Monday, January 15, 2007

Art History

Over the course of this semester, I would like to focus on my major: Art History. Art History has proven to be, like most majors, a subject which many people have an opinion on, regardless of the different degree of knowledge or actual interest in art history. Because it can be considered a “life-style” major which reflects the attitudes and values of numerous groups of people, art history has come to be something that multiple people can enjoy and appreciate without the fear of misunderstanding, or at least without the fear of there being an absolute definitive answer when it comes to looking at and discussing art. This is not to say that disagreement does not occur, but rather that everyone can (and usually does) have an opinion, and while some opinions may be more highly valued than others, no belief is considered incorrect, at least in my experience, which is admittedly not vast.

This is one of the reasons I am interested in art history. To say that a person (me) enjoys art history because the subject transcends being incorrect or wrong seems almost juvenile, but keeping this in mind, there is a certain comfort that goes along with knowing that what you feel and believe is not incorrect (misguided, perhaps but not incorrect). In the same sense, opinions regarding topics in art history do not seem as strong as opinions centered on subjects such as politics or religion (two subjects which also do not have definitive answers). Again, it seems there has to be a basic foundation of understanding when discussing politics or religion, while art history welcomes the beliefs of both expert and non-expert, in fact, the beliefs of the non-expert are often more intriguing than those of the expert. In addition to this, there are so many directions that views on art can lead to, therefore spurring discussion that has branched off of one topic, which has branched off of another topic.

Art History is an extremely broad and extensive subject which spans centuries of material and countless influential figures. Because of this, I would prefer to focus my discussion on more modern, as well as contemporary, art movements; more specifically, I would like to discuss movements which occurred in both America and Europe post World War II. I would like this to also include an examination of significant artists and critics who practiced and lived during this time period. Modern and contemporary art movements appear to be more controversial than movements during periods such as the Renaissance, as there was not much diversity (and therefore not much controversy) in a time such as this. I believe that by discussing and analyzing art movements which are more controversial, there will be more room for disagreement. I am not searching for disagreement, and I do not particularly enjoy it, as I would imagine most people do not, but as said before, art history is a subject which I believe does not have a wrong answer, so to disagree on something which cannot actually be solved only helps to see both sides of a discussion better.

Movements that I would like to specifically focus on in my blog include: Abstract Expressionism, German Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop Art, and various other topics and trends related to these movements. In terms of influential artists, I would like to discuss Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and any other artists who have been deemed controversial during this time period.

Because there is no assigned topic or question in these blogs, I fear that my entries might soon become misdirected ramble (which I imagine this blog has already become). I would obviously like to avoid the ramble, so I would prefer to focus on subjects which are more specific and do not allow me to trail off on tangents which never ultimately get my point across in my blog.