For this art project I decided to incorporate Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits and adopted three unique identities. I wanted to do two of the photos to where there was sort of an irony element to them. Where they show the stereotype and how we usually perceive these groups of people but then there’s a twist. This twist is what represents the fact that these stereotypes do set us apart and make us in a sense different. Yet they lack the substance of representing who we really are as a person and what we truly mean to the world at large. To begin, the first photo I had was to portray a librarian or a studious-like person. Which is shown by the sweater, the reading glasses and the book itself. In my next photo I decided to dress as a hipster. My general view of hipster is someone who is earthy, play this part to be all natural, very rich, and of great, yet sometimes interesting fashion. In my photo I represent a hipster indulging in a nice cheesy breadstick from Little Caesers. I did this to show that this isn’t what one would associate necessarily with hipster ever, usually they eat all organic and shop at Whole Foods and that’s the stereotype. I don’t necessarily agree with stereotypes and I don’t think they should ever express fully to whom one is as a person. Because as shown in this photo, even though you dress the part you still at the end of the day will be you, even if that is as something as simple as eating fast food. My last photo I adopted Cindy Sherman’s photo idea and kind of composed my own to show a woman in the 50’s defeating the stereotype. I posed looking like Rosie the Riveter a woman of the 50’s that represented women right’s and power. I played the part and adopted her stereotype by showing the woman working hard with a hammer while the man is in the kitchen doing the dishes.
For my blog post I’m going to talk about the ever so popular reality T.V. shows, and to narrow this down “Jersey Shore” specifically. Jersey Shore is a delightfully tacky sitcom about 6 housemates who are from the Jersey area and focuses on their party lifestyles. They were ordinary people, and then given a T.V. show they became famous overnight. I think this in itself says a lot about fame and how it is acquired. The show focuses on their outrageous nights out, and their talents are not highlighted whatsever. So to be famous does one need to have talent? We idolize these celebrity, but why? Because they are given a certain amount of attention for their outrageous actions. Although I do secretly enjoy the show, one can’t help but question the power of fame and how it evolves. I would say it has changed over the years immensely. For fame years ago, you had to work for it, win an Oscar or a Grammy. Now it seems fame arises simply when you entertain people in a good manner or even bad for this matter especially. In class we discussed Andy Warhaw who was famous for pop culture. Andy did a hamburger commercial for Burger King, and it’s literally a clip of him eating a hamburger. It shows the unique aspect i think of what fame represent nowadays. The commercial shows Andy consuming a burger, so in a sense you’re consuming him. Referring back to fame, because we consume him as a celebrity and that’s what fame is commodification. Watching something as boring as someone eating a hamburger, just restates that because they are famous it’s all of a sudden more appealing. Our entire predisposition is altered and it doesn’t matter how they are famous or why. All that matters is that they are, and in this sense we conform to them because that’s what society tell us to.
I took the first photo during my freshamn year after Notre Dame’s first home game. Before returning to Holy Cross campus, I decided to make a stop by the grotto to light a candle and say a prayer. There were people everywhere surronding the Grotto kneeling down to pray, and not a candle went unlit. I choose this image to represent my “Neutral” perspective on religion. For me personally it was more of spiritual connection when looking around and seeing the people from all around the world coming together to such a holy place. The religion aspect didn’t mean too much, whether you were Catholic, Mormon, Buddhist, or Baptist. The title of one’s religon was set aside at that moment it seemed, and instead what mattered more was that faith element. That hopefullness and peacefullness that comes from the sense of knowing that there is something more and with that making us all connected.
My second image, I actually took this year during the fall while walking to band practice. The image to me represented the “Affimative” perspective. The banner reads, “To be a healing, unifying, enlightening force for a world deeply in need.” After reading this I felt inspired, and I could easily see a correlation between this message and the true meaning that lies behind all religions. It shows religion as a positve social convention and an outlet in a sense. It’s where one looks to, for answers or reasoning when life becomes too difficult to comprehend at times.
My third image I took this past May when I went to Ghana, Africa. I choose this to represent the “Critcal Prospective.” During that time we were all walking to mass, and when we finally caught up with the boy to ask him where he was heading he was also going to mass. The conditions that most of the people in Ghana, and this little boy, are living in makes out a very hard life because they do have so little. Although it’s striking the faith and the amount of love that is in this country that comes from the people, it’s breath taking. I chose this to be my “Critcal” image because it shows such a harsh living enviroment that one can’t help but question faith and it’s reasonings. The people of Ghana though don’t question this ever, and put their religion at such priority that it’s truly inspirational.
In both artist, Walker and Wiley, one can easily see how their work illustrates the dynamics of “power” in a historical sense regarding to racism. Starting with Wiley’s work, I attached the first painting (1&2) that portrays the same style of a European church, but instead of powerful or “Holy” people he places regular individuals. They are dressed in normal clothes, which in some have the notion that are “ghetto” clothes and this is exactly Wiley’s point. He wants you to feel awkward in the sense that while looking at the photos we already have this disposition of people, and with this proves his point of racism. He questions, who is given the right to power so he paints with this and questions the “so-called normal” person. The message I took from his art is that he is simply symbolizing the actual being of racism. Which he does just this, because he concludes that it is based off of condition, or this thought of how we are supposed to perceive individuals.
In Kara Walker, she expresses the same notion of racism in her silhouettes, by using physiognomy saying again that we are preconditioned to think in a certain way. This particular image (3) portrays the idea of a duel image. One side looks like white men that are roasting African American heads, while on the opposite side it appears to be an African American posting heads of white men and women. My thought on this image is that is simply stating that slavery was such a horrific event that it’s hard to comprehend on how anyone could do this, and with this notion Walker asks who exactly is to blame for this sort of behavior. In this she makes a contradiction in itself, because there is no justification as to who is to blame, but with “power” in the wrong hands such horrific actions took place for a very long time. In closing, I would say the point of both artists’ paintings, especially Walker’s, being that they themselves are trying to investigate, as us as well, trying to figure out why slavery happened or why racism even exists in the first place.
The concept of a readymade is to bring meaning to art by the audience, and by doing so we have to look deeper for the meaning to a particular piece of artwork. Duchamp made the point many times, even in his work that art goes without the artist and instead the audience brings meaning to the art. Duchamp states, “The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualification and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.” In understanding the actual concept of what a readymade is, Duchamp addresses this in his article the, Apropos of “Readymades.” He explains, “The choice of the readymades were based on a reaction of visual indifference with at the same a total absence of good or bad taste in fact a complete anesthesia.” From this I took his argument being that even though it doesn’t look like one would call “conventional art”, this does not exclude it from being art only based off the fact that it is different. Simply the meaning or what the art represents is not right in front of us, but rather we have to look much deeper. For my readymade, I took an old vase that had been lying around the house, and over the past few months, it became sort of a “junk draw”. It had a lot of odd end objects in it that differentiate from bottle caps to as far as starburst wrappers. For me I tried to symbolize the trash, for lack of a better word, but to show the little things in life that start accumulating and in a sense make a large portion in our lives. Not saying that a starburst wrapper has much significance but instead that it can evolve it to something greater. To make my readymade complete I put a candle that was lit in the vase, and this symbolized life itself. I used the rhythm of simply going from the bottom of the vase which was filled with what appears to be meaningless objects, and then leading to the top with the candle to represent pure life and existence. For me my readymade, represents the accumulation of both good and bad moments in life, that may seem small or large, but in the end they add up to pure existence and with that also the meaning of one’s life.
My name is Margaret McCormick, and I am currently a senior at Holy Cross College majoring in Psychology. After graduation, I hope to study nursing and become a registered nurse. I was originally from a small town in Arkansas, Mountain Home, and lived there for 20 years of my life. This past winter my family and I moved to Chicago, IL to be closer to my mom’s side of the family. I am a member of the Notre Dame marching band and play the clarinet.
I registered for this course, because due to band, I have never been required to take an art class. Before I graduated I hoped to take at least one art class, so I could have a better understanding of this subject because it is a substantial part of our everyday life. I am a little nervous about learning about visual literacy, because I don’t know what to expect, but nonetheless I am anxious to learn more about art and with that their hidden meanings as well.
I’m excited about the blogging aspect that will be in this course.This past summer I took a Nutrition class online, and every week we would blog what we had ate including the different vitamins and so on. In doing these blogs and reading other people’s blogs I noticed I was learning much more than I would have just by reading the text for example. It seemed like by interacting with others and by taking the time to read their own thoughts or insights helped a lot in gaining more knowledge about nutrition. I look forward to learning some of the major works of art and their historical importance. Throughout the years art has always been famous for pushing the boundaries and expressing sometimes controversial issues in a sophisticated manner. I am eager to learn more about these major works of art that questioned the norm and in response expressed how they truly felt.