Category Archives: Uncategorized

This Blog has Moved!

Hey WordPress followers! If you’d like to keep checking out my posts on women, gender, and the arts head on over to my new portfolio site and blog:

http://www.melissahuang.com/blog

Hope to see you there!

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Audrey Niffenegger and Faith Ringgold: Sending Messages

I was fortunate enough to visit the Audrey Niffenegger and Faith Ringgold show this summer, and agree that the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ blog review is spot on. At first the two artists seem almost too stylistically dichotomous to cohesively show together. Ringgold’s work has strong themes of the struggles of black Americans in the 60s using bold, flat colors while Niffenegger’s work focuses on beautiful yet twisted images, favoring birds, women, and flowers. Check out the review to see how these two artists similarly use text within their work. And if you’re interested in Faith Ringgold’s work (or would like to see her quilts which were unfortunately absent from the exhibit) check out this post I wrote on the artist a few years ago.

Broad Strokes: The National Museum of Women in the Arts' Blog

At first glance, the two exhibitions on view this summer at NMWA, Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger and American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s (both on view through November 10) could not feature the work of two more stylistically dichotomous artists.

At one extreme, Audrey Niffenegger conjures up surreal, minimalist depictions of the bizarre, absurd, and nightmarish that speak to her introspective, whimsical approach to art—images that boast figures minutely rendered with delicately drawn lines, muted color palettes, and which allow insight into the artist’s deeply personal fantasies. At the other end of the spectrum is Faith Ringgold, whose bold, colorful, passionate paintings from her American People and Black Light series of the 1960s function on both a personal and political level. Ringgold’s work bravely probed racial tensions from the perspective of a black woman artist during an era when art…

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A trailing spouse? Has being partnered affected your museum career choices?

When the only way to advance in the museum field is to move, are women being left behind? One of the contributing factors to the disparity between the high number of women working in the arts and the relatively few women working in the upper echelons is a lingering view of women as secondary earners. If a wife’s job is considered less valuable than a husband’s, her family is unlikely to move to advance her career. And with the current landscape, relocating is often a necessity if you’re looking for a better position.
Hop over to Museum Geek to read more. And check out the comments! Museum professionals weigh in on how a spouse has affected their career choices.

museum geek

When I was a mere kitten of five years old, my family relocated to Papua New Guinea. My dad had received an interesting job opportunity, so he, my mum and I all moved to the tropics and spent several years negotiating life in another culture.

This was one of a few moves that we made when I was growing up; all of them for my father’s work. Although both my parents became high-achievers in their respective fields, it was my father’s opportunities that drove us around the country and overseas. His career was more established, and we followed on. It was not until my dad retired that my mother really had opportunities to pursue her own career ambitions, but once she did, her career soared.

Within the museum sector, cross-institutional (or even cross-country) relocation for work appears to be strongly tied to advancement, particularly at the upper echelons. While it…

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Félicie de Fauveau’s Memorial to her Mother in the Cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine

Félicie de Fauveau's Memorial to her Mother in the Cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine

A week ago I visited Florence’s Santa Maria del Carmine to visit the beautiful Brancacci Chapel and was excited to see Félicie’s burial monument to her mother, Madame Anne De Fauveau. You can read more about the monument and its restoration here and read more about Félicie de Fauveau’s sculpture here.

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Here’s a really interesting piece on why Michelangelo’s female figures appear so masculine to modern day audiences. Although many believe Michelangelo’s figures were influenced by his sexuality or the availability of female models, Jill Burke explains why this is not the case. See part two here: http://renresearch.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/men-with-breasts2/

Jill Burke's Blog

Michelangelo NightWhen I give a talk, or run a class that includes work by Michelangelo, generally at some point someone will suggest that Michelangelo’s female figures look like “men with breasts”. I have to admit, that I sometimes deliberately task students with describing a picture of Michelangelo’s Night (right) just so I can elicit this reaction – it’s a really useful starting point for discussing ideas about what we expect men and women’s bodies to look like, whether renaissance art is naturalistic, differing ideals of beauty and so on. Because this has happened so frequently, my title for yesterday’s masterclass at Glasgow uni was “Men With Breasts: Michelangelo’s Female Nudes and the Historical Context for Body Image”.

An explanation that people often given for the Michelangelo men-with-breasts phenomenon – which we should properly call the aesthetic of androgyny – is that they couldn’t get female nude models in the Renaissance, so…

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I Don’t Think the Tea Party Understands what Terrorism is.

I think that the tea party is having trouble getting their position straight. They hate terrorism? But they’re terrorizing others based on race and presumed religion.

In case you didn’t watch the video, it shows right wing extremists harassing–terrorizing–the Islamic Circle of North America, a group hosting an Orange County charity fundraiser which raised money for women’s shelters and the homeless.The tea party group is shown here screaming death threats and racial slurs. Called “We Surround Them OC 912”, they are not only terrible people, but they’re terrible people supported by a few terrible politicians. Ed Royce, US Representative for California’s 40th district attended the protest and said, “I am proud of you. I am proud of what you are doing.”

Really Ed? You’re proud of a group of racist cowards hiding behind their “patriotism”?

More after the jump!

Continue reading

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So what is talent?

I don’t know yet.

Talent is a tricky thing to define. For most of my life I thought that people were either talented or untalented, that talent was innate and not learned. One could be talented at a sport, singing, acting, or in my case, drawing and painting. But if you didn’t have that special something, whatever field it was, it was not worth pursuing.

Going through my high school’s art program began to change my view. I saw a number of people progress from stick figures to creating technically and conceptually interesting pieces. Learning the fundamentals of design combined with new techniques, many made the jump from untalented to talented. Yet many still claim that the creative fields are not like the maths and sciences, you either have it or you don’t. So how can people make the jump?

Researchers nowadays say that talent is about practice. My drawing teacher Cliff likes to tell us this frequently, emphasizing the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert in any field. The “deliberate” part is important. Practice that makes us better often isn’t fun. Past a certain point you have to truly push to get better.

I want to push to get better. I want to explore what talent is and how I can get there. This blog is my way of exploring the art world, thinking more carefully about my own work, and pushing myself to become better than what I am now.

Let’s see if I can get there.

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