Okwui Enwezor- Extra Credit

Okwui Enwezor visited our school, and shared an extensive and thorough analysis of Wangechi Mutu’s art. Okwui is a prestigious curator, who has dealt with a vast amount of art throughout his career. He established his credibility when one of our teachers introduced him, and she mentioned all of the accomplishments he had. Okwui mentioned in his lecture that he focuses on three factors of the art he analyzes. The first one, is the art must be contemporary African art. The next one is the mere interest he has in contemporary African art. The third is, “How do these two areas converge to give us what artists do today?” -Enwezor. He utilized these factors throughout his presentation of Wangechi Mutu’s work. He showed the beauty of her work, and also the exotic and shocking factor it also possesses.

Enwezor described the general methods Mutu used for her art. She used images of naked bodies, collages, videos, and drawings. She implemented many of these methods in all of her artwork. The first images Enwezor showed were very surprising, and were in the nature of pornography. He described these images as pornography, and that many people are repulsed and some enjoy these images. Mutu utilized the female body as a sex organ, to show the stereotypes that can arise from this. She shows how women are portrayed in society. Women are nothing more than sex objects. The theme of her art always creates many emotional and powerful comments about it. It is because of her unorthodox styles and themes. Her form of art is relatively new and people do not know what to think about it yet. An example of her art is “The Ark Collection.” In these pieces pornography, lesbianism, and eroticism are clearly displayed. The images present in the pieces are of women kissing, and also one nude woman who is in a sexually erotic pose. The theme of these collages makes her work highly controversial, and also stereotypical. The fact that she uses real images in her collages makes the viewer realize that women are treated as sexual objects in society. Mutu wants to prove the stereotypes of women are true within our society. Enwezor explained all of this to us when he visited in great detail. He allowed the viewers to have their own opinions on the pieces and he also discussed other people’s opinions on Mutu’s art. He talked about the impact her work has on society, and how it shows what she thinks about society.

The next pieces Enwezor discussed were the piece “Falling Heads” and “Mud Fountain.” Falling heads is displaying exactly what the title is saying. Mutu drew and painted many heads that cover the entire canvas. She made them very grotesque looking to prove her point. The point of this was to display social violence. Enwezor talked about how Mutu displayed violence in her art. The heads in this piece appear to be mutilated. Mutu wants the viewer to think of death and violence when they look at her piece, but more importantly social violence. She again wants society to realize what happens within it, mostly towards the African-American culture. Enwezor talked about this subject as well, and how the heads appear to be severed from the bodies and mutilated. The next piece of art is a video titled “Mud Fountain.” Enwezor explains that Mutu used her actual body in this performance piece. Enwezor discusses in detail how she used her own naked body to further prove her points. The “Mud Fountain” is shown in a dark cell like place, with not a lot of light. Mutu is shown in very awkward and disturbing poses. This was meant to evoke social violence, and also show the female body as a sexual object once again. This piece was mostly meant to refer to social violence, because of the dark tones of the lighting and wall background. This piece was not meant to be content or serene. It leaves the viewer on edge and the viewer would expect something bad to happen.

Okwui Enwezor stated in his lecture that “Artists are supposed to go where they are not supposed to go.” He further proved his statement by discussing the unorthodox and shocking style of Wangechi Mutu’s artwork. How it went against the usual forms of art, the forms that are mostly accepted by society. Good art is supposed to challenge and further extend these common themes of contemporary art.  He explained to us other people’s opinions on her work, and also what he thought about it. He went through a large and detailed analysis of her work, which opened up my eyes to the themes Mutu established and wanted to communicate to her viewers. Enwezor has shown me what a professional analysis of art should be like. I enjoyed his lecture, and I now know more about contemporary art and also the hidden themes within Wangechi Mutu’s art.

Contemporary Korean Art Exhibition- Andrew Garcia

At our very own museum there is an exhibition on contemporary Korean art. The CU Museum is a smaller exhibition, but it has much to offer. “Keeping It Real” contains many works of multi-media and multiple artists. When I went to the exhibition half of it was closed off, which was disappointing because I had wanted to see a couple pieces in the closed off area. Previously I had seen those works, and on that was very unique was an installation of two skeletons where one was chasing the other. It was interesting because the larger skeleton was in a pouncing position, and was suspended in the air by transparent string. Continue reading

Lawrence Argent- Lecture Review 2

Lawrence Argent began his lecture by saying “You know me because I have a blue bear tattooed to my chest” which caused laughter and set the general tone of the lecture. Argent has studied semiotics and symbols, which has played a major role in his work. He has work which is well known in Colorado, and also can be considered a symbol of Colorado. His lecture at the Denver Art Museum focuses on his public art which unchartered land for many artists. Argent uses a variety of materials which all interact with their surroundings, and how we see it.

His first piece he discussed was titled “Reflections” which featured found items, the use of motor oil and soap. The soap and motor oil contradicted each other, and stimulated the senses. The soap smelling sweet, and the motor oil having a strong and unpleasant scent. Argent wanted to play around with the idea of setting up a contrast between the items he had used. The piece is titled “Reflections” because of the reflective quality of the motor oil. The next piece he discussed was one titled “Cojones” which was two large sweet sweeping brushes which were hanging. They had a vivid red color, and a unique texture. He found the inspiration for the title from his Latin neighbors who had asked him if he was opening a car wash. Argent also had his son when he was making the piece, which could have also inspired the name (cojones is slang for testicles in Spanish.) Argent had mentioned he was intrigued by the idea of items losing their history if they take them out of their original setting. When he took the street sweeper brushes and hung them up, they did not resemble brushes anymore. They had a completely changed purpose and meaning. His next piece he discussed was titled “Waiting” which featured an installation of a chair and a video screen showing the many different butts that can sit on the chair both clothed and unclothed. This piece also has a bucket hanging above the chair, which is hanging from a ladder.  This piece provokes laughter and plays for an hour. This piece was entertaining and unique, and also shows the creativity of Argent.

Argent is a teacher at the University of Colorado Denver, and he was asked to create a piece for the campus. His desire for this piece was to represent knowledge and the student body. He had mentioned he wants his public pieces to interact with the surroundings, and what is currently going on within his own life. Argent took casts of his students’ lips, and then enlarged them to make limestone benches. This piece is titled “Whispers”.  The benches were equipped with a sound system which would be engaged when anyone sat on the benches. The sound system would play a recording of a professor’s lecture or some kind of poetry. Along with the limestone benches there were tall cylinders, which also had enlarged casts of his students’ lips at the top.  This piece is truly unique because of the personal touch Argent includes with the piece. This piece is directly related to the campus and the school. It forces whoever is sitting on the benches to become part of the school. Argent asked the question “What is education?” He believes he has answered that question with his piece “Whispers.”

In Vail, Colorado Argent created a piece which resembled a tree. The best part of this piece is the large amounts of bulb like objects which light up at night. The bulbs slowly change colors, with a smooth transition. This piece makes people question whether or not they actually have seen the tree change colors because of how slow it transitions from one color to the other. Argent mentioned he enjoys making art which makes people react to it. With every piece Argent creates an intense amount of engineering and computer programming goes into the construction. A lot of the sculptures he creates are actually computer scanned to ensure precision. The piece that goes along with the tree is a fire bulb, which has a small fire within the structure. The fire bulb is also located in Vail as well, an both of the pieces are located in a plaza with an ice skating rink. This plaza is always filled with people, which is what Argent wanted to promote reactions to his work.

The most famous piece in Colorado is “I see what you mean” which is his “Big Blue Bear.” This piece is located by the convention center in downtown Denver. It is actually leaning on the convention peering into the building. Argent wanted to avoid kitschy Colorado themes, which then led to a large blue bear. The size of this piece is the most powerful aspect of it, and the inspiration came from playing with his children. Argent had mentioned he was happy with the city of Denver taking the risk in investing there time and money on placing a large blue bear in their city. Argent also wanted the blue bear to be cohesive the surrounding architecture, which he was successful in doing because he had the bear leaning on the building, it appears to be one with the building. Computer imaging went into the process of making the bear, the bear is made up of thousands of small triangles. The blue bear got its color because when it came out of the scanner, it was blue, and Argent decided to stick with that color.

Lawrence Argent showed his passion for his work when he was talking about it. He told us about the process he goes through in making his art, and also the extreme measures he takes in the scale and material he uses. He has taken risks and succeeded in creating amazing artwork. His public art has caused reactions from people all over Colorado, and is very memorable.

-Andrew Garcia

Visiting Artist-Larry McNeil (2010)

Larry McNeil visited our school, and presented his best work. He is photographer and printmaker. He would take photographs of his family and his way of life. The main theme of his artwork is his own social identity. He wants to convey his own social identity along with the identity of his family. He also wants to display the intersection of cultures, between his own Native American culture and that of the modern American culture. His work accurately shows all of these themes, and when he talked about his art and explained his motives it became clearer. His art has a lot of deep messages within it, and that is why I really enjoyed his presentation. His work was not meant merely for visual pleasure, but it also told stories. Continue reading

Mantegna Camera Picta and Visual Force

I attended the lecture conducted by Steven Campbell, who currently teaches at Johns Hopkins University. He discussed Mantegna’s Camera Picta and the effect of it has on whoever views it.  He compared this piece to other works of art from the same time period and also some of Mantegna’s other work. Campbell had a thorough and detailed analysis of Camera Picta  to start the lecture, then he compared this piece to other works of art. Continue reading

Visiting Artist Lecture- Nao Bustamante


Nao Bustamante is a great performance artist. I did not expect such a great performance from her, especially when she started off her presentation by saying “I wasn’t supposed to be an artist” and remarking on how it had to have been a mistake. She then went on to hypnotize us, who she felt made the audience or viewers closer to her as the artist, and be able to visualize her artwork the way she does. She dimmed the lights, had us close our eyes, while she talked to us calmly. She then explained she wants us to visualize her art the way she does, through her eyes.  After the hypnotism, she went straight into some of her early performances, and described how she started her art career. Continue reading

Clyfford Still Paper- Andrew Garcia

Andrew Garcia

ARTH 3539

28 Jan 2012

Clyfford Still Paper

The Clyfford Still Museum contains a large collection of his work, which is organized in chronological order from his earlier pieces to his latest pieces. Still wanted his collection to be viewed together and he believed other artists work would be a distraction from his own. He felt that all artists should take on that mentality when displaying their art to the public. Still is one of the leading figures in abstract expressionism; he would use a variety of colors in many different abstract shapes in most of his work. Abstract expressionism was a large post World War II movement, which added the image of being rebellious and anarchic in the art during this time period. Continue reading

Andrew Garcia’s Intellectual Profile

1)      I am a Studio Art major and I am also completing all of the Pre-Veterinary courses. I am majoring in Studio Art because I love to draw. I have always loved to draw ever since I was a kid. I would scribble and doodle in my notebooks in class, which would actually help me pay attention. I have recently obtained a tattoo kit, and I have done one tattoo of a nautical star on my friend’s leg. I want to continue improving my drawing skills so eventually I can create more tattoos. I am also in Pre-Veterinary medicine because of my passion for animals. I currently work at a Veterinary Hospital as a kennel attendant and dog daycare. I need to work with animals throughout my college career in order to be competitive in admittance to a Veterinary school. Continue reading

Smith Paragraphs

Terry Smith’s article “What is Contemporary Art” discusses the growth of contemporary art, and how it has been shaped by culture, world events, and the artists themselves. The article begins with defining contemporary art, and discussing the different definitions that can be used to explain contemporary art. Media is the main influence over the art, through fashion, design, tourism, education, and politics. Due to the heavy influence from the media, art is now becoming timeless, meaning a certain historical artwork does not have to be in its certain time period to be understood. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao has become acknowledged for its contemporary art, and is known globally. Artwork can be produced at a rapid rate, more than ever before, due to the improving technology. Iconomy is becoming the main focus of contemporary art, and brings together the past and present.

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