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Grace Zhou's blog

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re-view of mosaics

 I always regarded the mosaic as fragmented and broken. It is said that“the earliest theory of art… proposed that art was mimesis, imitation of reality.” Thus, whenever I saw the mosaic, I just directly interpret its broken nature as a reflection of our fragmented world, where is collaged by separated people, various emotions and different thoughts. But I forget how magic its connection power is. In other world, I tend to see mosaic as a broken world, but in fact, mosaic itself is a complete art with whole image and expression.

    I think the reason is that I’m distracted by the “form” of art. Mosaic is magic because it challenges the way we used to value the art- “whether we conceive of the work of art on the model of a picture or on the model of a statement, content still comes first.” Mosaic is a kind of special art that attracting people first by its form. Moreover, it is the form of mosaic that still causes the interpretation.

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    When I read Susan’s work, I started to think about the way we interpret the arts in Barnes- let all come to you. Not swamped into the content of the art, we welcome the ideas naturally aroused by the art. Without interpretation, it’s the first true impression directly come to us from the arts. I agree with Susan that to interpret is to “turn the world into this world.” “The world” is the true thing itself, “this world” is created by people’s interpretation. For me, the interpretation is a limit. People are chained in a small world that they try to see an art through what those experts and criticism interpreted. Many times, I am afraid to have any idea on an art because my thoughts seem to be innocent and shallow compared to those interpretation and analysis from experts. The deep interpretation makes one seem to be brilliant and insightful. It’s true that to some extent, the interpretation helps me to see what I can’t see and maybe can be inspiring. However, it deprives my own senses- I even can’t follow my own interests and beliefs.

    When we planned the trip to the city, we follow our curiosity and instinct in researching. By clicking the link our own senses lead us, we have the way to dig out what we really want to visit and explore. Also, there’s no need to limit oneself in interpretation when writing, we learned to write what we have come up with and follow our ideas naturally and freely. Unfortunately, the interpretation and the seemingly "latent content" behined have even outweighed the true art itself.

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value in Barnes

    Barnes foundation protects the “art”, the true art itself and the pure way we evaluate them. After reflecting on how we value the arts nowadays, I respect Barnes ideas more- the arts should not be hung on the wall of a museum individually but serve as the lessons that can educate and inspire people. Thus, Barnes is not a simple place collecting many priceless arts, but a brave knight who insists in purifying and simplifying the purpose of art and how we interact with it.

    Most of contemporary people show more respect to those paintings by famous artists. It’s easy to find many tourists in the museum with the headphones from audio tours inserted in their ears. They keep nodding their heads, just like agreeing with the authorities of evaluating arts. Following the step the tour suggested, they scan over the paintings carelessly but at same time, they act like the experts who grasp large amount of the knowledge of analyzing the arts. Just like the tourists visiting the Grand Canyon, these people, “instead of looking at it (Percy)”, they try to “come face to face with an authentic sight.... and that they see the sight and come away rewarded? (Percy)” In other words, it is increasingly evident that people view the arts which are supposed to be worthy.

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Originally, I planned to see the mural arts in the city, but it is so hard for me to walk a lot in the snows. I know there are some mural arts along the Broad street and I choose a way I nerver walked before. It is a surprise that truning around the corner, there it is! I never imagine that the new way is even easier and faster. It was so cold that I bought a pair of gloves on the way. I stared the mural art near the Macy's for about 3 minutes and I can't focus, so I escaped into Macy's. Luckily, I saw the light show in Macy's. I can feel the enthusiasm people show to Christmas, but to be honest, I am not attracted to it but I still feel happy. I recognized that on the way to Anne's house, I just rushed across the street and just passed by some mural arts. I felt sorry to those mural arts that people just pass by them and it seems that they are not important. Also, because of the gloves, I can't type on my phones. And since I don't have internet on my Iphone and the map on Blackberry is not good, I check the information on blackberry and navigate the way on iphone; at the same time, I need to carry my camera and protect it from the snow! So I took off my gloves manytimes and catch two phones, one camera, and even one cup which has a leaking cap and rushed in a snow day!

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Is the art itself vaulueble or it is priceless because people view it as a work which would be auctioned millions of dollars? Based on the discussion we had in class, I started to wonder how do we value the art? For Barnes, the art is more like an experience for education. So why he places these brilliant paintings and sculptures in these order. If I revisit Barnes Foundation, I will put more emphasis not only on the man in the paining but also on the relationship between the painting and the surrounding environment. How can people be educated by viewing art through Barnes’ idea? And if art itself is a lesson, what “the postman” wants to tell? What will be different if this painting is placed in a museum? 

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the postman

The eyes. He is staring at you, at every angle. I was attracted at the first glance of “The post man” by Van Gogh. People will be swamped into his deep eyes with complex emotions. I couldn’t resist sticking to that pair of eyes. At first, I feel the sadness, and then I find a sense of pride and even arrogance inside. (Maybe because he stares at me directly as the way I stare at him for a long time.) The whole painting is full of lines and mixed colors. His mustaches are twisted, curly and dark; his face is not that clear with various tones of colors combined (warm color such as orange, red and pink, cold colors such as cyan, gray and dark green); however, in sharp contrast, his eyes are so clear. The blue eyes are breathtakingly beautiful like a holy lake surrounded by the messed forest. It has a magic power that I can’t move away my sight. After a long time, I find that it is not sad, not arrogant, but innocent. No. It is some kind of innocent grief that being expressed from his eyes. 


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17 broder crossing, art and deep play

"In oder to understand the meaning of artistic products, we have to forget them for a time" suggested by Dewey. 17 broder crossing is a play that expresses art but more importantly, it enlightens me to think out of what is "art", and to turn originall experience into artistic view. 17 expeiences in broder crossing form a fantasctic play. When he crosses the broder to Brasil and said " Oh! I am in Brazil now", I found that in my own experience, I ignore the fact that the concept of "broder" is that clear and special. That's art, which comes from our raw experience which asks for conciousness for our daily-life. Also, it's easy to find deep-play in 17 broder crossings- although the crossings are risky and dangerous (for example, they caught "taxi" to Cuba and people put their lives in danger just want to escape from Mexico ..), he still didn't listen to the U.S officer who suggested:" then, don't travel." He is still pursueing the colorful experience, which, as I have said, is art itself. So, maybe deep play can generate art after all with those unforgettable thrill, ecstacy and stackes. Becasue of deep-play, people have the access to the special life experiences and turn them into art. In other words, deep-play is the process prerequisted to creating arts.

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deep play

It is special. Different from other trips, the journey to Tibet is so unforgettable that even now, the experience is still vivid in my head. Normally, I visited and played in different tourist attractions when travelling; however, when I went to Tibet, my family decided to visit the schools there which are incredibly remote with limited teachers and outmoded equipment.

After hours of rough car rides, we finally reached the school gate almost at noon. Putting on sunglasses and scarves, we got off the car. The scene in front of us shocked me: students were studying on the bare playground with eyes hardly open in the scorching sunlight. The principal and teacher warmly welcomed us, the children cheering loud for the books and stationery we brought to them. When our short visit came to an end, the teacher squeezed into crowd with four pieces of white silk (named Hada in Tibetan for greeting guests) raised to chest and a shy smile on his sun-burnt face.

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the failure of a fantasy

Before I truly read the “hopelessly hardened” about the Eastern State and step into this “groundbreaking” penitentiary, I was so convinced that the prisoners lead hard lives in the cells and behave so well in order to get out of the hopeless darkness and damp. Born in a family with father as judge and mother as lawyer, I was always told how desperate lives in the cells are- prisoners can’t fall asleep on rock-like beds, have limited time to see their family and once a prisoner told my mom that he only wanted a blanket in the winter and the chilblain he got in prison prohibited him from doing anything. At that time,I thought the penitentiary is so cruel that it is not a place for helping people to confess and change,but an inferno that destroys humanity. So I was so pleased and optimistic when I get to know that Eastern State is a pioneer in reforming incarceration.

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reflection on Eastern state

It is thought that Eastern state will be a new kind of prison, one where the prisoners will spend time alone to contemplate their action, and learn to reform their ways. However, from the outside, one thinks this fortress is strict and organized and is reforming thousands of prisoners. From the inside, the prison is falling apart. Things are no longer so organized and officials are doing what they can to keep prisoners under control.

So, to some extent, the reform failed. However, when I visited Eastern state, I had been truly alone that I would have gone crazy like some of the prisoners did, but the people walking by distracted me enough that I could be okay being in the cell--any less than that and I could see how the Quakers expected contemplation on the prisoners’ lives.

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