The Power to Look

The title of the video The Power to Look, is slightly misleading. The video is about the power of looking closely, but also the power of the artist to command a spectator’s view. With this in mind, the Art Institute of Chicago is able to meet at least three standards of intellectual quality: logic, relevance, and depth.

The speaker’s argument makes sense. For example, the photograph Untitled Film Still #92 by Cindy Sherman is meant to depict the scene of a vulnerable girl in a movie. The distraught look on her face, her position on the floor, and the viewers position looking down at the girl all contribute to Sherman’s vision. The speaker relates this to “the power directors have placing their audience in a scene.” Her argument is logical and seamlessly flows from evidence to conclusion.

Additionally, all of the speaker’s evidence is essential to the main idea. The veil of the Yoruba crown has a deeper meaning, as the viewer is shielded from the gaze of the king. The Paris Street, Rainy Day painting shows, upon closer look, the distance between the upper class and the working class. Untitled Film Still #92 intentionally put the viewer in a position of dominance over the subject of the photo. Each piece of art relates back to the significance of  attention to detail, and the artist’s affect on the viewer.

Lastly, the speaker’s argument is sufficiently complex. She uses three different mediums of art to support her claim. She uses the crown from the Yoruba, the French panoramic painting, and the work of an American photographer to support her idea that an artist tells the viewer how to interpret their work. She deeply explores each medium used diversify her argument by showing how widespread the power of an artist is.


1 thought on “The Power to Look

  1. Paul Fess

    Lily, your comments here are insightful. I particularly like the ways you pick apart how the video works, something you do from the very first sentence. Great work!

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