After visiting the museum, there were two artworks that stood out for me which are “American Dream” by Raymond Saunders and “Black Girl’s Window” by Betye Saar. Both pieces were located in the Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 exhibition on the first floor. Artist from this exhibition helped shaped the creative output for Southern California. American Dream is an oil on Canvas piece made by Raymond Saunders. It is representational and shows many formal elements such as lines, shapes and color. Lines that can be seen are diagonal, vertical and horizontal. There are mixtures of geometric and organic shapes. Complimentary and primary colors are shown. Positive space would be the picture itself and the negative space would be the background of the image. Pattern can be seen when looking at the stars on the American flag. The texture of this painting is implied. It is implied because it takes the form of a ripped up newspaper article. Its not actually ripped, it was painted that way to give off the idea. Also implied texture can be seen with how the painting was painted. Based on the context of the painting, I was able to make an assumption. The way the paint is makes it look like the surface is rough. I feel like the painting is symbolizing irony. The reason for this is because when we think of the American Dream, we think of peace, freedom, equality and so on, but when looking at the painting, it gives off a different vibe. African Americans were treated very differently during these times while they struggled to gain equality yet the title of the piece says “American Dream” which reveals a huge contradiction.
The second piece was “Black Girls Window” by Betye Saar. This shows an African American girl who is looking through a window. The pictures above her are what I believe to be things in which she sees. Shapes, lines, and pattern are shown in this. Shapes that are included are geometric and organic. Geometric shapes can be seen in the stars and moon. Organic shapes can be seen in the little squares of the upper window including the last one that shows a bird. Lines are diagonal, horizontal, and vertical. Patterns can be seen with the moon and stars. There is a mixture of complimentary and primary colors. On the top of her head, the stars and moon come together taking the form of unity. I didn’t really get much out of this artwork. What I think the content of this piece is, is that everything shown is what she sees while looking out of her window. However what did stand out for me was the skeleton in the middle square. I believe that this represents death and that she sees something relating to that (Subjective thought). I’m guessing that since this piece was made in 1969 and knowing context, death was on her mind often due to the inequality that African Americans faced throughout society.