Spring ’18 Blog Post #3

Spring 2018- Annotated Bibliography


Michael Ray Charles in Consumption. (2001, September 28). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://art21.org/watch/art-in-the-twenty-first-century/s1/michael-ray-charles-in-consumption-segment/

Michael Ray Charles shared in the Art 21 episode details and examples of his work as well as the major idea and themes that are reflected. Michael Ray Charles spoke about how some people view his work negatively and that he is perpetuating a stereotype of black face and other negative representations of African Americans. Michael Ray Charles wants his work to acknowledge the presence of this in the past. He talks about how history tried to cover it up and not acknowledge that this existed in United States advertising. He mentions the use of black face and other negative stereotypes in early advertising as a way to “reminisce” about the Deep South. How also in toys it can be seen. How Tarzan is seen as this positive, round edge, blue eyed figure yet the enemy is this black figure that is animalistic and rough edged and negative. It implies at a subconscious level that “black is bad”. Michael Ray Charles asks the question “what were we emancipated from?” He wants his work to evoke thought in the viewers and make people ask questions. He wants his viewers not to shy away from the past but acknowledge and not continue the same wrong doings.


Darts, D. (2011). “Invisible culture: Taking art education to the streets” Art Education, 49-53.

Darts discusses how he had to employ different strategies to make his student-driven approach to curriculum and assessment successful. He wanted to address the evolving realities of living in a rapidly transforming and globalizing world. He made his classes so that students were personally invested in the topics being taught. To make this approach successful he made sure there was framework that outlined the expectations and responsibilities of students. Darts strategies made for a very successful curriculum and assessment that was student driven.


Mitchell, W.J.T. (2002). “Showing seeing: A critique of visual culture” In Michael Ann Holly and Keith Moxey (Eds.), Art History, Aesthetics, Visual Studies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 231-249.

Visual culture aims to “overcome the veil of familiarity and self evidence that surrounds the experience of seeing, and to turn into a problem for analysis, a mystery to be unraveled (Mitchell 231).” The question is raised in the reading “Can visual studies be an emergent field, a discipline, a coherent domain of research, even an academic department? Should art history fold its tent and, in a new alliance with aesthetics and media studies, aim to build a larger edifice around the concept of visual culture? (Mitchell 234).” He formed a list of eight counter-theses of what visual culture is. This is where my understanding of visual culture was solidified. “3. Visual culture is not limited to the study of images or media, but extends to everyday practices of seeing and showing, especially those that we take to be immediate or unmediated. It is less concerned with the meaning of images than with their lives and loves (Mitchell 237).” Also, “there are no visual media. All media are mixed media, with varying ratios of senses and sign types (Mitchell 237).”


Van Laar, T. and Diepeveen, L. (1998). Chapter 3. Active sights: Art as social interaction. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co. (p. 51-69).

In the reading Van Laar and Diepeveen describe how artists are assumed into five social roles. They explained the myths and the exaggerations that went along with the roles. The roles are the artist as skilled worker, the artist as intellectual, the artist as entrepreneur, the artist as social critic and the artist as social healer. In 2018 it can be argued that art teachers today take on bits and pieces of all five social roles discussed by the authors. There are excerpts of this reading that I believe can be relatable to each and every art teacher, thier classroom and their students.


Wiggins (1998) “Promoting Student Understanding” Chapter 4, Educative Assessment, Assessment in Art Education, Chapters 1

The first chapter in Assessment in Art Education provides an introduction to assessment and the book. In Wiggins discusses the difference between knowledge and understanding. “Understanding is arguably the intellectual achievement we are poorest at improving- and not coincidentally, the achievement we have the most difficulty assessing ( Wiggins 72).” Understanding is central to all other achievements. Without understanding our thinking is constrained, habit bound, and borrowed. “Understanding revolves around rethinking- reflecting upon, reconsidering, and perhaps fundamentally revising the meaning of what we have already learned and what we believe to be knowledge or adequate account (Wiggins 85).”

Spring ’18 Blog Post #2

Ai Wei Wei “Sunflower Seeds”

Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing, China in 1957. Ai Wei Wei infuses his sculptures, photographs, and public artworks with political conviction and personal poetry, often making use of recognizable and historic Chinese art forms in critical examinations of a host of contemporary Chinese political and social issues. In his sculptural works he often uses reclaimed materials—ancient pottery and wood from destroyed temples—in a conceptual gesture that connects tradition with contemporary social concerns. He also employs sarcasm, juxtaposition, and repetition to reinvigorate the potency and symbolism of traditional images and to reframe the familiar with minimal means. He is also one of the earliest conceptual artists to use social media – Instagram and Twitter, in particular – as one of his primary media.

In October 2010 he unveiled his commission for the Unilever Series at Tate Modern. The work consisted of millions of porcelain seeds made in the workshops of Jingdezhen, a town once famous for its porcelain and now struggling to find its place in the modern world. Ai Weiwei shows what can be done to help communities like Jingdezhen through art. Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today.


  1. How does Ai Wei Wei critically examine contemporary Chinese issues though the use of his chosen materials?
  2. Ai Wei Wei incorporates symbolism of traditional Chinese images in his work reframed though minimal means. What is an example of this in his work?
  3. What is the significance of the use of Porcelain in “Sunflower Seeds”?


Ursula von Rydingsvard “Luba”

Ursula von Rydingsvard was born in Deensen, Germany, in 1942. She received a BA and an MA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables (1965), an MFA from Columbia University (1975), and an honorary doctorate from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (1991). Von Rydingsvard has described her background as influential within her practice. Born to Polish and Ukrainian peasant farmers, her early childhood was marked by the strain of living in eight different refugee camps over the course of five years in postwar Germany. She immigrated with her family to the United States when she was still a small child. In form, process, and meaning, she sees her work as responsive to eastern European peasant traditions (Stormking.org).


Ursula von Rydingsvard’s primary material used in constructing Luba is four-by-four lengths of cedar wood, a material that, as the artist has said, “it seems to be I’m able to speak through.” Von Rydingsvard stacks, glues, and cuts into these beams freehand with a circular saw—an intuitive process that the artist has likened to the freedom and creativity that many artists associate with the process of drawing. Luba is the first work on a large scale that von Rydingsvard created in solid cedar.  On one side of the main form of Luba, a delicate appendage extends down to the ground; von Rydingsvard has said that it is intended to resemble the arm of a mother cradling a baby. The lower portion of this arm, supporting its spindly reach, is made of bronze and marks the first time von Rydingsvard has combined bronze and cedar into a single work. Highlighting the handiwork and a physical, tangible connection to her sculpture, von Rydingsvard then rubbed graphite into areas of the surface of Luba, emphasizing the shadow and depth of the circular saw’s cuts. I have seen this work in person a number of times at Storm King and when you get close to the sculpture you begin to smell “pencils” which is the use of the graphite in the work.


  1. What is Ursula von Rydingsvard’s process when creating “Luba”?
  2. How does Ursula von Rydingsvard’s childhood influence her practice?
  3. Why does Ursula von Rydingsvard incorporate the use of graphite in her large sculptures?


Minerva Cuevas “Feast and Famine”


Minerva Cuevas was born in Mexico City in 1975. She’s a conceptual and socially-engaged artist who creates sculptural installations and paintings in response to politically-charged events, such as the tension between world starvation and capitalistic excess. Several of the artist’s works take the form of re-branding campaigns—exhibited as murals and product designs—that question the role corporations play in food production, the management of natural resources, fair labor practices, and evolving forms of neo-colonialism.

From early inquiries into the use of cacao as currency in the pre-hispanic era, Cuevas began to investigate the cultivation of cacao in present-day Mexico, as well as the surrounding conflicts and commercial interests through Feast and Famine. Among the pieces produced for this exhibition are 500 chocolate ears, made especially from a crop of native cacao, Grano Real Xoconusco. Cultivated in the state of Chiapas, the majority of this cacao as well as the cacao produced in other parts of the country is exported for consumption across Europe. This piece functions as the nexus of various investigations that Cuevas has carried out in recent years. Conceived as a playful essay, Feast and Famine is an interdisciplinary project combining different aspects of anthropology, product design and economics.

  1. What roles are questioned through the re-branding campaigns exhibited through the murals and product designs?
  2. Why do you believe the artist incorporates the use of major chocolate brands in her exhibition?
  3. How is Feast and Famine considered an interdisciplinary project?