"Unflattering images of African Americans
have been common in popular culture
over the past 150 years - Aunt Jemima, a
domestic servant whose title of 'aunt' was
a commonly used term of subordination
and familiarity for domestic servants,
nannies, and maids. Aunt Jemima is a
caricatured jolly, fat character who has
been used recently to sell commercially
prepared pancake mix. Saar used three
versions of Aunt Jemima to question and
turn around such images. The oldest
version is the small image at the center,
in which a cartooned Jemima hitches up
a squalling child on her hip. In the
background, the modern version shows a
thinner Jemima with lighter skin,
deemphasizing her Negroid features. The
older one makes Jemima a caricature,
while the new one implies she is more
attractive if she appears less black..
Betye Saar, "The Liberation of Aunt Jemima," 1972
"The middle Jemima is the largest
figure and the most emphasized. Her
checked and polka-dotted clothing is
very bright and colorful. Her black skin
makes her white eyes and teeth look
like dots and checks, too. This Jemima
holds a rifle and pistol as well as a
broom. A black-power fist makes a
strong silhouette shape in front of all
the figures, introducing militant power
to the image. The idea of Aunt
Jemima, in any of its forms, can no
longer seem innocuous. Saar
enshrined these images in a shallow
glass display box to make them
venerable. Symmetry and pattern are
strong visual elements."
Not a "Nice Indian
Storyteller": James Luna
Coming to Maine
His stories are about the
strife, misconceptions and
commodification of ethnicity
in America than about Indian
Hung Liu, Trauma, China/USA, 1989
Women showing bound feet…shameful
Dead student in Tiananmen Sq…shameful
Map of China
Upside down above
Represents China and artist
Emptied and refilled by the cycles of history
Fragonard, The Swing, 1766
Frivolous sexual escapade
French aristocratic class:
power assimilated by King
duties assumed by middle class
Louis XIV, 1701.
Oil on canvas, approx.
9’ 2” x 6’ 3”. Louvre,
Master of political strategy and
Sun King— ruled by divine right
Began work on the Louvre
Converted a royal hunting lodge at
Versailles into a great palace
Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664,
National Gallery of Art, Widener Collection
The Spring Festival Along the River, Zhang Zeduan,
A close-up view of the rainbow bridge.
Detail of a 12th c. handscroll 10”x207”
Harvest time - the peasants
are mowing the meadow in
unison, with the Hotel de
Nesle, the Duc's Parisian
residence, in the background.
The building on the right is the
Chapelle Royale, which is
unchanged to this day.
Illustrates the growing
artistic interest in
observation of the natural
world and the depiction of a
here in careful architectural
detail, convincing shadows
and people in the scene.
Seurat, Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of the Grand Jatte, 1884
Over the past several decades, many scholars have attempted to explain the meaning of this great
composition. For some, it shows the growing middle class at leisure. Others see it as a
representation of social tensions between modern city dwellers of different social classes, all of
whom gather in the same public space but do not communicate or interact.
Renior, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-81
The painting also reflects the changing character of French society in the mid- to late 19th
century. The restaurant welcomed customers of many classes, including businessmen, society
women, artists, actresses, writers, critics, seamstresses, and shop girls. This diverse group
embodied a new, modern Parisian society.
Uji Bridge, Japan, Momoyama period, 16th-17th c. six-fold screen, color on paper, 62” H
The painting expresses qualities of simplicity and beauty, perishable with the passing of
Commissioned by the warrior-rulers to decorate their castles.
Ukiyo-e prints…artwork of the middle class.
itagawa Utamaro, Komurasaki of the Tamaya
Teahouse, c. 1794
The subject of this print, Komurasaki, was an
oiran, which is the highest rank in the hierarchy
of the Yoshiwara courtesans. She wears a
voluminous kimono of richly patterned fabric
and her obi is tied in the front which is a
trademark of an oiran. She is the height of
fashion with her towering hair, full of
decorative pins, and the long pipe she holds in
her right hand. Her left arm is supported by an
armrest that is hidden by the fabric of her
The market for this type of print was married
men, who would see in these women for hire a
fleeting beauty and an erotic perfection that
Simon Rodia, Watts Tousers, 1921-54
10’ H mixed media and found
Working-class man for a working-
class neighborhood in LAX.
Italian immigrant…to pay tribute to
his adopted land.
Outsider art…folk art…native art.