I feel like Zhang Xiaogang is making a big statement with his paintings. They are all very depressing to me because it calls the world out on its tendency to push people toward conformity. All of the characters he creates are monotonous and as simple as possible. There is little use of color and all of their facial expressions are sad. The combination of these effects is extremely effective in portraying emotion and even cause the audience to become saddened themselves. The paintings definitely take each element of society that the artist does not like and amplifies it into a tidal wave of hatred. It is hard to not feel the way the artist wants you to feel when you look at them.
I went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and looked at all the different paintings, sculptures, and other pieces of art. In the sculpture area I found a carving out grey limestone that stood out to me. It was called Lintel Arch From a Vishnu Temple. I really liked the use of details within the piece. There were 26 individual people carved into this piece of wood that was arch shaped. It was a mirror image on both sides, so there were only 13 unique characters, but they even had designs on their clothing. I thought it was especially impressive because it was small. It was only a few feet long, but completely filled with information.
Another piece of art that I was drawn to was a stone coffin. It was called the Sarcophagus of Prince Cheng Ching (Yuan Mi). This piece of art was not only beautiful, but also useful. It was originally made not as art, but as a coffin for a prince. I thought it was interesting that art is not always made to be art. On every external surface of the casket there were intricate carvings of landscapes. It was completely covered; there was probably not a full square inch without any carvings on it. This was amazing to me since it was about 7 feet long and 4 feet wide. I enjoyed this experience and it had much different art than that at the Weisman Art Museum. The art here seemed to be more ancient and based on different cultures.
At the Katherine E. Nash art gallery there was one piece that stood out to me. It was called My Name was 133909 and I Sang and from the title one can see that the inspiration was a labor camp prisoner who tattled on another, in order to survive another day. I really liked the artist’s use of different mediums and materials to compose the piece. There were mirrors, chunks of metal, arcrylic, paint, and many other random objects. All of these together produced a very interesting visual and it easily caught my eye. I especially liked that it made the viewer think about why the artist chose to include each of the components.