Madison Rupp, Intellectual Profile

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

I am in my Junior Year, majoring in Art History (and possibly doubling in Studio), minoring in Evolutionary Biology, and getting a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies.  I am specifically interested in Modern and Contemporary art, so this class is especially exciting to me.

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

In the summer of 2010, I got to experience Marina Abromovic’s The Artist is Present, her retrospective at MoMA in New York City.  Not only did the exhibition showcase her previous works and recreate several of her performances, but Abromovic herself was actually there staging another performance.  In her performance, Abromovic sat in the main atrium of MoMA every day from March 14-May 31, and allowed an audience member to sit across from her for as long as they wanted.  It was her longest performance ever, and required the most audience participation.  I was impressed because this was my first experience with performance art, and to have seen Marina Abromovic in person felt like I was seeing a celebrity.  The performance itself was impressive because, like many of her works, it was a challenge of endurance and stamina for the artist.

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

I recently read Jack London’s Call of the Wild and thought it was an amazing read.  The story follows a St. Bernard mix named Buck as he is kidnapped from his leisurely life in California and transformed into a sled dog in the Yukon.  Buck passes thru the hands of many owners, and deals with the hardships of life on the trail.  He finally comes into the hands of an owner that he truly loves, and lives happily with him until he feels something stirring in him.  He yearns to live in the wild like his ancestors, and ultimately follows the call and leaves the world of men to live with a pack of wolves.  The storyline was extremely compelling, and I felt that I could relate to Buck’s response to the ‘call of the wild.’  I had read Jack London ‘s books as a kid, but did not appreciate his mastery of language and imagery, or really relate to the story at all.  But this time, I saw a bit of myself in Buck and followed the story very closely.

4. What are your main interests besides art?

Besides art, I am really interested in animal behavior and ecology.  I have taken a keen interest in these areas since I was a kid, and think that understanding the way that the natural world works is key in understanding how humans live in the industrialized world today.

5. Which blogs do you check regularly?

I check the following blogs on a regular (daily) basis:

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.

I recently attended an STS9 show at the Fillmore auditorium in Denver.  The group is known for their experimentation with light and music, and I think their work could even be termed as ‘experience art.’  Listening to their music alone does not describe STS9, one absolutely must go to a show to gain a full understanding of their art.  Their shows seem to engulf the viewer from all senses, and audience reaction and participation is truly vital.  The music is produced on traditional instruments, but the sound itself is far from traditional.  There are rarely vocals, and the music and lights seem to meander through some subconscious level.

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!

In resolving to be more politically aware, I have recently been looking to the politics section of various newspapers.  Recently, I was scrolling through the Times and came upon an article entitled ‘Preaching Division in South Carolina,” which described a campaign strategy of Republican party candidate Newt Gingrich.  His methods were described as ‘to stir up racial animosity and then link it to President Obama,” which was achieved by claiming that President Obama has put more people on food stamps than any other president.  The article then renounces the statement, explaining that Obama has not ‘put’ people on food stamps, rather he has slackened the eligibility requirements on Food Stamps so that they were available to more people.  What really struck me about this article is how people still use racism within politics in order to attain the ultimate goal of power.  But on the other side, I can see how easily people can schew others’ words in order to incriminate them, as the author of this article did to Gingrich.  My initial reaction was disgust at Gingrich’s manipulations of words, but I then realized that the article’s author was doing the same thing.  Ultimately, what struck me about this article was the feeling that I did not know who to believe.

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.

I am inspired by the widespread, well-known quote by J.R.R. Tolkien: “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.” For me, it is an anecdote to make the best of what happens in life, whether it is expected or not.  It is a challenge to try new things, and follow one’s instinct, even though it can be dangerous or scary, and even though you might not understand it.  I think that a huge part of learning is actually having the motivation to learn, so it suits the individual to follow one’s intellectual curiosities or impulses.  Everything in life is subject to change, and in order to live with change we have to be able to make the best of it.

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

I have been to all three, and one of my favorite pieces is Sandy Skoglund’s Fox Games at the Denver Art Museum.  It is an installation where the walls and floors and an arrangement of  tables and chairs are all painted bright red, while a number of gray plaster foxes prance around and wreak havoc on the scene.  The viewer can walk along a path that goes through the scene and observe the foxes from many angles.  The foxes are shown in motion, playing with each other amid  the tables that look like they belong in a restaurant.  The whole scene is very surreal, but also has a great sense of playfulness and joy.  I love it.

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