We had a great visit at the Whitney Museum with artist Heather Cox who works at the museum in the conservation department. We were able to go through the conservation area and view an Edward Hopper portrait and Agnes Martin painting being worked on as well as enjoy all the shows – such an amazing museum and day!
Post by Beth Dary – mentor
On March 30th, The Art Ready group was given the opportunity to view artwork at the Brooklyn Museum’s Agitprop! Exhibition. With the help of our guide, Noe Gaytan, we learned that the very term, “agitprop” was a combination of the two words, “agitation” and “propaganda.” This meant that the artwork shown in this exhibit was meant to stir a reaction out of its viewers about the formation of our society and highlight the flaws in the ways our society work and how other societies work across the world. The first works of art we viewed were nearly a hundred years old and were inspired by Soviet Russia and how women were treated poorly and were not protected by labor laws. This caused the group to think critically about how the art was made and what the goal of the artwork was and how a work of art can get a reaction out of society. We also viewed art that was focused on how American society and its flaws, such as how the country was founded through violence and enslavement. The artwork that made us start thinking critically at a higher level was Otabenga Jones’ work that was inspired by the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast program and how the FBI sabotaged it. To us, it was highlighted that our history is quite dark and that things around us need to be watched. The Art Ready group also had the pleasure of talking to an artist whose work is featured in the exhibit, Dread Scott. Dread Scott has a unique style that is focused on political and social aspects of today’s world. The piece that Dread Scott presented to us were performance stills from, “On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide” where Dread Scott stood in front of fire hose to reenact the actions taken by police when African Americans marched in the Birmingham Campaign. Personally, I found his work to be inspirational and would love to talk with him more about his photography one day. The Art Ready students enjoyed the trip and wanted to see even more artwork from the exhibition but unfortunately our time there was short. We thank Noe for the lovely tour and Dread Scott for spending time with us.
After going through and carving our wax models, we went to the Taba Casting Center where we got our wax models cast. We first encountered the mold makers. What the mold makers do is pour silicon on top of the jewelers model and once it solidifies they cut it open to reveal the perfect model left behind. The mold makers check carefully if the details shined through so that they can make multiple copies by shooting wax into the silicon mold.
We then saw peculiar looking “trees” which at first looked like grape vines. One of the workers placed the wax injections from the molds on a center wax rod to create trees. Daniel, the owner then explained to us how they place a metal flask around the tree and pour a plaster-like investment on top. Once this solidifies, they place the flasks in a kiln overnight so the wax melts leaving a perfect negative space of all the models.
There were 8 different kilns, and each one had its own purpose for different temperatures for different metals. Once the flask is at the correct temperature, they put it in the casting machine and pour molten metal into it. They have a few different types of casting machines, like vacuum and centrifuge depending on the type of metal.
On our way out we saw a replica of the world cup trophy – although we thought it was solid gold, we found out it was gold plated once we picked it up. A solid gold trophy would be unmovable.
Then we went to see a gemstone showroom where they also cut and polish stones from the rough, natural state.
First impression was that it was a very secret place. It was really small and they had bins of rough stones piled to the ceiling. Seeing amethysts, peridot, rose quartz and other gemstones made us think of all the crystal gems in the show Steven Universe. It was really cool how all the gems came from many different parts of the world. When we asked if the internet has improved his business, we were surprised to hear that all the competition has significantly lowered prices of rough stones.
In conclusion, the jewelry district seemed really shady. There were lots people on the street trying to solicit your business to buy and sell gold. Once you get past that, there are so many skilled artisans, mostly learning those skills by being passed down from generation to generation. It was interesting to find out that you can’t go to college to learn these skills, but rather apprentice with a master and work your way up.
Written by Art Ready students : Kodai & Willy
Art Ready Mentor: Emilie Shapiro
Wednesday, March 30, 4:00pm: Field Trip to Brooklyn Museum. This is a required part of the program. Tour for the Agitprop! Exhibition tour by museum educator and talk by exhibiting and past Studio Artist Dread Scott: http://www.dreadscott.net/ Meet at the Museum at 4:00pm. Train: 2/3 to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum. Directions:https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/visit/directions/
More info: agitprop! flyer
On February 24th, the Art ready group went on a field trip to UrbanGlass. UrbanGlass is a glassblowing facility that is the first and largest glass artist studio in the United States. The students were amazed by the tour they were given and the explanation of making glass art itself. The tour was given by Victoria Calabro who was wonderful enough to explain her experiences as an artist who specializes in sculpture, installation, and craft art with mediums such as glass, metal, and rubber. Other than just talking about her art, Victoria explained that she teaches her art to others and enjoys watching others learn. Her love for teaching led us into our main activity and the very purpose of our trip, creating our own glass art. We were to use a drinking glass or a vase that we chose and, “frost” them using a sandblaster. Everyone was excited and all of the Art Ready students found the activity to be fun. Students enjoyed the process of making glass art so much that they even made more than one sandblast designed piece. Many of the Art Ready students would love to return to UrbanGlass and make even more sandblasted art either on their own time or on another field trip. Either way, the students absolutely loved this field trip and thank Ms.Calabro for her amazing presentation. She may have even inspired some of our young artists to make glass art for a living.