After visiting Monet’s garden and the Musee de l’Orangerie, a discussion of these two experiences

Upon entering the oval rooms of Monet's lilies, I saw immediately a big departure from what we saw in the garden at Giverny.

The focus of his paintings is clear, the things that Monet edited out of the actual views are just as important as his focus on the water, the lilies and the weeping trees. The gardens are truly joyful things, but at the time that Monet painted them for these large canvasses he, and the rest of the country didn't see things in a joyful light. The wars had taken their toll on Monet and the people and these canvasses had a heaviness that reflected that. The peace, the solace and the quiet hope and beauty they conveyed was clear. There is happiness in these paintings to be sure but a tempered one. One meant to slowly heal.

In the gardens of Giverny I felt surrounded by raw and vibrant life, but the paintings conveyed a more quiet strength. A will to live and find happiness and peace even through the challenge of existence. Monet succeeded in translating the vigor of the garden into a silent and digestible strength for healing. These rooms hold a different beauty all together than the gardens at Giverny.

First impressions. Playing with new ways of perceiving and delivering images.

My first impressions of paris are flighty and full of good and bad connotations.

Paris is a beautifully old place, but as much as we can appreciate the history it must also be tempered by the fact that the place is meant to look old! In fact this ceiling (pictured) is from the opera house where the building was made to resemble buildings that could have been built a century before.

Napoleon's name and initials are all over this slow drifting city. The large N's emblazoned on bridges and buildings make me happy that my name is Nadia, but simultaneously disgust me at his personal conceit. Napolean made grand and beautiful changes to this city, but he did it with an attitude that could disgust even the staunchest capitalist. The ideas that drove that man do not line up with my American sensibilities.

In general while I do quite love the culture of paris as it focuses on art, culture and the quality of life, I also am sensitive to the places it differs from my core values as a rugged individualist. Because I know my world view is colored by the American dream I can see why some small things rub me the wrong way here.

Another thing I see is that while I am not enthralled by commercialism (in fact I find it rather abhorrent) I see that Paris has a different take on it. It isn't as blatant and disgusting here and it has roots in a nearly feminist type revolution of culture. I love that the women of Paris found a niche of freedom in the department stores of the day. Shopping all together does not need to be gaudy and overbearing in Paris it is a chic and refined activity that isn't indulged in as if you were gorging yourself on fatty burgers and fries. here it feels much more like going to an expensive café for aperitifs.

All and all, like any place there are things I love and things that bring offense to my world view, but in looking at Paris, it is the best opportunity to re-examine myself. To see, why do I like these things? Why do these things offend me? Challenging yourself in a new place is the best way to grow.

A review of The Golem theatre performance.

The performance Golem by the British company 1927 was phenomenal. The mixed media animation and simple costumes, the live sound and music, and the carefully crafted story comes together to create a wow piece. The costumes referenced the 50's and the colors were distinctive to the 70's it gave a clearly old feel to the set which implied that this story ( a warning to us about technology ) may have already taken place. It also utilizes futuristic images that we have had in the past like Jetsons-style clothing and music that could have been from a garage rock 80's band. 

The old tale of golem is a story of how a clay man imbued with power turned around and attacked its maker. This new iteration is similar and draws parallels to how our society is allowing technology to control our thoughts, our desires and our actions. The main character has a little sad brother that buys a golem to help him around the house and to be his companion. The golem changes his desires slowly and slyly to the point that he is barely himself any longer. He becomes conceited and is careless of the feelings of his contemporaries, family, and lover. The play is especially careful to point out the vulnerability of certain populations like the elderly. Golem was a timely and powerful depiction of a problem effecting our society today and that may only worsten as time goes on without people taking notice.

Why are Courbet and Manet considered so revolutionary?

First of all, Manet is considered the first modern artist. This is because he first started depicting scenes that were possibly risqué but instead of being on topics of gods and history they were pictures of contemporary subjects. Courbet was similar.

The picture I have included here shows a common funeral of his time. He was chronicaling life as it was lived instead of an imagined life or time of the great periods past. This was never done before they did and certainly not on canvasses as large as they used. This work by Courbet called A Burial At Ornans {Un enterrement à Ornans} and is impressive to see in person as it is 21.916 feet wide and 10.3346 feet tall. We were lucky enough to see it in Paris as they were restoring it.

Challenge: Create a list of shared characteristics of modernism. Pair examples.

First of all, I have specifically chosen this image to open my journal for a couple reasons. Andy Warhol was an artist examining the boundaries of art, and in the context of this picture you see Warhol looking into your eyes and into the eyes of the pictured viewer. The effect is that while the viewer is examining the self-portrait, Warhol is examining his audience. How does art function in society?

The list of characteristics I have is somewhat short because I think crowding the list makes it more likely to fail in certain cases:

Visible Process: the composition and brush strokes are visible, the subject matter may not be connected to anything considered "important" and there are clear references to past paintings. Here is a Manet called the luncheon. The luncheon has clear composition (triangular) the proportions are off, the brush strokes (if you had seen it in person as well) are clear, there is no subject matter past wanting to paint a nude and clothing and food and a landscape. This is significant because those are all skills of a painter.

Self-Referential: for example paintings are flat, taking advantage of that, reminding the viewer it is only a painting. here is an example of a Matisse that does that: Harmony in red This painting is clearly flat. It has all the elements of a painting that should have perspective but has none.

And lastly, modern pieces can range in subject matter to artistic elements themselves like in the luncheon or commonplace activities or absolutely nothing except the elements of a painting (colors, lines, and shapes) like in this Mondrian Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red Or in this Kandinsky Composition VII