This totally makes me miss my roommate’s and my hamster.
Typically, I would never put the words “creative” and “responsibility” in the same sentence, except if I were saying, “creative minds tend to forget about responsibility” which tends to be true in my case. I always felt that creativity meant flying by the seat of your pants, rolling with the punches, and acting impulsively by doing what you feel is new and exciting at the moment (again, using personal experiences as a reference). Creativity makes your mind atwitter, and clutters it with flashy thoughts, that tend to cloud judgment and, whoops, forget about responsibilities.
On the other hand, thinking about “creative responsibility” in terms of making art, the first thought that comes to mind is creating what you feel will be the most beneficial, whether it be to an audience or just to yourself.
For example. Say you are aware of a country torn by war and injustice, a country clenched in the iron fist of a malicious leader. The people have no voice, and no way to help themselves out of their unfortunate situation. Their cries for help are muffled by their own government. As an artist on the outside looking in, it is your “creative responsibility” to create works of art that work in a way that makes people aware of the ailing country and its dire situation. The Third of May by Goya, Guernica by Picasso, or war photography can be a good example of what I am trying to describe in this situation.
One artist that really intrigued me was Victoria Vesna. She states that as human, we “seem more attuned to our wants than our satisfactions” (In the Making, pg. 284). She claims that the generation we live in now only exists digitally. We are numbers, we are databases, where has the humanity, the flesh and blood gone? In her work, she attempts to “create” time, to expand one’s lifetime. She creates smoke signals, shouts, and does whatever else possible to avoid technology.
The other artist that I really resonated with was Alix Lambert. She feels that life should be full of “real” experiences, once telling her students to go to a hospital and observe a surgical procedure. I too feel that life can be full of pomp and circumstance, and that we do not experience life enough. Life encompasses all ranges of emotions, both good and bad times. Therefore, if our life is only filled with good, we are only living half lives. How can we ever grow as people if we are only living half lives?
Both artists seemed to want to work with the concept of the human life span, whether it be to extend it or to enrich it. I feel a healthy dose of both of these artists would make for a rather fulfilled life.
Through all of the differences between the exhibits at the MMoCA, there were two that I thought related in a very subtle manner.
Walking through the Tierra y Libertad exhibit, it was easy to bypass important pieces. Most of the pieces were in black and white, and seemed to be mostly, if not all, prints. Without first learning about the background behind the pieces, I thought the exhibit had a feeling of monotony to it. I felt like all of the pieces blended together in a way that caused them to become the same print over and over. It was not until I stopped to look at the E. Pluribus Unum gallery that I started to, strangely enough, pay more attention to the Tierra y Libertad gallery.
In my opinion, the two galleries act as a sort of time line, a map of events. Made during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), many of the pieces depicted victorious scenes. They were not scenes of war, but rather ones that showed the Mexican people at their proudest moment. Some prints, such as Diego Rivera’s Escuela al Aire Libre, 1932, shows a young woman sitting in a ring of children reading them a book. The children sit and listen attentively to their teacher, as she passes on her knowledge. The print shows the everyday in Mexico, and I feel that it helps to communicate the patriotism of the Mexican people during the revolution. The same can be said for the print entitled Zapatista. This not only shows pride in the Mexican side of the revolution, it depicts one brave man going to fight for his rights, his country. The feel of this exhibition is one swelling with pride as the Mexican people are at the cusp of freedom.
On the other side of the spectrum, E. Pluribus Unum shows what happens after freedom is obtained. This exhibit interested me greatly from the start. I enjoyed how it showed different views of America from numerous artists. Looking at the collection, I tried to view it and gather information from the pieces as if I was an outsider. From what I could see, pretending that I knew nothing on American culture, I gathered that America was money hungry country filled with ordinary people doing very ordinary things. Yet, despite this, some people still seek refuge in the American dream, as evident from the piece entitled Un Sueno Libre by Juan Sanchez (1987). America as I know it is just as I interpreted it as an “outsider.” I feel that it has taken its freedom for granted, and does not see freedom as the Mexicans saw it during their revolution in the 19th century. After freedom is obtained, I feel our country got too comfortable with the idea of liberation, and settled into being a country full potential, yet not making a move to reach that potential. One of the pictures that lead me to this belief was Dassel, Minnesota by Paul Shambroom (1999). I feel the photo says a lot about our country. It shows the everyday functions of a country that no longer has to answer to a higher power, yet I get a sense of how our own freedom is taken for granted. Perhaps what would become of Mexico after freedom was obtained could have been determined by the E. Pluribus Unum gallery.
I found both of these exhibits to be very intriguing when it came to the human figure. I learned in my RPM, Illustration Media, that body language is very important in determining the feel of a piece. How the character stands, what he or she is doing, even in what direction they are looking holds an element of importance. In the pieces mentioned before in the Tierra y Libertad gallery, I got a feel of pride and nationalism from the pieces. The figure in Zapatista is a very good example of this. The man stands proudly, gun at the read in case anyone should threaten his precious home. In Dassel, Minnesota, I sense an air of boredom, as if the women would rather be anywhere else in the world.
All in all, it was a good trip, and I learned more than I thought I would after reflecting on the galleries from the MMoCA trip.