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Distinguished by its overturned clock, Third Time Painting hangs inside the Menil Collection Museum located in Houston, Texas. The contemporary art piece is part of a series of drawings created by American artist Robert Rauschenberg. Rauschenberg painted this drawing in a public performance at the American Embassy theatre in 1961. The artist used a combination of materials which include oil, fabric, wood, and metal. Perhaps the most noticeable and most important prop in this painting is the clock on canvas. Beneath the clock hangs a shirt that is submerged into the painting by the paint itself. Third Time Painting steals the spot light of the room for no other painting compares in magnificence. Even though Gold Painting and Crucifixion and Reflection, two pieces by the same artist, hang next to our painting, they are very different styles of art.
Avant-garde is a word that summarizes Robert Rauschenberg's Third Time Painting into one word. With the phrase "Electronically Controlled Time" printed on the top of the clock, one can feel the presence of innovation inside this art piece. Like spiraling through a journey inside a time machine, this painting hypnotizes with its overturned clock and by its use of different material in the surroundings. A trickle of paint flows down from the surrounding patches of bright colors. The shading of darker colors near the center compliment the brown patches of fabric knitted to the canvas. A fog of white paint flows in zigzags through the painting.
The side turned clock makes us want to turn our heads and look at the art piece from a whole new perspective. A loosely hung chain, with its gravity towards the museum floor, reassures us that the clock is in fact turned over. The painting, with its use of real objects, is obviously three dimensional. This use of real props in a painting creates a sense of reality. Although three dimensional, the mood of the art piece only changes as we move away or towards the painting. The closer we move to the art piece the more detailed the stories
Third Time Painting is extremely divergent in its dimensions. The painting explodes at us from an unknown direction. The solids in the painting are escorted by a tail of grey shadows that trace the movements of the objects. The trail of static fades into the deeper white roots of the environment inside the painting. One can easily get lost inside the painting if it wasn't for the five by seven foot border frame enclosing it.
One must wonder why the shirt hangs with its long sleeves wide open. Half of the shirt sinks underneath the fog of white paint while the second half is bold in brown. A bright blue color shines from the inner side of the shirt as if some form of energy still lingers. The bright blue colors, appearing like ghosts or lost souls, radiate a new life form that forgets to grab our attention at first glance. The spectators would be required to truly search the painting before they can stumble upon such a finding.
Third Time Painting incorporates a mixture of artistic styles. The mixture is difficult to separate and analyze because the end result blends clearly into one image. The brush strokes in this painting are highly visible and are of a style called painterly. There is also a strong use of abstract props in this painting. Although the pieces of this painting are very spontaneous, they all seem to mend together into a single saturated compound.
The piece of art generates energy on its own the same way electrons generate electricity. In a way this painting represents the first person perspective of a ticking time bomb as it goes off. If we take a step back and just concentrate on the center of the painting, we can see what appears to be the instant image of an explosion. The objects in this painting are scattered, making it an accurate visual effect. This would mean that everything other than clock is graffiti. Also, this explains why pieces of wood, metal and fabric are sizzling in hysteria.
Time stood still when the hands of the clock stopped rotating.
Although Third Time Painting is frozen in time, the piece is vividly mystifying. In fact, this piece is as puzzling as the theory of time itself. Einstein once said, "Every reference body has its own particular time; unless we are told the reference-body to which the statement of time refers, there is no meaning in a statement of the time of an event". In other words, Einstein answers our big questions about time by telling us that there are no finite meanings for them (1905 special theory of relativity). In relevance to Einstein's idea, Rauschenberg's painting has no exclusive meaning behind it. Without the reference body, in this case being the audience member, the purpose of Third Time Painting would not be concrete. Turning mere curiosity into investigation, Third Time Painting encourages the audience member to make the best of their imagination.
Like guessing the ingredients of a smoothie after consuming it, Robert Rauschenberg's painting throws at us a mix of tastes all lingering in one plain. From the bright flashes of color on the outskirts to the dark haunting center of the side turned clock, the piece is authentic with complexity. At first glance, Third Time Painting is like a shot of daiquiri with nicotine. Our sip of this painting "sends signals directly to the brain's sensory systems by" the dopamine pathways, "the classic pleasure pathway in the brain".
The mood of this painting portrays the aftermath of a turbulent event. As if a violent crime had taken place, the props in this painting are damaged, broken, and stained. According to the American Psychological Association, "it is typical for people to experience a variety of emotions following such a traumatic event", and as witnesses we are stormed with emotions that are difficult to explain. Like a beautifully staged crime scene from a Shakespeare play, Third Time Painting is a captivating horror scene.
The top half of a broken bottle hangs to the painting by a chain which is bolted to the shirt. The bottom side of the bottle is broken into sharp teeth of glass which can serve as the perfect weapon. It's not often that we see a murder weapon displayed in such a glorified matter. Whether or not this is the work of a serial killer, to celebrate a crime in such matter signifies the psychotic energy that surrounded this scene.
A reason behind the way Third Time Painting glimmers with such magnificent beauty comes from humanity's own hunger for violence. In an article titled "Why Do People Love Violence?" , respected blogger M.S. says, "people say violence gives an individual, the feeling of control...so sometimes people may be violent because they want to have power over others to make living easier for them". In a way humans are trying to gain control by losing control of their behavior. Time and time again, we humans have found peace and comfort through acts of violence. Peace through war, we have been known to move up the ladder and succeed through intolerable acts. We have come to find ourselves at home when it comes to violence and eventually it became an art form. No wonder we call violent techniques of harm, martial arts.
The time on the clock stands still at ten forty five, leaving the viewer to believe that whatever occurred took place at that time. Plenty of dripping stains accompany the rusty metal, broken bottle and cracked wood. All of the above merge together into one classical symphony piece. One must wonder what went through Robert Rauschenberg's mind when creating this painting. Though one thing is for sure, the music in this painting tells us something about the past.
No person could have summarized our love for art in one statement better than Robert Hughes. Robert Hughes says:
"Drawing [or painting...or sculpture] never dies, it holds on by the skin of its teeth, because the hunger it satisfies...the desire for an active, investigative, manually vivid relation with the things we see and yearn to know about...is apparently immortal."
The art critic touches on an essential point that art never dies. Anthony Bond says that through art we achieve "slow sustaining adventures into the unknown". Why is this important?
Had we never stumbled upon anything strange and mysterious, we would have never been curious enough to invent or discover. ". Many believe that art is the strongest influence for "experimental creativity".
Art provides us with a natural instinct, a satisfying instinct that benefits us in a variety of ways. Art encourages the exertion of our feelings and emotions. Without art we would turn into a miserable race of conformity and filth. Even though art offers us one of the strongest forms of pleasure, Anthony Bond rejects the "view that art merely excites aesthetic pleasure and should attempt nothing else". Many like Bond believe that "art can sometimes change the way we look at the world
Third Time Painting takes us into a whole new dimension through its mystical properties. Through this piece, "we may have the privilege of sharing profound experiences with the artist and in the process discover things about ourselves and the worlds". Being an art critic, Robert Hughes might have one of the most exciting jobs on the planet. Like resurrection after being sucked lightning speed into a black hole, Robert Hughes certainly enjoys the rollercoaster ride of emotions on a daily basis.
It is ridiculous to imagine how life would be without any music to the ears, paintings, or fashion. The influence of art is everlasting. Generation after generation people will look at the same piece of art and experience the same kind of connection with it. Whether this connection is on a personal level or a broad social level, we can be assured that the new generations will only expand upon our ideas.
Furthermore, advancements in technology and art are correlated. As long as art thrives we can certainly believe that our world will only evolve for the better. The possibilities our future holds for innovative new forms of art are endless. Art is never a linear idea and the world will always discover something new through art.
Who knows, maybe one day a genius who is appreciative of art will make use of Third Time Painting to invent something new. Perhaps a politician on the rise will stare deep into our painting and find a way for world peace. The painting might not influence anything at all other than our appreciation of its beauty. Robert Hughes knows what he's dealing with. After all, it's not as hard as it seems to find tangible immortal things here on earth.