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Unseen Hope Give a Synposis of the Book

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Unseen Hope Give a Synposis of the Book

For this assignment, I visited the UCLA Fowler Museum, Intersections: World

Arts, Local Lives. The title itself suggests the focus and the purpose of the exhibition as it

encompasses art from Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific.

The exhibition reveals how art interacts with world’s people’s lives and how art from

various parts of world intersect, presenting the aesthetic value to utilitarian objects and,

vice versa, utilizing the aesthetic value. The exhibition is divided into four sections: Art

and Action, Art and Knowledge, Art and Power, Art and Transformation. There are about

250 art objects dating from the first millennium B.C.E. to the present installed either in

large showcases grouped according to their art genre or located in separate showcases

to highlight their significance and value for that particular section or culture. For

additional information about the artists, history, and the use of art objects, there is a

large film room, video kiosks located in each section, and small screens set up next to

the labels to accompany the contextual information or automated phone curation.

Since the essential purpose of the exhibition is to demonstrate art in social

context that shows art as a means of communicating information such as power, status,

knowledge, action, and transformation, the installation of all art objects and the curation

correspond to this perspective of viewing art. The information given by the curator, the

educational film, videos, and the labels target the meaning and the use of objects in

social context rather than give details about how colors, patterns, and shapes create art.

Since the Fowler Museum is located in UCLA campus, most of the visitors are UCLA

students, faculty, and staff; however, this does not validate the rationale of the exhibition

to communicate only the contextual knowledge of art objects. Thus, the exhibition

informs rather than entertains the visitors with the uniqueness of artworks presented. I

am not arguing that non-Western art objects should be taken out of their cultural context

and present them as a mere art work, because most of these art works have had

utilitarian purpose in people’s lives such as the boats, bowls, or headrests. Yet most of

the information provided to the visitors is strictly informative limited to the date, place,

and the purpose of the object while the aesthetics of the art objects such as how the

color tones are being used, the materials, or the size seem to be marginalized.

For example, various jewelry objects, presented in the Art and Power section,

have only information about their expensive material, date, and people who used to wear

it to negotiate social status and identity.

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