Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist
Personally, I would consider Monet to be one of the most well-known artists, especially to those not familiar with the art community. I have heard about him and seen photos of his work, but I really enjoyed being able to see his work in person. Many of his works appear to be simple nature scenes. I had always thought they were beautiful, as I enjoy paintings of nature, but up close, his work was much more interesting to me than I originally thought. The painting is not flat, with clear, layered brush strokes that, up close, make it look less like a nature scene. Each element of the painting individually up close does not closely resemble the piece of nature it is supposed to be depicting. I like that each brushstroke can be seen, as it makes me feel more connected to the actual artist who painted it. I find it interesting how something that had seemed to realistic and life like to me from far away could seem so messy and rather abstract up close. It made me question how I've viewed artwork in the past, and whether I should just be looking at a painting or picture as a whole or if I should take the time to focus on its individual parts, as they seem to change when singed out. Overall, this piece was calming to me and made me feel a sense of serenity, with its light colors and natural theme.
Design of the Museum
Upon entering the portion of the museum displaying African artwork, I felt immersed in the actual culture being represented. Much of this part of the museum was sculpture, specifically masks, clothing, and people, and it was displayed in a way that made me feel like I was interacting with them. They were not all paintings confined to wall space, as with many art exhibits. I enjoyed how the colors on the dividing walls reflected some of the colors frequently present in the art, like the light blue and bright red, emphasizing the cultural aspect of this exhibit. The actually design of the museum was minimal, as to not overpower the actual art, but it still served as a guide to enhance the viewing experience and separate this exhibit from others. For example, Latin American art was displayed in an adjoining exhibit, but the change in the colors on the walls distinctly separated the two, while bringing out prominent features of the art. It made me feel more in touch with the culture of the art presented, which is important for the full appreciation of each piece. Cultural context allows for a more enriched and deeper understanding of the artwork.
Art and Core Values
This piece, "Three Men at Union Square" by Isabel Bishop, personally appealed to my core value of achievement. After looking at this piece and reading about its artist, I related to both the artist and the woman depicted. At this time in history, it was difficult for women to be successful, prominent members of society and the working class. The working men in the photo stare at this women, who is assumed to be a working women herself. At this time, men, though hard working, already have been afforded opportunities in which they can prosper and achieve. Women, however, had to fight to be recognized for achievement in their designated professions, as well as work to be able to hold positions in male dominated fields. The men stand and talk with one another, staring at the women, possibly because they find her attractive, while the women climbs the stairs symbolic of the desire of women to rise up in society to a status equal to men. Through this piece, I felt desire and anger, as even though gender equality has come very far since this was painted, it is still more difficult to be a women in traditionally male dominated fields today. Achievement in my desired field is important to me, so this recognition of the difficulties for women to achieve professionally by the artist offers me a better understanding of how hard I need to continue to work to honor this value in my daily life.
Art and the Good Life
When I saw this piece, I felt that it embodied the "Celebrating the Good Life" theme. The description of the artist described how he enjoyed capturing common life activities, like the funeral painted here. This piece relates to the celebrating theme in multiple ways. I believe that the funeral depicted itself could be seen as a celebration. Funerals are possibly the most literal celebrations of life, serving as a reflection on the life of a loved one and a reminder to embrace and cherish everyday that we spend with one another. The universal nature of funerals also relates to this theme. In the painting above, by just looking at it, it is not clear exactly where in the world this is taking place. It is true that many cultures have differing burial rituals, but the fact that most all cultures honor their dead and lay them to rest in some ways is significant and rather universal in its nature. Though celebrations vary from culture to culture, what we celebrate and the fact that we celebrate at all is a significant aspect of human nature. In addition, the arts, including painting, are celebrations of life. The artist that created this piece was celebrating the aspect of human nature in which we honor our dead. It is a celebration of tradition, ancestors, and the sentimental nature of humans. I believe that all art can be seen as celebrations of life in some way, but this piece in particular allowed me to appreciate this theme on a deeper level because of the multiple interpretations in relation to celebrating the good life.