miércoles, 29 de mayo de 2013

Talking point: Art

This week's talking point revolves around the topic of art, which isn't an easy one to discuss for the layman. This post is inspired by an activity in It's Magazine (you haven't gone yet and we're already missing you!).

Get together with the members of your conversation group and talk about the questions below.
  • Do you think Art is important?
  • Do you know much about art or know someone who does?
  • Do you own any art books?
  • Which do you prefer, painting , photography, sculpture?
  • Do you have a favourite painting or artist?
  • How often do you visit art galleries or museums?
  • What was the last exhibition you saw?
  • When you go to another city, do you usually visit an art gallery or museum there?
  • Can you name some art galleries and museums in New York, Paris, London, Madrid, Florence?
  • What do you think is the most famous painting in the world?
What’s your reaction to the remarks below?
     ‘Art isn’t art until somebody says it is.’
     ‘A painting belongs to the person who’s watching it.’
     ‘Art? What’s that?’
     ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’ Picasso.

To gain further insight into the topic you can read this article on David Hockney's exhibition in London last year from The Telegraph. Watch the slideshow of Hockney's paintings accompanying the article and
  • describe the pictures
  • compare the pictures
  • do you like them?
Finally, watch the accompanying video. You can answer these questions, also taken from the It's Magazine activity.
  1. In the video, Alastair Sooke describes David Hockney as ... 
  2. He describes the landscapes in the first rooms as ... 
  3. He thinks the series of landscapes of woods are full of ... 
  4. In the next room, he thinks the paintings are ... 
  5. In his favourite room he describes the paintings as ... 

    I’m at the Royal Art Academy for a sneak preview of the RAs first big exhibition of the year, David Hockney, a Bigger Picture, a show of more than 150 works of art, predominantly landscapes by undoubtedly British most popular living artist.

    What you see here are a number of landscapes created by Hockney but much earlier in his career. This in a sense is the beginning of the show proper. What you see are a number of oil paintings on that wall, watercolors on that wall, of the countryside near Bridlington, where Hockney’s lived in the past seven or so years. They are quite modest paintings really. They’re very upbeat, they’re perfectly cheery, they’re delightful, a little polite for my taste. But if you carry on going through, they really are quite a lot of landscape paintings from this area of Yorkshire. In fact, in the exhibition are more than 150 works.

    Here’s a series which shows you the Woldegate Woods, Silven, forest scenes which have some of that mystery that age old feeling  of wondering being enveloped by the forests and gloom,  you’re really sucked into these quite large paintings which are full of certain wildness and mystery, an ancient feeling of the forest.

    In here things start to go a bit haywire. I feel like… the show starts to become almost spectacularly weird. Take this painting, for example. This is kind of mad. This doesn’t look like a natural landscape. It’s completely transformed by Hockney’s vision. You have these trees and shrubs which are given quite a strong silhouettes. They look to me like they have a kind of life force, almost extraterrestrial. They are covered with this very thick paints.

    And in here, my favourite room because earlier on, you saw landscapes which are quite upbeat. They are very charming, they’re very colourful, they’re very pretty, but I kind of don’t get them. They feel quite retrograde to me, and I know that Hockeney is fully aware of our history, 20th century art history in modern art. I just don’t understand why he seems to be sort of ignoring that whole legacy and painting stuff that really looks a little bit like an amateur Sunday painters.

    Here though you have something else. There’s a very, you can see them, vivid, intense palette kind of fauvist palette.  The painters like Darren, Matisse who were working at the very beginning of the 20th century. It has almost religious vision intensity that are partly because if you see those bright blue trees leading off by the road just up near the horizon it starts to bend and curl and distort into a kind of vortex sucking you in in the distance. So to me it doesn’t  take very long to look at the tree stump and to look at those chopped-up logs awaiting collection and start seeing symbols of mortality. Hockney’s managed to take quite an everyday humdrum scene in Yorkshire, something really with very little mystery and imbue it with power and strangeness. That for me is why I like this room the best.