The piece I chose that I believe has strong formal qualities is Hippopotamus by Paul Thek. This piece is very interesting to me because of the media he used and the effect it has on the viewer. He used beeswax, plexiglass, metal and rubber in order to create a faux slab of hippopotamus flesh. If his intent was to rear the media into appearing like an actual hippopotamus he comes eerily close. Although you can see drips of wax, you still cannot help but be thinking that you are staring at raw flesh pierced by rods of metal. I highly doubt he was going for beauty in this piece but because of its strong formal qualities it will make just about anyone stop and look and wonder about the hippo in a glass box.
The piece that I chose for strong content was the piece done by Lucio Fontana called Concetto Spaziale (Spatial Concept-Expectation). Lucio Fontana challenged the ideas behind painting when he created this piece. I can imagine many people who look at art and the first thing they say is "I could do that" would most likely have that reaction to this piece. But even though it appears to be a painted black line down the middle of a canvas, there is a lot more to it than that. By doing this painting, Fontana was challenging and experimenting with space. When I look at this piece I am intrigued that space or rather a blank, white canvas can be tweaked in a way that may not seem that dramatic but the concept behind that step is packed with dramatic elements. The reason I liked this piece so much is because, exactly as the title says, you are expecting something, you are quetioning and you are curious about that black puncture on the canvas.
The third piece at the Walker that we were told to look at was one that lacks both formal and content qualities. I am not sure that I saw one that struck me as lacking in both these categories. Even though there are some artworks that do not thrill me as much as others do it does not mean that I find them lacking in formal qualities or content. For example, I was going to say that Black Curve by Ellsworth Kelly was lacking in formal and content qualities but then you hear the background or find something out about the artist's concepts and or other background information and it completely changes your mind about it. So, I honestly can't write about a piece that was lacking because there were not any that I thought were. However, this does not mean that I liked all of them.
The piece that I chose that carried both formal and content qualities was Untitled by Shiraga Kazuo. This painting resinates texture. When we were on the tour everyone said that they wanted to reach out and touch it. Now if a painting makes people what to do that, then i must have very strong formal qualities. This painting was all over the place, the colors and textures were active and alive. I could picture in my mind the artist making this piece, I could imagine his movement across the canvas or perhaps where he might have sat down or smeared an area with his hand. The content was powerful as well. Although the tour guide said that Kazuo had no reference to war when this piece was made, he painted it in 1959 right at the beginning of the war in Vietnam. This painting looks like an explosion with dark colors of blood red, deep purples and blues to add to that image. Even though an artist does not intend for their artwork to come across or be read in a certain way it doesn't mean that it won't happen.
The last piece that had to be chosen was one that changed our view of what art is. Also, I chose a piece that made me want to go experiment and try different things. I really was impressed with Robert Irwin's piece Untitled. I am not quite sure why I was taken by this piece. It expressed a sense of calm quiet. Those expressions were created by Robert Irwin's use of synthetic fabric, wood, flood and florescent lights. This piece made me really excited about the endless possibilities in creating art and what art means. The power of art also is shown in his piece because it seems so simplified but at the same time so complex.