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Art and Other Things

Interesting art pieces from around the world

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/07/10/how-to-improve-summer-school/eliminate-summer-vacation

Perhaps my response is biased because I am a high school student. However, I strongly disagree with the article’s author on her views of eliminating summer vacation. Being a student can be exciting and fun in many ways – but most of the times, it’s just plain stressful. Especially in prestigious schools where everyone is smart and participates in extracurricular activities (like mine), the pressure is on for every single student to stand out. Students deserve a break from academics to rest their brains and prepare themselves for the even more difficult year ahead of them. The article is obviously written in good intentions, meant to teach us more… but what if students don’t want that? What if we’d rather rush the finals to take a break; what if we’d rather pull all-nighters than go to school on a sunny July morning?

Almost everybody knows Pablo Picasso. His name is respected and praised everywhere all over the world for his innovative and popular cubist movements. However, that’s not all there is to the man. Very few know about the Blue and Rose Period before Pablo Picasso’s signature cubist art.

"Woman With Crossed Arms" 1901

Picasso’s first main art movement was during the early 20th century called the Blue Period. As the name suggests, the Blue Period was marked by paintings that had a blue shade to them. The color blue has a sadness to its color and evokes a somber response. To add to the depressing color, the subjects of Picasso’s paintings were often of suffering mothers, beggars, and even prostitutes. Why were his paintings so solemn and sad? There are various reasons for this style but one major reason would be the suicide of his close friend Carlos Casagemas. Casagemas appears in many of Picasso’s paintings during this period. Another reason would be the fact that Picasso had been away from home for the first time in poor conditions during his late teens.

The next period of art in Picasso’s life is the Rose Period. As a contrast to the Blue Period, the Rose Period is marked with warm, rose colors. His paintings are much more cheery and optimistic. Picasso’s common subject is the circus and acrobats and clowns, which continued to be the subject of his paintings for the rest of his long art career. During this period, he was heavily influenced by Fernande Olivier, who he met in Paris in 1904. Picasso’s paintings reflect the warm relationship he had with Olivier as well as increased exposure to French artistic styles.

“Acrobat and Young Harlequin: (1905)

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Ai Weiwei (53) is a well-known artist, recently more because of his arrest as a part of the Chinese government’s crackdown ,in which they arrested 26 people and 30 people went missing. A representative from Human Rights Watch states: “This is an effort by the government to redraw the lines of permissible expression in China, to restrict the most outspoken advocates of global values.”

Many know the story of Ai Weiwei’s arrest but do they know his art?

Famous for revolutionary art that goes against Chinese policies, Ai Weiwei gained his fame. One prominent piece of work was the Sunflower Seeds, an installations at the Tate Modern art gallery. For this particular piece, he installed more than 100 million sunflower seeds made of porcelain with the help of artisans from Jingdazen (he says he probably only made around 3 himself). Visitors are encouraged to touch, walk on, and interact with the seeds. So what is the meaning behind this installation? Ai Weiwei states that in the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, sunflower seeds were shared between people as a symbol of friendship and represented a ‘gesture of human compassion’. The sunflower seeds were a sign of kindness and peace in a period of unrest and uncertainty.

Another piece of work is Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. These sculptures are a replica (but not exactly the same) of the animal heads that were stolen by the British and French during the Opium Wars. Ai Weiwei’s piece weighs in real and fake while also mixing in elements of nationalism. He states that he wants this piece to be fun as well as relatable to a large audience because everyone is part of the zodiac cycle.

So there you have it! The meaning behind the revolutionary art ideas of Ai Weiwei.

Check out a cool exhibition promoting the freedom of artists, interpretation, and Ai Weiwei here.

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I think propaganda is an art form. Since the beginning of nation states, nations have built propaganda in their favor to manipulate its citizens. Most notably, propaganda was especially enforced during wars or totalitarian regimes. There are obvious forms of propaganda like this US World War 2 poster:
 credit

However, I also think there are more subtle types of propaganda that we don’t necessarily notice. For example, in this “War Against Terror”. When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Saddam Hussein were murdered, there were crude pictures to prove their death, used as propaganda to portray the ‘enemies’ as weak and helpless.

Thousands celebrated the recent death of Osama bin Ladin, but the fact that his picture wasn’t released to prove his death (just like the other terrorists) is puzzling. It marks a turning point in modern propaganda, or the lack of.

Look at the propaganda poster. Wouldn’t it just fuel further competition and hatred between the two enemies? It was a wise choice to not release pictures of Osama bin Ladin’s death and to bury him at sea, where no mourning or hate crimes can be committed. The fact that the US troops have decided to honor the religion of the terrorist who had hurt so many shows a step towards diplomatic relations and perhaps a precursor to tolerance between the two.

What Osama bin Ladin did was wrong, no doubt about it. But then again, what the rest of the world did to the Palestinian region was also wrong. The international community has been ‘propaganda-ed’ to see the terrorists from a western point of view, not even considering the reasons behind their actions. Honestly, I think that the more fortunate countries must step up to help the countries in need.

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 “Plastic” by Robin Eley

So many amazing people in this world!

This type of art is a great example of realism. Realism is an arts style that emphasizes paintings that are REAL (no way). This movement began first in the 19th centuries Europe not only in art but also in other art forms such as  literature and theatre. Realists almost always depicted everyday life objects in a secular, empirical form, rejecting earlier Romanticism imagination.

This particular video “Plastic” by Robin Eley can be related to hyperrealism, realism extended so that the painting looks like a photograph. However, unlike a photograph, these painting depict objects as more tangible and soft. The artist may also choose to exaggerate the details in the painting, such as the textures and shadows, in order to create an illusion or reality not even seen on the real object! This movement started around 2000 in Europe and the US.

Crystal Dish with Melons (1990) Mauro David

It’s interesting how people started to move away from realism in the mid 1900s because photography was invented, but they learn from cameras to create new types of art. Hyperrealism paintings are very real but surreal at the same time because it’s done in such high-definition! It has become one of my favorite art genres!

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http://vimeo.com/22564317

Check out this amazing video titled “Symmetry” by Everynone.

It’s an incredible video of totally different but related things and people and animals set against each other! I love how the group puts together such an impacting video with such simple images and clips.

The video starts out with simple things like peanut butter against jelly, creating a contrasting image of two different objects that are… related! It’s incredible the message it sends as the clip continues to make such great contrasting images such as a man in the bathroom against a women drinking water.

At first because the video was set in such a light tone, using cheery images like baseballs and basketball hoops, I thought it would be a typical trendy video that had cool clips of different things in one , just arranged in a more creative way. But I was proven wrong.

As the video progresses, the images become more serious and makes you really think about how everything is connected in this world and how one this is very relevant to the other no matter how different it is. For me, especially impacting image I got was the comparison of a heart chart and a waves. They both have beats that follow a rhythm and it made me think about how things are truly related in nature…

The ending image leaves more thoughts as the video ends with an unusually long clip showing two very contrasting images: a new born baby and a dead man.

It really makes you think…

Check out more AMAZING videos by Everynone at http://www.everynone.com/

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So you have probably all heard about the devastating earthquake in Japan that displaced millions of people. There have been many efforts to help the people in Japan, such as creating prints to sell for no profit.

What does this print say to you?

To me, the poster seemed perfectly normal. It has tasteful design and uses cracked lines of a red circle against a white background to send out a clear message. Obviously, the artist in mind has had good intentions and it has worked. Poster sales have raised up to $7000 for the Japan’s earthquake relief effort!

However, there are some that argue the poster has less-than-good intentions. John Pavlus  (writer and filmmaker) argues on fastcodesign.com that the poster is distasteful in the fact that the artists’ true intention was to attract more publicity to himself. John also argues that there is nothing to do with this poster once purchased; you wouldn’t hang it up in your living room, he says.

I disagree with Pavlus. The print itself shows careful design elements through use of color and line and proves itself to be aesthetically pleasing. Although you may not hang this up in your living room or your bedroom, you may be able to hang it in your office or a public building to spread awareness and motivate others to donate to this cause as well. The devastating graphic moves people in a way that words just can not. The simple design is a piece of art and doesn’t deserve the criticism that John has poured over it.

See John’s post here: http://www.fastcodesign.com//1663419/is-this-poster-to-aid-japans-tsunami-victims-a-crime-against-design#comments

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