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    Latest Topics


    Kehinde Wiley and the Presidential Portrait

    Barack Obama recently selected Kehinde Wiley to paint his official portrait. Consider how Wiley’s works compare with those of other presidential portrait artists. In what ways can we consider Wiley’s work to be in a continuum with other presidential portrait artists? How can we anticipate his work will diverge from the traditions of presidential portraiture?

    • I think you have a great topic here. It's specific and being posted at a great time. I am excited to read this one. Everything about the Obama Administration was about change and creating new ground for future generations to stand on. Having his presidential portrait created should be no different. His portrait will define what America is, so comparing Obama's portrait to those before him is important. I also think looking at his legacy to the changing art industry may be interesting. – Emily 6 years ago

    Cats and the artists they keep

    Every "Caturday," the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art facebook page highlights a cat in an archival object in their collections. The array of their examples is vast, showcasing how artists have found inspiration and solace in their feline companions over the course of the history of contemporary art. What do such examples of interactions between cats and their artists demonstrate about the relationships of these two peculiar types of animals? How do artists celebrate or immortalize their cats?

    • Fascinating topic. Perhaps some attention could be paid to the relations between cats and artists of other mediums aside from the visual arts. To quote Robertson Davies, “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” That said, I'd understand if this broadens the scope too far beyond the specific Caturday event. – ProtoCanon 7 years ago
    • I love it! A topic I would never have thought of in a million years (excuse the hyperbole). There's really nothing I can add to ProtoCanon's comments, so a thumbs up from me. Plenty of scope for cat-puns too! – Amyus 7 years ago
    • LOVE the topic! – Stephanie M. 7 years ago
    • What a fascinating topic. It would be really interesting to look at the different cultural significance of cats throughout history as this will be reflected in art also. It is also perhaps interesting to consider that cats may not have been always portrayed in a positive light. Also might be worth looking at animal imagery and the meaning behind the choice of cats in a particular artwork. As Amyus said, I would never have thought of this as a topic - very interesting choice. – SaraiMW 6 years ago

    How do we deal with famous artists' history of misogyny?

    Renoir claimed that he "painted with his pr*ck" and chastised his female models for appearing like they were "thinking too much." Picasso was a known womanizer, with multiple mistresses one after the other while actively avoiding divorcing his wife in order to prevent her from gaining half of his net worth. Rodin refused to marry his life-long mistress, hooked up with Camille Claudel who eventually went mad and was confined, destitute, to a sanitorium after her affair with him ended. Yet blockbuster exhibitions of these artists, such as the worldwide #Rodin100 exhibitions at over a dozen museums this year, continue to laud the genius of these "great men", without even a nod to their misogynistic personal histories. If men should be standing up and talking about how they will change in the wake of #MeToo, are there ways we should change in how we talk about the historical men who perpetrated abuse upon the women in their lives?

    • A really interesting topic. I suppose part of the issue is separating the myth from the truth also, because it is also important to consider the context of the period when even though artists often portrayed themselves as "free" they were heavily reliant on the support of their patrons, and ultra-masculinity was a trait that was accepted and admired, note that artists of the period that were tainted by the brush of being "homosexuals" were often less lauded publicly. However, that said a lot of this does not account for the ongoing reiteration of these men's misogynistic behaviours as either acceptable, or worse part of their their "genius". A complex discussion to have, but a worthy one to highlight this need to consider the social cost of lauding the unacceptable. – SaraiMW 7 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Excellent explanation of how to engage with abstract art.

    Understanding Abstract Art

    These are very helpful, clear instructions.

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