The Exposure of Women in Art: Nude Seating on a Sofa

Amedeo Modigliani, Nude Seated on a Sofa, 1917

The Exposure of Women in Art
by EMMA SHAPIRO


Amedeo Modigliani painted countless nudes during his short life-time, but Nude Seated on a Sofa differs in compilation than most others. Modigliani typically painted nudes in the same fashion of a woman lying diagonally in the confines of a small space, legs eclipsed by the canvas edge, and an outline with a flowing and precise line. These features combine for a typically overtly sexual and erotic painting. 


Nude Seated on a Sofa has a more subdued sex appeal. The woman does not fully reveal her body like the other nudes, instead she reveals herself in the slightest manner. The woman does not unawarely expose herself shyly, but does so meaningfully, with purposeful power. Her gaze mimics that of the women in other Modigliani paintings. His woman have an appearance that exudes sexual availability. Modigliani uses his classic technique of filling in the eyes of his subject emptily. He does so in order to remove the subject's identity, evolving them into just a painting. 



The woman in Nude Seated on a Sofa does not appear motherly from her exposed breasts. She chooses to appear as a subject of desire. Beyonce stated that “woman should own their sexuality” and the model of this nude does just that. She said, “You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist -- whatever you want to be -- and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.” The woman in the painting allows herself to appear sexy, but in a strong, self-aware manner.
  • 7:00 AM

The Exposure of Women in Art: Pablo Picasso and Sebastia Junyer-Vidal Arrive in Paris

Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso and Sebastia Junyer-Vidal Arrive in Paris, 1901

The Exposure of Women in Art

by EMMA SHAPIRO

Victoria’s Secret model, Doutzen Kroes, received criticism from an instagram photo she posted of herself breastfeeding. She captioned this photo “‘Breasts are a scandal because they shatter the border between motherhood and sexuality’ - Iris Marion Young.”Mothers are ostracized in their daily lives because they occasionally publicly breastfeed. But as Kroes and Young question, is this a sexual act if they’re simply performing their motherly duties? People find offense in these public displays due to their inability to decipher a difference. While it’s fairly discernable that Picasso’s drawing, Pablo Picasso and Sebastia Junyer-Vidal Arrive in Paris, does not depict a mother breastfeeding a child, the question of sexual implications can still be applied. Must the presence of a nipple insist on the simultaneous display of a sexual action? 

This drawing does not look like the typical Picasso style, aside from the shape of the head of the man with the cigar and the abstraction and disproportionality of the bodies. In this drawing, Picasso depicts Sebastia Junyer-Vidal, a Catalan painter and businessman, at his arrival to Paris. Picasso and Junyer-Vidal met and became friends in Barcelona. Junyer-Vidal bought and distributed many of Picasso’s pieces, and Picasso used Junyer-Vidal as the subject in several of his works. The activity within the drawing is still questionable, especially after discovering Picasso and Junyer-Vidal’s professional relationship. It appears as though Picasso depicts himself as the man in the back smoking a cigar, and places Junyer-Vidal on a woman, reasonably assumed a prostitute. Picasso draws Junyer-Vidal’s body with the proportions of a small child rather than a grown man. He also depicts Junyer-Vidal lightly caressing the woman’s breast, with no clues as to why. The woman in this drawing holds Junyer-Vidal as if playing the role of a mother, but the way the man holds her breast invites sexual implications.
  • 7:00 AM

The Exposure of Women in Art: Girl with a White Dog

Girl with a White Dog - Lucian Freud
Lucian Freud, Girl with a White Dog, 1951
The Exposure of Women in Art 

By EMMA SHAPIRO 


The “free the nipple” movement promotes the ability of women to show their breasts as freely as men. Women posted nude photos of themselves on social media, but instead of showing their own nipples they photoshopped male nipples on, criticizing the legal vs. illegal nipple. The society proposed illegality of nipples arises from both sexes, in fact, women participate in the shaming. Miley Cyrus is quoted saying “have you seen those nipples?” as either a slam on Kim Kardashian’s body, or possibly complimenting her on her openness. Although many people insist that a woman’s breast should remain within the confines of her clothing, Lucian Freud openly paints the most disturbing of nudes. 

Girl with a White Dog appears highly explicit, but Freud might consider its contents modest. Although many artists glorify the nude, Freud chooses to paint the realities of the human body. Freud’s nudes do not acknowledge the “illegality” insisted on by society, in fact he defies any restriction society could possibly put on the painting of a nude. In this painting, Freud paints his first wife, Kitty, during her pregnancy. Freud’s paintings typically include a “psychological revelation,” this one having to do with the birth of his child. Kitty’s eyes stare off in a sleepy haze, not actually looking at anything. 

The presence of the dog symbolizes the fidelity, guidance, and comfort that comes along with having a child. Her breast can be viewed in multiple ways, either a symbol of motherhood or eroticism. Breasts symbolize motherhood because of their link with caregiving, but the sexual implications of the painting arise more obviously. People immediately link the naked body with sex, as well as her attire. It is questionable why Freud would choose to paint his wife in her robe, as if just completing a sexual act, rather than glorifying her beauty. Freud’s promotion of the freedom of a woman and her body does not coincide with societal views during this time period. He advocates for women’s rights to their body and self-expression through his art work. 

  • 7:00 AM

Westward: Hollywood

Thomas Hart Benton, Hollywood, 1937
Westward
BY REID GUEMMER

What better way to end our series on American expansion and iconic images of the country than to discuss Thomas Hart Benton's Hollywood. Missouri born, Benton shifted from the New York scene to portraying his roots and Midwestern life. Although Benton primarily focused on the everyday person, here he widens his scope to portray a vignette of behind-the-scenes Hollywood.

Benton's iconic style developed from his synchronist influence. He attempted to intertwine music by creating a fluid motion through his work, especially in the way he paints bodies. The signature style is achieved through the sculpting of muscles in a fashion that flows so naturally.

The rich colors and hectic scene show the scramble west. Beginning with manifest destiny, people adopted the idea that westward expansion was a right and one that they would take advantage of. The west represents the potential for new opportunities. Hollywood played a central part in representing the ideal American Dream, whether through celebrity lifestyle or what was presented by the media. The woman being the focus of the painting while there are other people working without much recognition parallel how, today, we focus only on a small group of people (celebrities) while most of the country goes unnoticed. Despite the chaos, the woman is still the focal point.
  • 7:00 AM

Westward: Stag at Sharkey's



George Bellows, Stag at Starkey's, 1909
Westward
BY REID GUEMMER

As a child I vividly remember a print of this painting hanging in our basement. Despite the violent content, it makes me feel some sort of comfort, given its familiarity.

George Bellows was born and raised in Ohio. He never managed to leave the country, although through much time spent in museums, he managed to achieve an European sort of style. Bellows can be classified as a realist, although throughout his career he experimented with loose brush strokes and color, which placies him in the vicinity of the modernists.

Bellows is primarily known for his various portrayals of New York, whether that be cityscapes or boxers. In this case, it's boxers. Across from his studio was Sharkeys bar, where organized boxing matches would take place in the back room. The matches were illegal, and that is where the name of the painting Stag at Sharkey's, comes into play. "Stags" refers to the illegal fights that went down.

Bellows quickly became a fan and obtained a member to the exclusive group of individuals who viewed these matches.

The angle at which we view the boxers creates the effect that the viewer is a part of the crowd. The peach skin tone of the boxers functions as the light source for the painting, and their sweat glistens in the well-lit ring.

By the end of his career, Bellows was known as one of the most respected American painters of his generation. Before pursuing his career in painting, he was offered an offer to play professional baseball but turned it down. Either way, Bellows would've eventually been seen as an American icon.


  • 7:00 AM

Westward: Empire State with Graf

Bryan Hunt, Empire State with Graf, 1975 
Westward

By REID GUEMMER


When people think of America, without doubt the image of the Empire State building comes to mind. The Empire State building qualified as the tallest building in the world measuring a total of 1,250 feet until 1972 when the Word Trade Center was finished. Alfred E. Smith, an investor and former governor of New York, wanted to ensure the titles safety against the Chrysler building by adding an extra 200 feet. His justification, aside from defending the title, for the extra 200 feet was to serve as a docking station for air crafts like the one pictured above.

Bryan Hunt took inspiration from the "photoshopped" pictures and created these 3D version. The piece is constructed of wood and silk paper to achieve the metallic look. It is one of eighteen in a series Hunt took on of similar aircrafts.

Countless images surfaced of the cylinder shaped metallic blimp touching the top of the tallest building in the world. Of course, this never actually happened. But by layering exposures a photoshop before photoshop effects is created. Although months after the opening of the building, the J-4 hovered above the building. At the 102nd floor there is a balcony, serving as a potential docking station with an exceptionally breathtaking view of the New York skyline.


  • 7:00 AM

Westward: Untitled (I shop therefore I am)

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (I shop therefore I am), 1987
Westward
By REID GUEMMER

I felt a series discussing American expansion and manifest destiny would not be complete without touching on consumerism. After the conclusion of World War II employment rates greatly increased, as did incomes. Rising adults realized the mobility of their spending, and thus the rise of consumerism began.


When I first looked at this photograph, trying to come up with ideas on what to write about, one specific phrase came to mind: your dollar is your vote. Today this concept holds especially true. With countless companies discriminating against transgender and homosexual people, it makes me truly consider the companies my spending supports. "I shop therefore I am" represents the same idea. Without the consumers support a company can not succeed, and your spending represents your support.


Barbara Kruger, one of the most influential female artists, developed her career using her fearless ability to confront current events through well-developed graphics. Not only does Kruger's black, white, gray scale, and red color scheme enhance the message she wished to portray, but her pieces were exceptionally large. Covering everything from buildings to public transportation, the size of her work heightens the audiences senses and expands the work's influence. 

  • 7:00 AM

Westward: Corn Fields


Corn Fields, unknown, Peter J. Cohen Collection
Westward
By REID GUEMMER

Corn Fields, an album of photographs collected by Peter J. Cohen takes a look at midwestern American life. The photographs depict familial pride in their crop and their midwestern lifestyle. 

Cohen, a photography enthusiast, saved more than 50,000 discarded photographs over his collecting career. After the development of Kodak's handheld camera, photography became a much more accessible artistic medium. The amateur, folk-art style of his photographs only add to the American authenticity of the collection.

Cohen approaches this project in an interesting way, he gives a collection of photographs with an overarching theme one title that could apply to each of photographs included. The photographs above are two out of twelve in a collection. The shots of everyday life could have been taken by anyone. For me, that's what makes this collection so interesting. Rather than a posed, planned, and then executed project these are actual photographs, taken by actual people, of actual people. 

  • 7:00 AM

The Color Yellow: Sailboats on the River Scheldt

Theo Van Rysselberghe, Sailboats on the River Scheldt, 1892 
The Color Yellow
By MEGAN GANNON

Okay. We made it but before I talk about the River Scheldt, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to a few people. First, my parents for being the bravest people I know. You two are incredible. To my brothers, Matt and Tommy I wouldn’t trade our late nights talks for anything in the world. To all the people that stayed after Trevor died, you could of left but instead you stood by my family, and I don’t know how I ever will repay you. And to those who entered my life after Trevor I want so desperately to share him with you because in knowing him, you will understand me. 

As I stare out at the Sailboats of the River Scheldt I marvel at how beautifully Rysselberghe captures the reflection of the water with his neo-impressionism brushstrokes. I chose to end with Rysselberghe because I feel rooted when I look at this painting. I see four shadows dancing across the water with the setting sun. Matt, Trevor, Megan, Tommy. Forever bonded together in Kirsten and Rick, the house on Wenonga Lane and swimming pool games. 

Rysselberghe smothers his painting in yellow, which is sometimes how I live my life. I see Trevor in the specs of things, a sunflower, a dolphin, myself. I am no longer solely the girl with the dead brother or PTSD. I am Megan. I get up and live my life the best I can, some days hurt a little more than others and on those days I find myself in yellow. I embrace the joy Trevor brought into my life, attempting to forget all the pain and feel okay. I’m seventeen, and I’m watched the world repeatedly take those I love and managed still have hope. 

Studying art history this year has renewed that hope, for a while I thought Trevor was slipping away but then I found him in Rothko, Turner, Malevich and many more. He was reassuring me he had never left. 

Today as the sun sets on Rysselberghe’s dock our journey also comes to an end. I leave you with something I’ve learned. Grief ripples through your life, knocking you off your feet sometimes, but the person you lost, they will never leave you. They turn up in other things, so keep your eyes open. Now go find yourself in your own yellowand I promise you’ll be okay. 

  • 7:00 AM

The Color Yellow: Rothko No.6 Yellow

Mark Rothko, No.6 Yellow, 1954 
The Color Yellow
By MEGAN GANNON

For years I grieved privately, only experiencing bursts of pain accompanied by the death of loved ones. Then I entered high school and sitting in my freshmen year ethics class I lost my breath as my principal described a day for her disabled son I closed my eyes and saw only Trevor. 



Throughout elementary school I grew accustomed to being the girl with the dead brother and as I entered Barstow I saw an opportunity to leave that identity behind. All my attempts to suppress him surfaced on that day freshmen year. 


I felt the weight of Trevor’s death at 16, sitting in my Algebra II class grief engulfed me. PTSD they told me. I laughed. I had not been to war. I didn’t know true trauma...people dying was normal for me...expected from me. 

Rothko’s Yellow No. 6 captures the standstill I felt. The anxiety controlled me as I pulsed against the white and blue. I struggled to find where I belong and felt immense pressure to be that happy, carefree, teenager I thought I was supposed to be. I wished desperately for simplicity, to feel nothing instead of too much. 

Rothko feared being engulfed by the black, and I feared destroying the yellow. In high school you can’t intermingle dead brothers within conversations about so and so’s new hairstyle. You run the risk of being labeled the depressed girl, the over-emotional girl, the cold girl and whatever else people come up with. You can never win, someone will always have an impression of you that you do not see in yourself. Rothko built walls between his blues and yellows and I have done the same. 

He separates his colors to remind us to stay impersonal at times, to distance ourselves from our past and our future and simply exist. I carry Trevor with my everyday, but I refrain from feeling him, because in the mixing of colors comes couscous. An uncontrollable spiral that can surface at any moment. Rothko recognizes that compartmentalizing is the key to sanity. I keep Trevor alive by keeping him between the yellow hues, he’s safe there. I’m safe there. 

With the yellow engulfing me as I close my eyes, we are back on the carpet, watching Tarzan, just me and him. Young and blissfully unaware of our future.
  • 7:00 AM

The Color Yellow: The Yellow Stripe

Kazimir Malevich, The Yellow Stripe, 1917-1918
The Color Yellow
By MEGAN GANNON
We live. We die. The act of death isn’t difficult understanding it is. You will hear “he is in a better place,” “everything happens for a reason,” and “I’m sorry for your loss” more times than you can count. Eventually those phrases will bring on a numbing sensation. The point of those phrases is supposed to comfort you, but that comfort soon fades when you realize death doesn’t care. It takes and leaves you to cope. 

When an older person dies we talk about their achievements, their children or grandchildren if it applies, their job, their hobbies. However, when a child dies, we struggle with what to say because at ten your life hasn’t even started yet.

In Malevich’s Yellow Stripe I see Trevor’s life as a fleeting brushstroke across the canvas. He did not get enough time, but in his abbreviated stay he left a lasting impression. As my older brother he led me through life. He acted as my twin in a family of four children. The only one with eye color, the T to my M. In his 10 years he lived more fully than most adults I know.

Malevich’s quick strokes hint that our time is short, we must live in the moment. Cherish those whom we hold dear, and care deeply for them. Unfortunately in loving people you will get hurt, they will disappoint you, and you will feel responsible for keeping the balance of universe. You can’t but you’ll try.

You’ll learn that the little things carry little importance and the holidays lose their gleam without them. Staring at Malevich’s Yellow Stripe, watching as it fades into the white, you are faced with the inevitably of what is it come. What will you leave behind? Your legacy? That’s up to you.

Good Luck.



  • 7:00 AM

The Color Yellow: The Yellow Christ

Paul Gauguin, The Yellow Christ, 1889 
The Color Yellow
By MEGAN GANNON

He died. On July 2nd, 2005 in a hotel room in Omaha he died. I slept only a room away from him. To be awoken by the screams of my mother, “He’s not breathing. He’s not breathing” as she dialed 911. Almost eleven years later I can still picture the pain on her face. I’ve tried my best to forget that day. Forget how my little brother and I were ushered to a Burger King by my step-grandmother as if a cherry slushie could fix everything. 

A week later, I saw my brother for the last time.There’s something about a corpse, maybe it’s the stillness that you can’t quite explain. The feeling of watching their torso, thinking that you if you look hard enough you will see the rise and fall of their chest once more. I remember looking into his casket, seeing his hands placed artificially at his torso. I don’t remember his face, only his hands and my mom and my brothers and some man I still don’t recognize today. I get that same feeling of the mediocrity of death when I look at Gauguin’s Yellow Christ

In Yellow Christ, Gauguin captures the movement of a corpse. He focuses on the peacefulness of death. He juxtaposes that peace with business of the people around Christ, their inability to stand still. The stillness of death causes people to move in a hyperactive state out of the fear of slowing down. By placing Christ up against the countryside, Gauguin not only creates depth but alsodemonstrates death as fact of life, something that exists between the hills, hovering above the women as an afterthought - something so blatantly obvious that it drifts out of focus. 

Gauguin’s Christ, in its sickly yellow color, represents the gross decay of a body as it returns to the Earth. The body knows how to die, the mind on the other hand finds it incomprehensible. I was six almost seven still trying to figure how to tie my shoes when all of sudden I learned sometimes you wake up and someone you love is gone.

I don’t like to go to sleep. 

  • 7:00 AM

The Color Yellow: Sunflowers

Vincent Van Gogh, Sunflowers, 1888
The Color Yellow
By MEGAN GANNON

You walk down the street and a wiff of a horse and you are transported back to your riding days with your faithful Bugs. Colors and smells tug at you just as sights do. For me the color yellow represents the best and worst of life. In yellow I see, no I feel Trevor. I feel his eyes, his laugh, and his bright smile. I feel his wheelchair, his frustration, and his pain. 

With these works we will travel through pieces that utilize yellow to encompass natural, artificial, and complex feelings. There will be no discussion of the beauty of a sunset, a bumblebee, or mustard curd here. Instead an appreciation for a pigment that when everything seemed to be crumble, pulled me in and made me feel safe again. 

The color yellow helped me to understand my brother, his situation, and my own place in the whole mess. 

So like any great story let’s start with the beginning - Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Sunflowers with its distinct lines finds the individual beauty in differences. I know that an appreciation for diversity may seem cliche, but hear me out. A kid in a wheelchair or with a mental disability isn’t a quota to be filled in a classroom, and Van Gogh helped solidify that for as a kid. The mix of wilted, blooming and developed flowers hints at the different stages of personal development. Individuals exist in a flux between wilting and blooming. The ebbs and flows of life. No matter what your mental or physical capacity you take joy and find sadness in things. Simple.

Van Gogh tackles humanity, creating harmony out of chaos by painting all the flowers in different shades of yellow. The yellow hues represent a sense of humanity felt by all, something intangible but strictly human. With the sunflowers placed almost haphazardly in the vase we see the unpredictabe beauty of life. You cannot manufacture it. The overlapping and crowdedness of the vase, the absence of a single stem indicates although distinct the flowers arose the same way. “A cut from the same cloth” vibe. 

Bursting with metaphors for acceptance, the beauty of diversity, and resounding love Van Gogh’s Sunflowers makes an argument for humanity. A subtle argument unlike the almost preach-like one you heard at the Kindergarten round-up rug. Not an obligated appreciation for difference but a celebration of it. 

Until he died, I did not see Trevor as disabled. I saw him as my older brother. Witnessing his daily struggle helped me to realize the individual battles that people fight. I cannot pretend to know what it felt like to be him, but I tried. I developed a sense of empathy, and I realized that he exists as a sunflower in Van Gogh’s vase as do I. Such a bond, such a connection, well, nothing can destroy that - not even death. 

  • 7:00 AM

A Man Walks into a Bar: Two Women Sitting at a Bar

Pablo Picasso, Two Women Sitting at a Bar, 1902

A Man Walks Into a Bar
By ELLIE SCHNEIDER

The painting, made up of multiple hues of blue, is one example of Picasso’s blue period work. Just like in Brack’s painting, the two women in this painting are drinking their troubles away. We know this because, during his blue period, Picasso was depressed. Picasso once said, “colors, like features, follow the changes of emotions,” so it is no surprise that his blue period contained his saddest works. Other works from his blue period are The Blue Room (1901), La Vie (1903) and The Old Guitarist (1904). Picasso’s ability to create amazing works with just one color is fascinating. Similar to Matisse’s Red Studio and Saygi’s Pembe Kahve, the blue fills the canvas. Unlike those two works, Picasso’s painting is not swallowed by the blue because he varies the shades of blue he uses. This helps the viewer tell the difference between the shapes, while still portraying the somber mood of the painting.

The two women sit, looking away from each other. This represents their individual misery or solace. They are sitting together, and yet, each appears extremely lonely.

We only see one glass. Are they sharing? Where is the bartender? What are they drinking? These are all logical questions to ask when seeing this work of art, but those are not the questions Picasso wants from us. He wants us to feel the women’s sadness and relate to them, whether they are drinking because a loved one died or because a relationship ended. They are also both wearing nice dresses. The dresses help the viewer examine the shapes of the women. Since, we do not see their faces, it allows the viewer to focus on the anatomy of the women and beauty of the body, rather than their faces. Similar to speaking english, people drink throughout the world, it's just a matter of why that helps us dive deeper into other cultures and how we all drink alcohol.

  • 7:00 AM

A Man Walks into a Bar: Pemba Kahve

Fikret Mualla Saygi, Pembe Kahve, Date Unknown
A Man Walks Into A Bar...
By ELLIE SCHNEIDER

Let’s paint the town. After many visits to the city of love, Fikret Mualla Saygi finally moved to Paris in 1939. It was in Paris when Saygi’s alcoholism escalated. Around the art world, Saygi was known for as a mad man and as an alcoholic. His alcohol dependency hurt his body, but bars and parties acted as muses. Saygi’s Pembe Kahve depicts the classic bar in Paris. The sun sets behind apartment buildings leaving a shade of purple that you can’t find in any Crayola box. When I see this painting, I think of Matisse’s Red Studio, because, like the red, the pink takes over the canvas and the bar. The color is bright, but doesn’t hurt the viewer’s eyes. It’s warm, but the purple highlights bring a coolness to the canvas.

This painting is obviously not realism. The people depicted in the work resemble humans, but look slightly disproportional. The painting in the painting looks like it could be done by a kindergartener, but that's ok. I think that the painting has non-realistic parts to show the effects of alcohol. Considering the amount of alcohol Saygi consumed and the fact that bars served as muses, it is safe to say that he was drunk when he painted this. If he was drunk, it explains the abstraction, but that does not mean it doesn’t look like a bar, it means it truly embodies the essence of the bar. In this way, bars promote creativity.

Picasso was one of Saygi’s best friends in Paris. In fact, he once told a signed photo of Picasso for a bottle of wine, proving the significance of his alcoholism. After learning about their friendship, and looking at Picasso’s Two Women Sitting at a Bar, I visualize Picasso and Saygi out on a Friday night. I picture the two men “painting the town” like in Saygi’s work or drowning their sorrows like in Picasso’s painting. While the two paintings are complete opposites in terms of color scheme and mood, truly, at the core, they each are centered on alcohol.
  • 7:00 AM

A Man Walks into a Bar: Nighthawks

Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942

A Man Walks Into A Bar...
By ELLIE SCHNEIDER

New York City, the city that never sleeps. Nighthawks depicts a couple, waiter, and man in a bar. All of the people are minding their own business, enjoying the quiet in the city that is so loud by day. While they are all there together, yet each of them seems lonely. Hopper said, “If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” What is Hopper trying to tell us with his brushstrokes? I think he wants us to see that the restaurant is a safe haven for the night owls, or night hawks. The restaurant serves as a place for them to gather, but also stay in their own thoughts.

This restaurant on the dark street corner emits eerie light and acts as a beacon of light for the night owls of the city. As the viewer, we are drawn to the bright scene, but are shut out by huge glass window panes. Or, the windows are closing the people in. Since, the people inside are unique in that they are night owls, and so they are isolated from the rest of the city that is asleep. The painting appears quiet, inside the restaurant and out on the street corner.

While we know where the restaurant is (in New York), the painting is also universal, it could be any bar at any time. The fact that the restaurant is open at all hours speaks to American consumer culture with the constant need for a way to spend money, but furthermore speaks to human nature and cravings. In today’s world, there are many stores or restaurants that are open 24-hours, but if people can always get a beer or buy food, when do people stop and relax. Especially in the city, people are always about and rushing from one place to the next. While the night owls are buying into the 24-hour culture, they appear frozen in time, allowing the bustling city of New York to take a breath and relax.

As the viewer, imagine that all of your thoughts and sorrows are trapped, frozen in time behind those huge windows. Take a deep breath and relax.
  • 7:00 AM

A Man Walks into a Bar: The Bar

John Brack, The Bar, 1954
A Man Walks Into a Bar...
By ELLIE SCHNEIDER

I chose John Brack’s The Bar second because it mocks the Manet. The painting follows his usual style, which includes simple shapes and areas will deliberately drab colors. Unlike the natural beauty behind the bar at the Folies-Bergere, Brack’s bartender is a sickening yellow color, with wrinkles and other marks of aging. She represents the tolls of long-term alcohol consumption on your body, just like DARE taught you. Furthermore, she instigated the men’s drinking buy selling them the alcohol. Unlike the festivities in Manet’s painting, Brack’s bar is filled with men with hats. They appear to be stopping at the bar after work to drown their sorrows. In Manet’s painting, they drink for fun while they dance, but in Brack’s painting, they drink to cope with their misery.

The painting not only satirizes Manet’s piece, but also critics the "six o’clock swill." The Australian painter used his home as an influence for this piece, portraying the last minute rush for people to buy drinks before the bars had to close by law. This law was a part of the rising Temperance movement during World War I. Brack’s ability to mock a famous work while delivering a strong political message to Australian society is important because he helped expand artists abilities to promote and critique governments in art. Since this is one of his most successful pieces, it proves that artists can take a stance on a subject and still remain successful, sometimes even more so than before. Not only is he critiquing Australian society for consumerism and alcoholism, but also the government who put those rules in place.

The painting is dark, except for the mustard-yellow bartender. The darkness of the painting correlates with the idea of coping with the men’s miseries and rushing to drink as much as they can between work ending at five and when the bars close at 6. Due to the role of women at that time, who stayed at home, the men would return from a long day of work, having spent their paycheck on alcohol. This was bad for families, even though it was good for business. The flowers try to bloom and bring happiness to the painting, but the lack of sunlight will lead to their deaths. Alcoholism is toxic.
  • 7:00 AM

A Man Walks into a Bar: A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882

A Man Walks Into a Bar...
By ELLIE SCHNEIDER

No, this is not where I drop a cheesy pickup line or play the Tyler Farr hit. “A man walks into a bar” has been the tagline for jokes for years, but the sentence digs deeper. Bars have been gathering places for men for hundreds of years. Bars in colonial America acted as meeting places for political groups. Today, bars act as places to watch sporting events, socialize, and have fun. On the other side though, bars have also acted as places to drown ones sorrows because people equate alcohol with escaping reality. In my collection, “A Man Walks into a Bar…” I want to show the use of bars as a place to socialize and a place to cope, and the importance of bartenders in that setting.

The father of Impressionism is first on our bar (painting) hopping journey. Why? Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergere is the original bar painting. The painting shows the Father of Impressionism commitment to realism with his intricate attention to detail.

At first, your eyes go to the bartender who is waiting to take your order, but then you notice all of the little details Manet included. Manet once said, “You would hardly believe how difficult it is to place a figure alone on a canvas, and to concentrate all the interest on this single and universal figure and still keep it living and real.” Manet struggles with this idea because there are so many other parts to the painting, that the viewer loses focus on the bartender. Not only are there bottles and other objects, but when the viewer looks in the mirror, they find a crowd of people. You sense the movement of the people, but at the same time, the bartender appears frozen.

The reflection of the mirror on the wall adds depth to the painting, while also bringing a festive attitude of the fête going on. The bartender was actually a real woman named Suzon, who worked at the famous nightclub in Paris in the 1880s. She actually posed for him in his studio. Still, one cannot help but create a new story for the bartender. She is pretty; she has a natural beauty to her. She is working as a bartender, serving others, but hopes for more. She is youthful, just like the people on the dance floor. Still, she appears lonely, even though the bar is full. She wants to be on the other side of the bar, dancing with the other people. She would probably like to have a drink herself, but she follows the rules and refrains from joining in on the fun.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergere is the classic bar painting, not only because it is one of the earliest representations of a bar, but also because it evokes the many emotions in a bar such as the loneliness of the bartender, the excitement of the dancing people, and commotion of city life in Paris during the 1880s.
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