Saturday, June 4, 2016

Event 3: The Getty

The Getty is a complete experience. The vantage point from the top of the hill is like no other experience, as the museum location itself adds to the "getaway" experience. Here, you feel like you can really take the time to appreciate all of what you see apart from the busy life of the city. The Hammer especially is limited by urban space and definitely feels like a chore instead of a pause on life.
View of LA!
One piece in particular that really stood out to me was by Dutch painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The level of detail allowed me to stare at it for so long, as there was something going on along every inch of the piece. The tiniest flowers still had so much dimension, hair and toes were beautifully rendered. The scene referenced an 1800s Victorian custom of gathering flowers on May 1st, a tradition I had never heard of, but was undoubtedly a sight to see.  I could not help but think about how perfect the two cultures of art and history fit together.

The vast majority of the art in The Getty is realist, which makes the center seem more time-honored. I really enjoyed this visit and would love to come again to take in more of what this place has to offer. Additionally, I'd want to visit The Getty Villa some time!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Event 2: LACMA

This past weekend I took advantage of the day off and the free admission to visit the LACMA. I saw many works that I hadn't seen before, and was pleasantly surprised by both ancient and modern pieces.

My friend and I perused through the ancient Asian collection first, and the most beautiful piece we came upon actually reminds me of The Trinity Cube that I referenced in my last post. The sculpture by Yee Sookyung called Translated Vase is formed by fragments of ancient ceramic vases to create "the shape of the earth."
Yee Sookyung, Translated Vase
I was more interested in perusing through the modern art collection, however, but doing do brought up a discussion between me and my boyfriend about what in modern art is considered museum-worthy versus unrealized starving artist. When we see pieces my Rothko or Pollock, it's difficult to decide why they belong in a museum while similar pieces will never make it. I still don't have an answer, but I believe it has to do with the artist's intentions behind their work. While other art forms like music and literature express through language, art expresses through something much more intangible, and that is why it's one of the world's greatest mysteries (like space!). A popstar can write autobiographies, but an artist can convey much more through a portfolio, it's just less clear cut. At the same time, we'll never know the full story. You can't tell from Van Gogh's gorgeous paintings that he was a man plagued by depression, clinging on to a fruitless hobby he loved. 

The LACMA is an incredible museum that is also very diverse. I would have also enjoyed to see their extra exhibits, but that's probably for a different day when I can also visit the Rain Room :)

Week 9 Post

The Powers of Ten lecture video immediately made me think of nanotechnology, giving perspective to how small the nanotech scale is compared to not only ourselves, but all of space. In all honesty, I didn't find the lecture videos to be very interesting at all, nor the resources listed, but I found an article by Vice called "Where Art And Space Travel Meet: Why Is The Art World Suddenly So Captivated By The Cosmos?" that actually unified art and space. The article explains that art is like space travel because both seek to push the existing boundaries, and that the concept of being "avant-garde" is just a little bit out of reach like the wonders of space.

The article mentioned the work of Trevor Paglen, who created a sculpture called the Trinity Cube. The cube, a mere 20cm on each side, is created using irradiated glass from the Fukushima Exclusion Zone (2011) and Trinitite, a mineral created when the U.S. exploded the world's first atomic bomb in New Mexico in 1945, turning sand into greenish glass. The Trinity Cube is a combination of the two glasses; two histories, two countries, melded into one.
The Trinity Cube, Trevor Paglen

Even in music, Kim Boekbinder released a song in 2012 called "The Sky is Calling," and the lyrics revolve around the infinite power of space. She even mentions the fractal nature of our world. The somg is set to images from NASA pictures, diagrams, and iconography.

Art and space combine beautifully for two reasons: first, space's infiniteness leads to endless possibilities, and second, you can't go wrong. No one can disprove possibilities when it comes to talking about the universe. There is no right and wrong, acceptable or controversial.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Event 1: Hammer Museum

Earlier this week, I visited the Hammer Museum with a friend hoping to finally see what I was missing out on at this close-to-campus museum. I was immediately surprised by the murals on the walls as museums typically have perfectly white walls and open spaces. I also did not expect to see so many people in the center of the museum just taking their lunch break or casually having mini-business meetings. I've only ever seen art museums as a place to see art, not to hang out.
spent a lot of time here :)
However, I was surprised to find that the facility was in between exhibits, and practically nothing was open. Even the walls painted by Kenny Scharf were either being painted over or restored in some way.
murals by Kenny Scharf
The only open exhibit was a film showing called The Desert People by David Lamelas. The bio and info card told me a lot about how to interpret the film. At first, the film seems to be a sort of anthropological documentary about the Papago, an "Indian" tribe. However, it becomes clear that the film is more of a commentary about the "know-it-all," privileged perspective of the white man, assuming that the studied population is more savage. It truly "calls attention on the highly subjective nature of meaning and truth". There are many small clips that add nothing to the fictional documentary, such as a scene from the dashboard of a car, driving around town for about two minutes without informational context. The film pays more attention to commonly used film techniques rather than story.

When the summer exhibit, "Made in LA: a, the, though, only" opens in mid-June, I definately would like to return to see more of what the museum has to offer. Until then... the Hammer is nothing spectacular.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 8 Post

Nanotechnology is undoubtedly a field that furthers every facet of life, but honestly, I found it difficult to wrap my head around for this week. Paul Rothemund's TED Talk about DNA folding explained it rather clearly. This is an incredible union of technology and science to create an art form that doesn't really have a purpose, but illustrates how much technology can control life. Rothemund also demonstrates how a small, nano-sized manipulation can create a much larger physical change, such as the changes in DNA that produce a human versus a tree.

Ray Kurzweil said during his TED Talk that "what fits in our pockets will fit in a blood cell in 25 years," which seems to be the mantra of nanotechnology. The Nova video reminded me that technology's goal is always about optimization, and nanotech is about optimization... a million-fold. I actually worked on data analysis with my dad this past summer on FABs, which is a shortened term for computer chip wafer fabrication. All large technology companies have FAB machines that layer extraordinarily thin layers of information again and again on a large disk that gets broken up into individual computer chips. The explanation of graphene was also incredibly interesting because it directly relates to the art field. One pencil stroke would be like a layer of graphene, so imagine a graphite sketch with layers and layers that are so clearly visually represented!!

Charcoal drawing, crosshatched so the layers are clear.
Imagine a graphene layer that depicts a 3D image of what it depicts!
Medicine can progress exponentially with nanotechnology. Imagine directly inspecting the blood cells of a cancer patient or repairing the spinal cord!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 7 Post

Art and the brain are clearly closely related since the brain interprets what is being seen. Knowing how the brain works and what appeals to the mind is an art form in itself, for the brain both sees and makes art. Through my own research, I stumbled upon a New York Times article that explains a new field called "neuroaesthetics," the study of art through  an neuroscience lens. The field attempts to explain the biological reasons in which people react and feel the way they do about art. 

Understanding the psychological and neural happenings in the brain with empirical data could serve to take art therapy in new directions. If we were to know what effect images have on healthy and even unhealthy brains, art therapy could become more efficient at healing the body and mind. Even research on what brain areas are excited by certain colors is important in advertising and general urban design.

Pertaining to the lecture topic of drugs and their influence on neuroscience and art, I'd like to bring up the many artists who have expressed substances through their art and what they do to the brain. Their concentrations of work show the differences in perception on different drugs, and the illustrations seem to be able to convey the negative effects of a variety of substances.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 6 Post

I had a hard time during the lecture videos trying to decide if what I was watching was really considered "art" or if it was just "weird." There is no art in doing something to prove that you can, such as inserting an ear into your arm... The only message that serves to progress is the advancements of biotech and medicine. And it's unnecessary. And weird.

However, I really enjoyed the work of Natalie Jermijenko, who developed small urban gardens in front of fire hydrants and geared tadpole-raising towards improving water quality. She has fascinating ideas for using mice and tadpoles to monitor how the population's air and water quality really affects them, as both animals are more sensitive than humans to environmental factors, yet respond similarly. Her general message is about mindful environmentalism, and many of her projects make sense and would be very useful if they had the support to be implemented. Her discussion of the Urban Space Stations that reduce carbon dioxide emissions seems to be an obvious step to reduce urban pollution, however her limited success made me begin to think about why environmentalism is such a slow fight.

Natalie Jermijenko's "No Park"
The current society thinks that the dangers of the environment will simply become the next generation's problem, or even a few generations later, and we believe that it's not our time yet to deal with pollution. Environmental health is an abstract concept--even recycling is very inefficient, yet it is what most people think it is the best way to be environmentally conscious. Natalie Jeremijenko's plastic bottle office boat is a very direct way to recycle that avoids the building pollution of building a new personal office.

More Revival Fields developed by Dr. Rufus Chaney seem like the obvious solution to soil metal toxins, yet I have only just now heard of this kind of solution. And the reason why is because it takes months and years and a lot of care for a plant to grow.  One of the focuses of all governments around the world should be environmentalism, but because of how long it takes for each movement to come to fruition, it never seems like a priority.

Revival Field
GOODMagazine. "GOOD Magazine: Natalie Jeremijenko." YouTube. YouTube, 18 Apr. 2007. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
Mel Chin Studio. "Revival Field (animation)." Vimeo. N.p., 2012. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
"Natalie Jeremijenko." Natalie Jeremijenko. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
"Revival Field – Mel Chin." Revival Field – Mel Chin. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.
TEDtalksDirector. "Natalie Jeremijenko: Let's Teach Fish to Text! and Other Outlandish Ideas." YouTube. YouTube, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 May 2016. <>.