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Rachel West LBST 1105 Julie Doppel Hicks November 22, 2013 Final Reflection This class has

greatly challenged and expanded my view of art. Before, I had a limited view. Now, I believe that art is an expression of oneself, regardless of the medium. For example, before this class, I thought that street art was bordering vandalism. After watching Exit Through the Gift Shop, I now see how dedicated to the art street artists are. Is it really our place to judge art? I still dont have the answer to that question. What I do know is that we can take what we learn from art and apply it to our own lives. We cant control what art or reactions others produce, but we can certainly control and direct our own. Clearly, has a huge significance on the individual. But art also plays a great role within a culture. When artists come together to analyze and express concerns or truths within a culture, they are (hopefully) not censored. Sometimes, it takes tough love to get to the bottom of serious issues that plague a society. Sometimes, words are not enough. We hear so much talk that it is hard to tell what is genuine and what is just devised to keep the public calm, collected, and away from pitchforks and bullhorns. But art is truly powerful. It can move an individual in ways that some words cannot. It can provoke the deepest parts of ones soul to reflect or to take action; to listen or to speak up; to dream or to let something go. Art is beautiful, but it is also a doubleedged sword that can pierce the heart of a culture. One way that art can give voice to issues in a culture is through encouraging others to examine their past to understand their future. At the Harvey B. Gantt Center, I saw several images that depicted stereotypes of African Americans. But they didnt just attack the issue they offered resolutions. They also provided images of beautiful hope and freedom for a people

that has been oppressed for centuries. They shed light on issues, but they also projected light for the future. Art can also provide a strong commentary on gender. In class, we viewed a photograph of an individual holding a looking glass. We were not given enough context to determine whether the individual was male or female, but we were invited to look closer into his eyes, looking deeper into his soul. This invitation is something we rarely accept in everyday life. But this picture truly gave us an offer we couldnt refuse. Art is also a voice for those in lower social classes. One image that I saw at the Bechtler portrayed a young woman, naked and looking up into the camera. The title indicated that she was on a nightly bus. I made a guess and thought that, perhaps, she was a young woman in a lower social class looking for a good time at night. This image gave character and life to a class that is often portrayed negatively. Finally, art can invite us to take a closer look at the issues within our culture. In Dread Scotts Money to Burn, he challenged people on Wall Street to take a look at how they were burning the money of the American people with their greed and extreme capitalism. He yelled in the streets and dared to continue his piece in the face of police who challenged him. He dared to speak up when few others did. These are a few examples of how I have looked deeper into art this semester. I can see how my perception of art changed through my response to Erik Ravelos art. Before this class, I would have viewed the art with an offended predisposition because of the religious reference. But now Ive learned to step back and take a closer look at what the artist is saying, even if it doesnt paint a pretty picture of society. I thought Ravelos pieces were truly powerful and risky, but the risk definitely paid off for both him and for our society.

Another significant point in my journey this semester was visiting the Bechtler Museum. I had never viewed furniture as art, and even though we had discussed it in class, I was still confused when I saw furniture displayed. But I realized that making furniture requires a lot of skill, which definitely constitutes art. I also realized the power of change, as portrayed in my artistic response. The exhibit at the Bechtler focused on changing ideas in the 1960s, but I believe that we are in a period of great change right now, especially with the technological revolution. Our lives have greatly changed because we are more connected, but we can sometimes become too plugged in. We must remember that our lives are not based on our smart phones or tablets it is based on those around us. Another changing point in my view of art this semester occurred when we visited the Light Factory. It was beautiful to see how vividly and artfully portrayed the subjects of the images were. Their lives seemed to spill out from their eyes. It was breathtaking to encounter a realistic yet beautiful portrayal of the human condition within our society. I experimented with a self-portrait, hoping to gain the same effect on my quiet but reflective personality. Finally, our visit to the McColl Center also impacted my view of art. When I first read about Dread Scotts controversial piece about the American flag, I was very hesitant concerning his art. I didnt know how to take it because I come from a patriotic family many family members have served in the armed forces, including my dad. But when we talked with Dread Scott about his work, I realized that he was a very interesting person in a good way. He had a heart to change the world around him that few others do. Even though we may not agree with how he does it, it is still there, waiting for people to stop, look, and listen. My artistic response was also based off of his work. I thought about several of the issues that plague our nation today. Instead of the states the people being represented, it is really the politicians that are using

their power for their own gain. They are literally taking the American flag representative of the people and only referencing it when they need votes, support, or money. This is a great shame for our democracy the government is no longer so focused on the people as they are on individual political agendas, greed, and ultimately, living the good life while the American people suffer. I agree with Dread Scott on this: this extreme living by politicians at the expense of the American people must stop. Another time I most connected to art this semester occurred when we visited the Mint Museum. As I was walking through the American Art section, I came upon Elliott Daingerfields Moonlight. I stopped in my tracks and silently gasped. It was truly beautiful. I was taken back to this summer when my family went to the beach. At night, I would sit outside on the porch, read, and take in the beautiful nature all around me. Moonlight was very close to the view I saw and evoked calmness and peace. At the same time, its beauty was powerful the richness of the colors and the texture give it another dimension. The piece was fierce, yet calm, and I loved it. I am very thankful that I took this class during my first semester. I will be able to take the critical and open thinking that I have developed in this class and apply it not only to other areas of my academics, but also to other areas in my life. I have truly learned the importance of art in our individual lives and in sustaining a vibrant culture in times of rapid change. I only hope that we continue to see art as a crucial part of exploring our lives, both individually and corporately.