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FAH102 Lecture Notes.pdf

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Leanne Caroll

FAH102 Lecture 2, January 16 2014. What is art? D’Alleva - needs to be diverse definition - object/art object: not necessarily concrete - does not require on specific kind of skill - devaluation of certain types of art from other regions as way to ignore/dismiss/not engage with - although encompassing many things which were not previously considered art as art is elevating, that is not the purpose - encompassing more as art helps to ask better questions - “it’s art if art historians study it” - institutional theory of art - proposes are is any material or visual thing made by art/art persons which has value of a social/political/spiritual/aesthetic nature - cf. Arthur Danto’s art as embodied meaning - gives example of pile of logs in flatbed truck - N.E. Thing Company, A Portfolio of Piles #56, 1968 (Iaian Baxter&) - came across piles and then took photos - liked idea that you can claim something as art, that you might otherwise ignore or not consider art - carries social/politial meaning forcing us to ask “What is art?” or consider its beauty, etc. - - value of social/political/spiritual/aesthetic by creator/viewer and/or patron - shows that more than the creator has voice in final product - creator may not see value that the patron does What is art history? - studying of the meaning (but also making) of art objects - task of AH: what meanings art objects make and how they do that - AH compose stories based on verifiable visual or historical evidence - presenting this evidence requires interpretation - source of visual evidence is the work itself - source of historical evidence include documents, memories, photographs, histories, texts, letters, etc. - interpretation is both creative and scholarly - scholarly in respect that facts can’t be made up - creative in sense that interpretations need to be thoughtful and original - description - because AH works are put out in writing and works focussed on are visual (often) a description is required to highlight part/aspect of work that will be focussed on - Michael Baxandall on Piero della Francesca’s Baptism of Christ, 1450. - do have explained pictures, or remarks about pictures - pointing out that description is needed first as specification to pinpoint area of work FAH102 - in this case the firm design of the painting - he offers explanation of this by saying that it is due to the artist’s training in Florence - art as a way of speaking truth that can’t be expressed in any other way - neither art not documents are transparent, thus interpretation is always necessary - important to study art objects in same way that it’s important to study archaeological era - looking at whole group of art objects to access sociological/political/spiritual/ aesthetic meaning - one reason to study art is because of its depth - instead of telling us about emotions and social conditions of the time, they may tell us something profound about living in that time - deep works of art force audience to think about something they hadn’t before or in that way before - art as a document - historical evidence instead of something to further analyze - aesthetic pleasure - understanding the artists meaning - in the handmade-ness of it - categorization - often by dividing art into movements which share common meanings/intentions to help make sense of vast amounts of works of art - this can lead to a canon - set of works that are definitive and forming the body of art history - make it into canon because they are seen as best in period, but also are works that museums own - often by Western artists who are male - have to think about how canon has excluded other works of art based on region/sex/style etc. - be aware that canon is constructed with certain criteria - one way to combat this is to further categorize - analysis - formal and contextual are interdependent and are often employed at the same time - formal/visual - works position in space - what is our encounter like in this moment? - concerned with visual/physical aspects - find answers in work itself - what is artist trying to accomplish through visual means? - contextual - looking at works position in time - what do we need to know about moment in which it was produced? - what does is the context? - what were peoples’ encounters like in their own time? FAH102 - why it was made and how it reflected the world in which it was made and also how it effected that world - might talk about patrons, viewers, social context - requires AH to go outside of the work for answers including documents, other images, histories of the period, influences that shaped the work, idea/intellectual frames that made meaning/issue work addresses important for the time - works exceed their makers - need to look at existing accounts of work both formal and contextual - our job then is to provide a new analysis - art history similar to art in same way that it is challenger viewer to see art in way they hadn’t before What is art history not? - art appreciation - not sufficient - connoisseurship - belief in good taste and judgement gained with extensive experience and contact with art (in person) - ability to identify dates, attribution/authorship - provenance - authenticity is reached through the previous three - linked to the art market - SEE TASTE - art criticsm - dairistic art criticism: about critic’s encounter with the work, more personal - sometimes art historians will use these documents as a kind of primary document when interested in the reception of a work - context providing activity - studying contemporary art can imbue it with certain value/recognition - Taste - Pierre Bordieu - write about how different classes are distinguished from one another - society is structured by distribution of capital or power - capital: wealth, reputation, honour, cultural capital (intellectual qualifications) - habitus: set of attitudes/activities/actions helping to distinguish one class of society from another - defined by what they consume, what they buy, what kind of leisure they pursure - culture is not ephemeral, but system intertwined with economics - “Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier.” - judgements communicate value of class we are part of - while we often consider tastes to be natural, it is not, and rather is dependent on cultural capital - art as process of social inclusion - pressure to be in the “know” FAH102 - - Clive Bell - the only thing that matters in art is “significant form” - sensory quality - what is depicted, therefore, does not matter, even if it is representational - Willem de Kooning, Excavation, 1950 - even on level of visual impact, cultural capital can be important, can be fueled by or influenced by - WEEK THREE - Visual Analysis Object-based research - formal and visual analysis can count as object-based research - for visual, the object is both the starting point and the primary resource - for contextual, the object is both the starting point and the basis for historical context Elements of Design - line - “a mark made by a moving point” - can create patterns - can move eye through composition - can describe or express emotion - thin/thick, short/long, straight/angular/curved, hard/soft, similar/contrasting, horizontal/vertical/diagonal, broken, dominant/subordinate - regulate or frame - contained within shape or edges - outline - horizontal lines suggest tranquility probably associated with horizon and sleeping direction - vertical lines suggest alertness - humans form series of verticals - oblique suggest movement - intrinsic expressive character - thinking about action used to make them and how the artist did not necessarily have that emotion while making it - shape - stands out from other areas - implied shapes may exist - Raphael, Sistine Madonna, 1512-14 - shape made from main figures form a triangle - triangulation - most stable shape (due to gravity) - popular in the Renaissance because it suits and also reinforces calmness and orderliness valued at the time - simple/complex, regular/irregular, positive/negative - negative shape FAH102 - can be used to talk about shapes made by negative space in the background - form - similar to shape, but for three dimensional art - Henry Moore, Two Large Forms, 1966-69 - encloses or takes up space - colour - hue - primary, secondary, complementary - when complementary colours are put beside each other they intensify one another - analogous - monochromatic - warm or cool - intensity or saturation - proportion and scale - texture - tactile quality - whether paint has been applied in smooth manner - Mona Lisa -uses sfumato technique meaning he has hidden his brush strokes, literally means evaporating like smoke - impasto -Henri Matisse, The Green Stripe, 1905 - can see ridges and feel them - consider if different materials have been added and what other textures they could bring to the work - in sculpture whether work is rough or smooth - implied texture - actual texture can help to suggest the implied - value - left: Brancusi, Bird in Space 1928 - right: Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913 - sculpture can be particularly affected by light - chiaroscuro technique -often creates heightened sense of drama - - space - two dimensional or three dimensional work - 3D: space around the work - 2D: appearance of depth or flatness - linear perspective - Perio della Francesca, An Ideal Town, mid 15 Century - atmospheric perspective - Monet, Houses of Parliament, London 1905 FAH102 - changes saturation of colour to suggest that other buildings are further away - change in colour of saturation and decrease in detail - foreshortening - distorting object or parts of it at an angle to the picture plane in order to create the effect that the object is receding into the picture plane or coming out of it - Caravaggio, Conversion on the Way to Damascus, 1600-01 - overlapping - Picasso, Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass 1912 - important to consider with collage - works can exceed their makers, but we want to see work as series of conscious decisions/choices Principle of Design - balance - symmetrical - bilateral - Notre Dame - radial balance - Kenneth Noland, Whirl 1960 - asymmetrical - proportion and scale - relation of parts to other parts or part to a whole - rhythm - deals with recurrence or repetition of certain type of element(s of design) - can create continuity or dynamism - move viewers eye through composition - emphasis - occurs when element of design is made dominant creating sense of interest - unity and variety - sense of oneness or harmony in composition making coherent composition - disunity - lack of harmony - variety: different or contrasting elements adding interest - looking at these elements and principles to analyze the visual - particularity of what we see and experience - what is it within the work that engages interest? - can use these terms to pull the reader in - can use these terms to break down the image into components - jargon associated with particular period - Baroque - Classical - Modern - Post-Modern FAH102 - instead of using the jargon terms which do not really break down the style these offer a way to do so What to include in your visual analysis - artist, title, date - subject matter - medium - how choice of medium and its properties contribute to the visual effect - are the effects achievable in only this medium or others as well? - what does it contribute? - if a certain element/principle was eliminated, how would it affect your analysis? - how elements/principle relate to the subject matter - visual analysis and not description - meaning it must have an argument - take it apart and see how pieces work as a whole - making claim that effect has - consider your opinion vs the opinion of the culture that the object came from Anthony Caro, Early One Morning 1962 - analysis by Carol Reid - imitate efficacy of gestures - helps us experience work i
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