Tableaux Vivants & Activism !
During the early 20th century, tableaux vivant was used as a form of protest. It was an especially fitting genre for women to use during suffrage protests because it was a familiar form of expression for them. They took on many poses from art including Jules Bastien-Lepage’s Joan of Arc and Raphael’s Madonna to symbolically convey their desire for women’s right vote. Other minority groups used tableaux vivant as a form of protest. In 1913 textile workers from Patterson, New Jersey protested poor working conditions in a pageant at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Also in 1913, W.E.B. DuBois directed The Star of Ethiopia, a pageant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. A still and quiet performance might not seem like a choice activity for a protest, but it likely etched a lasting impression in the minds of audiences and performers, an impression that could inspire change.
TABLEAUX VIVANTS "LIVING PICTURES" !
Tableaux vivant translated from French means ‘living pictures.’ is often referred to as a playful pastime for groups and at parties. It is along the lines of a game of charades!, In Victorian England, people used tableaux vivant as a parlor game to amuse guests and engage them in a deeper appreciation of art. It provided purpose in the cultural history of the United States as well. The genre peaked in popularity between 1830 and 1920. During a performance of tableaux vivant, a cast of characters represented scenes from literature, art, history, or everyday life on a stage. After the curtain went up, the models remained silent and frozen for roughly thirty seconds. Particular emphasis was placed on staging, pose, costume, make-up, lighting, and the facial expression of the models. Sometimes a poem or music accompanied the scene, and often a large wooden frame outlined the perimeter of the stage, so as to reference the frame of a painted canvas. When cinema became popular, the heyday of tableaux vivant ended. In many ways, though, the genre has found its way into modern photography and performance art.
TABLEAUX VIVANTS ASSIGNMENT:
Tableaux vivants are "living pictures" and they consist of actors in costumes, with props, backgrounds, and lighting and posed to create a picture- a living picture. For our class, you are going to recreate artworks that we learn about from the APAH 250!
When you choose an artwork, find one with details; not so much that you're going to be overwhelmed but an interesting one. The point is for you to really see the artwork and remember it...for-ever. When you start picking apart the artwork, you'll notice more details, lighting, and composition. If you do choose an artwork with minimal props, background, or clothing, you should have some spectacular lighting, since there is less to work with. Don't take the easy route.
FINAL PROJECT & GRADE:
Everyone is responsible for their own artwork submission. You can bring in as many people to help you. This is a team effort but everyone will receive an individual grade. For example, you may help out 2 other friends and be in their submission, but you're still responsible for creating your own.
The submission should be school appropriate. If you choose an artwork with nudity... you need a way to cover up creatively. Inappropriate submissions will result in a zero grade.
You will stage everything on your own. It may take you a little while to gather props or costumes. You can share amongst yourselves. You can set up at school in a classroom, mall, home, backyard, at the beach, in a park... wherever is best for your artwork.