Tag Archives: Art History

#occupymuseums

As a young, liberal-minded person, I’ve been generally following the #occupy movement. While appreciating the sentiment, I feel the movement mostly leaves the actual action of the activism to a  body that is made up of the same breed of rich, white, male-bodied people whom the movement is protesting against. So while not participating directly because of the lack of organization and generally the method of activism, I do hope, someday, that taxes will make more sense, even if that means that I, as an upper middle person, will be taxed more.

That aside, what really caught my attention this week was an article on the Washington Post’s website about the #occupymuseums movement.

The idea is that museums perpetuate “cultural elitism.” And yes, they do. But I don’t think the tagline of the #occupy movement applies to art museums. That one percent of the world is represented in those museums and the ninety-nine percent isn’t. Whether we like it or not, “museum art” is a part of our Western cultural consciousness and the story we tell about ourselves. I am very pro-museum institution. But I am also very pro-art outside of museums. There are art and artists who actively break down museums in their work, whether they are participating in the museum system or not.

I originally saw a mention of this movement on my tumblr (my favorite micro-blogging platform). It was paired with a Barbara Kruger piece “You invest in the divinity of the masterpiece.” Kruger is an example of an artist who breaks down the cultural elitism of museums by working in the museum system.

"You invest in the divinity of the masterpiece," Barbara Kruger, 1982, MoMA

I believe museums are less culturally elite than the prospect of these pieces of art being in the private homes of the true 1%. Maybe art is elitist because there is such a thing as art and Art, and I believe that good art exists. I believe in the canon, as much as I believe in breaking open the canon. Like I said in my post about the Barnes Foundation (An Opinion: The Barnes Foundation), the absolute most important thing to me is that people have access to art. Large, urban museums provide that. Anyone can walk into the Metropolitan Museum of Art  and see a large portion of art history. And I think that the more pressing issue which the #occupymuseums movement may be missing is that art exists outside museums. By protesting the institution, they are giving power to the institutions, by legitimatizing the notion that because museums are elitist and rich, they monopolize the best art. But there is among the best art outside of museums as well.  As an extremely canonical person (I want to study Renaissance art and Victorian literature, for God’s sake), I do tend to prioritize art that is in museums. But I also actively seek out art outside of the museum system, and I think encouraging that would help break down the elitism more.

You can’t change the institution by being angry at it; you can change it by providing it with competition. Let great art exists in museums, make great art outside of museums and provide access to everyone. That’s how you make the art world equal opportunity.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Other Readings

How to Pick Up a (Straight and Female) Art History Major

Let’s face it, Art History majors are really awesome. They are looking at a future of designing really great class powerpoints, wearing funky jewelery, and lamenting to no one who cares about people who just can’t see the difference between Baroque and Rococo (or Modern and Contemporary art). Plus they generally have very good taste in nail polish, have good hair, dress really well, and think in a different way than pretty much any other undergraduate major.  So who wouldn’t want to date one?

So here is a list of things to do and things to avoid in order to pick up your feisty art historian.

DO

1. When choosing between staying over night at an aquarium or a museum, choose the museum. Take note, Jim Halpert. (See S2E18 “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” of The Office)

2. It might help to look like one of these Art History hotties

Theodore Gericault

Once called the “Justin Bieber” of the Romantics by a hilarious University of Pennsylvania art history professor.

Raphael's Self-Portrait

The boy wonder of the Renaissance. Also according to the world’s biggest fangirl, Giorgio Vasari, Raphael died from having too much sex. Just going to leave that tidbit right there.

Lewis Paine by Alexander Gardner

One of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, Paine (real name Powell) was convicted and hung for an assassination attempt of Secretary of State William Seward. And he was widely considered the most attractive man in the images from my History of Photography class.

Albrecht Durer Self Portrait

Albrecht Durer: Jesus Face

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Bernini managed to be a sasspost and a sexpot. And he is single handedly responsible for 70% of the sex appeal of the Catholic Church.

For more hotties from art history check out these blogs: Hotties of Art History and My Daguerrotype Boyfriend

3. Get to know her specific interests in art. Art History majors love Judy Chicago, Clement Greenberg and Jasper Johns. You know why? Because the Art History professor that she aspires to be, who has cool coats/vests/jewelry, likes these people.* And until she graduates these interests are as important if nor more so than her personal art interests.

4. Learn to appreciate scarves. Art History classes are often in the dark. And often early in the morning. Sometimes the only thing keeping you awake and paying attention to Borromini subverting the classical orders is the warmth around your neck and being able to think “my scarf is way more awesome than anyone else’s in the room. Except maybe the scarf that the professor with the cool coats is wearing.” So Art History majors love scarves. This is potential topic of conversation.

While bored, I made this collage of scarves I like, as evidence of how awesome they are and how much art history majors love them.***

Bitches Love Scarves
5. Use Netflix for good. There are some killer art history documentaries on there, with dopey reenactments and interviews with lots of white old men. Worth it, if you can recommend one to her.
Recommended by this Art History Major to you: Exit Through the Gift Shop, Empires: The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, Van Gogh: Brush with Genius, The Art of the Steal, Art 21: Art of the Twenty-First Century, Herb and Dorothy and seriously so many more.

DON’T

1. Don’t call him “da Vinci.” Just like in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s Leonardo. No need to complicate things with errors.

2. Related, don’t let cartoons be your source of art history knowledge.

Like this, this is completely ridiculous. (artist: yours truly)****

3. Don’t go to a museum and then make fun of the art. If you know less than her, this is not the time to show off your humor chops. Listen and discuss things. That’s why museums are fun. Also: museum dates are not a must. If you cannot handle museums (seriously, not everyone can), it would be better to not go, then then to go and make a fool of yourself. Art History majors have hobbies. Anyways, she’s probably been to the local museum bunches of times, so if you do go, make sure there is a special exhibit in town. It especially helps if it is one you are interested in.

So good luck! And of course there is something else you could do…register for art history classes! They are amazing and unlike any other class offered in an undergraduate program.

*This list may or may not be satirical.
**This may be Agnes Scott specific. Find the professor with the best coat/jewelry combo on campus. Odds, that one is the one she is idolizing.
***We also love collages of our own creation.
****Apparently Botticelli had ADD. And hated non-Italian Renaissances as much as I do.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Humor

bleeg blah blorg

I should re name my blog “Miss Woodhouse Goes to College and Never has Time to Do Fun Things (like knit/crochet, blog, color, watch Bones).”

This month has been so crazy. My part time job is starting to get really busy. I feel like I am either going to class, doing homework or catching up on sleep.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.
1. Making lots of money and spending lots of money. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Last year with one super-part time job I felt like I had just enough money to do all the things I wanted to do. And now when one super-part time job and another more time, but still part-time job, I still feel like I am only barely getting by. But I am making like three times as much.

2. Reading about nepotism and popes: Which is just about my favorite thing in the world. Barberini, don’t get cocky though, the Medici still have my Italian heart.

3. Applying for summer jobs

4. Applying for study abroad in Florence!

5. Learning to budget money. Which is becoming a new obsession. I SPENT 50 DOLLARS THIS MONTH ON FAST FOOD. too much money when I am on a dining plan.

6. Reading a lot of Contemporary Art Theory and thinking about Hitchcock and voyeurism. (who am I kidding? I always spend a lot time thinking about Hitchcock and voyeurism. or voyeurism in general. It has become like my go to topic for research papers. Especially in relation to the Catholic Church)

7. Watching a lot of Hitchcock.

8. Being excited and then forlorn about the Phillies. This is honestly probably the number one reason this month has been hard. While a usual 50% of my time is devoted to school and like 25% to fun and another 25% to sleep/eating, during postseason I feel like 90% of my time I spent thinking about the Phillies’ stats and checking up on games and what not. So I had to squeeze sleeping/eating/school/fun into 10% of my thinking time, which was only made harder by midterms. I am still really upset about the Phils’ lose. you probably shouldn’t talk to me about it. I am kind of welling up right now.

9. Talking about Judith paintings with a guy friend of mine. Which was kind of a surreal experience. First, this guy has no background in art history whatsoever, and has never studied any sort of feminist theory. I mean he is an engineer. But he has the most insightful things to say about the paintings and was so interested in what I knew about the paintings, and how they changed from the Renaissance to Baroque to later depictions. I was just pleasantly surprised. Sometimes, at Agnes, I forgot how useful and charming men can be. But for realsies, I do not miss men in my classes. I cannot imagine talking about the masturbatory impulse of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice in a room with a bunch of college guys. Though, my Jane Austen class would probably consist of mostly young women even at a coed school.

10. making plans for a halloween costume. hint: it soon will be coming to FRUITion. PUNS BLOWING UP YO MIND.

4 Comments

Filed under Art, College, Film, Hobbies, Literature

OMG SPRING SEMESTER

Actually the scheduling process is going pretty well. Here’s what I imagine I will be taking:

History of Photography with KSmith
Methods in Art and Art History with KSmith
British Literature Post 1700 with Dean Diedrick
European Women since the Middle Agnes with KKennedy

I wish I could take two English classes. But because I usually take post-1800, 300 level classes, I needed to take pre-1800, 200-level classes. But they are offering a grand total of TWO, and both are at the same time as Methods in Art History, which is a class that is super important that I take this spring and before my senior seminar. marp. I wish I had a time turner.

Also a possibility: auditing Trickster Theme in Classical Lit with JAbbot. the cutest professor alive. Just as a classical literature class, it is kind of useless in my double major. But I love Classical Literature and tricksters!

Leave a comment

Filed under College

nepotism and tapestries: Pope Urban VIII

Am I the only person who thinks that nepotism and tapestries sounds like an album name?

Maybe not. But still, they are the source of my interest in Pope Urban VIII. That’s right, folks, I have chosen my first research topic of the year (unless you count the research paper about Frank Churchill’s use of Latin derived words in Emma that I’ve been dying to write forever). The topic: The Barberini Tapestry Cycle and the Self and Familial Editing of Papal History in Roman Baroque Art.

The Barberini Tapestry Cycle is a self of three tapestries that depict the lives of three important Christian figures: Constantine, Jesus Christ and Pope Urban VIII. The first seven tapestries of Constantine were designed by Peter Paul Rubens for the House of Bourbon and then later given to Cardinal Francisco Barberini during a visit to France. Pietro da Cortona completed the Constantine cycle, replacing the French coat of arms with that of the Barberini Family.

The last two cycles, of Christ’s and Pope Urban’s lives, were completely Italian made. The choices of which Christ episodes were depicted were heavy on the Papal imagery, and Pope Urban’s life is shown as one of an intellectual pope who has brought relics to Rome.

Thing about Pope Urban VIII: not that great of a pope. He really liked Bernini and da Cortona and he really liked making his nephews Cardinals.

So I am looking at the iconography/events/spectacles represented in the Italian made tapestries to see how Urban VIII and his nephews edited the story of the Barberini pope, directly within the cycle of his life and indirectly with that of Constantine and Christ.

1 Comment

Filed under Art, College

WHOO! I am an official double major

This is one of those things that Agnes really needs to make easier. But we are really into paper copies of things. And inefficiency. There is whole process involving cards and planning. It seems a little silly. But it is done and it is official.

I don’t really know the benefits of this but now I get to say “I’m a sophomore and an English Literature and Art History major,” instead of “I’m a sophomore and I am planning on majoring in English Literature and Art History.”

Also I suppose I should get around to changing my blog title to just “Miss Woodhouse Goes to College”…

Leave a comment

Filed under College

crushin on the caravaggio

In the art world, just like fashion, there are trends. But I think in fashion, the trends come and when they come back they are “retro.” But in art, sometimes things aren’t in vogue from the time they are created to four hundred years later. Well, Caravaggio is hot hot hot right now. And I have jumped, leaped and galloped onto the bandwagon. There are few contributing factors to Caravaggio’s recent renaissance.

I have this weird thing for Judith paintings.

July 18, 2010 was the 400th anniversary of his death. And Romans love anniversaries!

He only  has about eighty paintings that are confirmed by him. And then there are all these other copies or originals that we just don’t know. Because Caravaggio worked on commission, he sometimes painted similar subjects multiple times, just in different sizes for different prices.

Sometimes one of the copies all of the is confirmed by art historians as a real Caravaggio and basically everyone freaks out. They even wrote a book about one, The Lost Painting which I highly recommend.

The real zinger though of my crush on Caravaggio is that it may be persuading me to study abroad in Rome and not Florence. Florence makes total sense for my love of the Medici and their artists (Donatello, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo) but the Counter Reformation is  so dramatic! And Caravaggio and Counter Reformation makes sense to go to Rome. Plus from what I’ve heard, Rome, because it is more tourist-y, is more accommodating toward English speakers, while Florence it is a little do or die.

1 Comment

Filed under Art, College