SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2014

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Pull-out Resource Looking & Learning Express Expression is an essential part of art-making that can be interpreted in man a s. A n expressive line, an emo- tive portrait, or a work of art that communicates a particular point of view or belief are all methods of artistic expression. It can even be said that the choices an artist makes during the creative process express his or her feelings, beliefs, identity, and approach to art-making, regardless of his or her intention. Your work expresses something whether or not you want it to. An essential function of the art critique is to discuss what an artwork is telling the viewer. This month, we focus on intentional artistic expression: artworks that the artist intended to express a specific belief or point of view. About the Artists/Artworks Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) Honoré Daumier's paintings and political cartoons were created to express his lifelong fight to right social wrongs in France. The targets of Daumier's criticism were the French monarchy (he was once imprisoned for insulting King Louis Philippe in one of his cartoons), the corrupt justice system, and the complacent middle class. Daumier was trained as a painter, but became renowned for his prints criticizing the status quo. His paintings deal primarily with the struggles of the lower class, painted in stark contrasts of value (dark and light), while his litho- graphs feature gestural lines. What? You Were Hungry? epitomizes Daumier's distaste for the lazy, incompetent, and corrupt judges that plagued the French legal system in the 1850s. The judge in this car- toon does not even try to understand what it is like to be poor, hungry, and have no way to get food other than steal- ing, illustrating how clueless and unfair the legal system was for the poor. Daumier further illustrates his feelings about the issue by endowing the magistrate with a sort of arrogant ennui. The viewer can be sure that the judge will dole out a severe punishment, regardless of the poor man's desperate circumstances. Joshua Allen Harris (b. 1983) Joshua Allen Harris uses common plastic garbage bags, including those he has found in the street, to create engag- ing temporary installations on the streets of New York. The use of everyday domestic and discarded objects has been in practice since the early 1900s and can been seen in the artwork of the Dadaists and Surrealists. However, the Dadaists and Surrealists used tossed-away objects to advance the idea that anything could be considered fine art, whereas Harris's work expresses his interest in solving climate change and restoring the environment. Constructed from white plastic garbage bags and attached to subway grates, Harris's Air Bears inflate and deflate as trains rush by underground, serving as a stark reminder that climate change is killing off the polar bear. These installations disrupt the flow of everyday life and inspire a sense of awe and wonder in viewers as they unex- pectedly discover them. Many viewers have filmed videos of the installation and posted them to social media web- sites, sharing both the wonder of their experience and fur- thering the message expressed by the artwork. Honoré Daumier, What? You Were Hungry? That's No Excuse! From the Men of Justice series, 1845. Lithograph on paper, 10 7 /16 x 13¾" (26.5 x 35 cm). Private Collection. Image courtesy Davis Art Images. schoolartsonline.com 23

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