Melissa Nunes_“Keeping it Real. Korean Artists” exhibition

I attended the “Keeping it Real. Korean Artists in the Age of Multi-Media Representation Exhibition”
at CUAM Boulder.  This exhibit consisted of different displays of artworks done by several Korean artists such as Kiwoun Shin, Jaye Rhee, Yeondoo Jung, Sun K. Kwak, Hyungkoo Lee, Shin-il Kim, Yong-ho Ji, and Kyung Woo Han.  These emerging Korean artists are working in Seoul, New York, and Europe (CU Art Museum).  The work is portrayed and created in a way that makes the audience have a deeper understanding of Asian art.  The way that this exhibition is set up shows the many diverse angles that Asian artists take when creating an art piece.  The different works are different and diverse but they all seem to fit together in this exhibition. 

The same artist, Kiwoun Shin, did my two favorite pieces in the exhibition.  Shin lives and works in London and both pieces that were displayed were videos. 

The first piece that I wanted to talk about, and was my favorites work in this exhibition, was Kiwoun Shin’s “Crash Reality Test”.  “Crash Reality Test” is a video that was based on the artist’s personal experience of the loss of friends in car accidents.  The video is made up of several different people all of whom start out sitting at a table with a drink in front of them.  Then an object is thrown at them and their drink then their reactions are recorded. 

What makes this piece unique however is that the video is broken down into very slow motion so the audience gets the whole effect of the “crash”.  I thought this was a very interesting way to show real reactions.  If the video was sped up or at normal time the viewer would be able to see the beginning facial expression then the last expression.  Having this slow motion breakdown, you do not only get to see the reaction of the person, but also the changes of the face including all the aspects of the face: the mouth, eyes, eyebrows, wrinkles, etc. 

What I found interesting was for most of the people filmed, their reactions did not completely form until after the glass had spilled and the object was finished moving.  It showed just how slow humans reflexes were.  As I watched this I began to think of times when I had seen or been apart of a crash like this: a spilled glass, someone dropping something, something thrown and hitting you, etc.  I thought of the surprise that it caused and then I began to think about the reactions that I had witnessed or had myself.  I then realized that most of the reactions happen after the event has occurred.  That surprise and process of the neural transmitters to the brain, take longer than I initially thought they did. 

The “Crash Reality Test” was a true and real shot of how slow our reaction times are.  The person would sit almost completely still while the object was being thrown, hitting their drink and causing the liquid to fly everywhere.  Then there face would slowly change into either surprise, angry, or sometimes-even confusion.  That expression is usually the only thing that we see when we witness an event like that, not even thinking the reaction was after the event and not during.

Another thing that I found interesting about this piece of work was the two different ways to view it: one video in 3D and the other video in 2D.  The 3D video gave the audience more of a real view of the event and reaction.  It made the viewer feel as though they were in the video experiencing the thrown object and spilled glass.  The 3D video, I thought, was more effective because it was more of a “reality” like the title said.  It was not only the slow motion reality of the true reaction, but it also gave the reality of being there while this crash was going on. 

I liked how the artist made both the 3D and the 2D videos.  Showing the way it looked in two dimension made you really appreciate and take in the reasons why he chose the three dimensional video.  With the 2D you did get the slow motion reaction and event but it was more like you were watching someone else’s crash versus experiencing your own.  Having both gave the audience two sides of the crash that Shin was trying to convey.  Even though I knew I was not really having something thrown at me, the 3D video felt like there was.  It almost felt like I was the person with the glass trying not to be spilled on by my drink.  Where as the 2D felt like I was watching someone, like I was, having an object thrown at them and their reaction. 

The two videos made for a great piece of work giving the viewer a show causing them to think about things in a different way and taking something we do not really think about on a daily bases and trying to analyze it and have it make sense in our minds.

Another work that I found fascinating was another work by Kiwoun Shin, “Approach the Truth”.  This piece was another video using high definition digital display, showing a consumer product being sanded down into dust by a sanding machine.  The artist was inspired by Genesis 3:19, “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust” and from the Buddhist scripture the quote “We come from dust and go to dust”.  What was interesting about this piece of work was not just the sanding down of the product, but that it was backwards.  The video started out with a pile of dust and the sanding machine worked its way back up taking this dust and creating it back into the product that it was before. 

I found this piece to be full of meaning and depth that was just waiting to be uncovered.  The two scripture quotes talk about the life and death of humans.  Saying that we come into this world the same way as we leave it. 

That concept is the same with our technology and products that we cherish now so much in our world.  We create these things out of nothing or dust and eventually that’s what they become to us.  Our world is moving so fast with technology that what was important, expensive, “the next new thing” so to say, one day, is unimportant, cheap and old the next. 

The last piece of work that really caught my eye was a piece done by Yeondoo Jung.  He created a series of photographic memorabilia with a group of graduate students in the art and art history department here at the University of Colorado @Boulder.  The photographs were of different people camping.  They all seem to represent the same thing but at the same time all of them were different.   I really enjoyed this work because I felt like it represented our school very well.  I love our university because we are so connected to the outdoors.  So many people hike, bike, walk, run, and of course camp.  I believe that this connects us to the art of nature exactly how Yeondoo Jung connected art to nature.  Jung is a mountaineering buff that has hiked and climbed all over the world.  His work that he created here in this exhibit is more than just memory shots of a camping trip.  He uses light, angles, background and different individuals to create this magnificent piece of several photographs that work so well together.

Overall this exhibition was extraordinary, especially for being one that you can see on campus.  It all came together as a great exhibit of the Korean Culture and all of its diversity.  It takes away stereotypes and under appreciation of Asian artists and gives the audience something beautiful.

Work Cited


“Keeping It Real: Symposium on Korean Artists in the Age of Multi-Media Representation.” CU Art Museum. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <;.

Melissa Nunes_Lecture: Rosalie Favell

I found a lecture done in 2010 by a woman named Rosalie Favell.  Rosalie Favell was a Native American photographer.  She never learned about her culture or native heritage when she was younger.  When she was young, she did not understand why her skin was so much darker than her mothers.   Later her mother told her she had Native American in her blood and that was when she decided she wanted to figure out who she was as a Native American. 

She started with her work called Portraits in Blood.  She wanted to understand her culture so she began to investigate.  She went around taking pictures of native women that reminded her of herself.  She called this work, portraits in blood because she was looking at her bloodlines in these pictures.  During the time she was documenting these pictures, she fell in love with a native woman.  The relationship did not end well. 

When looking back at her photographs all she could find were pictures of this woman.  She decided she wanted to put these pictures together.  She called this Living Evidence.  She had to ask permission to show this woman in her work but was denied.  So she decided that she would obscure her eyes with duct tape.  When she was in art school for photography she learned that she should never do anything with a photograph because it would destroy the natural image of it.  She learned that each photograph was precious. Before this she would write on the image.  It was big step for her to use the duct tape but it made the work stronger for her.  She said that it made the viewer have to wonder why the image was obscured and ask questions.  I found this work to be incredibly powerful.  Just having the image of this woman or the images of her and the woman it would not be as powerful.  It shows the hurt and the story that this woman and her lover went through.

She found she had all of these photographs and decided to make a book out of it and called this project Longing and Not Belonging.  She desperately wanted to know where she belonged so she put together images of individuals that were important to her.   She thought of this as a ledger book, which was a book Native Americans used to use to record battles. She filled it with pictures of heroic women.  Using these pictures she hoped to find meaning within herself and a place where she belonged.  But while looking at these pictures she decided that she needed to stop looking at others to find a hero but to look within herself and become the hero.  She decided that was the time to become the heroine and become a warrior artist like the people who made the ledger books.

She then used photo shop with her image and the image of her heroes and combined them making her a hero in her photos.  The rest of the lecture she showed us photos representing herself in photographs of people that inspired her or helped her understand her self.

Overall I felt like Rosalie was a very inspiring artist.  Her work is her passion and her culture.  It is her looking for and finding herself, which she lets us as viewers witness.  This lecture also reminded me of my own mother who did not really know where she came from and what her culture was.  She is a mix of many different ethnicities and only knew her family up until her great grandmother.  When I was about twelve she decided to investigate her heritage and made a photo book, which she made as a family tree starting with our family and moving back.  She did research and eventually found photos of her ancestors and learned exactly where she came from and felt like she could finally understand herself. 

This story reminded me of the story of Rosalie.  I think Rosalie is an amazing photographer and I would love to see more of her work.

Melissa Nunes_Lecture:Nao Bustamnte

Melissa Nunes

Artist lecture 1

I attended the lecture with Nao Bustamante.  The lecture was called “An Evening with Nao Bustamante”.  She began by telling us a little about herself and her background.  She was originally from San Juaquine Valley and began her career with sculpture and video.  She said that she considers herself an amateur still and a little bit like a fraud in a way.  But she really appreciates all the people that have been so supportive of her during her career.  She said that she was not supposed to be an artist and had other dreams in mind but ended up following a career in art. 

She then changed tones and said that in order for this lecture to work, we had to be hypnotized.  She wanted us to be her and see her work through her own eyes.  She started with a work done called “Finding Me” which was basically a bunch of “Nao Bustamante” heads.  She also goes on to mention that she hopes that because of the hypnosis, we will be more likely to be comfortable when asking questions.  She wanted us to be able to ask her anything that we wanted and interrupt her if needed.  The first question asked was “what would you want to be if you were not an artist” and Nao replied with “she felt that being an artist is the only thing that she could be.  But when she first started, she did not like it because she felt like an amateur.” 

She also said that there is no hierarchy in the way that we express ourselves, which I found to be a very true statement.  People choose many different ways to express themselves and there is not right and wrong.  I tend to see expression to be not so much an up and down hierarchy but more of a side to side, left to right order making each expression of the self different and unique. 

She talked to us about an exhibit she did in San Francisco that she called “Under the Rug”.  In this piece she stayed under a rug in a museum with a microphone for 45 minutes responding to the people and environment around her.

She then talked about the time she went on the Joan Rivers show, which I thought was very interesting and also exciting because I myself am a huge fan of Joan Rivers.  She told us that her first task was to get asked to be on the show.  Her way of getting on the show was the first part of this lecture where things started to get a little weird.  I was not sure if it was just strange for me because I am not used to speaking with artists or if it actually was getting weird.  She told the audience that she got on the Joan Rivers Show by telling them “while on a public bus, if she knows someone is looking at her, she can squeeze her legs together and have an orgasm”.  I was not sure if she was serious about telling them that or not but she got on the show so I just went with it.  She then showed us the clip of her on the Joan Rivers Show, which I thought was very funny because she was obviously making up extreme stories about herself for the show.  Back stage she told the camera that everything she said was just for show and none of it was true, but it made me wonder if other people who watch the show at the time thought it was true. 

The last thing she showed us was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in my life.  It was a film that started off with her running through a forest/field.  Then all of a sudden she looked down and started to grow a penis; that scene was not even the weirdest part of the film.  Right after she grew the penis, several penises started to chase her through the forest and still after that it became even more bizarre.  She finally fell and started to talk to her penis, which was now covered in jewels!  At this point of the lecture I was not even sure what to take seriously.  I felt very uncomfortable and was not sure how to act.  Overall I thought that Nao Bustamante was very funny and extremely creative.  She definitely did not have a problem being open and forward with her artwork.  However I did not like what I saw.  I can appreciate what she has done as an artist but overall I do not think I would want to watch a film with a bunch of penises again no matter how creative and artistic it is.

Clyfford Still-Melissa Nunes

Melissa Nunes


Clyfford Still: Abstract Expressionist


Clyfford Still impacted the Abstract Expressionist movement immensely during most of the 20th century.  He was one of the first of many abstract expressionist painters to show the world this new form of art that had not been seen before.  He started out painting figures that the viewer could make out as a shape or a specific object then slowly moved to paintings that were more abstract.  They had color and emotion but did not show the audience a specific figure that could be made out by the human eye.  His first paintings were depictions of the hardship of farm life that he portrayed using people and machinery.

The first of these paintings that caught my eye was PH-77, 1936.  The two farmers are centered in the middle of the painting and are the main focus.  The background of the painting is made up of 75% sky and the rest of the 25% is the hay and fields that the farmers are planting.  The sky is made up of what looks to be a mixture of colors that fade out around the farmers.  The top of the sky is a dark navy blue color that eventually turns into a mix of blues, greens, yellows and some pink.  It fades around the farmers into a faded yellow color mixed with white.  The fields are a dark yellow color that seems to run very far behind the two men.  Closer to there feet and towards the very bottom of the painting there is dirt that is a dark brown almost black color where they have already gathered the hay.

The first farmer to the left of the painting has a red shirt and dark pants that are rolled up so you see his ankles.  He has dark hair and is more slender than the other farmer.  His face is facing downwards looking at the pile of hay he is about the pick up.  He has black shoes and a barrel of hay in his left arm.  He is bent over at the waist with both of his knees slightly bent.  His right arm is reaching towards the ground grabbing hay.  His arm has lines flowing down them depicting his muscles that seem to be strained from doing this backbreaking labor.

The second man has a yellow shirt and is also bent over at the waist.  This farmer seems lest tall and slender than the other.  He has overalls on that are rolled up at the ankles and black shoes.  The left sleeve of his shirt is rolled up.  The right sleeve seems to come unraveled and is falling down his arm.  Both his arms are reaching down ready to pick up a stack of hay.  His arms also have lines depicting his strained muscles.  He is bald and his head is slightly turned towards us.  Both of the men’s faces are blurry and there are no distinct features on them.

The painting portrays the hardship and strain of being a farmer.  It depicts the reality of what the farmers feel like as they are gathering the hay from the fields.  The bent over bodies show the backbreaking work that these farmers had to endure.  The muscles and elongated look of the arms over exaggerate the pain of this work that these farmers had to go through.  Not being able to make out their faces shows the audience that they are not specific people that Still was painting but the large group as a whole.  These farmers could be anyone that lived and worked during these times.

This next painting that I noticed I had never seen before entering this museum, PH-343, 1937.  At first glance all I saw was a human like figure and some sort of machine that this human figure was pulling.  This painting is cut down the center, one half being the human figure and the other half being the machine.  The human is a yellow brown color and, like most of Clyfford Still’s paintings, does not have a face.  Black and white lines outline the human.  There are lines that run down the human as if to show the inside of this figure.  The figure is human shaped but is not proportional to a normal living human.  The hands are very large and the fingers very slender and long.  The shoulders are very high up giving the figure no neck and a very small head.  The legs seem to end at the middle of the thighs as if the figure had been amputated from the knee down.  The background behind the figure is a maroon color outlined in black and white just like the figure.

To the left is a machine that is all black up against a white background.  To the far left there is a black bar that seems to be holding the machine up against the wall.  It is attached to another bar that has a black circle shape coming off of it in the center and another black object coming off towards the bottom.  This large pole bends at the top and is attached to another black pole that the human figure is holding on too.  This pole too has many black shapes coming off of it making it look like a large tool that this person is using.

Stills liked to show both humans and machines in his early work.  The left side of this painting was made with warmer colors to depict this human while the right side is made with contrasting black and white colors.  The machinery shows the industry that was used for the farm life at that time.

Still’s later work portrayed more of an abstract look.  He used certain brush strokes and colors to portray his emotions. One of the paintings I saw with these characteristics was the PH-335, 1949.  The canvas background is covered in mostly red with some black and white splotches.  The upper half of the painting is mostly a bright red color but as you move towards to bottom you start to see large portions of black that are surrounded by a darker red.  Inside the black and the darker red are smaller portions of white specks.

When looking at this painting I saw a lot of emotion; especially because he used the colors of black and red.  Those two colors by themselves usually represent things that are dark and painful which I believe was part of what Still wanted to get across in his work.  The sections of the painting that show the black and dark red, seem to be somewhat chaotic and may demonstrate what Still was going through during that time.  I took it as him still trying to figure out what kind of artist he was and the hardship that he endured trying to accomplish this.  It shows his frustration and eagerness to be the artist that he wanted to be.  Also at this time he was trying to balance his artistic career and having a family, which was difficult for both Still and his wife.  This stress and chaos in his life was shown through his work and eventually when he reached an old age he became more comfortable and knew exactly what he wanted to paint.  His brush strokes and colors became more spread out and demonstrated a clear view of the artist that Clyfford Still had become.




Intellectual Profile (Melissa Nunes)

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

I am a junior studying psychology here at CU.  I want to go on to be a child psychologist.  I am very interested in the study of development and the way children learn and grow.  I took this class because I also have an interest in art history after taking an art history class freshman year.  I am not very well educated on art but I find it very interesting.

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What Is Contemporary Art? (Melissa Nunes)

Terry Smith first starts off the article giving his definition of contemporary art.  He says that it is the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world.  He goes on to say that contemporary art is made up of distinctive structures of status and change.  It is closely connected with high cultural industries like fashion, design, tourism, and specific sectors of reform.  Some people think that it means “beyond history” or “after the end of history”.

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