Monday, August 6, 2007

FATTY PACKET: Art Criticism

The three-chapter guide to photo criticism, now christened as the Fatty Packet", provides relevant insight on how to move beyond "I-like-it-I-don't-like-it" "it's-good-it's-not-as-strong" critiques. However visually stunning an image may be upon first glance, that which the art lover seeks is surely to understand, and to express the figment of the world that image has chewed up, swallowed, and regurgitated on glossy, luster, or matte. From this text, I take it that criticism is classified as "discourse on art" that furthers its appreciation, and that critics are essential because they actually have the time to delve deeply into artworks and artists, therefore arriving upon greater insight. Critics become contemporary sages that place works within the context of history, and speculate its influence based on their knowledge of works now deemed "influential". Interpretation of works, which often dilute down to "how-we-feel-about-works" commentary, can become multi-faceted and exhaustingly complex. Photographs can be interpreted with all of the following in mind: subject, style, medium, time period, the artist's life, the artist's personal views, other works of the artist, works of other similar artists, juxtaposing works of other artists, feminist POV, socialist POV, christian fundamentalist POV, etcetera. Just like in literature (sorry to bring it up again), there is no "right" or "wrong", and whether or not the artist intended for such intrepretation is irrelevant.

All in all, the Fatty Packet interprets interpreting, and provides a variety of directions to go when criticizing (with a new and improved meaning) the works of others--whether they be in MOMA or 20A.

Margaret Bourke-White

Who is the photographer?
Margaret Bourke-White

What is their work about? Or what is a recent body of their work about?
Bourke-White's work was largely documentary. In many ways similar to Lange, she worked during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. She also became known for being not only the first female but also one of the first people to be allowed to travel with the military. Bourke-White began her career in this line of photography when she was hired, soon after graduating from Cornell, for Life magazine. After that, she went on to travel the world, building relationships with other countries eventually being the only foreign photographer allowed into the Soviet Union to photograph.

How did you find out about their work, where have you seen their work?
Since I began photo, I've been exposed to her images. Her documentations of WWII and the Great Depression can be found as easily as Lange's Migrant Mother in history books.

What is compelling about their work?
Bourke-White had the ability to convey her subject's hardships and dignity, something I've recently been trying to do myself. In some of her work, she could also find irony and humor.

Are they an insider or and outsider to their subject?
Bourke-White was an outsider, a clearly fascinated individual who took advantage of her surroundings and could portray that in her work.

What kind of story does the work tell/ communicate?
Her work communicated struggle and strife as well as the respect she had for them.

-Meryl Manaog

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Art Criticism

Art criticism has gain the notorious reputation of being a negative thing, when in actuality it is a description, a interpretation, an evaluation, and a theorization of art; more than just an expression of likes and dislikes. Rene Richard says: "Why give publicity to something you hate?"

I personally enjoy critiques, they'e helpful one to look at his/her work in someone elses perspective as well as to gain new ideas. Someone else looking at your work may point out something you wouldn't have noticed, tell you something that turns them off from the piece as a viewer, or encourage you to go further with a project. As the artist, you of course retain the final say in the future of your work, which is great that with a critique you still retain that power.

Critics search for words that images provoke and display them to the public. It is important to remember any critism is just one persons opinion and, as an artist, one can choose to take it to heart or disregard it. Either way, it is silly to get worked up or offended that one person isn't fond of your art work, since both art and criticism are both very subjective forms of expression
-Auroa Fisher

Christian Patterson

Who is the photographer?
Christian Patterson.

What is their work about? Or what is a recent body of their work about?
I am getting that Patterson's work is mainly about the exploration of new places and the aesthetics of everyday objects.

How did you find out about their work, where have you seen their work?
Momo said that a photograph of mine reminded her of his work, so I decided to research him.

What is compelling about their work?
The fact that he takes portraits of things rather than people, something that I've been exploring.

Are they an insider or and outsider to their subject?
I would think an insider, a lot of his subjects, the inanimate ones at least, and he seem to be sharing a secret with the cloud walls and Graceland if you could share a secret with Graceland monkeys, right?
However, at times he seems like an outsider, specifically in the portrait of a drag race spectator's mullet. He and the mullet seem to be in cahoots, but the owner of the mullet is completely oblivious to the situation.

What kind of story does the work tell/ communicate?
Christian Patterson is a wanderer. He wanders and takes (pictures) of what he finds.

About Art Criticism

This article is sort of a portrayal of several art critics and their opinions of criticism, the words "critic" and "criticism", and also definining criticism. At times, the article feels like a sort of talking heads documentary on criticism with transitional fluff in between quotes.
Criticism is defined as something much more than judging a piece of art. The article talks about an aesthetician (a philosopher of art) named Morris Weitz studied every single piece of criticism written on William Shakespeare's Hamlet to discover the methodology of critics. Weitz deducted that critics either do one, some, or all of the following: they describe, interpret, evaluate, and they theorize about it. Some critics used description to further their interpretations. However, Weitz noted that evaluation of a work didn't constitute criticism. However, the writer of the article did give criticism a broader definition: "Criticism is informed discourse about art to increase understanding and appreciation of art."
According to this article, several critics feel that the word "critic" has several negative connotations, which, quoting Lucy Lippard, "place the writer in fundamental antagonism to the artists." I have to agree with that statement, as both an artist and writer. One critic who writes for ArtForum (and also discovered Basquiat), Rene Ricard, would rather himself be called an enthusiast.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


"The photograph was thus used as a hybrid medium to create works that priviledged art-as-activity over art-as-product." I find this pretty interesting because I have never really considered art as an activity in this day and age...I have always thought of an activity as something physically stimulating, so i've always thought of it as a product, an outcome of all of the work you do is a product. there is some physical activity involved in a shoot perhaps and you get your hands dirty in the dark room. But, this is an odd quote to me. Later on in the article it goes into how photographs can be decieving and have "hidden" messages, but these types of photographs to me are mostly advertisement for the consumers, the article mentions the Marlboro man and such which is a prime example of making someone look extremely glamourous in the photograph with the intentions of your product selling. This paper talks about how photography wasn't really meant to be a fine art-it was created at first to record really what was going on, but the more people starting to look at the medium, the bigger and bigger it got...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007