Well, if you haven’t read the first part of this post then I recommend that you do, namely because I explore the history of the nude, and also how the concept changed in the early 20th Century as we moved from the public to the private space. The other thing is that I am running through is the idea of where the line is drawn, and what we would consider offensive. One idea has suggested as to whether the image is sensual or not, yet there are works of art hanging on the walls of art galleries for everybody to see that are incredibly sensual. The other thing is that we are probably much more relaxed with regards to the naked body that the British of the Victorian era were, who were renown for being rather prude.
There is probably very few things more controversial in art than the idea of the nude. Sure, artists have been painting, sculpting, and creating nude images for millenia, yet there is always this debate over whether it is right to display the unclothed human body, and whether we should prevent the young from being exposed to such images. The question always comes down to where one draws the line between art and pornography. Mind you this line is actually a pretty subjective line, and is also a line that isn’t necessarily set between gender identities – there are women who consider pornography to be fine, while there are men who are absolutely appalled by the industry.
You know, I could analyse some of the modern films, and in a way I do, but one of the things that I have discovered while spending too much time watching Youtube videos is that basically everybody does that anyway. Honestly, you really couldn’t believe how many write-ups there are of Tenet when it came out, and that is not to mention other films such as, well, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Yeah, sure, all of the established media companies will have multiple write-ups about them (along with reviews), but so will countless numbers of bloggers and Youtube channels. In a way, it is a crowded marketplace, and I am only one of many.
We were fortunate enough to have an exhibition of some of the works of Vincent Van Gogh come to the NGV this year, which has made me expedite my post on my visit to the museum that is dedicated to his works – the main reason being that I really can’t write a post about the exhibition at the NGV (the National Gallery of Victoria, which in my opinion is by far the best art gallery in Australia) without first writing a post about my experience at the titular museum in Amsterdam. The problem was that you aren’t actually allowed to take photos in the museum, the main reason being that because he is such a popular artist the museum is going to be crowded and if everybody were to stop to take photos of the paintings then it is basically going to ruin it for everybody. Fortunately the museum actually have posted all of their paintings on the web, so even though I left my notebook in my bag, I am fortunate enough to be able to simply go to their website and use that, as well as the notes I made on my mobile phone, as inspiration for this post.
Ah, yes, advertising – a pet hatred of mine, yet it is one of those things that capitalism seems to need to produce in order to survive. In my mind the concept of advertising (and marketing in general) is to convince somebody that they need something that they don’t want, and to then make them part ways with an extraordinary amount of money to possess it. The other aspect is built in obsolescence, and I have to admit that I cringe every time I hear a sales person mention that the product I just bought will need to be replaced in around two years (though my laptop is currently four years old, as is my desktop computer, and at this stage I see no need to replace either).
Sometimes I need to be careful when it comes to asking my brother which museum that I would like to visit because he ended up picking the World Cultures museum and I suddenly realised that I wasn’t particularly interested in going to a museum on World Cultures. Fortunately it turned that it was closed, so we then went to the next museum on our list – the Film Museum. Well, as it turns out the Film museum was much more interesting. However, at first a part of me was a little hesitant on going in, though I eventually gave in to my curiosity.
The annoying thing about my trip to the Leibeighaus (which happens to be the home of Frankfurt’s Sculpture museum) is that I didn’t end up seeing any of the permanent sculptures. Mind you, they did have a major exhibition here, and I didn’t actually make any effort to go and look for the permanent collection, and it wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered that there was more to this museum than the exhibition that I ended up seeing (actually, now that I found the photos, I realised that I did see the permanent exhibition). Mind you, it isn’t a huge collection and the only reason that people go to the museum is to see one of the temporary exhibitions – but then again that is the main drawcard for most museums, though the other drawcard is the tourists (and it can be annoying when you travel all the way to Europe only to discover that all of the Renoirs are out on loan).
Banksy certainly does raise a question as to where you draw a line between art and vandalism, but then the whole modern (or should I say contemporary) art movement that has swept the world theoretically suggests that smashing up a car (that doesn’t happen to be yours) with a sledgehammer could quite well be considered art. It could also be considered a criminal offence, and I doubt that the defence of “I’m just expressing my artistic ability” would work with any judge. Yet isn’t this what graffiti basically is – defacing somebody else’s property? Yet what if that property is public property, and what if the mural that is appearing on that property is actually really good – does it become art, and does the artist escape criminal sanction because they have created a work of art?
I’m not really sure if the four paintings that I have posted in the title are strictly caricatures, but they were on display at the Caricature museum in Frankfurt (which in German is the Museum für Komische Kunst) so I guess they should fall into the category of Caricature (because why would a caricature museum have such paintings on display if they were not caricatures). Anyway, I visited the museum the first night I was in Frankfurt and what was cool was that the concierge suggested that I come back at 8:00 pm (the museum closed at 9:00 pm) because then I would get in for half price – which is what I ended up doing, and while I was waiting I headed off to a pub that happened to be nearby (which was the plan all along, and fortunately for me, daylight saving in Europe stretches out to beyond 9:00 pm).
One of the things that I have discovered about the Singapore Art Museum is that it doesn’t seem to have a permanent collection. Well, I did find a couple of rooms with some artwork that could be considered permanent, but it wasn’t anywhere near as large as some of the other art galleries (or Art Museums) that I have visited. Actually, as a side note, it is interesting that they use the word ‘museum’ as opposed to ‘gallery’, which is what you tend to expect in the English speaking world. However, after travelling around Germany and France for about six weeks, was that the French and the Germans (and I suspect the Dutch as well) consider them to be museums since a gallery is where you go and purchase art (which is also the case in the English-speaking world, it is just that a Museum tends to focus on the natural world while art galleries focus entirely upon art).