For this week’s activity, I chose to take on the cuisine part of the assignment. Little known fact about me, I love cooking. I currently have an Instagram page, run by my wife, with my vegetarian meals. To me cooking is cathartic, allowing me to escape from my troubles and stresses for the day and put together something that tastes good, and sometimes looks good too.
I find that making food look good, that is of professional quality, is incredibly difficult. You have to me limited on your seasonings, avoid tomato based sauces, as it stains your vegetables, and use ingredients that have a color contract to each other.
For my recipe this week I chose to do a little experiment, and create a new dish. I call this one tortilla chili and served it over a bed of rice to get the variety of colors that is visually stimulating to those who are foodies. This was by far my favorite activity of the summer, and it allowed me to do the work naturally, rather than by planning it out.
Street photography, incidentally, was something that I already did before this week. I enjoy traveling around the city and taking pictures of random buildings and people, and capturing that sense of trueness that a lot of popular photography lacks. We’re given this great medium in which we can capture a moment in time, and we choose to use it by making people pose in front of white screens and having artists make those people look prettier.
Not today though, however, as my models were my wife, Justine, and my dog, Aspen. Aspen did her best job at trying to completely ruin all the shots, but that’s okay because she’s a dog and that’s what they do. You have to make the best out of what you got. That principle, in essence, is what makes impromptu photography so great.
Fortunately, or unfortunately for my wife, we live in an urban area, and these shots were only a block or so from our house.
Artists typically are skilled in various forms of art but chose a specific medium in which they specialize. Cross medium art isn’t particularly uncommon, but when that medium is an entirely different sense, the cross-over is rather uncommon. Janet Cardiff does specifically that with her art, she crosses-over both visual and audio mediums to produce her works.
Originally, I had thought that it would be possible to fully experience her art by just viewing some images and getting my impression of them, but the Canadian native’s art work is meant to be experienced in both mediums simultaneously.
I had said earlier in the board discussions on Janet Cardiff that I appreciate her, whether intentional or not, embrace of mathematics. The sound that is played is deigned to fill a three dimensional space in the same way a sculpture would. Clearly, there is nothing visual is spot a sculpture would be, but rather it is the spot for the viewer to experience the art. The mathematics of a 40 piece surround sound experience is quite advanced as you would have to have a forty point polygon with specific spacing to a focus around each point. The speakers would need to be placed exactly at those points in reference to the original, and then the audio would have to be played simultaneously. Any significant deviation from this scheme would cause noticeable audio phasing. Experiencing Janet’s work was truly a treat this week.
For our museum trip I chose the Getty. The Getty my favorite museum in this area, it’s one of the few places in the area in which you can see Renaissance Era European art, and it’s only about an hour per trip.
Of the exhibits there my favorite is the one dedicated to the pre-revolution french art. Boroque and Rococo art is the most gaudy art style out of any period of art, eclipsing even that of exploration era Spanish art. In addition to this is my favorite painting by Rembrant, which my wife and I always comment about it’s similarity to Woody Herelson.
The garden has gone through major renevations since the last time we were there, as they have replaced most of the grass with what appears to be decomposed granite. signs around the area indicate that the drought is the reason for the renovations. I understand the need to become more water friendly, it’s just a bit sad to see the beautiful area they have turn into a granite pit.
Andy Warhol, along with Jackson Pollock, are the two marquee visual artists of the American Art Revolution following World War II. There is little denying Warhol’s popularity and influence; his art style is still featured on clothing and posters to date. His unique style was what separated him from other artists at the time, and had an eye for making art out of the ordinary.
A lot of Warhol’s art makes you question the definition of art. Art is typically defined as being worked by a human hand, and Warhol’s art certainly was, but does art necessarily have to be beautiful? Does art have to portray something? Does art that has no meaning deserve to be classified as art? If you asked Warhol he would most likely tell you that art does not have to be complicated, and that is the beauty of art. It is meant for the masses to perform and observe.
While I dislike most of Warhol’s works due to their simplicity and lack of explicit meaning, I can certainly say that his work came at a very important time for art world wide. Europe had been devastated by war, and people were looking for something that distracted them from the reparation of their war torn countries. It was during this period of time that a fair number of art circles migrated to New York and Los Angeles, allowing for American artists to take the stage globally. Warhol’s art was an opiate to the masses. Andy Warhol may not have been universally admired, but he certainly was universally known. Worldwide people were interested in his renditions of popular culture icons, and slices of life. That period of time in Warhol gave the world a bowl of American culture, a dish the world has been eating ever since.
For my project this week I actually had the luck to happen upon an actual corpse in a landscape setting. The pictures that I have taken are from Catalina Island, when me and my wife visited near Avalon. We went off the beaten path and stumbled upon a set of bones. We framed it near the beautiful hills in the background to show this juxtaposition of beauty and death.
While realistically this is not a corpse, it is a pile of bones of what appears to be a deer, it shows what I believe that this activity was meant to show, how life and death is connected. We could not be living today if billions of other organisms did not live, die, and then decompose to return the nutrients to the Earth for the process to renew.
Death is the universal constant on this planet. Every organism is born with a death sentence, a finite time before they are swooped away to whichever god they believe in. It may be a bit morbid to think of life in such a deterministic manner, but there really is little other evidence to go off. Is this our nirvana? Who’s to say for certain? Everyone however is destined to be a corpse along the serendipitous backdrop of live.
Marina Abramovic is a performance artist who practices art in New York city. Hailing from Serbia, he art is focused around the human body. While this may be true of most performance artists, the unique part about Marina, is that she was the pioneer of multiple types of performance art, affectionately earning the name the Grandmother of Performance Art.
One of Marina’s most famous pieces was Rhythm 5. Rhythm 5 involves Marina dousing a soviet star with gasoline, lighting it on fire, and then her sitting in lying in the middle of it. This was likely a symbolic piece about the effects of communism and a cleansing ritual for her. During the performance of this piece, however, Marina passed out from the smoke and fumes from the ignited gasoline. Succinctly, if you are going to perform dangerous performance art, you probably should let someone know what to expect so they could assist in the event of an accident. Marina, however, survived the event and went on to produce other pieces of art.
This piece is titled Arrow, and is that title is self explanatory. Doing this piece involves great risk, and great trust. If the arrow is loosed then Abromovic will most certainly die. This piece traps the viewer in an emotional uncertainty similar to that of seeing a gun pointed at someone. Deadly force is possible, but what is the result. This strain between life and death is what defined Abromovic’s art as the danger involved will almost certainly evoke an emotional response.