Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

art + pop-culture

when someone starts talking about art and pop-culture, i feel like the two are almost inseparable. thanks to Andy Warhol’s efforts in the 60’s and 70’s, art has become such a part of pop-culture that the two are pretty much conjoined into the same two-headed beast. everywhere you go, you’re seeing art: commercials, billboards, television, magazines, photographs, book covers, movies and movie posters, video game cases, advertisements, fliers, clothing, newspapers, websites, and music all utilize art, if they aren’t classified as art in themselves. our senses are literally flooded with art every single day via the pop-culture-filled lives that we lead. i’m not saying this is a bad thing — seems like it’s the cool thing now to jump on the bandwagon and jab at pop-culture, when really it’s the thing that’s driving our society — but it is a little staggering when you think about how much art we actually see in one day.


Art in Pop Culture

Art and pop culture go hand-in-hand, I think.   A couple examples come to mind straight away.  One, Andy Warhol.  He revolutionized pop art. See his famous paintings of Marilyn Monroe:


And second I think of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and all of the parodies of it.  I did a simple Google search of it and found 7 different parodies.

The Original:

A few parodies:

There’s a constant back and forth between the two and they both influence each other a lot of the time.

Non-Western Culture’s Contemporary Influence

october (very late) post:

“Think globally, +++ locally,” in the words of Gogol Bordello, is certainly the theme of this generation and its art. While many artists in America are indeed English-speaking and native-born, the art community is seeing more and more of its members reaching into their cultural heritage for influence and bringing it out into the Western world. I totally don’t want to sound like a pompous jerk for using myself as an example, so just bear with me here — but my heritage as a Turko-Palestinian is in every piece of art that I create. The intricate and graceful lines of Arabic calligraphy become curving lines in my illustrations, usually as long locks of flowing hair or clothing spread over a character’s body; the lovely designs of Turkish architecture manifest themselves into textures inside the panels of my comics. In fact, many of my characters and stories will more often than not utilize names or references to people, places, and things in the place of my father’s birth, or in our native tongue of Arabic. While I’m not nearly “big” enough to be considered a meaningful influence on anyone or anything, it’s still interesting to think about how seemingly foreign cultures and languages can be infused with Western contemporary culture — much how being a first-generation American with a family from the Middle East growing up in a Spanish-speaking state can create an interesting mezcla of ideas.

Politics and Art

november post:

When politics and art get involved together, things can get kind of weird; after all, putting something as sleazy and cloak-and-dagger as politics next to something as free and expressive as art, chances are you’re going to get a whole bunch of icky-looking colors all over your canvas. Take political cartoons, for example: sure, whoever draws/writes them spends time on them, but the amount of actual readers is very, very small, and the amount of respect either community — art and politics — have for political cartoons is minimal at best. Using something open-ended to depict something stringent is pretty difficult, and most political cartoonists don’t do it well. Your typical political cartoon is a one-panel illustration of some obscure references, with a “witty” caption underneath. The genre has been so pigeonholed that it has a set format, and neither the arts nor politics really cares about this mash-up between the two houses. Add the fact that politicians, these white-bread button-down morons who throw around words like pundit and filibuster in an attempt to sound like they know what the ++++ they’re talking about, attempt to have a say in what is and is not art… well, my personal opinion is this: keep the two separated. Unlike peanut butter and chocolate, these are two things that do not belong together.

Politics and Art

Upon first reading that we had to write about politics and art, I thought, I don’t want to write about that, I don’t know how they are related… But once I actually thought about it I realized that they are connected in almost every way!  Artists, especially, I think, are aware of what is going on around them and are very in tune with their emotions within what they do.  This, naturally, would come out in their art.  Not always, but usually, after a huge world-changing (probably political) event, the art that follows that time period has changed because of it and reflects whatever happened.

This Is A Paper About A Coronation Stone, Even Though It Seems Boring and Grey and Lame, It’s Actually Pretty Interesting, So You Can Keep Reading For Another 500 Words Or So

Iasmin Omar Ata

Jenn Wilson

Art History II

Midterm Paper

1st November 2010

When you go to the Art Institute of Chicago, there’re literally hundreds of pieces of art surrounding you, trying to capture your attention. There are classic paintings, modern sculptures, and ethnic carvings abound, each special in its own way. The “ethnic carving” category seems to be my forte, though, and I found myself drawn to a certain Aztecan stone. According to the information provided by the Institute, it’s the coronation stone of Motecuhzoma II, also known a the Stone of the Five Suns, carved in 1503 in Tenochtitlan. But all the historical facts aren’t what made my curiosity spike when I saw it.

The thing that really strikes me about this piece is the intricacy of the patterns. Even though it’s monochromatic, the designs that decorate this basalt structure make it an eye-popping work of art. It has compositional balance, yet still maintains viewer interest. I mean, I love all cultures, but Aztecan art always grabs me for some strange reason. I think it’s the combination of right angles and swirls that give art from that culture a very unique look. It’s almost an early ancestor of modern-day tattoo art. Another thing that stands out about The Stone of the Five Suns is the texture of the piece — something that wouldn’t be able to be replicated. The markings and grooves that are carved into the stone are very real, even from a distance away, and they stand out quite a bit. This makes the Stone of the Five Suns an individual piece of art, and makes you feel like you’re looking at a piece of history (which, of course, you are) — the texture makes it feel very human.

The museum pretty much left no clues as to what this stone means, besides the bit of info that it is a coronation piece for Motecuhzoma II made in 1503. With that in mind, it seems to me that the piece represents the prosperity that the Aztecan people hoped would flourish under Motecuhzoma II, with the five suns acting as five shades of light that would shine over the kingdom and its people, taking the shape of people, animals, and plants. They’re all facing a center, which would be the new ruler, presiding over all aspects of the land. The way these figures are drawn seem to represent growth, or a sort of dawning of the Aquarian Age.

For me, The Stone of the Five Suns is a very inspiring work of art. Even though, again, it’s all carved into seemingly dull-colored stone, the individuality, humanity, and uplifting theme of the piece make it eye-catching and completely unique. It certainly made looking into the Art Institute of Chicago more worthwhile, that’s for sure.

Elizabeth’s midterm paper

Elizabeth Scheiner
History of Art II – 12:30 pm
Jenn Wilson
November 1, 2010
Midterm Paper

I went to The Art Institute of Chicago with little idea of what I would be writing about. There was just so much to choose from. Everything from Early Renaissance art all the way to Modern art was at my disposal. It is a bit overwhelming. I knew, though, that I wanted to write about a genre we had already covered in class. I did not want to delve deep into a genre of art that we had not learned at least the basics of first. That left me mostly with Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerism, and Rococo art. I wandered the hallways of the Art Institute for a little bit and ultimately settled on a painting by Colyn de Coter (sometimes spelled Colijn de Coter) from 1450/55 entitled Virgin and Child Crowned by Angels.

At first glance, the first thing you see is a woman, presumably the Virgin Mary holding a child, surrounded by 3 angels. Upon closer inspection, the viewer will notice the child has a halo; it is undoubtedly baby Jesus, flipping through what looks like the Bible. One angel is kneeling next to Mary with arms outstretched presenting a basket to baby Jesus. Above Mary two angels are about to place a crown onto Mary’s head. Each angel is complete with wings and flowing robes.

The painting is large, approximately 152x88cm. Coter painted this as oil on a wood panel, a popular medium of Netherlandish and Flemish painters of the time. It is intricately detailed and extraordinarily painted. Seeing it in person, I was floored by how beautiful everything on it looked. Every brush stroke stood out and all of the colors were so vibrant. It was hard to look away. That is probably what struck me most about it. I do not know a lot of the religious history to this painting but I was so busy looking at the beauty of how Coter took the time to paint every last diamond on Mary’s cloak and every word on the scroll in the bottom right corner that it did not matter. My eye traveled around the painting, to all corners of it. Mary is sitting in a bedroom. There is a green curtained-off bed behind her and a window in the back, beside her. Next the bed and behind the chair Mary sits on is a table complete with a pitcher of water and an apple. In the foreground, a decadent vase sits next to Mary and the scroll.

This is one of those paintings that must be seen in person. I took a photograph of it as reference for writing this paper and I found several more online and they do not do it justice. A reproduction would lose so much detail and the quality of this painting would drop drastically. The size plays a huge role, as well. One must view it at its full proportions. Any smaller and it’s grandness simply disappears.

The painting is busy. There is a lot to look at. And I do not think it should be any other way. If Coter had left out some of the objects in the background or not put in quite as much detail, it would not be an interesting painting. In my opinion, all of the aspects of the painting work really well together.

I was never really a fan of art from this era. Every time I would go to the museum, I always skipped over the artwork from these time periods. It was not until I took this class that I began to see the beauty in it. I never would have looked twice at Colyn de Coter’s Virgin and Child Crowned by Angels in the past. But that was before I actually got up close to the painting to see every brush stroke outlining Mary’s grand robes, before I actually took the time to see something new, something beautiful. And I am really glad that I did.