I’ve seen plenty of art throughout my life, whether it be in person or just through the internet but I’ve never actually observed and taken notes. Art has always been one of those things I always thought I wouldn’t really understand. As a kid, I always wanted to draw but I soon realized how awful my cartoons were and gave up drawing, I did not really think art was for me. Viewing the Unorthodox exhibit at the Jewish museum was one of the first times I actually went to just observe art rather than look and move on. It was a great experience, I really liked all of the artworks but there were three from the exhibit that really stood out to me.
The first of which was called “Ten Works: Jug Heads” by Clayton Bailey, then “Hell on Earth” by Leang Seckon, and “Landscape” by Michael Buthe. From visiting this exhibit, I came to the conclusion that art is made to make us feel less lonely. To quote the video, what is art for? Alain de Botton’s animated guide | Art and design, “one thing art can do is reassure us of the normality of pain, it can be sad with and for us” It was a Thursday, chilly afternoon, I had missed the first train at 3:30 P. M. to the city because of poor coordination with my friends. Lucky for me the next one arrived at 3:50.
I went with three friends, Erik, Jennifer, and Kat. The ride to Grand Central was fairly quick as we had gotten on the express train. Originally I had planned on going to the Guggenheim museum but as I did not check the times before hand I didn’t know that the museum was closed on Thursdays. Due to my oversight I was forced to consult the list I had luckily brought with me in case of such an incident. I wanted to go to the El Barrio museum to see the visual illusion exhibit but the museum closed at around 5:30 I believe. The Jewish museum was practically the only one I could have gone to because it was open until 8 P. M. that day.
The museum wasn’t too far from Grand Central but considering how cold it was and the laziness that fell upon us as we arrived to the city, we decided to take an Uber to the Jewish museum. None of us had ever used the app to call for the driver before but since Kat had a one free ride coupon we all said, why not? It was around five by the time we got to the Jewish museum, the sun was setting. We got inside and immediately I noticed a classy front desk, very bright room, white walls, and friendly faces. I passed through the metal detector after emptying my pockets of anything metal and had my coat checked.
After, I walked up to the front desk and asked about the price of admission and was delighted to hear that it was a pay what you will policy for that night. Kat and Erik walked in for free but I decided to pay 5 dollars along with Jennifer. We all got a sticker that we had to wear somewhere visible at all times, as we proceeded up the staircase. We had all agreed on seeing the rest of the museum first leaving the unorthodox exhibit for last. A majority of the museum was dimly lit, and it was rather warm inside. There were was so much to look at, and yet I couldn’t spend enough time on all the pieces due to my time restriction.
From what I was able to see it was all magnificent, there was so much history and culture behind all of the pieces. Pieces like “Wedding Sofa” which, was a gift from the Dazing Jewish community, were more tradition and larger pieces containing artifacts from the holocaust were more history based. Overall a truly informative and enriching experience. We moved to the unorthodox exhibit at last. The room was all white and the walls and their locations eerily reminded me of a maze and there was art on every wall. One of the first things that caught my eye was the Jug Heads.
The “Ten Works: Jug Heads” by Clayton Bailey, piece really grasped my attention. The faces were all uniquely deformed. The faces reminded me of cartoon characters and their emotions when they get hit or are mad/angry/happy. According to the English dictionary the word “jug head” means a foolish or stupid person, which could strengthen my argument for the cartoon resemblance. There was however, one jug head which was placed on the top shelf away from the rest. The face wasn’t too odd compared to the rest, still unique in its own way, but this one was by itself.
The head had a facial expression that resembled a smile, while the rest were more of a sad, angry, or some combination of both. The piece tells me that although the one jug head is alone, it is happier than the rest, who are surrounded by jug heads similar to themselves. In more specific terms, although you may feel alienated from others, you can still be happy by yourself and also still take pride in being a part of something bigger. The piece was an odd mixture of sad and happy, much like Hell on Earth “Hell on Earth” by Leang Seckon, was a controversial piece for me.
The majority of the artwork was red and yellow, like fire, and had stars with either a skull or a flower inside of them. The colors were all blended except for inside the star. It gave me this feeling of balance. Although the painting had this theme of death with the fire and the skulls, the blending of colors and the flowers were all beautiful and equaled each other out. This piece reminds me of life. You make the most of your life and although life may not always be the kindest, forgiving, or provide the most company, there are lots of bright sides to life.
There are plenty of beautiful things that come out of life and all the pain and suffering that we are all going through is just part of the painting. We are all mixtures of sadness and beauty and we are all in the same boat, we are not alone. Sometimes we feel odd and out of place because we are a little different but that’s exactly what makes this next piece my favorite one. Michael Buthe’s “Land shaft” was by far my favorite piece. I’m not too sure as to why this one out of all the magnificent pieces from the exhibition was my favorite but this one grabbed my attention the most.
I feel this one is the true definition of unorthodox. It is a branch that has been plunged into a painting that has a variety of colors, such as, red, blue, yellow, and, green all mixed together with a very bumpy texture. I’m curious as to what made Buthe do this, what kind of inspiration to make such a unique work of art that is appears simple enough at first sight but taking the time to appreciate the colors and texture of the actual painting and also the branch that is driven into it that is supposed to, I assume, “ruin it. I did not know why that branch was driven into that painting but I started to really try to think about, long after I had left the museum. I thought of the painting itself as representing art and the branch that was plunged into it was supposed to be this new wave of art, this new style, this unorthodox style of art that has been introduced and it continues to “branch out. ”
The word next to the piece was iconoclasm, and it is defined by the oxford dictionary as “The action of attacking or assertively rejecting cherished beliefs and institutions or established values and practices. It is a rebellious piece, as are the rest of the works of art in that exhibit. “Landscape” stands as a sign to tell other artists that they are not alone and that not all art has to be so 2 dimensional, it serves as a way to feel less lonely. Art is commonly said to just be nice looking, appealing to the eyes. It is supposed to captivate us at first look and have a deeper meaning that you may not quite understand. I believe that art was made so that we as human beings don’t get lost in life.
We often feel alone with our feelings, experiences, or thoughts, but there are plenty of people who can relate. We admire these art pieces to see the joy we are experiencing, or the anger that we are feeling, or even that sadness that we can’t seem to escape. Art can be pretty and colorful and all those nice things but we often see what we want to see, and what we need to see. To Quote artist Rick Riordan “you might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem.
It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear thorough search. ” The unorthodox exhibit was in every sense of the word, unorthodox. I really did enjoy my experience there and it did not feel like going to some exhibit for class, even though it did, at first, it almost felt like going to the zoo as a child. You’ve seen these animals on T. V. and in movies, but seeing them in person is something that can only be felt in person, not on a screen.
I originally brought my friends because I didn’t want to go alone but also because I felt I was going to need some other perspectives, but because it wasn’t their assignment they didn’t really stay with one piece too long. I told myself that I was going to force myself to look at each piece for more than a minute but once I walked into the exhibit I didn’t have to force anything because a minute was not enough time to look at each piece. I actually plan on visiting some other museums like the M. E. T. and the M. O. M. A. in the near future. It wasn’t my first choice but I enjoyed myself very much.