Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reading Reflection: Dada Manifesto

After reading the Dada manifestos by Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara, I found Tzara's manifesto much easier to read and understand the points that were made. According to this particular writing, Dada is empty- the movement has no meaning or point to it. He said, "What we need is works that are strong straight precise and forever beyond understanding." Perhaps the Dada movement includes works of art that are meant to be vapid, but by making these works mean absolutely nothing, they are reflective of life itself- there is no meaning, and to live is to simply, nothing more, nothing less. While I understand what he is saying, I think the meaning and intentions behind art can be created by the viewers- people will always have their own interpretations of art and what the message is trying to be conveyed to them. I see works of art that fall under the Dada movement, and while the artist may intend for them to mean nothing, I still draw conclusions and messages through my own eyes, even though that was not meant to be the original point of the work. I think art, and life, has meaning, but that meaning is what people make of it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Artist's Lecture: Scott Tsuchitani

On September 4th,  I went to a visiting artist's lecture for an artist named Scott Tsuchitani. Based in San Fransisco, California, Scott works with visual art that focuses on romanticization and fetishization of Asian culture and racism in modern visual art.
Tsuchitani's primary pieces focuses on the Asian Art Museum. The museum had an exhibit that had completely romanticized Japanese culture. He photo-manipulated a geisha's face and superimposed his face onto the geisha's face. He also created a flyer that parodied the original flyer from the original exhibit, titled "Lord It's The Samurai." It had replicated the flyer, but did so in a sarcastic way to criticize the museum's romanticization and fetishization of Japanese culture, albeit with humor. The first paragraph of the flyer said, "Enter the world of the samurai, where 7 centuries or martial rule are reduced to a Disney-like trope of gentleman-warrior myth, masking a real history of violence and domination. Selling militarism as beauty in a time of war." The flyer also advertised the truths of such a time as something to be desired, "romanticizing" Japanese samurai culture in a way that the Asian Art Museum did, however in a more honest, blunt way.
I think Scott Tsuchitani touched upon some great points and did so in a humorous way. He was funny, but I think that there is a more serious issue to be discussed regarding different cultures. I think that Western culture has a bad habit of exotification and mystification of Asian culture, and does so in a harmful way.

Exhibition: Dada Local

On September 4, 2014, I attended an exhibition on campus. It was called “Justin Quinn: Not Everything Means Something and Dada Local: The Legacy of Dada Culture in Reno,” located in the Jot Travis building, and curated by Brett Van Hoesen. It showcased several works of the artist Justin Quinn, known for using letterforms in this exhibition, and using mostly the letter “E.” The exhibition also showed works of art created by local artists that follow along the Dada art movement.
The whole point of the Dada movement was to create works of art that had literally no meaning behind them- they just merely existed to counter art that did have an abstract meaning. However, I personally see this potentially backfiring on the entire movement itself- the art does have a meaning to it because it was intended for the sole purpose of opposing something else.
With this being said, I still appreciated the works that were showcased at the exhibition. Justin Quinn used Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick as source material for his works, replacing any words with the letter “E.” While I have never read Moby Dick, nor do I have any intention of reading it in the future unless assigned by an instructor, I still liked viewing what Justin Quinn had to offer, and I felt the movement arranged by Quinn, perhaps emulating the movement and emotions from the novel. While this may be considered “Dada-esque,” as it counters the more traditional, metaphorical art that we still have today, I still was able to derive some form of meaning from it.
This is why I feel that the point of the Dada movement is moot- art has, does, and will always have a meaning to it, even if it was unintended by the creator. People will always gather some sort of meaning or reaction to any art they see, which is the entire meaning of the existence of art. I also looked at another piece at the exhibition- I do not remember the name of the piece, but it included a Hostess Twinkie and religious imagery around it. From that, I was able to get the feeling that it was criticizing the glorification of consumerism and capitalism in America. While that may have not been the intention of the artist who created the piece, I still felt that the use of such symbolic imagery led to such an opinion.

Collage- I got the original painting at Junkee Clothing Exchange. I wanted to dabble with the idea of negativity and cynicism, whether internal or external. I used a lot of words and phrases with a negative feeling to them; I wanted to give the viewers a feeling of unhappiness and bleakness. I also used people of status to show that people have problems and internalized negativity no matter who they are or where they come from.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The idea was about overcoming my social anxieties in a setting where I feel very uncomfortable. I have this certain thing about Walmart- I hate being there because large crowds, and because I always feel like I'm being watched, or judged. In the video, I attempt to "take control" of my situation by manipulating the settings around me. They are only subtle changes, but small "victories," if you will. I hate seeing myself from the outside; I don't like seeing myself in photos or videos, or listening to myself in recordings. While the video itself was rather basic and simple, the process itself was difficult as I had to put aside all feelings and insecurities about being on film in a place that makes me feel uncomfortable.