Above, from top to bottom: Epidaurus Theatre, Greece; an 1873 photograph of a camera being transported to a hard to access wilderness location; an aerial view of Robert Smithson’s work Spiral Jetty, in Utah, created in 1970; a scene from the film, “Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time;” a photograph of the Charging Bull statue, and the Fearless Girl sculpture in New York City; and last, one of the most famous photographs ever made: of the earth ‘rising’ above the surface of the moon, made by the astronauts of Apollo 8, from their spacecraft, in December, 1968.
Key themes in class today, Monday, April 17: Painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and architecture, are art forms that are primarily visual, and usually result in something tangible. They take place outside of time: that is, you can return again and again to look at them.
Performative arts including theatre, music, and dance are events that are intangible, and ephemeral. They happen, and then vanish. You might be able to see them again but in a mediated form very different from the original, by viewing a video or photographs.
Which kind of art do you prefer? Why? In general, when you have money that is not needed for essentials, do you prefer to purchase tangible things, or to pay to be able to have an ephemeral experience?
We have the idea that a ‘permanent’ form of art such as a bronze sculpture or a building has a static, unchanging meaning. We discussed at lenth, the bronze figure of Dr. King. We looked at how the meaning of a work of art can change if we know the history of an object. An example looked at in the AM and PM classes was the “Bronco” statue that turns out NOT to be a Bronco at all. In the PM class we also looked at how the statue of Penn State coach Joe Paterno acquired new meaning after he was criticized for not doing enough when he learned that his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused children. We also looked briefly at the two statues now facing off against each other in New York City’s financial district: the Charging Bull statue, and the Fearless Girl sculpture. We also looked again at how immense iconic buildings that give a sense of home to people, can disappear: Penn Station, and the Twin Towers.
Another major theme was how it is that only in the past century or so, have artists focused on the earth as a primary subject. We looked at Earth Art, a relatively new art form that began about 1970. On the other hand we can see the origins of ‘earth art’ in work made by American Indians as far back as 2,000 years or more. We also talked about how being outdoors for a purpose such as tracking animals, can lead to the development of specific observational skills. Last, we looked at work by Andy Goldsworthy. In a clip from the film, “Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time,” we saw Mr. Goldsworthy creating ephemeral work that a breath of wind, or the rays of the rising sun can destroy in seconds.
Please feel free to discuss any of the above topics. This post will be open until Friday at 10 pm.