Posts Tagged ‘Art History’

Why in Art

When the usual Tuesday networking was cancel yesterday in prep for July 4th, one of the group member decided to visit the DeYoung on free Tuesday. Being an art history junkie, of course I went. We end up going a tour of Three Masterpieces, and then another on American Art. Interestingly, the docent inquire about our interest in art work (to decide which Masterpieces to go over) and what Masterpieces to us. To my own surprise, I immediately answered Aztec. The docent then later mentioned how people often thought of art as the western art, which is why the World art tour can offer a different perspective and is something that she really likes. Later on the tour, my companions mentioned that some of the native pieces are scary. While I agree – having a skull staring at you will creep most people out – I also like the creepy artworks.

Which brings the question, why? Western art definitely is what attracted me initially to art history class, and I never got Picasso’s fascination with African mask when I was younger as I was looking at his work on paper during my high school and early college years. But a visit to DeYoung sparked something. I think it is the same with my feeling toward architecture – reading about them on paper is great, but what constitute as great architecture and art… their true quality may only shine in person. Looking at the native mask and art on paper, there is no aesthetic appeal to me.  But seeing it in person? It struck me stronger than many of the “perfect” Western art. To me, I feel those native art are very powerful. It has a strong presence and a rich history. It is very hard to grasp that on paper – the old saying of picture don’t do it justice. If I am getting a postcard, I would prefer a beautiful Western pieces, as they are elegant in any paper medium. But in term of real physical objects, I think I may enjoyed a native art or pottery instead. Well, if it doesn’t give me a scare at night, that is.

Great looking at it in museum during daytime, not so great at 3 am.

Talking about artworks, I love those tiny adorable pottery. Wish I know how to make them:

Umm, maybe having a growling bear as an example doesn’t really matches the “adorable” image, but trust me, its adorable in person. The detail at such small scale is amazing.


Crash Waitlist Class – Mission Success! Get a Job? Also Mission Success!

Patience is a virtue.

Like last Winter Quarter, I got waitlisted for the classes I want. But like last quarter, I patiently went and sat in for all possible classes even if I got in one of my “ok” classes. And now, I got the best classes I can hope to get!

I sit through all the class section of Buddhist Art (the require class of my Art History Minor), and I email the teacher to let her know my situation: I can only possibly attend two of her three section classes, and I am waitlisted for both two. I know my chance is low because a) I am at the end of waitlist for both class, and b) even though I am a senior, I am not graduating (BArch degree is a five year program). But I am genuinely interested (Which is very true. It’s a class that studies culture, art, and religion all at once!) . Then I ask her to let me know if someone drop the class by the add-drop deadline, because I will add her class for sure – very eagerly.
Appearally, I make a strong impression with the email and presence in the class. She remember me very well and wanted to add me in the class because I was so patient about it. So I got in!!!

Once again, I am amazed at how well people remember me. I have a lot of people that I meet for the first time whom told me they always notice me on campus. We have a low Asian population in the school, but its not that low.

But then, I am only 4′-11″ and always running around. (My leg is short – it takes longer for me to get around!)

I also mange to get into a Geography class related to climate and ecology. The teacher pulled out maps the first day of class, which scared me slightly. But after the first day, I know it is going to be one interesting class! It will combine ecology science and cultural humanity together. He talked about the scientific aspect of the subject, but he brings to a more human-culture scale.

It is also a class that can be use for both the Sustainability Minor and Anthropology-Geography Minor, should I choose to apply for one of them. I am very interested in the Ant-Geog Minor right now. They have Archeology classes and GIS classes! If I can get into Cultural Anthropology class in the summer, I am applying for the Minor!

Unfortunately, that means I would drop the Soil Science class I got in earlier. That class sounds interesting, but it doesn’t fulfill any Minor requirement , and I know it would not be very smart to do 16 units with a job, volunteer work, and architecture studio unless I actually need to. Maybe I should try it for the summer?

So here’s my new schedule:

  • ARCH 453-03 Architectural Design 4.3
  • ART 318-02 Asian Art Topic: National, Religious, & Intellectual Movement
  • GEOG 325-01 Climate and Humanity

Also, all my job hunt effort is starting to pay off. I got a job in the school library. Those whom know me for a long time knows that I practically lived at the library when I was in San Francisco. In fact, I even got into the Teen Advisory Council in the Sunset District Library. It is the ideal job for a bookworm like me.
Not only that, I got an interview from the Library’s Information Technology section! I am not a Computer Science Major, but I have gather some computer skill over the four years of Architecture classes. I am definitely going to give it my best try. Wish me luck!

Michelangelo as a poet

Ever since I saw the photo of the Pieta by Michelangelo while researching for my high school AP Art History class, I know I was in love with Michelangelo’s work. It was rather strange. Back then, I had always consider myself as a 2D drawing artist and, of course, and architecture student (Yes, I was also taking Advanced Architecture back in then, with the same teacher that taught AP Art History). Yet, one look at that picture, and I was…  well, the feeling was hard to describe. I really wanted go to Rome at that moment and touch that sculpture. It was beautiful, serene, lovely… words cannot describe it.

The only other work that can make me feel like that with a mere photo was the Tahj Mahal. Those works are really timeless beauty.

But alas, I digress (Picked that word up from my current class, ha!)

So, back to my topic – when I saw a class about Michelangelo for GE C4, my mind clicked! I know I had to take it! There are probably other classes that more practical for an architectural career, but I really, really wanted to take this class!!!

And am I happy girl!

It is a new class in Cal Poly, currently taught by Giancarlo Fiorenza. As the class goes on, I am constantly amazed by by Michelangelo’s personality and his artistic career. But he is not only an artist, he is also a poet.

Much like sculpture, I have never really like English poetry. I like Chinese poems and songs though, so I know it was more about my language barrier.

Trust Michelangelo to break that barrier like his Pieta did!

I was just reading “The Poetry of Michelangelo”, translated by James M. Salsow. Many of them are about his love for sculpture. He praised and serenade to art much like toward a lover, and praised most lovingly. The one part that make me swoon over the most ends as such:

“Therefore, I can give both of us long life
in any medium, whether colors or stone,
by depicting each of these faces of ours;
so that a thousand years after our departure
may be seen how lovely you were, and how wretched I,
and how, in loving you, I was no fool.”

Strangely, Michelangelo’s real life personality is very prideful, always insisted that he never got taught from anyone. But all artist are strange, anyway.

Interestingly, my current favorite class, other than Michelangelo, is also a completely new class (In fact, first time to be taught in Cal Poly this quarter) call Indigenous South America, taught by Stacey Rucas. Living species, particularly human, are truly fascinating. Our life, history, and culture are forever interlinked. To study and see those connection makes those class memorable for me. Hopefully, my request for an Art History minor will be approve.