Roblog

Entries Tagged as 'ARTH460'

Abstract Expressionism and the Making of a Heroic Art: Outlines

October 22nd, 2007 · 4 Comments

My week 9 presentation Abstract Expressionism and the Making of a Heroic Art documents Greenberg’s assertion of the all-american machismo of Abstract Expressionist or “American-Type” painting in his 1955 article “‘American-Type’ Painting” as well as the repercussions this had on the female artists associated with the New York School, exemplified by Lee Krasner’s struggle with her engendered artistic identity as “Mrs. Jackson Pollock” in Anne M. Wagner’s “Lee Krasner as L.K.”
Mrs. Jackson Pollock?

Outline: Lee Krasner as L.K.

Outline: ‘American-Type’ Paintings

Tags: Art · ARTH460 · Women and Art

Heroes and Housewives: The Language of Kitsch

October 22nd, 2007 · 1 Comment

Jasper Johns’s subtle manifesto Painting With Two Balls (1960)

The most interesting findings of my research to date for my “Gender and Kitsch” paper have been, surprisingly, more connected to vocabulary than painting. While women were, at different times, admitted to the highest circles of Greenbergian painting, the language used to discuss those that were and those that weren’t was uniformly tied to gender. For instance, the male Abstract Expressionists are invariably depicted as archetypal struggling artists, supported by the workaday wages of their wives, while all women attempting the same effort were described as housewives or hobbyists. (Janet Sobel, a female painter from Long Island in the 1940’s served as the primary inspiration to Jackson Pollock’s distinctive mark, and yet, was disregarded as a housewife). Meanwhile, even the Abstract Expressionist women artists such as Helen Frankenthaler were labeled second generation Abstract Expressionists even when their work premiered at the same time as some “First Generation” male painters. Similarly, in a husband-and-wife painter exhibition, the women were described as “tidying up” their husbands work.

The smoking gun, however, is in Greenberg and Rosenberg’s writings, where the former defined the feminine as the tendency to employ the elements of great art for practical uses, essentially his definition of kitsch, and the latter derided the pop artists for being afraid of a “masculine” struggle.

The painter Jasper Johns, perhaps Rosenberg’s arch-nemesis, in turn retaliated with the wonderfully tongue-and-cheek Painting With Two Balls, which satarized the gender roles of Greenbergian art while committing all of the mortal sins: corrupting abstraction, including words, employing symbolism (and in a vulgar way!) and most of all, denying the messiah of painting, flatness.

Tags: Art · ARTH460 · Women and Art

Self Portrait of the Artist as a Creepy Man

September 27th, 2007 · 2 Comments

This post comes in response to the self portrait question on the ARTH 460 blog.

Last year I painted my “Self Portrait of the Artist As a Creepy Man” for my Painting I class, and, disappointed with the results that came from my classmates’ efforts to photograph themselves in alluring, idealized or profound poses, I decided to work from a mirror, making the same vapid expression I make when I paint. When I realized how creepy and uncomfortable the painting was, I decided to emphasize the smaller flaws in my face: crazy-man hair, zits,nosehairs, stubble, a uni-brow. I painted myself in my everyday work clothing, what I am most comfortable in: my favorite plaid shirt, undershirt and corduroy jacket. The background, which I am least happy with, was the actual setting of the painting studio.

The result was a creepy frontal stare from a crazy-looking mountain man, not an altogether incorrect portrayal, but perhaps an ironic exageration of my more controversial (but just as real) features.

Portrait of the Artist as a Creepy Man

The audience question, though, is an interesting one: for painters today, audience theoretically isn’t supposed to change the work. Therefore, I decided I would stand behind my painting for any audience, which worked until my grandparents came to look at the painting. Pappy looked at it closely for a while, then turned to Gramma and said “Remember, its not how we see him, its how he sees himself.” It was the only time I have been uncomfortable presenting myself as my self portrait. Which brings this post back to the topic at hand: much more so than today, baroque and rococo self-portraiture, especially for women, was governed by a need to present oneself at his or her very best. Artists were forced to choose the elements that they wanted to emphasize in their own character, which for women was very much defined by their own appearance. Luckily, in today’s art world, I can comfortably present myself in an uncomfortable way without risking dismissal as an artist.

I’m going to do another self portrait this year for my Caravaggio series. We’ll see how it changes.

Tags: Art · ARTH460 · Women and Art

Gender and Kitsch: Paper Proposal

September 12th, 2007 · Comments Off on Gender and Kitsch: Paper Proposal

Pollock, Greenberg, Frankenthaler and Krasner at the beach

In my term paper, I have chosen to examine the relationships between gender and “kitsch” in middle-twentieth century American painting, specifically as they relate to the Greenberg School and all movements related to or reacting against it (Abstract Expressionism, Post-Painterly Abstraction, Pop-Art, Minimalism, Feminist Art).

Gender and Kitsch Paper Proposal

Annotated Bibliography

Tags: Art · ARTH460 · Women and Art