Art Rant: A Wordy and Overwrought Manifesto

These  principles are meant to act as a guide to create  an environment  which encourages, inspires,  and sustains truth, understanding, community, and the actualization of art. If transparency and vulnerability are fundamental to verbal communication, then how much more in art?

  1. The  act of  creation  is  the state of  being closest  to presently  experiencing  the world  in which we live. Creating art is communion in its purest form. In actively making art, one can more fully understand the work of others and the  motives behind others’ work. The act of making  and  analyzing  art  can  make  one  more perceptive  to  and  understanding  of another’s  worldview  and  personal  story. Critically viewing and discussing art can result in supporting  and  encouraging conversation, understanding, and community on a local and global level.

  2. In creating we both  experience and interpret our world. We find ourselves caught in the tension  of  making  and  receiving,  which  is  central  to  community  and human  life. At the junction of experience and interpretation, we can accept our surroundings for what they truly are.  We can  then  examine  them  in  order  to contribute  to  our  environment  in  a  positive, constructive way.

  3. When  one is actively  creating, one is  more  able  to  see  the beauty of  the  world in which we  live. Through experience and examination, we engage with Creation and closely examine its intricacies and structures, and can be open to its awe-inspiring forces.

  4. Symbols  and  innuendo  can  be  misinterpreted. Preconceptions  can be blinding. Context  and  meaning  are  often  lost  in  translation. Art as a  layering  of explicit  visual  language  is  an  experiment  in  facilitating mutual understanding. The formal design elements and a record of process are indispensable tools for organizing ideas  and  interpretations  into  a  symbolic  language  which connects with  the  human  spirit and invites the viewer to participate and engage with the act of creation.

  5. Whenever possible, art should be treated as a service and not as a product. Art is better appreciated and of more value to a society when it is perceived as experiential rather than as a commodity.

 

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Renée Cox and Reinterpreting the Black Female Nude

 

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Baby Black. 2001.

The female nude has been a staple subject in art for millennia. From the Woman of Willendorf to Edouard Manet’s Olympia, and through the present day, the female nude has been used to portray beauty ideals, social and political ideologies, and has been an object on which the male gaze can rest. In art, however, the focus has historically been on white women, and, with the possible exception of work from the Harlem Renaissance, nude women of color are represented as sexual exotic others. This approach to the black nude reflects the image of black women perpetuated by art and the media throughout recent history, an image that still lingers today. Through the twentieth century, and today, artists, especially women artists like Renée Cox, are dismantling this perception through their work, challenging history and reinterpreting the black female nude.

Continue reading Renée Cox and Reinterpreting the Black Female Nude