Central African Art Exhibit

For my exhibit I chose African art because it is very interesting and it is a direct reflection of the culture of the people.  I chose art from 1800-1900 and most of what I found are sculptures and carvings in wood or other materials. The African people created sculptures as illustrations of family, spirituality, or some sort of power.  Their art contains many symbols, as even the smallest detailes in the carvings have strong meanings. It is neat to see how the different cultures, even within Africa have different styles of representation.  I chose three sculptures from three different groups within Central Africa. Enjoy!

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Standing Male and Female Figures

The first piece I have chosen is a wood carving from The Democratic Republic of Congo; Tabwa.  It was created during the 1800’s from wood and beads.  The piece is a depiction of a couple from Lake Tanganyika.  They are respected ancestors of a Tabwa ruler.  Sculptures such as this are to represent enduring dynastic power and were passed down from generation to generation.  Every detail including the markings on the faces have meaning.  The beading around the neck, wrists, and ankles shows great character, and making someone into a sculpture indicated intelligence and wisdom.  Tabwa people usually didn’t wear much clothes, but jewelry was important to them. The woman’s waist belt is passed down from elders and symbolizes ancestral continuity and family identity.

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Reliquary Figure

The second piece I chose is also a sculpture, but a little different from the first as it is made of wood, metal, and oil patina.  This piece comes from the “Fang peoples” of Gabon, Africa in the early 1900’s.  These people obtain a “communal cohesiveness” nowadays through an ancestral cult called bieri.  Fang people have certain qualities that they praise in people, and reliquary figures exhibit these traits.  Tranquility, vitality, and the ability to hold opposites in balance are the most important.  The sculptures usually have a face with no expression and a body that has lots of muscle and stregnth.  The bangles around the neck, wrists, and ankles are meant to show spiritual power.  Even very old reliquary figures still give off the oil from their original treatment.

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Figure

This piece comes from the Bangwa peoples in Cameroon, Africa.  It was most likely created in the early 19th century.  This is just one example of the many freestanding sculptures they created of leaders, known as lefem.  The sculptures are documents of dynastic lines of leadership and have great importance.  The stance of the ruler shows authority and identity.  The figure is wearing a prestige hat and in his hands are a long tobacco pipe and a beaded vessel that would contain wine, which is an imporant part of social and political meetings. There is a collar of leopard claws around his neck that symbolizes the leopard which is the royal alter ego.  It is one of the most sacred animals to these people and it shares many characteristics with the leader such as strength, speed and power.  This piece was created from wood, pigment and encrustation and it is well-maintained and kept in the king’s palace.

The sculptures of Central Africa have a very unique look that is distinguishable between cultures.  I really liked comparing these pieces with those of American culture; very different, but really enjoy both!

 

WORKS CITED:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1978.412.441

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1978.412.591,2

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1978.412.576 

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Unique Media Exhibit

The theme I chose is post modern art that is created out of very unique media.  Art has changed so much since some of the earlier styles such as the Italian and Northern Renaissances.  Most early art was paint on a canvas or on the walls and ceilings of buildings.  Sculptures made of materials such as marble, limestone, granite were the norm.  Today, art comes in a plethera of forms and is made out of countless materials that weren’t even thought of in earlier times.  Artists today express themselves in so many ways and I believe it makes art much more tangible.  More people can relate to different kinds of art and I have chosen six different examples that display this.

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Business man Bubblegum sculpture – 2009

This sculpture was created by Maurizio Savini in 2009.  He is an Italian artist who has created other pieces from gum including a life-size buffalo and a grizzly bear.  Savini says that bubblegum is a much more versatile medium to use than traditional art usually is.  The bubblegum is warm when he works with it, and he compares it to working with clay.  I love these kind of unique art pieces because not only is it fascinating to look at, but imagining the work put it, and the tens of thousands of pieces of gum used is really incredible.  The very aesthetically pleasing sculptures are are sold for around $ 65,000.00.

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Rafting – 2012

This creation was made by Julian Beever in 2012.  The British artist known as the “Pavement Picasso” creates incredible works on sidewalks with chalk.  His different works include 3D illusions and non 3D illusions.  The 3D pieces must be viewed from a certain angle in order to be seen correctly.  This particular piece is of a rushing river and a real raft with people inside is “in” the river.  It looks very real and it so cool.  I have seen pieces such as this before by Beever and each one is not only a beautiful piece of art but it is so real-looking.  The fact that these creations are short lived makes them so much more special.

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Giraffe – 2000

A more recent type of art becoming popular is art with a human canvas.  Body paint has become very popular and the kind of results are crazy and realistic.  This is a giraffe on a human hand created by an Italian artists named Guido Daniele.  The artist used the natural shape of the hand and arm to create the illusion of the animal on the body.  I love how the artist uses the naturalness of a body to make works that really look beautiful.  There are many other examples on the website and I urge you to check them out!

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Favorite Heroes –  2011

This piece was created by Don Morris who is an American artist born in Louisiana.  He uses many comic books to create his pieces and he says “Although there are many aspects of my work that can be intellectualized, the fundamentals still require aesthetic sense”.  I completely agree.  This piece appears to be very well thought out and I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into one.  I would love to look at one of these pieces up close to see if some of the comic is still readable.  I can see the pattern of design in the piece and each bit of the comics fit together perfectly.

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Watermelon –  2008

I think food can be made into art so easily.  Food in its natural state such as fruit and vegetable are beautiful and taking it to the next level by playing up their natural features is awesome.  Takashi Itoh carved this watermelon and other watermelons into many different elaborate designs.  He taught himself how to carve the fruit, and within a few weeks he had it mastered.  A carving takes an average amount of 90 minutes.

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Rendition of The Scream – 2010

This is a piece created by a self-taught artist named Mark Langan.  He uses corregated cardboard pieces to created recycled sculptures that are hand drawn; no computers or technology. Cutting, layering, and gluing individual pieces with nontoxic glue makes these works completely environmental friendly.  I think that recycled art has a lot of character because it has history and a new beginning.  With recycling becoming so widespread, it is becoming involved in art a lot more.

WORKS CITED:

 

http://listverse.com/2008/12/07/11-artists-working-in-unusual-media/ 

– http://www.infoseek.co.jp

– http://www.julianbeever.net

– http://donmorrisart.com/donmorrisart.com/HOME.html

– http://www.guidodaniele.com

– http://www.langanart.comb

 

 

Blog # 6 Early Modern Influences

Blog # 6 Early Modern

Untitled piece by Hans Arp

I chose three different works of art to analyze that show the influence of WW1, Innovations in science and technology, and the influence of African Americans:

WW1

The Dada movement began around 1916 in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and intellectuals as a result of World War 1. The people involved in this movement were completely against the war. They believed tradition is what caused the war, so tradition should be rejected. They turned to art, which in this case was not predetermined and was completely based off of chance. “Dada” is ment to imitate the first words of a child, and the group was intrigued by the idea of childishness and “absurdity”. Francis Picabia, a famous artist during the time stated, “DADA, as for it, it smells of nothing, it is nothing, nothing, nothing.” To me this just means that it is non-traditional. The art can’t be predicted and it doesn’t mean anything; it completely breaks the mold. The piece I chose to represent this style of art is one Hans Arp’s chance collages. He would stand above a piece of paper and drop smaller, colored squares of paper down and glue them where they landed. This is something no one could predict, even the artist himself. This really goes against traditional art in the way that it was created and the way it turned out. This piece also represents “anti-art”, which is what Dada wanted to be.

Bauhaus

Bauhaus Chair

Science and Technology

The Bauhaus was a design school created in Germany in 1919.  The school was directed by Walter Gropious and the focus was to interconnect art, science, and technology so there was nothing dividing art, architecture and functional objects.  Machine made creations became increasingly popular and the Bauhaus was at the head of this. It helped steer the design world in the total opposite direction. The purpose was to serve normal people with the idea that form follows function.  Bauhaus furniture was very simple and light and was just enough to satisfy the needs of the consumer.  Steel, glass, bent wood, leathers and plastic were used to create the furniture and colors were dark and non-vibrant.  My example of bauhaus art was a Marcel Breuer chair created in 1928.  This is the perfect picture of modernism and functionalism.  The chair is nothing fancy or special, and does just was it was created to do; be a chair for someone to sit on.  The chair appears to be made from steel.  It has machine-made straight cuts and welding.

Influence of African Americans

American Jazz is based on the influence of African Americans.  The rhythms and vocal music of Western Africa was the basis of the music in three main ways: Call and response, Syncopation and Timbre.  Call and response is an alternation between leader and chorus and it is a defining characteristic of African American music.  Also unique to African American music is syncopation, which is the choosing of where to put melodic elements over the beats that are underlying.  The last big difference between African American and European music is Timbre, which gives the music a rich and dense quality. Ragtime is a form of Jazz music through which The Maple Leaf Rag came, written by Scott Joplin in 1899.  Hundreds of thousands of copies were sold as it became one of America’s first pop hits.  It was an exciting and contagious sound that changed music and would be an influence for many years to come. Without any big meaning or unlying message, this song shows the influence of American Americans in a huge way.  Scott Joplin was African American himself, and through the use of the musical rythhms from Western Africa, he was able to create a piece of music that the world will never forget.

 http://www.museumfurniture.com/bauhaus/

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UEWw8eCH20

– http://www.dadart.com/dadaism/dada/021-dada-zurich.html

– http://www.theartstory.org/movement-dada.htm

– http://music.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/9905_ragtime/

– http://northbysouth.kenyon.edu/1998/music/rhythm/rhythm.htm

My View of Impressionism

Impressionism was a huge change in the arts during the Romantic era.  The paintings depicted “a fleeting moment, an impression”.  The artists used loose brush strokes, sketchy lines, and spots of colors that blended together.  This kind of art was very non-traditional, as the artists liked to focus on light, pleasantness, and activities of upper and middle classes.

Although I think that Impressionism can be very beautiful and pleasant just as it is described, I am a much bigger fan of the earlier works such as Romantic paintings specifically, and art produced from the Hudson River School.  I enjoy more detailed paintings personally, and find the beautiful landscapes of the Hudson River School and the elegant paintings of Rococo style to be more pleasing to my eyes. I am not saying that I hate Impressionism, in fact I do like it.  I just probably wouldn’t prefer to hang a painting of that style in my home.

To me, Impressionism looks sort of dreamy and far away like Impression: Sunrise, by Claude Monet.  There is nothing to look at in detail and no faces to interpret.  I enjoy looking at the faces of people in styles such as still lifes in the Baroque era, and earlier Romantic era art.  Examples of these are The Milkmaid, by Jan Vermeer (genre painting) and the Pre-Raphaelite painting Proserpine, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

An aspect of Impressionism I do enjoy however, is the subject matter.  I like how it steers away from the traditional paintings of religious themes and history because times were changing and more modern art needed to arise.  Impressionism moved away from most everything that artists knew up until that point and led the way to many new forms of art.

Impression: Sunrise By: Claude Monet

Impression: Sunrise
By: Claude Monet

The Milkmaid By Jan Vermeer

The Milkmaid By Jan Vermeer

Proserpine By: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Proserpine
By: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Works Cited:

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2011/03/03/the-basics-of-art-the-romantic-period/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Raphaelite

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ihas/icon/hudson.html

http://www.drloriv.com/Tips/ID/22/What-is-Impressionism

The Growing Economic Power of the Middle Class in the 1700’s

I chose the topic “The Growing Economic Power of the Middle Class in the 1700’s” because I found so many pieces and different works that fit into the category and it stuck out the most to me.  This category effected basically every form of popular art at that time including theater, visual art, and music.  The power of the middle class was growing rapidly during the 1700’s partly because of the invention of the Encyclopedia, which gave them access to much more knowledge.  The middle class didn’t agree with the arts that were going on at that time because they thought it to be immoral and self-serving.  Everything seemed to be about money and aristocrats and nothing of moral virtue.  Because of this knowledge and power, the arts had to shift to meet their specific desires because of the control they were gaining in the economy.

Created by Jacques-Louis David in 1793 in France

Created by Jacques-Louis David in 1793 in France

The first piece I chose (Above) is the Oath of Horatti, created by Jacques-Louis David in 1793 in France.  This painting is a great example of the influence of the Middle class because it is an huge change from Rococo style.  The middle class wanted art that had moral virtue instead of just paintings of aristocrats and “self-serving” acts.  This kind of art was called Neoclaccism  David depicted this through the self-sacrifice of the Horatti brothers, and the duty to their state during the war.  The brothers are standing before their father and swearing their allegiance.  This painting shows what the ideal soldier should look like: moral, Roman Ideals and sacrificing.

Created by Angelica Kauffman in 1785 in England

Created by Angelica Kauffman in 1785 in England

This second painting that I chose to represent the growing power of the middle class is Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures.  This was done by Angelica Kauffman in 1785.  I chose this to compare to the Oath of Horatti because it shows the Neoclassical style of art from a different angle, in this case from a woman’s standpoint.  After reading more on this piece I found that it is comparing the middle-class to the upper-class specifically.  The woman in the red is showing Cornelia (the one in the white) all the treaures her husband brought back to her from his travels.  She was very proud of these gifts and asked Cornelia what treasures she had.  Cornelia then gathered her children and said “Here are my treasures”.  This is saying that family and relationships are much more important that money and material goods.  I believe this painting is putting the aristocrats and upper class members down in a way.  Cornelia is expressing the foolishness of the woman’s love for material goods.

The last piece of work I chose is The Beggar’s Opera, by John Gay in 1728 in England.  This opera is not the typical opera one would see before the 1700’s.  It is much more directed to the average, middle class person.  There were tunes that could be easily identified and lyrics that were not only understandable, but something that those of the middle class could relate to.  Most of the characters were “beggars” or normal people.  The play focused on how every level of society was corrupt.  The central theme revolved around politics, poverty, and injustice (wikipedia) which really was a direct reflection of the rise of the power of the middle class.

WORKS CITED:

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2E7p59sRvQ

– http://uncgartgrads.blogspot.com/2008/04/cornelia-mother-of-gracchi-pointing-to.html

– http://www.thecaveonline.com/APEH/horatti.html

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beggar%27s_Opera

 

George Frideric Handel : The Messiah

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany in 1685. He was raised in a religious household and was clearly a prodigy; teaching himself to play the organ at age 11. He grew up in the church and composed music when he was asked, many of the times it was operas for Royals. He was named music director of the Royal Academy of Music in Germany in 1720 until in closed years later. Handel became more interested in Oratorios around 1730 when producing operas began to take a toll and the audience’s tastes began to shift.

The world-famous English Oratorio Messiah was composed by Handel in 1741. This famous piece was created during the Baroque era and first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742. This piece is now recognized by many as a Christmas song, but is so much more than a simple holiday tune. The song is broken up into 3 parts. The first dramatizes the expectancy of the messiah coming and the prophecy. The second part is when the messiah actually does come and the ressurection. There is a bit of sorrow in some of the choruses to depict the Lord’s suffering. He interprets this through solemn and grave tunes. Handel used such a wide range of emotions to really make the audience feel each note. He was able to compose the music to stimulate and interpret these emotions. The third part of the Oratorio is after the Messiah has come and gone and about life after death. The famous Hallelujah Chorus is in this part.

This Oratorio is over three hours long, so many of us don’t know what the full piece sounds like. The tension builds and builds throughout the piece and just explodes at the end with the beautiful Hallelujah Chorus that we are all familiar with. Listening to this piece online with an actual choir and intruments is absolutely thrilling. The majestic choruses and solos make this piece so moving. What I find very interesting is that majority of the chords are in “D”. If you listen, King of Kings…Lord of Lords and other parts of the song are all in the same key. I am curious to know why Handel did this and how he was able to make the same key sound so dynamic.

The Baroque era was filled with music that was “overly exagerrated and ornamated”. This was some of the richest and diverse times in the history of music. Clearly this piece was related to religion and it was some what related to the Council of Trent in that is was very straight forward and accessible, and the lyrics are clearly understood. Handel also had influence from Royalty as he is well known for composing for many monarchs and other royalty.

Sources Cited:

http://www.allmusic.com/composition/messiah-oratorio-hwv-56-mc0002361579

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/The-Glorious-History-of-Handels-Messiah.html