Art History Critique of Museum Piece
The man who is the subject of the photo however, is dressed in a Flamingo-Pink Suit, matching shoes, and a red cap. He as a certain pompous walk to him, with his fresh clothes and his thick cigar. He is part of a group of men known as Sappers, who dress like kings but live in poverty. Their story mimics the picture itself, which is a comparison of excessive wealth and devastating poverty. The Piece is a work of Color Film Photography, and it was made in 1975. From a photographer’s point of view, the piece is executed well.
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The artist uses line to direct your point of view from the foreground to the background. In photography, diagonal lines can be used to guide your eyes from one element in the piece to another. In this ark, you first notice the character dressed in pink, but then the lines bring your focus to the man’s surroundings. You notice the background and how it’s shockingly bland when compared to the man himself. Color is used excellently as well in the image. The pink in the suit stands out, of course.
But the color is repeated throughout the image in other people’s clothes. Once behind the man to his right, and once again father back to the left. It creates a nice triangular shape with people dressed in pink catching your eye. The other colors in the image, predominantly warm grey, bring out the pink highlights even more. I mentioned contrast earlier in this paper, but it is the main artistic element I believe, so I will dive in a bit further. The man, “Wily Caviar” I assume, almost seems like he doesn’t belong in the composition.
You have a setting that looks like there is rubble on the sidewalks, people with few possessions all going through their daily lives, and then this man struts by, almost like an anachronism. He seems like an art-deco era gangster, and he leaves you with this impression of haughtiness and style. He is the type of person you might expect in a Jazz club in New Orleans, or more likely at a costume party! When oh think of the Congo you don’t think of snappy dressers. And when you think of snappy dressers you don’t think of dirt roads and poverty.
The piece utilizes contrast both in appearance and in meaning. You notice the differences in color and the contrast between the subject and his surroundings. But then you think about the contrast of his world and the worlds of those around him. The piece initially attracted me because of its location in the museum. It’s not with other photography pieces, but rather it is exhibited with the textile and costume department. I found this interesting, because the piece isn’t Just about photography, UT you could learn things about fashion and clothing design from it as well.
I personally am not that interested in textiles and clothing, so while all my friends were looking at the various suits and dresses on display, I was analyzing this photograph. I was actually so enthralled with this image, and so bored with the clothing on display, that I trot to look around tort 2 other pieces to write about. I d remember 2 clothing pieces in particular though. There was a very intricately patterned Suit in the next room with tiny images of Hello Kitty, and in the same room here were some older clothes and historical oil paintings from the same time period.
Sorry that I don’t go into much detail about the other pieces, I forgot that was part of the paper until right now. My only critique of the set-up for these rooms is that the only real photography piece they had on display was this one. I thought it was very interesting to show textiles through other mediums, like photography. I would have liked to see some alternative (non-tangible) representation of fashion, textile and costume in this part of the museum. The photograph was also interesting to me cause it was similar to the assignments we had been working on in photography class.
We had been working with candid street photography and that had never been something I had focused on before. After experimenting with it a little, I went to the museum and found this piece to be an excellent example of street photography. I got to see this example of the art form I was working in, and that gave me some inspiration as to what to do next when I went out to photograph people. Look for interesting colors, and interesting people. Especially anomalies. They can make for very interesting subjects.