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2012, Vol., No.31

  • 1.

    Study on Charles Demuth’s “Poster Portraits”

    주민선 | 2012, (31) | pp.7~32 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract
    American artist Charles Demuth is well known as a member of the Precisionists and also as a water colorist. Particularly, he produced portraits from 1923 to 1929 showing figures of 10 American artists, writers and actors: Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Charles Duncan, Arthur Dove, John Marin, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Eugene O’Neil and Bert Savoy whom are selected by Demuth. This series named “Poster portraits” are not consists of actual man’s figure, but various still life and texts which bring up the image of modern advertisement poster. He selected objects, texts and its arrangement deeply involved with the sitter’s characteristic, life, work,and their thoughts. In 1920s, American artists began to create “American” modern art based on their modern experience. In other words, the American modern art world of the 1920s was in strong demand for American artists who created art that could be identified as being solely “American”. And at the time, American art world was under the leadership of Alfred Stieglitz. So on the other hand, Demuth began his series of poster portraits also in order to receive the recognition of Alfred Stieglitz as a true American artist. And Demuth’s poster portraits are showing himself in indirectly and symbolic way. Consequently his poster portraits feature not only about each sitter but also personal relationships between sitter and Demuth. As making poster portrait series, there seems a certain purpose to strength self-identity becoming a member of Stieglitz circle. After the outbreak of the First World War I in 1914, the United States arose as the new center of the modern art world instead of Europe. Although it was 1940s that America became the heart of modern art through Abstract Expressionism, 1920s were the period which they were most concerned about their national identity. And we can strongly feel their concerns considering the letters exchanged among Demuth and Stieglitz and the other models of his poster portraits. So to speak, the motivation behind Demuth’s poster portraits series involved the over all mood of the American society, the state of the American modern art and the distinctiveness of the American visual culture during the early 20th century. Demuth’s poster portraits attempted to establish an identity of America and American art separate from that of Europe’s. Although European artists Francis Picabia and Marious de Zaya made symbolic machine portraits ahead of Demuth, there are certain differences between European Dadaists and Demuth in using text and selecting images. Also his interests in the visual culture of the 1920s such as billboards and advertisements has been credited as being the source of inspiration that started his poster portraits series. So to speak, his poster portraits are advertising American Modern art world based on modern America consume society. In conclusion, Demuth’s poster portraits seems to symbolize each sitter with still life and texts, sitters's name or not, identical form of advertisement, but it also feature relationship with sitter and Demuth himself and finally it could be considered as group portraits under the name of “Americanism”.
  • 2.

    The Ambivalent Site: Islamic Culture and Iranian Diaspora Women Artists in Contemporary Art

    HAYOUNG JOO | 2012, (31) | pp.33~72 | number of Cited : 3
    Abstract
    The research explores the open and closed side of Islamic culture from different perspectives in contemporary art, and it engages with Iranian diaspora artists who live and work outside Iran or in-between two nations, a native and an adopted country. It also focuses on how these artists have received the complex concept of Islam and explored, in their art, their multiple identities as an Iranian, a woman, and an artist. To begin the research, the relationship between Orientalism, occurring from the difference between the East and the West, and women’s identity has to be studied, along with the conflict and discriminate concept of women’s position from inside and outside of Islamic culture. This brings the issues of boundary between the existence and nonexistence into the research, and truth and false, in the context of post-modernism and post-colonial discourses. The study of Islamic culture and Iranian women artists is heavily weighed by the complex meanings of “Islam”, and the reality that Iranian women artists have struggled against various forms of oppression and censorship in the patriarchal structures of Islam. These artists have often encountered obstacles in presenting their art to the general public. However, the concept of “Islam” is difficult to define; it can be a nation, a religion, a belief,an identity, and a moral value. In addition, Muslim women often consider images of sexual discrimination in contemporary society, and the hijab becomes the symbolic object to oppress society and culture. However, there are many biased cultural clichés which many people want to believe. Hijab is not just a simple discourse that we believe to understand; it symbolizes the spirit of resistance against imperialism and western culture, and is an object used by women to hide their status and class, so that in public space they can view each other as equal. In the critical discussions of contemporary Iranian art, the topic of women’s art registers some of the changes taking place in Iranian women’s identities and aspirations. This research also focuses on Iranian diaspora women artists and their work; Shirin Neshat, Mitra Tabrizian, and Parastou Forouha who moved to the U.S., the U.K., and Germany respectively before and after the Iranian Islamic Revolution, use the issues related to the hijab and Islamic culture as a site of changing identity in their work. In accordance with the concepts of generations and geographies, defined by Griselda Pollock as two axes for the study of international, post-colonial and feminist work in visual art, case studies of Iranian artists should be located at the connections of time and space. Furthermore, the research ‘The Ambivalent Site: Islamic Culture and Iranian Diaspora Women Artists in Contemporary Art’ seeks to gain valuable understandings into the conditions and practices of contemporary Iranian diaspora women artists who live and work outside of Iran.
  • 3.

    The Ambivalence towards Technology and the New Woman in Weimar Germany

    Kim, Hee-Young | 2012, (31) | pp.73~103 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract
    This paper investigates the way in which Weimar Germany(1918-1933) dealt with the task of incorporating new technology into their traditional culture and how this culturecivilization dichotomy was redressed in relation to the German’s ambivalence toward modernization. While being eager to maintain the culture and soul, the German were fascinated by the technological civilization and rapid economic growth to reconstruct the war defeated Germany. In their experience of modernization, the German had a utopian vision of a better world that could be created through technological progress, while they also constantly cited the German spirit. The German utopian vision of modernity was shaded with the ambivalence between the hope and fear for the unproved promise of civilization through rational technological progress that could both elevate and subvert their culture. The confrontation between technological advance and the traditions of German nationalism was intense in Weimar period. The German’s attempt to reconcile the German soul and modern technology can be seen as their survival strategy in the turmoil of the political, economic, social, and cultural upheaval after their loss in the war. The German’s ambivalence toward the figure of the New Woman also emerged from their anxiety and ambivalence towards modernization. The German endeavored to constitute a German identity through conservative revolution in the process of belated modernization. The figure of the New Woman seems to be the most problematic motif on which the German’s fear for modernity was projected. Women’s bodies are found distorted, fragmented, or dehumanized like robots or mannequins in the Dadaists’ works. Different representations of women seem to indicate the German’s troublesome position facing modernization, which they thought as a threat to their cultural tradition as well as a possible redemption of their loss in war. In order to survive the crisis of modernity, the German relied on their völkisch ideology in their attempt to seek an alternative to liberalism and materialism. Referring to the development of mass culture which entailed significant changes in perception, this paper focuses on the way in which Fritz Lang's Metropolis(1927) dealt with the worrisome relationship between technology and men by presenting the machine-vamp. It also pays attention to Hannah Höch's photomontages to look into her assertive view on the role of the New Woman in modernization. This paper examines the way in which the figure of the New Woman was reconstructed with fragments torn by both patriarchal and mechanical gazes. The complex representation of the New Woman in Weimar Germany suggests their hope and fear for modernity.
  • 4.

    Frank Lloyd Wright and Asian Art: A Search for a New Perspective on the Interaction between Western and Asian Art

    Chung Moojeong | 2012, (31) | pp.105~132 | number of Cited : 5
    Abstract
    While I was staying in the United States in 2010, I could have the opportunity to survey Korean art objects collected in American museums. When I visited a museum in North Carolina, I heard of the presence of a Korean screen from a curator whose husband happened to be a grandnephew of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright(1867-1959). According to the husband, Wright had bought three Korean screens in 1913, which had been given to his children as gifts, one of which is currently in the Milwaukee Public Museum. I also found out that the Minneapolis Institute of Arts held a Dragon Jar of the Choson period, which had once been a part of Wright's collection. Ample evidence of Wright's interest in Korean art led me to a reconsideration of existing explanations of American interest in Asian art and culture as exotica. The second half of the nineteenth century was a period of unprecedented change in the United States. Begun in Europe in the late 18th century, the industrial revolution soon spread to the United States. Industrial growth gave rise to a transportation revolution as well as sweeping increases in production capacity. Populations also swelled through immigration both from abroad and rural areas. This in turn led to the rapid transformation of American life in the late 19th century. With the accumulation of wealth around the late 19th century,upper-class Americans such as William W. Walters, Henry O. Havemeyer, Charles L. Freer William H. Vanderbilt, Ernest F. Fenollosa and William S. Bigelow began to collect art objects and donate their collections to major art museums such as Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Fine Arts,Boston and Art Institute of Chicago. These activities can be seen as a type of conspicuous consumption which, according to the American sociologist Thorstein Bunde Veblen, is a way to display and legitimate the status of the American upper class. In the same context,the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu also argued that such cultural capital as cultural institutions and works of art would give a higher status in society to those who owned them. Even though he was in debt to his friends and clients, Wright led a luxurious life and purchased works of art, representing a model of conspicuous consumption. In this sense, conspicuous consumption is one of the motives for American collectors' interest in Asian art. The aesthetic movement can also explain why Americans came to pay attention to natural motifs in Asian art. For Americans, nature had been a symbol of a spiritual resource and a sign of innocence, as well as the source of economic bliss. With the industrial growth,however, nature lost its traditional meanings. The aesthetic movement played an active role in adapting the symbolic meanings of natural forms to urban environment of late 19th century. These explanations, however, tend to oversimplify the collecting impulses of American collectors. Amid the various periods and styles in the late-19th-century collections, there was something in common, that is, a fascination with the primitive. Their preferences seem to have been rooted in the psychic turmoil of the late 19th century. As we have seen,there were a number of neurasthenic collectors in the late 19th century. Bigelow, Gardner and Freer were all victims of nervous exhaustion. These collectors used premodern art to withdraw from nervous strain and seek release from bourgeois anxieties. They thought that premodern art would promise spiritual comfort and therapeutic restoration. In the same context, Wright, who surrounded himself with Asian art throughout his life, also remarked:“In spite of all my reasoning power and returning balance I was continually expecting some terrible blow to strike. The sense of impending disaster would hang over me, waking or dreaming... I looked forward to Japan as refuge and rescue.” It is quite significant that Wright installed Asian Buddhist painting and sculpture in his house or studio, close to the fireplace. For Wright, Asian art was a religious surrogate. A deeper reason why American collectors showed interest in Asian art, thus, lies in the way it performed an important function, that is, the satisfaction of social, aesthetic and religious needs of 19th century America.
  • 5.

    Transformation of Body in Contemporary Art of Posthuman Era

    Hyesook Jeon | 2012, (31) | pp.133~160 | number of Cited : 8
    Abstract PDF
    Generally, the posthuman body makes us imagine two things. One is the cyborg which is reinforced by machines or various prosthesis and the other is a strong and new eugenic being made from genetic engineering, nano- technology, neuropharmacology, and memory enhancing drugs. There are two perspectives on these bodies; of looking at them as the aim itself as they overcome human weaknesses and improve their ability and another of confusion and fear in that they can make the boundary between the human and nonhuman obscure. The very technology which improves the human also holds the potential danger which may make the human forfeit 'human identity(or pureness)'. Then, in what context and meaning should we use the term posthuman? In his Conditions of the Posthuman, Robert Pepperell explains that the term 'posthuman' first, is used to mark the end of that period of social development known as humanism, and so in this sense it means ‘after humanism’. Second, it refers to the fact that our traditional view of what constitutes a human being is now undergoing a profound transformation. It is argued that we can no longer think about being human in the same way we used to. Third, the term refers to the general convergence of biology and technology to the point where they are increasingly becoming indistinguishable. While the 'posthuman condition' cannot be easily defined, he states that it is the condition of existence in which we find ourselves once the posthuman era begins. To recognize the bodily transformation through posthumanism, it is not only important to perceive the commensal relationship between what is human and nonhuman -machines, animals, things, but also the blurring of demarcating between the organic and the artificial. This signifies that we have freed ourselves from Descartes's binary method of understanding humans which distinguishes between 'us' and 'them'. That is,the discernment by putting the 'human' against the whole of 'non-humans' and drawing boundaries has lost its validity, and it has been long since existences which go against such logic with scientific technology and question the fixedness of the boundaries appeared. In this essay, I observed the key characteristics and significance of the posthuman body and body-discourse through the artworks of Orlan, Bharti Ker, Patricia Piccinini,Matthew Barney, and Motohilko Odani who work by transforming their own bodies and using various aspects of artificial transformation. In light of the posthuman body discourses discussed in the former section, these artists reveal the instability inherent in the demarcating between nature/artifical, human/nonhuman, and normal/pathologically abnormal. Therefore, their works not only reveal the posthuman condition but also are placed in the center of the controversy over posthuman bodily transformation. Here I saw what the meaning of the strategic representation device of 'blurring boundaries,' which groups their bodily transformation works into the common characteristic of 'posthuman'art, is in each of their works. Observing the understanding of the posthuman and the various reproduction of posthuman bodies presented in this study, the artistic reproduction devices presenting the posthuman bodily transformation can be seen as actively accepting the possibility that positively or negatively, the soleness of human will become extinct, evolve, or become deconstructed at the various levels of the body, psychology, science, and culture, and a hybrid and transformed liminal existence will take its stead. It would be accurate to say that rather than seeing the posthuman figure in these works, we have observed various reproduction of posthumanism's understanding of the human. While it cannot be a clear answer to the question posed in the introduction "Why, how, and for what is the human body transforming into something which is no longer human?", the points of reproduction and devices blurring the boundary between humans itself will offer clues to the various forms of posthuman understanding of the human. It is worth noting that numerous artists of the early 21st century have begun to (re)consider bodily transformation. In the present condition in which not the change itself but its speed is what causes us anxiety, what most sensitively reveals the blurring of boundaries and hybridity is our own body. It is quite natural for us who already live in a posthuman condition to search for the existence and significance of the posthuman from our transformed bodies. The bodies transformed through the blurring of boundaries are still functioning in the present progressive tense. Through the understanding of thresholds and boundaries between the human and non-human, discussions on bodily transformation will still be the foundation to understand the posthumanism discourse of 'new methods to understand what it is to exist as a human' and its artistic and cultural context.
  • 6.

    Multicolored Context of Monochrome Painting: A Gender Perspective

    Nan Ji Yun | 2012, (31) | pp.161~198 | number of Cited : 5
    Abstract PDF
    This paper uses a feminist approach to the Dansaekhwa (Korean monochrome painting)movement of the 1970s. Conceived as a “Korean modernism,” the Dansaekhwa movement was the artistic equivalent to the nationalism that was widespread in society at the time. A result of the intersection between traditional art and its philosophy and modern art with its theory, Dansaekhwa was regarded as art that was both “Korean” and “modern”,thereby becoming an appropriate symbol of the “new nationalism” that was needed in the 1970s. Dansaekhwa became a tool for identity politics in the third world, which oscillated between matching current international trends and manifesting its own national differences. This is nothing other than “masculine politics”, with two aims: externally, it sets out to secure its position by going along with mainstream art movements, and internally it seeks to form another mainstream group through mutual identification. Masculine politics of this kind is revealed not only through the aesthetics of . Dansaekhwa, but also through its movement. The Dansaekhwa movement is a process of preserving and expanding its paternal genealogy. Its context was created by the Korea–Japan relationship that developed around two male artists, Park, Seobo and Lee, Ufan. Their encounter in 1968 provided an opportunity for Lee’s theory of Mono-ha in Japan to influence Korean artists and to be expanded and applied as the theory of Dansaekhwa. After Park and Lee’s first monochrome painting exhibitions, which took place in Japan and Korea almost simultaneously in 1973, monochrome painting emerged in the Korean art field and positioned itself as an prominent trend of the 1970s, particularly following the exhibition titled Five Korean Artists Five Hinsek <White>(1975) and other exhibitions of Korean modern artists that were held in Japan. In this process, what arose from Korean modern art at the time was the common denominator of “white,” whose background can be traced to Yanagi, Muneyoshi (1889–1961) who, during the Japanese colonial period, discovered Korean aesthetics in white colored clothing and ceramic wares. Both Dansaekhwa movement and its aesthetics were largely constructed by Japan, or by recognition in Japan. On the other hand, monochrome artists’ activities in Korea further consolidated the paternal genealogy of monochrome painting. In particular, Independent, an exhibition that began in 1972; the Seoul Contemporary Art Festival, which was founded that same year and mounted its inaugural show in 1975; and the Ecole de Seoul exhibition, which was founded in 1975, supported these artists’ activities. The head of these open art exhibitions was Park, who served in a top position at the Korean Fine Arts Association, and the main constituent of these exhibitions was their school connections with Hong-ik University. The Dansaekhwa movement was not only founded by biological men, but was also propelled by masculine logic of power, i.e., assimilation and differentiation. Evidently, the exclusion of women and the feminine was a natural sequence. Out of the 24 artists who participated in the inaugural exhibition of Ecole de Seoul, only one artist was a woman;Jin Oksun is the only female artist who continued to be included in the show, and the proportion of women artists in Ecole de Seoul’s history did not exceed one-fifth of the participating artists. In the art world of the 1970s, the place allocated for women was limited to a small number of old masters or established artists who had already secured their positions, while a little attention was given to those artists in group Expression whose methods or styles express women’s “otherness”. During the active years of the Dansaekhwa movement, women were more visible in spaces of distribution rather than creation, settling for the role of helping the male artists that led the movement. In the process of selling and buying artwork that men created and priced, women contributed to men’s economic and artistic success. In this way, women’s position in society at the time was reflected in the art world. This was due to the paternal geneology upon which the nationalism that propelled the 1970s was built, basically, excludes women. The exclusion of women, however, does not mean that they were absent or that they did not pursue or struggle for the dignity of their country. A major task of feminism is to highlight this gender bias in the history of nationalism,and this paper is an attempt to do just that. Ultimately, this task entails the deconstruction of existing nationalism—not to deny nation and nationalism, but rather to redefine it as a concept encompassing “others” who has been marginalized. Such a task should include different ways in which to perform nationalism, and this is where the true meaning of feminism can be found. Beyond criticizing nationalism, the point at which feminism can intervene in debates about nationalism should be explored.
  • 7.

    Abstraction and Death : Andy Warhol’s Late Works

    Kang Tae Hee | 2012, (31) | pp.199~231 | number of Cited : 3
    Abstract PDF
    Andy Warhol’s last signed works before his death were the photo editions of <Skeletons>sent to 『Parkett』 for publication. And one month after the opening of the blockbuster exhibition 《The Last Supper》 in Milan, silkscreened versions of Leonard’s work, he passed away. His death was sudden and nobody expected it including Warhol himself, but these two incidents remind us that Warhol’s lifelong subject had been death. The critical opinions on Warhol’s late period from the 1970’s to his death can be summarized with the expression ‘post-lapsarian Warhol’ and this period was synonymous with indifference and bad reputation so far. But contrary to the general consensus that Warhol was finished as an artist, he was trying his hand to new abstract paintings and struggled to regain the status of avantgarde artist. Even though he produced lots of works during this period, most of them were not shown in America until his death and thus his final years were considered trivial. After his untimely death, a couple of exhibitions focused on his late works revealed the importance of this period to his whole career as a painter,and the critical attentions have been paid to Warhol’s last years recently. Warhol had a farewell exhibition in 1966 to pursue the filmmaker’s life but resumed painting in 1972. But comeback show with <Mao> partraits,《 Hammer and Sickles》 and 《Andy Warhol’s Portraits of the 70s》 were all badly received, and he was forced to do something new and different. Starting with the <Skull> series, which were the continuation of the ‘death and disaster’ theme in the early 60s, he produced impressive body of works such as <Shadow>, <Oxidation>, <Rorschach>, and <Camouflage>. All these late works are abstract and death-related since they deal with the body’s disappearance and ultimate demise. Warhol’s late works can be summarized with two key words; abstraction and death. He freely expressed his affinity to Abstract Expressionism and was influenced by the abstract qualities of the silkscreen printing process which are quite explicit in the works like <Electric Chair> for example. The first important trial to abstraction was the <Shadows>, in which only the broad brushmarks were the contents. <Oxidation> was made with urinal over the still wet canvas mixed with metal particles, and the <Rorschach> was adopted to test the boundary between the figurative and the abstract, and abstract and decorative. For <Camouflage>, he appropriated the military camouflage patterns and this series was perfect as the posthumous testament and best conclusion to his career.
  • 8.

    A Study on Political Aspects of Jenny Holzer's Text-Based Works

    오유진 | 2012, (31) | pp.233~263 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract
    This thesis is concerned with political aspects in the works of Jenny Holzer(1950-). She,a representative artist who uses words, has interacted with people through socially critical texts since the late 1970s. Previous studies about her works mostly focus on analyzing the early texts which were written by herself. Thus, her texts which are borrowed from outside and artworks, such as LED sculptures and light projections, which emphasize visual perception effects are neglected in those studies. Consideration of texts and mediums together provides crucial clues for comprehensive understanding of diverse works of Holzer. Therefore, in this thesis I would also examine her borrowed texts and strategies for mediums and exhibition spaces and attempt to figure out a visual realization of the sociopolitical dimensions in her artworks. Holzer adopted words as a medium in her works due to the influence of Conceptual Art which was in a dominant position when she started her career as an artist. Conceptual Art emphasized an artist's idea and suggested a concept of art as information to get rid of traditional notions of art. During a period when many of her contemporaries participated in activism groups, Holzer was also an member of one of the activism groups and worked on a number of events. She explored the relationship between power and language in non-art contexts. Based on the experiences of collaboration in the group, she has been constantly interested in social problems and interacted actively with people. Holzer’s messages, framed in simple and unadorned language, run the gamut of contemporary concerns, among them AIDS, torture, war, sexual violence against women and abuse of power by authority. Her early works remind us that social ideologies are internalized as individual faiths through language and expose the coercion that is usually hidden in language. Meanwhile, the texts about sexual assaults against women urge us to pay more attention to others who were sacrificed in the war as well as victimized women. Also, the works based on previously classified documents reveal the manipulation of information by the government and deal with contemporary issues. Likewise, Holzer's texts sharply reflect the absurdities of our society and induce flexible interpretations by excluding the intervention of the author. In her early works, Holzer used strategies borrowed directly from the mass media and amazed people with unexpected phrases on the street. She also reflected urban landscape and reminded people the historical meanings of the exhibition sites through site-specific works. On the other hand, works using light as a medium, such as LED signs and light projections, emphasize the visual aspect of words, so lead to new understandings of the texts. To sum up, Holzer concentrated on conveying messages to a large number of people in her early career, but is becoming more interested in the aesthetic side in her works with time. Her works attempt to underline the socially critical contents through the visual effects,and allow liberal interpretations of themselves. In this regard, her works can be seen to have a unique political dimension. As aforementioned, Holzer’s works are characterized by the combination of various texts and mediums, and her persistent efforts to change our society by art underlie her works in general. This study aims to research the political aspects and common ground in her diverse artworks. Also, this thesis would examine the instances that words are not only used for communication but also used for aesthetic purposes in her works, thus it attempts to find out political dimensions of her artworks in a broad sense.