Spring ’20 – 16 Ideas about Art

Jennifer Lopez, Ain’t Your Mama

16 Ideas About Art

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 #5: 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!

Dread Scott
What is the proper way to display a U.S. flag? 1988
Ai Weiwei
Greeting the Tienamen Square Gate, 1995
Pussy Riot
A Punk Prayer, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow, 2012
Dread Scott, What is the proper way to display a US flag, 1988 Ai Weiwei, Greeting the Tienamen Square Gate, 1995 Pussy Riot, A Punk Prayer, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow, 2012

Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.

Salman Rushdie

  • EC: Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, artist > Biddy Mason Memorial Park
  • 30k: Biddy Mason, 20k: Bradbury Building, 10k: Lunch @GCM, 25k: MOCA, 25k: Broad, 25k: Disney-Cardiff-Miller – check hours! – due by 3/15 email Glenn w link

  1. What is a "shocking truth" you care about?

When I write I don’t aim to shock people, and I’m surprised when I do. But I don’t think that anything that occurs in life should be omitted from art, though the artist should present it in a fashion that is artistic and not ugly. I set out to tell the truth. And sometimes the truth is shocking.

Tenessee Williams

Alessia Cara, Scars To Your Beautiful

Idea #7: We need to talk about Beauty

William Bouguereau
Birth of Venus, 1879
Edouard Manet
Victorine Meurent

Olympia, 1863
Willem de Kooning
Woman and Bicycle, 1953
The Birth of Venus by William Bouguereau, 1879 Olympia by Edouard Manet and Victorine Meurent, 1863 Woman and Bicycle by Willem de Kooning, 1953

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

John Keates

O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!

My tables,–meet it is I set it down,

That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act I, Scene V
  1. Definition of "Art"
  2. Definition of "Aesthetics"
  3. Definition of "Beauty"
  4. What is "Sensible Beauty"?
  5. What is "Ethical Beauty"?
  6. What did Plato think about "Beauty"?
  7. What did Aristotle think about "Beauty"?
  8. What did Kant think about "Beauty"?

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act V, Scene I

Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel? Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away: O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act V, Scene I

a-ha, Take On Me

Idea #8: Your Realism is getting in the way of my Romanticism

J.M.W. Turner
Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, 1812
Caspar David Friedrich
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, 1818
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Halloween, 1997
Snow Storm Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps by JMW Turner exhibited in 1812 Wanderer above the sea of fog by Caspar David Friedrich 1818 Halloween episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer showing Willow dressed in a sheet and Buffy in a Victorian ball gown

So she sat on with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland. Though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality.

Lewis Carroll
  • Last Week: Art > Aesthetics > Beauty > Plato, Aristotle, Kant > Sensible Beauty > Ethical Beauty
  • God’s mistakes – “Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” – Ansel Adams

  • Romanticism – a movement in the arts and literature that originated in the late 18th century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual.
  • Glorification of Nature
  • Peak period 1800-1850
  • Romanticism was a reaction against the order and restraint of classicism and neoclassicism (they preferred Medievalism) and a rejection of the rationalism that characterized the Enlightenment/Industrial Revolution
  • 19th century composers: Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner
  • Poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats
  • Romantic Painters (stylistically diverse): William Blake, J. M. W. Turner, Delacroix, Goya

  • On a scale from 100% Realism/0% Romanticism, to 0% Realism, 100% Romanticism, what percentage of Realism/Romanticism would you like your life to be?

  • This week’s Art Activity: Writing a "Romantic" Pop Song"Romantic" as in Romanticism, not necessarily as in people falling in love, although it could be that too.

I’ve been a soldier and a slave. I’ve seen my comrades fall in battle or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I’ve held them in my arms at the final moment.

These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no brave last words, only their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning “Why?”

I don’t think they were wondering why they were dying, but why they had ever lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?

To surrender dreams — this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash.

Too much sanity may be madness!

But maddest of all — to see life as it is and not as it should be.

Dale Wasserman

Talking Heads, Burning Down the House

Idea #9: Art is a good excuse to go to fun places

Eric Kilby
Flat City Sculpture, 2013
Simon Rodia
Watts Towers, 1921-1954
Douglas Coupland
Digital Orca, 2009
Flat City Sculpture, a sandcastle, by Eric Kilby, 2013 Watts Towers, an epic series of backyard mosiac towers created by Simon Rodia between 1921 and 1954 Digital Orca, Douglas Coupland, 2009, an outdoor, public art, sculpture of a whale at the Vancouver Convention Center. The whale is composed of voxels, or 3D pixels

The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.

Beyoncé Knowles

We were supposed to be Burning Down the House this week. We were supposed to be getting off campus this week. Well, we still are, but Coronavirus kind of beat us to it.

If were were meeting F2F in MM-200 I would ask you 2 questions:

Why did you burn down the house?

and

Where will you go now?

This week we’ll try a Plaster Casting activity. It’s the same activity we would have done without Coronavirus, except the optional meetup is canceled. We’ll all be doing it on our own.

As I hope you know from the syllabus, if any activity is ever too problematic for you, you can always talk to me about an alternate activity. That’s even more true now. For some of you a beach trip might be a nice relief from your new normal. Or not. This activity does have a "bucket of sand at home" option. But if even that feels inappropriate for you at this time, LMK and we can work out other options on an individual basis.

If everybody had an ocean
Across the u.s.a.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like californi-a
You’d seem ’em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ U.S.A.

Brian Wilson

Queen, Under Pressure

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

Joan Miró
Harlequins Carnival, 1924
Katherine Shinno
Automatic Drawing, 2016
Makoto Sasaki
Heartbeat Drawing Since 1995, 1999

All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.

Andre Breton
  • Surrealist Automatism
  • Psychic Automatism
  • Cognitive Maps
  • Automatic Drawing

This week’s activity: Cognitive Maps & Automatic Drawing

Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.

Andre Breton

Emma Chamberlain, the truth about coachella (everyone else is lying to you) start @ 15:10

Idea #11: Being Yourself can be Art

Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882
Emma Chamberlain
in 2019
Pete Seeger
1919-2014

I lost my credit card today. I dug thru a trash can on my street for an hour. It wasn’t in there and I almost threw up. Then I looked through the dumpster in my apartment and it was not there. Then I looked in my car. There it was!

Emma Chamberlain

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows.

Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.

Jim Jarmusch
  • Authenticity & Performance
  • Internal Attribution & External Attribution
  • Intrinsic Motivation & Extrinsic Motivation

This week’s Art Activity:

No matter what your work, let it be your own. No matter what your occupation, let what you are doing be organic. Let it be in your bones. In this way, you will open the door by which the affluence of heaven and earth shall stream into you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, Lux Aurumque

Idea #12: The Internet is an Art Gallery

Eva & Franco Mattes
born 1976
Molly Soda
born 1989
Hennessy Youngman
2010-2012

Today, our attention is less than the television advertisement. We’re looking at six or seven problems constantly. We’re living in the disturbed societies of cities. I think modern technology is one of the worst things human beings have invented.

Marina Abramovic
  • The Internet as a Place for Art
  • The Internet as an Artwork
  • The Internet vs The City (fire, the wheel, etc)
  • This week’s Art Activity: Virtual Art Gallery

A computer terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about.

Douglas Adams

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. Start watching at 11:20

Idea #13: Art can be Sustainable?

Robert Smithson
Spiral Jetty, 1970
Andy Goldsworthy
Rowan Leaves and Hole, 1987
Dan Snow
Slate Bauble, 2018

I work with stone because stone is so much work. Physical labor stimulates thinking. The more engaged I am in working the freer my thoughts become. It takes a lot of stone to stay working. I appreciate stone for its abundance and for its willingness to play along.

Dan Snow

Artists need to create on the same scale that society has the capacity to destroy.

Lauren Bon / Sherrie Rabinowitz

Sofles, Limitless

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

Swoon (Caledonia Curry)
(environmental portrait in her Brooklyn studio by Sasha Maslov, 2014
Shepard Fairey
Obey Giant, 2008
Lady Pink
(wearing a Jenny Holzer t-shirt), 1983

Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.

Banksy
  • The White Cube vs The Street
  • Art Activity i14 – Graffiti Writing (Pandemic Isolation Version!)

I think ‘punk’ should really be defined as paving your own way creatively and by defying any sort of orthodoxy or commercial pressure.

Shepard Fairey

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!

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