Monday, June 29, 2009

Resposne to Akarova and the Belgian Avant-Garde

Andrew, N. (2009). Living Art: Akarova and the Belgian Avant-Garde. Art journal, 68(2) 26-49.

This week I will be responding to an article found in the most recent issue of Art Journal. The article by Nell Andrew, examines the link between avant-garde Belgian Art, and the avant-Garde choreography of Belgian dancer Akarova.

Andrew explains first the connections between the art movement in Belgium of the early twenties, and the dance movement of which Akarova was involved. Post World-War I Beguim, as Andrew pointed out, was influenced by many of the countries it bordered. This included Germany, France, and the Netherlands. As a result the art being produced was following the trends in these countries, including Symbolism, and German Expressionism. The daughter of an architect, Andrew explains how Akarova grew up surrounded by her parents literary and artsits friends who strongly influenced her decisions as she began to study dance. Andrew argues that, with particular influence placed on the 7 Arts group, it was this movement that caused Akarova to take her dance in a more avant-garde direction.

Andrew went on to explain, as the ideals of Futurism, Cubism, and Constructivism entered Belguim, Akarova adopted traits associated with these movements. These traits include an emphasis on lighting, design, space, audience experience, political content over the more traditional dramatic contexts of theater. Andrew explained how the idea of movement without motion became central to the way Akarova danced. The author described how Akarova re-formed music in the service of dance rather than separating music from dance, as many modern dance choreographers were doing at that time.

This article was well written, and thought provoking. From my perception it isn't often that two types of art are explored. I find the arts to be very compartmentalized. This article however, nicely explored issues of the visual arts and modern dance.

If the expressive content is similar, i.e. motion and movement why are the arts so distinctly divided? I think it is due to the way creative people work. As a visual artist I like to work alone, on my own thoughts, and in my own way. I also think that this is not uncommon. As the creative process begins in a solitary exploration, this idea of working alone continues throughout to the end of the project. That said, I think It would be interesting to see more collaboration between the arts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Canceled exhibition

Last week I mentioned this exhibition. It had been my intention to blog about it this week. However, it was rainy this weekend, and the show was canceled. I therefore have nothing to blog about this week. Instead, enjoy this image of the Statue of Liberty in the rain.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Response to Madonna Nude

This weeks posting comes in two parts. The first part is a response to the blog Madonna Nude, the second covers an upcoming exhibition in New york City.

In the Madonna Nude blog we are presented with three images of the pop diva Madonna in the nude. One is a painting, and the other two are photographs. In my opinion, it is a little difficult to understand what this blog is actually about. Are we meant to be looking only at the nude images and comparing them, or are we meant to be thinking about how the use of a famous person in a work of art will greatly influence the price of that work? I'm going to discuss the former rather than the latter.

If we are meant to be comparing the images, I think that only one comparison can be made; that being a somewhat distorted perception of Madonna. Two different media are being used, the painting is more of a stylized interpretation of the relationship between Madonna and Guy Ritchie, and less about the pop star herself, and the photographs depict a very young Madonna before she was a sensation. If one considers this when looking at the photographs, then this too is less about the woman and more about a stylized interpretation of Madonna.

As for the works themselves, I much prefer the painting. I think the painting is more visually interesting. In one thousand years when Madonna is unknown to popular culture this painting will carry more significance than the photographs. In this context the images could be depicting anybody, and the painting holds a narrative, while the photographs do not. This is significant because the narrative can be interpreted by many people and comparisons can be drawn between the viewer and the work.

The second part of this posting promotes an exhibition in New York City. If you live in and around New York, you should definitely check out the "9/11, city, country, memories" exhibition in Battery Park on June 20. Below is the official flier that provides more details. If you have any comments or questions about this weeks posting, place them in the comment section, and I will see you again next week.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Art D Tour not a D light

This past Friday (6-5-09) I took an art tour of several galleries, and Museums in St. Louis, Mo. The details of this tour can be read here. This tour turned out to be a disappointment. I was expecting more because I went on the same tour in April, and it was fantastic. I think there are several reasons why this particular tour went so poorly, and I think there are ways improvements could be made.

The initial problem turned out to be traffic. The continued closer of interstate 64 has made getting around St Louis difficult for some time. This situation is made even worse during rush-hour each morning and evening. These factors combined with a scheduled Cardinals baseball game brought traffic into the city to a crawl. While on the bus, our guide even commented on how difficult it was to navigate the city streets that night. It became such a problem, that one of the scheduled gallery stops was deleted, as there was no convenient way to get the bus to that venue. In future, this event should be planned with more care given to the anticipated traffic pattern for that evening. The closer of interstate 64 was anticipated I'm sure. However, I have difficulty believing the other traffic issues were taken in to consideration when this event was planned.

The second issue was a lack of food. For each stop there was to be a variety of food and beverage samples. As outlined in this flyer:

However, I happened to be on the last bus in the convoy, and for each stop made the food had been consumed. There was hardly a scrap left for anyone. As I picked up my advance tickets I was told that they had sold out, and that the buses were quite full. The number of people on the tour should have been anticipated. This tour should either be advance purchase only, or additional tour dates should be put in place.

These two issues alone would not have ruined the evening. However, the art at each stop was also a disappointment. In April, the tour included examples of a wide variety of works. From old masters' paintings to contemporary sculptures, the array of works displayed featured something for everyone. This tour by contrast involved an excess of contemporary art, including video works and installations. I am not opposed to this type of work, but focusing solely on these ideas makes for a very dull tour.

All of these issues combined made for an unpleasant experience. These situations could have easily been prevented if more thought had been given to the planning of this event. The promotion of art and the culture of art is a positive thing. However, if it is not done correctly the public support of the arts will erode even further than it already has. This blog has discussed how the art world has alienated the public and unfortunately I think this serves as another example. If you disagree, or have other ideas to contribute please comment. I'll see you next week.