Extra Credit Essay #3, Jordan Dawson – Eleanor Heartney: “Introduction to Post-Modernism” February 14th

Postmodernism is in a constant struggle to define itself. It is as arbitrary as the idea of “modernism” itself. Time is constantly moving forward, so how can there ever be an overarching definition for the term “modernism” if it is constantly shifting? And even beyond that, how could we ever label that which is after the present? Post modernism neither knows who his Dad is or who he is himself. One must present their own subjective definition of modernism before they even attempt to describe what postmodernism is. Continue reading

Extra Credit Essay #2, Jordan Dawson: Sam Gathercole – “I’m Sort of Sliding Around in Place… Ummm… Art in the 1970’s February 7th

The 1970’s didn’t really know what they were doing. They saw how much fun the 60’s were having, but they weren’t really in the mood to party anymore. You know, with the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings and all, things were kind of a bummer. The 60’s were radical and progressive and energetic, but that spirit lost its electricity once the State and Market sought to reassert power over the population in the 70’s. Art was lost, not knowing how to progress itself without just unknowingly repeating itself. So much had already been done that even painting had become obsolete. With less of an identity than any previous generation, the 70’s were a dark time in American Art History. Political events shrouded artistic movement, with even the most allegedly conceptual art having faint flavors of VIETNAM. Charles Jenks, and “Architectural Commentator,” once said that July 15th, 1972 at 3:32 PM in St. Louis Missouri was the death of modern architecture. That day, a mass housing scheme was demolished because its own residents were vandalizing it. America was so ashamed of everything it did, that it was pissing all over itself. Continue reading

Extra Credit Essay #1, Jordan Dawson – Erika Doss: “Abstract Expressionism” Jan. 26th

Taken in the Cold War context of American Art, Abstract Expressionism was the other side of the Berlin Wall, opposite to Western consumerism and superficiality. In fact, better yet, Abstract Expressionism was the men and women chiseling through the Berlin Wall all those years to connect the two divided sides, using with great force and determination the humble tools at their disposal. Continue reading

Nao Bustamente Artist Lecture Review – Jordan Dawson

I really don’t like Nao Bustamente. Most of the time I have the right words at my disposal to express my emotions effectively, but my mind made an exception for Nao Bustamente. She is the embodiment of all I hate about the art scene right now. Using glitter, a fatal dose of carnival make-up, flashy clothes and a barrage of pitiful lo-fi films, she manages to draw attention to herself. I must admit that I have little to write about, because she has done so very little that’s worth me writing about. And of course, the obligatory, “it’s only my opinion” goes here, just in case Nao Bustamente’s #1 fan happens to be in this class (I’m especially sorry if that’s you Prof. Van Lil). Continue reading

Leslie Flanigan Artist Lecture Review – Jordan Dawson

Hybridization in art has always seemed very dirty to me. I often resist the combination of artistic mediums, even though I’d consider myself to be a reasonably open-minded individual. The breeding of visual art and music was no different, until I met Leslie Flanigan. For me, she changed what it means to be a musician. I approach my music like a total stranger now. Everything is new. The music I make now is completely different from the kind that I made before I met Leslie. Sure, it’s easy to claim that you’ve come back from a lecture a totally changed man. I know. That suddenly you’ve been blessed with all of these completely new ideals. It gives you something to talk about when you don’t really have anything to say. But she has given me more to do than to say. I cannot stress that enough. Continue reading

Ed Ruscha’s “On the Road” Exhibition Review by Jordan Dawson

Ed Ruscha’s “On the Road” exhibit felt more like a fervent advertising campaign for Jack Kerouac’s novel than an autonomous work of visual art. At first, it seemed to me like a reasonably artistic fan boy had created an effigy of his favorite American author in the middle of the Denver Art Museum. But it was his sheer dedication to this fan boyish sentiment that made me see his art’s true beauty. Continue reading

“White Cube” and “Critique of Institutions” Essay by Jordan Dawson

Too rarely is the institution of an art gallery examined. Does the place where art is put not become a piece of the art itself? O’Doherty claims that it does in his essay the “White Cube.” This is difficult to accept. To many, modern museums can seem stubbornly strict, which is true to a certain extent. It abides by a particular formula of objectivity. Uniformity. The intention is to attract no attention. The focus is the art. The rest is nothing but context. However, this is precisely where O’Doherty finds value. Continue reading

Clyfford Still Paper by Jordan David Dawson

I observed a great deal of conflict in Clyfford Still’s later paintings. Jagged, sprawling spears of bright yellows and oranges piercing straight through desolate, black and blue landscapes, like bolts of lightning penetrating a cold and deathly void. Continue reading

Smith Paragraph

Smith does not assign Contemporary Art an overarching definition, but rather branches it out into loose sub genres. As he haphazardly links them into a web of scholarly pretense and gibberish, he succeeds in obscuring any clarity that once existed about the genre. He defines Contemporary Art at one point as “self-defining,” as if it’s not already assumed that a culture’s art represents itself inherently. Labeling an artistic movement as a phenomenon that is “constantly inviting itself to its own self-representation” is disregarding art as a constantly evolving entity, a direct product of the human artist, who will never be perfect. Yet it is not Smith’s word-choice which makes his entry so artificial, but rather it is his inability to recognize art as a product of humanity. He nonchalantly calls Contemporary Art a restless genre, helpless against the undulations of high society and culture, while ignoring the plethora of past movements that have fluctuated just as wildly. He writes this entry as if art is some origin-less species that we must observe behind a thick panel of glass, like visitors at a zoo. It is the person behind the artwork who matters, so of course art will never be uniform! What person is exactly the same as another? We are all unique, thus an artistic movement is subject to unpredictable and drastic changes.

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