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Complexion of Artistic Expression.

For decades, Salman Rushdie’s novel; ‘The Satanic Verses’ which was published in 1988, had aroused controversy in the Islamic world moving the community to rebel against the author by arousing conflict, leading protests and even sending death threats towards the author. So, what sparked such a backlash? It’s just a novel, right?

Well, the Islamic community reacted to the apparent blasphemous nature of Rushdie’s novel which employs the use of magical realism with contemporary events from the early years of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The novel follows the storyline of how the Qur’an was revealed at first by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel in the novel). However, the controversy sprung from Rushdie imposing a false personality and characteristic upon such valued and respectable beings from the Islamic world. This immediately caught the attention of millions of Muslims around the world, even capturing the eyes of politicians, so much so that the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, ordered the killing of Rushdie for creating such a blasphemous text. In Rushdie’s defence, literary critics have argued that the text analyses the boundaries between fact and fiction. Rushdie himself argued that books, texts, religion, communities, beliefs and ideas can all be questioned if it means people are understanding the idea and theory better by building tolerance.

Throughout time, artists and authors have brought about new ideas worth exploring, which increases the contentious nature of some of these novels. Even as recent as 2003, Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ had earned disapproval by Christians and Catholic leaders for its blasphemous material leading to the book being banned in countries such as India and Lebanon. Moving on to 2005, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s ‘And Tango Makes Three’ had been one of the most challenged/banned books for seven years. The book makes many assumptions about homosexuality generating controversial questions about what makes a family. In more recent years, E.L. James’s ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was seen as ‘poorly written’ and ‘semi-pornographic’ , thus, leading it to become banned in 17 libraries in Florida in 2012.

Looking into some of these texts, should it be allowed for literary texts or even other artistic forms to create controversy by disrespecting a belief, in order to question, challenge, debate and understand this belief better globally?

  • Actually, an effective comment.The other case study could be: (Jesus Christ Superstar which is a 1970 rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice). The writer who takes this topic can incorporate both events (novelistic and operatic) into the final analysis.As for the title, try: "Complexion of Artistic Expression." For what it's worth. – L:Freire 11 months ago
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Credit Where Credit Is Due: Artists' Edition

It’s widely accepted that people who create or find something, whether a painting, a computer, a car, a book, a scientific discovery, etc. should receive credit for it. Yet in the online world, this seems to only go so far for artists, specifically illustrators and animators.

The internet and social media sites are rife with people posting art without crediting the artists. Many try justifying this by stating that "people can look up the art themselves" or they’re giving the artists "exposure." None of these hold water, as it’s been proven that most people do not go out of their way to search the artists. Exposure doesn’t mean anything if people don’t know who the artist is, let alone care enough to find them. It also certainly doesn’t mean anything to the landlords whom artists must pay their rents to.

If a scientist published an academic paper online, and say, a college student plagiarized it and tried to pass it off as their own, I doubt many would oppose that student being punished and ridiculed for doing so. Yet if an artist protests a person for reposting their art without crediting them, that artist is labeled as "sensitive" or "greedy".

I find this double standard to tie into inherent laziness in internet users, but also a possible broader sense of people not seeing art, particularly illustration, as a legitimate profession. There are millions of artists all over the world who make a living off their art; the foundation of Hollywood is based on this (as well as nepotism and debatably cyclical abuse, but that’s another discussion) yet trying to enter an art industry can be met with mockery. Many people only see the final product, and not the hours and hours of work that go into artistry, whether it’s music, animation, painting, sculpting, or illustration. They assume it’s effortless and that artists only do it as a hobby, not for income.

Why do you think this societal stigma is so prevalent, especially in this era where digital media is so widespread and exposes more people to more artforms than ever before? What about art carries such certain connotations that separate it from other fields and professions? How do you think this could change?

  • I love this topic! Art is so easy to plagiarise without credit given the prevalence of social media and the ease of reposting or screenshotting the work of others. Art, to an extent, is also easier to copy and claim as your own when compared to a scientific discovery or mathematical theory. Not only can the work of the original artist be claimed, another artist can replicate the work, or create something similar - which is where it gets even more tricky. How do we know if they were inspired by the original work? Had they seen it before? It is impossible to know. – Cassidy 1 year ago
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Docents at the Broad Museum: Guiding Visitors To Actively View Art

Comprised of a combination of art students, artists, and educators, the docents at Los Angeles’ Broad museum do not just give visitors the answers to questions. Answering questions by asking questions invites guests to come up with their own ideas about the art they are viewing. This is a refreshing experience that challenges viewers to interact with the art at a higher level of investment thus providing a more personalized experience. By increasing viewers’ understanding of art through more direct engagement, the Broad is creating a more artistically educated society one guest at a time.

  • Interesting form of public service. When I patronized a certain place and ask a question about it, being given an answer certainly lasts only as long as the next piece. By doling out questions, it seems to me that the experience permeates the mind longer. – lofreire 3 years ago
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  • There is a fair amount of scholarly research published on interactions between museum guides and viewers, particularly in terms of learning engagement on the part of viewers. (See for example, E. Louis Lankford, “Aesthetic Experience in Constructivist Museums,” The Journal of Aesthetic Education (Vol. 36, No. 2, Summer 2002) 146.) I wonder if this sort of approach is addressed in the literature, and if so, did they implement these policies based on the literature? – PMGH 3 years ago
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Virtual Reality and the Web, The Movies and the tube.

What is the media landscape like right now? What can we expect from the up-and-coming art form of virtual reality? Considering the dominance of the internet as a legitimate source of entertainment, should we re-define the words "movie" and "cinema?" Finally, is narrative losing its importance to us as a form of media to be consumed? Basically, an article pondering the topic of where we came from, and where we are going.

  • I like the ambition of this, but I want to say that this is too vague/broad to tackle in one go. To redefine "movie", "cinema", refocusing "narrative" and to try and pinpoint the timeline of where we are currently in the media landscape is a task. Where who is exactly? Which form of media? Is this referring to the U.S., non-Western Cinema, mainstream vs. cult, high culture or pop culture? These all need to be defined in this topic before advancing because to cast a really, really broad net is going to cause a problem for this topic. I am also curious what role Virtual Reality is playing in your topic, as it isn't addressed, but it is focused on in the title. I love think-pieces, but this needs to be trimmed down before some real critical thinking can happen! – John McCracken 4 years ago
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  • There's a lot of speculation on what is possible with VR movies and the cinematic language it will use. For example, there are many VR experiences in which the protagonist is the player/audience member wearing the headset - yet these are scripted movies. Could this be a new genre of movies that feel interactive though are not? – Kevin 4 years ago
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Make Up - A Form of Art or a way to Escape Judgment From Society?

Girls from all around the world having been playing dress up since they were a little girls. Make up has played a huge role in women’s lives to express themselves. Is this self expression viewed as a form of art or a way to hide flaws? One could argue women are faking the way they truly look when, in reality, it is another form of art that can be studied.

  • Well, using makeup to enhance physical attraction and seeing makeup as art are two very different topics. You could look at it psychologically, as a form of behavior to be studied, because it's not a question when it comes to art; Makeup can be and is art. https://www.facebook.com/sosenka.officialThis is a link to the artist Sosenka, who is also a female and uses makeup for her profession. – Slaidey 5 years ago
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  • You could probably also incorporate body painting/body art into this conversation about makeup as art. Both forms are using the body as a canvas. – Marcie Waters 5 years ago
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  • from my point of view, ladies want to hide flaws and look more attractive for men. women like to be the center of attention especially for men. they learn make up art not because it is a art, because they can use it for their aims. human beings are crazy about beauty and integrity. most of the people do not see beauty in deep skin so ladies have found a solution for this weak point. – Elahe Almasi 5 years ago
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  • If you're going to look at it from a psychological perspective, one thing to consider would be "how does using makeup at a young age affect a little girl mentally"? Girls are pressured from a young age to be and look perfect, and it's only human nature to judge each other based on looks. Another aspect to think about would be "how does everyone else's perspective on makeup affect the little girl"? What would the societal pressures on her be? What about the opinions of her sisters and/or her mother (hypothetically speaking)? What is the media saying? There are many factors which can be considered when it comes to such a subject. And then there are the girls who do see makeup as a creative expression, an art form. How does society treat them? Are they denoted for their use of makeup? Are they celebrated for their creativity? How do they differ from the girls using CoverGirl to cover up "flaws"? The creative girls are naturally more outgoing because they have the confidence to wear bold colors. While the girls covering up their so-called "imperfections" are naturally more inwardly drawn. Is this the fault of the makeup? Or just the way they are as people? Finally, why do girls think they are "flawed" in the first place? That would be the root of the problem, which, of course, could loop back to societal pressures and predetermined standards set upon women in the first place. Just a thought; I hope it helps! – Megan Finsel 5 years ago
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  • For the author of this article, be sure to read this, another article about makeup on The Artifice, and make sure there's not too much overlap: https://the-artifice.com/the-feminist-makeup-culture-reconsidering-cosmetics/ – MichelleAjodah 5 years ago
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  • For the most part, creator's politics can bad effect their reputation, but It would not necessarily ruin the reputation of their books. The writer of Ender Game is very public on how much of a homophobe he is, But yet Ender's Game is still a great book, it is just unfortunate it was written by someone with old fashion politics. – Aaron Hatch 5 years ago
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  • Another helpful note would be discussing how politics are integral to our lives, and how authors/creators are as a result necessarily tied to certain elements of politics - to reach into Rachel's comment of what this could mean thenceforth – kathleensumpton 5 years ago
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  • You might consider whether it's morally acceptable to enjoy an artist's work (and support them by buying their art) if we disagree with them personally. For example, Woody Allen has made many well-loved movies, but he was accused of sexually assaulting his adopted daughter when she was a child. In this case, do Allen's films stand apart from his character, or should they be boycotted? Although there's not much cross-over in this particular instance, there can be a lot of cross-over between moral issues and political issues, so it might be interesting to discuss the moral aspect of politics. – Ali Van Houten 5 years ago
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  • Great title, interesting question, yet I would definitely like to hear more. I feel as though this is the slightest of introductions and I would love to see how you elaborate on the topic to get the rest of us thinking. For example, when coming up with this topic, was there a particular work or creator you have in mind? Are you referring to implicit or explicit political renderings in a work? Add some more to this since it is your idea and it would be great if you could read someone's article answering the questions you are interested in. Just a few more points, and this would be a powerful topic, leading to an excellent article. – danielle577 5 years ago
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  • This is a tough one. Some would argue that art and politics are very closely tied. A lot of literature today has underlying political themes. Basically any dystopia book is political in nature. It's trying to show you what happens if we believe in some sort of political construct or idea. I guess I'd be somewhere in the middle. If the political issue is central to the plot, well obviously keep it in. If the political issue brings nothing to the piece of art, then it's probably only going to alienate audience members for no reason. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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  • It depends on if the politics in the artwork deter the viewer from what the artist is trying to express. The content of the work can suffer because the viewer might concentrate more on the politics instead of the artwork itself. – CamilliaMaye 5 years ago
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