Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Art History: How to Analyze or "Break Down" a work of art or what are the main characteristics of a work of art?

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What are the main characteristics of a work of art?

I think that there are three major themes that a work of art can be analyzed.
The physical or tangible, or formal characteristics which are in physical properties. This includes size, color, texture, what it is made of. In general formal analysis is how it looks and feels.
The second characteristic has to do with the work’s meaning and what it represents. This has to do with the story it tells and how people interpret the meaning of the painting. Some times this is referred to as iconography.
The third category or characteristic has to do with a history, geography, and how it was produced. Who bought it or asked for it to be made? Where was it sold? What was the city or culture like that made it? When in history was it made? The context that surrounds the work.
Formal Analysis
(1) : orderly method of arrangement (as in the presentation of ideas) : manner of coordinating elements (as of an artistic production or course of reasoning)
(2) : a particular kind or instance of such arrangement
c : the structural element, plan, or design of a work of art -- visible and measurable unit defined by a contour : a bounded surface or volume
(3) The literal shape and mass of an object or figure.
(4) More general, the materials used to make a work of art, the ways in which these materials are used utilized in terms of the formal elements (medium, texture, rhythm, tempo, dynamic contrast, melody, line, light/contrast/value structure, color, texture, size and composition.)
Form consists of the physical properties of the work. Whether we look at a sculpture's size, mass, color, and texture or a poem's order of elements and composition, all are part of the work's form. When you are doing a formal analysis, you describe the way that the work looks, feels, and is organized. The next passage is a formal analysis of a work of art; the Augustus of Primaporta is a statue from the first century BCE.
The statue stands six feet eight inches tall and is made of white marble. It depicts a male figure wearing armor and some drapery, with his right arm raised. The figure carries a bronze spear or staff in his left hand. The texture of the hair and skin mimic the texture of real hair and skin. Augustus stands in contrapposto, appearing to be stepping forward with most of his weight resting on his right hip. Attached to his right leg is a small dolphin with a winged baby on its back.
One of the more important elements concerning form is the idea of composition. Composition can include how things are laid out in two dimensional space or how the picture plane is organized.
For example, the top two images in this illustration are asymmetrical. The blue circles are not evenly distributed through out each rectangle.
The bottom two most images are symmetrical. There are balancing elements on each side of the blue sphere in the lower left hand image. Even though one of the objects is a square and the other a circle, they take up about the same amount of space and have the same visual weight.
The boxes on either side of the tall white rectangle are mirror images of each other and this can be referred to as symmetrical too. Since you could draw a vertical line down the center of the center rectangle and on each side of this imaginary line it would be a mirror image, this is called bilateral symmetry.
The "Whirling Logs" textile on the left is arranged in a bilaterally symmetrical fashion because we could draw cut the design in half and the left and right sides are nearly a mirror image of each other. Nevertheless, for all its symmetry, this textile appears kind of flat looking.
Composition also has to do with the creation of the illusion of space. When we look at pictures (as opposed to sculptures as the Augustus above) we often think of the picture as an imaginary window. The front of the window, or the glass, is the picture plane that we look through.
In order to create space artists conceive of the picture plane as having three planes that recede back. In order to create space in the picture plane and the appearance of a foreground, middleground and background we can overlap objects to give this illusion. If there is nothing overlapped then we can say that there is no real illusion of space in the picture.
These two pictures demonstrate this idea. If you look at the one on the left, there is very little overlapping in the picture plane and the figures seem to be pressed against this imaginary window. While the one on the right has some overlapping and we can tell that some figures are in front of others. This overlapping gives us a sense of space.
These two sculptural friezes demonstrate these ideas in a three dimensional form. If you look at the one on the left, there is very little overlapping in the picture plane and the figures seem to be pressed against this imaginary window. While the one on the right has some overlapping and we can tell that some figures are in front of others. This overlapping gives us a sense of space.
Here is an example of a formal analysis of the Greek tragedy The Bacchae written by Euripides in 406 BCE. You can use a similar format of analysis when examining a work of art.
The Bacchae is play written in a chant form called dithyramb. Musical instruments, especially the drum, were used to keep time in the performance of the play. Approximately eighty percent of the play is dialogue while only a small portion is devoted to action on the stage. The order of the narrative is predictable and therefore symmetrical because there is a continuous cycle of basic components that are repeated throughout the play. These components are known as the prologos, parados, episode, stasimon, and exodos. The repeated sections are the three central components of the parados, episode, and stasimon, which are retold in predictable form as many as five times in the typical Greek tragedy.
Another look at schema and correction:
Summary of Gombrich
Renown art historian Ernst Gombrich developed a theory to explain these adaptations and changes and refered to it as schema and correction. If we were to look at the Archaic period's art and architecture as the plan or schema, we can see how the later Classic period might have taken the archaic art as its schema and updated it in order to make the designs more pleasing according to the later tastes. These changes are referred to as the correction.
The next update or correction occurs when the same pose and musculature from the Doryphoros were adopted and adapted for use by the Romans in the portrait of Augustus.
To understand his theory called "schema and naturalization," or "schema and correction." To understand it you basically just need to know the definitions of three words.
  • Schema is the cultural code through which individuals raised in a culture perceive the world. For example, we recognize stick figures to be humans.
  • Correction is where you take that schema and you compare it to what your senses tell you about the world and then you make it more accurate.
  • Mimesis is the process of correcting your schema.
Gombrich's idea can be expanded to looking how later groups can take the earlier work of art and mimic it (mimesis). This is a kind of Darwinian theory kind of like Darwin's theory of the "survival of the fitest."
Read some more stuff by Gombrich if it interests you!
Some interesting ideas that might help you to understand the terms "civilization" and "period" occur when studying the concept of "schema and correction." Both of these works of art come from the Ancient Greek civilization. Even though we use the term "ancient" what we are saying is that the Greek civilization occurred a long time ago. Within the Ancient Greek civilization, is tied to the region of land we now call Greece. The civilization lasted between circa (approximately) 1000 BCE to about 100 BCE but we divide the Greek civilization into various periods that are defined by the style of art they produced. For example, the Kouros from Attica, comes from a period we refer to as the Archaic period, which lasted from around 600-480 BCE. The style associated with this Archaic period is that the sculpture is a bit unrealistic and slightly stylized in a geometric way. This means that the style of the Archaic period was to make the sculptures look kind of "blocky" and unrealistic. A later period that occurred during the Ancient Greek civilization is the "Classic Period" which lasted from circa 500 BCE -350 BCE. The main characteristics are that the sculptures look lifelike or realistic. So both the "periods" belong to the Ancient Greek Civilization. The main difference between period and civilization is that period is a kind of style that is a subset of a civilization. Civilizations go through many periods of development and a civilization is located in one geographic region and spans a longer time.
The next passage is a contextual analysis of the Augustus of Primaporta.
The portrait of Augustus of Primaporta is work of political propaganda. Augustus waged an extremely profitable series of wars and was able to extend the Roman Empire's borders. His ability to control the Senate maintained his status of unchallenged power within the Roman city as well. The unnaturally tall height of the statue is symbolic of the god-like status of Augustus because the average height was around five feet. The statue of Augustus is a correction of an even earlier sculpture called the Aulus Metellus.
Augustus's raised right arm symbolic of his abilities as a master orator and refers and builds on the iconography of Etruscan portrayals of great statesman such as depicted by the Aulus Metellus. The raised arm, a symbol of rhetorical power as a speaker is combined with the bronze staff and armor are references to the abilities that any Roman leader should possess. In some ways, this is the originating idea of our conception of the "Renaissance Man" of the 1500's. The references to the Aulus Metellus statue, the contrapposto pose (invented by the classical Greek culture) and the Cupid (representing Augustus as a descendent of the gods) grant both the Augustus Primaporta, and Augustus himself, an authority based in time honored traditions.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Art by Emily Stedman

Queer|Art has partnered with Wythe Hotel to present the second annual QUEER|ART|PRIDE: Two nights ofperformances, screenings, readings, and moreshowcasing new and recently completed work by Queer|Art Alumni.

Thursday, June 21st & Friday, June 22nd @ Wythe Hotel
80 Wythe Ave. (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
Over the course of two nights in the Wythe’s underground Screening Room, Queer|Art will present three programs - QA|Pride: Live (hosted by Moe Angelos of The Five Lesbian Brothers) on June 21stQA|Pride: Cinema (featuring a work-in-progress viewing of a new film by Rodrigo Bellot) on June 22nd, and the QA|Pride: Alumni Art Jam (hosted by The Illustrious Blacks) also on June 22nd. The diverse program features an eclectic melange of performances, screenings, readings, and more by rising star LGBTQ artists who have graduated from the celebrated Queer|Art|Mentorship program.
Get tickets to all events here!
Thursday, June 21st at 8pm
Queer|Art|Pride: Live (hosted by Moe Angelos)
Taking the form of an evening salon, this live event, hosted by legendary experimental theater artist and Queer|Art Mentor Moe Angelos (The Five Lesbian Brothers, The Builders Association), will feature a diverse program of short readings and performances of recently completed work and upcoming premieres by alumni of Queer|Art|Mentorship. The program includes a performance of “sex dances” through the ages by Camilo Godoy, excerpts from a new musical by Melissa Li (with lyrics by poet Kit Yan), poetry readings by Tommy Pico and Nicole Goodwin, a new short play by notorious wit Justin Sayre, and a queer bat mitzvah organized by Justine Williams.
Image Credits (Clockwise, beginning from top left): Camilo Godoy, Choreographic Studies, 2015, color photographs on colored paper, 14” x 17”; Tommy Pico; Moe Angelos; and Justine William's Queer Bat Mitzvaha.
Friday, June 22nd at 7:30pm
Queer|Art|Pride: Cinema Tu Me Manques 
(Dir. Rodrigo Bellott; work-in-progress screening)

This program features a special work-in-progress screening of director Rodrigo Bellot’s new feature film Tu Me Manques starring Oscar Martinez and Rossy de PalmaTu Me Manques is the culmination of a project begun as part of Bellot’s fellowship in Queer|Art|MentorshipBellot will be joined by production designer and Queer|Art Mentor Avram Finkelstein (Silence = Death Collective) for a post-screening conversation.

Synopsis: In Bolivia, Jorge meets his son’s ex-boyfriend Sebastian over an accidental skype chat during which Jorge reveals that his son Gabriel has committed suicide. This encounter—full of guilt, regret, and anger—triggers an unexpected turn as Jorge decides to go to New York to find out what happened to Gabriel, meet Sebastian and their friends, and find answers to the questions he desperately seeks.

Please note: This is a work-in-progress screening. The film is not yet open for review.
Image Credit: Still from Tu Me Manques, courtesy of Rodrigo Bellott. 
Friday, June 22nd at 11pm-1am
Queer|Art|Pride: Alumni Art Jam
(hosted by The Illustrious Blacks)
This special late-night program and mixer will be a raucous anything-goes throwdown of live music, performance art, music video screenings, slideshows, and anything and everything in between. Acclaimed dance/funk/performance art power-duo The Illustrious Blacks preside over the night’s festivities, which will include screenings of Sasha Wortzel’s tribute to Fire Island (with music and performance by Morgan Bassichis) and Samantha Nye’s latest video “Daddy” starring her mother dancing with a dominating phalanx of leather-butch women her same age; a livestream slideshow by Guadalupe Rosales of the 90s Latino Party scene in Southern California; a humorous lecture-demonstration on the subject of performance debris by Eva Peskin; a short experimental film about night scares and desire by Kerry Downey; and a guided sleep meditation by performance art group ANIMALS (featuring Michael de Angelis, et al.), sending everyone off into the night, chilled out and feeling themselves.
Image Credits (Clockwise, beginning from top left): The Illustrious Blacks (Photo by Charles Meacham); Still from We Have Always Been on Fire, courtesy of Sasha Wortzel; ANIMALS (Photo by Christopher Gabello for Interview Magazine); Work by Eva Peskin.
For a complete lineup of all Queer|Art|Pride & Wythe events go here!
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Video: Berlinghieri's St Francis Altar

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Calendar of events from Queer|Art artists for the month of June.
Avram Finkelstein (left) and Rodrigo Bellott at 2017's Queer|Art|Pride
Take out your sunnies and soak up the Queer Art! It's basically summer, which, in addition to obvious meteorological perks, also means great times spent in blessedly air-conditioned galleries/venues. This month, you can celebrate the end of one and start of a second show at The Bureau of General Services – Queer Division: On June 8th, Current QAM Fellow Marco DaSilva's solo exhibition, No Reason to be Careful, comes to a rousing end with On Euphoria, an evening of music and performance featuring DaSilva and Current QAM Fellow Jarrett Key. Then, on June 15th, Current QAM Mentor Liz Collins' curatorial powerhouse, Cast of Characters, will hold its public opening reception, featuring work by a whopping 95 LGBTQ artists, including scores of QAM Mentors and Fellows (see the full list below!). Round out the week by catching an evening of performances on June 16th at ISSUE Project Room, curated by Queer Trash, a curatorial trio that includes Current QAM Fellow Eames Armstrong.

In the second half of the month, get your 
Pride on! Join us for our second year of Queer|Art|Pride at Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg for a two-night celebration, featuring three programs of work by graduates of the Mentorship program. See y'all there June 21st and 22nd. And, catch you the next night (June 23rd) in Midtown for a special performance of Current QAM Fellow Ryan Haddad's My Straighties, part of Ars Nova's ANT Fest.

More on these events and much more below!

Now in its eighth year, Queer|Art|Mentorship supports a year-long exchange between early-career and advanced-career LGBTQ artists and curators. The 2018-2019 program cycle includes an incredible lineup of Mentors (just announced!) working in five different creative fields: Film, Literature, Performance, Visual Art, and Curatorial Practice.

The timeline for applications follows below - mark your calendars now!

Intent to Apply Deadline: June 12, 2018
Application Deadline: July 18, 2018
Program Begins: October 2018

Please go to 
www.queer-art.org/mentorship for more information about the program, Mentors, and application instructions.
Official Site


Barton Lidicé Beneš, detail of "Lethal Weapons: Silencer," 1994 (Courtesy of Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York)

Co-presented by Visual AIDS

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 31st, 6pm
On view: May 31, 2018 - June 16, 2018

Performances by DuWhite and Arseneault with Mikiki: Wednesday, June 6th, 7pm
Panel discussion about HIV criminalization: Thursday, June 14th, 7pm
Closing tour with artist talks: Saturday June 16th, 3pm

La Mama Galleria
47 Great Jones St.
New York, NY 10003

Featuring work by 2012-2013 QAM Fellow Camilo Godoy and QAF Presenters Jordan Arseneault and M. LamarCell Count brings together artists who grapple with the discursive and material histories that underpin HIV criminalization. Drawing together 19th century experiments on enslaved women, the medicalization of homosexuality, and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study with the emergence of HIV-specific criminal statutes, Cell Countasks us to consider how medicine has been complicit with systems of surveillance and incarceration.

Cell Count is curated by Kyle Croft and Asher Mones co-presented by QA partner organization Visual AIDS

More info here

Still from "A Kid Like Jake," Dir. Silas Howard, 2018

A Kid Like Jake NYC Premiere

Opens Friday, June 1st

Q&A's w/ Silas Howard: 

Friday, June 1st, 7:10pm
Saturday, June 2nd, 7:10pm
Sunday, June 3rd, 2:40pm & 4:50pm

IFC Center
323 6th Ave.
New York, NY 10014

A Kid Like Jake, directed by 2015-2016 QAM Mentor Silas Howard, will have its New York City theatrical premiere at IFC Center. In the film, Park Slopers Alex (Claire Danes) and Greg (Jim Parsons) have a four-year-old-son Jake, who has always openly liked “girly” things. Daunted by the prospect of kindergarten in New York City's competitive enrollment system, the open-minded parents are taken aback when it’s suggested to them that they emphasize Jake’s non-adhering gender status as a way to give him an edge with getting into a private school.

More on the film and buy tickets here
Watch the trailer here

(from left):  Gillian Robespierre, Julie Anne Robinson, Lauren Wolkstein, Tricia Brock

TV Talk: The Women Behind
the Camera

Saturday, June 2nd, 2:45pm

IFC Center
323 6th Ave.
New York, NY 10014

2012-2013 QAM Fellow Lauren Wolkstein will participate in a discussion entitled TV Talk: The Women Behind the Camera: Four Top TV Director On Showing vs. Telling. The talk is part of Split Screens Festival, which celebrates the art and craft of TV. Wolkstein (who recently directed an episode of the OWN show, Queen Sugar) will join Tricia Brock, Gillian Robespierre, and Julie Anne Robinson to discuss the phrase, "Show, don't tell," using clips of their work to show how the magic happens.

More on the event and buy tickets here

Justin Sayre’s gAy-B-C’s: A Brief History of Gay Culture in 5 Parts

Part 2 (I to M): Saturday, June 2nd, 9pm
Part 3 (N to R): Sunday, June 3rd, 9pm

Joe's Pub at The Public Theater

425 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10003

2011-2012 QAM Fellow Justin Sayre returns to Joe's Pub with a new show, Justin Sayre's gAy-B-C's: A Brief History of Gay Culture in 5 Parts. Each show moves methodically through the rich legacy of Gay and Queer Culture. Touching on everything from Auntie Mame to Zebra Print, Sayre looks at the legends and lore of gay culture with stories, songs, and a lot of laughs. Each night covers different material, so don't miss a thing!

More information and tickets here

(from top left:) Pamela Sneed (photo by Patricia Silva), Avram Finkelstein, Tommy Pico (photo by Niqui Carter), Charles Rice-Gonzalez (photo by Jose Ramon)

Lamda Literary Awards
Avram Finkelstein, Tommy Pico, Charles Rice-González, Pamela Sneed

Monday, June 4th, 7pm

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

566 Laguardia Pl.
New York, NY 10012

The 30th Annual Lamda Literary Awards will bring together over 500 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature. Nominees this year include Multi-year QAM Mentor Avram Finkelstein (for After Silence) and 2011-2012 QAM Fellow Tommy Pico (for Nature Poem). Presenters include Pico, Multi-year QAM Mentor Pamela Sneed, and QAF Presenters Kate Bornstein, Juliana Huxtable, and Carmelita Tropicana. The awards ceremony will be directed by 2018-2019 QAM Mentor Charles Rice-González.

More on the evening and buy tickets here

Queer Histories of the Brooklyn Waterfront talk

Tuesday, June 5th, 6:30-7:30pm

Seaport Museum

12 Fulton St.
New York, NY 10038

2015-2016 QAM Fellow Hugh Ryan will hold a talk at the Seaport Museum in honor of Pride, entitled The Queer Histories of Brooklyn’s Waterfront. In Brooklyn, queer history began along the waterfront, from the docks of Vinegar Hill, to the factories of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, to the seaside amusements of Coney Island. In this talk, Ryan covers 100+ years of queer Brooklyn, from Walt Whitman to WWII, and beyond.

Find out more here

A poster by fierce pussy

LIVE LOUD NOW: Honoring fierce pussy

Wednesday, June 6th, 6-9pm
QUEERPOWER facade on view through: April 2019

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

26 Wooster St.
New York City, NY 10013

2018-2019 QAM Mentor Nancy Brooks Brody and 2016-2017 QAM Mentor Carrie Yamaoka, both members of fierce pussy, will be honored along with fellow member Joy Episalla, to celebrate the unveiling of their new QUEERPOWER facade installation. fierce pussy is a collective of queer women artists, formed in New York City in 1991, who, through their immersion in AIDS activism during a decade of increasing political mobilization around gay rights, brought lesbian identity and visibility directly into the streets.

More info here
And purchase tickets here

A recent performance of iele paloumpis' "Oceanic End" (photo by Scott Shaw)

iele paloumpis
La Mama's Squirts: Q(here)magiQue

Friday, June 8th, 7pm

La MaMa - Downstairs

66 E. 4th St.
New York, NY 10003

2012-2013 QAM Fellow iele paloumpis will perform for Q(here)magiQue, one of three nights in the series La MaMa’s Squirts: Generations of Queer Performance.Q(here)magiQue, curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, is an evening of improvisation, manifesting multidimensional queer space for queer spirituality, and casting spells through dance and the word.

More info and tickets here

On Euphoria: A Closing Celebration forNo Reason To Be Careful

On EuphoriaFriday, June 8th, 7-9pm
Exhibition on view through: Sunday, June 10th

BGSQD at The LGBT Center

208 W. 13th St.
New York, NY 10011

Current QAM Fellow