Process presentation (Oct 30)

I was very impressed by my class members process presentation because they not only have clear main ideas about the project, but also find good ways to embody them. Especially of Hannah’s work, she explored many great research questions for her topic of cathedral, found representitive and independent works, and provided a very complete list of bibliography to show her efforts in this process. Xinyao’s topic about the Golden Rule was also quite interesting. She was able to connect and combine art and math which are her major areas in a natural way. Her collections also provided evidence of how the golden rule serves in art works.

I think my topic needs to be changed as the idea was quite direct and superficial. Also works from six different artists need to be selected. Then I was thinking may be use three works from Impressionist artist and three from Symbolism and find one piece from music to respond to their ideas.


Work day (Oct 28)

In the work day, I started looking bibliography for my project. The topic is about impressionism in both art and music. I wish to select six art works and match them with Debussy’s pieces because they have similar subject matter and characteristics.

As a bridge between Romanticism in the 19th century and Modernism in the 20th century, Impressionist music existed in the 19th century with completely new language and style. The rebellion against Romanticism was started by a group of Paris-based artists. In 1874, Claude Monet’s painting Impression-Sunrise was exhibited by Salon de Paris as the first impressionist exhibition. Until the end of 19th century, Impressionism became prominent in art throughout Europe. Similarly, French style impressionist music existed as the rebellion against German Romanticism. In contrast to the grand and full music from Wagner, Debussy pursued a more delicate, elegant and natural style in his pieces. Both Impressionist art and music emphasized on the changing quality of light, natural landscapes, feeling, color, etc.

Field trip to Whitespace gallery (Oct 23)

Today we visited a private gallery which provide space for graduate art students to exhibit their works and internships for college students. The design of the architecture, space, and context are interesting and beautiful. 2014-10-23 14.58.01

The yard leading to the gallery with lots of different kinds of trees.2014-10-23 14.47.20

All original design of the old architecture had been preserved while new removable white boards were added to display pieces. The photo shows the old wooden wall and door.

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Many people signed on the wood, mostly from late 19th or early 20th century.

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The exhibition is about the old and new architectures. The work of the interior of an old building reflects the modern white house, building a delicate contrast and balance.





Professional Practice Presentation (Katherine Smith) Oct. 14

In today’s class, Professor Smith talked about her professional path as an art scholar as well as the subject and inspiration of her book. She earned her doctoral degree in art history from New York University although her career begins with studio art. When she was a high school student, she was nominated by the highly compatitive governer’s art program which include extraordinary students from different areas. Being selected in two fields: French and Studio Art, Professor Smith decided to take Studio Art because of its challenges and opportunities. When encountering difficulties in visual art making, she thought learning art history would help. So she designed an independent study in art history as a senior in high school. She really explore the study of art history in college and graduate school. At that time, the way of teaching art history in college was old with no research papers, no seminars, and no presentations. She was open to teaching, but had no experiences and real understanding. Her teaching career started with her fellowship in graduate school. As a teaching assistant, she needed to give big lectures on specific topics and also to lead small seminars. She took this opportunity to create great discussions for students and even build the architecture and space for works. This experience leads to her main interest in architecture where she explores connections between art and space. I was inspired by Professor Smith’s hardwork and braveness in the process of exploring in the field of art. Her story also shows the possibility of breaking limitation and achieving accomplishment.

Talks on permanent collection

I am impressed by everyone’s progress in this formal talk compared to the practice talks, especially the organization of the talks and how floating they are today. With the main idea of letting more people to understand art history, the talk on art collections requires some special skills as Professor Smith suggested. Firstly, it is presented in a completely different environment as oppose to a classroom presentation. The presenter and the audience are so close that it is important to build the connections with them. Thus, the organization and the content of the talk need to be concrete, and the ideas that the presenter wish to express should be adjusted to a more impressive and expressive way to attract the audience. Moreover, as we do not have powerpoint or any outline in hand, the process of presenting requires more understandable way of talking and contacts with the audience. Gallery talk maintains opportunities and limits compare with classroom presentations. The skills we learned from this experience and the preparation would contribute to the construction of scholarships and professions.

In today’s class meeting, we also disscussed the arrangements and changes of classes in the rest of the semester. The process presentations of the collection project has been moved to October 30th and six of us will present in 30 minutes of each. More importantly, the faculty presentations about their professional development will start on next Tuesday with Professor Smith. Tuesdays will be the faculty’s presentation and the following Thursdays will become the experience for us to read materials, to think of the development of academic approaches. These presentations will provide a great opportunity for us to understand how to grow as a scholar or an artist as well as inspirations for study and life.

Practice Talk

After doing today’s practice talk, I aware of some challenges that I am facing in the content, construction, and the way of presenting. First about the content, more than a half of my presentation is about the visual analysis part. Although the visual examination is quite important, more information needs to be given on the artist and his works in order to let the audience fully understand the background and inspirations of the artist’s works. For example, Velazquez as the painter of the original painting Morimura uses has to be mentioned because of his well-known work series of this Spanish princess, the audience would easily recognize his name. Also, Morimura plays with several other masterpieces and put his face into them. More information on this will provide a more complete subject for his works. The timing of my practice talk is only three and a half minutes because I talk too fast as being nervous. So in the formal talk, the speed of speaking needs to be slower so the audience would follow the presenter’s ideas and more contents should be added to form a better talk.

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

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Sketch of an artist who used a long string to put different colors of man-made flowers together when we were waiting in the lounge area for the artist.

On the field trip to Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, we visit the Kirk Visiting Artist Sarah Emerson’s studio. Her studio displays a series of paintings with the same subject matter of landscapes and creatures in the forests. She then carefully explains the inspirations of her works as well as her own exploration as a studio artist. When she was a child, her family always moved around, so she did not retain the connection with particular places. Based on this experience, she also became a witness of the development and changes of different sites. As a native from Louisiana, she still preserves a special relationship with those big pools, animals and hunting spaces. She also sees that animals disappeared, big, open spaces maintained for hunting, and landscapes adapt to the changes in the construction and renew itself in the environment. As a mother, she needs to tell stories to her son and to explain the beauty of the world. So her works include animated eyeballs on creatures’ faces which come from Snow White and incorporate all kinds of landscapes, reflecting her experiences and her role as an artist and mother.

In her works, two things that she decides to pursue are really impressive to me. One is that she portrays both the dark and beauty of the world, including changes of landscapes and characteristics of fairy tales. The woods represent the great unknown of the environment and literature is also incorporated to express human experience and characters. The other thing is that she tries to paint in a not quite academic way. It is a hard process for a trained painter to become more relaxed with her works and still present her ideas well.

Visual Analysis and Collection Project Reports (Sept. 23)

In today’s class, we did check-ins of visual analysis project as well as the process reports on the collection project. Both professors emphasized the importance of doing deep and broad research on artists and works because it would give us a better understanding of the background of the work so we would be familiar to the artist and his/her works and thus to be able to form a concrete and unified analysis. Professor Smith mentioned two major resources of the research: major publications on the artist, which can be found by searching through WorldCat and borrowed via InterLibrary Loan, and the monograph of the artist which could show the development of the artist’s career. Based on the research on the artist, we could find the clue of how this particular piece fits with other pieces from the same artist and why this piece is special to art history. One very impressive sentence that Professor Sadler referred to is that “Without too much, one cannot be enough.” Saying that becoming the authority of the artist and the work is crucial to build up a successful analysis and talk on them.

In my visual analysis, as suggested by Professor Smith, I need to add much more descriptions of the image, such as what the figure wears, how she looks like, and the settings around her. And then to reorganize my ideas and paragraphs to make different points connect to and support each other. More research on the original painting that Morimura incorporates in his image has to be done: which Baroque painting did he use? Why did he use this particular piece? What thoughts did he plan to express? Also, as mentioned before, knowing what he is doing in general is important to understanding his intentions and ideas in this work.

On my research project, as I am interested in the impressionism in both music and art, I first thought to compare art and music in the same period and find how they echoed to each other. Professor Smith suggested that it would be better to focus on one specific artist rather than trying to find historical parallels in movement. My next idea is about Debussy, especially his Preludes where he uses music to paint; and the characteristics of his works also represent the impressionists’ style in music and reflect to art.

Carlos Museum, African Art Gallery (Sept. 18)

Amanda Helfman, the Curator of African Art at the Carlos Museum gave introductions on the Carlos Museum, the African art gallery, and the process of redesigning the gallery. Michael C. Carlos Museum was rebuilt in the early 90s with collections primarily on ancient and Egyptian art works. Not until 1994, the African collection, American collection and works on paper were built up, as well as a small Asian Art collection. The African Art Gallery is now in the recreating process in order to expand the space and to display more works from the museum’s collection. New walls will be put up; different colors are selected like dark blue, earthy orange, and grey to react to the line and shape of African art works, the blue sky and the vast land of the African continent; labels are rewrote with more detailed information to engage the audience to the object.

Since the target audience of Carlos museum contains a variety of dynamics: tourists, small children, and especially academic populations, the design of the exhibition aims to provide the viewers particular visual memory by giving them enough interest to slowly look and learn. Moreover, the labels will contain more scholarship in order to meet the needs of college students but keep short and simple to understand. Like Art Papers, the Carlos Museum also creates public programming and engages common people to the art world. The main part is to invite young students from Atlanta public schools to the gallery, introducing the objects and giving them a sense of works from different styles and time periods.

Introduction to public speaking (Sept. 16)

The tutor from the Center of Writing and Speaking introduced the guidelines of how to give a successful public presentation to us, featuring the visual analysis project. The two main points are the introduction and the use of language in public speaking. The introduction serves as a “hook” to grab the attention from the audience. Thesis statement is crucial in the introduction so that the audience would know what your theme is and what it means. Language used in presentation needs to have clarity, consciousness, and concrete, especially for the visual analysis presentation since it is only five minutes. For example, in order to crafting a strong thesis, it is important to have full a declarative sentence, narrow focus, and concrete language so the audience would easily understand your main point. Transitions from point to point need to be clear and logical, building up a continuous and complete structure which is easy to follow. The stunning point she made was that giving a public presentation is also a creative process. Like doing visual art, you need to organize your ideas, concentrate on one theme, and present them through your words.

Professor Smith then pointed out several specific strategies of doing the visual analysis presentation. Since we will present in the open area, speaking loudly is very important to attract people and to make the audience easily understand your points. With the aim of engaging audience into the presentation, pointing on specific spots on the work that could show your descriptions and prove your statements is highly recommended. She also reemphasized the importance of making a strong statement by detailed description of the work and concrete language to make sure that the audience could see what you see by following your words.