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Monthly Masters DiscussionMonthly Masters' Discussion - July 2018 - From Picasso to Pulitzer, Art and Violence

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Monthly Masters' Discussion - July 2018 - From Picasso to Pulitzer, Art and Violence

Post by minniev » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:54 pm

Introduction
Art has forever had its voice to address issues of societal violence. Photography, of all the arts, has risen to the forefront in this, and in the opinion of some has even gone too far. This month we’ll look at the very serious subject of societal violence and how it is expressed in both traditional art and in photography. We will do that by considering two very different artworks that have been considered masterworks in their own way: Picasso’s Guernica and Ryan Kelly’s Charlottesville, the 2017 Pulitzer prize winner.

Guernica, perhaps Picasso’s most famous painting, was created as a reaction to the Nazi’s bombing of the village of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, to call attention to the suffering war inflicts on innocent people. There are conflicting thoughts about whether there is a political message as such. Much has been written about the symbolism of the figures in the painting, particularly the bull and the horse.

The Charlottesville photograph captures a moment of violence that resulted when in August 2017 a Unite The Right protester suddenly drove his vehicle into a crowd of counter protesters killing one woman and injuring others. Unlike Picasso, Kelly had no time to plan his work: he simply had to react. Yet he did capture an intense and horrific moment for all time.

As I developed this concept, I chose Guernica first, and did my research on it. Then I searched for a modern photographic example for comparison, starting with photos that had won various 2017 awards, and decided on Charlottesville. When I began to do the research on the Charlottesville photo, I discovered that I was not the first to make the connection between it and Guernica, so I’ve included that comparison in your links!

Questions to Consider

As you study these two images, please do your best to leave your own political views on the back burner (yes, that can be difficult!), and follow the images as best you can. Here’s some questions that may help you focus your thinking.
1. What are the similarities between the two works? The differences?
2. Which work carries more emotion? Why?
3. Which work makes you think more? Why?
4. Do you think either medium (traditional art or photography) is better suited to tell this kind of story? Why?
5. What elements stand out to you in terms of strengths/weaknesses of either or both of these images?
6. While many people would probably volunteer to have Guernica in a frame on their wall, few would ask for Charlottesville. Why?
7. Have you ever made an image that spoke to a social issue? If you’d like, post it and discuss.
8. Do you think modern news photography has gone too far in trying to capture and present violence? Why or why not?

Links for Study
About Guernica
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-edi ... l-painting
https://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp
https://smarthistory.org/picasso-guernica/
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/arch ... g-history/
https://www.salon.com/2017/04/30/picass ... paintings/
About Charlottesville
https://www.npr.org/2018/04/17/60335197 ... ottesville
https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-04-18/ ... n-guernica
http://time.com/5242423/ryan-kelly-phot ... ttesville/
https://nppa.org/news/ryan-kelly-story- ... lle-attack
http://www.newsweek.com/2018/05/04/puli ... 90034.html
Attachments
guernica3.jpg
fair use https://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp
charlottesville-photo.jpg
fair use http://www.newsweek.com/2018/05/04/pulitzer-prize-ryan-kelly-charlottesville-photographer-890034.html
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:23 pm

minniev wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:54 pm
...
Questions to Consider[/size][/b]
As you study these two images, please do your best to leave your own political views on the back burner (yes, that can be difficult!), and follow the images as best you can. Here’s some questions that may help you focus your thinking.
1. What are the similarities between the two works? The differences?
2. Which work carries more emotion? Why?
3. Which work makes you think more? Why?
4. Do you think either medium (traditional art or photography) is better suited to tell this kind of story? Why?
5. What elements stand out to you in terms of strengths/weaknesses of either or both of these images?
6. While many people would probably volunteer to have Guernica in a frame on their wall, few would ask for Charlottesville. Why?
7. Have you ever made an image that spoke to a social issue? If you’d like, post it and discuss.
8. Do you think modern news photography has gone too far in trying to capture and present violence? Why or why not?
...
War is where the rich get richer and the poor die faster.

We're tribal by nature, and fearful of what we don't understand, so war is inevitable, and yet we have such potential for love. It saddens me that we are still at war, with others and ourselves, but there's greed, of power, of land, of money, so I doubt it will end.

Looking at the first I see anger, dread, and confusion, but I've never been drawn to or understood, surrealism so I may be missing the point. The painting to me is more like a madman's dream, and yet when I look at the photograph I see the same. 'Who do those shoes belong to?'

The first confuses me, who are these people and what's going on here? I want to know more but feel like I'm dreaming and unsure of the context while the second is more focused, more realistic, and sadly draws me in. I look at the faces and see the confusion, I recognize their pain. Some of this comes from historical context and I imagine if I lived in Picasso's time I would understand more, some of it comes from my lack of understanding surrealism and some from the fact that the photograph is sharp where it needs to be giving me the chance to empathize with the people in it.

The first question is hard for me, like comparing apples and oranges, they're both fruit but different. The same for two and three.

The fourth question is an interesting one as I might immediately say photography for it's immediacy and relevance to today's norms, but I've seen paintings that make me think, and I've seen performance art that makes me think even more. Oddly relevant, and off subject at the same time, I've been drawn to the artist Banksy lately and his political work, especially The Flower Thrower.
- Banksy’s 10 Most Powerful Works of Social Commentary

What's really interesting though is how many people are finding unique and relevant ways to express their outrage against the atrocities we commit in the name of someone else and their need for more. Will it ever end?
- Greatest Protest Art Examples - From Picasso to Banksy

It's unfair to describe the strengths and weakness of both when I don't understand the one and am drawn to the other but I will say color adds something to the second I wish I could see in the first. A bloody knife, a broken heart, something. In an odd way, I imagine a similar answer for why I might want one on my wall and not the other. The one is art while the other political commentary. They both have their place but the first is forever the second a moment in time.

I can't think of an image I've made specifically to a social issue but am intrigued to do so!

When I was stationed in the Philippines I'd watch the news and one night they showed a beheading. I was shocked and later asked my dad what he thought of it, he's an avid news watcher and hadn't heard anything about it, newspaper, television, magazines. This continued throughout my stay and what I realized is that most news outlets are sanitized to meet their viewer approval. I'm not talking about the so-called fake news, but societal politeness and a consideration for what the viewer would accept. I'm sure it's the same in every country for their demographics. I also learned another lesson while I was there - America is blind to the rest of the world. Don't get your panties in a bunch reading this until you turn on BBC, NPR, or any other station that doesn't have an American bias. There are horrors beyond your imagination happing every day in countries all over the world but American news is too concerned with the lifestyles of the rich and famous to be bothered covering it, and we're too buried in our phones to care. I say this not to put anything or anyone down, but more to make the point it's important who we listen to. Picasso said it then, Kelly now, but how long do we listen, and what are we doing about it?

They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and again and expecting different results. Maybe it's time we try something new, like love. S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Post by minniev » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:35 pm

St3v3M wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:23 pm
War is where the rich get richer and the poor die faster.

We're tribal by nature, and fearful of what we don't understand, so war is inevitable, and yet we have such potential for love. It saddens me that we are still at war, with others and ourselves, but there's greed, of power, of land, of money, so I doubt it will end.

Looking at the first I see anger, dread, and confusion, but I've never been drawn to or understood, surrealism so I may be missing the point. The painting to me is more like a madman's dream, and yet when I look at the photograph I see the same. 'Who do those shoes belong to?'

The first confuses me, who are these people and what's going on here? I want to know more but feel like I'm dreaming and unsure of the context while the second is more focused, more realistic, and sadly draws me in. I look at the faces and see the confusion, I recognize their pain. Some of this comes from historical context and I imagine if I lived in Picasso's time I would understand more, some of it comes from my lack of understanding surrealism and some from the fact that the photograph is sharp where it needs to be giving me the chance to empathize with the people in it.

The first question is hard for me, like comparing apples and oranges, they're both fruit but different. The same for two and three.

The fourth question is an interesting one as I might immediately say photography for it's immediacy and relevance to today's norms, but I've seen paintings that make me think, and I've seen performance art that makes me think even more. Oddly relevant, and off subject at the same time, I've been drawn to the artist Banksy lately and his political work, especially The Flower Thrower.
- Banksy’s 10 Most Powerful Works of Social Commentary

What's really interesting though is how many people are finding unique and relevant ways to express their outrage against the atrocities we commit in the name of someone else and their need for more. Will it ever end?
- Greatest Protest Art Examples - From Picasso to Banksy

It's unfair to describe the strengths and weakness of both when I don't understand the one and am drawn to the other but I will say color adds something to the second I wish I could see in the first. A bloody knife, a broken heart, something. In an odd way, I imagine a similar answer for why I might want one on my wall and not the other. The one is art while the other political commentary. They both have their place but the first is forever the second a moment in time.

I can't think of an image I've made specifically to a social issue but am intrigued to do so!

When I was stationed in the Philippines I'd watch the news and one night they showed a beheading. I was shocked and later asked my dad what he thought of it, he's an avid news watcher and hadn't heard anything about it, newspaper, television, magazines. This continued throughout my stay and what I realized is that most news outlets are sanitized to meet their viewer approval. I'm not talking about the so-called fake news, but societal politeness and a consideration for what the viewer would accept. I'm sure it's the same in every country for their demographics. I also learned another lesson while I was there - America is blind to the rest of the world. Don't get your panties in a bunch reading this until you turn on BBC, NPR, or any other station that doesn't have an American bias. There are horrors beyond your imagination happing every day in countries all over the world but American news is too concerned with the lifestyles of the rich and famous to be bothered covering it, and we're too buried in our phones to care. I say this not to put anything or anyone down, but more to make the point it's important who we listen to. Picasso said it then, Kelly now, but how long do we listen, and what are we doing about it?

They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and again and expecting different results. Maybe it's time we try something new, like love. S-
Thank you Steve, for a heartfelt and idea-rich review of this Masters' submission. I'm so glad you brought up the shoes immediately, because that's what I saw in Charlottesville. And then I thought how hard the hit must have been to throw people's bodies out of their shoes. Then I go on to find, in horror, the people...

Yes, we overlook the horrors that go on daily all over the world, but we begin to relate when they happen in places that look like the places we live, to people who look like us.

Perhaps Guernica does both: the abstraction means the people could be Us (or Them), and we go on a treasure hunt around the frame gathering evidence of the horror.

But both are saying the same in different ways, I think. And they call us to DO something to make it stop.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:52 pm

minniev wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:35 pm
Thank you Steve, for a heartfelt and idea-rich review of this Masters' submission. I'm so glad you brought up the shoes immediately, because that's what I saw in Charlottesville. And then I thought how hard the hit must have been to throw people's bodies out of their shoes. Then I go on to find, in horror, the people...

Yes, we overlook the horrors that go on daily all over the world, but we begin to relate when they happen in places that look like the places we live, to people who look like us.

Perhaps Guernica does both: the abstraction means the people could be Us (or Them), and we go on a treasure hunt around the frame gathering evidence of the horror.

But both are saying the same in different ways, I think. And they call us to DO something to make it stop.
I'm always please, and shocked, at the power of The Masters and all that we can learn from it.

Thank you again for another amazing adventure! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Post by Psjunkie » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:15 pm

I'm not very deep so all I can say is for me they both depict a chaotic scene....one rendered after the experience and one rendered during.....and I'd like to say I appreciate all you efforts in putting this together every month minniev

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Post by minniev » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:28 am

Psjunkie wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:15 pm
I'm not very deep so all I can say is for me they both depict a chaotic scene....one rendered after the experience and one rendered during.....and I'd like to say I appreciate all you efforts in putting this together every month minniev
I think you cut to the chase Frank. Violent chaos seems to be the central theme of both images.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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