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First of all, I just want to warn all of you people, that I’m running on no sleep so this entry might get a little weird. Or it might not. It’s just a warning. Also, I will be ranting about hipsters.
To be blunt, art in “popular culture” is bullshit, because honestly, the whole definition of “art” and “artist” has changed.
You have your Urban Outfitter carbon copy hipster kids who all think they’re photographers because they took a picture of a very skinny girl with a Native American headdress with their oh-so-trendy Polaroid OneStep SX70 Land Camera, desaturated it, wrote lyrics to some song that they like on top of it, and uploaded it to their Flickr.
You have your pseudo-intellectual Frasier Craine types who see something expensive in a small boutique that looks like it was made in some faraway African tribal community and you think how awesome it would look in your loft.
You have your people who think food photography is “selling out” and would rather sit there in a studio for seventeen straight hours photographing skin or something completely irrelevant, just so people think you’re “abstract” or saying something important.
No, these are not definitively artists. An artist is someone who makes a living off of being artistic. That’s an artist. It’s a job. Why else would you pump thousands and thousands of dollars into school to learn how to become one. I don’t care if someone told you that if you express yourself you are an artist, or if you are creative you are an artist, or if you smoke so much salvia that you nearly travel to different dimensions and then write about it that you’re an artist. No, that’s called being artistic. Most people are artistic. Not everyone, I realize. Some people’s creative and fun-loving beauty-seeing souls have been murdered by corporate America (or something), but I guarantee that everyone can be artistic if they want to be.
If you were an artist, in this economy, you wouldn’t use a Polaroid camera at parties for anything other than the sake of being artistic because it’s completely ridiculous. If you make a living off of your art, chances are, in this economy, you simply don’t have the cash to throw down, what is it? $30 for a pack of 10 exposures.

Go home.

I can only speak for photography because that is basically the kind of art I have been immersed in for the past 3 years, and I only really know of the fake-ness in my area of study, but I do know that that specifically makes me angry.
I hate going on Tumblr and posting something genuinely beautiful that I spent tons of time and effort on, only to get looked over because the millionth person has to reblog that pretentious photo of that pretty delicate girl on a bike that was made before her parents even dreamed of having children for the millionth time.

Also, when I was a small Freshie here at Columbia, I had to take Fundamentals of 2D Design. Nevermind that it was the worst class I have ever taken in my entire existence, but one thing happened in that class that happens again and again in the “art community” that will never cease to make me angry, and that is teaching the “correct way” to “do art”. She told me that it is generally uninteresting and unartistic to stick things in the center of an image I am creating. Since when? Hasn’t that “oh, I’m at the side of the frame, looking off into the distance, smoking a cigarette” pose been done to death?

Could you look a little more prententious for me please? Thanks...

I feel like I want to do an entire project in her honor where I just stick crap in the middle of the frame and make it work. I feel like that works! How come in the popular modern art world that is considered wrong? You know what, I like the middle of the frame just fine. You know who usually puts things in the center of the frame? People who photograph ads. Do you want to know what photographers make a living? Photographers who photograph ads. Do you know what an artist is? It is someone whose job (as in making a living) is in art.

Center!

Center!

ART IN POP CULTURE.. for real????

I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. This era is a direct example of bull##it  art!!  It’s like if in the 90’s my generation (in response to Desert Storm and the hip hop wars)  started making all of these art forms with high top fades and air jordans??????  COME ON!! I think in every generation there is a ‘Pop Culture’.. or a way of doing something at a particular time.  And I think whatever those things are, rather it be in regards to style of music or dress; it is a form of ART. Because someone from that time came up with it, even if they were adding on to another culture from another time. I do enjoy art from the pop culture because it is poking fun to the new and technical way of doing things.

This is a very interesting topic. I’m trying to figure out how to start my comment. Okay, well. Here goes. Art has been influenced by politics for as long as politics has been in existence. I can make an educated guess and say that Art came before politics. Therefore, the knowledge of how Art generates emotions in humans; and how emotions can influence human decisions, was well known when politicians and even religious heads began to use it for themselves.  Art is funny that way. It can represent pure innocent yet confused inner feelings of an artist or it can represent the premeditated skill used by the unseen to persuade a naive passersby. It is a fact that many countries have paid their home artists with if not monetary wealth, indeed fame and prestige, in order to persuade them to represent an idea or thought  of their liking. This is very personal to me because it reminds me of the musical struggles that I face. There is an unseen hand that wants me to write songs that are not only vulgar in nature but evokes negative emotions and chaos. In exchange for these type of songs, I have promises of great wealth and such. To be an artist in that position is what creates suicides and inner turmoil. Thats what I have to say about that.

MELANIE BROWNFIELD

If you really think about it, I can’t think of two “jobs” that are more interconnected. Politics and art are, essentially the same thing. Let me explain myself.
What is art? What does it try to do? Art is a means in which a person expresses their feelings about the world around them. It could be something as simple as a beautiful postcard with the Hawaiian islands on it. The artist is trying to show you that Hawaii is a great place to vacation. The more complex you get, it’s still all the same. If the artist thinks their government is unfair, they might paint their president in a less than flattering light. Either way, the artists job is to express themselves in a way that impacts the world around them, so if they, for example, hate president Bush, they might make a song about how much he sucks (or sucked, for that matter) or paint a picture of him looking more like a money than he already does. The artist will try to impart their beliefs onto their audience. That is the whole point of art. It’s not to make money, that would be a bad reason to get into the art community. It’s not merely to express oneself, you could just do that in private and just expressing yourself is a lot like, and I’m going to quote Dennis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,
“It is like flipping through a stack of photographs. If I’m not in any of them and nobody is having sex, I just don’t care.”
If you are making art merely for self expression, it’s not going to affect (or is it ‘effect’? I never know) anyone but the artist. The point of art is the change the world by changing the minds of other people. That is what an artist should be striving for.
A politician does the same thing. Whether or not a politician believes in what he/she is saying or promising, that politician is going to do their best to change the mind of the voters to be on their side. A politician would never just run for President because they feel like it. No, they do it because they feel the need to change their community. It’s for the best of the people (or at least, it should be).
Basically, politicians and artists are in the same business- changing their world for the better.

Whats most funny about this blog post is the fact that I had to look up the word ‘contemporary’ in the dictionary. I have gone through life reading this word on numerous publishes and artwork, but never really knew what it meant. Well, passing the knowledge on, it means “of the same era”.
The non western artist that I am blogging about is Senegalese, Fode Camara from the 1980’s and early 90’s. During this time, his work had been whispered throughout Europe and Africa, however in 2001, he was first featured in a American art gallery in New York. The first painting that you see is called, “Ya Bon #IV”. It is a beautiful and bold acrylic on canvas painting. Its vivid reds, oranges, and yellow remind me of fire. The man in the picture is a rather robust man who is definitely large and powerful. He wears a seemingly fashionable hat and devilish smile. Maybe the smile seems devilish because of the hot colors Camara used as well as the shadows created in the face of the man.
The second painting of Camara shown in the blog is called, “Witnesses Passing in Turn”. This painting is also acrylic on canvas, and also continues to follow the artist’s abstract expressionistic style. This is my favorite painting of Camara because it is so mysterious. He continues to use his bold and rich colors to make a statement, but what statement? The canvas is divided into three sections. The five hands or maybe witnesses are spread over two of the three sections. These hands are also lined up against a white background. The most interesting hand is off on his own, surrounded by the color red. Has he committed some kind of crime? I also wonder what the black section of the painting represent.
Camara is a great thinker and abstract painter. I hope to see more of his work in the next century.

Sorry this took so long, I’m the worst student of all time when under stress.

Still-Life with Dead Game, Fruits, and Vegetables in a Market
Frans Snyders, 1614
Oil on canvas, 212 x 308 cm

This has always been one of my favorite paintings at the Art Institute. Every time I visit, I make a point to stop by and see it. I just feel that in terms of being influential, it carries the same style that I always try to incorporate into my photographs. I really like busy scenes, and not just as in a bustling French marketplace on a nice morning, I mean like this painting. A fairly overlooked scene in real life usually has so much going on. What strikes me about this artwork has always been three specific things. The first thing is that I love the rich tones of the paint. Look at the blue in the pheasant (or whatever bird it may actually be, I don’t know, I’m not a bird expert). It plays so nicely off of the red of the man and the chickens at the bottom. The second thing his how much the man who slaughtered all of these animals looks like Santa. It has always seemed like a really snarky anti-PETA advertisement. I have always loved Santa’s pose. It’s like he’s saying, “Howdy do, young Frans, how are you this nice morning? Oh you want to paint me? How do I pose, like this?” The third thing is how beautiful the dead swan is (or really any of the animals for that matter). They’re all so delicately posed, like they’re barely lifeless.
Also, if you notice, there’s a little boy pick-pocketing Santa. And also, there’s a cat hiding somewhere. This is all relevant to how much I enjoy the “busy” aspect of this painting.
The scale of the painting also helps. It’s so lifelike because it is so huge. It’s about 7×10 feet, and when you walk right up to it, it’s just about real size relevant to you, as in, Santa is life size.
In terms of interpretation of the work, I cannot really give one. It does happen to be a pretty straight-forward painting, just with a lot of Easter eggs. I don’t think the painting is speaking to the audience as a social commentary about meat and game and how we eat too much as a society and how cruel it is to slaughter all of these animals for our personal comfort. I really do just think it’s a painting illustrating the subtle beauty of a random marketplace tabletop on a random day in a random town. But that’s how I view it. In a cheesy way, it reminds me of my admission paper I wrote to get into this school. It was a long time ago, but I basically wrote my paper about the concept of when to “push the shutter” (I’m a photography major) and how that can make or break an image. This painting illustrates that for me, that being a true artist isn’t about knowing how to paint and knowing about perspective (although I’m sure that helps), it’s really about knowing when to capture an image in time.


Sunil Das is an expressionist painter from Calcutta, India. He is most famous for his painting series on bulls, as seen posted above. Honestly, I was just researching artists from non-western culture because I realized there wasn’t a whole lot of Japanese or African art that really interested me and I just happened to stumble upon Das. I have always really loved Indian art as a whole, but no specific artist, just the colorful complexity of Indian paintings has always drawn me in. But there’s something about the simplicity of these paintings. I have always been attracted to bold colors and strange and sketchy looking drawings. The horse painting I find very creepy, actually. It reminds me of the cover and illustrations by Stephen Gammell. of that ghost story book that we all had or at least saw when we were younger, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Here are some images below from those books.

The most interesting sculpture that I discovered at the Chicago Art Institute was that of the Italian artist, Christoforo Stati called “Samson and the Lion”. It is made of marble and  was finished around the year 1607. Stati trained in Florence in the 1500’s and some books note him as a more Mannerist styled artist because he trained with artists like Giambologna and Bartolomeo, however I think he had a specific naturalism to his work that was undeniable.

The story is said to be that in 1601 the Duke of Lerma wanted to add a twin sculpture for Giambologna’s, “Samson and the Philistine” sculpture. Giambologna was unavailable to work and the task fell to Stati. The High Renaissance era was almost over and the Baroque way of doing things were on the rise. The statue is a huge sculpture that stands at least 6 feet high. The theme of the statue does agree with the more heroic side of European art like the “David” sculptures. Samson and the Lion is a bible story in which Samson is blessed by God with inhuman strength and powers. He is attacked by a lion and effortlessly rips the Lion’s jaw out. Samson is so amazed, he keeps this incident a secret and eventually conquers an entire People.

The sculpture is beautiful. The sculpture eludes naturalism, as it can be viewed from either direction, as if in complete action. The feet and legs of Samson are very strong and positioned so well, it looks like it could be easily duplicated by passersby. The way its arms are positioned perfectly while holding the lion is amazing. Stati may have had someone pose for this statue, or maybe not sense a Lion is not easily held by anyone!! Either way, Stati did a great job of replicating how Samson’s body and the Lion’s body could have looked during the actual fight. The chest of Samson is so realistic; that the dent in the chest, along with Samson’s neck and the way his mouth is carved, is classic Baroque style of kinetic energy being imposed upon the audience.

What is also noting to me is how Stati was still able to bring a classical element to this more theatrical work. Even though it is moving and “real”, it does have a sense of beauty in regards to the body muscles on Samson and also the Lion. This sculpture is a good sculpture to recognize as one of the artworks that linked the High Renaissance and the Baroque era.

Kevin Moran here and i want to discuss Alphonse Mucha’s influence in our growing contemporary art culture. His art is pretty well known even if you dont know who he is when you look at his paintings. “This Czech-born artist, whose international popularity reached its zenith in the poster work he produced for actress Sarah Bernhardt in Paris in the late 1800s” was so influential in his different types of mediums. He used lithographs, oil, pastel and many other types. I feel like he he puts a great impression on our modern graphic artists because of his delicate lines and natural colors.