Thursday, December 16, 2010

Homage to New York, Tinguely

Tinguely's Homage to New York incorporated more than just his mind into the creation of a sculpture for the Museum of Modern Art's sculpture garden. What was created is a direct correlation to the numerous minds working on it, speaking to the tendency to see things differently from one mind to another. While machine-like in its appearance, the above sculpture doesn't actually aim at producing anything. Instead, all ideas were simply thrown together with no mind as to how they would actually work together. With it chaotic nature, this piece is an interesting commentary on the Big Apple city itself. As the machine basically destroyed itself, viewers clamored to get pieces of it to take home. These pieces became new functioning pieces of art within their homes, remembrances of what was once whole. It speaks to New York's ever-evolving status and ever-changing population and interests. 

Living Still Life, Dali

Salvador Dali certainly dwells in the realm of the irrational within the artistic world. In “Living Still Life,”  Dali takes the normal concept of a still-life and turns it on its head. It appears to be almost a magic trick, with all the normal still-life objects (apple, bowl, utensils, a cup) hovering above the table. Dali tricks his viewers’ minds while simultaneously challenging their accepted notion of a still-life. The knife and glass appear to be in motion simply because they are not sitting still atop the table. It is ironic because nothing in this picture is still, yet it is captured as a still life. It also provides a challenge with placing the location--half outside, half in, above water, yet a hand reaching over the railing. It is completely irrational and yet the cleverness comes through. Still, one remains questioning the concept of the still life--if anything is ever really staying still, fully restrained from changing or moving.

Starry Night, Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s paintings are not normally put into the category of “the irrational.” There topics and subject matter are discernible, but his style and depiction of these elements are what stretches over into the creative, atypical realm. Take “Starry Night” for instance. We understand that those glowing, swirling orbs are stars, but his portrayal of them is one that takes us out of our universe. We see them as the pulsing orbs of gas that they are and with a strength rarely witnessed on earth. The wind itself has become visible, and not just through the effects it has on trees and ground-bound objects. The moon, though clearly a crescent moon in the real world scene he is aiming to depict, glows with such intensity that it appears to illuminate the full circle of itself. The landscape itself is not specifically important: the focus becomes the sky and the cypress tree which is obstructing the full viewing of it. The irrational does not necessarily imply ridiculous or otherworldly in every case, just a new way of seeing.

The Kiss, Klimt

The work of Gustav Klimt, the Austrian painter most known for “The Kiss,” focuses on the depiction of the irrational, but in a way that relies on the rational. Klimt is most famous for his ‘Golden Phase,’ the period of time in which he created works heavily reliant on gold-leafing. This period is the one in which “The Kiss” was created as well as many others that utilize the same blanketing gold and smattering of designs to cover up the bodies and positioning of his subjects. While these paintings rely on actual human subjects and familiar objects as their subject matter, what in turn dominates the painting is the presence of his asymmetrical, random designs. There is a freedom given to his viewing audience as well in covering up the areas of the body that would tell a story through their action. He has clearly rejected the naturalistic style and aimed to use the body as a canvas for conveying a sense of freedom that visually breaks with tradition.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Garden of Earthly Delights, Bosch

This picture is so obnoxiously detailed that I have to make it un-aesthetically pleasing and enlarge it EXCESSIVELY. What were you thinking, Bosch-man? 

On the left you have Adam and Eve in Eden in the presence of God. 

On the right you have hell in all its horror and torture. 

And in the middle you have one big orgy. 

Whether Bosch was trying to portray this as a scene of immense, unimaginable pleasure or a warning against excess we don't know.  Either way, the artist puts his viewers in the position of peeping toms, making people from his era and ours probably feel a little uncomfortable and a little curious as to what was happening. 

I feel as though this is an "irrational" image because I don't believe that the middle ground between paradise and hell is excessive copulation. Personal opinion though. Others are free to disagree. 

CARMEN (A True Madrilena--the best student you have in your Modern Art Class) THINKS
"It portrays the twisted views that the Medieval people had of paradise and hell....(she'll continue in Spanish)...este triptico muestra la vision dualista el mundo, que los artistas medievales tenian del cielo y el infierno,siendo este ultimo, un lugar actualmente fisico, en el que los hobres seran castigados por sus pecados de gula, pasion y fornicacion.


Presentation to a Mayan Ruler, Bonampak mural

The palace of Bonampak help to illuminate aspects of the Mayan culture that still remain mysterious and dark. In one room, the murals depict the presentation of the next heir to the Mayan throne. It is a very lavish celebration with a huge procession of nobles proceeding the newest leader of the dynasty, giving a sense of solidarity in the impending leader change. The other room tells the story of a major battle in which the Mayans were triumphant. It shows them processing their enemy captives in front of the ruling heads as those prisoners lament their captivity. 

I don't understand why, being that the Mayans are a real culture, that this is categorized as an irrational image. 

Dionysian Mystery frieze

This detailed frieze in the Villa of the Mysteries stretches along all the walls of the room. It is known to be in honor and praise of the god, Dionysus. He is included in the mural, and although he is on the section on which the most damage is found, we are still able to determine that it is him because of his head wreath of vine leaves and his thyrsus, the pinecone-topped staff he always carries. It is believed to possibly be a room in which the Dionysian initiation ceremonies took place. On the left there is a naked boy reading a scroll, possibly one containing the rites of such a ceremony, while a servant woman holds a tray of possible offerings.