◦ Design of the Museum: Something that particularly interested me was the entrance to one of the exhibits pertaining to African Art. In the entrance, there was a full wall-sized projection on the wall of what appeared to be a bustling African village. On the parallel wall, there was a full size mirror that reflected the projection so that it appeared to be on both sides of the wall. To me the purpose of this was so that when museum goers walk in, and look in the mirror, it is almost as if they themselves are immersed within the village, a way to get people to connect more to the art and to the experiences that the art is based upon. I thought this was a very clever and well thought out set up.
The picture on the right is a close-up of the painting so that you can see the newspaper
Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist: A painting you definitely cannot appreciate on a screen as much as you can in person is "Reina Xochitl" by Alfredo Ramos Martinez. Upon first glance, one sees a painting of a woman, who is the Aztec goddess Xochiquetzal, who is the goddess of flowers, love, pleasure and beauty, and is also the patron of artists. However, when you look closer, you can see that the painting is actually painted on newspaper, rather than on canvas or some other medium. I thought this was really cool especially because I didn't notice it at first, and even once I did notice, it was hard to see, but it was there. Though there was no explanation as to why he decided to use newspaper, I think it is a cool concept, and unique in a very subtle way, given how hard to detect it is. I think one way to interpret it is that you can make art out of practically anything, if you are creative enough.
Art and Core Values: The part of the museum that most spoke to me was the hallway mostly centered around the "Guerrilla Girls." This exhibit focused greatly on feminism and how it affects art and culture and professionalism every day for women. Personally, I consider feminism to be one of my core values and a belief system that I treasure and act upon regularly and with pride. If one did not know that much of the text-centered artwork was meant in a sardonic, sarcastic way, one might actually think the exhibit is anti-feminist. However, the way much of the pieces are worded is very purposefully meant to mimic many of the patronizing male voices so commonly heard by women, and to highlight the ridiculousness of much of their rhetoric.
Art and the Good Life: One piece that I found particularly striking was Volcano Series no. 2 by Ana Mendieta. It is a series of six photographs that depict a molded impression of the artist's body filled with gunpowder and set ablaze. The fire represented in the pictures symbolizes the process of spiritual transformation, and the brief but intense life of the actual flame represents the cyclical forces of creation and destruction. This reminded me of the Good Life theme of embodying the Good Life and using one's body to capture and portray one's thoughts, beliefs, or values. Mendieta's work typically exemplifies her spiritual and physical connection to the earth, with her body as her primary medium. In her various works, her medium is her body or the outlines of her body impressed into earth, grass, or trees. I found this interesting and intriguing given the destruction of her symbolic body in the photoset, and its eventual ending as a pile of ash. It made me wonder what the artist was trying to comment on regarding herself and her physical existence.