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Michael Ortiz

Critique on the Arts

By: Michael Ortiz
College Now Course - HUM 1

Art is an expression, a unique form of an idea that holds many meanings and interpretations within. On the trip to the Guggenheim Museum, three pieces of art amazed me, not only for their beauty, but their meanings. One was a futuristic model, one was a painting, and one was abstract art. The process of critiquing art becomes natural, for it is the thoughts that pass through the human mind as one examines a subject for an extended period of time. Some pieces of art are easier to critique than others, for their details and innuendos to a greater purpose are not as hidden.

The first piece I chose, "Herault Culture Sport", is an all-white model of an administrative complex for the city of MontpelIier that hosts a library, a sports department, and an archive. My first impression was that it was a plain, boring bunch of white cardboard cut outs, but then I looked closer and realized the amount of detail put into the project. The main breakthrough in analyzing the piece was discovering the horizontal tree that is created from the clear plastic that binds the five sections of each of the two campuses of the complex together. Tiny white people, doors, windows, and grooves can also be found in the piece. The astonishing aspect to the horizontal tree is that it is formed by filling in the gaps between two campuses that are mirror images of each other. The model is made of white cardboard and Perspex (clear plastic material). The meaning behind this piece is that something that appears plain at first can be very complex and grandiose in detail, and that you can't judge something by a simple glance of the eye.

Most people associate paintings with classical works such as the "Mona Lisa", but the painting I critiqued was far from classical. "Visions for Madrid" is a piece composed of four separate paintings that come together to form a huge, intimidating, abstract picture. The four paintings, Orange Explosion on White, Orange Explosion on Black, Multicolor on White, and Small Black Explosion, are all made of acrylic on cartridge paper. This piece was created by Zaha Hadid as his plan for the eastward expansion for the city of Madrid. The westward expansion is limited by the Manzanares River, and the highway to the East would serve as a path for expansion. The two pictures on top were white, and the two on the bottom were black, resembling the difference between good and bad. There was fIre present in all four pictures, showing that this was an explosive thought. In the image as a whole, there is a huge contact lens that is facing right (eastward), and there is a syringe touching the lens, trying to make the vision clearer. An aerial view of building can be seen in the upper right picture, yet there are also blobs of color in that picture, resembling a hazy future. In short, this picture portrays the difficulty in trying to plan the expansion for something as vast as a city.

Today, new innovations towards the perfect night's sleep are being invented and marketed, such as the Temperpedic Swedish Sleep System. Mattresses of today are more comfortable than ever, and they add to the comfort of the home. Jim Dine wanted to mock society's views of a "Happy Home" during the 1960's, so he found a rusty bedspring, which he used as a canvas for his artwork, and violently inserted garbage into the coils. "Bedspring" is an abstract art model that is a grotesque site to any museum visitor. In the bedspring, one may find painted debris such as tissues, cloth, rug pieces, boards, masks, a bowtie, a light bulb, aluminum foil, and papers. There are also three candles atop the mattress, giving the bedspring a sense of an alter piece on the wall. The three dimensional site may make one uncomfortable at night as they lay atop their very own bedspring mattress! The message in this piece is that what may seem attractive on the outside may be unattractive on the inside, just like a beautiful person with a nasty attitude.

Henceforth, artwork is a form of expression that holds many meanings and interpretations within. After traveling to the Guggenheim Museum, I've realized that critiquing art is not a learned skill, rather the way your mind interprets a piece and discovers its hidden meanings and messages through extended analysis. "Herault Culture Sport", "Visions for Madrid", and "Bedspring", are three examples of how artwork holds messages from the artist to the viewer. Artwork plays a major role in the influence on human culture.