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Intro.What is Art?

Presentation on 1st class...query on what is art?

Lora Davis

on 18 January 2011

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Transcript of Intro.What is Art?

What is Art?
An indispensable feature of art is its ability to convey information...to communicate!
Visual art is a combination of man's cognitive and evaluative attitudes
his reactions to reality
recorded in words, colors, shapes and forms.
Why educate for the arts?
1. art education develops self awareness
through art education a child gains a sense of himself and the world around him/her
2. art education supports the telling of stories...yours, mine and ours
through art education students develop the ability to see meaning in the work of others
and understanding in the world of others
3. art education develops skills...the skill of making cognitive and physical meaning from
4. quality art education introduces students to a wide range of art... from museums and
concert halls to works created in community centers, hospitals, schools, colleges,
urban streets, local coffee shops or the home computer and the world wide web.
Art may be about...
1. Representation:
The function of a work of art may be to represent portions of reality.
2. Illustration:
The function of a work of art may be to illustrate ideas and/or situations.
3. Edification and/or Persuasion :
The function of a work of art may be to edify (make understand) and/or idea
or persuade
4. Beautification:
The function of a work of art is to embody beauty
5. Catharsis:
The function of art is to be a purging of emotions about a specific subject for the
6. Self-expression:
The function of art is to express an idea of the artist
7. Emotional Evocation:
The function of art is to evoke emotion in society
8. Meaningful-World:
The function of a work of art is to convey artistic meaning, a special sort of meaning,
by embodying a meaningful-world.,,meant to enlighten society
The Wainwright Building
Aztec calendar
The Elements of Art-
Michangelo's "David"
DiVinci's "Mona Lisa"
Harriet Hosmer "Zenobia in chains"
Body Art-
Sidewalk Art-
Product Design-
New York Armory Show:
BMW Museum
Winslow Homer "Incoming Tide"
Is it sculpture?
Is it painting?
Is it artifacts?
Is it products?
Is it architecture?
Rouen Cathedral
Lange's "Migrant Worker"
Steiglitz "Georgia O'Keefe
Is it photography?
Is it a landscape?
Can it be abstract or must it be realistic?
Is it a portrait?
Hastings Book of Hours
Can it be already made...
........ "ready-made"?

representational or non-representational???
DuChamp "Bottle Dryer"
According to your text:
"Today the definition of art also depends on the intention of the creator
and those who commissioned the work and on the anticipated role of the creation."
Also...."It relies, too, on the response of the viewers-both today and at the historical time when the work was created."
What role does art history
play in understanding a work
of art?
art history helps us to answer questions about a work in the context of history...
such as when and how the work was done and what was happening politically, socially
and economically at that time
The relationship between art and nature
cultural mores play an important role in the type or style of work accepted and/or appreciated at the time...the oldest record of a trompe l’oeil painting is the
often told story (characters and work changed depending on the time)...
in the 5th century BCE, of Greek painters Zeuxis and Parrhasios. It seems they challenged each other to a competition to prove whose work was the most realistic...
Zeuxis painted a picture of grapes so accurate that birds flew down to peck at them
and when it was Parrhasios turn, Zeuxis ask him to remove the curtain hanging over the picture. Parrhasios gladly agreed and pointed out that the curtain was part of his painting. At that....
Zeuxis agreed that Parrhasios had won since he had only fooled the birds with his painting of grapes but Parrhasios had tricked the intelligence artist.
Spelt and Mieris. Flower Piece with
Curtain. 1658
Styles of Representation
1. naturalism- a style of work in which the physical apprearance of an image is the primary importance
2. abstraction/abstract- art that does not represent observable aspects of nature or chooses to exaggerate characteristics of an object or idea.
Georgia O'Keefe. Red Canna. 1924
3. nonrepresentational- art that does not
depict a recognizable form
David Smith. Hudson River. 1951
How to read a label...
Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962
Synthetic polymer paint on thirty-two canvases, Each canvas 20 x 16" (50.8 x 40.6 cm).
Andy Warhol, American, 1928-1987
The Human Body as Idea and Ideal
Many times artists have depicted the human body for their own ideal and
ideas. Popular culture is obsessed with the human body. Who's the latest celebrity to gain weight or lose weight...*culture of proportion
but who's to say "what's ideal"?
Venus of Willendorf
Michelangelo. David
outer beauty vs. inner beauty
what is valued in one culture may
be devalued in another
Angelica Kauffmann. Cornelia Pointing to Her Children as Her Treasures . 1785
William Hogarth. The Marriage Contract. 1743-1745.
The National Gallery, London
An attempt to answer these questions is called aesthetics.
Aesthetics considers the nature of beauty and art.
Where do our ideas of beauty and art come from...
or...what did the Greeks say??

Aristotle and Plato considered art and beauty but came to
different "truths" about the subject
Aristotle thought artwork should be evaluated on the ability to imitate nature.
Duane Hanson. The Shoppers. 1976
cast vinyl, polychrome in oil with accessories, life-size
Plato thought that you could never truly imitate nature...why bother...
he thought art should focus on the ideals in society.
ex. perfection was in symmetry, in proportion, knowledge, truth.
Plato thought that nature in it's self was ideal so any effort to reproduce this was wasted
Why do we need art?
According to your text...
"Biologists account for the human desire for art
by explaining that human beings have very large
brains that demand stimulation...in fulfilling our need to understand and our need to communicate, the arts serve a vital function."
Is this what James Hampton was doing?
James Hampton. Throne of the Third
Heavens' Millennium General Assembly. 1950-1964. Gold and silver aluminum foil, colored Kraft paper, and plastic sheets over wood, paperboard, and glass. Smithsonian American Art Museums. Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C.
What I am telling you about now is iconograpy. Iconography is the
interpertation and meaning of a work
Art and the sociopolitical climate
Patrons and artists have used art to promote individual
and group interests
Shepard Fairey
In 1932, after seeing some of Rivera’s murals, Nelson Rockefeller asked if he would be interested in painting a mural in the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. Interestingly, Picasso and Matisse were also asked but both refused the offer. Rivera himself initially rejected the invitation. But Rockefeller finally persuaded Rivera to accept

In 1933, Rivera began his work. The painting, Man at the Crossroads, was to depict the social, political, industrial, and scientific possibilities of the twentieth century. In the painting, Rivera included a scene of a giant May Day demonstration of workers marching with red banners with the clear portrait of Lenin leading the demonstration.

Rockefeller showed his concern over Rivera including a portrait of the Russian revolutionary leader in his mural. Nelson Rockefeller told Rivera that while the portrait was beautifully painted, it might easily offend a great many people. He asked the painter to remove Lenin’s face and substitute it with some unknown man. Rivera’s assistants told him that if he removed the head of Lenin, they would go on strike. Rivera agreed with his assistants and told Rockefeller that Lenin’s head would stay but that he would be glad to add the head of some great American leader, such as Lincoln, to another section of the mural.

As both sides could not reach an agreement, he was ordered to stop and the painting was covered and destroyed in February of 1934. That same year, Rivera used the money from the Rockefellers to create a mural for the Independent Labor Institute that had Lenin as its central figure.

Rivera was still determined to complete a version of his Rockefeller mural, but in a different place. His new version of the painting, entitled Man, Controller of the Universe, was done in Mexico City upon his return. The painting included both Lenin and Leon Trotsky.

Rivera also went on to paint his “Portrait of America” murals in the New Workers School in New York City. The work symbolized the heroes of American history and included such figures as Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Emerson and Thoreau, Walt Whitman and John Brown.
Theo Jansen
This is an example
of Kinetic Sculpture
Kinetic Art
Jean Tinguely fountain

Jean Tinguely (1925-1991) was a Swiss artist (painter and sculptor) who is best known for his kinetic sculptor in the DaDa style. Kinetic sculptor is sculpture that has metamechanices (moving parts). Tinguely is best known for his sculpture "Homage to New York" which was made up of recycled parts and staged to self-destruct. However, this did not happen...instead the sculpture caught on fire and was dismantled by the New York Fire Dept.
Enter artist, Jean Tinguely
Pour Kouki, Jean Tinguely, 1987, Mixed Media, painting and collage on paper, h: 38.5 x w: 70 cm / h: 15.2 x w: 27.6 in , Jody Klotz Fine Art & Damien Boquet Art
Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)
Eagle Head, Manchester, Massachusetts (High Tide), 1870
Oil on canvas; 26 x 38 in. (66 x 96.5 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. William F. Milton, 1923 (23.77.2)
Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)
The Gale, 1883–93
Oil on canvas; 30 1/4 x 48 1/4 in. (76.8 x 122.7 cm)
Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, Museum Purchase (1916.48
Author Elizabeth Stout discusses two Winslow Homer paintings on Itunes....
Van Gogh
...bench, chair and
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