For my virtual exhibit , I chose the title “The Past for the Future.” The reason why I chose this title is to show the past that helped to create the world that we are able to live in today. Although the road from one to the other wasn’t pretty and a very grungy one, I wanted to show the struggle in a subtle yet meaningful way painting the picture of what was given up in order for us to be able to live a better life through the breath-taking art of the artists that I chose. I chose two artists with two different styles of expressions; Maya Lin and Julian Beever.
Maya Lin, who is Chinese American, was born in Athens, Ohio (The great Buckeye State where I’m from!) as a result from her parents migrating from China in 1949 and settling in Ohio in 1958. Lin studied at Yale University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1981 and a Master of Architecture degree in 1986. She has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Yale University (Fine Arts in 1987), Harvard University, Williams College, and Smith College. Lin comes from a line of scholars I guess you can say. Her father, Henry Huan Lin, was a ceramist and former dean of the Ohio University College of Fine Arts, she is the niece of Lin Huiyin, who is said to be the first female architect in China, Lin Juemin, one of the 72 martyrs of the Second Guangzhou Uprising was a cousin of her grandfather. At the young age of 21 and while still an undergraduate, Lin won a public design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, beating out 1,441 other competition submissions. Lin always believed that if the competition wasn’t blind, with the designs being submitted by number instead of name, that she would have never won.
Here are a few of her works which as part of my exhibit are “the past.”
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Maya Lin, 1982
The black stone-cut masonry wall is granite and V-shaped with one side pointing to the Lincoln Memorial and the other to the Washington Monument. It contains the names of 58,195 fallen soldiers carved into its face. Lin’s idea was to open a wound in the earth to symbolize the gravity of the loss of the soldiers. This particular piece is considered the “Past” of my exhibit that influenced the outcome of the latter future section and what so many of the brave men whose memories now reside as a permanent part of this wall, fought so bravely for. Lin received a great deal of scrutiny and harassment after her ethnicity was revealed. Even being called an “egg roll” from presidential candidate at the time Ross Perot after learning that she was Asian. Lin defended her design in front of the United States Congress, and eventually a compromise was reached. A bronze statue of a group of soldiers and an American flag was placed off to one side of the monument as a result. I love this particular induction to my exhibit simply because it symbolizes what lives were given in order for individuals like us to be able to do what we are doing right at this very moment. It also showcases the struggle that even the artist had to overcome as a result of her ethnicity. At the end of the day, despite what our genetic code or make-up, we are all the same and the many men whose name are upon the wall gave their lives so to give us the power to fight for what we believe in and share the freedoms.
Civil Rights Memorial, Maya Lin 1989
The Civil Rights Memorial was erected in Montgomery, Alabama to 40 people who died in the struggle for the equal and integrated treatment of all people, regardless of race, during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The names included belong to those who died between 1954 and 1968 because in 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools was unlawful and 1968 is the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Martin Luther King of course being who many believe is the father of the civil rights movement. The memorial was also inspired by King’s paraphrase “… we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. …”, from the “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. The Civil Rights Memorial is the second piece of art in my virtual exhibit that represents the past struggles that many had to endure to ensure out freedom today as the memorial represents the aspirations of the American civil rights movement against racism. Although some forms of racism still exists today, it’s because of those names displayed as well as Dr. King, that we are blessed with the rights that we have.
Yale Woman’s Table, Maya Lin 1993
This particular monument was designed by Lin and dedicated to the women of Yale University. On the surface is a spiral inscription of numbers that traces the presence of women at the university, counting the number of women enrolled at Yale each year from when they were not accepted, the number 0, to the present year. The spiral emerges from the water source and grows wider as the number of women enrolled at Yale increases. The choice of a spiral was made to mark a beginning but to leave the future open, with the last number inscribed marking the number of women enrolled for the year in which the piece was dedicated. I decided to add this piece of art to my virtual exhibit as a part of women’s history independently. The two prior exhibits have set the foundation for the women of Yale to be able to leave a mark on the schools history setting. This fountain monument is a dedication and a reminder of the time it took as well as a memory to some women the feats that had to be conquered in order to get there. If you notice from the first photo, the first 13 female students were admitted to Yale University in 1870, who ironically shares this year with the first proclaimed Mother’s Day by Julia Howe who after the Civil War, campaigned for women rights, anti-slavery, equality, and for world peace. I am particularly fond of this piece because it was a significant milestone for women at the time. Women had many struggles back then and anything that they fought for was considered a tremendous victory in my opinion. What captured me with all three of Lin’s memorials are the sleekness of the designs. The choice of the granite aside from stone gives you a more subtle and peaceful feeling and appreciation for the work she has done. The texture of the material that allows you to see your own reflection, in my mind, allows you to see who you are today rather man or woman, and reflect on what the time was like then while giving you a clear view and better understanding of the history behind the work.
The next artist whose works I will display and reflect on his Julian Beever who is a British artist born in Cheltenham, UK in 1959. Beever studied Art at Leeds Met. University in UK.1979-83 and began pavement art as a busker, drawing in different countries including the USA, Australia and Europe to fund his travels and began anamorphic (3D or the distortion of projections or perspectives that requires the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image) pavement illusions in early 90’s. Beever has been dubbed as the “Pavement Picasso” by the fans of his work even though he feel they have nothing in common except that Picasso was interest 3D in his Cubist period.
“Something Fishy”, Julian Beever date unknown
I chose to use Julian Beever as my “future” subject of my exhibit. As shown in the work above his art uses a mixture of colors that gives me a fantasy feeling. I love the way that he uses dark and lights to create the effect. The work that he put into creating the reflections from the illusion of the side walls of the pond as well as the ripples from the swimming fish gives the work a fantastic realistic look, but still have the fantasy feel. Even though to the eyes of some, it may be difficult to understand why I chose him, it’s rather simple. As the future, I have chosen all of his works that incorporated children. The child in this particular piece so happens to be his daughter, who is very beautiful and gives it the final touch. She feeds the painted fish with real pieces of bread so free without a worry in the world. The children are the future and because of the history behind Maya Lin’s works, we see it come to light more and more everyday.
“Borrowed Mill,” Julian Beever date unknown
As with all of Beever’s works I love the way he fuses reality with image. In this particular picture the little boy hangs on to the real pole on what appears to be the peak, looking over the world below that he came from. The other children look on from the bottom as they cheer him up as they enjoy their game of wrapping the ribbons around the pole. What I love about this art piece is that the colors aren’t as bold or profound as in most of his works, however, tied with the children within it, it gives off a child-like cartoon feel. Children playing, smiles and laughter…all a reward of the past that paved the way for our children to enjoy a world where children are priority.
“Butterfly,” Julian Beever date unknown
I chose this piece for a few reasons. With sticking to the future portion of my exhibit, there are two things that I wanted to point out. First and still, the child with the same story line as within all of the exhibits. At first look you see the child and the butterfly. Back then a minority child (other than white during the times) would not have been the focal point of a picture advertised as such. The second and most profound is the viewing audience. You have a mixture of all types of races and ethnic groups viewing the amazing piece of art; most even happy. Before any of the world wars and the during the civil rights movement you wouldn’t have seen a picture in this fashion. But it was because of those important events, among others, that have given us the right to be able to come together in fellowship and share views and opinions and walk among each other. What I love about the piece is the simplicity. I am all about being simple, but making a strong point (hence my blog name) at the same time. The colors are average and are nothing extreme or out of the ordinary. I like the fact the Beever decided to use the shadow to give the illusion that the butterfly is preparing to land in the hand of the child.
Both of the artist are very talented individuals with two different skill sets of the art form and masters of their craft. I think that the two with their different styles of creating art are a perfect fit into the message that I am trying to convey. On a side note, none of the dates of the artwork created by Julian Beever could be found, however, it is a known fact that he has been creating chalk drawings on pavement surfaces since the mid 1990’s.