Holiday Homework 2013 – Task 2 (Critical Reflections)

For task two, I once again read through the brief before highlighting important aspects in order to allow me to understand the brief in greater depth. Below are the highlighted sections:

“… Visit and review two cultural art events.”

“… Exhibition, a play, review a book, a performance…”

“… Reflecting on your experience of the event…”

“… Your review should be informed by reading other peoples reviews of the same event…” 

“… Should not be purely descriptive.”

“… Find something written in the formal press and something written more informally for a blog.”

“Think about the use of language in each and what each approach can offer the reader.”

“… 5-7 minute presentation of your reviews…”

For this task, I have decided that I am going to be reviewing the Musee du Louvre and Centre Pompidou, Paris. As you can see from above, before I write out my critical reflection, I have been asked to look at two different reviews for each of the cultural events. So that is what I did first. Below are the links to the reviews that I read that I later came on to analyse before writing my own:

Musee du Louvre: – “Majestic” by ASH144

Centre Pompidou: – “For Lovers of Contemporary Art” by Stephanie S

After reading through all four of these reviews, I then found that the more informal reviews (the ones found on trip advisor) offered the reader a more personal insight into the events but did consist mainly of descriptive notes rather than reflection. The personality that was elicited from these reviews, however, had the ability to make the reader feel that it was more of a genuine review and not one that was deliberately trying to advertise and enhance the event. On the other hand, with the more formal reviews, although they did include aspects of description and gave more in-depth information about the museums history, they also gave a quick overarching review of the place along with hints and tips that you would not get just by visiting. However, they were also very careful not to sound too opinionated, and the formal reviews that I found were opinionated made sure to express that these were the views of the individual. These more formal reviews though, did intend on appearing to be written solely as an advertising aid.

On reflection of these four reviews, I have decided upon the most important aspects to include in a critical reflection, which I plan on incorporating into my pieces of writing. These aspects can be found below:

  • Slight description/mini story
  • Tips
  • Opinion – make sure I highlight that it is my opinion
  • WHY?
  • Personal – add humour

After figuring out the type of language and layout I want to write my critical reflections in, it is now time to start working on them. The two critical reflections can be found below, and after I have written these, I will then go through them and decide upon the aspects I wish to include in my presentation of them.

Musee du Louvre Critical Reflection:

The Louvre, one of the world’s largest museums has been known to hold it’s three most famous works of art, the “big three”. The “big three” include the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory, and as you have probably guessed, is where the majority of the tourists congregated. Going to the Louvre without visiting these glorious pieces of work is a mistake, but going to see these pieces of work in the middle of the day, during the summer holidays is suicide.

The number of people is not something that I can prepare you for, but I can tell you that the tension in that hall must have been something similar to that found in a stock exchange room. It’s not this aspect that ruined the viewing experience for me at all, but the fact that as soon as I had arrived at an “appropriate viewing point” the pressure began to mount and I spent my time viewing the artifact through the lens and not through my eyes. Scurrying away like that of a dormouse led me to feel a sense of disappointment, not in the art, but in myself. I felt like I had missed my chance to truly enjoy the famous piece in front of me, and once you’ve made your way out of the crowd it is difficult to find a way back in.

However, after experiencing the “big three” in all of its crowded glory, you would have thought that the climax had passed and the interest of the rest of the museum declined to a point of boredom and tiredness. You are wrong. The Louvre has so much more to offer than just the “big three”. Although some of the pieces of art and hallways seemed repetitive, you would always find yourself in a state where you were submerged in history. And even if you were put off by the repetition, the history behind the building created a form of art that could not be matched by the artifacts hung within it.

But do you want to know the best thing about the Louvre? I experienced all of this for free.


Centre Pompidou Critical Reflection:

The Centre Pompidou, a much younger building than that of the Louvre, spends its time housing a variety of different pieces of modern and contemporary art from across the globe. Although the idea behind modern art can be seen as controversial and certainly does not appeal to some, the Centre Pompidou should still be near the top of your to-do list when in Paris.

The fact that it has been labeled as the Musée National d’Art Moderne (National Museum of Modern Art) automatically hinders the number of people interested in a visit. This does, however, completely change the atmosphere of the museum and allows you to observe a quieter and more relaxing exhibition experience.

Greeted by a mass of metal pipes and neon signs, you feel as though you have been transported to Times Square and the business of this specific piece of architecture can, in almost all cases, lead you to question your visit. But stay put. Once you have bought a ticket, you are ushered to the famous “outside” escalators, which is where you first experience the genius of the design and the beautiful views of the city itself.

Transitioning from these escalators into the gallery and exhibition halls can only be described as stepping into the eye of a storm. You are suddenly greeted by a sense of calm but are surrounded by a variety of pieces of work eliciting power and dominance through their expressionism and colour.

But, I have to say, the best thing that I found about the Centre Pompidou was not the fact that it was free, but more the interactive and relaxing atmosphere. There was never any pressure to appreciate the pieces of work like there was in the Louvre.

The one thing I learnt whilst at the Centre Pompidou is that modern art is more open to interpretations and opinions, and you do not feel judged if you see something differently to someone else. After all, they were just three plain white canvases… Weren’t they?