Tuesday, November 27, 2007

helpless gaze and beauty

Helpless gaze
"Bud Fields and Family" by Walker Evans

"Sandra Bennett, Twelve Year Old, Rocky Fort, Colorado, 8/23/80" by Richard Avedon

Monday, November 26, 2007


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Photo by Doc Edgerton


1. According to Bartlett, what is criticism and how is it misunderstood?
To Bartlett criticism is a process bent towards understanding, a science in that it is best when impartial and callous. A process of breaking things apart in order to expose what they are made of and how that effects what it is. The misconception is that it is a judgment bent on staking claims of wrong and right-good and bad. The word is actually misunderstood much like the word judgmental. To be judgmental is not wrong, it is only when your judgments precede any actual interaction or effort to understand that you are stuck in the cycle of being a judgmental/critical prick(the negative connotation). To Bartlett criticism is a form of appreciation. A form of it that's not mindlessly positive nor aggressively negative.
2.How does he distinguish bad and good criticism? Can you give an example from past critiques of an example of both?
For him bad criticism involves pretension, vague arguments, and lack in point and direction. They are critiques that simply state opinion and offer no support as to where it may have come from. He speaks of a good critique as a situation in which both the artist and the critic walk away with a better understanding of how the piece presents its intention and how that intention led to a particular reaction. At least it should involve some discourse that benefits further understanding of some sort. An example of a good critique that I have experienced was when Erica came up to me and said, " Hey, Enrique! You're too fuckin lazy- go make some art." This was a good critique because it was observant, honest, to the point and clear but most importantly galvanizing. An example of a bad critique was at a portfolio review day. The line for RISD was longest but I had heard it was a good school so I went through it. After all that waiting the guy looks through my portfolio and simply asks, " have you ever thought about dressing people up and then taking pics of them?" The only conclusion I could come to is that my portfolio must have been so dull and bland that he couldn't even address it. That, or he was an idiot. Which would you guess I prefer to believe?
3. What might Bartlett argue is the point of criticism in a situation like an art school critique class?
I'm sure that he would argue that by going through the painful process of criticism in an art school critique class the students would be pushed to think about their own art and the art around them in new ways. He would say that it helps people understand the benefits of a good critique, and always looking at your own work as well as yourself with a critical mind. He would say that if an unexamined life is not worth living then neither is life without criticism in an art school critique class. He would most definitely agree that the main point is to get all our heads out our asses, and realize how much there is out there that needs criticizing/appreciating.

Serrano's "A history of sex" Destroyed

Below is the article from the NY Times and a link to the video found on youtube (you have to be signed in to your youtube account in order to view).



Shameful Art Attack (to be discussed Dec 4)




Eric Fischl's "Tumbling Woman" is on display in Rockefeller Center's Lower Concourse.
- Dan Brinzac

September 18, 2002 --

IS THIS art? Or assault?

As grieving New Yorkers marked the anniversary of the World Trade Center's destruction, the folks at Rockefeller Center got in your face to commemorate the terror attacks.

A violently disturbing sculpture popped up last week in the middle of Rock Center's busy underground concourse - right in front of the ice-skating rink. It depicts a naked woman, limbs flailing, face contorted, at the exact moment her head smacks pavement following her leap from the flaming World Trade Center.

The worst part about the piece is that you can't miss it. Even if you try.

Titled "Tumbling Woman," the sculpture is by '80s darling Eric Fischl.

Since it's planted in one of the city's best-traveled locations, tourists, stroller-pushing moms and office workers - many of whom lost friends and colleagues in the trade-center atrocity - are confronted daily with a larger-than-life rendition of a grotesque episode.

"It's disgusting!" said Ken Fidje, 34, who was poring over paperwork at a table facing the sculpture yesterday when he looked up and noticed it.

"I used to work at the trade center, and I know a lot of people who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald [which lost more than 600 workers]. "It's awful. It's awful!"

Images of desperate people leaping to their deaths last Sept. 11 were captured by news photographers and seared into the memories of trade-center survivors. But out of respect to families of the dead, the most brutal still and video images are rarely displayed publicly - and then, only after sensitive viewers are warned that they may want to look away.

No such warning is found anywhere near the sculpture. There is a plaque featuring a Fischl-authored poem that reads, in part:

"We watched,

disbelieving and helpless,

on that savage day.

People we love

began falling,

helpless and in disbelief."

Fischl - who was traveling in Croatia yesterday - was not in Manhattan, but way out in the Hamptons Sept. 11 last year, and, despite the moronic poem, he did not witness the scene his work exploits.

But one Rock Center security guard, forced to endure the sculpture because of his job, said he felt as if he were being dragged against his will back to the terrible day when he actually watched human beings fall from the sky.

"I saw 70 people fall from the tower," he said. "Fall from almost 100 stories! To see a statue of people falling to the ground - it's nothing to be happy about."

He said he was considering filing a complaint.

"You have to respect other people and what trauma this will impose upon them," said Michael Cartier, who co-founded the Give Your Voice victims'-advocacy group after losing his brother, James.

The sculpture is on display through Monday. Steven Rubenstein, a spokesman for Rockefeller Center, said the work was not commissioned.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


the honesty in Nan Goldins photographs are beautiful

Central Park, north of the Obelisk, behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 1993
Photograph by Joel Sternfeld


Andres Serrano's Piss Christ is a great example of beauty contradicting content.

Beauty and Gazes

Last week, I discussed social psychology experiments from the 60's and 70's and reality TV. If you are interested in reading more, please see the following websites:

The Stanford Prison Experiment

The Milgram experiment

This week, I am going to show an animated music video by Tim Reardon for the song Irene by Leyode:



Clinical/ Professional gaze

Percy Hennell. Probable Shotgun wound of left eye which has been lost. Tissue has been replaced by a flap of skin from forehead or scalp, hence the bandage around the head where the flap was raised. Antony Wallace Archive, British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
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Monday, November 19, 2007


Hello Hello

This is Eleanor's Dress by David Hilliard. He has been one of my favorite photographers for some time, also quite the influence within my own work. Check out his website! http://www.davidhilliard.com/

Unfortunately I will not be in class tomorrow so I cannot show you the photograph in his book (it looks much better). I believe he captures beauty with all of his photographs, the kind of beauty that exsists in everyday life. With his strange depth of field and soft focus he connects the world through multiple images creating harmony between people, objects, and landscapes. I think its great, I think it's beautiful.

I can bring his book in next week. Hope everyone has a good Thanksgivinggg!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Accidental/Helpless Gaze

The photographer, image, and viewer all wish to help the impending disaster but there is nothing anyone or thing could do at this point. Therefore this is an example of the Helpless Gaze because there is a prevalent desire for intervention, but it is impossible. It is also an example of the Accidental Gaze because it is a witness to an important event.


Clinical or Professional Gaze

The photographer certainly isnt helping this poor woman :(
apparently this photo won the Pulitzer Breaking News Photography 2007 award...
Photographer:Oded Balilty (Associated Press)
Source: www.photojournalism.org

the clinical/professional gaze

The Endangered Gaze

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Photo by Donna Ferrato

Monday, November 12, 2007

the accidental gaze and the helpless gaze

So yea...everyone knows this photo I am sure. But! I thought it was a good example of two out of the six gazes from the Linda Williams article. I will discuss tomorrow!

also- heres an article that was in esquire magazine about 9-11 and a section about Richard Drew and his photograph:


clinical gaze

The Gaze

I was interested in the gaze of the viewer. In class I will be discussing two works, James Luna's The Artifact Piece and Jean-Christian Bourcart's Collateral.