In a conversation with Newsweek, Andy Warhol was quoted as saying, “Everything is art. You go to a museum and they say this is art and the little squares are hanging on the wall. But everything is art, and nothing is art. Because I think everything is beautiful - if it's right.” While this quote can be interrupted several different ways, my comprehension of it is that the viewer has the power of saying what is and isn’t art.
On a recent visit to the SCAD Museum of Art, I wanted to visually communicate my understanding of art. For one, the museum displayed artwork. Additionally, I posed with the artwork; in which the very act of could seemingly be viewed as performance art. And lastly, my photographer, Erin, captured these poses wherein the photographs themselves become art.
Amidst this, I was able to view the latest exhibits at the museum. The first exhibit was Considered by Carrie Mae Weems. This exhibit contained a range of photographs. The first wall contained imagery that was slightly graphic and provocative. However, I felt that the variety of frames, which included circular and rectangular styles, and the arrangement of such frames upon the wall; helped to evoke a sense of welcoming. I was specifically inclined to her series entitled Slow Fade to Black, which included inkjet prints of African American female performers. The prints were soft and blurry in their appearance, as if the women captured were actually fading away. Such performers included Katherine Dunham, Josephine Baker, and Lena Horne. I thought it was compelling how quickly these women could evidently disappear, whereas in today’s media we are constantly saturated with imagery and the extension of everyone's ‘15 minutes of fame.’
The next exhibit was Selected Works by Corinne Wasmuht. There were large scale works of oil paint on wood. I felt that their vastness created a sense of triviality upon the viewers. Much detail was put into the layers of paint and it was fascinating to closely peer at the dimensions of work. Although the color palette wasn’t one that I was particularly keen to, my attention was drawn to the work entitled Oberbaum. It created a multifaceted surface, in which I could clearly envision myself walking into the piece.
After entering a separate small, dark room I was flooded with the presence of Cornelia Parker’s Rorschach (Accidental IV). The piece consisted of 70 silver-plated objects that had been crushed by a 250-ton industrial press and were hanging from the ceiling by metal wire. The objects appeared to levitate just slightly above the ground. The piece seemed to glorify what we often deem mundane objects, such as plates and spoons. It also reminded me of the scene from Matilda, in which she demonstrates her telekinesis by having the spoon feed her the bowl of Cheerios. In my opinion, this was the most fascinating exhibit because there was an entire change in mood and atmosphere upon walking into this room.
Then, I progressed to the last room at the end of the hall, which showcased Robin Rhode’s The Moon is Asleep. Once entering the room, there was a black and white film already playing against the back wall. The room was barely lit besides the film and the other walls were covered in what appeared to be large scale graphite drawings. After about five minutes or so of walking throughout the room, the film began to project bright, rapidly flickering lights. Due to epilepsy, I quickly covered my eyes and left the room. It was only after leaving, that I finally saw two small warning signs that gave notice of the flashing lights. Not only were these signs small, but also barely visible due to the fact that there is no light in the room and surrounding area once the film starts playing. I had wished that one of the museum employees had also given a verbal warning.
The last exhibit I observed was The Future Was Then by Daniel Arsham. This exhibit demonstrated a large majority of my thought process prior to entering the museum. The long corridor hallway is evenly distributed with various designs of an excavated wall; each having more open space than the wall prior. A viewer can stand looking through one wall in which another viewer may be on the opposing end. Thus, it seemed like this piece was more about what you saw in the frame that the wall created than looking at the actual wall itself.
Overall, my experiences with the various exhibits led me to challenge my thought process even further on the definition of art.
The SCAD Museum of Art is located at 601 Turner Blvd, Savannah, GA 31401.
Stay up to date with the latest exhibits by checking out their website http://www.scadmoa.org/
Photography by Erin Wyrosdick
Dress: Vintage, found at House of Strut