The first image is one from Cindy Sherman’s Clowns series in the City Gallery. I appreciate this photograph in particular because of all the psychedelic, melting colors that are used to create sort of a “down the rabbit hole” type of feeling. The three clown faces, all expressing different emotions immediately reminded me of the film Killer Klowns from Outer Space. This film has over the top creatures and is always thrilling to watch. It coincides with the quote from the Cindy Sherman lecture: “Through her skillful masquerade, she has created an astonishing body of work that amuses, titillates, disturbs and shocks. The background in this photograph is dissipating away just as the World Trade Center did. This photograph to me shows that we as humans feel an infinite array of emotions and that they can shift from one to another in a split second and that in the face of tragedy we all react differently.
The type of art that really interests me and captures my attention is art that isn’t obvious. Art that makes you think and re-think. I love art that is out of the ordinary. Anything that stimulates the mind. Cindy Sherman does a great job of this, especially with her Clowns series. Her art communicates to me that while she is completely aware of what she is doing and what she wants to say, she lets the audience find their own meaning within the madness. She does this by not putting descriptions under a lot of her photographs and simply leaving them Untitled #…
The moment that I saw the clown double photograph that I previously described in “Experiencing Cindy Sherman” was the most significant experience that I had throughout the whole exhibit. Before that moment I was mindlessly wandering through the gallery just taking pictures, not really reading the descriptions or looking for a deeper meaning behind the photographs.
After going back and reading the description on the wall about why Sherman created her Clowns series and what it represented, it touched me even more. These were her first creations after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. The clowns through their body language and facial expressions convey all of the different emotions that were felt by this tragedy. The photograph resonated with me even more because even though I was young, I remember that day very well because my Father was in New York at the time. I remember being pulled out of school early and my Mom frantically calling my Father until he answered and assured her that he was safe. It took him four days to rent a car and drive back to our home in Texas due to no planes flying in or out.
After my experience with those peculiarly wonderful clowns I walked around a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective. I began to really look at the photographs and compare them to what I thought Cindy Sherman was trying to portray. I wanted to take my time going through the rest of the rooms and even found myself in the upstairs library area listening to a tape of Sherman talk about all of her galleries her process and influence for her creations. This experience showed me that even though my coming there was for a school assignment doesn’t mean that it can’t be an enlightening, enjoyable experience. It gave me more of an appreciation for artwork and how a simple picture can say an endless amount of things and have a much greater influence than I initially thought. I enjoyed the gallery much more than I initially thought I would and look forward to returning soon.
I am in the main gallery room when you first walk into the exhibit with the the mural that stretches from floor to ceiling with a multitude of different characters all being portrayed by Cindy Sherman. The first room is the most crowded and I am not able to analyze the mural as closely as I would like as well as take the proper photographs.
I move on to the second room in the exhibit and am immediately intrigued. Every corner of the room is full of dark, fantastic caricatures of clowns. I am halfway through this gallery when one photograph caused me to stop and do a double take. It is a double photograph of a two clowns. They are in two separate frames facing away from each other. The clown on the left appears to be distraught and gazing off into the distance. He is holding a balloon animal and the makeup on its face make it appear as if he is crying. It is not clear if the clown on the right is a man or a woman. It appears to me as if it s a man playing a woman. He is sitting defiantly with its arms crossed and eyes closed. His makeup makes his mouth form into one straight, un-smiling line.
This specific photograph caught my eye because it is one of the only double portraits that I saw throughout the whole gallery. More importantly, this photograph made me want to know the background story of these bizarre characters. It elicited an emotion of empathy for the clown on the left and curiosity as to what the other clown was so resistant to.
Alex Grey is known for his art installations and visionary art. This painting is entitled “HANDS THAT SEE.” This artwork is a favorite of mine because it reminds me of a scene from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Alex Grey along with his wife Allyson Grey opened a contemporary chapel in New York called “Chapel of Sacred Mirrors” based on his art book. COSM contains 21 life-sized original paintings by Grey. The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors offers full moon ceremonies, solstice and equinox celebrations, workshops and spiritual cultural offerings. I have attended one of the many events that are offered at this magical, enriching place. I intend to go back as often.
Image cited Works Cited
This is an original piece by Android Jones titled “Wanderer Awake.” This image was started on New Years Eve, December 31st of 2008 and completed at dawn on January 1, 2009. He drew this image on the beach of Bahia Brazil at the Universo Parallelo Festival. On his website he states: “The hummingbird and the eagle were both spirits that I had become introduced to and aligned with during my ceremonial Ayahuasca experiences that I had in 2008. This was the kind of image that wanted to come through me and almost felt like it painted itself as I worked on it all through the night until sunrise. And then the Sun finally rose over the horizon and I incorporated it into the image.”
Jones is known for his psychedelic art as well as his visual live performances. I had the opportunity to see him live mix his visuals at the Bassnectar NYE 360. I hope to own one of his artworks one day as well as see more of it live at Burning Man music festival.