Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Introduction to Conceptual Art: "Seriously?"

Tower Bridge, 1906 

Have you even thought of how the world is perceived by various representatives of animal kingdom? For example, bees see through yellow and ultraviolet light, which allows them to observe a completely different dimensions of our conventional reality; it is very different from the way humankind perceives the world. Now, let's say that there is a specific kind of people, which perceives the life and various aspects of it in a completely different, often bizarre, fashion; the category of such unique individuals is called artists. Be it through the juxtaposition of hue and texture or shapes and dimensions, the people of art envision the reality of ordinary aspects through the creativity lens, which magnifies or exaggerates reality by an infinite number of digits. For example, the same way bees see through the ultraaviolet light, the artists like AndrĂ© Derain can envision grey industrial 19th century London through the utilization of vibrant colors and kinetic brushstrokes that instill energy and movement to the two-dimensional surface of a mere canvas. 
Fountain, 1919

To go further, I will ask you another rhetorical question, which will perhaps puzzle your perception: have you ever imagined that a urinal can be an object of art? I am not going to be surprised if the majority thinks that this question is unable to prevent a prompt response,  which is an unhesitant "no." I agree, it may be shocking, but a urinal is a prominent artwork, which serves as an icon of 20th century conceptual art. You may also wonder "am I being serious?", certainly yes! Fountain (1919) is one of the most famous pieces by the dada artist Marcel Duchamp, who was a famous French painter and sculptor. It was enough for the artist to decide to go to the plumbing supply house, called Mott, and purchase an ordinary "readymade" urinal not for the sake of utilizing it for its indeed function, but challenge the conventional norms and create a work of art by simply signing it "R. Mott, 1917." The artist claimed it to be a sculpture, which completely refuted the common conceptions about heroic academic monuments, which convey deep philosophical meaning. But is not art a transformation of ordinary materials into a mind riddle or a clue, which allows our mind to perceive the conceptual reality from the perspective of an artist, and after all, urinal is not a fountain and an opposite from the definition of something aesthetic. Does art have to be made by the hand of an artist? Should art be forced to comply a certain criteria, such as being pleasing and aesthetic?

Is it even for you to decide? 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Personal Passion and Importance of Aspiration

Today, I would like to describe a memorable event, which helped me to establish a solid ground to the new beginning - my art future. Even though, I am only seventeen years old at the moment, I realize how important it is to be dedicated to something you truly love, and even though one cannot predict his future, it is possible to set a potential aspiration as a young adult. Personally, my aspiration has always been to be directly related to the field of historical studies, liberal and fine arts, thus I chose an aspiration to become an art historian, since I have been always in love with art history, galleries, academic books and auction catalogues. Frankly, I am originated from the art family, where my mom is a fashion designer, and my grandfather is a craftsmen; being enthralled by the way my relatives do their work has always been magical to me, I learned how to work with colors, draw according to the academic disciplines, work on the old sewing machine and carve stamps on metal, therefore my desire was confidently defined from the beginning - I want to create and learn. 
So, on a tiresome ordinary spring day, I decided to begin volunteering at the local museum of art. This idea was very spontaneous; I was driving home from school thinking about my future and realized that I do noting significant to attain it, especially to reach my aspiration - to become an art historian one day. So, I skipped my highway exit and went in the direction of my future, art museum. To be honest, the last time I visited the same museum was about six months ago and, frankly, I didn't like the quality of the works that were displayed at the museum. It was a local female-artist, who created a series of brutal pieces of art, which incorporated a big varnished canvas covered in paint with the dissected pieces of various animals, such as wings of flamingo or skin of a snake. I respect local artists, who showcase their artwork in such museums, but I was shocked when I saw the artist's works; the notion of death was like a repetitive and haunting motif throughout the series of paintings, which reminded me of traditional Chinese medicine than art. This art is still art, just very immoral, in my opinion. 
Anyways, I need to admit that the museum made a false first impression on me. I realized it when I couldn't find an unoccupied parking spot at the museum's parking lot. It was Friday, and a vibrant flow of people, from children to elders, kept coming to the same building, the art museum. My very first thought was associated with church; it's hard to believe but the places, such as church and art museums, are not so different. They are both social institutes and community centers, which make society believe in the importance of community, connection, and openness to the world. In art museums, people do not just look at the paintings analyzing their cultural and functional context and demonstrate their exquisite taste, people attend museums for the sake of socializing amongst their peers, receiving education, and having a place to belong. As I walked in, I signed up for the volunteering opportunity and have begun a project of reorganization of the art library at the museum, a place that contains over than a thousand books about art, history and culture. On my first day, when I made a prompt appearance at the time when the doors just get unlocked, I spent 7 hours working and met amazing people, as well as helped a 90-years-old man, who was desperately looking for a book with an illustration of a horse. I had a feeling that I made them happy and applied my knowledge to organize the books by various categories. Moreover, I inferred that art museums can be also categorized, not only in such way as a modern or traditional museum of art, but by the notion of being active or passive. For example, active museums function as an active display of contemporary artists, allowing the audience to get acquainted with the concurrent reality; this kind of museums showcase local artists letting the community to evolve and become aware of arts and culture. In contrast, passive museums serve as a place of storage for the artwork, which was created by the artists of the past. 
Truly speaking, I am glad that I have an opportunity to express my commitment though the task of volunteering and utilizing my knowledge to help and guide people through such important aspect of our society - art.