DERIVING MEANING Art and architecture have meaning,

4.1 U.S. Capitol Building, begun 1793, exterior last renovated in 1960. Frequently redesigned, expanded, and restored under architects William Thornton, Stephen H. Hallet, George Hadfield, James Hoban, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Charles Bulfinch, Thomas U. Walter, Edward Clark, and J. George Stewart; terracing by Frederick Law Olmstead. The visual elements of this building have been carefully

considered and arranged by the architects who designed it.

formal analysis, which examines the artist’s use of the elements and principles that we saw in Chapter 2. Next is content analysis, dealing with subject matter and systems of symbols.

Historical context and physical surroundings are important in two ways. First, every work of art was created within its own cultural, historical, political, social, or religious context. Knowing about that context deepens our understanding of a work of art. Second, we now live in our own surroundings and historical context, and our situation today influences what we think about any art we see.

Writings about art enrich our experience of it. We will look at several philosophical positions from which art has been analyzed. Sometimes the writers contradict or add to each other’s arguments, showing that the meaning of art is not fixed. New interpretations develop over time.

For your Art Experience, we ask you to develop your own interpretation of a work of art.

DERIVING MEANING Art and architecture have meaning, but how do audiences

understand the message? This chapter examines five basic

areas in regard to meaning: (1) formal analysis; (2) content

analysis; (3) the influence of historical context, physical

surroundings, and method of encounter; (4) writings about

art; and (5) you, the viewer, forming your own interpretation.

PREVIEW

Art communicates complex ideas and emotions, and this chapter looks at the ways this is achieved. We begin with

4 87

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4.2 Tlaloc Vessel, Aztec, c. 1440–1469. Clay and pigment, 13″ × 13″ × 12.5″. Museo Templo Mayor, Mexico City. Formally, this vessel is symmetrical and vertically oriented with

several horizontal accents. The color scheme is predominantly blue

and gray-brown.

FORMAL ANALYSIS

Formal analysis is the integrated study of the elements and principles of art (see Chapter 2) and the way they are used in a specific artwork. Architecture can be for- mally analyzed as well. The arrangement of elements and the application of principles in an artwork comprise its composition.

Consider, for example, the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (Fig. 4.1). Formally, it is very wide com- pared to its height. It is symmetrical in relation to the cen- tral vertical axis. Horizontally, it is divided into five parts. The first, third, and fifth parts stand out and have verti- cal columns, with cast shadows that create strong lights and darks. The second and fourth areas are recessed and flat and have low contrast. These are all formal elements, and they are arranged very intentionally to give a specific effect. The central section of the building is most empha- sized because the dome creates a vertical emphasis and a strong focal point. The building is very large and sits up high, with many steps in front. The structure is entirely white, which stands out strongly against the background. Of course, formal analysis can be limited to just the ele- ments and their organization, but actually it goes beyond that. The formal elements make clear that this is an impor- tant building.

The formal qualities of any other artwork could be similarly analyzed. Consider, for example, the Tlaloc Vessel (Fig. 4.2), from Mexico, c. 1440–1469. Without knowing anything about the work, we can see that it is frontal and symmetrical, the most formal of all compositions. The features of the face have been abstracted into simple geo- metric shapes. The emphasis in the vessel is more on the vertical than the horizontal, but there are some strong horizontal elements: (1) the red band near the top; (2) the two handles, which align with the twisted braid; and (3) the large square earrings, which align with the mouth. There are very few diagonal elements in this composition. The most prominent colors are blue and gray-brown.

Formal qualities add to an artwork because they are aesthetically satisfying. The elements in the U.S. Capitol Building are balanced. The size and relationship of one part to another have been carefully considered. In the Tlaloc Vessel, the integration of the face shape into the overall shape of the vessel is interesting, and the way the face has been simplified and made geometric is inter- esting to see as well. Looking at art is a very different expe- rience from looking at the general environment, which is disjointed and disorganized. The formal qualities of art- works make them organized and satisfying visual experi- ences, adding considerably to the power of art.

CONTENT ANALYSIS

Content is an artwork’s theme or message. Content is con- veyed primarily through the artwork’s subject matter and through its symbolic or iconographic references.

Subject Matter

Subject matter is the substance of a work of art, in con- trast to its form. Some aspects of subject matter are obvi- ous just by looking at an artwork: for example, the Tlaloc Vessel is a ceramic pot that has a face on it. Other aspects must be learned: for example, Tlaloc was the Aztec god of rain. The Aztecs, rulers of large areas of Mexico from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, believed that Tlaloc sent rain to farmlands, and, thus, this deity’s image often appears on drinking and water-carrying ves- sels. Tlaloc vessels were also used in Aztec religious ritu- als, when they would be filled with water and broken in the

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temple, symbolically spilling the life-giving water onto the earth.

All works of art have subject matter, even abstract and nonobjective works (recall from Chapter 1 that abstract works are distortions or simplifications of some real-world entity, whereas nonobjective works have no real-world ref- erence). In Dona Schlesier’s 2004 mixed-media piece Setting Cycles (Fig. 4.3), the subject matter is in the organization of the materials themselves, in which their dichotomies are explored: smooth versus rough, organic versus mechanical, circular versus rectangular, colorful versus neutral, empty versus dense, and so on. The round form may suggest the setting moon or the movements of planets, giving the viewer the option to interpret the work based on that title.

Many works of art also have a subtext, the underly- ing ideas or messages. In Edward Hopper’s 1942 oil paint- ing Nighthawks (Fig. 4.4), the obvious subject matter is customers in a corner diner, late at night. Additionally, in many of his paintings, Hopper focused on the loneliness of city life, and, indeed, all four people in Nighthawks seem isolated from or unable to connect to others around them. The street outside is empty. A subtext in Nighthawks is a sense of impending doom or entrapment. There is no door shown to get in or out of the diner. Hopper’s uncomfort- able atmosphere in this painting may be suggesting the imminent future in the United States right after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the country into World War II.

4.3 Dona Schlesier. Setting Cycles, 2004. Mixed media on paper (oil pastel, handmade paper, papyrus, and thread), 30″ × 22″. All works of art have both formal

organization and subject matter, even

abstract and nonobjective art.

4.4 Edward Hopper. Nighthawks, 1942. Oil on canvas, 33″ × 60″. Art Institute of Chicago. There is obvious subject matter in this

painting as well as some concepts not

immediately apparent.

Content Analysis 89

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Iconography

Artists can use metaphors or symbols to convey content. A visual metaphor is an image or element that is descriptive of something else. In Setting Cycles, the handmade paper is just paper, but it acts as a visual metaphor for the passage of time, as it is piled up one layer upon another and some areas seem to be disintegrating with age.

A symbol is an image or element that stands for or represents some other entity or concept. Symbols are culturally determined and must be taught. For example, in the United States today, a dove is a symbol of peace. But people from other cultures would not know by obser- vation alone to connect “dove” and “peace.” However, as communications become more global, symbols can more often be understood across cultures. Graphic and envi- ronmental designers often use symbols for wayfinding, which is the means people use to orient themselves and navigate unfamiliar spaces. Certain symbols are under- stood by increasingly large numbers of people, as seen in airport signage (Fig. 4.5). Indeed, contemporary airport signage contains so many symbols that it could be con- sidered iconography.

Iconography is a system of symbols that allow artists and designers to refer to complex ideas. It literally means “image” (icono-) and “to write” (-graphy). Some cultures and religions developed complex iconographic systems: for example, ancient Egypt, Byzantium, medieval Europe, Buddhism, and Hinduism, to name only a few. In medieval Christian symbolism, the unicorn stands for both Jesus Christ and a faithful husband in marriage (see Fig. 13.3).

Mary, mother of Jesus, was often shown with flowers, sym- bolizing purity or sorrow.

Figure 4.6 is Yama from Tibet and painted around the mid-seventeenth or early eighteenth century. It contains a complex set of symbols, and once we become familiar with this iconography, we know that Yama is the Indian god of death, who later became the protector of the adherents of the Buddhist religion. Dressed in leopard skin and wear- ing a headdress of human skulls, Yama holds a thunderbolt chopper and skull, while standing on black lotus petals in a sea of blood. This fierce god fights against the inner demons such as hatred and lust. He tramples an agonized creature beneath his feet. Four buffalo-headed Yamas are located near the corners, and various holy figures hover above, while many skulls occupy the space below.

Iconography can be embedded in architecture. We already saw the U.S. Capitol Building (Fig. 4.1). Its design reflects Greek and Roman architecture, visually connect- ing the government of the United States to the ideas of democracy (Greece) and power (the Roman Empire). The building has two wings, instantly conveying the idea of the two houses of Congress and physically containing them. The central dome symbolizes unity.

CONNECTION The Maori Meeting

House (Fig. 3.39 and Fig. 9.17) contains

political and religious iconography

that is important to the native Maori

people of New Zealand.

4.5 Signs in an airport, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain, 2006.

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4.6 Yama, Tibet, mid-seventeenth to early eighteenth century. Distemper (pigments mixed with egg yolk, egg white, and/or glue) on cloth, 723/8″ × 465/8″. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. This painting has a complex iconography, or system of symbols, that refers to religious beliefs of Buddhism.

Content Analysis 91

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THE INFLUENCE OF HISTORICAL CONTEXT, PHYSICAL SURROUNDINGS, AND METHOD OF ENCOUNTER

In addition to analyzing form and content, it is important to know the context in which an artwork was made, espe- cially the cultural, historical, political, religious, and social conditions of the day. We have already seen that Edward Hopper was likely influenced by the horrific events at the beginning of World War II when he painted the lonely and isolated figures in Nighthawks (Fig. 4.4). Every artist and every artwork is similarly shaped by concurrent external circumstances.

As we are viewing artwork today, we are also influ- enced by our own contemporary environment and soci- ety, which affect our ideas about artwork of the past, the present, and other cultures. In addition, the location and

circumstances surrounding our encounter with art can change what we think about it.

Context for the Creation of the Artwork

Context consists of the external conditions that surround a work of art. Context includes a host of factors, such as historical events, economic trends, contemporary cultural developments, religious attitudes, social norms, and other artworks of the time.

Historical context and geographic location had an enormous influence on Rembrandt van Rijn as he worked on the large painting The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq (Fig. 4.7), also popularly called The Night Watch. During Rembrandt’s lifetime, almost all of the countries in Europe were ruled by powerful kings or nobles. All the large paintings were made for royal palaces or for majestic Catholic churches. Yet Rembrandt and

4.7 Rembrandt van Rijn. The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, or The Night Watch, c. 1642. Oil on canvas, 11′ 11″ × 14′ 4″. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Historical circumstances influenced the artist in making this work. By showing members of the ordinary merchant class

rather than nobles or popes, this artwork is indeed the product of a Protestant middle-class culture.

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other Dutch artists worked for middle-class clients in the Netherlands, a republic run by city-dwelling manufactur- ers and merchants made prosperous by trade. No king or saint is depicted—only middle-class citizens assembling for a civil guard parade. This subject matter on a large scale never would have been commissioned if Rembrandt had lived under a seventeenth-century monarch. The painting

hung in a banquet room in an Amsterdam militia hall, where years of candle and fire soot darkened its varnish, resulting in the mistaken notion that this is a night scene.

Of course, context is just as important in artwork produced today. In the 1990s, Shirin Neshat produced a series of photographs called Women of Allah, one of which is Speechless (Fig. 4.8). Neshat was born in Iran and

4.8 Shirin Neshat. Speechless, 1996. Pen and ink over gelatin silver print, 49″ × 36″. This photograph reflects aspects of being a woman in a contemporary fundamentalist Islamic culture.

The Influence of Historical Context, Physical Surroundings, and Method of Encounter 93

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immigrated to the United States as a teenager, just as Iran was being transformed into an Islamic state led by clerics. Her subject is Islamic women and femininity in a country where women’s actions and rights are limited by religious law. In her photographs, women’s hands or faces emerge from beneath veils, often framed by guns or flowers. On the photos, Neshat wrote religious quotes or poetry in Farsi, the language of Iran. The context for Neshat’s poignant photos is the political and social climate in a fundamentalist Islamic culture, along with the associated Western reactions.

Physical Surroundings

The location of an artwork also affects its meaning. Many works of art can be moved physically from one location to another, but the location change might have a profound impact on the work. Historical events at a location can also change the meaning of an artwork.

An example of an artwork that takes its meaning from its site is The New York City Waterfalls (Fig. 4.9), on view for four months during 2008 along the East River near Lower Manhattan. With the assistance of the Public Art Fund in New York, the artist Olafur Eliasson executed the four artificial “waterfalls,” constructed of scaffolding and pumps and ranging from 90 to 120 feet high. Technically, these “waterfalls” could have been built almost anywhere. But Eliasson purposely chose these sites for these works. New York City seems like an enormous and dense urban mass, but in reality it is situated in a mesh of waterways where fresh water meets salt water, an ideal habitat for wildlife. Eliasson wanted to dramatically integrate nature (the falling water) into the city space (the scaffolding) and to draw people back to the New York City waterfronts.

New York is also the site of the World Trade Center (see Fig. 8.30), which was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Those historic events will always be attached to the World Trade Center and can deeply affect people who see pictures of the old site or visit the new structures.

Method of Encounter

We encounter art in all kinds of places—in newspapers, in museums, out on the street, at religious sites, in public parks, in government or corporate buildings, in schools, at festivals, and in malls, along with many others. The nature of our encounter adds meaning to the artwork.

We know most works of art through photographs, which communicate only a fraction of the total experience of actually being in the presence of the art. The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet (Fig. 4.10), begun in the seventeenth century, is an enormous structure situated high in the

Himalaya Mountains. It is the home of the Dalai Lama, the traditional spiritual and political leader of Tibet, although the current Dalai Lama has lived in exile since the Chinese invaded in the 1950s. Looking at photographs at your leisure, you can study the entire palace, seeing it framed against majestic peaks or reflected in a nearby lake. Were you to actually approach and enter the palace, your experience would be quite different: physical exertion while climbing steep stairways, brisk mountain weather,

4.9 Olafur Eliasson. The New York City Waterfalls, installation along the East River, 2008. The meaning of this artwork comes in part from the location where

it was situated.

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4.10 Potala Palace, the former summer palace of the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, Lhasa, Tibet. If you know this famous palace only through photographs, your experience of it is very limited.

4.11, right Drum, Dong Son civilization, Thanh Hoa, Vietnam, 3rd–1st century BCE. Bronze, 24.5″ × 31″. Musee des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet, Paris. In the museum, viewers are limited to visually studying this drum. In

the culture for which it was originally made, it provided sound and

visuals as part of a larger ritual.

partial glimpses of buildings rather than “the perfect shot,” encounters with other pilgrims, and tour buses at the base of the mountain.

Even for artworks that we actually encounter in life, the way we come in contact with them affects how we perceive them. To the people of the first millennium BCE Dong Son civilization (Vietnam), the bronze Drum (Fig. 4.11) with a resonating top plate was widely used in rituals related to the community, fertility, and dead warriors. The entirety of the rituals, plus the appearance of the drum and

The Influence of Historical Context, Physical Surroundings, and Method of Encounter 95

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the sound it makes, was part of the way the Dong Son people knew this artwork. Now, in a museum, we see only the iso- lated object, silent and removed from its ritual context. This is the same with every artwork we encounter. When we expe- rience art as it is being used in life, we get a fuller and richer context for the work. In contrast, the museum preserves the work and removes it from the distracting environment.

WRITINGS ABOUT ART

Art writings help us understand the full meaning of artworks. There are four major groups who write about art: (1) art critics, who describe works of art (usually con- temporary art) and then evaluate their significance; (2) art historians and academics, who primarily research art of the past and art of other cultures; (3) curators, who write catalog essays, wall labels, and educational material for museum and gallery exhibitions; and (4) artists, who write about their own work and the work of other artists.

The meaning of an artwork is not fixed and perma- nent from the moment it is made. Rather, each successive writer can add new interpretations to the same works of art. As an example, the writings about Georgia O’Keeffe do not all agree about her flower paintings, which view blooms up close and large, as in Black Iris (Fig. 4.12), from 1926. O’Keeffe connected such works to her love of nature. She wrote in one letter:

There has been no rain since I came out but today a little came—enough to wet the sage and moisten the top of the dry soil—and make the world smell very fresh and fine—I drove up the canyon four or five miles when the sun was low and I wish I could send you a mariposa lily—and the smell of the damp sage—the odd dark and bright look that comes over my world in the low light after a little rain. (Cowart 1987:239)

Some writers believe that O’Keeffe’s flower paintings repre- sent female sexuality in a positive way, a notion that O’Keeffe rejected. Feminist writer and artist Judy Chicago wrote:

[O’Keeffe] seemed to have made a considerable amount of work that was constructed around a center. . . . There also seemed to be an implied relationship between [her] own body and that centered image. . . . In her paintings, the flower suggests her own femininity, through which the mysteries of life could be revealed. (Chicago 1975:142)

Still other writers see a different feminist aspect to O’Keeffe’s work, as revealed in this quote by Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin:

Her work since 1915 has been labeled “feminine” by many critics because of its association with the female body.

But the wide range of her artistic language would seem to gainsay this simple description. Although O’Keeffe has rarely made a cause out of being a woman artist. . . . Her ability to go it alone has become a contemporary feminist model for freedom of thought and action. (Harris and Nochlin 1976:302)

The fact that there are contradictory interpretations of an artwork and of an artist’s life is not a negative thing. Most great artwork contains complex messages that can be chal- lenging, profound, or even conflicting.

Most art writers base their writings on a particular philosophical position. We will look briefly at several of these from the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Modernist Criticisms

Modernist philosophical positions generally present mas- ter narratives that specify the correct way of analyzing any artwork. Inherent in Modernism is the notion of progress—and the belief that previous art styles are pre- ludes to the next significant step forward in the growth of Western art. Modernist philosophers seek the relationship

4.12 Georgia O’Keeffe. Black Iris, 1926. Oil on canvas, 36″ × 297/8″. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. There is a lot of disagreement about whether the imagery in

O’Keeffe’s large flower paintings is sexual or not.

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4.13 Morris Louis. Blue Veil, c. 1958–1959. Acrylic resin paint on canvas, 93.2″ × 158.5″. Formalist critics praised paintings like this one because it does not depict recognizable subject matter, has no perceivable brushstrokes,

and does not give the illusion of deep space.

Painting was the medium that most thoroughly repre- sented the ideas of formalist critics in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Ideological criticism, rooted in the writings of Karl Marx, deals with the political underpinnings of art. All art, according to this position, supports some particular political agenda, cultural structure, or economic/class hierarchy. Even artwork that may seem neutral is still political. For example, Serge Guilbaut researched the ways that the Central Intelligence Agency promoted Abstract Expressionist artists, like Morris Louis (Fig. 4.13) and Jackson Pollock (see Fig. 11.38), in order to prove that the United States was culturally superior to Communist countries in the Cold War era after World War II. Other ideological theorists were Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno.

Of course, some ideological writings do deal with art that is overtly political, and some artwork functions as ideological criticism. For example, the well-documented Mexican Muralist movement of the mid-twentieth century promoted the rights and power of the indigenous Mexican people over the ruling class. The artist Juan O’Gorman produced murals that commemorated the struggle for Mexican Independence. Panel of the Independence—Father

between art and truth. In this relationship, idealism and aesthetics are important, and as a result “fine art” is empha- sized as being far superior to the art of “popular culture.”

The first modernist philosophical position, formalist criticism, emphasizes formal analysis. Specifically, it is the analysis and critique of an artwork based on the compositional arrangement of its elements (refer to Chapter 2). Formalism first appeared in England in the early twentieth century as a way to appreciate artworks from other cultures, in particular the imported Japanese prints and African sculptures. Although Europeans did not understand the subject matter and iconography of these artworks, they appreciated them as art from a formalist point of view.

After World War II, formalist criticism was associated with Modernist art in the United States. The critic Clement Greenberg promoted works such as Morris Louis’s Blue Veil (Fig. 4.13), from 1958–1959, because they were “self- critical,” focusing on what was “unique to the nature of [their] medium,” so that “art would be rendered ‘pure’” (Greenberg 1961:13). Blue Veil was “pure” painting because it eliminated brushstrokes and emphasized the flatness of the painting surface. Recognizable imagery, symbolism, and narrative were eliminated as detrimental distractions.

Writings about Art 97

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4.14 Juan O’Gorman. Panel of the Independence—Father Hidalgo (Retablo de la Independencia—Hidalgo), 1960–1961. Mural. Museo Nacional de Historia, Castillo de Chapultepec, Mexico City. Some artworks have overt political content. By painting such images, the artist ensures that this piece of history will not

be forgotten, and he also promotes rights for the downtrodden everywhere by memorializing this uprising against an

oppressive ruling class.

Hidalgo (Retablo de la Independencia—Hidalgo) (Fig. 4.14), from 1960–1961, shows atrocities committed against the indigenous people and also portrays the church, the army, and major leaders in the struggle.

Psychoanalytic criticism holds that art should be studied as the product of individuals who are shaped by their pasts, their unconscious urges, and their social histories. Sigmund Freud wrote the first psychoanalytic criticism when he examined Leonardo da Vinci’s work in light of Leonardo’s presumed homosexuality and episodes from his early childhood. Psychoanalytic criti- cism seems appropriate for work that deals with strong emotional content, intuition, dream imagery, or fantasy, such as the 1955 painting Tomorrow Is Never (Fig. 4.15). The work of Kay Sage alludes to hallucination, fantasy, or dream, with a sense of motionlessness and impending doom.

CONNECTION Three other important leaders of the

Mexican Muralist movement were Diego Rivera (see Fig. 8.25),

José Orozco (see Fig. 13.29), and David Siqueiros

(see Fig. 10.7).

Structuralism holds that in order to understand a work of art, one must study the structure of art and the complex interrelationship of all its parts. Structure gives meaning to an artwork, like a sentence determines the meaning of individual words within it. Structuralism was originally applied to the study of language, as was semiotics, the study of signs in verbal or written commu- nication. Its systems of analysis were then applied to fields such as anthropology, architecture, and art. Although Structuralism is a modernist position, it influenced Post- structuralist philosophies in the Postmodern era, which we will see next.

Postmodern Philosophical Positions

Postmodernism is not a continuation of Modernism but rather a set of philosophical positions that question Modernism. Whereas Modernist philosophies stated cer- tainties, Postmodernism deals with subjectivity, nuances, and ambiguity. The following is a summary of several post- modern points of view.

Post-structuralism is a range of reactions against Structuralism, but it is not a homogeneous set of ideas.

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The collective self-portraits of Cindy Sherman seek to deconstruct stereotypes of woman in Western cultures. One self-portrait is Untitled (Self-Portrait of Marilyn Monroe)

4.16 Gerhard Richter. October 18, 1977, 1988. One of fifteen paintings, oil on canvas; installation variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. This painting refers to highly publicized events in recent German

history. The blurring refers to the controversies surrounding the

deaths of three young radicals.

Although structure is important to study, Post- structuralists believe that this will result not in one single meaning to an artwork but rather in multiple meanings because every viewer approaches the work with varying perspectives. Major Post-structuralist writers include Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva.

The work of artist Gerhard Richter reflects many Post-structuralist ideas. His black-and-white painting in Figure 4.16 is one of a group of fifteen collectively titled October 18, 1977, referring to the deaths of three leaders of the radical Baader-Meinhof group. Like an unclear news photo, Richter’s painting is a blurred image of Gudrun Ensslin, who planned bombings and kidnappings to protest latent Nazism in the German government. On October 18, she and two others were found dead in prison. Authorities declared the deaths suicides, but many factions suspected that the protestors were murdered by authorities. Richter’s paintings represent a perfect Post-structuralist moment. The unclear image evokes a young woman who appears open and friendly, totally dis- cordant with the crimes she apparently planned. The blur also indicates the lack of closure and continuing contro- versy concerning what exactly happened to her and her cohorts.

One Post-structuralist, Jacques Derrida, introduced the idea of deconstruction, which holds that, from the inside, any system looks natural and coherent but that it is, in fact, filled with unseen contradictions, myths, or stereotypes.

4.15 Kay Sage. Tomorrow Is Never, 1955. Oil on canvas, 377/8″ × 537/8″. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The imagery in this painting

as well as the surreal nature

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