I finished all my notes on Judy Chicago. She is really interesting and inspirational as well. First of all she changed her last name to Chicago so that she would not have any sort of male superiority over her existence. She wanted to learn more about her womanhood through her art, though she struggled with being able to do this with her professors who were mostly male and critical on her exploration. She did many different shows on exploring the female experience. I was looking at her other pieces and felt very moved by even the most simplest of concepts. I think that was one of the only times that I have really felt a strong emotion from artwork.
The message of her art is not very metaphorical or symbolic like most other artists. Though it is real and raw. The messages are there but still so beautifully put. Like her Birth Project was obviously about the woman experience of birth. But it was also a message that all creation comes from birth, women. Honoring our existence by honoring our creator is important. We tend to look over pregnancy and birth as being an experience not talked about in society. It is a taboo, which is my theme.
A lot of the women interviewed in this project were never asked about their experiences giving birth. Many confessions I read said that they were so drugged during the experience they missed the whole thing. This incredibly painful, emotional and happy experience is completely lost on the woman whose body is doing the process. They are the ones who go through this and they are the ones who take care of their children. Society as a whole look over their role as obsolete to the workings of the world. Which is a pretty stupid way of looking at it all.
Chicago got a lot of different needleworkers to help with the project. Her goal is to allow art forms that are normally portrayed as “only women’s crafts”, allow them to be seen as legitimate forms. She did a lot of the birthing project in beautiful needlework forms, which is also a comment on woman owning and being recognized for their work and others knowing how incredible it is.
Moral of it all, she is really cool.
During this process of reworking my theme and project completely, I have come up with something new. It stems from my previous ideas though has a bit of a different message. I have been thinking lately about taboos. My friend and I were in line waiting for food. Now she is not someone who has any sort of filter, or consciousness of how loud she is speaking. We started out talking about our periods and then went on to talk about us growing beards. It was very random and very silly. This couple in front of us was becoming extremely uncomfortable being there. The guy kept on turning around and giving me the stink eye. That is one of the joys in my life, making others exposed to uncomfortably. I like trying to define that there is no such thing as “the norm”.
So for my project I am thinking about things in which society does not confront, think about, want to know about or be affiliated with… But that still happen and are important in our world. These things as well become more important the more society pretends they are not there. It’s the way we live that perpetuates these taboos. We cannot speak of them because it is almost like they are just too real, raw and prevalent. How is it that things this obvious are hidden so well? Do we all choose to ignore them? Or are we programmed to ignore them?
I also found artwork and artists that I think show of the things that are uncomfortable. One artist I have in mind is Georgia O’Keeffe. I read some of her quotes and she talks about flowers of how nobody really takes time to look at them. And if that isn’t obvious enough, I think that she tries to make her audience see a woman’s body in a beautiful and experiential way. I think that she is an important person to bring up in the subject of taboos because of her metaphorical comments on women and their identities in society. I also read somewhere that she was one of Frida Kahlo’s lovers at one point. Awesome.
I am going to use Frida Kahlo as well, because I absolutely adore her. I think she brings up the question in her paintings about “what is feminism”? She had an extremely rough life, but I think in all her self portraits she is strong, confident and against what is normal femininity. Her unibrow and mustache are definitely who obvious physical traits, though there is so much more even in her expression and the way she presents herself.
Other artists I am thinking of using are Judy Chicago’s Birth Tear. In my opinion this picture shows the raw reality of the taboo of giving birth. It’s a part of life we just pass over as something easy and that every woman goes through with ease. We never are told the reality of it all. Another artist is Martha Rosler’s Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful. This piece shows how war is ignored in our normal lives in this country. It is still there, but is ignored because of how our society is set up. Though it runs how we live. Also I want to show the video of Adrian Piper’s The Mythic Being. This is a comment on racism and what people are scared of or prejudice against even today. I am thinking also of Allegiance by Barbara Kruger. This piece
shows the pledge of allegiance and marriage vows we say in this country. It also shows what is really being vowed towards underneath it. Showing us that these traditions and norms we have are keeping us from thinking for ourselves. We are only repeating what we are told to repeat.
Two other artists that I am thinking of maybe putting into my project are Millie Wilson, who comments on homosexuality. As well as Jenny Holzer’s Truisms, that comments on what the individual has lost in this modern world. Not completely sure about which are my final 6, though I am liking this theme. It goes along with what I wanted before but fits better together. For a title I have Taboo right now, though that is probably too obvious and cheesy. I will probably change it.
So this may come out slightly bitter. Whenever I walk out of Art Methods class, I feel pretty broken. It’s not the fault of my glorious art teachers, but my own insecurities and fears eating away at me. I could say it is because of my insane past, and existence in general, that has been a complete mind fuck in itself. Or that it is the emotional toll from that lovely little once a month visit. Though these may be prevalent in my daily life, they should not be mixed with my interactions with others. I heard this interview with one of my idols. He talked about how his father and two brothers died when he was very young. He said that everything after that point had a lack of importance in the bigger scheme of things. He was not intimidated or phased really by threats from teachers and adults growing up. And although I do not want to be totally unresponsive to reality, I can take some of those lessons from him.
I need to think about what is really important in myself and not let other things that are fleeting reach that inner space. Because that way of living is really only hurting my drive and motivation to achieve anything. This has always been something that has stunted my growth mentally. Feeling like the whole world is against me and that the ideas I have are inadequate. Rejection is an important reality. It sucks, but it can make a person stronger and better.
Since my idea for The Collection Project were completely bashed apart, I have reversed slightly and thought of something new. I sort of realized how confusing my pieces were together while talking about them out loud. I understand, but felt I got really no support at all for my efforts. Oh well, that is life. I do have a concrete idea now. Though I don’t know how it will be received. Really I do not care anymore though. I am just going to do it and turn it in and be done with all this.
I read through Art Papers today, and here is some of what I read about…
This magazine is from 2011, so all the art shows in it are quite old. Though they have really cool advertisements for different performance pieces, paintings and one that really caught my eye, about “race and racism in contemporary Cuban art”. Which I am half Cuban and I completely know how Cubans can be racist. I don’t think they really mean to be, but it is just how they are used to talking about diversity and such.
Some of the articles were interesting as well. They are just telling about what is going on in the art world. There was one article about the author’s friend who is a great artist who was chosen to participate in this show on Bravo called Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. The author talks about the incentive to watching it being her friend, because she thinks that you should not mix the values of the art world with the hollywoodization of reality television. She talks about how she thought it would take away from the aspect of art that is very down to earth and raw. The message within art would be lost in this battle for excellence. The author states, “The treatment of artistic practices as a competitive sport with very strict rules instrumentalizes creative energy and reaps it of its more gratifying, liberating potential.” This is true. In this modern world we try and make everything into entertainment. Though this takes away from the individual value of it a lot of the time, and just projects it as only an aspect of Hollywood. It is exploitation.
This is kind of the theme that I wanted to get at within my Collection Project. How modernization destroys the culture of different things. What is progression? We are progressing in a sense though we are not keeping a balance between both naturalism and modernism. One is always trying to be better than the other. Which it needs to be realized that they are both equally important in our society. What we need to be searching for is an equality between the two. They both hold their importance, and conflict between them both is harmful to life of everything.
I guess I went off on a tangent, but I believe that art is able to do a completely different thing for society than entertainment and the modern way. It contradicts our progression and helps to restore our consciousness over issues that may be covered up in a lot of ways. So placing it on television in a competition is taking away those aspects of art. We are losing our sense of balance and stability. Art is dumbed down.
You have to feel extreme suffering to really experience what Christianity is. Something like this. Religion is such a funny thing. I always had issues with conforming yourself to one way of thinking over every other belief. It just sounds close minded to me and ridiculous. Though after hearing why Donna Sadler finds Christian statues and art so interesting, made me appreciate the devotion within it. There was a question about her spiritual beliefs and she laughed and told us she is Jewish. IRONY, is the word that was blurted out to that. However she did explain to us that she just really feels herself drawn into these statues by the beauty and peacefulness of the devotion.
In my own life, I was raised to have very spiritual beliefs, be hippie if you will. I always did feel very connected with being free in nature and always talked to the plants and creatures I saw out there. When I was little, if I did this now I would probably look even crazier. Even now I have an OM tattoo that reminds me to stay grounded and not caught up in superficial or materialistic things that in reality do not matter in the bigger picture. Though I never really understood full on meditation, channeling energy, etc. My step father and mother did these two practices all the time to figure out things in their own lives or for others. We also had an Indian guru who I loved though I never fully appreciated the “spiritual practice”.
So I made a self discovery, and I really think that Donna’s class helped me with this. I started doing yoga regularly this month and two days ago my membership to the studio ran out. I started doing it on my own and this morning I had a really insightful experience. I became so relaxed during my sivasana (laying down at the end of the session) that I started meditating. All the wandering thoughts that I usually cannot control just were not there. And I actually found my subconscious. I talked to it for a while, fixing problems that are always percolating in my mind. It was really incredible. And now I understand what my parents were doing all those years.
Donna appreciating so intensely a form of devotion that is so different from her own, and that was even oppressive in the past, is so beautiful. And I am learning how much a person can really gain from delving into something completely out of our comfort zones. By doing this we can open our minds so much that nothing will be considered surprising. We can redefine what is normal. Every different person and ideology would be only thought of extraordinary parts that make up our world. Racism would not exist. As well as all the other “isms” that separate and hurt society. We could live in a world with only opportunity and understanding for everyone.
Today I read about Alyse Emdur’s photography project with prisoners, in the magazine Art Papers. She has had prisoners take photographs of themselves in front of painted, romanticized scenes and send them to her. They show the prisoner within a space of calm much different from the reality I am sure. Emdur became pen pals with many of them learned their stories and then decided to start this project.
It started with her as a young girl, going to visit someone (it did not say) in prison, and taking a photo in front of this tropical looking scene with her brother. It becomes a comment about how she felt when she visited, these photos almost glossing over the emotions of the experience. A lot of these photos of the prisoners were to be sent to their children and loved ones, if only to let them be seen as they are remembered.
Although this has the message of freedom, they still are paintings done on the walls of a prison. This shows how this scene, this happiness, is only a mirage and they are still being confined and controlled by the law. I think that it as well comments on society and how we can feel free, but we are still held to certain standards that are limiting to us being fully free. We are confined with the power of “the norm”. Even the most original and eccentric people in one way or another become just a piece of what society is, or goes against.
For instance you cannot be different without being thought of as strange, stupid or insane. A person going in a completely different direction than “the norm”, is still defined by it. Because we are all held up to this type of confinement, we are never going to be truly free. We have to get rid of this notion of what is accepted and normal. Because even the slightest differences can be taken extremely precociously by the parts of society that follow this normality with vigilance.
So I have decided that I have some issues with Greenberg. You cannot just decide what to include in your depiction of history and disregard what does not fit with your ideas. That is what crazy dictators do. The thing is I liked him fine when I read him on my own. Though listening to what he was really saying, which I guess I did not understand, I am extremely confused. Maybe it is just me but I do not understand why art critics have to write as if their audience are only art scholars and other artists. I am sure that some artists actually would not understand him. A lot of very daring and incredible artists did not go to school for it, and I think touch on ideas that are incredibly more important than art words strung together in an alien proclamation.
Ok I am being to critical, I understand that. But I love modern art. It pertains so much to the way we live, and the issues and revelations that are currently present. I also love that it cannot not easily be categorized anymore. Maybe trying to do so is a way of understanding it better, though can we not just be in the feelings we get from art? Do we have to really try to explain it in ways that takes the meaning out of it? This is not to say that we should stop deciphering the meaning of the pieces. Though I think that we lose touch with the feeling somehow while trying to explain it so thoroughly.
Greenberg disagrees with me, well I disagree with him. Hah! I respect him, but cannot fully rely on his thoughts and ideas. If I did that, then I would be losing my ability to think for myself and then I could easily be persuaded in any direction. Even maybe the wrong one. It is very likely as well that I am the one who is not allowing myself to understand what he is saying. I feel like I am the type of person to have dive into very abstract ways of thinking, so I should be able to put together what he presents. Maybe this is telling me something. That I am no creative enough to be in the art world and be involved with these ideas. But are not there many different ways to be involved in art? Now I am just rambling. And I am not sure what I am learning from it. BLah.