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Sally Mann's portfolio abounds of photographs of little girls, including here photographs such as the New Mothers and Sorry Game. All these, as the Easter Dress, are in black and white. In my opinion, the choice for black and white is an attempt by this modern artist to move the viewer's attention away from coloration and into the game of shapes and forms. If we compare this photograph with Dine's painting, the latter puts all emphasis on color (red in that particular case), while Mann insists exactly on everything that is not color: shapes, forms, movements.
The photograph depicts a little girl in a white dress playing/dancing in the foreground, while other characters, most likely members of her family (probably her grandparents, among others) are also present in the framework. As a modern art, photography has a characteristic that many other visual arts, including painting, do not: the ability of capturing an exact moment during a movement.
This is the case here: the little girl is caught jumping up and down in an exact moment when she is in the air. It is a perfect capture from this point-of-view and an immortalization of an exact moment in time.
In terms of cartoons and lithographic work, modern art is well represented by Art Spiegelman. Born in 1948, he worked as a cartoonist for most of his life and was awarded the Pulitzer Price in 1992 the comic book Maus. The print Crossroads is inspired from the comic book and depicts a gloomy reality of ethnical persecution in its first half.
From my point-of-view, this drawing is well in line with another characteristic of some areas of modern art: engagement and the goal of transmitting a message. Significantly, there are several things worth mentioning as related to this cartoon. First of all, the mice in the first half are probably depicting Art's parents, marked with the Star of David and walking on a Swastika, a clear mention of the Nazi war crimes and period of Jewish persecution.
Second of all, all characters, including the mouse calling a cab in the lower part of the drawing, are mice. Similar to Eugene Ionesco's 'rhinocerosation' in his play, we can probably talk about all characters being transformed into mice in Art's cartoons. The way the cartoons are drawn, including the white and black coloration and the generally oppressing atmosphere give a rather bleak perspective on this lithography.
If we look at this last piece of art as well, we can point out that one of the main characteristics on today's modern concept of art is the fact that it is not imposing any rules or restrictions on itself the artist or the artistic expression. What we mean by this is that the artist does not feel compelled to express himself according to a well determined set of rules that would influence his creation and reflect something different than his own personal artistic belief. A modern artist will paint something as outrageous as Pretty is..a Little Black Girl without feeling that he needs to limit his artistic expression to abide by norms and rules.
If we are to draw some conclusions on the things we have presented here, we can first of all refer to the fact that the modern concept of beauty dwells less on well-defined aesthetic principles and more on the individual artistic perception. The artist is completely freed in modern art and he builds on this freedom to go from a combination of strong colors to a mixture of shapes and forms or to capturing a still moment in a certain movement, all in an attempt to picture different forms of beauty.
On the other hand, in many ways modern beauty has build on the concept of beauty as defined by Kant that we have presented in the first paragraphs, because it has almost completely renounced all its practical use. In art, we can now talk about the principle of art for the sake of art itself, with no other explanation.
The dialogue between the individual viewer and the artist is kept on an introspective level and the message is never explicit. Part of the beauty of a modern artwork also comes from this very smooth transmission of the message.
1. Gilmore, Richard. Philosophical Beauty: The Sublime in the Beautiful in Kant's Third Critique and Aristotle's Poetics. World Congress of Philosophy, in Boston, Massachusetts from August 10-15, 1998. On the Internet at http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Aest/AestGilm.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
2. Cronk, R. The Rise and Fall of (Post-)Modern. 1996. On the Internet at http://www.westland.net/venice/art/cronk/riseandfall.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
3. On the Internet at http://www.tandempress.wisc.edu/tandem/gallery/komarin/gk610.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
4. On the Internet at http://www.artline.com/associations/ifpda/ifpdafair/ifpdafair2002/nonexhibiting/Segura_Publishing_Company/index.html.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
5. On the Internet at http://www.robertkleingallery.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=13283.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
6. Art Speiegelman. On the Internet at http://www.tandempress.wisc.edu/tandem/gallery/spiegelman/spiegelman.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
Gilmore, Richard. Philosophical Beauty: The Sublime in the Beautiful in Kant's Third Critique and Aristotle's Poetics. World Congress of Philosophy, in Boston, Massachusetts from August 10-15, 1998. On the Internet at http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Aest/AestGilm.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
Cronk, R. The Rise and Fall of (Post-)Modern. 1996. On the Internet at http://www.westland.net/venice/art/cronk/riseandfall.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
On the Internet at http://www.tandempress.wisc.edu/tandem/gallery/komarin/gk610.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
On the Internet at http://www.artline.com/associations/ifpda/ifpdafair/ifpdafair2002/nonexhibiting/Segura_Publishing_Company/index.html.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
On the Internet at http://www.robertkleingallery.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=13283.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006
Art Speiegelman. On the Internet at http://www.tandempress.wisc.edu/tandem/gallery/spiegelman/spiegelman.htm.Last retrieved on October 9, 2006[continue]
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