Ackland Visit- Trey

Since I missed our class trip to the Ackland Art Museum, I decided to go on my own to write this piece. I had been there twice, previously, but both times were with my girlfriend, who is a student at UNC-Wilmington. She is much more of a visual artist than I am, so her insight into all the pieces was valuable to me. However, being there by myself did allow me to reflect on what I was seeing in a different way. I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled to a few different countries and sees some world-famous art, such as all the amazing sculpting and painting in Italy. While I recognize that art speaks to everyone differently, and that “art” itself is open to interpretation and definition by the artist and audience, I sometimes have a hard time appreciating some works that my untrained eye doesn’t see as skillful. This is a challenge I find myself facing when viewing a lot of modern art.

Before going to the Ackland, I did skim through a few blog posts from my classmates to see what the group had talked about, and so that I could focus on information that Professor Glass may remember. When I arrived to the museum, I saw a lot of art that clearly took a great deal of talent to produce, and I am always interested in historical artifacts. The Ackland also had a lot of modern art that I struggled to relate to. I realize that much of this work stems from the emotions of the artist and it meant as a form of expression, but I believe that truly great art evokes emotion and impresses upon the viewers, not just the creator.

            The Batture Ritual,by Jeff Whetstone, is one piece I saw that, to me, exemplifies the kind of art I don’t typically favor. A calm videoof a river and the surrounding environment is easy on the eyes, but I struggle to place much value on it. Everyone has seen rivers, and maybe it’s a “peaceful” video, but it didn’t make me think or feel anything different that I was thinking or feeling before looking at Mr. Whetstone’s work. To me, a lot of people could produce something like this, and any desired calming effect or appreciation of nature can be found in many aspects of our every-day lives.

Similarly, Looking At The Sea, by Howard Hodgkin didn’t evoke anything deep from me. If anything, it mainly made me think that I could one day be in the Ackland Art Museum if I took a crack at it. I know that is an arrogant and ignorant statement (while largely a joke), but I simply don’t see the artistic value to wide strokes of blue oil filling up an empty wooden frame. To me, it’s void of real effort, talent, and creativity. Even the big scary spider that popped up on campus this year leaves me thinking more than these two pieces did. Obviously the artist and the people who choose what goes into the Ackland felt differently, but I would love to hear what was stirred within them by a blue square.

I realize that it’s a bit ridiculous that I’m a complete amateur, uneducated in the field being discussed, and yet I sound like the world’s harshest critic. Overall, I enjoy the Ackland Art museum very much and I love most of the work that it has to offer. I also sincerely hope that the artists of the aforementioned pieces never read this, because I have no real problem with their art, and I hope that they continue to produce it if it makes them happy and gets into museums. Perhaps I lack a certain artistic depth that such works appeals to in others. Of course art speaks to everyone differently, and in the end, I suppose that’s one of the many great things about it. I, personally, like to be shocked and awed, but that’s just one man’s opinion.

Ackland Reflection- Trey

Since I wrote my Ackland Art Museum blog mainly on art that I did not like, I decided that it would be nice to discuss the exhibition that I enjoyed most. Color Across Asiacaptivated me in ways that much of modern art does not. I love traveling and visiting historically significant sites and cities. I have had amazing experiences in North and South America, Europe, Australia and surrounding islands, but I have not yet had the pleasure of going anywhere in Asia. Ironically, that is the continent with a richer history than maybe anywhere else in the world.


Color Across Asia allowed me to get up close to some of the kinds of things I would like to go to there to see, and all within walking distance from my small apartment in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It really is amazing to me what people could do in that day and age with the technology, or lack-there-of, that they had to work with. The fact that all the hand-made ornate clothing and china and tools in the exhibit comes from thousands of years ago is incredible. The talents required to do these things is extremely rare today, if even still in existence, in some cases. To weave gold into a dress and to flawlessly form metals and jewels into artistic pieces and ceremonial garb and jewelry is something that should always been respected and admired, as I do not think we’ll see anything like it again.


Aside from the fact that there are few, if any, people on this earth that possess the skills needed to do this work, many of the natural resources we marvel at in these artifacts have been depleted far from a point that allows use of said resources to be financially possible. To use so much gold and jewels and silk in today’s world would be so expensive that most of us could not afford these items before the cost of labor and everything else is factored in.


Another aspect of this exhibit that I think is worth mentioning is how amazing it is that we are able to recover all these artifacts, and in such pristine condition. Even if slight restorations have to be done, whoever takes care of that did a great job with these pieces. It almost looks as if these ancient materials are brand new. The Ackland Art Museum did a wonderful job of getting this collection in, and I truly felt fortunate to be viewing it all.

Another Example of an “A” Post

Power is only strong by the control that helps fuel it, the Thug  (in all actuality) did not intend to undermine England, but their presence did loosen the control. The Thug compromised England’s occupation of India, and Taylor was apart of the blinded nation that did not see this threat. Since it was regret that linked Taylor to the Thugs, Taylor needed to create a situation that Taylor had to show you the charging nature of the Thug. Intentional empathy is Taylor’s game to connect the reader to Ameer Ali, and in larger scope, Taylor himself.

I find myself connecting with Ameer Ali quite often throughout the work, and I can imagine why this made the work quite popular at the time. Even though, there is a central conflict between the narrator and Ameer Ali, I would like to argue that the novel is closer to a blend of the two.

The mechanical aspects of the novel tend to show a close feeling of the two narratives. There is no space between the narratives; the paragraphs that separate the dialogues are close together. I found only a few instances of an added space between the narratives (and extra line of space separating the narrative of Ameer Ali with the officer. The first of these is when the officer notices some emotional reaction from Ameer Ali, “under what circumstances! At this period of his narrative, Ameer Ali seemed to shudder..”(33). It seems as though the officer’s emotions at seeing Ali this distraught fill the space. The close connection between the two characters begins, and the space that separates them will become less. The next occurrence is between a speech and Ali’s reaction to it, “ intentions have been fulfilled, and I am content. The whole assembly was struck..”(84). At this transition, it seems as though Ameer Ali’s emotion fills the space. Even though, there is a sharp difference between the tones, the choice of words that the officer uses, evoke an emotional response. The next is a pause between Ali’s story and the officer’s thoughts, “ …they were tried and hung. Ameer Ali here stopped in his narrative..”(268). This close space between the two almost melds the two text together; the name of Ameer Ali is necessary to show the change in voice. Why at this point is there greater distance? Is it that the officer feels some sort of empathy for the Thug? There are even instances where there isn’t even a transition sentence between them, and many of the interruptions of the police officer are within Ameer Ali’s own sentences. They flow together so seamlessly, even though there is a back and forth nature to the dialogue. I would also argue that the level of interrogation gets stronger as the narrative progresses, “…and only shows the more you are to be trusted.”(295). So since the level of interrogation increase while the level of emotional response increases shows a conjoining of the two character’s emotional states. Ameer Ali regrets all that he has done by seeing what terrible things he has done, while the officer regrets not catching this Thug earlier.

By showing the close link between England and the thug, that the panoptic relation between the empire and India was not compromised by the existence of the thug. Rather then the officer asserting control over Ameer Ali, the officer seems to be silenced by Ameer Ali Taylor destroys the space between the empire and India through this novel. Conjoining the thug and England was a more sinister link between the two, then trying to exhume control over the Thug.

Example of an “A” Post.

At face value, Tender Buttons is an immensely confusing text, providing no connection to any real meaning. However, within this confusion arises a most profound understanding of language, grammar, and how we interpret the world around us. In A Carafe That is a Blind Glass, the reader is introduced to this new experiment in syntax. Gazing at the words within the text, the word “glass” seems to be the only real connection to the carafe in a general sense. It seems as though there is a disconnect between the carafe in the text and the carafe we imagine in our mind. However, this disconnection is where the true meaning of Tender Buttons reveals itself.

One can think of a dichotomy of the external (being the carafe) and the internal (the act of describing the carafe), and how one mode is very human and the other very objective. The reason the text is so unconcerned with meaning through interpretation of its words, is because of the difficulty to describe the moment of looking at the carafe. There is a breakdown of the symbol of the text, the “carafe”, what we image of the “carafe” in our mind holds no real connection to the text other than its general classification of “glass”. By attempting to describe this “carafe”, we enter a linguistic nightmare. Any connection to the real “carafe” is lost within “all this” of the text. Stein seems to be saying that the only real “carafe” is the one that lies in the interpretation of the “carafe”, since there can many readers imagine many “carafe”. Therefore the act of interpretation itself yields a kind of “carafe” description.

In this moment of description, even the words become slippery, losing some of their connections with other words and seemingly picking up new ones. The image of “hurt color” can be confusing to the reader, however the true inadequacy of language is revealed here. It seems as though “hurt” is used as an adjective here, but does not make sense against the word “color”. This draws our attention closer to the word “hurt”, thinking about the word as both a verb and an adjective. When one thinks about the multiplicity of the word in the absence of any true kind of grammar, something profound about the inability of grammar to truly describe feelings or objects. The “hurt of “that cut hurts” to that of “I am going to hurt you” are obviously very different from each other. Inflicting pain and receiving pain are two totally different sensations, however grammar is not concerned with this. Grammar does not care about the difference a single word can make as both an adjective and a verb, it is only concerned what the word is classified as in the sentence.

The reader is used to being able to look at the way a word was used in conjunction with grammar to be able to interpret the statement. Now with the absence of grammar, we no longer can use this mode to interpret. Therefore this makes the reader very uncomfortable, and draws more attention to the “various meaning” words. In the moment of interpreting the word, the reader realizes that grammar cannot describe the sensation on the page, that it cannot peer into the ever changing nature of words.

The word only receives meaning in its connotations with other words. Stein is experimenting with what happens when we take grammar out of a text, what will we have? Words can now be used simultaneously as both adjective and verb or noun and adjective and so on. Creating a kind of new interpretive form, a continuous present of constantly evolving statements. An object in motion, while still in place and a reader able to truly see the inability of both language and grammar to control and describe our world.