- Art is not empty. Art is a matter, a substance; it is a Concept, it is an Argument. Picasso said “painting is not interior decoration. It is an instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy” (Boeck & Sabartés 1955, p.505), and rightly so. Picasso explains that Art has a purpose, specifically a voice of defiance and logic. But to hang it up as a one-dimensional item hollows the function of artmaking. I know art has the power to influence our thoughts and our actions because Art is conceived from an idea. And that idea could not be defined in stale words but a interpretable form. Art needs to be seen. And its structure will instigate a response and a dialogue emerges as that artist’s intangible words now exists in the physical world and requires a response from you. When Art receives conversation without depth or intellectual means, then it is furniture.
- Pop Art is a pledge to consumerism by being obsessed with material things. By definition, it is objectively summed as “Art based on modern popular culture and the mass media” (“Pop Art”, dictionary.com). Above all, I believe Pop Art is an observation of aesthetic values. There are plenty of exceptions to this but the stuff we see produced everyday without an avid counteraction is Pop Art. When there is an absorbed by a certain percentage of a culture, then yes, it is trendy, and yes, it becomes a label. Aesthetics that can be priced articulates Pop Art as a tired fixation on a materialism glorified because it is keenly uncommon. Commercials of beauty products and technological wonders, together or apart, are Pop Art in motion.
- Rosenquist’s F-111 is an anti-war message. The painting itself was made when the plane of which it was named after was deservedly popular for its efficiency, endurance, and overall stamina compared to other aircrafts—therefore causing more to be made. The painting itself is an anti-war message because it precisely depicts over the F-111 image what has brainwashed us to want a war (Willet). For me, the two uniquely American traits of the F-111 painting is (1) the child, and (2) the food. The girl represents Media, and accentuates the billboard aspect of this painting. If she were more dollish or pin-up, she would simply be an advertisement, but given her presence under the likeness of a “hairdryer”, she remains a white, blonde, red-lipped, middleclass girl who is a precious commodity of a people who like to display this image as something to strive, admire, and lust for. The glazed vanilla cake with, on the other hand is very much about Consumerism. It is the tastiness which is in its entirely short-lived self-satisfaction. And the cake presented is not even the whole dessert, there’s a third of it missing, but the cake itself is clean, bright, agreeable, and plastic. Plastic, because you recognise a cake when you see it. The mold itself is mass-produced, and the ingredients listed barely change so it tastes identical to any cake baked before or after it—and we like it that way. We come back to it because we know what’s in it, what it looks like, what tastes like, and even though it isn’t a real or nutritional food, we’ll eat and come back for a little more. Especially when we didn’t need it in the first place.
- Bearden’s collage is the make-up of Americans of African descent. The fact of his using collage is the piecing together of different tones, textures, and shapes. It is exactly what the African-American people are. The parts are irregular and distinct but as a unit, are still strangled into an identity affiliated with poverty, anger, and oppression. Basquiat’s art is Street Art. He uses the media to improvise the moment, speak of the now, and provide a theme of defying oppression by immortalizing the single voice of many. Basquiat’s art was very much empowered by rationalized violence, legalized cruelty, destructive recreation and it is funneled down to wildly depicting a people who know this energy as a song and lifestyle. Together, Bearden and Basquiat are celebrating the African-American’s mucky, bloody history. African-Americans are the product, machine, and oil but not the mastermind of the monsters Basquiat depicted. Bearden crafts solemn gatherings of such a people where the parts of African-American’s in closed-quarters are negatively distinguishable. Where Bearden composed fragmented unity to portray disarray and depression, Basquiat splurges with urban color and geometrical design for buzzing, erratic anxiety pent up in a culture. To declare these artists as Celebrating Americans of African descent is not to say they are advocating it. It is me believing that there is plenty of negative energy that will always remain unresolved, but should always be identified and discussed.
Boeck, Wilhelm, and Jaime Sabartés. (1955) Picasso. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
Pop Art. (n.d.). Dicionary.com, via Google. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&q=pop%20art&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.46226182,d.dmQ&biw=760&bih=807&wrapid=tlif136796170517111&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=iw&ei=ZXCJUdnBB9Gs4AOUpYHIAQ
Willer, Jeanne S. M. (2012). Characteristics of Pop Art. Art History Unstuffed. Retrieved from http://www.arthistoryunstuffed.com/tag/f-111/