Sunday, September 30, 2007

2D Art II Assignment: Pop Art II

Last year in 2D Art I, we did a Pop Art project. As we learned, Pop Art was an art movement in the late 50’s and early 60’s that used as its source visual imagery from popular culture. We learned how Pop artists like Andy Warhol looked to things like consumerism and celebrity for subject matter for their art.

Warhol, Vegetable Soup, 1962

Warhol, Liz Taylor, 1964

The pieces that we did last year generally featured only one object, like Warhol's soup can, or a portrait of a celebrity such as Marilyn Monroe, or Elizabeth Taylor (as seen above).

This year, we will be focusing on the work of another Pop Artist, James Rosenquist. Early in his career, Rosenquist worked as a billboard painter, which required him to paint very large pictures of various products, in a very realistic manner. Moving away from advertising art, he brought his technical skill as a painter and his familiarity with popular culture into the world of fine art.

Differing from the single-object images that we see in much of Warhol's work, Rosenquist created complex compositions with a number of different objects or images, and attempted to “say something” about contemporary American culture. Rosenquist’s juxtaposition* of seemingly unrelated objects suggested hidden connections and new levels of meaning.

(*juxtaposition: placing two or more objects together, especially in order to suggest a link between them or emphasize the contrast between them.)

It is the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated objects in Rosenquist's work that makes his paintings so intriguing. What do they mean? His paintings invite you to find your own interpretation.

(click on the images below for larger views)

President Elect, 1961

I Love You with My Ford, 1961

Nomad, 1963

World's Fair Mural, 1964

F-111, 1965 (these pieces are connected, and are 2 out of 4 panels)

The Swimmer in the Econo-Mist, 1998

Examples of student work from AAW 2D Art II in previous years:

Victoria Webb, 2006

Peggy Kittila, 2002

In your Pop Art piece this year, you will need to include at least three different objects. Your picture will be more interesting if the relationship of the objects is not obvious. Think carefully about this project. What will you try to say with this picture? What will it mean? Will the meaning be clear, or will it be more symbolic? Will it have a specific meaning or will it be vague? Or perhaps there may not even be a particular meaning-- you can let the viewer try to figure it out on their own, and come up with their own interpretation.

For more information on Rosenquist, click here.
To go to Rosenquist's website, click here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rothko painting sold for $73 million

The record price for postwar art was broken twice at a Sotheby’s auction in May 2007, first with a painting by Francis Bacon and later with a Mark Rothko painting, which went for almost $73 million.

The 1950 Rothko painting, “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose),” of blocks of color, sold for $72.8 million to an anonymous bidder.

Shortly before, a 1962 Bacon painting of a pope, “Study from Innocent X,” sold to an anonymous bidder for $52.6 million.

Another work, an untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1981, sold Tuesday for $14.6 million, setting an auction record for the artist.

Rothko, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950

Bacon, Study from Innocent X, 1962

Basquiat, untitled, 1981


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dana Schutz

Dana Schutz (b. 1976) is an exciting and original young artist who was born in Livonia, Michigan and now lives and works in New York. Her work has been described as "teetering on the edge of tradition and innovation." (see link below for more.)

Death Comes to Us All, oil on canvas, 2003
(click on image to enlarge)

Death Comes to Us All is the painting equivalent to a psychotic episode; Schutz's man and machine meld in convincingly scary hallucination. Dana Schutz's paintings draw a fine line between escapism and invasion: her elaborate scenes are not just depictions of fantasy, but portals to plausible realities where ‘life' and ‘art' converge. Creating parallel worlds contrived in their own rules of logic, Schutz paints an interconnectedness between function and form. Adopting the role of the artist as a Dr Frankenstein-like power, Dana Schutz consolidates figuration and abstraction as a monstrous experiment, the effect of artistic vision spun out of control. (from the Saatchi Gallery website-- click here)

Reformers, oil on canvas, 2004
(click on image to enlarge)

Reformers-- what's going on in this picture? It has a lot of bright colors, but......

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rejected And Ignored By The Fine Art Establishment

The Art of Abdul Mati Klarwein

Klarwein is probably best know as the painter who created the album cover art for Santana’s Abraxas, and for the album that defined fusion jazz, Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, both of which were released in 1970.

Klarwein was a visionary painter who possessed an extremely high level of technical skill. In the second half of the twentieth century, the mainstream of the art world was focused mainly on abstract and/or conceptual art. Because Klarwein’s art happened to be on some album covers, and because he ignored the prevailing trends of modernism, Klarwein was considered by the art establishment to be “just” a commercial artist or psychedelic artist, and was as a result rejected and ignored.

You will probably never see Klarwein’s work in an art history class, and although a few books featuring his work have been published over the years, sadly, they are all out of print.

What does it say about the art world that it was immune to its [Klarewein’s art] clear and present beauty? – musician Jon Hassell

Bellin Family, 1973
(click for close-up)

Laure Klarwein, 1986
(click for close-up)

Soundscape, 1982
(click for close-up)

You will find a link on this page to Klarwein's website, in the section titled "Artists Deserving Wider Recognition".

Saturday, September 8, 2007

What is the purpose of art?

Here is a clue: there is more than one answer to this question.

(Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Who and what do you like in art?

Who are some of your favorite artists? Why do you like them? Are there any styles, movements, or periods of art that you especially like?

I will start this off by mentioning the style or movement known as "New Old Masterism". This term was coined by art critic/hisorian Donald Kuspit. The artists within this category create paintings that utilize the painting techniques of the "old masters" (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, etc.), but their subject matter is typically very different-- often somewhat strange or bizarre. Although this work typically does not really look like what most people would think of when using the term "postmodern" (typically conceptual/minimalist art etc.), it is, in a sense, essentially postmodern.

One of the most important painters working under the banner of New Old Masterism is the Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum. Nerdrum paints with a technique similar to that of Rembrandt. His paintings often feature figures in a bleak landscape, inhabiting what appears to be perhaps a post-apocalyptic world.

You will find a link on this page to Odd Nerdrum's website, in the section titled "Artists Deserving Wider Recognition".

Odd Nerdrum, The Water Protectors, 1985

Odd Nerdrum, The Night Guard, 1986

Welcome to the AAW 2D ART blog

This blog is mainly for 2D Art students at AAW, but others are also welcome to participate. The purpose of this blog (for now, at any rate) is: 1) to serve as an art resource for students and anyone else that is interested, and 2) to provide a place for dialog for things pertaining to anything that has to do with 2D Art. Topics for discussion could include drawing, painting, printmaking, artists, philosophical issues regarding art, etc.

The main focus of the 2D Art classes at AAW is drawing and painting. We also do some printmaking, on a somewhat more limited basis (mainly linocuts). Of course, one could also consider things like digital art and even photography to be "2D Art". Feel free to discuss these types of things as well, but they do not play a significant role in the 2D Art classes at AAW. (AAW also offers classes in computer graphics and photography, but they are considered "technology arts" at our school.

Please also note that our main focus is on "fine art", whatever that means. The term "fine art" means different things to different people. One could argue that certain forms of illustration could be considered to be fine art. Others would have even broader definitions, and include things such as graffitti/tagging, comic book/graphic novel art, anime, etc.

I encourae you to explore the many links on this blog. My hope is that you will discover a lot of new artists, types and styles of 2D art, and broaden your perspective on art in general.

So... let's talk about art!