Spring ’20 – 16 Ideas about Art

Jennifer Lopez, Ain’t Your Mama

16 Ideas About Art

  1. Jan 22 – "Women’s Work" is also Art
  2. Jan 27 – Abstraction is Freedom
  3. Feb 3 – You can Find Art Anywhere!
  4. Feb 10 – Drawing is Language
  5. Mar 2 – Cameras Tell Stories
  6. Feb 24 – Art can be Shocking!
  7. Feb 17 – Art is a good excuse to go to fun places
  8. Mar 9 – We need to talk about Beauty
  9. Mar 16 – Your Realism is getting in the way of my Romanticism!
  10. Mar 23 – Art is a good way to Talk to Your Brain!
  11. Apr 6 – Being Yourself can be Art
  12. Apr 13 – The Internet is an Art Gallery (Molly Soda/Mattes)
  13. Apr 20 – Art can be Sustainable?
  14. Apr 27 – The Street is a great place for Art
  15. May 4 – Remix is the Art of Your Time!
  16. May 13 – Art is a lot about Speech

Idea #1: “Women’s Work” is also Art

Richard Serra
throwing molten lead, 1969
Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Wadsworth Atheneum, 1973
Unknown Woman
Donald Trump’s Star on Hollywood Blvd, 2017
Richard Serra throwing molten lead, 1969 Mierle Laderman Ukeles, 1973 a woman on her knees cleaning Donald Trump's Star on Hollywood Blvd

I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother (random order). I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, perserving, etc. Also, (up to now separately) I “do” Art. Now I will simply do these maintenance everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art. I will live in the museum as I customarily do at home with my husband and my baby

Mierle Laderman Ukeles
  1. What is "Women’s Work"?
  2. What is "Art"?
  3. What does "Women’s Work" is also Art mean?
  4. In 1969 Mierle Laderman Ukeles wrote her Manifesto for Maintenance Art. 51 years later, in 2020, we will try our own Maintenance Art right here on the Long Beach State campus. Here’s our project:

Megan Stack[‘s book Women’s Work] is willing to confront hard questions that many of us flinch from: about the relationships between women and the women we hire to take care of our houses and our children, to do the traditional women’s work that gives ‘liberated women’ the time to do traditional men’s work.

Anne-Marie Slaughter

Pharrell Williams, Freedom

Idea #2: Abstraction is Freedom

Piotr Kowalski
NOW, 1965
Jackson Pollock
Autumn Rhythm, 1950
Ellsworth Kelly
Blue Green Black Red: The Dallas Panels, 1988
Piotr Kowalski's dynamite sculpture NOW at Long Beach State University Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm, 1950 Blue Green Black Red: The Dallas Panels, Ellsworth Kelly, 1988

the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any other past culture.

Jackson Pollock
  1. What is Abstraction?
  2. Do you prefer Representation or Abstraction?
  3. Texture & Configuration
  4. "Getting It" vs "Being With It"

I try to downplay subject matter because I’m afraid it limits how people think about pictures… ambiguity is as important as specificity. It becomes a beautiful dialog, a tightrope walk, between abstraction and representation.

Wayne Thiebaud

Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Grand Rapids Lip Dub / Don McLean, American Pie

Idea #3: You can Find Art Anywhere!

Robert Irwin
Window Wall for Cal State Long Beach, 1975
Christo + Jeanne-Claude
Wrapped Riechstag, Berlin, 1971-1995
Australopithecus africanus
Makapansgat Pebble, 3,000,000 BCE
Robert Irwin's Window Wall for Cal State Long Beach, 1975, installation view Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm, 1950 The Makapansgat Pebble or Water-Worn Pebble, Australopithecus africanus, 3 mya

Ain’t about how fast I get there

Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side

It’s the climb

Hannah Montana
  1. Where do I find Art?
  2. What am I looking for?
  3. How do I know it is Art?
  4. Is Art just everything? What isn’t Art?
  5. What is a Curator?
  6. Is a Curator different from an Artist?
  7. Has Social Media killed Loitering?
  8. What is a Flâneur?

To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

ZHC, How to Draw

Idea #4: Drawing is Language

Albrecht Dürer
Dürer’s Rhinoceros, 1515, woodcut
Makoto Sasaki
Heartbeat Drawing Since 1995, 1999
Wayne Thiebaud
Lemon Meringue, 1964
Albrecht Durer, Durer's Rhinoceros, woodcut, 1515 Makoto Sasaki, Heartbeat Drawing Since 1995, 1999 Wayne Thiebaud, Lemon Meringue, 1964

Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.

Henri Cartier-Bresson
  1. Do you like to draw?
  2. Is your drawing so awful that you just can’t stand to look at it?
  3. Who speaks more than one language?
  4. How many languages do you speak?
  5. Do you find that different languages enable different thought?
  6. Have you seen or made a drawing that said things difficult to say in words?

It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover, to your surprise, that you have rendered something in its true character.

Camille Pissarro

quotations on drawing from Dan Scott


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Same Love, feat. Mary Lambert

Idea #7: Cameras Tell Stories

Lewis Hine
One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C., 1908
Nan Goldin
Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a taxi, NYC, 1991
Margaret Bourke-White
Men and women in Louisville, Kentucky, line up seeking food and clothing from a relief station during the Great Ohio River Flood, 1937
Lewis Hine photo of a child working in a factory Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a taxi, NYC 1991 Nan Goldin born 1953 The American Way photo by Margaret Bourke-White

I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.

Nan Goldin
  1. Are photographs "true" or "fiction"?
  2. Is there a difference between "true" and "truth"?
  3. Can "fiction" ever contain "truth"?
  4. What should be in a Photo Caption?
  5. Why do you look at an image? Because your friends or family or someone you find interesting posted it on Instagram?
  6. Do you "like" photos because of qualities in the photography?
  7. Or because you like, or want to be liked, by the person who took it?
  8. How long do you look at a photo on Instagram? More than one second? Or less?
  9. What do you think of Selfies?
  10. What’s the most amazing photograph you have ever seen?
  11. Do you have a "real" (DSLR or Mirrorless) camera?

One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mill. She was 51 inches high. Has been in the mill one year. Sometimes works at night. Runs 4 sides – 48 cents a day. When asked how old she was, she hesitated, then said, “I don’t remember,” then added confidentially, “I’m not old enough to work, but do just the same.” Out of 50 employees, there were 10 children about her size.

Lewis Hine

Madonna, Like a Prayer

Idea #6: Art can be Shocking!

Talking Heads, Burning Down the House

Idea #5: Art is a good excuse to go to fun places

Alessia Cara, Scars To Your Beautiful

Idea #8: We need to talk about Beauty

a-ha, Take On Me

Idea #9: Your Realism is getting in the way of my Romanticism

Queen, Under Pressure

Idea #10: Art is a good way to Talk to Your Brain

  • Cognitive Maps
  • Automatic Drawing
Emma Chamberlain, the truth about coachella (everyone else is lying to you)

Idea #11: Being Yourself can be Art

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, Lux Aurumque

Idea #12: The Internet is an Art Gallery

Christie’s Nov 8, 2006 auction of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912, Gustav Klimt. An anonymous buyer (Oprah Winfrey) bought the painting for $88 million. 8 years later, in 2014, she sold it to an unidentified Chinese buyer for $150 million.

Idea #13: Art can be Sustainable?

Sofles, Limitless

Idea #14: The Street is a great place for Art

video mashup: Notorious BIG & Miley Cyrus, Party and Bullshit in the USA

Idea #15: Remix is the Art of Your Time!

What’s dangerous is not to evolve.

Jeff Bezos
Emel Mathlouthi & Karim Attourmane, Kelmti Horra

Idea #16: Art is a lot about Speech

detail of Piotr Kowalski's 1965 stainless stell & dynamite sculpture "NOW"
NOW, 1965, Piotr Kowalski

Now, Piotr Kowalski

  1. Maintenance Art
  2. Abstraction
  3. Finding Art
  4. Drawing

Sometimes even a ghost story can be Art!

Comments? Questions? What great art did you see, make, or experience today?