Getting Into The Art Game


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An exploration of 60,000 years of Art History. The purpose is to educate viewers about the contexts of art, the categories, and ways in which art is judged as "good" across cultures and time. I use a sports metaphor to help students connect with and better understand the different cultural paradigms for Art.

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Getting Into The Art Game

  1. 1. Getting Into the Game Margo Wixsom – Palo Alto High School Learning the Art Score
  2. 2. <ul><li>PURPOSE - what is Art for anyway? </li></ul>Have you ever walked through a museum and felt confused, left out, or annoyed by the Art? Many people approach Art as if it is one thing. Think of Art like Sports – there are many, and varied versions of games that look nothing alike, but they’re all Sports . If you compare water ballet to rugby you would be very confused indeed. The environment, the object of the game, the tools & rules are all very different. Let’s take a walk through Art and think of it as a varied playing field of many different kinds of sports or ways of seeing & creating . Let the games begin!
  3. 3. Art is Diverse <ul><li>PURPOSE </li></ul><ul><li>Art does many and different things. It can be used to: </li></ul><ul><li> represent – communicate – teach – decorate – </li></ul><ul><li>record – entertain – express – criticize </li></ul>PREFERENCE – different cultures read and represent ideas and experiences in different styles and formats POINTS of VIEW Winning the “game” of Art – it depends on the “game rules” PROBLEMS What happens when they change the rules?! PRACTICE – Media The tools of Art create varied and different products
  4. 4. Art represents <ul><li>Lascaux Cave painting circa 15,000-10,000 BCE </li></ul><ul><li>X-ray style animals . Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre, Melbourne </li></ul>All cultures have painted, etched or carved images to represent things that are important to them, like hunting, religion, personal or tribal histories. Art is a cultural and personal expression as well as a source of power for many cultures. Some believe that to capture an image is to capture the soul of the subject. Art is a way of seeing and defining the world to honor, record, and express events and/or ideas.
  5. 5. Art records history <ul><li>Bayeux Tapestry . King Edward and soldiers. c.1476 </li></ul><ul><li>Krishna and the Gopis from Gita Govinda . c. 1525 </li></ul><ul><li>The Life of the Prophet , Siyer-i Nebi, Istanbul. 1595 </li></ul>Throughout time Art has been used to record cultural events - battles, ceremonies, natural disasters, deities, mythological accounts and important daily or annual events and celebrations.
  6. 6. Cultures Prioritize <ul><li>Court Lady with Mirror . Tang Dynasty. c.725 </li></ul><ul><li>Christ Icon . Istanbul. c.479 </li></ul><ul><li>Aztec Priest . Templo Mayor excavations in Mexico City. </li></ul><ul><li>Portrait of George Washington . Rembrandt Peale 1799 </li></ul><ul><li>Napoléon on the Imperial Throne. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres 1806. </li></ul>Different cultures use Art to memorialize civic and religious leaders, or important families as well as their way of life . Because mostly men have been rulers, artworks honor more men than women. The same goes for European cultures that have colonized the world – they’ve amassed artworks that tend to memorialize their own way of life , religion, and accomplishments.
  7. 7. Art Communicates Art is a tool for communication. Examples include textbooks, illuminated manuscripts, natural science folios, cultural calendars and murals. The images communicate cultural style, beliefs, customs and ideas. <ul><li>Page from Ars Memorandi per figuras </li></ul><ul><li>Evangelistarum c.1470 </li></ul><ul><li>Rhinoceraus , Albrecht Durer 1502 </li></ul><ul><li>Mayan Tree of Life tablet, Palenque, </li></ul><ul><li>Mexico c.692 </li></ul>                                                                                                                                              
  8. 8. Art Teaches <ul><li>Woodcut illustrations for Staebuch ( Book of Trades ) Jost Amman 1568 </li></ul><ul><li>Antique map c.1582 </li></ul><ul><li>Q’uran . 16 th C. China </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhist Sutra Xuan Zang Japan 8 th C. </li></ul>Many cultures use Art to teach or transmit important information in books, etchings, maps, and scrolls. Art is used to illustrate trades, instructions, directions, diagrams, beliefs, formulas, customs, and details for education.
  9. 9. Art Illustrates Scientific Concepts Peregrinationes in montem Syon Erhard Renwich 1486 Leicester Codex . Leonardo da Vinci Geometry tudies of reflections of sunlight from the moon. Italy, probably Florence, from 1508 Cultures throughout time used Art to record and illustrate scientific studies such as biology, geography, astronomy, physics, and mathematics.
  10. 10. Art Decorates <ul><li>Body Tattoo . 18 th C. Society Islands </li></ul><ul><li>Tapa cloth Polynesia 20 th C. </li></ul><ul><li>Kente cloth Ashanti 20 th C. </li></ul><ul><li>The Master of Playing Cards , The Three of Birds c.1450 </li></ul><ul><li>Vine Ornament with Two Birds , 1440 </li></ul>Art is used to decorate everything from books, vases, buildings, ceilings, and clothing to the human body. Decorative art is for aesthetic pleasure. Aesthetics is the study of beauty. Each culture defines beauty differently.                         
  11. 11. Preferences – Direction of the “read” <ul><li>Mountain River – detail of goat & sheep from scroll. Qing Dynasty, Chop Yuan Meng-fu </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape scroll – Japanese Mirumachi period Bunsei 15 th C </li></ul>Western text reads from left to right while Eastern writing reads from right to left. Western Art reads horizontally from front (near) to back (far) while Eastern Art reads vertically from bottom (near) to top (far). Placement designates how the viewer should “read” the distances. Horizontal …or… Vertical
  12. 12. 2 Basic Categories in the Art Game Representational art always looks like some identifiable “thing” – all viewers can identify the subject as a tree, a face, a building. Realism is representational – the style seeks to create a detailed replica of an identifiable subject . Non-representational or Abstract art does not represent any particular “thing” that viewers can agree on. You might “see something” in the arrangement of shapes and colors but all viewers can’t agree on a specific subject . The image doesn’t represent a uniformly identifiable subject . Oenpelli Tribe Aborigine Light Wave Karin Kuhlmann
  13. 13. Different Games – The Course of Empire Thomas Cole American 1836 Sunset in an Autumn Valley Shen Shih China 1544 Think of Western Art as the game of basketball – the most points wins. Realism is the primary style of Western Art, so the “object of the game” for good art in this style is more and lifelike details. More is best and “the winner” in this style. Think of Eastern Art as the game of golf – the fewest points wins. Expressivism is the primary style in Eastern Art so the “object of the game” for good art is to use the least amount of perfect strokes to capture the feeling or essence of the subject. The fewest outstanding stokes is best or “the winner.” Different Rules
  14. 14. Change of Game View from window at LeGras The first photograph by Joseph Niepce 1826 The Guy who shook up The Game! So here comes the BIG REVOLUTION in Western Art,… if the object of the game is Realism – then when the camera is perfected in the mid-1800’s the BIG question is: Why have artists anymore when the camera can make the most exact replica of the subject? Whoa! BIG shake-up for artists in the Western world’s Art rulebook when photography enters the game!
  15. 15. Change the Rules Dude ! So,… if Western artists are outdone by photography they can either hang up their brushes and go home,… or they can step out of the Realism box and change the rules of good art to include different styles of painting and,… Voila! So begins the major Art movements of the 20 th C. Artists experiment with new rules for the “game of good” in Art. Impressionism tries to capture the optics of light with color, while Pointillism explores the relationship of dots of color together. Fauvism decides to change the colors of things altogether and Sureallism blends dream imagery with reality
  16. 16. Point Systems for the New Scorecards Since the camera pretty much gets a perfect score for Realism , it’s time to revise the scorecard. Artists focus less on Realism and start to experiment with The Elements and Principles of Art to create new “game versions” or Art movements. Art movements usually have a primary focus on one or a combination of basic Elements . Minimalism ’s “scorecard” is the least amount of Elements wins – simplicity is “best.” It’s important to learn a little about any Art movement to better understand the “revised rules” and the “scoring system.” Balance Form Texture Color Proportion Value-Contrast Shape Line
  17. 17. Who’s Got the Scorecard ?! Most people “get” and appreciate Realism but are baffled by Modern movements like Abstract art since Photography entered the game. The old scorecard rated Realism high because it was easy to recognize and “pretty.” Since the rules for “good” have changed since the camera rocks the game, the artists seem to be the only ones who have the new scorecard . The major problem understanding Modern Art - is that many viewers look at it without having the new revised scorecard for Modern Art. You hear people say things like, “That’s not even good - any little kid could do that!” Washington Crossing the Delaware . Leutze Sun Arthur Dove
  18. 18. Go Game Crazy ! It gets really fun and funky as artists start to play with the rulebook of “good” Art. They explore different ideas about how art is “played” using different media and techniques. Cubists show things from multiple directions in ONE painting. Kandinsky listens to music and paints feelings rather than subjects to introduce Abstract Expressionism . Pollack does away with the easel and paintbrush altogether and starts throwing paint on a canvas on the floor!
  19. 19. Knowing the Score! Greens in Blue Mark Rothko The purpose of this presentation is to give you, the viewer , the inside scoop about what Art is , what it does and how you interpret it as an educated viewer . Abstract artists experiment with the Elements and Principles of Art like line, shape, color, repetition, form, balance, contrast, proportion, space, unity, variety, emphasis, rhythm, or texture. See if you can guess which Elements and Principles these artists are experimenting with – and become an educated viewer who knows the score! Parallell Diagonals Kandinsky The Scream Edvard Munch Reclining Woman Henry Moore Goethe’s Theory J.M.W Turner Self Portrait Van Gogh
  20. 20. Media are the materials of Art Traditional media include graphite (pencil), chalk, charcoal, paints applied to canvas, paper or board. Charcoal – Kathe Kollwitz Printing Inks - Katsushika Hokusai Pottery – John Hayes Stone Sculpture - Runyanga Pastel – Pierre Renoir Wood Carving- Polynesian Watercolor – Paul Klee Acrylic Paint – Frank Stella Printmaking involves using wood or stone to make an image that can be inked and reprinted. Sculptors use wood, stone, clay and mixed media to create artworks in 3D. See if you can identify the media @ right.
  21. 21. Media expanded <ul><li>Surrounded Island , Biscayne Florida. Christo 1982 </li></ul><ul><li>Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery creating a sand painting </li></ul><ul><li>Pictorial blanket Railroad design. Navajo nation c.1880 </li></ul><ul><li>Rose Box – Joseph Cornell </li></ul>Along with traditional art materials like paint and clay, artists use a wide variety of materials to create Art that reflects their culture, beliefs, ideas and expressions. Media can range from fabrics and sand to trash and islands!
  22. 22. Art is Social Criticism <ul><li>We Don’t Need Another Hero </li></ul><ul><li>Barbara Krueger 1987 </li></ul><ul><li>Girl worker in Carolina cotton mill Lewis Hine 1908 </li></ul><ul><li>Desastre de la Guerra (Disasters of War) </li></ul><ul><li>Francisco de Goya. c.1810 </li></ul>Art can be a powerful form of social criticism to make people see what is wrong with society and needs to be changed like; child labor, political corruption and war, or discrimination and oppression.
  23. 23. Art is for Fun <ul><li>Webpage art Amy Pronovost 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Tattoo Keith Herring. 1971 </li></ul><ul><li>Surfer Girl . Shawn Hair. 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Topps Comics cover </li></ul>Art expanded in the 20 th C to include cartoons, graphics illustrations, CD covers, body tattoos and almost everything that we use today.                                                             
  24. 24. Art evolves over Time <ul><li>Ascent of Ethiopia Lois Mailou African-American 1932 </li></ul><ul><li>TV Culture Video Nam June Paik Korean 2003 </li></ul>Art continues to grow and change. Artists are influenced by images and traditions in their own culture as well as the blend of other cultures they see and experience. Notice how Lois Mailou portrays the evolution of African culture from Egyptian to Jazz across the centuries. Artists like Nam June Paik blend new technologies into their artworks.
  25. 25. Art Combo: Express Yourself <ul><li>Passkeys Reduction print. Margo Wixsom 1992 </li></ul>As teacher, artist, and writer, Art for me is the “combo plate” of expression. I use it to work out ideas, take notes, illustrate, plan, and portray feelings, ideas and experiences. GET IN THE GAME!