NORTHWESTERN / ART / REVIEW
ISSUE 11 FALL 2013 WWW.NORTHWESTERNARTREVIEW.ORG
CONSTRUCTING REALITY » NORTHWESTERN / ART / REVIEW NANCY DASILVA PRESIDENT
CRISTINA DOI PUBLISHER MOLLY CRUZ JOE SEMKIU MARCY CAPRON WEB SERVER AILEEN MCGRAW
CLAIRE DILLON EDITORINCHIEF (WEB) firstname.lastname@example.org
KAYLA REUBEN DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS/PUBLIC RELATIONS
ELISE CHAGAS EVENTS CHAIR KATHRYN WATTS LINDSAY CHARLES NICK GIANCOLA AILEEN MCGRAW
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
SENIOR EDITORS KATE WOLLMAN SINEAD LOPEZ SENIOR MANAGERS
CAMILLE REwwYES CHRISTIE WOOD
KATHRYN WATTS SAMMY ROSENTHAL KYLIE RICHARDS
CAT CHEN SAMMY ROSENTHAL KYLIE RICHARDS CLAIRE KISSINGER
FACULTY ADVISORS PROFESSOR CHRISTINA KIAER ART HISTORY PROFESSOR LANE RELYEA ART THEORY & PRACTICE
is a studentproduced journal based at Northwestern University dedicated to publishing undergraduate papers on art history and contemporary art trends. If you are interested in submitting a research paper or art review for publication in the journal, please contact our editorinchief at email@example.com. If you are an undergraduate at any institute of higher education and interested in contributing in other ways, please contact the president at firstname.lastname@example.org. NAR is a noncommercial journal published by students at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Images are copyright their respective owners through Creative Commons, contributed by authors, and from ARTstor.org and used within their Terms and Conditions. Written material is © 2013, all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.
FROM THE EDITOR » NAR 11 CONSTRUCTING REALITY
In our eleventh issue of the Northwestern Art ages given their poignant compositions and the con
Review, the three selected essays share the theme, text in which the images were shown. The final essay “Constructing Reality”—where the realms of art and is a literal construction in that it is a fictional account life overlap, feed into one another, affect and inform of the discovery of Leonardo da Vinci’s nonexisting the other. Truths are discovered in this collapse—art Hercules sculpture that is bolstered by historical and and life build upon each other to formulate truths. The stylistic analysis of da Vinci and Florence. first essay discusses an alternative conception of Nam
On behalf of NAR, I would like to thank the Wein
June Paik’s body of work. Rather than an emphasis berg College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the on Buddhist principles, the essay argues that the de
Provost for their support. I would also like to express
velopment of Nam June Paik’s body of work consis
sincere appreciation for the Northwestern University
tently addresses the humanization of technology. His Department of Art History, particularly Christina use of television screens as a vital element in his body Kiaer, NAR’s department advisor and Jesús Escobar, of work illustrates the integration of life, as embod
Chair of the Department, as well as the Art Theory
ied in the ubiquitous television screen, and art. At his and Practice Department, especially Lane Relyea, the retrospective at the Whitney Museum, Paik inverts Chair of the Department. The staff at the Mary and this collapse between life and art when he immerses Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern Univer his RobotK456 into a composed scene of reality by sity has also shown enthusiastic support of NAR, for choreographing a car crash in front of the Whitney. which I am truly grateful. We also see how analysis of Margaret BourkeWhite’s photograph, Clinton, Louisiana, questions the cred
I would like to thank President Nancy DaSilva for
her support, energy, and inspiration throughout the
ibility of documentary photography. BourkeWhite’s process. Cristina Doi, the publisher, is entirely respon images depicting the human experience during the sible for the visual manifestation of the journal, and I DepressionEra encouraged a biased read of the im
thank her infinitely for her sweetness and understand
ing and always being present throughout the design process. Thanks to Kayla Reuben, Publicity Director, otherwise I would not have been able to reach out to the public for submissions without her help. The Senior Journal Editors, Kate Wollman and Sinead Lopez were indispensable and proved to be an incredible support system for me during the editorial process. Finally, the editorial staff stuck with me through thick and thin and I am very grateful to them for their insights and company. Thank you Kylie Richards, Sammy Rosen thal, and Kathryn Watts.
Lastly, I would like to recognize and thank not just
our published contributors, but all the students across the nation who submitted papers for our fall journal. Without the enthusiasm that our fellow undergradu ates have demonstrated in their willingness to engage in scholarly discourse, this journal would not have been possible.
HANNAH LEE FALL 2013
IN THIS ISSUE»
1 2 3
Nam June Paik: Expressionism of neohumanism with the most inanimate medium BY JU HYUN (JAY) LEE, PAGE 7
Photographs of Margarete Bourke-White: Economic and Ideological Context BY HANNAH KLEINMAN, PAGE 19
!"#$%&'#('%()*$+*,-(."&+/0"BY DEBORAH KRIEGER, PAGE 31
NOTES, PAGE 39 5
Nam June Paik:
Expression of neohumanism with the most inanimate medium BY JU HYUN (JAY) LEE
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON, D.C.
modernism as a “presenta tion of what is eternal in the ephemeral.”1 Nam June Paik followed this definition by us
ing technology as a means to present human nature. To him, the best way to capture modern society was by incorpo rating technological devices prevalent at the time. Today, technology has created an even more tightly knit world where Figure 1a. Robot K-456, 1964 Figure 1b. Robot K-456 in front of the Whitney Museum of Art, 1982
even our leisure is dominated by it. Per haps this is one of the reasons why Paik’s works resonate with us so much.
Paik considered technological mediums such as televi sion monitors, video recorders and laser beams as an ephemeral medium, though they also have function as a means of making memories and events timeless. Paik definitely addressed this juxtaposition in his later installation works. Previous articles and exhibition catalogues have emphasized Paik as the founder of the Video Arts genre, influenced by the Fluxus movement and his East Asian heritage. Instead, I’d like to focus on his work from 1964 to 1995 as a tribute to humanity, encouraging participation of the viewers by manipu lating time and space, and evoking the senses in larger installation works.
“The father of video art” is one of the phrases that
previous researchers used to define Nam June Paik. This term emphasizes his innovative ideas of incorpo
Figures 2,3. Family of Robot –Grandmother, 1986 & Grandfather, 1986
formance artwork as a primary influence in his idea
rating television and video cameras into the realm of of using technology as an artistic medium. His early art; however, it does not bring up his vision of a world training did form a solid foundation for his later career where technology and nature coexist in balance. As but his goals were different: he tried to transform the the phrase suggests, these articles focus heavily on his way people thought of art first, then he tried to imitate biography and his training as a contemporary musi
humanity and nature with technology. In analyzing his
cian during the Fluxus movement before he began his video works, previous articles frequently bring up his Buddhist interpretation of the world even though he video artwork.
Paik was born into a wealthy textile manufactur
rarely went back to Asia after he left for Germany. He
ing family in Seoul during the Japanese occupation of only occasionally returned to Japan to collaborate with Korea. His earlier comfortable lifestyle changed dra a Japanese technician, Shuya Abe, but did not return matically at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, to Korea until thirtyfour years later in 1984 for his ex forcing his family to flee first to Hong Kong, then to hibition tour in Tokyo and in Seoul. Still, comparisons Japan. It was at the University of Tokyo that he first between his eastern and western attitudes toward time gained interest in contemporary music, leading him to surface, especially in his TV Buddha series. explore his passion further by departing for Germa
ny. Previous research emphasized this period of per 2
the recorded inauguration speech of former President John F. Kennedy. This radiolike quality acknowledged radio’s role as the original mass media. Transforming the information and entertainment functions of radio into a recordingplaying robot seemed to draw our at tention to its usage as an art medium, not as a middle class staple. In the staged accident in 1982, a car drove up to the Robot K456 and knocked it down, all with little effort and force. He termed this the “catastrophe of technology in the 20th century.”3 The hopeless dis persion of its parts on the streets evoked sympathy for this humanlike robot, bringing attention to the frail nature of the technology that we depended on. In addi tion, the accident noted the irony of transferring daily tasks to these incapable robots.4 Fig. 4: TV Brasserie for Living Sculpture, 1969
I. Television, an anthropomorphic medium
The most palpable humanistic piece among his
body of work is the Robot K456, 1964 (Figure 1). He first built this robot in 1964 with the help of Shuya Abe, then staged an accident with it in 1982 in front of the Whitney Museum of American Art while work ing on his retrospective exhibition there. Unlike the robots we see on television today, Paik’s Robot K456 was a fragilelooking, emptybodied metal being. De spite its flimsy looks, the walking function was con sidered complex at the time. Instead of using televi sion monitors, Paik used a tape recorder that played 9
Another clearcut example of anthropomorphic
depiction of technology is The Family of Robot made in 1986. The human qualities in these robots are more deliberate. The most notable ones are Grandmother, 1986 (Figure 2) and Grandfather, 1986 (Figure 3). In both video sculptures, Paik used wooden, antique television screens and radios. They are shown facing different directions but displaying the same image on their screen. The Grandmother sculpture has nar rower “shoulders” and curves showing her femininity yet emphasizing her age with vintage sets. In compari son, the Grandfather sculpture shows broader “shoul ders” with some elbow movement and a more upright posture. Usually, robots’ skills are measured by their active performance of human tasks such as walking, lifting…etc. However, Paik’s robots are brought alive by their animated TV screens.5 These video sculptures
made with inanimate broadcasting objects not only give us a sense of their facial expressions and person
EXPRESSIONISM OF NEOHUMANISM IN THE MOST INANIMATE MEDIUM
ality, but also a feeling of nostalgia. It is interesting that although he used modern materials, these have a talizing the female breasts in paintings, sculptures 8 stronger sense of the “old” than some marble or bronze and writings. Paik drew connections to the classical sculptures that look more classical and idealized. depiction of the female nude using a more attention de Evoking emotions towards the humanized television manding television monitor. sculptures demonstrates his vision of showing human
More examples include the TV Cello, 1971 and TV
ity with technology.
During an interview with Russell Connor in 1975,
Paik stated that he loved his “antitechnological tech nology.”6 This term summarizes his position on using technological devices. He used them to represent the modern age, where people depended on technologi cally driven machines in daily life from typewriters to washers, but he created something very human and natural using the same materials. His early years in New York were characterized by his collaborations with Charlotte Moorman, a cellist and performance artist, in her AvantGarde Festivals. It was here that his humanization of technology began to flourish. Paik wanted to shock and challenge the way his audiences thought about their performances. For example, in TV Brasserie for Living Sculpture, 1969 (Figure 4), Moorman performed in half nude with small televi sion monitors attached to her breasts. The brightly lit screens on Moorman were the center of attention as she solemnly played the cello. The use of “TV as the most intimate belonging” was yet another level of his interest in incorporating television into our lives in an unexpected way.7 Moreover, TV Brasserie harkens back to the ageold tradition of idealizing and immor
Figure 5. TV Cello & TV Glasses, 1971
Glasses, 1971 (Figure 5). In Figure 5, Charlotte Moor man is shown playing the cello made up of three differ entsized televisions set at the same channel as Paik’s TV Glasses. Paik confronted the function of television as a visual object. Here, all the television screens are facing the audience and Moorman is unaware of the what’s being displayed on the screen, both because of her positioning behind the televisions and because of the screens in front of her eyes. Television’s main pur pose is to enhance our life, to make mundane tasks easier and faster, yet seeing them so close to our per sonal space seems unsettling.
II. Manipulation of time and space using technology
Figure 6. TV Buddha, 1974
While using mediums such as television, video re
at his own image; however, there’s more to it. First of
corders and video synthesizers, time can easily be ma
all, traditional representations of deities depict them
nipulated. On a television screen, we see a virtual real
in frontal poses with recognizable facial character
ity as time passes in both spheres. In addition, one of istics or attributes. The timeless, iconic and ethereal the reasons why we record videos is to save moments, sense of uninterrupted meditation of Paik’s Buddha is hoping to relive them later while looking back at those transformed as a perfect reproduction on the television past memories in the present. Christine Ross states screen that anyone can watch anywhere. The timing of that “video is time, in video, there is no space there is the Buddha’s image on the screen is left ambiguous as only time.”9 I agree with her statement partially, since well. Is the Buddha looking at a live recording of his I believe space plays a huge role in Paik’s later video image or is he looking at a replay of a prerecorded vid installation works. As for Ross’s views on time, Paik eo or is he looking at a precaptured image displayed often controls time in his earlier, smallerscale works. on the screen?10 This ambiguity invites viewers’ inter In Paik’s TV Buddha, 1974 (Figure 6), a sculpture of pretations. Some scholars argued that the Buddha’s slightly the Buddha is seated in front of a television that shows an image of the Buddha captured from the video cam downcast eyes never meet and posited hypotheses on era on top of the television. At first glance, this work is its connection to the two Buddhas in Lotus Sutra.11 Paik amusing since we never think about a Buddha looking probably did not intend for his TV Buddha to be seen 11
as a religious work. It is easy to assume he held Bud dhist views given that he is East Asian and John Cage, Paik’s friend and mentor, was a Zen Buddhist. Despite his deeply religious mother, there is no documentation of his religious views. Instead, Paik used the Buddha as an image that anyone could recognize. As Pop artists incorporated various brand logos and consumer prod ucts into their works, Paik used the universal image of meditation and reflection for his work. Despite his nonreligious sentiments, Buddhist communities and religious publications in Korea have actively embraced him as the national Korean artist who depicted Bud dhism with modern technology. A news article in a Ko rean newspaper, Kyeong In Ilbo, describes video art as embodying the Buddhist concept of “nonpossession” since the experience is momentary and refers to him as
Figure 7. Video Buddha, 1976
a shamanartist.12 In addition, a wellknown Buddhist journal, HyundaeBulGyo (translated as “Contempo rary Buddhism”) coorganized a retrospective exhibi tion with a prominent temple, BongEun Temple, in 2010. In the global age we live in, it is difficult to claim a contemporary artist as a national artist representing one’s country. Even Paik noted that “I don’t see much sense in categorizing artists by national origin” in an interview with David Ross, Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.13 These events as well as discussion of Paik’s works in Buddhist publi cations distort the message behind his works.
Whether or not he meant to imbue spiritual mean
ings in his artwork depicting the Buddha, he made a number of versions of it. In Video Buddha, 1976 (Fig
Figure 8. Candle TV, 1984
ure 7), he used a closedcircuit video installation with 12
in another world, yet the burning candle reminds the viewers that it exists in our time. Each time, a new viewer sees a different stage in the candle’s lifespan. The inclusion of an ephemeral object in a compara tively eternal television frame and space goes back to Charles Baudelaire’s definition of modernism. It is also interesting that he replaced the mechanical parts of the monitor, which is the source of the TV’s illumina tion with a naturally brightening object.14 This is the opposite of what he does later with the Family of Ro bot in 1986. In his robots, he replaces the human mo Figure 9. Participation TV, 1984
bility of the robots with animated screens; whereas in Candle TV he replaces the artificial illumination with
only the head of the stone Buddha buried in dirt. In a natural one. The importance of space is integral in Paik’s works. conjunction to my earlier point, Paik’s attempt to show his artwork representing humanity and nature is dis
By projecting an image on a television screen, he adds
played here. By placing the Buddha’s head in the dirt another layer of space, whether it is a duplicate of re and placing a video segment in front of it, he used a ality, edited videotape or something that the audience similar method as the TV Buddha from two years ago. creates and alters through participation. This is where However, the addition of earthly dirt adds a natural Paik’s disintegration of the space between the artwork dimension to it and perhaps he meant to convey the and the viewer plays an important role. In museums message that an unnatural object such as a television today, visitors stand before the artwork without being could connect us to nature. In modern society, espe
able to touch it or get too close to it without frighten
cially in urban centers, television does function to ing the security guards. They simply stare at it from a distance to appreciate it. This might have been the art show us the beauty of national parks and nature. In relation to Paik’s manipulation of time, Candle ist’s intent when court painters created grand history TV, 1984 (Figure 8) shows differing views of time. He paintings, but not in the modern world. Paik actively
places a reallit candle inside a television frame with
encourages the viewers to take part in the creation that
out its mechanical parts. As time goes by, the candle he provides. He stated that he wanted television to be melts and eventually goes out, requiring someone to an “open medium able to flourish and grow through replace it with a new one. By its placement in the tele
imagination and participation of communities and in
15 vision frame, it gives an illusion that it is taking place dividuals from around the world.” In Participation
TV, 1963 (Figure 9), he attachs a microphone with a footoperated switch to the television monitor. The vis
EXPRESSIONISM OF NEOHUMANISM IN THE MOST INANIMATE MEDIUM
itors could press on the switch and speak in front of the microphone, and then their voice would be transformed this is a sitespecific installation work unlike the ones into patterns of light and patterns on the monitor. In before that could be seen as objects. The TV Garden Paik’s artwork, the artist is no longer creating works had been included in a variety of Nam June Paik exhi that provide a window into another world through illu bitions since its first showing on 1974. Each time, de sionistic backgrounds, foreshortened figures and usage pending on the size and shape of the room, the organi of techniques such as a vanishing point to trick our eye. zation would be a little bit different. With these larger We become immersed within the artwork, as if we are scale works, Paik completely took control of the time and space of his exhibition area. His artwork evokes just another addition to the final product. our senses by managing not only the overall spectacle,
III. Turning Point: Evocation of the senses
but also the sound and images on the television screen. Viewers could walk around his garden at their own
Beginning in the mid1970s, Paik’s career had a pace, stopping to view the monitors or to touch the real moment of transition, when he began to focus on larger plants surrounding the monitors. In addition, Paik
scale installation works. His works were sitespecific used a video segment called the Global Groove, 1973. often filling up the entire space the visitor was in. His This video starts by showing people dressed in neon manipulation of the lighting, sound, and video displays leotards dancing, reminiscent of pop art. Through on television screens as well as the tactile quality of this video, Paik pays his respects to his mentors and natural elements, all played a key role in the viewers’ friends: Charlotte Moorman, John Cage and Merce experiences. The looking and participating activity of Cunningham.16 He also included brief video clips of the viewers turned into a walking and feeling activity both Korean and American music and dance, adding as they explored his work. The television was an excel to the excitement of the general ambiance. The pop lent medium for this function as each screen could be culture references in Global Groove pull the audience individualized in a way to compete for the viewers’ at into his artwork, since they could relate to these more tention, yet have the allencompassing effect. By physi
than his personal homages. Some scholars noted that
cally planting his television screens within his careful his only weakness was the inclusion of this video clip recreation of nature, he created an ecological environ instead of actual flowers that would have been more ment using the most inanimate medium.
fitting to the garden setting.17 However, the colorful,
Paik’s TV Garden, 1974 (Figure 10) best illustrates dynamic quality of the video created a modern “gar this transition. The most obvious difference was that den.” Instead of the traditional garden where viewers
vision screens are arranged on the sides of the horizon tal planes in an undulating pattern, echoing the bright images they display. In a way, this looks like a hang ing, multidimensional TV Garden with the television monitors embedded in nature, as if part of it. This structure would have framed the residents of the apart ment complex going about their daily life. Hanhardt’s observation that Paik used television to “construct a technoecological Eden, a pastoral view of technology, television seen not as a malignant growth but as a po etic flowering” supports my argument of humanizing Figure 10. TV Garden, 1974
and naturalizing his medium.18 Here, nature is literally fused with technology and artificial light and sound.
observe flowers and plants in silence and awe, visitors to his TV Garden were surrounded by eyecatching popular images.
Years later, he was commissioned to construct a
public, outdoor installation work for an apartment complex in Philadelphia. He titled this work, Video Ar bor, 1990 (Figure 11). The concept of the architecture was similar to that of the triumphal arches in Paris and Rome. He made three horizontal rows of televi sions, using a total of 28 monitors, supported by metal, columnlike supports. The supports are reminiscent of fluted columns that supported arches and temples during the classical times. These “columns” and the top part of the horizontal row of TV monitors are cov ered with ivies and other plants. Ivies twist around the columns, giving an antiquated look to them, even though these are structures made with the latest, at the time, technologically significant medium. The tele
Lastly, one of Paik’s most famous works, Electron
ic Superhighway, 1995 summarizes his own take on “antitechnological technology.” This work shows the beginning of his interest in incorporating lasers, an other modern technology, into his works. This large scale installation work shows the map of the United States using different sized television monitors dis playing video segments specific to each state. They are outlined by different neon lights, yet they are all connected. The Smithsonian American Art Museum website notes that this reflects Paik’s own sentiments when he first came to the United States just after the opening of the allconnecting Interstate highway sys tem.19 In this work, he goes even further than just hu manizing a medium. By using television as an infor mational device, he creates a monument for the U.S. culture. The television screens displays each state’s culture in an array of flashing images, inspired by the way neon billboards looked as Paik sped past them on
Figure 11. Video Arbor, 1990.
Figure 12. Electronic Superhighway, 1995.
the highway.20 While televisions usually bombard us with advertisements, shows and information about the
EXPRESSIONISM OF NEOHUMANISM IN THE MOST INANIMATE MEDIUM
world, yet here, the television is simply an ambassa dor to represent each state. His video segments include Martin Luther King’s speech for Alabama and a seg ment from Wizard of Oz for Kansas.
From analyzing his earlier television works to lat
er installation works, Paik’s dedication to humanizing the new artistic medium is evident. By choosing the most inanimate object possible, he created sculptures, architectures and environments that both connect ed us to nature and also manipulated the television screens to send different messages to his viewers. He first confronted the act of passive viewing by encour aging viewer participation in his works, and then indi vidualized his works by using video segments such as the Global Groove to represent contemporary society. In Electronic Superhighway, he wraps up his message by symbolizing the melting pot culture of the United States using the most appropriate medium: a univer sal information communicator, the television. Paik’s works are not just the product of the Fluxus movement and his heritage, but his vision to express our technol ogydependent culture in harmony with nature.
Photographs by Margarete Bourke-White: Economic and Ideological Context BY HANNAH KLEINMAN
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY EVANSTON, IL
orking as a commercial photographer, photojournalist, documentary photogra pher, and war analyst, Margaret Bourke White captured images that span an
economic rollercoaster in American history. Shifting her career focus from industry to human struggle, BourkeWhite’s work questions the extent to which art can educate or challenge its viewers about social !"#$%"!"&'!($&)"#'*')"+,$-./$01)*)2/!013$Clinton, Louisiana, reveals the Depressionera status of the laborer, the ideological effects of the context in which such information is presented, and the ultimate credibility of documentary photography. 19
Bourke-White, Clinton, Louisiana, from You Have Seen Their Faces (1937)
Clinton was first published in
You Have Seen Their Faces (1937), a photographic book written in col laboration with Erskine Caldwell that documented the conditions of sharecroppers in the rural south.1 The photograph depicts a mother sitting on the steps of a massive, di lapidated mansion, with her daugh ter perched on her lap. The pair doesn’t interact with each other in a lighthearted manner, but each gazes into the distance with a fur rowed brow.
The photograph embodies a
transitional moment in Bourke White’s interest in both monumen tal industry and its human conse quences, ultimately reflecting the unstable status of the Depression era laborer.2 BourkeWhite began her career documenting factory mechanics and corporate com missions precisely when the fi nancial collapse radically changed American economics and politics.3 However, by the mid1930s, she at tempted to reconcile her industrial images with the human subjects who felt the devastating effects of the Depression.4 Before Clinton can be discussed alone, BourkeWhite’s 21
Bourke-White, The Towering Smokestacks of the Otis Steel Co., Cleveland (1927-28)
industrial photographs must be as
true of The Towering Smoke
sessed in conjunction, seeing that stacks of the Otis Steel Co., her earlier industrial photographs Cleveland (192728), in which
PHOTOGRAPHS OF MARGARET BOURKEWHITE
prefigure the social concerns in BourkeWhite captures an image of of Machine Age industrialism.11 In her later photographs.5 Bourke
tremendous smokestacks emitting this sense, the two industrial photo
White’s industrial photographs, smog from the steel factory. The graphs can be labeled as “images of capitalist abundance” in which “the
which included images of steel pro
size of the smokestacks is commu
duction, automobile manufactur
nicated through the two diminutive machine offers endless bounty.”12
ing, newspaper printing, and min
workers pictured at the bottom edge Therefore, the columns in Clinton
ing, answered the demands of big of the composition. This composi
can be interpreted as a counterpart,
business by visually glorifying it. tion is mirrored almost precisely in or even an allusion to the smoke 6
Dominated by compositional pre
BourkeWhite’s Life cover featuring stacks. However, while the verti
cision, repetition, and rationaliza
Fort Peck Dam (1936), which de
cal industrial elements communi
tion, the photos picture “not only picts two men at the base of massive cate Machine Age dreams of power the subjects and products of mass buttresses. Again, in Clinton, Loui
and potential, the columns refer to
production, but also its systems siana, the motherdaughter pair is them in order to implicate industri and values.”7 The photos participate overwhelmed by the monumental alism’s fall from grace during the in photographic capitalism, “the stature of the house’s deteriorating Depression era. This is evident in selling of business goods or ideas columns, which create a disparity the columns, which are now an em through the persuasive medium of between the human subjects and barrassment to their previous gran photographic print.”8 Ultimately, the architectural backdrop, against deur—corrosion and discoloration these photographs served as ad
which they are pictured.
vertisements that displayed artistic
is visibly present in the grayscale
In all three images mentioned, patches on the column shafts. The
some sort of construction extends decay of the column bases leaves
in a consecutive, diagonal thrust crumbles of stone on the portico,
The following themes charac
terize BourkeWhite’s industrial from the left foreground to the and the steps leading up to the en photos: a focus on the aesthetics of right background of the composi
trance appear dirtied and worn.
mechanical subjects, a repetition of tion. According to Corwin, the re
Although its original functional
identical forms, and an inclusion of petitive, rationalized nature of the ity is not discernable, the chunk a minuscule figure against an im
smokestacks serves as a metaphor of stone in the lower right corner
mense industrial setting. This is for the conveyor belt, the keystone signals that some sort of sculptural 10
ornamentation has been broken, stolen, or destroyed. The mansion is in dreadful condition, but its classical design visually communicates a language of grandeur, rationality, and authority. These values share similari ties with Machine Age ideals, tying them even closer to BourkeWhite’s images of industry.
Furthermore, as mentioned, all three images in
clude a pair of seemingly small humans. The workers appear “less human beings than automatons…they do their jobs, as joylessly and uncomplainingly, yet as efficiently, as the equipment around them.” How 13
ever, recognizing the significance of human figures in BourkeWhite’s industrial images is key to understand ing their influence on her later documentary work.14 In The Towering Smokestacks of the Otis Steel Co., the tiny workers seem to be staring up at the markers of in dustry with a great awe for their technological sublime. Linsley argues that this type of composition mystifies social domination through technology without exam ining the social interests that use it.15 However, this is not the case in Clinton. While the mother and daughter are far less marginalized and far more central to the composition, they are still belittled by the building’s great stature. Gazing out into the distance with som ber faces, the mother and daughter appear isolated and detached from their surroundings. The classicizing language of the architecture is completely irrelevant to the povertystricken status of the pair, furthering this disconnect. If the columns can be considered allusions to Machine Age grandeur, the mother and daughter’s displacement from the columns not only signals their financial hardship, but disillusionment with capital 23
istic ideologies. In this, BourkeWhite is able to bring “into high relief the disparity between industrial soci ety and those displaced by it.”16
The importance of these pairs of overpowered hu
man figures and the connections between them is that they expose the unstable status of the worker in the face of Depressionera challenges. While the tiny work ers serve to communicate scale and exaggerate the size of factory, their reduced status conveys the vague po sition of industry during the Depression.17 The sheer scale of such industrial elements result in “a threaten ing anthropomorphism.”18 This effect is in congruence with the sense of being near danger while experiencing technological sublime. These workers are imperiled by the sheer power that industry, manifested in the smokestacks and the buttresses, has over their lives. The “representation of laboring bodies as peripheral… serves as a powerful metaphor for the socioeconomic status of the worker threatened by both the rational ized factory’s mechanization of work and the Depres sionera realities of mass unemployment.”19 This mass unemployment, along with incredible financial suffer ing, is directly transposed onto the motherdaughter pair in Clinton. Their association with the previously pictured factory workers reveals a psychological shift from the great potentials of industry to the human suf ferings that are caused by its failures.20
The American struggles that ensued during the
Depression are exemplified in unemployment statis tics, which remained above 20 percent from 1932 to 1935, and did not fall below 17 percent until the upturn
Bourke-White, Fort Peck Dam, Montana (1936)
following World War II.21 Many through which BourkeWhite pub
sale earned BourkeWhite a steady
American families struggled to lished her work: the photographic stream of commissions, making her provide for themselves and for their magazine or book. These images name “synonymous with an atti children, dealing with the chal
do not stand alone; rather, they tude of capitalist expansion.”30 This
lenges of widespread hunger and are tied to texts, stories, and me low morale. According to Augs 22
attitude, quite simply, was a mon
dia ideologies of providing sources. eymaker for both BourkeWhite
purger, “The depth of Americans’ Therefore, to divorce them from and her patrons. pessimism toward business and the their context would fail to expose
BourkeWhite’s photograph of
economy in the thirties inverted them in the light that their contem
Fort Peck Dam, Montana (1936),
the irrational optimism that had porary viewers first saw them. Ac
which graced the inaugural cover
pervaded the previous decade.” cording to Stomberg, photography of Life magazine in 1936, belongs 23
This shift in psyche is precisely has been intertwined with corpo
in the stream of industrial photo
reflected in the shift from the in
rate culture and the book narra
graphs pictured in Fortune, a new
dustrial and documentary images tive throughout history. Bourke
picture magazine that targeted
discussed. BourkeWhite devel
White photographed The Towering business managers.3132 As a staff
oped her early industrialist style Smokestacks of the Otis Steel Co., photographer for illustrated maga in order to glorify huge machines, along with others, motivated by zines, BourkeWhite gained public but she also employed it when pho
her own interest in the factory.27 exposure for her photos.33 Accord
tographing human beings, with She then sold the pictures to the ing to Stomberg, the “imaginative similar heroicizing effects.24 While president of the factory, who bound sequencing of images, combined some interpret this link as doing them in books, which he gave to with a narrative method, created little more than applying her indus
the company’s shareholders.28 This a personalizing effect…that in
trial shooting strategies to a new sale is a prime example of direct creased profits and sold goods.”34 locale, BourkeWhite’s continua
photographic capitalism, previ
This means that BourkeWhite’s
tion of style through different pho
ously defined as a method of sell
photographs were not only required
tographic settings implies that she ing goods through photographs.
to reflect the values of a particular
was presenting her information in Although BourkeWhite produced company, but an entire set of fluc related contexts.25
these photographs without a com
tuating ideologies put forth by me
In order to fully understand the mission, she must have had plans dia giants such as Fortune and Life.
interpretive implications of these to sell them. Hence, an enthusias
Fortune originally positioned itself
photographs, they must be explored tic Machine Age ideology is inevi
as a highend publication devoted
within the context of the media tably superimposed on them. This to boost business and industry.35 25
BourkeWhite’s aesthetic, indus
project that sought to “show
trial photos fit Fortune’s ideology the plight of sharecroppers in
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARGARET BOURKEWHITE
of a symbiotic relationship between the southern United States.”40 Travelling around the Dustbowl, the individuals portrayed; they do quires perfect business societies to BourkeWhite snapped the photos, not pretend to reproduce the actual 45 create advanced art.36 and Caldwell wrote the accompa sentiments of these persons.” Sim commerce and culture that re
nying texts.41 Five photos from the ply put, the captions are Caldwell’s italism and progress dropped off book were previewed in Life, bring constructions. They reveal the in with the Depression, Fortune had ing them into millions of homes, tentions behind the photographs
However, as confidence in cap
to restructure its values.37 The staff and ensuring the permanent visi
and how contemporary readers
was now allowed to expand their bility created by book publication.42 were steered to interpret them. The boundaries to the lives of those out Although the book was free of the city names are constructions as proindustrial ideology imposed well, but their inclusion reflects the ers, farmers, and the unemployed, on her work for Fortune, Bourke thirties’ awareness of the distinc producing articles that “demon White’s photographs were pre tive needs of different regions and side the elite class, including labor
46 strated a broader understanding of sented with texts that were meant locales. In general, all the captions are the American nation.”3839 This so to shape interpretation.43 The “se
ciopolitical shift is clearly reflected quencing of pictures, their presen
from the Southern subject’s point of
in the shift from BourkeWhite’s tation, and the text surrounding view, employing colloquial gram photographs of glorified industry to the images could add a particular mar. For example, in Ocelot, Geor those more like Clinton, and reveals slant to a company’s message,” just gia, the caption below a heavy black why BourkeWhite retains some el as they could add a particular slant woman pictured with her babies ements and changes others in the to a book’s message.44
reads, “I got more children than
line of her photographic style.
I know what to do with, but they
The book is organized into in
While Clinton existed outside termittent sections of captioned keep coming along like watermel 47 of the magazine setting, it clearly photographs and chapters that pro ons in the summertime.” The cap
vide narratives about the conditions tion below Clinton reads, “I don’t tojournalistic method of aligning in the South. The disclosure in the know what ever happened to the photographs with text. Originally beginning of the book admits, “The family that built this house before reflects the influence of the pho
published in collaboration with Ers
legends under the pictures are in
the War. A lot of families live here
kine Caldwell, You Have Seen Their tended to express the authors’ own now. My husband and me moved in Faces was an independent book conceptions of the sentiments of and get two rooms for five dollars a 26
month.”48 This caption, along with the others, gleans more (possibly false) information from the pho tograph. The disparity that exists between the motherdaughter pair and the mansion is explained by the implication that the house was abandoned and is now rented out to many impoverished families at a cheap rate. The caption also con firms the dismal financial status of the subjects. Although their cloth ing appears tailored and clean, their modest appearance, along with the mother’s tight bun and the daugh ter’s bowl haircut, make it clear that they cannot own this mansion. As they have no connections to the original owners, they have con nection to the property itself. They don’t belong in the wealthy class that once built this estate, yet their economic standing, like the home, is in shambles.
When Clinton is evaluated in
the context of the other sixtysix im ages in the book, it communicates a greater sense of suffering than it would on its own. The last photo graph presented, Locket, Georgia, is a closeup of a somberfaced man who is apparently thinking, “It ain’t Bourke-White, Ocelot, Georgia, from You Have Seen Their Faces (1937)
hardly worth the trouble to go on living.”49 Compiled with images of povertystricken tenant farmers, la borers, mothers, children, and slaves, Clinton exists within a barren landscape of hardship that strikingly opposes a prosperous landscape of industry. Although the authors admit the captions, places, and names to be fictitious, their inclusion results in an interpreta tion largely controlled by the book’s makers. Raeburn chastises the text when he states that the fictitious captions “indulge in patronizing pseudodialect” and “make subjects ridiculous or absurdly ignorant.”50 He claims that the captions’ failure to provide informa tion about the people depicted or their circumstanc es brings forward disrespectful social stereotypes.51 While the captions probably seemed less disrespectful to viewers of their time, Raeburn’s point emphasizes the falsities that could have steered viewers toward in accurate conclusions.
Raeburn not only challenges the admitted falsity of
the captions, but the validity of BourkeWhite’s photo graphs themselves. The artificial elements in Bourke
Bourke-White, Locket, Georgia, from You Have Seen
White’s images bring about these questions: To what Their Faces (1937) extent can BourkeWhite’s photographs be considered documentary truth? If they were constructed, why do they matter? Raeburn insists that her pictures em ployed “a dishonest and hyperdramatic mode of ad dressing the topic that betrayed a moral bankruptcy.”52 He goes on to call her photos “noncredible observa tions” that “revealed an insatiable appetite for working up sensational effects and wallowing in cliché.”53 Fur thermore, Raeburn accuses BourkeWhite of regard ing the people she photographed as “puppets to be ma
nipulated until she expressed what she wanted them to.”54 BourkeWhite confirms this in the afterword, saying she waited for her subjects to engage in the type of behavior she wanted to express before snapping the photograph.55
However, this seems less severe when Bourke
White’s training is considered. At Columbia, she was taught to view her work as a composition of shapes rather than subjects, and to arrange the shapes in
dynamic configurations.56 In or der to achieve this dynamism, BourkeWhite manipulated her subjects and did not try to hide it. In this sense, the photos can not be considered to be true, unaltered documents. Rather, they “emphasize a plausible real ity; a scene needed to be plausi bly real to be effective for their purposes.”57 Adding to this ma nipulation is the feeling that her subjects were too posed, an aspect that was criticized even during her lifetime.58 In Clinton, the motherdaughter pair’s po etic positioning upon the stairs of a deteriorating mansion seems too perfect to be true. While the photo could be a total setup, its constructed appearance could be due to the fact that the ex tended camera exposure time re quired her subjects to stay still.59 This resulted in an unavoidable awareness of BourkeWhite’s presence, which is reflected in the photograph.60 Another issue Evans, Allie Mae Burroughs, Wife of a Cotton Sharecropper, Hale County, Alabama, from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1936)
is that contemporary readers of Faces believed its photographs to be an “untarnished documen
tary truth,” which he supports with reviews.61 How ever, contemporary reviewer Ralph Thompson seems
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARGARET BOURKEWHITE
to be aware of this manipulation when he states that Faces participates in “using the camera to mold pub
denly it was the people who counted…These were faces lic opinion.”62 Thompson continues, “Yes, of course—it I could not pass by.”66 Like any other contemporary is a onesided statement, with little or nothing about artist, BourkeWhite used her photographs to commu the pretty aspects of life in the South. But that is not nicate an expression of the world as she saw it, shift the point; Miss BourkeWhite and Mr. Caldwell were ing from an industrialist perspective to one of human
not after a fine impartiality…They wanted to present a despair present in Clinton. By shaping the content of case, and that they have done with great effect.”63 photographs like Clinton, BourkeWhite successfully
However, it seems that regarding BourkeWhite’s calls for social action in a time when it was desperately photographs as inauthentic is a widespread view needed. across many sources of modern literature. American
Encounters explains that BourkeWhite and Caldwell put words in the mouth of their subjects, who were se lected as extreme visions of hopelessness.64 This meth od served as a contrast to the contemporary images released in the same context, in a photo book called Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by Walker Evans. For example, in Allie Mae Burroughs (1936), the frontal positioning of the woman offers “a much less manipu lative kind of documentary…[that] refuses to impose a point of view beyond the realities of the moment.”65
If BourkeWhite’s photos are widely believed to
be constructed today, and somewhat understood to be manipulated in their time, can they retain any value? As perceived versions of reality, they may not be pure ly documentary, but they certainly retain value as art that actively urges socioeconomic change. As Bourke White said of her later work, “During the rapturous period when I was discovering the beauty of industrial shapes, people were only incidental to me…But sud 30
!"#$%&'#('%()*$+*,Hercules BY DEBORAH KRIEGER
SWARTHMORE COLLEGE /01)&*-'6$*&*7#8),1)*+$9#&*-53&$3-$:)*0)$,02';125#6$Hercules, SWARTHMORE, PA that the writer created based on research on da Vinci, stylistic analysis of his oeuvre, and the historical setting in Florence, that supports such a speculative construction.
he darkness of the restoration room, with its bright spot light on the table in the center of the room, contrasted the soft natural lighting of the rest of the museum. As one of
the leading experts in the field of European Art, I had been called to Florence’s Uffizi Gallery several days prior to lend my expertise in identifying some drawings from the back cat alogue. I sat down at the table, slicked on latex rubber gloves, and turned to the works lying before me in the bin labeled, “Un attributedDrawingsEuropean13th16th century.” Around me, shelves and shelves of works that waited to be identified or had been long forgotten had gathered years of dust. 31
I carefully picked up the first faded drawing and be
it be? “This…this…I’ve seen this before, at the Met,”
gan to examine it. The silverpoint depicted a muscu
I remembered aloud, looking again at the fine silver
lar nude man holding a club, standing legs apart over
point drawing of the man. Studies for Hercules with a
a wrinkled bit of what looked like…fur? My trained
Club. I knew I had recognized that same strong gesture
eyes took in the detailed yet purposeful strokes, the
and noble figure. Here in the darkness of the backroom
elegant tufts of hair and beard of the figure. “Italian,”
at the Uffizi, I had just found a presentation drawing
I remarked to myself. “Likely late fifteenth, early six
for the nevercreated Hercules sculpture that Florence
teenth century?” As I examined the drawing further, I commissioned da Vinci to make, to accompany Mi became more and more confident in this assessment. My eyes lingered on the musculature of the figure, not ing the artist’s demonstrated knowledge of anatomy. The vigor in the pen strokes delineating the abdomen, the musculature of the thigh muscles, the direction of the shading…this particular touch seemed familiar, somehow. Suddenly, something clicked in my brain. This draw ing… could it be…? I turned over the drawing and caught my breath in surprise. Glued to the back of the drawing of the man was a paper marked up with faint Italian script. This sheet was similarly faded like the first. In faint ink, in a beautiful neat script (translated from Italian to English): “The Overseers have chosen for the magnificent figure a Hercules, carved in white Cararra marble to match maestro Michelangelo Buonarroti of Florence’s David, to be made by the maestro Leonardo da Vinci, son of Ser Piero da Vinci…” I nearly dropped the sheet. Leonardo da Vinci? Could
chelangelo’s David. And it seemed I had found the con tract for the Hercules as well? I had truly come upon a stroke of luck. My hands shook as I gently placed the contract and drawing back on the table. What an in credible find. Now all I needed to do, aside from re search, was have a conservator detach the two pages so I could properly analyze them both at a later date. I left the museum shortly after filling out the neces sary paperwork to handle the drawings the next day. I retired to a small café across the Piazza della Signoria. Pulling a pen and paper out of my briefcase, a cappuc cino sitting on the table before me, I began to write. da Vinci is primarily known as a great painter. His con tributions to the art of sculpture are much less famous, if only because none of his planned sculptural works ever came to completion. However, scholars do know about his planned sculptures even if none exist today. The da Vinci work I seem to have discovered is a pre sentation drawing in silverpoint of the planned Hercu les sculpture, which Florence had supposedly commis sioned Leonard to create in the early sixteenth century by the city of Florence. I apparently also discovered the 32
accompanying contract for the work as it was drawn he can represent.3 up by the city. I am confident in my attribution of the drawing to the master based on the previously estab
Nevertheless, da Vinci is known to have begun work on
lished scholarship of the planned work as outlined by designs for a standing Hercules sculpture in 150608. Carmen Bambach, the significance the figure Hercules He left Milan and the Sforza court before 1500, then held for the city of Florence, da Vinci’s own background traveled to Mantua and Venice. He returned to Flor and training in sculpture, and the characteristic and ence in 1503 and resided at the hospital of Santa Ma stylistic idiosyncrasies of the drawing itself.
ria Nuova, completing some anatomical studies during that time. He is believed to have been extremely pro
da Vinci learned bronze casting and sculpture as a ductive during the early years of his return to Florence. student of Andrea del Verrocchio in the traditional workshop setting, where young apprentices were often trained in a variety of artistic disciplines. da Vinci is also believed to have studied in the Medici Gardens under Bertoldo di Giovanni, who “taught Leonardo how to draw inspiration from and expand upon antique models without being bound by them.”1 da Vinci is in fact known to have done extensive studies for sculp tures and a clay model of an equestrian monument for the Sforzas in Milan. Among the many services he advertised in his letter to Lodovico Sforza, he listed sculpture in both marble and clay among them. The finished product never came to fruition due to its over ambitious size and scale and the scarcity of bronze at the time. It is quite interesting then that in his private writings, da Vinci spoke rather harshly of sculpture, comparing it unfavorably to painting. “Painting re quires more thought and skill and is a more marvellous [sic] art than sculpture.”2 He then goes on to describe all the things painting can accomplish that sculpture cannot, including “all visible things” such as scenery and stars, whereas a sculptor is more limited in what 33
Standing Hercules holding a club, frontal view, sketch by author
Scholars today have found a great many sketches for a wide range of projects both artistic and scientific that date from this time. Several drawings for this project exist in collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and depict the muscular, nude hero standing in victory, usually holding a club. In particular, a twosided sketch (Fig ure 1), the Standing Hercules, Holding a Club, Seen from the Front, Male Nude Unsheathing a Sword, and the Movements of Water (recto), and its reverse side, Standing Hercules, Holding a Club, Seen from the Rear (verso) display da Vinci’s “strikingly new…anti classical…conception” of a Hercules figure. Where ear lier depictions of Hercules depicted the “passive” hero “in repose,” this Hercules would have been “tense and alert.”4 This sketch contains both a frontal and a rear view for the Hercules sculpture. Hercules is indeed tense and powerfully muscled, with a wide, assertive stance, his head turned sharply to his right. In both views, he holds a club across his body. In the frontal view, Hercules appears to be wearing some kind of hel met, which is not present in the rear view. Hercules has a long and rich history as a symbol of Florence, as he embodied the treasured civic virtues of strength, courage and honor. He first appeared in the Florentine context on a seal from 1281, the reverse of which reads, “the club of Hercules subdues the de pravity of Florence.” “[Hercules’s] conquests over ty rants and monsters were seen as the reestablishment of civic order that would bring justice and liberty to
LEONARDO DA VINCI’S HERCULES the populace.”5 Hercules also has a particular associa tion with the Medici family, who governed Florence for many years. In fact, Michelangelo carved a Hercules in memory of Lorenzo de Medici in 1494 after the great patron’s death in 1492. “Michelangelo’s choice of the Hercules image while he was sorrowing over the death of Lorenzo il Magnifico and the Signoria’s decision to remove three Hercules pictures from the Medici Pal ace to the seat of the republican city government at the moment of the fall of the ruling family can hardly be due to coincidence.”6 Sadly, this work has been lost. While a Classical, not a Christian, hero, Hercules “had been Christianized as an embodiment of physical and moral fortitude.”7 Considering the context of the Hercules commission is also important. At the turn of the century, Florence was in a state of rebuilding and healing. In the pre vious few decades, Florence had seen the ousting of the Medici family by the followers of the fanatic monk Girolamo Savonarola and the bloody aftermath. Sa vonarola, a former Dominican monk, and his follow ers, espoused a reactionary form of Christianity where they decried the mixing of Christian and Classical culture cultivated by the Medici circle. They claimed that Florence was so sinful that a second flood would soon arrive to deliver God’s justice unto the wretched city. Savonarola also condemned displays of finery, es pecially in women’s clothing, and hosted Bonfires of the Vanities, encouraging people to burn works of art
and objects of wealth and beauty. Among the participants in the cult of Savonarola was the artist Sandro Botticelli, who regretted his earlier mythological paintings of gods and goddesses. Botticelli’s later works are more conservative and strictly Christian in nature. Savonarola challenged the authority of the Pope, whom he claimed was cor rupt, and was excommunicated. He lost authority in Florence as a result and was soon arrested and hanged. Because the city was still reeling at the time, Florentine officials likely turned to the mythological figure of Hercules to represent strength for both the city’s inhabitants and to send a message to other city states that Florence was still strong as ever. In the sketches as well as the final presentation drawing, Hercules is (This page): Leonardo da Vinci, Standing Hercules, Holding a Club, Seen
presented as a figure of strength and power as well as a humanistic
from the Rear; Opposite page: Leonardo da Vinci, Standing Hercules,
endowment of virtue and wisdom.
Holding a Club, Seen from the Front, Male Nude Unsheathing a Sword,
He is an ideal hero as well as an ide
and the Movements of Water (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
al symbol of a city wishing to tout its own accomplishments both in the humanistic and militaristic realms. David is a biblical hero whereas
Hercules is a hero in the Classi cal tradition. The planned jux taposition of the two heroic fig ures would have demonstrated the cultured aspect of this city that blended and appreciated both the ancient and religious into a truly aweinspiring sight. In an interesting historical twist, this sculpture of Hercu les, had it indeed been created and brought to completion by da Vinci, would likely have been paired with Michelangelo’s Da vid in the Piazza della Signoria as twin symbols of Florence. “Michelangelo had sought un successfully to receive the com mission to complete the pen dant to his own David.”8 After da Vinci failed to complete the commission, it was given to Baccio Bandinelli, who complet ed the work between 152534. This instance of the planned pair of heroic Florentine figures was not the only planned meeting of the masters in Florence. In the same decade, both da Vinci and
Michelangelo were commissioned to paint frescoes in the Florentine gov ernment building. These two works, da Vinci’s Battle of Anghiari and Mi chelangelo’s Battle of Cascina, would have competed brilliantly as well as served the city’s purposes both culturally and militarily. Alas, the frescoes were abandoned, yet these planned masterpieces were quite influential at the time, and thus are known to some degree through bits and pieces
of sketches and preparatory drawings by the masters, lier rough sketches. His bearded face, turned sharply and through copies of copies of planned sections cre
to his right as in the earlier drawings, bears a noble
ated by eager young art students. The planned pair of and courageous expression, one that surely must have sculptures likely was meant to serve a similar purpose pleased da Vinci’s patrons, who were seeking to glorify as the murals, namely to glorify the city. Sadly, of the the city of Florence with such a heroic figure. Attached four commissioned masterpieces, only Michelangelo’s to one of his legs is an indication of a tree trunk, much David lives to tell the tale.
like the one in the David, which would have been used for stability in the marble figure. The twisting of the
Coming back to the present, I considered the presenta
shoulders and head, juxtaposed with the stability of
tion drawing I had discovered. Drawn in silverpoint, the legs, implies a hint of movement in the figure. The it depicts the planned sculpture from a frontal view. nuance and skillful line work and shading of the fig In the tradition of presentation drawings, the work ure, including the typically Leonardesque tufts of hair is highly finished and lacks any kind of pentimenti. in the hair and beard of the figure, the expert display Presentation drawings at the time were usually done of anatomical knowledge, as well as the clearly left in silverpoint, as these drawings were meant to be handed strokes, which angle from the bottom right to complete visualizations, rather than sketches in eas
the top left, all provide evidence for the drawing’s at
ily alterable chalk. Once approved, the patron took tribution to da Vinci. In addition, the use of sfumato, the drawings seriously, a sort of visual equivalent of or the blurring of the edges of shadows, aid in this at a contract, and expected the construction to adhere to tribution. In contrast to Michelangelo’s toned yet slen the drawings. da Vinci would have learned silverpoint der David, this Hercules is burly, covered with rippling as part of his workshop training and is known to have muscles. Where David is the epitome of a focused yet made many drawings in the medium. This conception relaxed potential energy, his body turning in contrap was clearly a fully realized idea and is treated as such. posto, Hercules is tense and bristling with barely sup Compositionally, it appears to be a sort of combination pressed force as he stands over the lion skin, a symbol of earlier sketches such as the ones in the Metropolitan of his strength and victory. His powerful body is filled Museum of Art as described by Bambach. It bears a with energy. Based on the characteristics of the draw strong resemblance to the frontal view of the museum ing, I am confident in its attribution to the master him collection drawing, yet as in the rear view study, Her
cules’s head is bare. Hercules stands, legs spread apart in victory, naked and powerfully muscled. The skin of The accompanying contract that I found is written in the Nemean Lion is at his feet, a club in his hand in ink on parchment in a fine neat script and calls for an attitude similar to that depicted in da Vinci’s ear 37
da Vinci to receive 20 florins a month for two years
to complete the work. In contrast, Michelangelo only
LEONARDO DA VINCI’S HERCULES
received six florins per month to complete the David. Michelangelo was also paid less to paint his fresco of The contract appears to have several faded signatures the Battle of Cascina than da Vinci was for his Battle of near the bottom of the sheet, one of which appears to Anghiari. da Vinci was a more established and famous be that of da Vinci. The other signature belongs to Pie artist at the time, with 53 to 54 years to Michelangelo’s ro Soderini, an influential Italian official at the time 30 years, so da Vinci’s higher salaries in both cases and friend to both Michelangelo and da Vinci. It was make sense. The contract also stipulates funding for Soderini who commissioned the great artists to cre the necessary additions, such as assistants and scaf
ate the neverfinished Battle of Anghiari and Battle of
folding. Much of the text is faded but legible to an ex
Cascina. It is also reasonable to expect that he would
tent. The visible part of the contract reads (translated have played a role in the commissioning of the Hercu les. from Italian to Enligsh): “The Overseers have chosen for the magnificent figure Together, this previously unknown Hercules drawing a Hercules, carved in white Cararra marble to match and the work’s official contract fill in the missing gap maestro Michelangelo Buonarroti of Florence’s David, about this neverrealized sculpture—they help paint a to be made by the maestro Leonardo da Vinci, son of fuller picture of da Vinci’s oeuvre. They provide a new Ser Piero da Vinci. The Hercules should be nine brac
dimension to da Vinci as a sculptor, an oftoverlooked
cia in height and finished to the finest detail.
facet of his artistry. The drawing can confidently be attributed to the hand of the master based on its visual
The work shall be completed within the period of two traits as well as the context surrounding the commis years from a month from today, with the salary being sioned work at the time. This find helps to establish 20 broad gold florins to be paid to the maestro on the da Vinci more firmly as a sculptor, even if none of his first day of each month. The Overseers are thus also planned works can be seen today. This work also dem bound to supply and provide men and any such tools as onstrates da Vinci’s understanding and use of Classical needed by the maestro. After the period of two years, mythology in conjunction with the political purpose the Overseers shall judge the quality of the figure, Hercules would have served for Florence. though we have little doubt of its promise as the mae stro is honored to produce this work. The Overseers shall judge where the finished work should be placed to match the earlier figure.”
1» Nam June Paik: Expressionism of
neo- humanism in the most inanimate medium 1. DavidBaptiste Chirot, “Technology Ephemera & Zen Forevers,” Visible Lan guage 40.1 (2006):5051.
2. Eva Keller, “Biographical Notes,” Nam June Paik: Video TimeVideo Space” by Toni Stooss and Thom as Kellein(New York: Harry N. Abrams):133. 3. John G. Hanhardt, The Worlds of Nam June Paik (New York; Guggen heim, 2000) 14. 4. Wulf Herzogenrath, “When the Future was Now,” Tate Etc. (Spring 2011):33, ARTbibliographies Modern (ABM). 5. John G. Hanhardt, “NonFatal Strategies,” Nam June Paik: Video TimeVideo Space” by Toni Stooss and Thomas Kellein(New York: Harry N. Abrams):81. 6. Wulf Herzogenrath, “When the Future was Now,” Tate Etc. (Spring 2011):32, ART Bibliographies Modern (ABM). 7. John G. Hanhardt, The Worlds of Nam June Paik (New York; Guggen heim, 2000) 62.
Thomas Kellein(New York: Harry N. Abrams):53. 9. Christine Ross, “The Temporalities of Video: Extendedness Revisited.” Art Journal 65.3 (2006): 8299. ART bibliographies Modern (ABM). 10. Barbara London, “Time as Medi um: Five Artists’ Video Installations.” Leonardo 28.5 (1995): 424. ARTbibli ographies Modern (ABM). 11. Walter Smith, “Nam June Paik’s TV Buddha as Buddhist Art.” Religion and the Arts 4:3 (2000): 362. ARTbib liographies Modern (ABM). 12. June Bae Lee, “Is Nam June Paik a Shaman?: Shamanism in Video Art: An Accidental Encounter” Keong In Ilbo 23 Nov. 2011:B9. 13. David Ross, “A Conversation with Nam June Paik” Nam June Paik: Video TimeVideo Space” by Toni Stooss and Thomas Kellein(New York: Harry N. Abrams):64. 14.HansWerner Schmidt, “Anti Thesis and Sandwich: On Nam June Paik’s Work Structure” Nam June Paik: Video TimeVideo Space” by Toni Stooss and Thomas Kellein(New York: Harry N. Abrams):91. 15. John G. Hanhardt, The Worlds of Nam June Paik (New York; Guggen heim, 2000) 14.
16. John G. Hanhardt, “NonFatal Strategies” Nam June Paik: Video TimeVideo Space” by Toni Stooss and Thomas Kellein(New York: Harry N. 8. Charlotte Moorman, “An Artist in the Courtroom” Nam June Paik: Video Abrams):80. TimeVideo Space” by Toni Stooss and
17. Hermine Freed “Nam June Paik Retrospective” Art Journal 42:3 (Au tumn, 1982):249250. JStor. 18. John G. Hanhardt, “NonFatal Strategies” Nam June Paik: Video TimeVideo Space” by Toni Stooss and Thomas Kellein(New York: Harry N. Abrams):80. 19. “Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, 1995” Smithsonian American Art Museum, http://ameri canart.si.edu/collections/search/ artwork/?id=71478 20. “Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, 1995” Smithsonian American Art Museum, http://ameri canart.si.edu/collections/search/ artwork/?id=71478
2» Photographs of Margaret Bourke-
White: Economic and Ideological Context 1. John R. Stomberg, Power and Paper: Margaret BourkeWhite, Mo dernity, and the Documentary Mode: Exhibition and Catalogue (Boston: Boston University Art Gallery, 1998). 2.Sharon Corwin, “Constructed Docu mentary: Margaret BourkeWhite from the Steel Mill to the South,” in American Modern: Documentary Photography by Abbott, Evans, and BourkeWhite (Berkeley: University of California, 2010), 108109. 3. Corwin, “Constructed Documen tary,” 108.
4. Corwin, “Constructed Documen tary,” 108.
31. Corwin, “Constructed Documen tary,” 117.
5. Corwin, “Constructed Documen tary,” 108.
17. Corwin, “Constructed Documen tary,” 117.
32. Augspurger, Fortune Magazine, 2.
6. Corwin, “Constructed Documen tary,” 108.
18. Robert Linsley, “Utopia Will Not Be Televised: Rivera at Rockefeller Center,” Oxford Art Journal 17.2 (1994): 5556, accessed March 1, 2012, JSTOR.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT» NAR 11 CONSTRUCTING REALITY Happy New Year and welcome to the eleventh issue of website puts out more content than ever before and the Northwestern Art Review. EditorinChief Han
stays up to date with art happenings in Evanston and
nah Lee and the rest of our editorial staff have curated Chicago. this collection of essays called Constructing Reality. Each essas deals with the idea of an artist or an au
The longterm project for this year has been develop
thor manipulating facets from every day life to create ing a smartphone app for the Art Institute of Chicago. an alternative, artistic reality. This idea is particularly We are currently developing a beta version, compatible poignant as we enter a new year and a new academ
with the Northwestern campus museum the Mary and
ic quarter as an organization. Throughout 2013, the Leigh Block Museum to be released at the beginning of Northwestern Art Review has spent much of its time Spring Quarter. This winter we also have two exciting constructing its own new reality. We have made a con
events to look forward to. This first is our most popu
certed effort transform from a purely academic orga
lar production the abandoned art market. We hope to
nization to Northwestern’s premier visual culture club.
have our greatest turn out yet. Finally, our editorial
team plans to put together a contemporary art zine.
Last spring I wrote about our big ideas for the upcom
ing academic year and I am proud to report that we In the new year we want to keep constructing new re have exceeded our expectations. This past fall we put alities in order to fulfill our mission to engage with art on our fourth annual Career Panel, highlighting ac
on a regular basis. I hope that you enjoy this issue of
complished professionals in the arts. The panel was the Northwestern Art Review! a great success, showcasing the many career paths graduates can follow with a degree in Art History. Our web Editor in Chief Claire Dillon did an amazing job revamping our website. The new and improved NAR
NANCY DASILVA FALL 2013
NORTHWESTERN / ART / REVIEW