture « Les Meules de foin (1890) » de Monet l’émeuve et que c’était une de ses premières inspirations. De fait, les premiers œuvres de Kandinsky rassemblent Monet et les impressionnistes ; il peint des paysages colorés vivement qui ont une image floue du style de Monet. Ses gros coups de pinceaux rassemblent Van Gogh et ses scènes, qui sont souvent des paysages exotiques, peuvent suggérer Gauguin. Le style de Kandinsky change progressivement pendant sa carrière; le détail de ses paysages devient plus simple. A partir des années 1920, il réduit ses peintures aux éléments les plus fondamentaux de la peinture, la couleur et la forme. Jaune-Rouge-Bleu, comme une peinture caractéristique de l’abstraction de Kandinsky, définie les idées qui va inspirer l’œuvre de Kandinsky jusqu’à la fin de sa vie. Après cette période, il continue à faire des expériences de plus en plus radicales, en cherchant le rapport fondamental entre la couleur et la forme.

La peinture Jaune-rouge-bleu corresponde à un moment spécifique de la carrière de Kandinsky. Quand il peint Jaune-rouge-bleu, il vient de recevoir un poste à l’école de Bauhaus, le centre de ce mouvement de l’art et de l’architecture moderne. Le Bauhaus, sous la direction de l’architecte Walter Gropius, essaie de trouver un style simple et minimaliste de l’architecture et d’enseigner ses principes d’une manière pratique. Selon Gropius, l’architecture doit être caractérisée par la rationalité, et les étudiants doivent apprendre la connaissance d’un artisan. Kandinsky essaie également de réduire les principes d’art aux éléments les plus fondamentaux. Quand il enseigne à Bauhaus, il développe une théorie de forme et de couleur qui reflète ce but de simplicité. Il découvre que les trois couleurs primaires, le jaune, le rouge, et le bleu, correspondent avec un triangle, un carré, et un cercle, les formes les plus simples. La théorie de couleur est aussi liée à ses idées sur le spiritualisme de l’art ; les aspects les plus fondamentaux d’une peinture défient le sens profond et spirituel de l’art. Cet œuvre est une représentation évidente de sa théorie de couleur, fondé sur un triangle jaune, un carré rouge, et un cercle bleu. La peinture est considérée comme un œuvre du mouvement Bauhaus et corresponde ainsi à une période spécifique de la carrière de Kandinsky.

L’œuvre Jaune-rouge-bleu est aussi signifiant dans l’histoire d’art. La peinture marque un achèvement artistique pour Kandinsky et un développement unique de l’histoire d’art. Comme œuvre n’est pas de tout figuratif, la peinture marque le début d’un mouvement nouveau et révolutionnaire. La théorie de couleur de Jaune-rouge-bleu indique l’apogée d’un change historique dans la peinture. Avec le mouvement du romanticisme et les peintres impressionnistes, la couleur joue un rôle plus important vis-à-vis le dessin. Dans cette peinture, le dessin a essentiellement disparu et il ne reste que les formes et les couleurs simples. Donc, la peinture représente au même temps un développement radical et une partie d’une progression logique dans l’histoire d’art.

La peinture Jaune-rouge-bleu démontre le rapport entre le style abstrait de Kandinsky et le développement de la musique moderne. Il est clair que Kandinsky est influencé par la musique chromatique du compositeur Arnold Schonberg. Schonberg est un des compositeurs les plus importants et radicaux du vingtième siècle, et il correspond avec Kandinsky. Schonberg invente le dodécaphonisme, un système de composition musicale où chaque ton de la gamme chromatique a la même importance. Ce système abolit toutes les règles de la musique classique. En effet, Kandinsky fait la même chose avec l’art abstrait et sa théorie de couleur, où les couleurs perdent leur signification traditionnelle et représentative. Jaune-rouge-bleu montre un type d’absurdité et désaccord qui est semblable à la musique de Schonberg. Le dodécaphonisme réduit les compositions aux tons égaux qui sont comme les « couleurs de musique ». Les artistes, écrivains, et compositeurs modernes cherchent tous à abandonner les conventions traditionnelles et réduire l’art aux éléments fondamentaux. Jaune-rouge-bleu, qui exemplifie la théorie de couleur de Kandinsky, montre son rapport avec Schonberg et un mouvement plus général de l’art moderne.

L’œuvre Jaune-rouge-bleu et l’abstraction de Kandinsky a également une influence sur le développement de l’art moderne au vingtième siècle. Comme un des premiers artistes qui peint dans un style qui n’est point figuratif, Kandinsky inspire une génération des peintres abstraits. L’art du vingtième siècle est caractérise par l’abstraction et les expériences de forme et de couleur, comme ceux que Kandinsky fait avec Jaune-rouge-bleu. Kandinsky arrête de représenter des figures réelles et libère les artistes qui viennent après de ce devoir ; cette contribution définie l’idée que l’art n’est qu’une expérience de forme et de couleur.

Bibliographie

1. Centre Pompidou. « Vassily Kandinsky : Rouge-Jaune-Bleu (1925), Pistes pédagogiques », www.centrepompidou.fr/education

2. Fischert, Hartwig and Sean Rainbird, eds. Kandinsky: The path to abstraction. Tate Publishing

3. Friedel, Helmut et Annegret Hoberg. Kandinsky. Citadelles Mazenod, 2009.

4. Gropius, Walter. The New Architecture and the Bauhaus. 1955

5. Kandinsky, Wassily. Du spirituel dans l’art, éd. Denoel, 1989.

6. Kandinsky collections du Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne. Paris, 1998

7. Kandinsky : The Development of an Abstract Style. Rose-Carol Washtong Long, Oxford Studies in the History of Art and Architecture

8. Kandinsky. Editions du Centre Pompidou, Centre national d’art et de culture. Paris, 2009

9. Kandinsky 25. Benefikt Taschen GmbH, 2007.

10. Restany, Pierre. La grande histoire de la peinture moderne : de l’invention de l’abstraction au surréalisme (1910-1930). Editions d’art Albert Skira, 1982.

Susan Sontag : Sur la Photographie

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La monographie de Sontag sur la photographie parait en 1977. La monographie sur la photographie est composé de six chapitres, ou essais, qui forment une progression faiblement lié de la conceptualisation de la photographie de maintenant, quand il est considérée une forme d’art. Sontag suggère que la tension centrale dans l’ensemble de la photographie est celle de l’auto identification. Est-ce que la photographie une pratiqué mimétique ou on utilise une machine de créer des images représentatives ou est-ce que c’est un art, comme la peinture ?

Le titre de ce chapitre est une allusion de la philosophie de Platon mais ce n’est pas discute dans le livre. Dans l’histoire, il a y des poissonniers dans un cave qui regardent les ombres de vrais objets dans le mur de la cave. Les poissonniers pensent que ces ombres sont la réalité.  Sontag a propose l’idée que humanité ne peut voir rien de la vrai monde parce qu’ils ont vu les photographes comme les prisonniers dans la cave. Sontag affirme que depuis l’invention de la photographie en 1839, il y a eu un grand nombre de photographies a été accumulée. La photographie établit la norme de ce qui on veut regarder et ce qui est permis d’être un objet pour inspection. Surement, la photographie a remplacé l’expérience d’interaction du monde. Photographies endroit approprié et de l’identité par l’acte de reproduction mimétique. Aussi, les photographes changent le moyen de nous pensons de la vrai sujet: il est toujours très petit a compare a le sujet dans la photo.

Sontag écris de la photographe d’une preuve définitive. La photo est pri pour prouver que l’évènement a passe en actualité. Les photos sont des preuves sans doute. Ils imposent les standards par art,  culture, et identité. La photographie idéalisent les sujets et rendre les personnes comme les objets. La photographie est une expérience démocratisé parce-ce que les appareils photos sont pas chères, simple d’obtenir, et facile a utiliser.

Beaucoup de personnes ont l’aces de cameras et les personnes avec les enfants sont plus probable de les personnes sans enfants. La photographie est une partie essential de la vie d’une famille. Les touristes utilisent les cameras aussi et ils se souvient leur expériences de voyages. Les touristes anxieuses utilisent la photographie plus. Pour le plupart, ils sont de les cultures qui soulignent la tension émotionnelle et la réussite. Le camera est un méthode de combiner le travaille et de loisirs. Dans la photographie, nous sommes tous les voyeurs des autres. La photographe n’est pas capable d’intervention – on peut seulement fait le documentation ou s’interposer. Donc, les photographes prennent des photos des choses horribles parce qu’ils ne doivent pas faire rien. Sontag pense que cette tactique d’encouragement pour les choses horriblement doivent continue de se passer.

La photographie, bien sur, a été une focus sur la sexualité et parle de la pornographie. Les photos sexuelles et les photos des guerres sont très choques et sont près du thème de l’exploitation dans la photographie. Les photos ne créent pas les morales mais ils renforcent la moralité qui a existe avant. Ils peuvent faire les problèmes avec le publique, mais le texte après va contredire cet déclaration. La sensibilité photographique est absorbée dans la société plus grande et les photos

Sont considérées comme les vus reals du monde parce qu’ils sont mimétiques. Mais, le contrôle est une possibilité avec la modification des photos. Une photo connote le sens d’une chose, mais pas la vraie information de cette chose. C’est juste un moment en temps. Sontag écrit que le photographe est le semblance de viol, mais pas pour les sujets qui ont photographies volontairement. Le chapitre conclu avec l’idée que tout va photographier.

Les chapitres qui suivirent continuer d’examiner la philosophie et les processus de l’histoire de la photographie. Le deuxième chapitre qui s’appelle « Amérique, à Travers le Miroir Obscure » s’agit du milieu social des États-Unis pendant le commencement de la photographie dans les marches commerciaux et les arts. L’humanisme euphorique a transforme du Surréalisme et réalisme grâce a l’abélite du camera a produire les images vitement et pas chers. Elle parle de Man Ray, Benjamin Stone, et beaucoup d’autres photographes célèbres. La prochaine chapitre, « Objets Mélancoliques » est lie avec l’implémentation Surréaliste de la photographie aux États-Unis. Sontag compare la photographie moderne avec les buts des Surréalistes. Les questions de la nature une réalité et la connexion de réalité et les images sont considérées.

Dans «L’Héroïsme de la Vision », les effets de photographie sur le perception. La photographie peut illuminer l’expérience humaine et les méthodes sont examinées. Chapitre cinq, « Evangiles Photographiques », présente une histoire du développement de la photographie et après, le thème du monographie – la nature de la photographie. Le tension entre les deux cotes de la autographie est explore sans une réponse. Un coté considères la photographie comme un processus mécanique qui peut facilement produire les images dépend ables. L’autre coté considère la photographie comme un art qui mérite le louange et inspection. Cet argument ne va pas arrêter. Le chapitre finale, « Le Monde de l’Image »  présent le théorie que les images, pour le plupart des photos, sont équivalents du réalité.

Pete Turner: Color Photography

Push, 1970 Giraffe, 1964

« Colors so vibrant you want to lick them right off the photograph » autre photographe, ami de Turner

Pete Turner est mieux connu comme l’un des premiers maitres de la photographie en couleur.  La photographie en noir et blanc était domine la marche photographique et ca s’appelles monochromes.  Les couleurs dans les photos ajoutent un sens du réalisme. Avant le 19ieme siècle, le couleur était appliqué avec un pinceau directement sur le cliche. Il y a la retouche et rehaut fait avec les aquarelles.

La solution peut être divisé en quatre principales. La méthode de Lippmann n’a pas jamais commercialisée. Dans le procédé additif par transparence est quand on a trois négatifs et trois filtres des couleurs rouge, jaune, et bleu. Avec ses couleurs, on peut recréer toutes les autres couleurs. En 1904, les frères Lumières ont inventés la plaque autochrome. Le procédé dit soustractif de Ducos du Hauron et Cros mélangés des pigments colorés comme dans l ‘imprimerie. C’était conservé avec la pellicule. Ce procédé était perfectionne pour le Kodachrome d’Eastman.

La photographie couleurs est une amélioration de la photographie de la même importance du tirage en négatif/positif, l’instantané et le Polaroid. Ils sont des inventions importantes pour la science et l’art de la photographie. L’apparition de la couleur dans la photographie

Pete Turner est née en Albany, New York en 1934. Il a introduit à la photographie quand il avait sept ans, quand ses parents lui ont donne un appareil photo. Turner a transforme son chambre d’une chambre noire. Il est allé au Rochester Institute de Technologie pour ses études. Il était dans le « Golden Class » avec les autres photographes célèbres comme Bruce Davidson et Jerry Uelsmann. Ses professeurs l’a influence ses pensées beaucoup parce qu’ils sont ouverts aux changements dans l’art de la photographie et le diversité était encourage. Turner a appris avec les professeurs comme Minor White et Les Strobel. Ils ont encourage les étudiants de regarder les peintures aussi et Turner était très influence par René Magritte et Yves Tanguy. Il aime les formes bizarres que Tanguy a utilise dans ses peintures. L’éducation de Turner était un bon commencement de son originalité et esprit d’imagination dans ses travaux.

Apres l’école, Turner était enrôlée au militaire ou il travaille dans le Centre Pictural de l’armée. La, il était donne l’opportunité d’utiliser son expertise photographique. Turner a travaillée au labo de couleur et ca s’inspire son DEDICATION à la qualité des épreintes en couleur. Il a utilise les épreintes de Type C, qui étaient les nouvelles choses dans le monde du photographie. Avant, ils utilisaient les transfères de teintures. C’était l’opportunité pour Turner de grandir son portfolio. (Maher, Bernman)

Apres il a fini son travail avec l’armée, Turner a trouve une merveilleuse métier qui devient le vrai commencement de son carrière. La compagnie d’Airstrem Trailer et le magazine National Géographique engagent le nouveau photographe de documenter le progrès de quarante-trois remorques de Capetown dans l’Afrique du Sud à Cairo en Egypte. Turner était très contente de faire ca et il a fait son tour de l’Afrique pendant sept mois en 1959. Airstream a utilise les images qu’il a pris dans leurs publicités et matériaux pour les promotions, mais National Géographique n’a pas publiée beaucoup de ces photos. (Maher, Bernman)

En 1967, il y avait une exposition de groupe au Metropolitan Museum of Art ou il a exhibiez l’image très célèbre qui s’appelle « GIraffe », qu’il a pris en Kenya dans le caravane.  Quand Turner a retourne de l’Afrique, il avait cette photo magnifique mais c’était un petit peu surexposé et délavé. Il voulait sauver l’image donc il l’a couleriez avec une seule couleur. Mais c’avait l’air de filtrée donc il a changé  le couleur de l’horizon de violet et le ciel de magenta. C’était très controversé parce que les couleurs primaires n’ont pas utilisées souvent dans la photographie.  Ce photo est composés du rouge et magenta. Turner a créé une image puissante avec le manipulassions de la couleur qui n’a jamais vu avant. Les photographes de ce temps ne savaient pas que cette manipulation était possible.

Turner n’a pas accepte un offre de travailler a ce magazine. Il voulait que ses photos être plus grande, donc il a commence avec le travail freelance.  Il était a la chance parce qu’a ce moment la, Horizon a publié ses photos des Ndebele dans une essai de photos et Look a publié une histoire de la cirque, qui Turner a pris les photos pour. La porte ouvrait pour Turner : vitement il travaillait avec beaucoup de magazines et devenait plus et plus connu. (Rohrbach)

Une essaie qu’il a fait pour Esquire était sur un volcan qui a été entrer en éruption en Islande. Turner a documente les effets du volcan sur la ville. Les images étaient tristes mais très belles. Les contrastes du bleu de la ciel, le rouge du lava, et les maisons blanches étaient très vivres et belles. Une image particulière, « New Dawn » présente un sens de l’énormité du volcan. Pour le plupart, les maisons ne sont pas une partie des photographes de volcans. On peut voir la taille actuelle et le vrai pouvoir du volcan. Les couleurs sont extrêmement vivent, qui a créé une sens d’immédiateté et immensité.

Pendant les premières dix années de son travail, Turner ont pris les photos pour les films. Éventuellement, il a bouge vers la publicité. Il a travaille avec les compagnies comme DeBeers, Chrysler, et AT&T. Son expertise dans la saturation de couleur était un vrai avantage de la photographie commerciale. Les couleurs vivent faisant l’emphases les produits et attirer les consommeras. Il a ouvrit une atelier a New York en 1966, ou il commençait faire la photographie plus conceptuelle, inspire par les peintres surréalistes. Il a fait une sérié des portes qui sont inspires par le silence intérieur de De Chirico. (Maher, Bernman)

Aussi, Turner a pris beaucoup de photographes pour sa collection de « Americana », qui sont de tous les endroits aux États-Unis pendant sa vie. Il a collecté des images du moyen Amérique qui sont vivres et brillantes. Turner est toujours regarder le monde comme une nouveau expérience ou il peut trouver des choses uniques et  intéressantes pour photographier. Une image s’appelle « Push » est d’une poubelle qui Turner a trouvé a Floride. La jaune et rouge poubelle était très intéressante pour lui parce qu’il la se trouvait unique, mais il l’a bougé sur la plage. Turner déplacer la poubelle et l’a mis au dessus de la mer et le ciel bleu et claire. La combinaison de l’horizon et les couleurs de la poubelle plastique sont très belles. (Maher, Bernman)

Pete Turner est vraiment une des premières maitres de la couleur et il a cassé tous les règles du temps avant ordinateur. Maintenant il utilise les nouvelles technologies digitales pour être plus précis et créative. Quand il a commence son travail, ce n’était pas normal d’utiliser les filtres de couleur sur les objectives. Pour le plupart, la photographie en couleur était juste pour la publicité. L’utilisation de couleur pour changer le regard d’une image n’était pas populaire.

Le travail de Turner reste maintenant au beaucoup de musées dans leurs collections permanentes.  La Maison Européen de la Photographie, George Eastman House, Métropolitain Museum of Art,  et l’International Center of Photography a new York gardent des images de Pete Turner parce qu’ils sont révolutionnaires et simplement belles. Maintenant il utilise l’Epson pour imprimer ses photos parce qu’il a beaucoup de contrôle sur la qualité de l’image.  Turner n’a pas peur d’essayer des nouvelles technologies et ca c’est pourquoi il est très populaire dans le monde de photographie en couleur.  (Maher, Bernman)

Pete Turner a gagné plus de suces qu’il pensait possible. Dans son site web, il mettes quelques ses photographes pour le publique a regarder et il a publié des livres qui présentes leurs photos variées. Il a publié une livre de l’Afrique et une de ses photos pour les couvres des albums du rock et jazz.

Turner continues de faire le travail commercial, mais ce n’est pas très important pour lui maintenant. Il est plus intéressé dans la photographie de voyager mais il est flexible de faire autres choses. L’énergie d’un enfant qui Turner a est vraiment présentée sur leurs merveilleuses photographes vivantes. Turner a dit, « If you keep your mind open for a new experience, when you’re shooting you can grow and find something new. And I really get a kick out of that (Turner). » C’est cet esprit qui va continuer les belles photographes en couleur de Turner.  (Graber)

Bibliographie

1. Graber, Nicole A. “Pete Turner.” Photo Insider n. pag. Web. 15 Nov 2010. <http://www.photoinsider.com/pages/turner/turner.html&gt;.

2. Turner, Pete. The Color of Jazz. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2006.

3. Maher, Chris, and Larry Bernman. “An Interview with Pete Turner.” Shutterbug Magazine. NOV 2001: Print.

4. Turner, Pete and Massimo Vignelli. African Journey. City: Graphis, U. S, 2001.

5. Rohrbach, John. “Pete Turner: The Dr. No of Color.” Color. JAN 2010: 21-33. Print.

Marina Ambromovic and Monet’s Water Lilies

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, MoMA, New York

Unknown

Invitation to Appreciate and Join

At the Museum of Modern Art, many different kinds of art are displayed and the viewer interacts with each in a different way. In Marina Ambramovic’s piece, “The Artist is Present” consists of Marina Ambramovic and another performer sitting at a simple wooden table across from each other on wooden chairs. She wears a long, red gown and holds a fixed pose and gaze. Her partners, who may take a break whenever they are tired and be replaced by someone else, also hold a fixed gaze, though they appear to be secondary in this piece. Ambramovic specializes in performance art and has been using her own body as subject, object, and medium of her work since the 1970’s.  She specifically chooses to use her body as medium as a tool to visualize the here and now. There are many challenges presented when using your own body as a medium to create art. The artist can only do what is physically possible, whereas a sculptor working with metal or painter working with acrylic paint can create anything imaginable. The performers can only endure for so long and it is impossible to exactly replicate or transport this work.

These challenges are also the opportunities provided by the medium of the artist’s body. This piece is a real situation that is actually happening as we view it. The same feeling could not be created with any other medium. Ambramovic distorts the line between everyday routine and ceremony. The charged space that exists between Ambramovic and the other individual is the content of her work. It is a space where nothing or possibly everything happens.

This piece was set up as an invitation for the viewer to engage in and complete a unique situation. Being positioned in a vast atrium within a square of light, the table and chair set-up is elevated to another level. Visitors are encouraged to sit across from Ambramovic, becoming participants in the artwork rather than remaining spectators. On the wall behind the artist is a tally mark, showing the months of March, April, and May that Ambramovic has and will be performing.  I thought the presentation was unique and interesting and I enjoyed sitting across from the artist and participating in the work. It felt odd to be sitting around a giant square with all these other people staring at two people who were not moving, but I felt the presentation enhanced my viewing of the art. The only thing I would change as the curator would be to make the lighting less bright, so that the table setting seemed more normal, like it could happen everyday.

Since “The Artist is Present” is performance art, it is being produced today in New York and is different than most art being produced right now that is not performance-based. It is not a part or deviant from a specific movement since it is so current. This piece seems to attempt a spiritual merit by elevating the ordinary to another domain, though it is not specifically religious. It comments on social beliefs regarding notions of public and private by making a usually private setting public for all to see. The artist could be attempting to expose private feelings and publicize them for everyone to participate in. These ideas were not clear to me, but after reading the wall text I understood the concepts. I think the curator did a good job in clarifying the ideation behind the work while also leaving some room for the viewer to come up with his or her own opinion of the piece and become a part of it.

The presentation of Monet’s “Water Lilies” is very different than the Marina Ambramovic’s performance art. It is oil paint on three large canvases. Claude Monet used the oil paint to create the impressionist style paintings that captures the feeling of a moment in time opposed to accurately depicting a real scene. The oil paint and canvas provide the perfect medium for Monet’s style and subject, a Japanese style pond covered with water lilies.  The curator puts all of Monet’s water lily paintings in one room, enveloping the viewer in Monet’s vision of controlled natural beauty. There is a large, cushioned bench in the center of the room, where viewers can sit and look at any painting around the room. The three-panel painting that I am focusing on is “displayed at a slight angle in response to Monet’s wish that the paintings encompass the viewer”. The water’s surface fills the expansive composition so that the clues to the “artist’s – and the viewer’s — vantage point are eliminated”. I thought the curator did an excellent job of creating a peaceful environment that made me feel like I was, and really could be, in Monet’s garden in Giverny, France.

Claude Monet painted “Water Lilies” between 1915 and 1926. He was a founder of the French Impressionist movement in painting, which was primarily harshly scrutinized by most art critics. Monet used visible brush strokes, emphasized light, and painted ordinary subjects, including movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience. Monet painted the panels of this triptych near the end of his life while suffering from cataracts at his estate in Giverny, France. He captured a beautiful moment in his private gardens, now being enjoyed by the public. Mostly informing the viewer about Monet’s garden, the curator gives a satisfactory amount of information regarding the ideation of this piece, but Monet this work does not seem to be associated with any philosophical idea, political implications, or religious affiliations.

Monet painted this piece at his home in remote northern France as an Impressionistic depiction of the beauty he observed in his garden. He focused on these gardens as subjects as his paintings for twenty years, so they were clearly very important to him. The viewer can look at these paintings separately or grouped together like at the MOMA. Monet’s “Water Lilies” simply provides a “balm for the modern soul”, giving freethinkers a place to enjoy beauty.  Both Ambramovic and Monet provide the viewer with a piece of art and we are invited to enjoy it and become part of it.