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The power to Look

In the video “The power to Look” by The Art Institute of Chicago the presenter talks about the visual qualities of three artworks, the artist use strategies to make us think more deeply about setting, social position, culture, etc. This connects the artist and the viewer. These three artworks are the Yoruba Crown, “Paris street, rainy day” and the Sherman photo. The Intellectual Standards for Quality are the requirements to evaluate the quality of a scholar work like essays, reports or even a presentation; there are nine standards, but I choose three Clarity, Depth and Breadth.

In the “Yoruba Crown” the presenter expresses with clarity the ethnic of the crown, and the characteristics of the crown like its beaded veil so people don’t feel intimidated by the king’s gaze, also the abstract faces adorning the crown represent the king’s ancestors and the bulging eyes representing the power of the ancestors to see in our world and the supernatural world conveys the deep knowledge about the subject, the birds representing the woman’s support for the community and the king’s wife on the top representing a hierarchy. The content of this presentation covers different aspects in this community like their beliefs and their hierarchy.

In the painting “Paris street, rainy day” by Caillebotte, the presenter said that this painting “was always meant to be seen in an art gallery” by this one could infer that the social class and the resources of this artist makes the painting more sophisticated and maybe more valuable for an art gallery; with access to tools like the camera lucida he achieved to picture in a new way which covers the complexity of the modernization in Paris. When the presenter said “the radiating plan allowed oficials to more easily control the way different social classes interacted” demonstrates a deep knowledge about the social organization in the Parisian modern life at the end of the 19th century, and also she explains how the perspective of the painting puts this upper-class couple in the front plane while the working class is in the background.

And lastly in the Sherman’s photo, at first the presenter gives a briefly introduction about the photographer Cindy Sherman and her work “Always casting herself as a subject, Sherman suggests a range of submissive female roles”, however I would have liked to know why she interpreted submissive females roles, maybe it was a critique of the patriarchy of the time, but we do not know. In “untitled film #92” she arranges the shot so the viewer is looking down at the female from a position of power, but the presenter reminds us that she is the one directing our viewing experience, this considers the breadth of perspectives of this shot.

2 thoughts on “The power to Look

  1. Paul Fess

    Valentina, your post does a really good job of detailing how the video meets these standards. I’m wondering how this might shape the overall point that the presenter makes?

  2. Valentina Bedoya Post author

    When looking at an artwork bearing in mind these intellectual standards could help us understand things like the culture of a community or the historic context of a society.

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