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6.7: PROTEST AND SHOCK

  • Page ID
    10148
  • Art also connects to our lives as a means of expressing protest, as can be seen in the work of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (b. 1940, USA), a Native American who often sarcastically comments on the history of the treatment of her people by Americans in general and by the United States government in particular. The impetus for these two works was the 1992 celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the “New World.” (Trade (Gifts for Trading Land with White People), Juane Quick-to-See Smith: www.chrysler.org/ajax/load-artwork/26; Pa- per Dolls for a Post Columbian World with Ensembles Contributed by US Government, Juane Quick-to-See Smith: sam.nmartmuseum.org/view/obje...ple$0040636/5/ primaryMakerAlpha-asc?t:state:flow=41dede4d-4192-4c2a-86e4-cd9d50f583c2) Her commentary includes the commercialization and stereotyping of her people, and their relegation to reservations, with forced cultural changes, as well as such harmful effects as the introduction of the deadly smallpox disease among people with no previous exposure to it. Her drawings and paint- ings are often very simple and straightforward in method and style but show masterful techniques that she developed through sophisticated artistic training.

    Certainly, the category of shock could be applied to the works by Smith we have just seen, and shock has been used increasingly in contemporary art to bolster political statements of protest or just commentary on our expectations and frames of reference. Ron Mueck (b. 1958, Australia) has made a point of repeatedly challenging the viewer with questions about life and relationships in his hyperrealist sculpture. (Mask II, Ron Mueck: http://www.visualarts.qld.gov.au/mueck/ images/MUECKron_MaskII_EXHI010912_RGB.jpg) He often creates works of the human form that are exceptionally out of scale, unexpectedly undressed, or placed in unusual postures, there- by creating many surprises among gallery goers, especially those who approach these uncanny works at a close distance.

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