F21 - Moore - English 124 - Black Women Writers

Take some time and go through the sections on your own, doing your best to look over the images and answering the correlated questions (Click on any image below to reach a larger image and the object record). Don't be nervous if you are not sure where to start in "reading" a work of art! If it's a helpful place to start, try starting with identifying the Elements of Art:

Some other things to consider when looking at these images and answering the questions:


Symbols: things that have a specific meaning or that represent something else—are a powerful part of how we understand the visual world. We recognize symbols by using personal knowledge gained through memory and lived experience.


Context: Culture and history influence how and what we see. Much of our reaction to an image depends on the context we see it in. What was the artist trying to convey and how does this relate to the time and place in which the work was created? Similarly, how do the values and beliefs of our own society shape our understanding of an image?


Warm-Up

Before you get started with the works below, take out a scratch piece of paper and a writing utensil. You will be drawing four lines, and without any words, draw the following:

1. An angry line

2. A fearful line

3. A sleepy line

4. A joyful line

How did you go about drawing each line? How did you know what to draw? Did you refer to a specific memory or action? For example, for the angry line, did you draw your line aggressively, resulting in darker, wider lines and angles? Even if you never had any formal art-making training or never "studied art", humans are engrained in visual culture from birth. So don't be afraid to make connections with what you are seeing and thinking.


Kara Walker

Below we have the following works in our collection, but it's easier to view in it's entirety at this link. Artist Kara Walker says, with regard to her art, that “most pieces have to do with exchanges of power, and attempts to steal power away from others.” Her work is layered with images that reference history, literature, culture, and the darker aspects of human behavior. The characters in her room-size tableauxs of black cut-paper silhouettes often examine the underbelly of America’s racial and gender tensions. The silhouette, popular in the 19th and 18th century as women’s art, is employed as a narrative device by Kara Walker to give a jolt of graphic recognition to a subject matter which some say would often be too gruesome to tell in any other format. By distilling the images to stark black and white, mostly in silhouette, Walker lulls her viewers into the murky waters of the history of African-Americans on this continent before the full scope of her subject matter is realized. An example of one of these paper cut-out installations is illustrated below.
















1. What is going on in this series? How would you describe it (how it was made, the form, composition)

2. How does Ms. Walker’s art display power struggles of a physical, emotional, personal, racial, sexual, and historical nature? What about the artist’s story, her technique and process might invite discussion and inspiration for our students?

3. How does she employ narrative in her work?





Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems is another female artist that is also a gifted storyteller who works accessibly in text and image, she’s created new narratives around women, people of color, and working-class communities, conjuring lush art from the arid polemics of identity.  


1. Write out everything you see in this photograph (describe what you see). 

2. Interpretation: What do you think this going on? What story is the photograph telling?










3. This photograph is in direct response to a famous painting by Eduoard Manet titled Olympia.

How has Carrie changed the image? What is she trying to say by her changes? How does her work touch on self-representation and images of beauty? 












4. We have another work in our collection in response to Manet's Olympia

How does this other work respond to Manet's Olympia? How is it different in it's storytelling than Carrie's work?












See the rest of the works for your course below:

_____________________________________________________________________________________________


This image is a circular format black and white photograph depicting four young African American girls wearing floral dresses lounging on a blanket in the grass. Three girls sit or prop themselves up and look at the camera, the fourth girl lays down, with her eyes closed. The glass in the frame has a domed surface, creating a fish-eye effect.
Carrie Mae Weems
After Manet
chromogenic print on paper
33 ¾ in x 33 ¾ in x 1 ½ in (85.73 cm x 85.73 cm x 3.81 cm);33 ¾ in x 33 ¾ in x 1 ½ in (85.73 cm x 85.73 cm x 3.81 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund
An assemblage of found objects: a salvaged wood frame with wood inlay letters spelling &quot;COLORED,&quot; four portrait photographs of African American females (two photogaphs on either side of a printed poem), nine thread samples under photographs, and one hand mirror hanging on a decorative brass hook to the viewer&#39;s right of the frame. The poem reads:&nbsp;<br />
&quot;Light is Alright<br />
Yellow is Mellow<br />
Brown, Stick Around<br />
Black, Get Back<br />
(but black don&#39;t crack)&quot;<br />
<br />
The wood has a strong smell, may have been treated with molasses.<br />
<br />
&nbsp;
Betye Saar
Colored
mixed media assemblage with photographs, paper, and thread on wood
14 ½ in x 30 in x 1 ½ in (36.83 cm x 76.2 cm x 3.81 cm);10 in x 5 in x ½ in (25.4 cm x 12.7 cm x 1.27 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by Dr. James and Vivian Curtis and the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund
This print has rows of stencilled black text in all capital letters on white background. In pencil, the print is signed and dated (l.r.) "Glenn Lignon '92" and numbered (l.l.) "27/45". 
Glenn Ligon
Untitled
etching, aquatint, spitbite, and sugarlift on Rives BFK paper
25 in x 17 1/4 in (63.5 cm x 43.82 cm);32 3/16 in x 26 3/16 in (81.76 cm x 66.52 cm)
Museum Purchase
A female nude reclining on a bed wearing one yellow slipper on her left foot, a gold bracelet on her right arm and a black ribbon tied in a bow around her neck.  An African American woman in a blue dress stands behind her holding a bouquet of yellow and white flowers. A small monkey sits at the foot of the bed.  All subjects look directly at the viewer.
Mel Ramos
Manet's Olympia
collotype on wove paper
20 1/16 in x 26 9/16 in (50.9 cm x 67.4 cm);26 1/8 in x 32 1/8 in (66.36 cm x 81.6 cm)
Gift of Dr. Reuven Bar-Levav
Kara Walker
One of five prints from the suite "The Means to an End--A Shadow Drama in Five Acts"
aquatint and etching on light cream Somerset Satin wove paper
34 11/16 x 23 1/4 in. (88 x 59 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund
Kara Walker
One of five prints from the suite "The Means to an End--A Shadow Drama in Five Acts"
aquatint and etching on light cream Somerset Satin wove paper
34 7/8 x 23 3/8 in. (88.5 x 59.3 cm);40 x 28 x 1 in. (101.6 x 71.12 x 2.54 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund
Kara Walker
One of five prints from the suite "The Means to an End--A Shadow Drama in Five Acts"
aquatint and etching on light cream Somerset Satin wove paper
34 11/16 x 23 5/16 in. (88.1 x 59.1 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund
Kara Walker
One of five prints from the suite "The Means to an End--A Shadow Drama in Five Acts"
aquatint and etching on light cream Somerset Satin wove paper
34 13/16 x 23 3/8 in. (88.4 x 59.3 cm);40 x 27 1/2 x 1 in. (101.6 x 69.85 x 2.54 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund
The color screenprint depicts four dark skinned figures walking past a construction site—likely a family. The man is dressed in a black suit, black shoes, yellow tie, and tan hat. The woman wears a red and white dress, yellow jacket, and red cap. The little girl stands to the left of mother, holding her hand. She wears a yellow dress, white tights, brown shoes, and a red cap. A small boy wears brown pants, tan shoes, a yellow shirt, and blue jacket. He stands to the right of the father and holds his hand.  <br /><br />
In the background, there are three men working at the construction site. There are two men in blue jumpsuits, one has dark skin and the other white. A third dark skinned man wears a gray jumpsuit and holds a saw. The print is signed and dated (l.r.) "Jacob Lawrence 1974" in pencil.
Jacob Lawrence
Builders (The Family)
screenprint on paper
34 in x 25 3/4 in (86.36 cm x 65.41 cm);29 15/16 in x 22 1/8 in (76.04 cm x 56.2 cm);38 3/4 in x 28 in (98.43 cm x 71.12 cm)
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis
This print shows two figures dancing in front of three musicians by the water with a moon in the sky and reflected in the water. A far away seaside fort is visible in the upper left corner.&nbsp;
Miguel Covarrubias
Afro-Cuban Dancers and Percussionists
lithograph on paper
9 1/4 in x 13 1/2 in (23.5 cm x 34.29 cm);11 15/16 in x 16 1/16 in (30.32 cm x 40.8 cm);22 1/16 in x 28 1/8 in (56.04 cm x 71.44 cm)
Museum Purchase
Naomi Dickerson
Second Score for Black Opera
lithograph on paper
30 1/16 in x 22 7/16 in (76.36 cm x 56.99 cm);30 1/16 in x 22 7/16 in (76.36 cm x 56.99 cm)
Gift of the Michigan Workshop of Fine Prints.
A woman wearing a blue dress with a red and blue cape, its skirt cascading onto the floor. She wears a white cap and apron and points forward with her right arm.
Mary Sibande
Sophie/Elsie
fiberglass and cotton
6 ft. 1/16 in. x 13 ft. 1 1/2 in. (183 x 400 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by Joseph and Annette Allen

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October 15, 2021 10:28 a.m.

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