Friday, February 1, 2013

And just like I promised, I'm blogging out of order.
I wanted to write about this one because some of the events had me blogging during the day before I could get to my computer.

Monday Jan 14
>Lippizaner Horse training session, Albertina, St. Stephen's Cathedral, Mahler Orchestra, Phönixhof<

Poor Katie was sick so she sat this one out. It felt weird going through this day without her. I was worried.

Lippizaner Horse Training Session
Were we going to ride them, pet them, see them, smell them, watch them? What?
I actually didn't know what to expect. I didn't know that what we saw for the first 5 minutes would sum up what we sat through for about an hour. It was neat to imagine being in the painting we saw at the palace. If I recall correctly, there were no female riders at the training session, not that I expected them. Thanks to us the horses are more easily identifiable. Go see them for yourself: Snowflake, Toothpaste, Eggshell - and my favorite, Foamy. Three guesses why I named him that. I guess it was a bit...too much for him, eh? Eh??
No photos allowed so you get this. Fuzzy horses in a fuzzy house. Too funny.
After the horses we went to the Albertina.
Special thank to Mary for allowing me to go to this.

My first thought upon entering: I feel like a yuppy.
I thought of my childhood. My first impression of art museums - a gathering of snobs. I always saw them in the movies standing there in front of famous works trying to make sense of it. As I kid I thought that was stupid. I still don't quite understand it and yet I became one of those people that day.


        We started off with statues. I was actually looking forward to seeing all the statues on this trip in general. I have used pencil, colored pencil, ballpoint, printing (that thing where you carve a rubber stamp and roll paint on it), digital tools, acrylic and watercolor. I feel like I've done the basics with the exception of sculpture. I don't expect to be good or bad at it - but I have no idea because I've never tried. I was hoping to be inspired by the trip. The statues I saw didn't conjure any bout of genius in me but I do have a new found respect for statues. I've always thought they were amazing. I think I might be afraid to try it myself.
        I'm walking through the larger gallery at all these paintings. I am quick to ponder "Why are most of these famous?" Some of them are pretty to look at but really, where is the genius? For nearly all of these my face contorted with confusion, 'Who thinks this is good? Why is this in a museum?!'
What made these paintings so greatly appreciated? Was it simply technique or how it makes you feel? I never cared about the audience of my art. I never thought that my art would have an audience. In all honest, when I was little, I never consider what I was doing to be "art." Apologies for the lack of modesty but ever since I was 5 people told me I should be an artist. I scoffed every time. I think I may have made a subconscious effort to avoid becoming one because I thought the idea of being an artist was ridiculous. My art was for me, I never did it for anyone else. I did it because it helped me remember the world as I saw it. When my art got better, it meant I was seeing things clearer.

        So why were these paintings "amazing"? Did these artists always paint for others? It appears that all these paintings were sold at some point, maybe not always by the original artist though. Paintings can't be judged by the same standards since they all had different purposes. If we were judging by ones ability to capture an image I'd say I had some skill in that area. It seemed like some of these artists weren't too keen on that. But maybe they weren't trying to.
I asked Dr. Powell why these were famous and he told me what I was speculating already. "They were some of the first people to do it." What frustrated me was that I hadn't seen any art before I thought of doing some of the same things. I wondered how that was possible. Do artistic ideas just come to people? it can't always be borrowed ideas. Do artists just see the world differently before they are considered artists? Can anyone be an artist? Is an artistic eye inherent or acquired? Or both?  If only I was alive decades earlier perhaps my work would be on this wall. But now my work is compared to what's already been done.

....There's a picture that looked like the rippy bits thing from Spongebob. Good job.
Rippy bits...?
"I don't know, I just thought it looked funny."
        I was walking through the Albertina looking for an answer to 'what were they thinking?' It could just be that they were unafraid to illustrate strange and confusing things. Some of these paintings looked the way I think. Some of these artists were masters of colors or masters of breaking traditional methods. Masters of improper design. I found them positively childlike with their artistic bravery.  Displaying manifestations of their abstract thought publicly for everyone to see and judge freely. Was there always a message with these works? Or maybe sometimes they would say, "I don't know, I just thought it looked funny." What was my message in my art? I don't know that I was ever trying to say anything through my art. I was always testing techniques or just appeasing the urge to move my hand over paper... some might call that doodling. Some call my doodles art. Are any of these framed pieces doodles?

        There was one painting that caught my eye because it appeared the artist was going for an overall geometric layout. Upon closer inspection, you can see the windows on the building in the distance are done horribly (in my opinion). What gives? Was this artist bad at windows? Did they do that on purpose? Was he pressed for time? Did he really not care either way? Did it look right to him? Did he not think anyone would look at it that closely? Was this one of those pieces he did just to test something? Was it always intended to be a finished product on display? All I know is, if I were doing this painting I wouldn't get to the windows and half-ass it like that. Seriously, what is up with these windows
............   :|    Do not ask my opinion on this artist.

        Fun thought: All of the weird abstract things could be exactly as some of these artists saw the world. Those paintings represent was they considered normal, nothing abstract about it. We are confused and intrigued because it makes no sense to us but what if the artists just shook their heads and said, "What? What's so weird about it?" Broken minds can produce broken thoughts and images.

All this really boiled down to "What makes this artistic?"
        I think it's debatable what qualifies as art. I think it should be arguable because sometimes that's just what art is. From a very young age I was a firm believer that there is no good or bad art. Art just 'is.' Some things just appeal to certain people. For every work there has to be at least one person that appreciates it even if that's the artist himself. I have always believed that as long as your art looks the way you wanted it to, then it's art nonetheless. 'Does it do it's job' basically. Is it an accurate manifestation of the artists feelings? Then yes, of course it's art. Does it make you think? Then sure, it's art. Does it tie the room together? Yes, it's art. Does anything not qualify as art? Actually...not really. The idea of creation in general can be consider an art.
        My bigger question - the one that entered my mind immediately as I saw these paintings, the question that took me a while to form with the right words: So what am I doing wrong? Why am I not famous too? After spending too much time at the Albertina, I think real answer is...."nothing."
22 years of fighting it, I'm ready to embrace it. I am an artist. 

St. Stephen's Cathedral
        Breathtaking Gothic architecture, oh my word. This cathedral really drove home to idea that America is in it's adolescence. We typically marvel at new pristine buildings, chic extraordinary designs, in America. I recalled one of our guides saying that there isn't much history in America of this caliber. We think it's great when something is 80-100 years old. St. Stephen's Cathedral dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Now THAT is amazing. I thought it was funny how there are single statues in town centers yet there are dozens of statues all in one concentrated area in this cathedral. People go to museums just to see things like this but here they are out in the open. This whole cathedral is a museum of art. There is art everywhere and some just for decoration! How long did it take to make all these things?? Someone put their heart and soul into every single one of these statues and paintings.

       I googled St. Stephen's and got a (Rick Steves, haha) youtube video. He talked about the colorful tiles that are symbolically owned by the residents who make donations to the cathedral. I wondered what it would have been like if I saw the cathedral in warm sunny weather and I realized I much preferred the experience being bitten by January frost - soaking feet and all. The snow gave it a different flavor of beautiful. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

         I had no idea what I was getting into. How many steps?? Some said 370, others said 354 or something. Either way that's a lot of steps in one whack. Yes, Dr. Powell smoked us. He plowed his way to the top. I had to take breaks. I used to have a fear of heights but it's subsided since I was a kid. However, when we were nearly to the top, we took a doorway leading to a narrow connecting bridge, and I did feel a little wobbly.
Photo credit to....Foster child?
Mahler Orchestra!
        So cool! I'm running out of steam for this blog post. those of you still with me are probably running out of patience. I'll wrap this one up.While the Vienna Philharmonic is a sharp group, the Mahler Orchestra was full of motion, emotion, and charm. Quite captivating. I wish I could have seen the conductor from where i was sitting, I heard some interesting things about his ...technique. I loved the way the orchestra moved. I liked watching them almost as much as I liked listening to them.


Om nom
 Cafe Phönixhof
        I was grumpy and hungry. I stomped around to a few cafes and finally landed on this one by random. Maura and Marissa, bless their hearts, accompanied me after the Mahler Orchestra's performance. I loved this place. Loved it so much we went back at least 3 more times. I'm too tired to try and spell some stuff I ate there...but i was delicious. I loved the environment. I have to go back. Maura, Marissa, and I all ended up there the first night together before we were room mates. It's like the Phönixhof brought us together :)

No comments:

Post a Comment