The Austin Museum of Art was the first of the three galleries attended. At the time, the museum had a touring “Rock and Roll” exhibit, which had its focus on the influence of the Rock â€“and-Roll culture on art. The pieces were arranged in a chronological order and started with the Pop Art of the early 1960’s. Located in the section were two silk screens, one of Mick Jaggard and the other of Prince, done by Andy Warhol. There were a few other pieces in this time period that helped to point out a major turning point in both art and photography. It was now okay to use other people’s photographs in an art piece. Also, it symbolized a beginning of the manipulation of the photograph. No longer were the artists bound to having their work on paper, there were new and limitless areas to explore now in photography.
These were the main works that caught my attention in the museum, but there were many other pieces. Other works went through the abstract and full of color 1960’s, until the newer more mechanical art of the 1980’s and 90’s.
After attending the Austin Museum of Art, the students headed for a smaller, more informal gallery. The Dumont Gallery contained works from various photographers that were entered into a contest earlier in the year. Now the pictures were traveling around the state of Texas, and had even made a stop at the MSC in College Station.
The pieces in the exhibit made visible the numerous ways in which art and photography can be presented. There were huge photographs, Polaroids, pictures developed onto clothing, series photographs, bound pictures, and a large amount whose methods of production could not be identified.
There was one group of photographs done by the same artist that truly caught my attention. The artist, while a young woman did not have a very interesting life, and often sought refuge in the Nancy Drew mystery novels.
Now, she has often caught herself talking to people about her life and actually telling the events that happened in the books instead of her life.
It was because of those events that she did a series of photographs were she dressed up like Nancy Drew and posed in her pictures that played out the different stories from the books. She decided, why not be her if you think you are her.
The last and most relaxed gallery was one that displayed the works of artists from the Austin area. The gallery was actually part of an artist colony called Laughing at the Sun.
Inside the building, the pieces were mainly traditional art.
There were a few sculpture pieces, but mainly, it was photographs and drawings or paintings. The pieces were actually there to show the relationship of art and human models. The subject was a tribute to the models because without them, the artists would have a harder time producing their work. In addition to looking at the pictures, I found myself more drawn to a corner of the gallery that did not have anything to do with the exhibit. The were beautiful non-ferrous sculptures of feathers, headdresses, spears, and other Native American art. These were all done by a man named Daryl Colburn, who has been a recognized Native American artist. After a quick look in the gallery, the students got a quick tour of the colony and the projects that each artist was undertaking.
The people in the colony teach classes to make money, and live and work on the property for free. The only stipulation is that they have to help maintain the property, and be willing to teach the other artists in the colony for free.
After viewing the pieces in the three exhibits, I felt more educated on the evolution of photography and the way a gallery can actually influence my views on a particular piece of art. The first gallery, though it had very interesting pieces, felt stuffy and made you want to move quickly through and leave, while the last display at the artist colony was enjoyable. Laughing at the sun made me want to stay and explore the pictures spending the time to concentrate on each one and see if I could pick out the artist’s techniques.
If ever in the Austin area, I would definitely attend Laughing at the Sun’s gallery.