Bookiyo-e: The Nue Monster

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, The Nue Monster, the End, 1852
Bookiyo-e
By TROY WORKMAN

Nue is one of the oldest recorded ghosts in Japanese history. Being first documented in 712 CE, the Nue has the head of a monkey, the legs of a tiger, the torso of a racoon, and a snake as the tail. Nue's most famous appearance happens when Emperor Konoe begins to have nightmares about this creature, and out of stress, grew very sick. His illness was attributed to the evil spirit that visited his dreams, because medicine could not cure him. A few days later, a massive storm gathered over the emperor's palace, as seen above. Lightning caught the thatch roof on fire, and Emperor Konoe summoned his best samurai, Minamoto no Yorimasa, to eliminate the Nue. Yorimasa brought along his retainer I no Hayata, and his legendary bow to kill the monster. Soon, a gust of wind blew over the palace, and a giant black cloud followed. Yorimasa shot an arrow into the cloud, a horrible scream sounded, and out fell the wounded Nue, plummeting to the ground. I no Hayata climbed on its body and cut the monster down with his sword, killing it instantly. Emperor Konoe instantaneously recovered from his illness, and rewarded the valiant warriors with a legendary sword.
  • 7:00 AM

Bookiyo-e: The Sailor Tokuso and the Sea Monster

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, The Sailor Tokuso and the Sea Monster, 1830

Bookiyo-e
By TROY WORKMAN

The Japanese name for this sea monster is Umibōzu, or "sea monk," hence the bald head. Umibōzu are said to sink the ships of anyone who dares talk to it. They appear out of nowhere, usually approaching in calm waters, but when they surface, raging waves and storms instantly accumulate. Umibōzu typically try to smash the hulls of the ships with its long arms, but depending on the size, it may use other methods. These monsters ared categorize as demonic ghosts, because it is an accumulation of many different souls. They are thought to be made of drowned priests, due to the shaven head, and usually appear to be praying. These priests were usually thrown into the sea by angry villagers. 

Because of their terrible deaths, the priest's souls seek vengeance by drowning people. Others belive that Umibōzu are made up of souls who have no one to maintain their graves, as they take refuge at sea. Their bodies are described as cloud-like, and often have serpentine limbs or tentacles. If the Umibōzu is angered, it will ask for a ladle or a barrel. which it will then continue to fill up with water to drown the boat. In order to survive the Umibōzu, one must provide a bottomless ladle or barrel, so the water will pour out before it sinks the boat.
  • 7:00 AM

Bookiyo-e: Okiku the Ghost Emerging from the Well

Katsushika Hokusai, Okiku the Well Ghost, 1830
Bookiyo-e
By TROY WORKMAN

Okiku's story has quite a long history but its origins are unknown. The story first became popular in 1741, due to the ningyō jōruri, or puppet show, adaption. Later on in the mid-19th century, it became a well known play in Kabuki theaters all over Japan. The most popular adaptation of Okiku's story follows the roots of the original puppet show. It begins in Himeji Castle, with the reigning lord Hosokawa Katsumoto falling dangerously ill. Katsumoto's heir to the throne, Tomonosuke, plans to win the Shogun's favor in order to ensure his accession to power by sending a set of 10 priceless plates. However, Tomonosuke's chief retainer, Tetsuzan, wants to assume control by eliminating Tomonosuke. On top of that, Tomonosuke's lower retainer, Taketsune, is preparing to marry Okiku, then a lady in waiting. Tetsuzan successfully steals one of the precious plates, and orders Okiku to bring him the box of plates in his private quarters. There he attempts to seduce Okiku, but she refuses due to her love for Taketsune. 

After Okiku rejects him, he tells her to count the plates and she only counts nine. Tetsuzan then blames her of theft, and traditionally the punishment for stealing those rare plates was execution. He then tries to offer to lie for her if she becomes his mistress, but again she refuses. Tetsuzan then begins beating her with a wooden sword. He binds her up and suspends her above the well. Enjoying her torture, he lowers her into the water and hoists her back up and continues to beat her with the wooden sword. On the final try, Tetsuzan commands Okiku to assist in the murder of Tomonosuke and to become his mistress. Okiku refuses and then Tetsuzan then strikes her with his actual sword which sends her body plummeting down into the well. As Tetsuzan is wiping the blood from his sword, he hears counting from one to nine coming for the well. Okiku's ghost rises out of the well as Tetsuzan stares at her with scorn.

Okiku's body in this print consists of the nine plates that sealed her fate. In other adaptations, Okiku's ghost torments her killer by wandering the house and counting to nine, then letting out a horrifying scream on ten to represent the missing plate. Some people believe she cried out in agony because she was looking for the last plate but could never find it. In other versions, an exorcist came to get rid of Okiku's ghost, and when she began count to nine, the exorcist shouted ten before she screamed, and vanquished her. Her spirit was happy that someone found the tenth plate and she could move to the afterlife in peace. But many people also believe Okiku is still in the well at Himeji castle, and since it is closed at night, she may come back out and count to nine.
  • 7:00 AM

Bookiyo-e: The Fox-Woman Kuzunoha leaving Her Child


Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, The Fox-Woman Kuzunoha leaving Her Child, 1890
Bookiyo-e
By TROY WORKMAN

The story of Kuzunoha begins in the tenth century with a a young nobleman named Abe no Yasuna. One day he is visiting Shinoda shrine in Settsu province. On his way, he encounters a military commissioner who is hunting foxes for their livers, which are used in traditional medicine. Yasuna decides to fight the hunter and wins, but is wounded in the process. Immediately after his victory, he sets a white fox free from a trap the hunter set. Shortly after, a beautiful woman named Kuzunoha comes and tends to his wounds and helps him home. Without Yasuna knowing, this woman is the same white fox he set free.
In Japanese myth, foxes are able to shapeshift into human form with the use of different leaves on their heads for transformation, hence "Kuzu" or Kudzu leaf, from her name "Kuzunoha." Yasuna falls in love with Kuzunoha and then they later marry. She bears him a child named Abe no Seimei, who later becomes a prominent onmyooji, or spiritual astrologist for the Emperor. Several years later Kuzunoha is viewing some chrysanthemums and Seimei sees the tip of her tail. After her true identity is revealed, she prepares to depart back to the forest. Before she leaves, she writes a farewell poem on a screen, asking her husband to come visit her in Shinoda forest, where he first saved her. Yasuna and Seimei search for her and she appears to them in the form of a fox. Kuzunoha then reveals that she is the kami, or God, of Shinoda shrine and bestows upon Seimei a gift of being able to comprehend the language of beasts. Abe no Seimei cured Emperor Toba of a special spell cast by Tamamo no Mae, the Emperor's favorite concubine. Tamamo no Mae was supposedly a nine tail fox herself. 


Relative to Japanese mythology, foxes often are portrayed as malicious and dangerous. But the fox is also revered as guardians of the rice crop and also the messenger of the god of harvests, Inari. It is said that when a fox turns 100 years old, it can not only assume human form, but can possess humans as well. When a fox turns 1000, it will turn gold, and grow nine tails.



  • 7:00 AM

Bookiyo-e: The Ghost of Oiwa

Katsushika Hokusai, The Ghost of Oiwa, 1831

Bookiyo-e
By TROY WORKMAN

This print comes from the story of Yotsuya Kaidan. Originally a Kabuki play, Yotsuya Kaidan is one of the most famous Japanese ghost stories. The play starts with a young woman named Oiwa. Oiwa’s father wants her and her partner, Iemon, to separate. But Iemon brutally kills her father out of anger. Without Oiwa knowing that her father’s killer is her own partner, Oiwa then marries Iemon. Shortly after, another woman named Oume falls madly in love with Iemon but feels she is much uglier than Oiwa. So Oume and her grandfather made a plan to disguise a topical poison as a skin cream. Unbknowest to Oiwa, she applies the poison, and her skin begins to scar. Iemon sees her horrifying appearance, and asks his friend to rape Oiwa so he has an excuse to divorce her. Iemon’s friend couldn't carry through with it, so instead he showed Oiwa her own reflection in a mirror. Upon seeing her reflection, Oiwa grabbed a knife and ran towards the door. Iemon’s friend tried to grab her but she falls and the tip of the knife pierces her throat. As Oiwa bleeds out, she curses Iemon. After her death, Iemon marries Oume, and on their wedding night, Oiwa’s ghost appears and tricks Iemon into slaying both Oume and her grandfather. 

Oiwa’s body is said to be buried at the Myogyo-ji Temple in Tokyo. Since this ghost story has accumulated so much fame since its Kabuki debut in 1825, there have been many different adaptations, in the form of television shows and films. Reports of mysterious accidents and even deaths have occurred on the set of these modern works, leading to the now ritual trip to Oiwa’s burial site at Myogyo-ji Temple, to ask permission for their production. The permission from Oiwa is thought to be paramount for the actor who portrays her. Oiwa’s spirit is known as a onryō, or a ghost who seeks vengeance. The way Oiwa is able to bridge her way back to Earth is her undying zeal for revenge. Usually Oiwa would be depicted as wearing a white burial kimono, long unkempt hair with patches missing from the poison, and her eye at a drooping slanted angle due to the burns of the poison. 

The story of Oiwa carries a powerful message. "What comes around goes around." In the end of the play, Iemon tries to find solace in a remote island off the coast. Instead of finding tranquility, Oiwa follows him and merges Iemon’s dream world with reality. He quickly spirals out of control and into a vortex of insanity. Iemon’s friend comes looking and finds him in the forests, and recognizes his insanity. Out of disgust and compassion, his friend kills Iemon with his sword. Oiwa’s strength after death greatly surpasses her power in her past life. Not only does she get her revenge on Iemon, she transforms him from the tormentor into the tormented.

  • 7:00 AM

Dance Valley

Dance Valley, Andreas Gursky, 1995
By LIBBY ROHR

You can feel it in your bones, lungs, muscles, and your brain. Your heart seems to vibrate with the beat, reverberating out of industrial-sized speakers so loud the earth seems to tremble where you stand. An earthquake of beauty in music shaking you alive again. It smells like alcohol, smoke, perfume, and sweat. The air is congested from all the bodies, the heat, and occasionally the fog machine. No matter where you look, there are people, in a swarm all around you, bouncing in waves with the beat, all vibrating, hearts beating to the same feeling as you. It's a collective experience, probably the most uniting experience we can get in this life. Now imagine it here, at Dance Valley in the Netherlands, at the first installment of the festival that continues to today. On the 23rd of July in 1995, at this first show, eight-thousand people showed up to the massive concert that would one day be nicknamed the "Woodstock of Dance." Amongst these eight-thousand was german photographer Andreas Gursky, in one of the most actively global periods in his work.

Born in East Germany in 1955, Gursky's father was a commercial photographer and they spent much of his childhood moving from place to place. After attending art school, he began working under Bernd and Hilla Becher who inspired much of his style throughout his career. The Bechers, unlike Gursky, worked primarily in black and white, often photographic interesting pieces of architecture and design. You see their influence in Gursky's wide, landscape perspective, defined lines, and often subject matter. One of the first photographers to fully embrace digital technology to alter or enhance his photos, the composition and color in his photos is constantly captivating. Gursky's work gives a panorama-like view of contemporary life, ranging from photography of beaches, to office buildings, to mountains, to hotels, to rallies and even dance festivals. Through his travel, Gursky's work is truly Global and has discovered a level of compositional beauty that is worldwide. Recently one of his nature landscapes, Rhine II, sold for $4.3 million at Christie's, making it the most expensive photo ever sold.

Although Rhine II is undeniably beautiful, in looking through his work, it was Dance Valley that struck me differently. Unlike most of his work, composed in high saturation with crisp, contrasting colors, Dance Valley is relatively monochromatic in a way that appears almost sepia toned. In Gursky's other photographs of crowds, it showcases the individuality in the masses through color and sharp lines, but Dance Valley does the opposite. The oval mass of the crowd, encircled by the vignette of darkness, they look like a single organism, glowing in the gold-tinted light. The haze of smoke gives this photo an ethereal quality, united, turned towards one stage. Unlike so many concert photos, we see no performer. Instead, the subject is the fans, the dancers, the listeners of the music, the ones that determine success or failure in the first place. At concerts, there's a tendency to focus on the performer as the make or break aspect of the show, but in reality it's the audience. There's a saying in theater that the ensemble can either infuse the show with life or it can suck all the life from it, and in this case the crowd is the same way. Individually, each person is one in eight-thousand, but together they have the power to come together and ramp up the energy and create an unforgettable experience like this festival. Dance Valley might not be the clean-cut, vibrant photo we're accustomed to from Gursky, but the feeling of unity that this photo invokes creates a universal and incredibly powerful experience for the onlooker. This is Gursky's greatest talent. He doesn't just create a pretty picture, he encapsulates a moment in time.
  • 7:00 AM

Escape Into Life

Sigmar Polke. Escape Into Life, 2003
By REID GUEMMER

Known as one of the most experimental and versatile artists of the twenty-first century, Sigmar Polke creates a style that is both contemporary and unique. Polke manages to evolve his technique using various mediums while retaining a sense of individual purpose and intention. During Polke's five decade career he experimented with countless different mediums including drawing, painting, photography, film, sculpture and print making. He combined these mediums to create an impact unlike anything people had ever experienced. Polke's primary goal was to stay active as an artist, partaking in what he defined as contemporaneity and what was so essential to the creation of art, the "debate with existing reality."

Polke has the ability to produce exceptional art in any medium. Escape Into Life is just one example of his work extending boarders. Polke projected an image of women harvesting onto a canvas, using the image as a template. To achieve his own take on a pop art-esque style Polke traced the projection using dots. He layered the image with a watercolor finish, adding a depth and modern feel. 

An essential to understanding Polke's social critics is being aware of the content of his life. At the age of twelve Polke's family immigrated from Poland to West Germany. He recalls that the war stripped his family of both their belongings and identity, although the experience provided him with a blank template and a chance to create his own. He worked as an apprentice for a glass painter at the age of eighteen learning the lost art and later attended Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. There he worked under the influence of Joseph Beuys. Alongside his peers, he developed the "Capitalist Realism" movement. The movement critiqued American pop art and the mechanics behind the production. Escape Into Life, created in 2003, is a reminiscent piece of the movement. 




  • 7:00 AM

This Knee is a Royal Pain: The Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, 1485
This Knee is a Royal Pain: Disney Princesses & Art

By SARAH XU

Greetings, loved ones. Let’s take a journey.

Disney princesses: idolized by youngsters, teenagers’ love life aspirations, adults’ worst nightmares. A never-ending nap? A girl taken hostage by a beast? A girl with hair long enough and strong enough to climb? A mermaid that becomes human? A maid who marries a prince? Where did Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers, and the other writers get these creative ideas? Let’s take a look at some possible inspirations.

What do mermaids call their friends on?
Shell phones.

The Birth of Venus is called the "first large-scale canvas created in Renaissance Florence,” measuring six feet by nine feet. Unlike other artists, Botticelli used expensive alabaster powder, which "mermade" the colors brighter and more radiant than usual. Nude paintings were not common in the Middle Ages, but this painting was an exception due to the godly subject. Also, how convenient is the length of her hair?

On her left, the blue ocean represents the divinity Venus came from while the lush, green nature on her right represents the human world. These two contrasting sides shows her transition from divinity to the mortal world. On the seashell, Venus leans more towards the right side, embracing her change to the mortal world. Furthermore, on her left is the God of Wind and on her right is the Goddess of Seasons. The path of the flowers towards the right of the painting shows Zephyrs using his powers of the wind to push Venus towards Earth.

Is this a painting of the birth of Venus, or the moment when Ariel becomes a human? It seems like the woman has red hair and she’s basically emerging from the ocean. Also, she looks a little wobbly on her feet. Who wouldn't be after magically developing legs? One side of the painting could symbolize Ariel's life under the sea and the other side could symbolize Ariel's transition to the land of the walking. Off she goes to find Prince Eric!

  • 7:00 AM

This Knee is a Royal Pain: Lady Lilith

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith, 1867
This Knee is a Royal Pain: Disney Princesses & Art
By SARAH XU

Greetings, loved ones. Let’s take a journey.

Disney princesses: idolized by youngsters, teenagers’ love life aspirations, adults’ worst nightmares. A never-ending nap? Talking furniture? A girl with hair long enough and strong enough to climb? A singing mermaid with red hair? A pretty maid who marries a prince? Where did Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers, and the other writers get these creative ideas? Let’s take a look at some possible inspirations.

It was in Rapunzel’s name/nature to be a fan of puns.

When Lady Lilith was first painted, Dante Gabriel Rossetti used his mistress Fanny Cornforth as his model. A few years later, he changed the woman in the painting’s face to show another model’s face. However, the woman in the painting is meant to be a more modern version of Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who is known for seducing men and murdering children. In the painting, she does not have the typical Victorian corset, which exhibits her refusal to follow society's expectations. In the myth, Lilith is a powerful woman who does not allow men to control her. Her beauty attracts many men, which leads to the death of any male in her presence. The painting’s crowded, yet depthless space is shown in the mirror’s reflection of the candles and a garden. The background of the painting consists of roses, poppies, and foxgloves. The roses signify cold love, the poppy represents Lilith’s relaxed personality, and the foxgloves indicates insincerity.

With hair as long as Lilith's, clearly it needed to be brushed constantly, or it would become Tangled. The woman in the painting seems to be in a small room, perhaps located in a tower in the middle of nowhere. Although Rapunzel does not lure men to their death, she sure has the ability to. Rapunzel’s beauty and her luscious locks of hair would have gentlemen lining up, if she wasn’t hidden away. Lilith's boldness and alluring looks, along with her love for flowers are qualities Rapunzel just happens to share. Coincidence? I think not.
  • 7:00 AM

This Knee is a Royal Pain: Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid

Johannes Vermeer, Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid, 1670
This Knee is a Royal Pain: Disney Princesses & Art
By SARAH XU

Greetings, loved ones. Let’s take a journey.  

Disney princesses: idolized by youngsters, teenagers’ love life aspirations, adults’ worst nightmares. A never-ending nap? Talking furniture? A girl with hair long enough and strong enough to climb? A singing mermaid with red hair? A pretty maid who marries a prince? Where did Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers, and the other writers get these creative ideas? Let’s take a look at some possible inspirations. 

Why was Cinderella thrown off the basketball team? 
She kept running away from the ball. 

From servant girl to a princess, Cinderella is the classic rags to riches story. Why was Cinderella's iconic ballgown blue? Yep, that's right. Writers were inspired by the blue cloth the maid holds in the painting. Lo and behold, what is that sound? That’s the royal carriage pulling up to the house! The maid’s yearns to be out there, to be trying on that slipper that she knows will be a perfect fit. But, how will she get past her evil stepmother?

Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid was the first time Johannes Vermeer used centrifugal composition. The painting’s focus is not just from the center of the canvas. However, many of Vermeer’s usual styles are seen in this painting. Vermeer thoroughly enjoyed the inside/outside axis of interior spaces, tiled floors, and verticals (shown in the dresses, window frame, and the painting on the wall).

In this painting, the maid most likely delivered the love letters between the woman and her lover. The maid and her employer’s postures hints that they are disconnected. The maid’s crossed arms shows detachment and impatience, while her gaze towards the window shows restlessness. However, art historians believe the maid and her employer have some sort of a relationship due to the very presence of the maid while the woman writes the love letter. Although Cinderella had a tense relationship with her stepmother and stepsisters, family was family and there was always some level of intimacy between them. Well, if the shoe fits... 
  • 7:00 AM

This Knee is a Royal Pain: The Birth of Venus

Alexandre Cabanel, The Birth of Venus, 1863
This Knee is a Royal Pain: Disney Princesses & Art
By SARAH XU

Greetings, loved ones. Let’s take a journey.

Disney princesses: idolized by youngsters, teenagers’ love life aspirations, adults’ worst nightmares. A never-ending nap? A girl taken hostage by a beast? A girl with hair long enough and strong enough to climb? A mermaid that becomes human? A maid who marries a prince? Where did Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers, and the other writers get these creative ideas? Let’s take a look at some possible inspirations.

Advertisement: Beau Tea - Waking princesses up since 1959

Painted in 1863, it is a short 96 years before the creation of Sleeping Beauty in 1959. The three cherubs directly about Venus represent the three fairies in Sleeping Beauty, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, fretting over Sleeping Beauty. The far left cherub stealthily flying away depicts Maleficent content with her actions. She will soon be followed by her raven accomplice, who is presently occupied with a seashell.

The Birth of Venus is based off of the myth of Venus's creation from sea-foam. The light colors of the sfumato technique Cabanel used helps glorify and draw attention to her beauty. However, the painting is lacking the notorious dolphins and her chariot shell. Some critics believe the moment painted is the moment directly after her birth, so the chariot shell and the dolphins have yet to arrive. At the time, nude paintings caused an uproar, shown in the negative reactions to Olympia painted by Edouard Manet. Manet’s painting was painted the same year as The Birth of Venus and also had a similar composition, yet Manet received much more criticism. Venus’s popular myth, along with her relaxed stare and pose produced a painting that was acceptable for viewers, since painting such a classical subject makes nudity tolerable.
  • 7:00 AM

This Knee is a Royal Pain: Young Girl Reading

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Young Girl Reading, 1776
This Knee is a Royal Pain: Disney Princesses & Art
By SARAH XU

Greetings, loved ones. Let’s take a journey.

Disney princesses: idolized by youngsters, teenagers’ love life aspirations, adults’ worst nightmares. A never-ending nap? Talking furniture? A girl with hair long enough and strong enough to climb? A singing mermaid with red hair? A pretty maid who marries a prince? Where did Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers, and the other writers get these creative ideas? Let’s take a look at some possible inspirations. 

What is Belle’s favorite fast food restaurant? 
Taco Belle

A girl in a yellow dress reading? Does that ring a belle? What would one do when captured by a beast and is locked away in a mansion? Why, of course! Read! A yellow dress? Seems a little bit risky for a princess, but by 1991, all the other dress colors have been taken. If this girl in the painting can pull it off, why not give it a try? 

A Young Girl Reading is part of a series of young girls created by Fragonard called portraits de fantaisie (imaginary portraits) that changed the existing conventions of portraiture. First, Fragonard could finish an entire portrait in an hour. However, his portraits were all very similar. They consisted of half-length single figures on canvases of the same size. His stunning paintings changed the standards of portraiture. 

Fragonard was most likely focusing more on creating a portrayal of everyday life instead of focusing on recreating the model. X-ray photographs show that the painting originally had a different face and the girl was facing the viewers, but it was later painted over. The girl’s identity in the painting is unknown, but she represents the lifestyle of the upper class in France. The unknown girl has a pinky sophisticatedly extended while reading a book. Simply reading a novel shows her status, as the upper class trend at that time was portable books. The horizontal line of the chair’s armrest and the vertical line that is between the two walls offer a feeling of space and structure. 
  • 7:00 AM

Souls Aflame: The Burning of the Houses of Parliament

The Burning of the Houses of Parliament, J.M.W. Turner, 1935
Souls Aflame : Fire in Art

Curated By LIBBY ROHR


The Burning of the Houses of Parliament has been my favorite painting since I first saw it earlier in the year. There’s something about the violent streaks of fire and the shadows of the silhouettes against the inferno that keeps me from pulling away. The gold in this painting captivates me, as if the flame itself were a living expression of the precious metal. Even in the obvious tragedy of this scene, there’s something wild and freeing in how Turner portrays it, taking over the canvas and ripping across the sky and the water, untouchable. The shadow of the long gone Houses of Parliament looks so small in comparison with the sheer power of the flame. It imposes a sense of how small society is in comparison with the natural world. This force that we often feel has so much influence over our lives could be burned away in an instant.

Turner, uncontested as the most exciting British painter, was famous for his intense landscapes such as this one. His works were created in as violent a style as they come across, with thick swashes of paint and scraping edges. Forged literally in his blood, sweat, and tears, there is no painting that could convey the passion of an inferno better than a Turner, and therefore no better way to end this collection.  Split in half by the horizon, I love the way the fire reflects in the water. Obsessed with  natural disasters, this work is incredibly characteristic of Turner's powerful style. The fire consumes the whole painting, even leaving the darkness of smoke to hover around the edges of this work. One of Turner's greatest gifts is to turn this chaos into stunning beauty. Like the El Greco work I began with, the flame glows and shimmers throughout the work, unconfined and free. It touches the soul the way art is made to.

I don’t look at this work and feel helpless, I feel powerful. Yes, the figures and buildings are small and silhouetted, and I’m sure I’m supposed to relate to them, but I don’t. Looking at the violent brush strokes, I feel pulled to be part of the fire. I feel a rush of rebellion inside myself and the part of me that’s felt the desire to fight back against the status quo since I was in grade school. When I stare at this painting, I take it as a call to change the world because through that fire - be it literal or a metaphor for passion - can tear down in an instant. In an instant, nothing is the same.
  • 7:00 AM

Souls Aflame: The Battle of Cesme at Night

The Battle of Cesme at Night, Ivan Aivazovsky, 1848
Souls Aflame : Fire in Art
Curated By LIBBY ROHR

Here it is, the token war painting in the collection of works about fire. It's got it all. A massive naval battle, exploding ships, gratuitous billowing smoke, the cover of nightfall, a full moon, and yet there is nothing ordinary or average about this work. Ivan Aivazovsky was born in Crimea, and raised up with ample education for a working class boy. From his youth, he showed promise in the field of art and eventually grew famous for his seascapes, such as this one. He had a particular talent when it came to recreating the shimmering of light on water, so expertly exemplified in this work. At the end of his life, much of his work trended towards war scenes. It's the strength of nature and humanity combined at their most intense and most chaotic states. Compared to the peaceful glow of the Yves Klein painting, the last installment of this collection, Aivazovsky's work is everything it wasn't. It's the inferno we all know and in some ways adore. As human beings, a part of us is attracted to the power, the chaos, and the intensity present.

The annihilation shrouds the full moon, covering it from view, and trashes the otherwise pristine nature of the ocean. A mountain landscape is nearly invisible in the background. The clouds encircle the scene of war, drawing the gaze to the battle itself, and creating an arc-like composition. The intensity of this work showcases the emotion of the romantic movement he was a part of, and the perfect movement to include in a collection of works in relation to fire. At the time when Aivazovsky painted this, a series of revolutions were breaking out in Russia, which might have inspired his series of warfare themed paintings, even thought the Battle of Cesme nearly a century before.

Some inferno paintings showcase the power of nature, others exemplify humanity's capacity for devastation. As warfare has modernized, we as a species have tried to harness the power of fire and explosions. We see this in The Battle of Cesme at Night, the pinnacle of destruction lighting the night up in this electrifying red-orange. With debris, refugees, and smoke, carpeting the natural beauty of the landscape, it shows the pain of war and human recklessness.
  • 7:00 AM

Souls Aflame: Untitled Color Fire Painting

Untitled Color Fire Painting, Yves Klein, 1962
Souls Aflame : Fire in Art
Curated By LIBBY ROHR

Yves Klein was by far the coolest, craziest, bluest post-World-War-II Frenchman ever to hit the art scene. Most famous for his monochromatic paintings in his own trademarked cerulean color. This particular painting looks like nothing else I've ever seen of his. It lacks the same crisp quality and shocking color that I associate with his work, and instead invokes a calming feeling. Painted just months before his death, Klein's style changed as he shifted towards an obsession with the natural and fire in particular rather than his usual use of the human body. Even when taking into account of this change in style, no other work looks remotely like this in composition and color. Like so many of the other works with fire, it circles around the center. Organized in a way, but soft at the edges and incredibly freeing to look at. When I look at this mark of flame, it reminds me of the soft, flowery wings of a moth fluttering by a streetlamp at night. The purity in the white color is beautiful and ethereal to a certain extent. Unlike so many of Klein's other works, I would call this painting a true manifestation of peace in art. 

So, you may be asking, what does this blob of serenity have to do with fire other than the fact that it's slightly shaped like candle flame? 

It's in the amazing creation of this work. At this point in his life, in order to experiment with a new medium, he got access to work in a fire safety testing facility, and for the last two to three years of his life, most of his works were created, at least in part, through the use of actual fire to scorch his canvasses. Even in the white color, the burn adds a glowing color and texture to the work that attracts me so much to this particular work. The painting itself is soft and streaked and breathing like the best of the fire paintings I've chosen. The concentric oval pattern pulls your eyes to the scorched center and back out again, pulsing like real flame. What sets this work apart from the others is that so many infernos are cloaked in chaos and destruction, where this shows fire as a creating, sheltering force. Unlike so many artists, it shows the comforting, purifying, almost holy, side of fire, connecting the art to the soul within.
  • 7:00 AM

Souls Aflame: Fire Evening

Fire Evening, Paul Klee, 1929
Souls Aflame : Fire in Art
Curated By LIBBY ROHR

Seeing this rainbow under the tag of fire, I was immediately drawn to the vibrant blocks of color, surprisingly organized in composure from the volley of chaos usually present in paintings of this category. Looking at abstract works, I’m always reminded and grateful for art history class, knowing full well that I would have hated this painting a year ago, unable to see the form underneath the literal. Now, I understand. It speaks to me differently. It took a year of work for me to be able to look at this collage of shapes and see the image of the fire underneath. 

Paul Klee took a trip to Egypt, the year before this was painted. The landscape is said to have inspired several other paintings in this stratified style. The title helps the audience to un-riddle the image. Through it's undeniably abstract, Klee still manages to evoke a reality. The composition of this work spirals around the one block of red in the center. It's a bit heavier on the left side where there's more change in color. The particular stair step pattern is almost Fibonacci-esque in pattern, in a way that's calming to me, like sitting around a bonfire on a warm summer evening, in the desert. The particular shades of purple and green are pleasant and gentle, but the intensity of the flame comes in the contrast. At first glance, the lines appear sharp and defined, but upon further examination I see they're soft and although separate, like fire these segments are also one.

Now, I look at this work and I see the rising and flickering of the flame and the vibrant blue that Paul Klee uses from his many horse paintings, and I see beauty in the rectangles. I understand the fire consuming strips of greenery and feel the heat from the embers and watch as the purple ashes blow out and dissipate against the fading dark blue of the sky. It’s breathing. None of the shapes are perfect, and the colors dip and fade within their own blocks, as a real flame would, but it remains independent and strong. Vibrant and calm, warm against cool, but all united, like nature itself, in the cycle of creation and destruction.
  • 7:00 AM

Souls Aflame: Boy Blowing On an Ember to Light a Candle

Boy Blowing On an Ember to Light a Candle, El Greco, 1570
Souls Aflame : Fire in Art
Curated By LIBBY ROHR

"The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness."
-Joan Miro

As a species, we’ve long argued that fire and art are two primary factors that separate us from beasts. Two qualities all our own, one primal in nature, the other a part of high society. Both utterly fascinating and both decidedly markers of what we would call civilization. For my final project, I’ve decided to unite them in this collection titled Souls Aflame. The above quote by Miro captures what I hope to show through these works, especially in relation to how master artists tackle the depiction of the wild power of flame in a way that captures its essence within the capabilities of the human hand. By making fire a central subject, naturally we’ll come face to face with the most passionate of art in a variety of different ways. 

I’ve chosen to begin this grouping with an El Greco painting. What better place to start than with a picture of a young man, fanning a small flame? The fact that it comes from such an influential artist is just a bonus. Nearly 30 years after this was created, El Greco repainted this scene, adding a dimly-lit, smirking figure on one side and a chained monkey, a symbol of vice, on the other. This later version was said to be a moralizing painting warning against the dangers of lust, symbolized by the fanning of the flame. However, this original looks far more innocent in nature. Unlike the other, the boy's face is more round and childish, and his expression is that of simplicity and naïvité. In the classic El Greco style, this painting emits a mystic element that only intensifies with focus. Because of the angle of the boy's face, we don't see the big eyes and thin bone structure that we associate with his figures, but we see his style in the fabric and brush strokes in this work.

The use of chiaroscuro lighting enhances the mystery and intensity of focus for this work, as well. The color in this painting is a reflection of the flame. All other hues are tinted with the gold of the growing light so the entire painting takes on the sparkling glow. Yes, it’s realistic of candle light, but the metaphorical resonance of this detail is too significant to be missed. Ideological and cultural revolutions often come from this metaphorical place of the fanning flame. The symbolism of youth fuels the representation of ambition until it’s big enough to light the candle and exist on its own. Drawing from the embers of the generation before them, they make it their own and expand on their own inferno from the dying knowledge of the past. Simply in metaphor, this painting is incredibly rich. It's a revolution of youth in itself. Like any good revolution, it's incredibly captivating and conveys the passion and optimism of fire, lighting the way for other works to follow.
  • 7:00 AM

A Sticky Situation: The Sea of Ice

Casper David Friedrich, Sea of Ice, 1823-24
A Sticky Situation: Peril in Painting
Curated By GARY WHITTAKER

The North Western Passage does not exist and now you know, its just shifting ice that will pin in your ship and break its hull into splinters. The towering spires of ice draw the eye to their fractured forms. Only after some time does the eye wonder to the tragedy of the broken ship. In this painting, as in the Arctic, nature is king. The entirety of the subject matter is positioned in the middle third of the painting, emphasized by the lighter color and the clouds breaking above. This is one of Friedrich's greatest works, a foreshadowing of what the German identity would become.


Before the Franco-Prussian War, Germans were perceived as sign-song romantics, and for good reason; the most notable works of art from the romance period came from German hands. Poems, fairy tales, and paintings flowed out of Germany like Panzers into France. This image of German would be forgotten soon, Bismark and his Prussian staff would transform Germany into the Regimented Militaristic Society it has the reputation of today. Fredric's work sits on the boarder, it both romances and creates the image of destruction.
  • 7:00 AM

A Sticky Situation: Relief of The Light Brigade

Richard Caton Woodville, Relief of The Light Brigade, 1897
A Sticky Situation: Peril in Painting
Curated By GARY WHITTAKER

Charge, charge noble 600. No wait not over there, over there (pointing to set of cannons on the other side of the valley). Blast, they've charged at the wrong guns.

That was, in brief, what happened during that fateful Crimean day. Although, what can be expected of serving under inbred fools who purchased their commissions in the Royal Army? But, let us venture into analysis of the painting at hand. It follows the typical military hero painting guide: Cavalry, check. Heroic hand gestures, check. Stupid looking death faces, check. An inflated sense of what actually occurred, CHECK. The main purpose of this type of art is to commemorate a person or event of historical note. While the Charge of the Light Brigade did indeed happen, it was little more than a grave military blunder. The real impact came when the dispatches reached London. Public outrage at the officers involved soared as did celebration of the enlisted men. The Brits sure love a heroic slaughter.

The action of the painting revolves around the two horsemen in the center. One a British hussar, the other a Russian artilleryman. The white horse of the Brit forces the viewer to look at the one non-earth toned object in sight. Remain parts of the painting are rather dull, perhapase= good for funny little captions, but now is not the time to do so.
  • 7:00 AM

A Sticky Situation: Tornado Over Kansas

J.S. Curry, Tornado Over Kansas, 1929
A Sticky Situation: Peril in Painting
Curated By GARY WHITTAKER


"Go West" they said. "Everything is great out there,"they said. Well, looks like you didn't go West enough to escape tornadoes. So now your stuck in a flat desolate, soon to be dust bowl, where even the wind is trying to kill you. But you endure, you are the hardscrabble of America and its your job to make sure those soft handed bankers and city folk on the coasts have food to eat. There is probably some poem celebrating the glory of farmers I could quote, but I'll spare you.

Artistically, thematically, and subject-wise, John Steuart Curry is similar to Benton. The faces differ, as Benton's are less defined, Curry's have more depth and are fully seen. Curry's work also possesses the bending pattern of Benton. This comes as no surprise. Benton, Curry and Grant Wood are all hailed as the heroes of Midwestern Regionalism. An interesting note on Curry's artistic life is its similarity to Norman Rockwell's. Both did illustrations for various magazines, even working on Boy's Life and The Saturday Evening Post during similar periods.
  • 7:00 AM

A Sticky Situation: Into the Storm

Buchheim, Into the Storm,  1941
A Sticky Situation: Peril in Painting
Curated By GARY WHITTAKER


The storm is the least of your worries, while the North Atlantic has earned its reputation for storms that rival the biblical deluge of Noah, the Royal Navy still controls the surface. With His Royal Majesty's Navy guarding shipping on the surface, you must descend into the black waters to continue your fight. When a ship is spotted the Captain orders a dive to torpedo depth, at twenty meters depth the pressure on the hull is merely three times what it is on the surface. Hopefully the ship chasing you is not sonar equipped, but if it is the never ceasing sonar pings will have you on the brink of madness. *PING*... *PING* ... *PING* You must sit in silence, even the slightest sound could betray your position to the set of English ears listening to a hydrophone. When, when not if, you are found the enemy will start dropping depth charges in an attempt to blast you out of the water. These depth charges are simply bombs designed to detonate at a pre-selected depth, the water amplifies the blast resulting in misses still causing catastrophic damage. The only hope of escape lies in going deeper. The submarine plunges deeper and deeper, the pressure hull groaning against the water pressing in, already leaks have sprung from pipes soaking the crew inside. A dive can only happen for so long, at the quarter kilometer mark the worst can happen. 250 meters is the theoretical limit, calculated in a design bureau in Berlin and almost never actually tested. Should the worst happen, the water filled tanks used to control buoyancy will be unable to evacuate the water stored inside. With no way to evacuate the tanks, the submarine will continue it descent unstopped. Eventually the pressure hull will give way under 30 times the normal atmospheric pressure flooding the submarine. Perhaps the ship will hit bottom first, stranding the crew on the seabed, waiting to succumb to oxygen deprivation. That is all in your potential future, don't worry about it know. Just get through this storm.

By the way, good hunting.
  • 7:00 AM

A Sticky Situation: On the Moscow Outskirts

A. Deineka, On the Moscow Outskirts, 1942
A Sticky Situation: Peril in Painting
Curated By GARY WHITTAKER

It's freezing cold, you live in Russia and you just spent all day hammering steel girders into frozen earth, could it get worse? Yes, yes it can. Its December of 1941 and the German Army is twelve miles from Red Square. A sense of unique Russian hopelessness fills the painting. The rooftops of the buildings slope down to the far right of the painting while the ground slopes up, forcing the eye on the the retreating tuck. This truck is a clear sign of what come soon, a complete abandonment of Moscow. But there is still hope, the steel girders defy the lines set forth by the ground and roofs. They form both a literal and artistic bulwark against the despair of defeat. Lighting in the painting also adds to the story presented here. The German approaches on the left side of the painting is shrouded in darkness, both of the smoke of war and a warning of what may come to Moscow. The left is bathed in light, a sign that the workers paradise of Russia is still alive and ready to fight. But, the most terrifying prospect of this painting is the date, 1941. Four bloody more years of war are to come, Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk, Berlin and the post-war pillaging of Germany are yet to come.
  • 7:00 AM

American Infamy

Roger Shimomura, American Infamy, 2007
by LISA MAEDA

At our core, we are just people, regardless of our skin tone, ethnicity, or culture.

Roger Shimomura spent a considerable chunk of his childhood sitting within the confines of the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho. There, Japanese-Americans lived out their lives as best they could, boxed in by barbed wire and watched by soldiers. Their housing quarters were less than sanitary, and their food practically inedible. Many of the internees had mentally removed themselves from their home country entirely, so the prospect at being held hostage because of their ethnicity naturally came as a huge betrayal. Still, despite the inhabitable nature of the internment camps, very few skirmishes were had overall.

American Infamy depicts a shadowy, anonymous soldier watching over the community of Japanese-Americans. Unlike the edgy, anti-Japanese caricatures that Shimomura often reprises from the past, the people below are, for the most part, a normal community of people. There’s no fishy business to be had and no spies in sight (except for the American soldier, ironically), just an overall sense of community. The prisoners are dealing with the reality of their internment in all sorts of ways. Adults chat and walk about like normal, perhaps to ease the children who have taken to their new life by idly playing. Some, however, stare out past the fence with longing. An elderly woman collapses by her window.

Much like Shimomura’s other pieces, American Infamy is a deeply political painting. It criticizes American mistakes of the past, and recollects a shared human experience that we have since forgotten.
  • 7:00 PM

Irony of a Negro Policeman

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Irony of a Negro Policeman, 1913
By SAI GONDI

It's upsetting that this work possesses so much relevance in our current society. An issue circulating around all platforms of media and news recently has been racially-motivated police brutality. The issue has existed in the United States for decades, and in 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat gave the world his own insight on the prejudice in one of his most powerful works, Irony of a Negro Policeman. Racism subsists all across the U.S., proving the presence of racist mindsets in society seems inevitable. For centuries African Americans faced prejudices, including segregation and Jim Crow Laws. However, in the latter end of the 20th century and into the 21st century police brutality began gaining greater press in media. In Irony of a Negro Policeman, Basquiat is exposing the irony behind blacks in the police force. He disagrees with idea of those who dealing with discrimination joining the ranks of those who are guilty. 

The work incorporates Basquiat's signature, abstract styles. His background with graffiti heavily influences his works. The strange, violent nature of the work helps set it apart from various modern and neo-expressionist artists from his time. The scribbles dancing around the canvas seem unnecessary, but help fill the void space. Irony of a Negro Policeman situates itself among Basquiat's most notable works and social critiques. The issue of police brutality against minorities floods our media too often, and though this work was completed in 1981, its empowering message resonates in our society today. 
  • 7:00 AM

Untitled #21

Untitled #21, Cindy Sherman, 1977
BY MELISA CAPAN


Beginning her art career as painter, Sherman found the limitations in the medium to be frustrating and turned towards photography after the wave of American Feminism. Her series of 69 “Untitled Film Stills” determined her reputation as she flipped the camera on herself for various self-portraits. This series brought on international recognition. From Hollywood to ‘the girl next door,’ Sherman posed and re-evaluated women’s roles throughout history and pop culture. By leaving lots of her works Untitled, she leaves the interpretation up to the viewers. In fact, Sherman strives herself on believing her work has no direct message. 

Themes of sexual adventure and self-identity ravage the stills. Particularly in Untitled #21, Sherman stands as a small town girl taking on the crazy metropolitan city. This black and white photograph brings out the dark shadowy building and the newly-found seduction of the Big City. As she ran out of clichés in 1980, she stopped. The Metropolitan Art Museum obtained them for $1 million. Little did Sherman know that by simply standing still, she could revolutionize photography in her own way.
  • 7:00 AM

The Dinner Party

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1989 

By MEGAN GANNON

When you think of the feminist movement you might initially think of Susan B. Anthony, but in terms of this century let’s chat about Judy Chicago. 

Working primarily in the 1970s and on, Judy Chicago started out with minimalistic art eventually expanding into sculpture and collaborative projects later in her career. Her early works express her journey to capture the female orgasm with pieces like Let It All Hang Out and When Women Rule the World. Although provocative, Chicago is best remembered by her Dinner Party

The Dinner Party, created in 1989, reflects Chicago’s impressive artistic abilities with the integration of ceramics, embroidery, sculpture and painting into one cohesive piece. She creates a homage to the women of the world with an open triangle of equality, dividing the threes side by period beginning with Prehistory to Classical Rome, Christianity to the Reformation, and the American Revolution to the Women’s Revolution. 

Within the installation Chicago mentions 1,038 women, and 39 receive their own place setting with a plate combining the female form and aspects of the individual woman. In addition to the place settings, Chicago inscribes another 999 female names on the Heritage Floor, which acts as the base of piece. 

In art history you don’t see a lot of women, let alone the celebration of women on their own terms. By Chicago claiming the female sexual organ as her own and remembering those who stood against the hierarchy of men she creates the foremost piece of feminist art in the 21st century. 

  • 7:00 AM

Your body is a battleground

Barbara Kruger, Your body is a battleground, 1989
By TROY WORKMAN

In 1989, Barbara Kruger designed this print for the March for Women's Lives in Washington D.C. The march's purpose was for the women's reproductive rights protest. Kruger's bold statements with the sharp text, compliments the positive and negative sides of the image, symbolizing the inner struggle between right and wrong. Barbara Kruger's work throws controversial issues right into the viewer's face, forcing them to confront it at that moment. Her political statement frankly addresses the audience with the bold text, but also with the struggle for feminism in this period. Kruger links the bond between the woman's physicality with the modern day constrictions by laws placed upon it. This piece perfectly embodies her style of art, which is afraid of nothing, and will confront anyone who dares to look at it. Not only does feminism reoccur in many of her works, the idea of making the audience think for themselves makes her work worth looking at, and distinguishes her vastly from other artists.
  • 7:00 PM

Naked Man with his Friend

Lucian Freud, Naked Man with his Friend, 1980
By ROSIE PASQUALINI

Just as one forgets their coat until the cold rolls in, clothing has a redemptive effect on the human form which we often take for granted. Lucian Freud, who preferred the term "naked" over "nude," manipulated ideas of human dignity and intimacy in a manner reminiscent of his grandfather, the infamous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Both men, it seems, were plagued by a constant awareness of the body's frailties and shortcomings. Lucian's work reveals a self-contradictory love of, and distaste for, the human form. His subjects are uncannily vivid, glowing with the sickening brightness of rot. Their facial expressions straddle the line between peacefulness and death. Their flaws -- the veiny hands, the wrinkles, even those blackened toenails -- are as endearing as they are disgusting, and the man's nudity is unbearably striking when juxtaposed with his friend's pajamas. At first glance one turns from this painting. But if, as I did, you look for long enough, you cannot stop looking. The nudity gradually becomes less shocking until the clothed man seems like the odd one out. There is a strange and ferocious pride here, an unabashed affection. Ugly love is the purest.

It is difficult to exist in a human vessel. For many years I believed my body did not function or look the way it was supposed to. I respect Lucian Freud because he painted people as he saw them, not as they wanted to be seen. The result is deeply comforting. Though few of his subjects look pretty or even healthy, there is warmth in the way they relate to each other on the canvas. I do not wish to suggest that their flaws make them beautiful. This is simply false. But their interactions are a little bit beautiful. I read several articles about Freud's artistic process, all of which elicited entirely negative reactions in the comments. They were not intelligent reactions. Someone complained about his 2005 painting of Kate Moss, claiming she had a distasteful amount of pubic hair. Someone else responded with the YOU-CALL-THIS-ART!!!!! snobbishness usually accorded to abstract works. I have a suggestion for these people. I think they should go find a mirror. Freud's work is certainly grotesque, but it is important. If it  horrifies us to see the reality of the human body on a canvas, we probably do not look around enough in real life. Let's all take a break from our Instagram accounts and our overproduced pornography to check out some Freud.

You're really screwed up, aren't you? Your body is a transient wreck.

It's ok. I love you anyway.

  • 7:00 AM

Balloon Dog (Magenta)

Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Magenta), 1996
By ANIRUDH VADLAMANI

On November 14, 2013, Jeff Koons broke the record for the most expensive artwork created by a living artist when he sold his Balloon Dog for display in the Chateau of Versailles for a record $58.4 million dollars. This seems like a lot, but Jeff Koons'  work has been selling for astronomical values since the inception of his work back in 1979, when he released his Equilibrium series. Since then, Koons has found success in his massive stainless steel, mirror finished, sculptures.

The majority of Koons' fame came from his 1995 works called "Celebration." Celebration saw Koons begin to play with the idea of massive steel works. He began playing with mirror finishes as well. From this was born his first set of balloon works, the orange balloon dog and his tulips, now in Bilbao. These works gave Koons immediate success. He claimed his work had no secret meanings or ulterior motive other than the pure purpose of pure enjoyment. Because of this, his work has suffered little actual criticism. However, when the Chateau of Versailles bought his balloon dog, there was a lot of controversy and confusion. How could they put a massive balloon dog in the once palace of Louis XIV.

Despite the criticism, Koons still garners a lot of respect as one of the best modern sculptors today. While his works may not represent much, they are pleasing to the eyes, and my favorite works of modern art. Sometimes, simple is the most elegant.
  • 7:00 PM

Mother and Child, Divided

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child, Divided, 1993
By SARAH XU

"I have a lot of strong memories of religious imagery. We had a big illustrated bible and when I was young I would go straight to the crucifixion or severed head pages." ~Damien Hirst

When Damien Hirst graduated from college, he accepted a job in a morgue. He soon learned that the constant exposure to dead human beings removed the shock of death. However, even after spending months surrounded by dead organisms, Hirst’s hunger to learn more about death was not satiated.

Usually, religion is viewed as something positive and something highly respected. Viewers may see the similarities between religious pieces of art and Hirst’s unique type of artwork. Mother and Child, Divided is an accurate representation of Hirst’s thoughts about religion. The artwork contains one cow and one calf, but they are split into two and placed in four separate tanks. Hirst purposely left enough space in between the halves of the cow and the calf to allow visitors to walk in between the two parts and see the inner workings of a cow in all its glory. The mother and child are both separated from each other, but also separated from themselves. Besides religion, Sigmund Freud's theories also had an influence on Hirst's work. The unattainable goal of finding or keeping unity is a theme often seen in psychoanalysis.

Although viewers constantly debate if Hirst’s artwork should be considered “art,” Hirst believes the bisecting, and sometimes the skinning, of animals offers his audience the possibility to view things in a new way, but also as a way to create emotions scientifically. Hirst even commented that after the animals in his artwork have died and are floating in formaldehyde, they have “more personality than any cows walking about in fields.” Not only is Hirst’s artwork a danger to viewers vomiting, his artwork may have a permanent impact on the viewers’ health. The solution Hirst uses to preserve his artwork has recently been found to be leaking into the viewing rooms, causing the ppm to rise to 5 ppm (parts per million), which is ten times above suggested number. However, don't be a coward, experiencing Hirst's unique artwork is well worth the possible side effects. 
  • 7:00 AM