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Brooklyn Museum

Female Figurine. Egypt, from Ma’mariya. Predynastic Period, Naqada II, circa 3500–3400 B.C.E. Terracotta, painted, 111⁄2 x 51⁄2 x 21⁄4 in. (29.2 × 14 × 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.505

From the Brooklyn Museum I chose Bird Lady figurine from the Predynastic Period 3500-3400 BC. This pottery was made during the Badarian period (4400-3800 BC) and was named after the village of Badari where it was first found. My first impressions were the subtle details that stood out. First, the shape of the body and arms are curvy which gives off the portrait of a feminine body. Her hands are in the air giving a peaceful vibe as if she was dancing or celebrating in joy. In deeper look, her face and arms resemble the beak and wings of a bird along with her legs which aren’t there as it was a tail. There can also be another meaning since she is so bird like it can resemble freedom or flying. Back in Ancient Egypt women didn’t have many rights. This figurine can represent what women wanted to achieve or feel like because their was a hierarchy where women had to listen to obey men.

The Bird Lady has body parts of both a woman and bird. Another aspect I saw was the two toned color. The top part of the woman has a copper like color which could be made up of clay where the bottom has a sandstone color which makes it look like a rock. The bottom half of the figurine can also resemble a dress or skirt. What shocked me the most was the nudity shown on the upper body because I wouldn’t expect ancient Egypt to include it in art.

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When I browsed around the Soul Of The Nation exhibit, I stumbled upon this painting that caught my attention. This artwork, Did The Bear Sit Under a Tree, by Benny Andrews spoke to me with such intensity. The first thing I noticed was the sloppiness in the execution. I saw that there were multiple colors on the flag and man. For example, the stripes are red and orange and the stars have a light and dark blue background. Also, the entirety of the flag is filled with flaws such as imperfect sizes of the stars followed up with cracks in the stripes. The flag also seems to be rolled up away from the man as if he is fighting for something against what the flag represents.

The colored man’s facial expression shows confusion or an undecided look along with anger. His hand gesture clearly shows he is ready to fight or resist against the flag. Meanwhile, his face expresses uncertainty and indecisiveness whether or not to carry out the action. Regardless, the flag is rolled up covering about a third of the portrait as the man  is pushing it away from him. The caption for the painting is a representation of a colored man during the civil rights movement with a shaking fist at the flag which was supposed to protect him. The painter portrays a sense of betrayal and anger in the man because of his unhappiness of how the United States treats colored people.

 

Brooklyn Museum

The bust of the Goddess Sakhmet was gosh-darned cool.Color: Seems to be comprised of some black stone. The particular luster it may have once had is likely not what the rustic remains portray.
Line(?): There are plenty of etchings on the bust to indicate the appearal worn by sakhmet. The bust seems to have been going for a general impression of the human body rather a realistic approach: perhaps implying simplicity for the sake of mass production or perhaps to keep Sakhmet from looking relatable.
Scale: The scale of the bust seems to be a good fit for a an ornament: meant to evoke the thought of Sakhmet but not as a center piece.
Sakhmet’s head is feline in appearance; I imagine this has something to do with Egypt’s culture. A lot of cats–a lot of felines.
Sakhmet is the daughter of the sun-god Re, taking on the role of ”The Eye of Re”: destroying the enemies of Egypt abroad. That is why I chose this work specifically: it was cool and I need a piece.
There is a big disk crowning the bust. Only a bottom portion of the disk remains. I would go so far as to say that perhaps the large disk crowning the ‘Eye of The Sun’ might perhaps just maybe be a representation of the sun
The patterns could represent ritual appearal. The face seems to be expressionless. The disk may have been used to tell the time–though that really is stretching too far.

 

In the Soul of a Nation collection I chose ‘The United States of Attica’ by Faith RInggold to write about on this blog. It is a very powerful image.
Map is split into four quadrants, with the colors being inverted through a reflection in the x-axis. I suppose the this is to reflect the information written in each quadrant. This could also just be aestheticly pleasing; it is aestheticly pleasing but I mean only for that reason and not to reflect the information.
Since this is mapping out injustices suffered throughout America: I would imagine that RInggold had wanted to use the north American continent for the map–and she did.
RInggold created the map in tribute to the men who died in the police raid on the prisoner’s rebellion in Attica, New York. A revolt had occured regarding the conditions the prisoners had to suffer through. She must have felt that this incident would be thematically appropriate to bring together all the evil of the world–and relevant too. Hence the name ‘The United States of Attica.
It seems that the colors are in reference to a popular black nationalist flag from the 60s. Appropriate considering the context.
The fact that it is a map rather than a collection of clippings containing articles and texts about these events is a part of the appeal. The fact that it is in the form of a map gives the events that RInggold had listed a lot more impact and wieght behind their reality.

Part 1

Figure of Goddess Nephthys, Ca. 664-30 B.C.E. Made in Africa

    This wooden figure represents the Goddess Nephthys. She sits kneeling on a colorful highly decorated rectangular box as a pedestal with her left arm resting on her thigh and her right arm held in front of her face. She has light brown skin, a blue wig, high yellow headdress, and a green garment bound under her exposed breasts.

Some of these colors represents her high status as a goddess. Her blue wig and yellow headdress that is supposed to represent gold symbolizes high status. This is also shown in her highly colorful and and detailed. The colors are red, yellow, blue, and green. The fact that so much color is even on the figure in the first place points to her importance as a goddess.

When we look the figures line, we can see a that this was carved by a skilled craftsmen. The figure has a smooth surface giving it a very recognizable silhouette. Examples are the large headdress Nephthys is wearing and the obvious shaped breasts on her chest.  This figure does not occupy alot of space. The dimensions of the piece is 16 by 7 by 11.5 inches. It seems to have been built to be mobile and placeable within a room.

This figure was definitely own by someone of high status because a figure of this quality would have been very expensive to purchase.  

 

Part 2

Mars Dust, 1972, By Alma Thomas

    This piece spoke to me because of its size that seemingly traps your gaze. I couldn’t help but be pulled in by the bold colors. I chose this because I immediately saw depth to it. There is a sense of complexity to it even though it looks simple and uniform. The piece relates to the rest of the exhibit because of how Alma Thomas is. She continued to create her art and express herself through it despite racial segregation and gained recognition and success through it all.

There are only three distinct colors utilized in the painting. Red, light blue and dark blue. The simplicity of the colors bring notice to the complexity of the painting. I creates a sense of 3D space. This is because the large splotches of light and dark blue behind the many splotches of red beads make it look like a beaded curtain with an unknown world behind it. And the messy lines that denies clarity is also a factor in its other worldliness.

As I have said in the first paragraph, the size being  69.25 by 57.125 inches creates a trap that steals your eyes. The size makes you want to walk right into it to discover a new world not your own. It looks like a huge portal that harbors the mystery of the world and I appreciate this feeling it portrays to me.

Museum Visit

Part 1:

The Brooklyn museum’s ancient Egypt exhibit was truly a spectacle. The exhibit displayed many ancient artworks, but the one that caught my interest was the statue of Queen Ankhnes-meryre ll and her son, Pepy ll. The first thing I noticed about it was the material that was used. It was carved out of a glassy stone that had a beige/ivory color. Its condition has remarkably been preserved after thousands of years. This is significant because it means that the queen and her son were very important figures because of the quality of material that was used to sculpt them.
The second thing I observed was the queen sitting on what appears to be a step, cradling her son. The child can be identified as male because of his head dress. His size compared to his mother can determine that he is still young. Another thing I noted about the sculpture is that both the queen and her son’s feet are rested on a platform. This might represent their status and god-like figure.
Lastly, I noticed that the queen and her son are not facing the same direction. The queen is the face you would notice first. This could represent the importance of her role in raising her heir and the future of Egypt. It could also represent the role of women in general during this time in Egypt. Women were responsible for raising the children of the future. In some aspects, they were the most important member in the family.

PART 2:

In the Soul Of The Nation exhibit, There were many pieces that represented the different kinds of discrimination amongst people of color. One piece that I found interesting was “Did The Bear Sit Under a Tree”, by Benny Andrews. The first thing I noticed was the medium used to create this piece. A combination of fabrics were used in the flag, shirt, and canvas. Paint was layered on thick, as if the painter was angry and slapping paint onto the canvas. Lines were not straight, and the stars on the flag were not uniform in size either. I believe the artist’s intention was to send a message rather than creating an art piece for its aesthetic. I also noticed the various splatters and drips distributed on the flag and the black man standing behind it. The American flag is rolled up, revealing an angry black man. He is holding his fists up at the flag. I think that the message of this painting was to show the hypocrisy of the American flag. The flag symbolizes freedom and equality, but hiding behind it is the tyranny of American history. The man is depicted with a zipper for a mouth. African Americans were not able to exercise the same freedoms as other citizens. The zipper symbolized the censorship of their voices. This piece along with the other artworks in the Soul of The Nation exhibit, show us the systematic oppression of African American in American history. It allows us to understand the pain and frustration of these people even if you weren’t there at that time.

Brooklyn Museum Part 2

Part 2: Soul of a Nation

The entire exhibit was so beautiful I wasn’t sure which Art piece to choose but when I finally saw, “Revolutionary” by Jarrell Wadsworth, I knew that this painting would be the piece I chose.

The painting is of a black Woman wearing what seems to be a uniform to fight in, with her fist clenched around a microphone or walkie talkie, and her mouth open wide.  The bullets on her suit seem to be made with colorful crayons.  I saw this as the woman using anything she has, even crayons, to fight for what she believes in. She may not have much but at least she has something.  There are so many words that its hard to read what’s written but if you focus on one spot you can see the one word, I believe the artist is trying to show that the amount of problems that she has is a lot and if you look at it from far you wont be able to focus and change it, but if you start by focusing on one place, at one word, change can start to happen. This painting brings change along with beauty.

I chose the painting because I like the message, and that from far away you can’t really tell that there are words but the closer you get the more you see.  I also really liked the meaning behind it and that it was quite obvious what it was.

Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum has many collections that one can view. These collections consist of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart, One: Do Ho Suh, Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection, Something to Say: Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, Deborah Kass, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Hank Willis Thomas, Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu,Rob Wynne: FLOAT, Infinite Blue, The Brooklyn Della Robbia, Arts of Korea, American Art, A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt, European Art,Ancient Egyptian Art, Assyrian Art, The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, Decorative Arts and Period Rooms, Visible Storage ▪ Study Center, Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas, Williamsburg Murals: A Rediscovery and Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden. The collection that piqued my interest the most is Arts of Korea.  

The Pair of Boy Attendants, Korea Joseon Dynasty is an art piece that stood out to me. This art piece The Pair of Boy Attendants, Korea Joseon Dynasty has soft lines, bright colors, and is a three dimensional statue.  The Pair of Boy Attendants, Korea Joseon Dynasty are usually called dongjas. These dongjas would be placed at buddist sculpture dieties to show that the donjgas are bringing gifts. While one of the boys is carrying a turtle the other boy is assumed to be carrying a tray of food. The colors primarily used in the sculptures are very light although if you look at the head and the feet they are a dark color. This contrasts with the white skin. The clothing on the statue is very detailed. When you look on the sleeve you can see the creases of the top, which makes it seem like that the shirt was a little too long or baggy. On the statue it’s very hard to see the turtle. It seems to blend in with the boys top. While the other boys tray does not blend in with his top that significantly it is the same color as the boys top. Both of the boys have very straight lines on their hands where you can see their fingers. The two boys have very faint curved eyebrow lines and ruby red lips which contrasts against their pale skin. 

In the collection Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power the art piece that captured my attention the most is “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima.” The reason that this art piece captured my attention is that when you closely look in the back there is Aunt Jemima who is the cover on nowadays pancake syrup. The painting consists of warm earthy tones in which each element of color varies and contrasts with each other. The woman with the very dark hues is shown bigger than everyone else.  In contrast to the big size the woman around her apron has a post card which shows a black lady holding a white baby. These colors contrast each other which makes the baby stand out. Jemima on one hand is holding a broom and on the other she’s holding a rifle. There are no soft lines in this painting rather it seems like the piece is just blobbed there.  The floor is white which brings out the earthy tones in the painting.  The larger Aunt Jemima has round eyes that are bulging out of her head while the red lip goes with the red dress.  

 

Brooklyn Museum Part 1 And Part 2

Part 1, Ancient Egyptian Exhibit:
When I walked into the Brooklyn Museum and went to the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit located on the third floor, I saw many interesting artifacts and ancient pieces of art work that had caught my attention. One thing that stood out for me and caught my eye when I was looking around the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum was the Wreath. The Wreath was on display and it was a wreath made out of gold. It was a golden crown like ring surrounded with leaves and flowers which made it look like the wreath was a golden vine that was formed into a ring to fit onto someones head. The golden Wreath is said to have been from the Ptolemaic Period, circa third to second century B.C.E and a Gift of George D. Pratt. The golden Wreath is described to be “Formed to resemble flowers and leaves to crown athletic victors throughout the ancient Greek World.” These wreaths were used at lavish dinner parties and worn by the guests in the Egyptian capital, Alexandria, as explained by Athenaeus of Nitocris an Egyptian born Greek writer. The Wreath caught my eye because it had made me confused at first since I was visiting the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit and something Ancient Greek was among the collection.

Part 2, Soul of a Nation:
When visiting the Soul of a Nation located on the fifth floor in the Brooklyn Museum, there were many art pieces in the exhibit that could be related to modern art unlike the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit. The piece that stood out the most for me when seeing all the art works representing black power and the civil rights movement was the sculpture art piece Black Unity, 1968 by Elizabeth Catlett. I chose this piece because it can be related to society today with police shooting black people and black people raising their fists in the air yelling black lives matter. Out of all the pieces in the museum, the art piece Black Unity is like the center piece and relates to the rest of the artworks on display due to it being so meaningful in the era of the civil rights movement and also modern society. The piece seems to be made out of wood because of the wood grain look with a dark brown finish making the sculpture look smooth and waxy. The art piece is formed into the shape of a hand making a fist and the dark brown wood color represents a black person, so the sculpture must represent a black person holding up their fist. The dark brown wood is a mahogany which is a straight grained reddish brown wood which depicts the skin color. Visiting the Brooklyn Museum has been an amazing and enlightening experience which allowed me to learn more about both Ancient Egyptian Art and society and Black Art and Culture and I would definitely go back again with family or friends to see the exhibits again to learn more.

Blog #7 Brooklyn Museum-Soul of a Nation

Although, I was anticipating all of the works I would encounter at the Brooklyn Museum, I was most interested and excited to explore the Soul of a Nation exhibit. This is an exhibit that now holds a special place in my heart after experiencing it and getting to see the work of many Black artists and the different depictions of blackness across the US (NY, Chicago, L.A.). One of my favorite parts was all of the work depicting the Black Panthers and their movement. I’ve always had a fascination with the Black Panthers movement because of the stories my dad would tell about them and things he experienced growing up in the era of their movement.

Although, this part of the exhibit was something I was increasingly interested in, I found myself instantly drawn to this painting of the American Flag, named American People Series #18: The Flag is Bleeding, 1967 by Faith Ringgold. I went back to this piece about three times, each time finding some new meaning and new emotion in regards to it. I chose to post this piece because in this recent political climate and over the past few years, more and more people have become vocal about the oppression faced by Black people everyday. In this work, it depicts that in America we all stand united and in solidarity, but in reality once you look beyond this stance it can be seen that that isn’t the truth. The oppression of Blacks had never diminished and as said previously, can still be seen today. This piece relates to the rest of the exhibit because the main focuses of it are discrimination and oppression, and the Civil Rights Movement that fixated on fixing these problems. This piece embodies both discrimination and oppression of Blacks, even though we are all given these rights under the Constitution and should be united from it, African Americans had a small chance at escaping oppression and discrimination. The colors of this work are vivid and saturated, which instantly draws your eyes to it and makes you begin analyzing it. Also, shading and shadowing are used to clearly show facial features. The color that draws your eyes in the most is the red, which is used for the stripes on the flag as well as the blood that is dripping from those stripes, once again showing not only emotional pain, but physical pain.

The Brooklyn Museum

PART 1

From the Ancient World exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum, I chose the “Bird Woman” figurine from the 37th Century B.C.E. Just by looking at this statue, there were a couple of details that stood out to me. For example, the face has a similar structure to a birds beak, and the arms are unusually long. They are gracefully up in the air and have the possibility of representing wings. At the tip of the arms, the hands seem to display fingerlike structures. The “Bird Woman” is a very unique piece because it incorporates both a womanlike anatomy and a birdlike. The color is of copper tone and seems to be made up of clay. Its figure is very curvy as if the expectations of a woman at that point in time was to look like that. The artist also included the breasts of a woman. The height of the figurine is no taller than the height of a coffee cup.

After exploring the exhibit, I wanted to learn more about the figurine. After some research, I found out that the bottom half of the figure is actually a representation of a long white skirt covering the legs of the woman. That is why it looks as if the woman has no lower half. It is still unknown to this day if the sculpture represents a goddess or a woman.  I guess that part is up for interpretation.

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PART 2

After the Ancient World exhibit, I got a chance to look at Brooklyn Museum’s Soul of a Nation exhibit. A lot of the pieces that I saw have some sort of political agenda, much of which relates to today’s current events. Even though these pieces were created around the 70’s, it’s quite sad how they can relate to problems in the world today. There is still a huge issue with oppression, discrimination, and inequality in our nation which should ultimately be fixed. I chose the piece known as “All Power to the People” by Faith Ringgold. This was an interesting choice for me because I noticed that at the bottom of the piece it says, “Free all political prisoners.” I pictured this as an art piece created in today’s society and the kind of response it would receive. Due to the fact that most of New York’s society is democratic, the response that this piece would get is a positive one.

When I saw the words “free all political prisoners,” I pictured a society oppressed by the government and their power plays. A society that has had enough with being used in politician’s games for power. A lot of people feel the same way today about the way the government acts. Another thing that was quite compelling is the color scheme of the piece. The background is red, the words are black, the figures are black, but the eyes and the clothing are green. Also, the guns are grey. The red background could symbolize the blood of the people and the black could symbolize the seriousness of the situation presented. The man, woman, and child all have a weapon of some sort colored grey. This symbolizes a revolution. However, the green clothing is quite a mystery. Only certain things are marked green but seems to me that it is random. Also, the lines that compose the figures of the man, woman, and child are not straight, but are curvy.

I found this exhibit to be refreshing in a way where even though it was in the past, it affects the future immensly. Art is the perfect way to express one’s self even if it is representing the vision of a whole society.

 

Brooklyn Museum Assignment, Part 2 of 2 (Soul of a Nation)

While I found my ventures in the Ancient World exhibit of the Brooklyn museum to be knowledgeable and enjoyable, I found myself eager to reach the second part of this assignment. I already knew that in exploring the Soul of a Nation exhibit of the Brooklyn museum, I was going to gain a better understanding of the mental and emotional labor Black American artists poured into their art two decades after 1963 (an integral time period in American history for the black community). Considering the times we live in today, it is so important to support Black American artists and have an open and accepting environment where  their art is allowed to flourish and where their stories are their own, told through their voice and their voice only.

The piece that struck me the most was Sam Gilliam’s painting, April 4th. In using formal analysis to assess this powerful work, we’re all inclined to first take note of the size of it. I don’t buy picture frames and I’m not good at math, so my words will have to do the size of the painting some justice. It is colossal, taking up a good chunk of the museum’s wall. It was the first painting I had come across while walking through the exhibit and I had to stop. The size itself tells us something about this piece, that the emotions that have inspired the painting are far too big to hide, the loss it’s suggesting is not only a prominent one but a poignant one. Gilliam used acrylic paint in this particular work of his and the most prominent colors seen are purple, red, black and white. All of these colors work together to further invoke feelings of sadness, loss and, even before reading what exactly this painting commemorates, violence. When honing in on the red blotches, which look like blots of blood, the violence is expressed in shapes that look like bullet wounds to me. It is a beautifully composed mess. It almost looks as though the colors are melting into one another (almost like painted rain against a windowpane), but not enough so that you can’t address each of them a purpose of their own. When reading about this piece further and educating myself on where Gilliam’s piece is derivative of, I discovered this work is in homage to Martin Luther King Jr. on the first anniversary of his assassination. The colors of the painting reaffirmed my initial response of it being a melancholy piece that encapsulates loss and violence. The purple can be seen as a magisterial and the red marks (as I had suspected) might suggest bloodstains. The coupling of the two colors pay a respectful homage to Martin Luther King Jr. and appropriately address the loss (of not only who he was but who he represented for the black community) as tragic and detrimental. While the red blood splotches don’t monopolize the painting, they are there and representative of M.L.K.’s own fatal wound shots, the blood that will never wash away because they are stained on the hands of the U.S. government.