Feminine, Masculine, Grazia, non so che!

Feminine, Masculine, Grazia, non so che!

Christina will be our guide on this article. What an interesting way to end the semester! What follows are a few of my queries:

1. What is the paregone as you understand it?
2. What were Titian and Michelangelo “jousting” about during the period this article covers?
3. What did Castiglione mean by “a certain circumspect dissimulation” and how does this concept come into play in the visual arts?
4. What was the hierarchy of the senses during this period?
5. Can you think of art works in which the viewer is knowingly deceived by the artist? When paintings simulate sculpture, for example?
6. Many contemporary male artists seem to have intuited the content of Bronzino’s “Del pennello.” What is the general theme of his burlesque poem?
7. Discuss the idea of artifice itself as a vehicle for the erotic.
8. How would you define non so che?
9. How was mimesis viewed during the cinquecento?
10. Do you think the gender bending/blending of these works of art stem from Plato’s Symposium?
11. To seem rather than to be. Dangerous Beauty. The artifice of representation! Discuss


Look at me! Self-Portrait Photography after Cindy Sherman

Mia will be our guide on this article. Just a few questions to begin the discussion.

1. What are some of the underlying assumptions of this article? For example, the nature of identity is constructed, etc.
2. Who is Nikki S. Lee’s audience? Why does she choose photography as her medium?
3. In discussing the work of Goicoleas, the author states: “Vanity is the backbone of all art;….look at my view of the world….it is more accurate, more beautiful, than yours.” Discuss.
4. What if Raphael chose to focus on self-obsession and sexuality? In other words why is Goicolea’s work so “time sensitive?” Could he have been a High Renaissance artist?
5. Why are Goicolea’s works so poignant? Do you agree with the author’s following gender characterization that “the adolescent sexuality of females has been much more accessible territory than that of males?” (50)
6. A conceptual self-suck—-yikes! Discuss this twist of art historical analysis with regard to Goicolea’s work.
7. David Henry Brown, Jr. employs a different art making strategy than Nikki Lee. Contrast their approaches to mainstream culture.
8. Do you detect a certain underlying arrogance in Brown’s work? Is classism the last “ism” to be practiced in polite company?
9. What do these artists owe Cindy Sherman and her self-portraits?

Michelangelo’s Laocoon?

Or should we say Jessica’s Laocoon? Following are questions Jessica has culled from the article for Monday’s reading. Blog away!

1)Catterson states that the Laocoön was instantly recognized as the work described in Pliny’s account being “preferable to any other production of the art of painting or of statuary,” even though the sculpture contrasts Pliny’s account (made of 7 pieces instead of 1). Do you think Renaissance audiences were oblivious to this fundamental difference, or were they willing to disregard it for the sake of the discovery?
2)On page 35, Catterson presents a rather provocative theory concerning Michelangelo’s rapid disappearance from Rome only 3 weeks after the discovery. Were you convinced by this, or did you think it was a bit of a stretch?
3)Catterson suggests the difficulties of recognizing forgeries is attributable to the “stylistically anti-personal” nature of the works. In light of this, what do you think the theoretical process was for identifying forgeries during the Italian Renaissance? To what extant did the paranoia for forgeries exist during the period?
4)Hypothetically speaking, what do you think Michelangelo and other Renaissance artists would have gained from engaging with forgery? Was this a serious crime?
5)Overall, did you find Catterson’s argument to be a convincing one, why or why not?

Cindy Sherman in the guise of the Fornarina and Bacchus!

Jessica will be our guide on this article. Just a few musings…..

1. What is Cindy Sherman’s attitude toward art history as a “genre” (as it were)?
2. Do you believe this as gospel truth?
3. What are the subversive elements of Sherman’s reinterpretation of Raphael’s portrait of the courtesan/La Fornarina?
4. The gaze: discuss!
5. Arthur Danto regards this work as a complex transaction between the “original and her tableaux vivant comment on it.” Unpack this critique.
6. Why was Bacchus often a guise for artistic self-portraits?
7. Where else has Melancholia reared its head in this course?
8. Discuss the subversive qualities in Sherman’s appropriation of this portrait, if any exist. Do you agree with the author’s reasons for the literal character of this portrait?
9. Do you feel that copies of “masterpieces” have power over their prototypes?

Cindy Sherman and the Anti-Self

Hande will be our guide for this very interesting article on Cindy Sherman’s work. One of my very favorite quotes about Greece is that it is like a mirror, for first one suffers and then one learns. This article reminded me of that bit of wisdom.

1. Though Cindy Sherman titles and exhibits her works as a series of independently numbered photographs, the author imposes a cohesive narrative upon this corpus of images. Is this just another cheeky art historian at work or do you agree with his interpretation of her “story?”
2. Why does her work constitute an anti-mirror and what does it reflect?
3. Do you feel that the author over-interprets Untitled Film Still #25?
4. What role has satire played in the work of Cindy Sherman?
5. What is the element in Sherman’s work that surpasses a mere parody of female stereotypical roles, etc.?
6. “You can still sense the quotation marks around them as Sherman essays to foreground contemporary types of femininity.” Discuss this observation.
7. In exposing the anti-self’s passivity in these images, Sherman realizes her own agency as an artist for she has unlocked the door to her unconscious. This is what Keats called “negative capability.” Do you agree that this is what occurs in Sherman’s portrayal of powerless women?
8. In the darkest photographs that Sherman produces, with women truly on the edge, looking like recent patients in a psychiatric ward, the artist becomes the nightmare. How does Johnson characterize these works?
9. What in the final analysis is the role of art?

Seduction and Mass Consumption in Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere!

Selling Seduction in Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Morgan will be our guide on this article, which I found very interesting in light of our previous readings on the gaze and women in frames and the commodity culture of the 15th-century. Just a few queries:

1. In what various media does the author trace the appearance of the discourse of mass consumption?
2. Were you surprised to read about the Salon in the second half of the 19th-century as characterized by the author?
3. What elements of Manet’s painting may be compared to contemporary department stores, expositions, and the novels of Emile Zola?
4. I loved Iskin’s characterization of Manet’s painting as an “urban still-life.” Discuss!
5. In what ways are the marchande in the painting and the artist analogous?
6. What is the role of female spectatorship in this article?
7. What is the role of the crowd in Manet’s painting? The viewer?
8. Benjamin’s characterization of modern spectatorship particularly resonates with Manet’s painting in my opinion. Do you agree?
9. Despite the agency afforded women as spectators/consumers, what role can they not avoid?
10. Why is Manet’s painting an ode to the discourse of mass consumption, seduction, and modernity?

Thinking through the Body!

It’s deja vu all over again as Gala will be out guide next week on this article, which I found very stimulating! Here are a few questions to begin the dialogue.
1. What does the author mean when she uses the term “incarnational” thinking?

2. We have discussed the “schizophrenia” induced by the counterpoint of Eve and Mary. However, the Virgin Mary is also rich in contradictory messages. How did the Medieval thinkers deal with the Virgin’s dual nature? The Catholic thinkers? The Protestants?

3. How did Feminists of the 1970s interpret Mary’s dual persona? And does this change in the 1980s and later?

4. I was so excited to see Bernard of Clairvaux in this article! What ingredient does he add to the Virgin? And how does Christian theology get around it?

5. ”In Catholic imagination, women’s roles exist along a continuum suggested by Mary….and Mary Magdalene.” Discuss.

6. The positive reading of the female body had numerous fans in early Feminism from Woman House to goddess cults. What happens in the next decade to alter this?

7. Is the debate between the “essentialists” and “deconstructionists” over?

8. Consider the works by the artists discussed in this article (Hannah Wilke, Barbara Kruger, (briefly), Renee Cox, Kiki Smith, Janine Antoni, Petah Coyne, and Lisa Yuskavage). Is there a “Catholic” sensibility that unifies these artists? Whose work resonates the most with you? Does Catholicism provide the “visual language for reimagining oppressive roles and assumptions?”