Lauren Anderson Intellectual Profile

1. Give some basic information about your studies and fields of interest.

I am a junior and an Art History and Studio Arts double major.  For Art History I am most interested in contemporary art, architecture, and surrealism.  My emphasis for Studio Art is photography.

2. Describe an exhibition that you liked or found impressive. Tell us why. Please provide a link to a website, if possible.

Over this past summer I saw several exhibitions, but one that stood out to me was one by the artist Rina Banerjee.  The exhibit was titled “Chimeras of the India & the West” and was held at the Musee Guimet in Paris.  Banerjee’s work is both mixed media sculptures, drawings, paintings and videos.  Born in India but having lived a lot of her life in the UK and the USA, her works have a global perspective.  She uses all types of materials from taxidermy alligators to fabric.  Instead of titles, many of her pieces have poems that go along with them. This poem goes with this work. Her works are extremely interesting by themselves but this exhibit presented them throughout the museum mixed in with the other art there.  The Musee Guimet houses art from all different parts of Asia.  It was interesting to see her works next to more traditional Asian art because it really showed the influence of Asian art on her work, but also the differences.  For example I found similarities between this and this.

3. Which books did you read of late (art, fiction, non-fiction)? Pick one and go into detail about it.

I recently re-read the play “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard.  I first read it four years ago in my English class in high school, so it was really interesting to see how much my perspective has changed since then.  The protagonist of the play is Henry, who just like that author of the play is a successful playwright. Henry’s wife Charlotte is a actress and is playing the lead in Henry’s current play.  However, Henry has fallen in love with Annie, another actress.  Henry leaves Charlotte for Annie but is left questioning if his new love is “the real thing.” Besides the obvious themes love and adultery, the play also asks other questions.  These underlying questions include “Does art influence life?,”  “Can life imitate art?” and, “Does art have to have political and social merit or can it stand alone as art for art’s sake?.” Stoppard argues that intellectuals are taking political expression for literature, and he makes a strong case that art should be valued for its aesthetic value alone.  I think that all of these questions are important to keep in mind and are very relevant for this class.

4. What are your main interests besides art?

I love dancing, specifically ballet, going to the ballet, music, concerts, fashion, movies & television, and spending time outside.

5. Which blogs do you check regularly?

I’ve never really gotten into blogs that much but I do look at some fashion blogs such as “The Satorialist” “Sea of Shoes” and “Fashion Toast” from time to time.

6. Which cultural event has really impressed you lately? This can be a museum, a concert, or anything like that, but also a sports game (if you consider this a cultural event for which there are good reasons). Or anything I am not even thinking of … Again, tell us why.

My little brother’s band recently played at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics in Georgia (where I’m from).  It was really interesting to see how appreciative, excited and happy the athletes were despite all the challenges they have had to overcome in their own lives.  This was a big change compared to the over-privileged teenagers that normally come to their shows, but just sit there and talk and text the entire time and barely pay attention to their “friends” that they came there to see.

7. Please describe briefly an article in a newspaper or a magazine that got you thinking lately. Reading online is fine, and what you introduce here does not have to be about art. If the respective article is available online, please link to it!

I recently read an article about how humans today are living in two worlds, the virtual and the physical.  I cannot remember where I found it, but if I remember I will edit this.  The article was basically saying that humans are adapting to living in the virtual world (ie. Facebook, blogs, etc.) and have a different personality there than they do in the physical world.  It  also talked about how people today are overly stimulated and are constantly multi-tasking (for example snowboarding and listening to music).  People becoming less engaged in what is actually happening around them and are focusing more on external stimuli.  It speculated about what this would mean for humans in the future and if all this stimulation would change the way we look physically and how our brains are composed. For example with the snowboarding example, it said that people in the future might have four ears, two for listening to music, and two for listening for what is going on around them.  I am not sure if I believe something as extreme as that would happen but I do think the multi-tasking and lack of complete engagement in our immediate surrounding is becoming a problem in our culture.  I do not know why people feel the need to “check out” in some way.  I think it is creating a generation afraid of unassertive people that never seem to be fully interested in anything but themselves.

8. Please share with us a thought or an idea that really widened your intellectual horizon. Again, this must not be limited to the visual arts. If possible, give a source for this idea so that others know where to go to if they are interested.

Something that has really opened me up to more information is looking for information and getting involved with art on my own.  In high school I think I relied too much on teachers telling me what to read and telling me what to do.  In college I have really tried to take more initiative to find information on the things I’m interested in.   I have started reading art magazines and doing research on my own, but a really easy way to find things (not only related to art) that I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise is on websites like Stumble Upon and Pinterest.

9. Have you been to the Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver and BMoca Boulder? Describe one art object or a show you remember seeing.

An image that has stuck with me over the years was a work I saw in an exhibition called “Pure Pleasure” in  the BMoCA in August of 2009.  The piece that stood out to me is called “The Only Real Umbrella Around” and was made by Rebecca DiDomenico.  The work is a sphere made out of umbrellas that the artist decorated with found objects.  You can see a picture of it here.

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