Wondering in the largest and historic library in University of California Berkeley, I noticed the sculpture on the wall, thinking about that how strange it was, which named “Apple from Heaven: The Armenian Alphabet” with, actually, three pomegranates inside instead of apples. Laughing slightly because of such a ridiculous mistake of this artwork, I broke the silence in the library and felt a little bit embarrassed.
Keeping watching this sculpture, I was absorbed. The letters were too abstract to be recognized, but they looked artistic and seemed to have deeper meaning than it looked like. The content was the Armenian Alphabet, boring, but the style that it was built was extremely interesting. Each letter was created by warped iron belts, which gave me a strong visual shock. As I knew, Armenian is a state which owns long history and high-level ancient civilization. This alphabet, as the most necessary element of language, was a symbol of the flourish Armenian civilization. Thus, the warped letters, I guessed, represented the immemorial and mysterious history of ancient Armenia.
1) "Most of the students stared at the form without writing. The prospect of fitting their complicated lives into all these boxes seemed to overwhelm them" (190).
2) "Elaine walked out the door. Weeks later, looking back on this day, she would have trouble explaining exactly why she had decided to leave. Maybe just because she could. After so many years of being trapped in prison, she did not ever want to feel trapped again" (201).
3) Each newspaper article in which she was quoted sent a message back to Bedford Hills. It didn't matter if only one or two people read it. Word would get around. Everyone would hear that Elaine Bartlett was thriving" (263).
Given the recent text we read by Judith Butler, and examining that some deaths are more celebrated and honored than others, and given recent tragedies i thought this seemed appropriate to post. Recently, famous actor of the Fast and Furious movie series, Paul Walker, died. His, like many other celeberty deaths, was widely broadcast on television and social media. Several other deaths also occured around this same time that got less attention and were not as publicily mourned, whose lives werent as revered. Several individuals died in several parts of the world in horrific accidents, and although Paul Walker's death was tragic and he will be missed by many, even Brain Griffin's death got more views and shed tears than the thousands that lose their lives everyday under much more severe circumstances.
I came across these articles, just thought I would share:
Although I rationally/logically understand how death "trumps" other parts of one's identity, considering we will all die and everyone has experienced death/loss in some degree--I take issue with it. What death can represent/mean to people is incredibly subjective.
In class, Trayvon Martin's death loomed in the back of my mind--although his death/trial sparked much needed conversations about America's racial climate, his death did not mean the same thing to everyone. Although it illuminated prejudice, racial inequalities within our legal systems, gun laws, etc.--the grief and mourning experienced by many black Americans was incredibly racialized.
I am not sure how many white parents had to sit down their children, explain his death--teach their children how to act when being profiled. That constant feeling of being watching, questioned, body not being valued, being stereotyped--that is what his death meant to me. Trayvon Martin is my future child, my father, my boyfriend, my brothers, and me. He symbolized that black bodies are not valued by American society--that we don't count. Although his death did create some type of political coalition, it was relatively brief and heavily racialized--certainly not a place for common ground.
After watching the documentary and reading the articles, I realized that as I rewrite my paper I would like to put a greater focus on Barnes, and what he meant for the art, and connect that back to my viewing of the painting. I found myself thinking more and more about his approach to viewing art, and looking back to how he arranged the paintings, and how it was not just about one piece, but rather a whole experience.
I also feel like I need to do a deeper analysis of my painting, and then connect hoe my experiences with this painting mirror the initial intentions of the Barnes Foundation.
As Anne mentioned in class last Thursday, I probably did not spend enough time with my painting. I also did not know what Barnes wanted us to experience when we looked at his collection.
That being said, I’m not very keen on trying to unravel Barnes’s expectations and wishes for us. I am more interested on the history of the collection post-Barnes and how it affected my perception of the works themselves. How did all the tangles of bogus lawsuits, greedy political motives, and Merion station vs. Benjamin Franklin parkway somehow make all the works more profound?
Use this as a segway to one of my favorite documentaries of all time: The Rape of Europa. It’s a detailed movie of how Hitler purged European art to meet his own standards during WWII and how the works have changed because of it.
After revisiting the Barnes Foundation through the movie and articles and through the class discussion, my reading of the visit has been provided with a new context. The first time trough I through I thought only of the Seurat painting that I chose to spend time with. Re-reading this experience, it is clear to me that I need to look at that painting not only for what it is on its own, but for how it fits into the grand scheme of the room and the rest of the works in the collection. The way Barnes put everything together, it was meant to be viewed as a part of a greater whole not as an individual piece.
Another Idea that we discussed at length in class is the true value of art. In a rewrite of the essay I wrote, I would talk about how the true value of art comes not from what you see in the piece, but in how you experience it. Through this perspective, the art collected in the Barnes Foundation should never have been moved from its original location because the place where the work is held and the way in which it is displayed is a huge part of how it is experienced. Every last detail is significant in determining the value of the artwork. Moving the collection redefined the true value of the art into something that Barnes (the original creator of this collection’s true value) did not intend, changing not only the value of the art but, by extension, the art itself.
At what point in time after death does a person become a figure? A legend? A character?
In my rewrite of my essay, "The Tree's Solemn Warning," I'm going to explore a few ideas. I'm going to move more into the three neighbouring portraits that surround Utrillo's painting. This will introduce the idea of large, close-up images of individual persons versus the small, basic people figures depicted by Utrillo. So, who's a figure? Who's an image? Who's a person?
I reread the articles and essays, and I think I'm mainly going to stick with "The Barnes Foundation, RIP" article, which gave me some great ideas. I haven't fully organised them all, but they are something along the lines of: looking at Barnes as a figure - about whose depiction I am mainly learning from this article - and as a character who carries symbols and meanings in his story. These items would include his history as a wrestler, his career as a "pharmaceutical magnate," and his intentions of creating an educational institution. After his death [the point where he now becomes a character] his story more strongly tells of economic and business incentives in the mask of others' educational intentions.
If I'm to reread barnes after I know all the history behind it, I will focus on the museum itself instead of a single painting. I want to try to imagine what Barnes expect when the visitors see the building. I would also take a look at the stucture of display in the museum, and find out the meaning behind it. It would not be a normal museum for me.