Arlene Goldberg's Purpose Of Art

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James Baldwin once said that “the purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” Arlene Goldberg highlights this statement by posing three questions: who are we as people, what do we stand for, and how do we want to be remembered. In order to find these answers, one can simply turn to the boundless subjectivity of art. Often overlooked, Georgia O’Keeffe was crucial to the growth of American Modernism. Her techniques display perfection through her pristine utilization of rhythm, movement, and unity. Most often centered around the natural world, her pieces incorporate cropped sections aimed to display beauty through immense detail. Other compositions focus less on the detail and more on the shape and color…show more content…
While the painting displays something so pure, the colors expose something much darker. To answer Goldberg’s first question, “who are we,” one can not simply look at the botanical subject matter. Everything is flawed, even nature’s most precious gifts. When dissecting the fundamental characteristics of The Black Iris III, the dark color scheme represents us as a whole. Naturally, we are inclined to be imperfect individuals. But when we go beyond the surface, factoring in the singularity of each person, we are valued and bright. Our decisions and actions do not solely determine our worth, even if it may guide each individual…show more content…
While what determine’s “who we are” can vary, what we represent and aim to reflect is far more intuitive. Self-fulfillment leads us to yearn to be viewed as good, to be part of a whole, and to belong. As Americans, we pride ourselves on equality and acceptance. O’Keeffe’s work displays an advanced sense of unity and harmony through the positioning of the iris and the fluidity of the shading, clearly representing our goals as a nation. Which transitions us to the third question: how do we want to be remembered? We want to be remembered for what we stand for. Living up to our principles and aspirations re-affirms our values demonstrating consistency and strength, illustrating another innate goal for us as human

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