MODULE 5.1EXPERIENCING ART Art 100 Understanding Visual Culture
M 5.1 overview key things to remember in your initial approach to art it is a personal process knowledge can assist, but cannot substitute for, your connection with the work find your favorites and keep an open mind experiencing art: a suggested course of action experiencing effects accounting for those effects
Each of us has his or her own taste in visual art. Wefind different things appealing, at different times inour lives.
Brandywine River MuseumChadds Ford, PAThis is a small regional museum where I spent a lot of time as a kid.
InteriorgalleriesPart of the museum is located inside an oldmill building along the Brandywine River. Localartists are featured, with a special emphasis onthe Wyeth family.
Andrew WyethMaga’s DaughterTempera on panel27 ½ x 31 inches1966
This was a picture I adored as a kid. It really doesn’t matter where youstart in appreciating art. Start anywhere you like and go from there.
Finding out more aboutartworks you like is agreat thing to do.But no amount ofinformation will answer allof your questions.
Andrew Wyeth,Indian Summer1970tempera on panel42 x 35 inches
Maga’s Daughter, 1966Indian Summer, 1970
Andrew Wyeths life For more information http://www.askart.com/AskART/artists/ biography.aspx?artist=24079 Scroll down to second biography, by Frank E. Fowler His brother Nathaniel Wyeth was an important 20th century figure too: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage. html?res=9C0CEEDE163EF934A35754C 0A966958260
There are as many flavorsof art as there are peoplewho make it.New flavors are beingcreated all the time.You get to pick yourfavorites.
The point is to give it a try and seewhich kinds you think are especiallygreat. Then experience to the fullestand enjoy. Hint: You might like them all.
Morris Louis, Tet, 1958, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 95 x 153 in, WMAA
OlafurEliasson, Your strange certainty still kept, 1996, water, strobelight, plexiglass, recirculatingpump, foil and wood
Bruce Nauman, Self-Portrait as Fountain, 1970, c-print, 20 x 24 inches
Nam June Paik, Magnet TV, 196517-inch black-and-white television set with magnet, 28 3/8 × 19 1/4 × 24 1/2 in.
Duane Hanson, Woman with Dog, 1977cast polyvinyl polychromed in synthetic polymer, with cloth and hair46 × 48 × 51 ½ in
Charles RayPuzzle Bottle1995painted wood, glass, cork13 3/8 x 3 3/4 dia
Joseph Kosuth, Five Words in Green Neon, 1965,neon tubing, 62 x 80 x 6 in
Jack Pierson, Desire/Despairmetal, glass, plexiglas and wood, 117 1/2 x 56 1/4
Willem de Kooning,Door to the River, 1960 Oil oncanvas80 × 70 inches
Brice Marden, Summer Table, 1972–73Oil and wax on canvas in three parts, 60 × 105 5/16 in.
Doug Aitken, Untitled (Shopping Cart), 2000C-print mounted on plexiglas, 48 5/8 × 56 5/8 in
Vik Muniz, Double Mona Lisa (After Warhol), 1991Cibachrome print, 48 x 60 inches
Jean-Michel Basquiat,LNAPRK, 1982.Synthetic polymer and oil stick on canvas, 73 1/2 × 72 1/4 in
You’re allowed to—supposed to!—respondpersonally to artwork. The artist wants you to have an experience—an emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, moral (some combination of these or all of them) experience of the work.
If you like a work of art,you’ll often want to findout more about it.That’s great, find out more, it will enrich your experience of the work, nodoubt about it. But there is no “final correct answer” to the meaning of agiven work. There are more and less satisfying interpretations, more andless sensitive readings, but no single reading is ultimately correct.
Like your parents probably told you, “How do you know you don’t like it if you won’t even try it? This class gives you a chance to try out different kinds of art. There’s no obligation to like the things that I, or your classmates, like. Pick your own likes and dislikes.However, you can learn from—even come to appreciate—works you don’t particularly care for.
With all this in mind., how do we…EXPERIENCE ART TO THEFULLEST?
One way we try to experience art more fully is by understanding how it creates the effects it has on us.
Experience, with your eyes, mind, feelings, memories, body. What does this piece do to me? Examples: Does it make me happy? Uncomfortable? Sad? Upset? Does it turn my stomach? Does it make me shiver? Worry? Sweat?
EXPERIENCING THE EFFECTS 1. Experience comes first. What do you SEE and how does it make you FEEL in your bones.
EXPERIENCING THE EFFECTS At this point, it doesn’t matter who made it, when, or why. The point is to try to figure out, as completely as possible, the effect the work is having on you.
EXPERIENCING THE EFFECTS So let’s sum this up as “experiencing the effects” of the work. This process can take a while. It is not necessarily simple. In fact, one definition of art could be work that takes the viewer some time and trouble to experience.
Accounting for the Effects 2. Now that you have a handle on what you’ve experienced, you want to know how the piece made you feel that way. Cf. driving a car to looking under the hood. This is where formal analysis can be helpful. How did this piece make me feel (x, y, and z) way? How is it structured to achieve those specific effects? This is where purely personal, idiosyncratic responses can be weeded out if you are writing to share with an audience.
Accounting for the Effects2. Now that you have a handle on what you’ve experienced, you want to know how the piece made you feel that way. Cf. driving a car to looking under the hood.
Accounting for the EffectsThis is where formal analysis can be helpful.How did this piece make me feel this way?How is it structured to achieve those specific effects?NOTE: This is where your purely personal, idiosyncratic responses can be weeded out if you are writing to share with an audience.
Let’s try out this processwith a few differentexamples.
John Singer SargentThe Daughters ofEdwardDarley Boit188287 3/8 x 87 3/8 inches
First, take some timetoobserve the picture.Don’t startwith preconceptionsor ideas about whatyou are supposed tosee. There is no“supposed to.” Justlook at what is frontof you.
I.a. What does this picturemake you feel? (This canbe a single strongfeeling, or a cpmbinationof different feelings.)b. Can you put yourfinger on what in thispiece is producing thisemotion (or set ofemotions)?c. Write a 1-sentencedescription of the piecethat incorporates yourgut reaction.
Effects 1Bruce NaumanHanging Heads #2, 1989, wax and wiretwo heads, the first is 10 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 7 ¾, the second is slightly smaller, bothsuspended approximately 6 feet above the floor
II.a. What do you Effects 1feel when youlook at this?What emotion/set of emotions?b. Can youidentifywhat parts of thepiece,specifically,are making youfeelthis way?c. Write a 1-sentencedescriptionof the piece,incorporatingif possible thefeeling(s)it provokes.