Monday, May 16, 2011
In this collage, I focused on the universality of the concept of saying goodbye. Various images representing the expression of saying goodbye are in this poster. For example, the sunset denotes the ending of every day and represents a goodbye. The colorful autumn leaves have always represented nature’s goodbye to the summer, and the arrival of winter. All of the images are surrounded by the word goodbyes in many different languages from around the world to show that goodbyes are universal in all countries, cultures, nationalities, and races.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
“Woman with Dead Child” (1903) by Kathe Kollwitz depicts one of the saddest events in the human experience—a mother saying goodbye to her deceased child. The etching is one of the many examples of Kollwitz’s pieces that address unfortunate situations such as poverty and early loss. Interestingly enough, Kollwitz used her own living son as the model for the young boy. Coincidently, Kollwitz would experience the actual loss of her son fifteen years later in World War I (NYU Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database).
Kollwitz’s goodbye is one of the most difficult in life. In the natural stages of life, the children are supposed to bury their parents: not the other way around. In this case, the mother has to say goodbye to her deceased child. The mother is grasping her son’s limp corpse with every muscle in her body. Unlike the child’s angelic face, her countenance is somewhat distorted and is portrayed in a dark light (NYU Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database). The heartbreak and pain this mother is experiencing is inconceivable to most people, yet Kollwitz manages to evoke empathy in the viewer by the expressive nature of her etching. Indeed, the scene is so realistic that the viewer feels as if they are saying goodbye as well.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (1893) has captivated people for decades. The image of an alien-like man has begged the question: What exactly is the man screaming about? One must revisit Edvard Munch’s childhood to understand the meaning behind his pieces. Munch unfortunately lost many of his closest family members at an early age while battling a terrible case of tuberculosis. In a private journal, Munch wrote, “"I inherited two of mankind's most frightful enemies—the heritage of consumption and insanity—illness and madness and death were the black angels that stood at my cradle” (Lubow). It is also believed that a genetic mental disorder ran in the Munch family (Lubow). Munch’s contemporary works of art reflect his experiences. His paintings were a direct outlet for him to express his emotions (Lubow). Munch writes that he was inspired to paint “The Scream” after taking a walk during sunset with two of his friends. He claims that he was feeling sad, and that suddenly the sky turned bright red. He was so frightened that he was shaking with fear, and he said that he could hear a blaring scream from nature (Olson and Doescher). Thus, Munch turned his encounter with nature into one of the most famous painting ever created.
The man in the painting could either be saying goodbye to his sanity or simply saying goodbye to his stored frustrations by screaming. Indeed, someone standing in the middle of the street screaming would seem abnormal. However, this could simply be a way in which he chooses to relieve his frustrations. Compared to the normal appearance of the two people in the back of the painting, this man is definitely different. Thus, one may be apt to think that he is losing his sanity. However, this man might just be having a bad day, and this reaction is the result of him saying goodbye to his emotions. After all, people have different ways of expressing their emotions such as cleaning the house or exercising. Regardless, the man is saying goodbye to something. Although we do not know what exactly he is saying goodbye to, the scream serves as a symbol of a goodbye.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Stan Stearns’ photograph of John F. Kennedy, Jr. saluting his murdered father’s casket as it passes stirs deep emotion in the soul of the viewer. At the young age of four, John Jr. (as his father affectionately called him) had to grieve in the public eye. Already a sad day for America, the image of the small boy saluting his father’s casket as it passed only further cemented November 25, 1963 as one of the most tragic days in our history (1963: John F Kennedy is Laid to Rest).
In a different but similarly touching goodbye, JFK, Jr.’s salute is the opposite of Kate Kollwitz’s “Woman with Dead Child”. The younger generation is saying goodbye to the older generation. Some would argue that the loss of younger life tends to be a sadder occasion than the loss of an older person. However, by looking at this picture, it is hard to deem one loss sadder than the other. JFK, Jr. lost his hero and will never have the opportunity to bond with or know his father. One cannot deny how unfortunate that prospect is. JFK was also a young father whose death was unexpected, and it did not help that he was assassinated in the middle of the street. Whether the child is saying goodbye to his father or the mother is saying goodbye to her child, both situations are tragic and equally saddening. Although this is a very tragic goodbye, it is important because JFK, Jr. was able to embark on the road to closure. Closure is necessary for anyone saying goodbye to a loved one because closure allows the individual to move on and live a full life.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
The picture by John Gaps III (1989) of the man hammering the Berlin Wall proves that there are joyous goodbyes. The man is literally and figuratively breaking down the wall that prevented him from having a free life. The man understands that many new possibilities await him beyond the wall that he is tearing down. The Berlin Wall separated Germany into two different sectors after the Russians erected it in 1961 (Duiker 765). East Germany was controlled by Soviet Russia, and therefore was subjected to suppressive communist rule. On the other hand, West Berlin was free and democratic and enjoyed the luxuries of the Western world (Duiker 726). This man is now very happy because he can do whatever he would like. He is also free to visit family that lives on the other side of the wall. Many citizens appreciated this new freedom.
With every goodbye, there is always a hello. While the man is saying goodbye to a life of communism, loneliness, and ignorance; he is saying hello to a new uplifting life of freedom. Goodbyes are about moving forward in one’s life. One cannot progress in life without saying goodbye to something. There are simple goodbyes such as parting with your beloved toy, but there are also bigger goodbyes such as leaving home to go to college. Goodbyes, whether they be good or bad, move us along to the different stages in our life.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
“V-J Day in Times Square” (1945) by Alfred Eisenstaedt continues with the theme of joyous goodbyes. This photo was taken on August 14th, 1945 when it had been formally announced that Japan had surrendered in World War II (Newman). The man and woman are passionately embracing in a kiss to celebrate this moment and accomplishment! By looking at their attire, the viewer can observe that the man is wearing a navy uniform while the woman is wearing a white nurse uniform. They share a mutual connection by being involved in the war effort, and news of the surrender would give them both a sense of relief. The Navy solider would no longer have to worry about sacrificing his life for the war, while the nurse does not need to fear death (Chan). World War II consisted of four long years of fighting overseas, and the American public was very excited for the men and women to return to their home and country.
This celebratory kiss is not just a kiss. Rather, it is an iconic symbol that is well-known to almost all Americans. It represents saying goodbye to isolation, death, and fear. Many soldiers felt scared and isolated at times while serving during the war, while at home their loved ones feared the war and prayed for their return. This kiss is saying hello and goodbye at the same time. It is saying goodbye to one of the world’s most destructive wars, while it is saying hello to many wonderful opportunities for the country and people, including, new prosperous lives, growth as a country, status as a dominant country, and pride.
Monday, May 2, 2011
“1963: John F Kennedy is Laid to Rest.” BBC. 18 Apr. 2011 http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/25/newsid_3211000/311440.stm.
Bertman, Sandra L. “Woman with Dead Child.” Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database. NYU School of Medicine. 2004. 29 Apr. 2011 <http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Annotation?action=view&annid=10388.>
Chan, Sewell. “62 Years Later, a Kiss that Can’t be Forgotten.” The New York Times. 2007. 18 Apr. 2011 <http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/14/62-years-later-a-kiss-that-cant-be-forgotten/.>
Duiker, William J. and Speilvogel, Jackson J., Eds. World History. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomas Wadsworth, 2007. (p. 765)
“Germany Marks 20 Years Since Reunification.” Discovery News. 2010. 18 Apr. 2011 <http://news.discovery.com/history/cold-war-germany-reunited-berlin-wall.html.>
Lubow, Arthur. “Edvard Munch: Beyond The Scream.” Smithsonian.com. 2006. 29 Apr. 2011 < http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/munch.html?c=y&page=3.>
Newman, Andy. “Nurse Tells of Storied Kiss. No, Not That Nurse.” The New York Times. 2010. 29 Apr. 2011 <http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/from-photos-periphery-an-eyewitness-to-a-timeless-kiss/>.
Olson, Marilynn S.; Olson, Donald W.; Doescher, Russell L. “On the Blood-Red Sky of Munch's The Scream.” Environmental History Vol. 12, No. 1 (2007): 131-135. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25473036.
Prelinger, Elizabeth; Comini, Alessandra; Bachert Hildegard. Kathe Kollwitz. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.