Pink swirling backgrounds cover text and an image depicting Lakshmi Bai. A large yellow and white crochet star partially covers the image of warrior Lakshmi Bai on horseback.

How to see

I’ve started this new series here on the blog called Art AV Club. And it’s led me on a merry adventure into videos about various artists on YouTube. In my Robert Rauschenberg looky-looing, I found this EXCELLENT video of artist Sarah Sze talking about how to interact with the Rauschenberg piece “Bed” and her response to it in her own art. Imma just set it up here and we’ll talk after you watch.

How to see the artist with Sarah Sze

The conversation

Whew! I’ve watched this video four or five times now and it still just wrecks me. This is such an important video to watch if you struggle to understand modern art. She talks about the kinds of questions you should ask when you encounter art that you don’t understand. She builds a lovely framework of how to look at a piece, identify what you know and understand. Then she helps you ask questions based on what you know already and those questions allow you to stretch into what you don’t know.

One of the biggest struggles I think people have with modern art is trying to figure out what it’s about. And it’s so often about this wider conversation that you are listening in on only a small part of in any one piece of art. Knowing Rauchenberg’s place in that conversation is an important part of understanding any one individual piece. Sze does an outstanding job of helping place this piece in a wider context and then following it up with her own work. If you didn’t check out her work from the link in the first paragraph, please go look at her work. After listening to her talk about RR and seeing her work, I think you will be able to see the direct line between the two artists.

Where do I fit in?

At 1:27 she starts talking about how RR played with the intersection of art and everyday objects. This is exactly what I wanted to explore in my Women’s Work pieces. I wanted to take the every day handwork of my ancestors and myself and juxtapose it against women from history who worked outside the framework society imposed on them.

Looking forward to more Art AV Club

I am so excited to share Art AV Club with you! It allows me to explore the implications in my own work in light of what other artists are doing. If you are coming along for the ride, thanks for joining me! I would love to hear your thoughts on this video and how you might use it when looking at art. Also, if there’s an artist you’d like to see covered in this series, drop me a note!