Friday, February 24, 2012


Mother as Coffee Table

 I can hardly wait for Moma's new retrospective of Cindy Sherman's  work, it should be awesome. I first saw Cindy Sherman's photography at the Women's Museum of Art in Washington D.C.  I couldn't help but laugh.  She has a wonderful wacky sense of humor, besides a mind of artistic genius.   I was enamored with her portraits of herself capturing historical figures and movie stars.  However, one of the funniest pieces I have seen her do is when she decided she would do a coffee table book and she literally used her Mother as the coffee table base with a sheet of glass on her back!  It was so ridiculous it was brilliant.  I wondered how she had talked her Mother in to doing that photo where she would not look glamorous to say the least and then I thought if I had ask my Mom to do the same she would have....with great glee in her eyes.  I think Cindy's Mother must have been like that, a bit daring and up for the game.

Historical Figures in Art
For people who don't think they will do well in art because of things they couldn't do well at first, and for art teacher's to remember to have faith in your students efforts and work-for we do not know where it will lead them this section from the Bread and Butter Magazine with quotes from Cindy Sherman about her early beginnings....

"Though primarily a photographer/film-maker now, her attraction to painting began early in her life; as a school-aged child she often created drawings and paintings. In fact, contrary to what one might assume, photography did not even come naturally to her; in the early Seventies Sherman actually failed her first undergraduate course in photography. She also has claimed that she never did well in Art History where she had problems memorizing names and dates. (note 5) Downplaying her art-historical savvy, she’s said,
I’m illiterate in the historical, classic knowledge of photography, the stuff teachers attempted to bore into my head, which I resisted. The way I’ve always tried to cull information from older art and put it into my work is that I view it all anonymously, on a visceral level. (note 6)
She really blossomed artistically after graduating and moving to Manhattan. In 1983, she recalled a pivotal, painting-related inspiration for her unique approach to photography: “I had all this make-up. I just wanted to see how transformed I could look. It was like painting in a way.” 
One of the things as artists and teachers of the arts that we have to get past is the idea of a big red X on your paper that glares at you.  Learning is not one attempt or two, it is a series of ways we try something, experiment and decide where to go from there.  I have begun to realize there really is no such thing as failure...we only stop trying.  Basically it is no more that something we decided should happen or might didn't....then we create something else or find a new way to think about things.  My how the world changed we man accepted it was not flat, or that there was such a thing as gravity...or though Einstein failed math he could still become a brilliant mathematician and scientist.  
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