ART 299 VISUAL CULTURE GLOBAL CONTEXT1.1 COURSE INTRODUCTION
Overview Module 1.1 strange horizons: art in a globalized world Hamilton, What Makes Today’s Homes? (30-1)* Wang, Chanel No. 5 (not in text) POST: thought experiments i-iv 3 Ways of Approaching History [ see table] historicism hermeneutics critical theory *the numbers in parentheses refer to the illustration numbers in your textbook
Global visual cultureOne of the real challenges in a class with such a wide scope is comprehending visual imagery made by very different cultures.
Global Visual CultureSometimes there will be pictures you understand readily; sometimes there will be parts of pictures you understand but other parts you don’t; and sometimes what we are looking at will be completely mystifying!
Global Visual CultureThis goes with the territory of looking at a diverse array of world cultures. We’ll do our best as a group to understand the things we are seeing and to employ the appropriate context to help it all make sense.
Richard HamiltonWhat Makes Today’sHomes SoDifferent, SoAppealing?1956collage10.25 x 9.75 inches
We worked with the Hamilton collage in class as an example of a work that is fairly familiar, depicting a world we can mostly though obviously not entirely relate to.As a group we were able to catalogue what we saw in the picture, and to see it as a representation of a mediated, gendered, consumer society that is pretty close to our own.
Wang Guangyi, Chanel No. 5, 2001, oil on canvas 2 panels, each 120 x 78 inches
WHAT WE SAW: In class we discussed Wang’s painting as amixture of the visual codes of Chinese propaganda (for examplethe uniform smiles, clothing, little red books, fists of thefigures, which actually appear to be duplicated across the twopanels) with the codes of Western advertising.
WHAT IT MEANT: We explored different possibilities for how thispainting might be interpreted. Does it have to do with Chinesesupremacy in manufacturing Western consumer goods? Does itforecast a fully capitalist future in which allegiance to the Communistparty is replaced by allegiance to luxury brands like Chanel? Whatother issues does it speak to?
Overall, the Wang picture felt a little moredifficult to comprehend than theHamilton, though we were able to tackle iteffectively as a group.
We tend to look at paintings like Wang Guangyi’s and thinkthat their mixing of cultures is unique to the present; one ofthe things we’ll learn in this class is that this kind of mixinghas been going on for a really long time.
However, international trade hasbeen going on for much longer. InKalf’sStill Life of 1660, we seesome of the luxury imports of theday—Turkish carpets, Chineseporcelain, Spanish lemons—depicted in a Dutch painting.
Willem KALFStill Lifec. 1660Pronkstilleven:luxury still-life orsumptuous still-lifeUSE THIS LINK to see theincredible detail in thispainting:http://www.dia.org/object-info/281350f1-5fcf-4173-b76e-98a7cf422609.aspx?position
Similarly, we think of this Turkish ad forIKEA as completely contemporary, anartifact of today’s ongoing globalization.And that is partly true. Huge globalcorporations were not selling Swedish-designed furniture in Turkey until recently. IKEA advertisement, bus stop, Istanbul, Turkey This Chinese ceramic camel is testimony to the means of transportation that connected China with trading partners in the Middle East, across what is known as the “Silk Road.”Camel with Rider, c. 700, China
http://www.artic.edu/aic/resources/resource/1090TANG DYNASTY CAMEL WITH RIDERClick on “Download This Resource” and read the attached pages.
3 Approaches to HistoryMode of historical Attitude toward the Purpose of writinginquiry past historyhistoricism the past must be treated to recreate, as faithfully with absolute respect, as possible, the events, and understood on its beliefs, and meanings of own terms the pasthermeneutics the past is important and to open up a dialogue so is the present between past and present that will inform our current situationcritical theory the past is a creation of to make new things the present that exists to possible within the promote certain present understandings and suppress others