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Multiple Media (jane davila)

I nearly forgot to post today and I have some questions that I’ve been gnawing on for a while.

picasso-sculpture.jpg One of Pablo Picasso’s sculptures, in Paris, France

What medium or media did you work in as an artist before you started in your current medium? Do you ever feel the need to explore another medium? Do you feel that it adds something to your current medium to make periodic explorations into other related or unrelated media? Continue reading ‘Multiple Media (jane davila)’

On Art and Political Protest (jane dávila)

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Peru last month I was all set to discuss a form of folk art commonly found among the indigenous people of the Andes mountains, as a form of recognition and remembrance. As I began writing I realized that the underlying theme of the art (political protest and social commentary) is more universal and deserves a broader view. So… my topic got a heck of a lot bigger.

arpillera1.jpgPeruvian Arpillera – potato harvest

Continue reading ‘On Art and Political Protest (jane dávila)’

Eileen Agar & Surrealist Games (by jane dávila)

Eileen Agar (1904-1991)

In trying to find a suitable subject for today’s post I came across an interesting female Surrealist. Born in Argentina but living most of her life in England, Eileen Agar was a painter and a sculptor. The extensive use of found objects in her work greatly appeals to me.
Agar-Collective Unconsciousness
Collective Unconscious, Eileen Agar

Continue reading ‘Eileen Agar & Surrealist Games (by jane dávila)’

“Taste” in Art (jane dávila)

French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) has studied taste in relation to socio-economic class and education. His aim was to give “a scientific answer to the old quesions of Kant’s critique of judgement, by seeking in the structure of the social classes the basis of the systems of classification which designate the objects of aesthetic enjoyment.” One of his books, Distinction: A Cultural Critique of the Judgement of Taste, uncovers clear links between class and preferences in art, music, film and theater. His empirical results “show that despite the apparent freedom of choice in the arts, people’s artistic preferences (e.g. classical music, rock, traditional music) strongly correlate with their social position.” (wikipedia) Many artists have successfully marketed to what Bourdieu calls “low taste” and Clement Greenberg called “kitsch”, artists like Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kinkade.

Artistic taste has also been studied by artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid. They surveyed thousands of people from all over the world and, with great irony, created a collection of the Most Wanted Paintings and Least Wanted Paintings by country. Komar and Melamid ask “What would art look like if it were to please the greatest number of people?” Their research shows surprising global similarities, a dislike for the color chartreuse and abstract art, and a strong preference for the color blue and representational landscapes. The survey results were used to create paintings to represent the likes and dislikes of the majority of respondents. For example, what most Americans want in a painting is a landscape with water and mountains, predominantly blue, with a wild animal and a historical subject. The result is a peaceful landscape with George Washington near a river with deer wandering by.

United States Most Wanted
America’s Most Wanted Painting Continue reading ‘“Taste” in Art (jane dávila)’

Art & the Establishment (by jane davila)

There’s been quite a brouhaha over an installation piece commissioned from Swiss artist Christoph Büchel by the Massachussetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams.

Some background on the artist from

Swiss artist Christoph Büchel creates hyper-realistic environments that are, in essence, like walking into a mind at work. His detailed installations are three-dimensional renderings of interior spaces and/or situations that often convey extreme psychological mindsets, such as that of a survivalist, a homeless person, or an agoraphobe. These fictitious yet highly believable environments – rooms within rooms – are carefully constructed so that the institutional framework of the art museum and all reference to the gallery context are removed.

A complexity is found in the elaborate detail the artist develops for each project, an artistic sensibility that allows layers of social and political commentary to permeate within a uniquely contemplative space. Büchel locates contradictions and social inequities in the ideological forces dominating society today (global capitalism, unprincipled consumption, religious conservatism, American hegemony) and finds a way through his work to satirize, demystify, and resist these forces by revealing them as constructed realities subject to change.

Christoph Buchel - Hole, 2006 Christoph Buchel – Hole, 2006

Continue reading ‘Art & the Establishment (by jane davila)’

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