Yo welcome back to my blog. We just wrapped up the second project of the year and my first winter exhibition in a couple years. Both of which were definitely intense but turned out A-OK in the end. The project we just finished was all about the historical significance of the atomic bomb, and how we could represent that in conceptual art. Both of these topics were relatively new to me starting this project and I feel like it very much shape my understanding of both of them.
I’d say most people out there know about the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima Japan on August 6th 1945 by the United States of America. It was the first atomic weapon ever used, and killed tens of thousands of people. It caused the surrender of Japan, and the end of the second world war. It was a revolutionary discovery and science and helped boost America into its role as a global superpower. As for conceptual art it’s a very interesting concept. It’s a style of art that place is the idea over the final product. Typical art techniques are completely disregarded in conceptual art and considered “boring”.
Now when we first started talking about conceptual art in class I was sceptical to say the least. To be honest when I heard a conceptual artist saying it was “boring” to simply be a great painter, I thought he was probably the most conceited person I’ve ever heard about, and honestly it made me not want to even think about conceptual art. However despite my (and my classmates) distain we took a field trip downtown to look at conceptual art. The first gallery we went to actually worsened my opinion of conceptual art. It didn’t make me feel anything, and I was mostly just annoyed that the tour guide was trying to get us to think about it (a bad attitude I admit, she was very nice). After that we went to Yoko Ono’s exhibit. I started off with the same distain and bad attitude, but the further and further I went in the exhibit the more and more I started to stop, enjoy, and question the art. Her last pieces were interactive and featured peoples stories, some of which made me tear up. Now I’m not saying that I now love conceptual art, but that exhibit made me realize that it is important to keep an open mind about it. If I consider all conceptual art trash, I’m doing myself a disservice. The worst that can happen is that I think about, and look at the art and don’t like it, but the best thing is I can gain some kind of understanding and idea about the art and learn something. And none of that comes from writing off conceptual art.
Our big goal for this project was answering the driving question by creating conceptual art to be shown at this exhibition. My conceptual art piece was titled unknown pieces and represented people’s fascination with the unknown, and how it’s viewed as a problem to solve. (If you want to read my Artist’s statement about it just click the drop down here.)
I found coming up with an idea, a concept I wanted to represent fairly easy in this case. I had several ideas about the concepts I wanted to present about the atomic bomb, however the part I struggled with the most was making the art. Trying to find art to represent my concept was incredibly difficult for me, and I would’ve liked to have had more time to think of better art. I think I was still trapped with the ideas of normal art and I wanted to make some thing I thought was beautiful and very representative of my concept, even in the end I couldn’t quite sell myself to the idea > art philosophy. I, like many of my classmates also wished that I wasn’t there to talk about my art, as I think people would’ve been able to draw much more interesting conclusions without me walking them through my idea.
In the end the big idea of this project was to answer the driving question “How did the development of the atomic bomb change the world?” And the answer I’ve come to is in almost every way. It changed our technologies, governments, media, and the way we wage wars. The Global super powers who lead our world today, constantly tiptoe on the edge of mutually assured destruction, all made possible by nuclear weapons. And although this knowledge is arguably the most important information we’ve learned in school today to date, I believe the purpose of this project is to teach us something else. A big part of this project was thinking about the ethics of the atomic bomb, and not just learning facts. In this project we had to fight The knee-jerk reaction to just say something is bad and walk away. We spent time in this project considering different viewpoints on the atomic bomb, and looked at stories like the novel Hiroshima through multiple perspectives. I believe this is really important as we move into projects with very different sides to their stories like the Vietnam war or the Cold War. I think it’s an important skill to be able to look at history in different perspectives, it helps us learn more objectively, and allows us to form our own opinions.
Thank you as always,