Category Archives: art

On Fountain, and the power of Duchamp, a century later

I witnessed the power of Duchamp recently when I came across the above piece at Tate Modern in London. There was an show of surrealism with dozens of works, but that work, Fountain, had people stopping and talking as they came across it. The talk was a mix of shock and humour and admiration of the chutzpah of it.

Fountain is coming up on its centenary. Despite a century of art, this readymade still has the power to have people talk about art and aesthetics in a way few other pieces can do. It’s remarkable to me that an object so low in everyday status has such a high place in the history of art. Perhaps that’s part of its power. I think Duchamp would smile at that.

For more in the history of the piece, see this.

Still Life is underrated. Let this interactive piece help with that

Still life is underrated. You won’t see crowds of people blocking the view of paintings of food and drink and plates. That’s somewhat understandable, but also too bad. To help promote the greatness of this painting genre, I’d encourage people to take this in:  Dutch Still Life – an interactive guide from the New York Times. It’s a fantastic study of one painting and what it can tell us. What all still life can tell us, really. A feast.

(Above image of Dutch still life taken at the National Gallery in London by me.)

On Cabaret, 50 years later

1972 was a very good year for film. Many of the films listed at that link are now seen as classics. One of them, The Godfather, is getting much of the focus this year for its 50th anniversary. While I’m glad people are revisiting and paying attention to that great film, another great film celebrating that milestone that people should also revisit is Cabaret.

Like The Godfather, Cabaret is a period film set in around World War II. Perhaps because of that, neither film feels dated / stuck in the 70s, the way a film like The Candidate might. You can watch them as if they were made in any decade. You can also watch and rewatch both of them because they remain great, half a century later.

To get a sense of what makes Cabaret so special, I recommend this piece: Cabaret at 50: Bob Fosse’s show-stopping musical remains a dark marvel. For fans like me, here are two pieces that allow you to do a deeper dive on the film and its background: 1) Is Bob Fosse’s Cabaret An Unfaithful Adaptation? | by Keith Schnabel | Medium and 2) That Controversial Cabaret Lyric Change – The Official Masterworks Broadway Site.

If you want to stream it but don’t know how, check this out: Cabaret streaming: where to watch movie online?

 

The Surprise of Rousseau (be surprising too)

Henri Rousseau is the Great Outsider. An outsider to the Establishment of the Art World, from the Salons to Picasso. Despite rejection and mockery, he persevered and painted and exhibited.

Recently the Guardian featured one of his masterpieces, Tiger in a Tropical Storm (also known as Surprised!). It is seen here. (That National Gallery link provides a nice interface you can use to zoom in and out of.) You can read more about the painting here. I highly recommend you check both of those sites out.

In some way Rousseau surprised his fellow artists. Artists like Picasso were fans but mocked him too. You can read about that here (Le Banquet Rousseau: Picasso and Rousseau’s Friendship) and here (When Henri met Pablo, The Guardian).

Keep Rousseau in mind whenever you are doing something you love with little encouragement and even mockery. You may not be making something great, but you never know. Keep going nonetheless. Surprise them.

 

 

 

On the great painter, Christopher Pratt

Last week the great painter and printmaker Christopher Pratt died.

I was going to say Canadian or Newfoundland painter — for he was that — but it is better to leave off the modifiers. His greatness can stand against any painter of any time or place.  I am especially drawn to his hyperrealist paintings of roads and boats and houses. How the light in them changes, how your mood changes as you absorb them. There’s an abstraction to them, despite clearly recognizable imagery.

I’ve been a fan of his ever since I read Jay Scott write so eloquently of him back in the late 80s, early 90s and which was captured in this book, The Prints of Christopher Pratt 1958-1991 by Jay Scott; Christopher Pratt – 1991.

Canada has had many great painters. While many people say Colville is their favorite — especially when it comes to east coast artists —  I have always preferred the work of Pratt.

Though he lived and painted in Newfoundland, for decades he’s been represented by the Mira Godard Gallery in Toronto. If you want to read more about him or see his fine work, go there.

(The image above, Summer on the SouthEast, is a link to the Mira Godard website. I can just feel the heat of the east coast summer as I look at it. I can hear the drone of flies, see the brightness of the sun. It’s perfect.)

 

 

The water works of Maya Lin


The last few days have been taken up with blogging about artists. Here’s one last one from Colossal: The Precious Nature of Water Ripples Through Maya Lin’s Sprawling Installations.

You may know Lin through her memorial work, but she is a brilliant artist as well. The image above is just a taste of her work featured in Colossal: you really want to go to that site to get the details.

After that, go visit her site for more fine work.

 

Six pieces on six fine artists


Sticking with yesterday’s them, here are seven good pieces on artists that I’ve read recently that are good and worth reading:

  1. Unlike the Basquiats, these art works of  Francis Hines really were found in storage and have been released to the public (hooray)
  2. This is a happy story:  Ernie Barnes’s Sugar Shack Painting Brings Big Price at Auction
  3. This is a sad one: Matthew Wong’s Life in Light and Shadow.
  4. David Shrigley is always interesting. I see his work everywhere on social media. You may have as well.
  5. Gilbert and George, here talking about their epic Covid artworks are also interesting, not the least because of their conservative views. Unlike most conservative artists, they’re brilliant.
  6. Last but not least,  Ema Shin. That beautiful image above is of her work. You can click on the link to see more of them and to learn what is the thought behind them.

On Basquiat and Recent Crimes

Basquiat has been in the news this week on account of two alleged crimes: theft and fraud. In the first instance, this “Brazen” Couple Tries to Walk Out of Manhattan Gallery With a Basquiat. Nice try, brazen couple.

The other alleged crime is fraud, although the owners of these works deny that in this instance: Is the Orlando Museum of Art Displaying Fake Basquiats?

All I can say is to anyone buying these “new” Basquiats: caveat emptor.

(Image from this tumblr, which has quite a few good images of the man, including the one above.)

July 1, 2022: update. Looks like the FBI have decided to step in and deal with the works at the Orlando Museum. You can read about that here and here.

Basquiat 101

People in New York City have the great pleasure of having not one but two exhibits dedicated to him at the moment. (Not to mention his works being on display at MoMA.) If you are not familiar with him or would like to know how to better appreciate him, this piece, How to Look at a Basquiat in The New York Times is worth a read. It’s like Basquiat 101.

Better still, read it and then go check out the shows.

On the Smiths and those album covers

The Smith’s were (are?) great for many reasons. One reason in particular was their album covers. Looks like the folks at NME agree, because they put together

an exhaustive guide to each and everyone of their 27 single and album releases’ sleeves, and what they mean

You can find here. Fans of the band will enjoy that. I did.

Speaking of the Smiths, this piece by Doug Coupland, Morrissey will never be cancelled is worth a read.

On Maud Lewis and the art world and Henri Rousseau too


This is an interesting but odd view of the great Canadian artist, Maud Lewis. It’s somewhat about her, but really it’s more about the art world and how they go about. In short, it’s about how the paintings that she used to sell for a few bucks to buy food are now worth many thousands of dollars. It proceeds to speculate if they will continue to go up in value.

I think it’s worth reading. Her life and work are interesting. I still don’t think the art world knows how to think or talk about her.

If anything, she makes me think of the work of Henri Rousseau. They didn’t quite know what to do with him either. But eventually they did. I think the same is happening with Lewis.

Regardless what they think, I hope you will think she is a fine artist and seek out her work. (And Rousseau’s.) Your life will be enhanced the more you know of their work.

(Image links from Canadian Art and ibiblio.org)

Jeff Koons, skiffle, and other things You may find interesting about art, May 2022

How to: If you want to make cartoons & comics but you have no idea where to start!, read that. If you want to draw a head, read How to draw a head: A complete guide. If you want some good books on art, there is this, 16 Best Books for Learning to Paint of 2022 and this Top 10 Best Books on Painting. Click these links if you want to draw fabric or draw glass. If you want to go to OCAD and study art, click on this or this.

Artists: if you want to read about artists, here some pieces on Jeff Koons, Marcel Duchamp, Keith Haring, James Castle‚ Richard Serra and Jeff Koons again.

Thinking: if you like to think about art, then you might want to read, is my art good enough, What Does It Really Mean to Make Art?, When art transports us where do we actually go? and 24 Hours in the Creative Life.

Music: if you prefer music over the visual arts, here’s some good stuff: Guitarist Randy Bachman Demystifies the Magical Opening Chord of The Beatles‚ Hard Day’s Night. Speaking of the Beatles, here’s a piece on Skiffle. And if that inspires you: How to Play Guitar Without Learning How to Play Guitar.

Writing: if your thing is writing, here’s a piece on Essay writing. This was fun: a defense of the em-dash. This may discourage you: No one will read your book. This may encourage you: Dagny Carlsson Centenarian Blogger Dies at 109.

P.S. The good rules you see above are from that link to Swiss Miss.

On Jim Jarmusch, the king (to me) of indie films

Last week I had to chance to watch a number of indie filmmakers back to back. Besides Jarmusch,  I saw Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” and The Coen Brothers “Hail, Caesar”.  (Not too long ago I also watched “The Squid and the Whale” by Noah Baumbach.)

He has a fair number of things in common with them  besides being an independent filmmaker. He can get big name actors to work with him and he often hires some of the same actors (Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Adam Driver).  He’s older and has a number of films under their belt. His films have  a certain deadpan style to them.

While they are all fine filmmakers, Jarmusch is my favorite. I especially enjoy his characters more than those of the other filmmakers. There’s something deeper in them. Anderson’s characters are often flat, while those of Birnbach are often unlikable to me. Characters in the films of the Coen Brothers are there to be tossed and smashed about like toys.

Artistry asid, one striking thing about his films is that they make way less than the other directors.  Their films can gross nine figures worldwide. For his latest film, he grossed 45 million. Not bad, but that is an exception.  More typical is a film like Mystery Train from the 1980s. It made under $400,000. Even adjusted for inflation, that ain’t much.  (More details, here: Jim Jarmusch – Box Office – The Numbers).

All of this is a long way of saying you should watch more of his films. His latest from 2019 is now on Netflix. If you need details, here’s A.O. Scott’s review: ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ Review: Zombies Gobbling Up Scraps of Pop Culture – The New York Times. I enjoyed it and I think you would too. See it if you have an evening free soon and check it out.  Besides Netflix, you can find his films streaming elsewhere on sites like the Criterion Collection.

I’ll close by leaving this quote from Adam Driver, who has been in a number of his films. In interviews with the cast about How Jim Jarmusch Made an All-Star Indie Zombie Movie, he said:

But at the same time, he’s one of the most unpretentious people. He always used to say on [the 2016 film] “Paterson,” “We have to get it right, because dozens of people watch my movies.”

I like that. Jim Jarmusch is a cool guy. He hires cool people and he makes great films with them. Join the dozens of us who love them and go watch some of them soon.

It’s time for spring cleaning. That includes the art on your walls. Here’s what you should do.

Art work for sale from 20x200
It’s spring cleaning time. No doubt you will be tossing out things from your house as you clean. While you clean and purge, consider tossing some of the things hanging on your walls* that you no longer look at because frankly you are tired of them.  (Yes, you are.)

Now that you have bare walls, I recommend you get some new art for them. If you are not sure where to do that, I recommend one of the sites listed here: 12 Great Places to Buy Art Online | Cup of Jo. I am a fan of one of them, 20X200.

Twelve is a great set of options to choose from, but let me make it a baker’s dozen by adding this place to the list: Art Interiors / Toronto Art Gallery. I’ve been a fan of Art Interiors for some time. They have fine art that’s affordable. If you live in Toronto, you can even visit their gallery. The people there are fine too.

Bonus: Another idea is to check out bigcartel. For example, I found this artist online and she has her work there:Painterlady.

* If you can’t bear to toss your old art, at least store them for awhile and freshen up your walls with new work. But do consider putting things out on the curb for someone else to have. For them it will be fresh and new and valuable. Everyone benefits.

(Image from a link to the blog Cup of Jo)

On Auden, Brueghel, and the brilliant way the New York Times combines them

I’ve posted before on The very cool AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) section of the New York Times. That time it was concerning their exploration of the Apollo 11 mission.

The folks at that section have done it again, this time with a poem from W.H. Auden titled Musée des Beaux Arts. It’s a beautiful poem, and simply reading it by yourself is a fine experience. But click here and immerse yourself into it, with the richness of analysis provided, and you will come away with a deeper level of understanding and appreciation of the work both of Auden and Brueghel.

On the beauty and meaning of Hugh Hayden’s Briar Patch

The artist Hugh Hayden has produced this brilliant work of art and installed it in New York City. It’s stunning from every angle.

Colossal not only has more pictures of the work, but the story behind it, here: Trees Burst from 100 Elementary Desks in Hugh Hayden’s Installation Addressing the Disparities of Public Education | Colossal

Five great links on three great (and one not so great) painters

  1. Duchamp:  I visited the Duchamp Research Portal and it is full of everything a fan of Duchamp like me would want. If you are a fan too, you have to check it out.
  2. Bacon: Francis Bacon: Man and Beast review. Bacon has a new show with a new angle and while I am not supportive of the review, I am highly supportive of new displays of Bacon’s work. If you can, check it out
  3. Hirst: Damien Hirst and the Art of the Deal. Unlike Duchamp and Bacon, I am not a fan of Hirst. I think this piece misses the point though. What Hirst is great at is not painting or sculpture. He is great at making money. That’s his art: money making.
  4. Thiebaud: Wayne Thiebaud Whose Paintings Were (Almost) Good Enough to Eat Dies at 101. RIP Mr Thiebaud. Unlike Hirst, you were a great painter who filled up the world with great paintings.
  5. Anonymous:  So many great paintings are actually painted by anonymous painters you never know. Here’s a good piece on them:  Without these assistants many famous artists would never complete their masterpieces.

(Image from atlasobscura.com)

On one of the best twitter accounts there is, Canadian Paintings

The twitter account devoted to Canadian Paintings is one of the best twitter accounts there is. Several times a day it will tweet out a great Canadian painting from artists famous and not so famous. It covers such a range of paintings too. Some days they will have something painted recently, other days something from decades ago. There are paintings from men and women, all regions, all eras, and just about every group of people in Canada you can imagine. I just love it.

Someone finally wrote about the account, and you can find it here: Canadian Paintings tunes out the noise of social media with its contemplative feed of visual art – Winnipeg Free Press

(Image from the Free Press article).

 

 

Happy Boxing Day! Go have a snowball fight! Here’s some inspiration!

Happy Boxing Day to those that celebrate. It’s always a good day to go outside after all the festivities of Christmas. If you are fortunate to have snow, maybe you can go have a (gentle) snowball fight. Either way, this link is a collection of Snowball Fights in Art (1400–1946) over at The Public Domain Review. Dive in.

 

 

Make art so you can appreciate art and the world around you

I love this from The Art of Noticing: TAoN #28: Make It Art . I encourage you to read it. You will soon be seeing “art” everywhere. Actually take the quotes off art: as Duchamp showed, once you put an object within a certain context, it becomes art.

Of course you can use your skills to make art in practical ways. Here’s 6 Reasons Why Making Art is so Good for You , in case you need encouragement.  If you need more guidance, the great Lynda Barry lectures  are captured here: Making Comics: Lynda Barry and Drawn & Quarterly Bring a Magnificent Lecture on Art to Life.

P.S. Many artists are underappreciated and usually obscure. Rockwell is underappreciated and well known. He needs to be appreciated more. Pieces like this can help: Opinion: Why Norman Rockwell left Thanksgiving Americana behind.

(Image above from here: A ‘Staircase to Heaven’ Installation Ascends into the Sky as a Trippy Optical Illusion)

 

On how to make a cover illustration for the New Yorker

What goes into making a cover illustration for the New Yorker magazine? Well if you are Adrian Tomine, quite a lot. In this piece he breaks down the process he followed to make the above cover, now famous: Making a Cover – by Adrian Tomine – ADRIAN TOMINE. He really puts a lot of thought into making such an image, and a description of the tools and materials that he uses as he works on different versions is interesting, especially to fellow artists, I’m sure.

 

What do Kent Monkman and Christopher Pratt have in common? (or what I find interesting in art, November 2021)

Well besides being Canadian artists, they are both featured in this post! 🙂

In addition to those great artists, here are other things I’ve found interesting in art recently.

Artists: Here’s a strong story: Julie Green Artist Who Memorialized Inmate’s Last Suppers Dies at 60 . I was really struck by this piece about her. She did important art and it’s well worth reading about her and her work. More on that here: Dish by Dish Art of Last Meals.

This was an amazing story: Art Enthusiast Spots Long-Lost Sculpture by Black Folk Artist in Missouri Front Yard. I liked this story:  The Gilded Age painter devoted to scenes of every-day life around him. Also this one was good:  A TikTok Subway Artist Finds His Way to the Lower East Side

This made me sad: Bernini Bust of a Woman He Abused Exhibited Alongside Photographs of Survivors . I have always been a fan of Bernini. That he was brutally cruel to Costanza Buonarelli (the woman who was the victim) is not something I can ever reconcile with how much I love his work.

This is a good little piece on a work by  KENT MONKMAN: “DANDY”. And here is a great study of how Christopher Pratt created one of my favorite works: Pedestrian Tunnel”.

How-to: I’ve been doing some drawing and watercolor these days. I’ve moved on from being a frustrated artists to actually making some basic art. This is a good tool for that: Free Interactive 3D Model for Drawing Figures Dynamic Poses and More Online Drawing Mannequin.

Relatedly, I found these useful. Here’s some good tips so you can get Better at Drawing. This helped: Learn how to draw a face in 8 easy steps: Beginners. So did this:  Draw a Self-Portrait. As did this: Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Basic Body Proportions .

I’ve been interested in multimedia, so I was into this: Using Acrylics in Collage, and this: How to Adhere Paper to Canvas, and also this: The Best Paint To Use For A Beautiful Collage Painting.

Music:  most of my art interest is visual, but I also like these music links:  Guitar Trainer by Acoustro, and The Complete Beginner Saxophone Course, 
and this 5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Bach.

Finally: this looks like a good book: Your Art Will Save Your Life

(Image is a link to the piece on Pratt.)

Something calming for a Sunday: the Zen Gardens of Yuki Kawae

Over at Colossal they have a good piece on the Zen Gardens by Yuki Kawae. Check it out: it could be just the thing to calm your mind.

For example, practice slow breathing and watch this:

 

On Barbara Kruger and her 2021 show

Barbara Kruger

There is a new show of Barbara Kruger’s work called: “THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU.” It’s playing from now through to Jan. 24, 2022 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I had a few thoughts on it. One thought: I believed I had two favorite artists from the 80s (Basquiat and Haring) but it turns out I have three (Kruger).  I had mistakenly not placed her in that era. But as the Times shows:

Since the early 1980s, the engine of her work, and its effectiveness, has been formatting — the candy apple red bar containing white sans serif type, rendered in Futura Bold Oblique, conveying aphorisms that could be taunts or pleas.

also

(her work started) much more humbly, as paste-ups made by hand, an extension of Kruger’s work as a graphic designer at Condé Nast magazines. Twenty of her 1980s originals are displayed in a suboptimally lit walkway. Up against the room-size works, they feel like modest afterthoughts. But up close they are deeply moving, almost innocent. Each juxtaposes a gnomic phrase with a stark black and white image, but at this scale, they scan more as private entreaties than global dictates — rave fliers for young agitators.

Second thought: just like Basquiat and Haring took their art from the street to the galleries and museums, so did Kruger.  And just like the two men, she is now a dominant part of our culture. Back to the Times:

And that underscores the complexity of revisiting Kruger at this moment in image dissemination: Her strict-rule paste-up approach to interrogating groupthink has become so defining, so signature that her innovations are now core grammar. Her art is recombinant. It exists whether or not she’s present.

Which brings me to my final thought. Sure it is easy to use elements of her work to mimic her (waves to the folks at Supreme). But looking at the work on display I can see it has power in a way that those who copy her do not. The scale, the colour, the composition: they all demonstrate the qualities she has as an artist that has made her influential and deserving of such a show.

For more, see the Times piece: Barbara Kruger: Infinitely Copied, Still Unmatched – The New York Times. Better still, go to Chicago and see the show while you can.

The wonderfully abstract sculpture of Louise Durham


Over at Colossal they have the stunningly beautiful sculpture of Louise Durham. Here’s their intro:

Based in the coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea, England, artist Louise Durham creates towering wooden sculptures of reclaimed sea defense timber and vibrant stained glass. She embeds stripes and circles in a full spectrum of color within the totem-style works, which when illuminated, cast kaleidoscopic shadows on their surroundings. “It is all about the light,” she says. “That’s the magic of glass and the magic of all living things.”

In some ways they remind me of stained glass windows in churches. There is something spiritual to them, though in an abstract way. You can bring your own spirituality to them, whatever it is. Regardless, they are beautiful and a feast for the eyes.

You can find a selection of her work at Colossal, as well as on  her site and Instagram. Go and enjoy.

(Image via Colossal)

The stunning wall hanging artistry of Alyssa Ki

Over at Colossal they have the brilliant artistry of Alyssa Ki which combines weaving, macramé, and crochet to create such beautiful bouquets such as the one pictured above. Ki selects

yarn and rovings of raw wool dyed in natural pigments, (and she) crafts fiber-based wall hangings reminiscent of bouquets and overgrown patches of wildflowers. The perpetually blooming pieces blend multiple textile techniques and are teeming with macramé, needle-felted, and crocheted botanicals that sprout from a thick, woven foundation. Hanging from a knotty branch or bound by a ribbon, the floral works are ripe with color and texture.

Fabulous. For more on this, go to Colllosal and read up on it.

(Image via the story and the artist)

For people who love art and need inspiration to make it. (What I find interesting in art, October 2021)


I am a gently frustrated artist. I collect links and study them and try to use them to get me to make art, not always successfully.

Here are 29 art related links that I have found lately to be interesting and helpful to me. I hope they do the same for you:

  1. I liked this:  A Closer Look at Frank Gehry’s House.
  2. This is beautiful: Mysterious and Deserted City at Night.
  3. This was cool I thought:  Candid Murals by Street Artist Escif Cleverly Respond to Political Issues and Current Events.
  4. The wooden sculpture of  Richard Scherr are amazing and worth a look.
  5. This was a really good piece on Norman Rockwell.
  6. Also great:  the eyeless girls.
  7. Thank you David Bowie for this: on making art.
  8. Does art make a difference? Here’s a good essay on it: Why Art Fails to Make a Difference on Its Own: More Thoughts on Hans Haackes Urgently Relevant Survey at the New Museum .
  9. The endless debate:  Is art dead? Nope.
  10. Agree with this: Why collage making is great.
  11. Yes to this:  Make bad art. It’s a good thing.
  12. A good reminder:  Why make art.
  13. In case you need it:  More art making encouragement.
  14. Good stuff here:  Advice for young artists.
  15. In case you need more encouragement:  Make art even if you don’t like your output.
  16. Art making during the pandemic. Not surprising, some artists have been productive while others struggled.
  17. What Makes An Artist? David Hockney explains as only he can.
  18. One of my favorite artists:  Gerhart Richter.
  19. This piece thinks Titian is controversial. I dunno. I think this argument is anachronistic.
  20. A Collector of Antiques Asks: Can Something Be Racist and Also Be Beautiful? Of course. Also somewhat anachronistic as an argument but less so, I think.
  21. Want to watercolor? Read this:  Watercolors Made Simple.
  22. A cool way to make art:  The Lyrical and Funny Art of Erasing Words From Books.
  23. MoMA’s Online Courses Let You Study Modern & Contemporary Art and Earn a Certificate. Worth considering.
  24. Got Poetry? Memorize it!
  25. Cartoonist Lynda Barry Teaches You How to Make a Visual Daily Diary . Lynda Barry is an inspirational teacher of art.
  26. Great advice:  Keep calm and make ugly art.
  27. The goodness of Sickert. An artist you should get to know.
  28. Awesome:  Behold the Newly-Discovered Sketch by Vincent van Gogh Sketch.
  29. I am a fan of  Tom Gauld. Here’s a tweet that shows how to make a NewYorker cover. At least if you are Tom Gauld.

(Photo by dusan jovic on Unsplash )

Great films you can watch in 90 minutes or less!

Last week I wrote about really great long films. Those are great, Bernie, you say, but what about those times when you don’t have much time? In that case, you need this list of films you can watch in under 90 minutes!  Yes, Rashomon is on the list. And so many more great films. Proof that longer isn’t always better.

Fun fact: Spike Lee has a film on this list (“She’s Gotta Have It”) and on the long list (“Malcolm X”). Check out both of them!

The wonderful collages of Jim Jarmusch

I’ve always been a fan of Jim Jarmusch’s films. Now I have a new thing to be a fan of: his collages. The New York Times has a series of them here as well as good article talking to him about them. Go check it out. It’s a visual treat! Enjoy! Maybe go and make some of your own.

The wonderful infographics of W.E.B. Du Bois

While W.E.B. Du Bois is acclaimed for many achievements, one that I had never heard of until I came across this was how great he was at making infographics: W. E. B. Du Bois’ Hand-Drawn Infographics of African-American Life (1900) – The Public Domain Review.

That piece has several of his works on display, including the one above. Not only are they well designed, but seeing them gives you a valuable American history lesson. For example, this one below uses text and imagery to show how the population of African Americans changed over time in proportion to the rest of the population:

Well worth checking out that article to see more of his work.

 

The fantastic recreation of the ruins of Palmyra by Abbas Akhavan

 

Many were devastated by the destruction of the ancient ruins of Palmyra by Isis. There have been attempts both small and not so small to recreate them. Above you can see how the artist Abbas Akhavan has done it using straw and clay. It’s a wonderful work, and you can learn more about it, here: Abbas Akhavan review – a poetic monument to folly | Art and design | The Guardian.

 

On the new Basquiat painting in the Tiffany ad

Lots of chatter recently about this painting “Equals Pi”. If you want to see what I mean, read this, Tiffany’s Wants You to Think It Inspired a Blue Basquiat Painting, or this, Tiffany solicits help of Beyoncé and Jay-Z to draw younger buyers – will it backfire? | Fashion | The Guardian.

As for me, I am not sure what effect it will have. I do know the owners of Tiffany have a ton of money to acquire this picture and I am glad it is getting some display.  I always love seeing the work of Basquiat and I especially like this one.

For more on who previously owned it, see this: Austin Kleon — Jean-Michel Basquiat, Equals Pi, 1982 2021: Some…

 

On the new Vermeer painting

Recently I came across this story about the new Vermeer painting and like him it is blowing my mind a bit. It takes restoration to a whole new level. It seems restoration work is getting bolder these days. I remember some of the controversy regarding the Sistine Chapel restoration and how some thought the people restoring it had crossed the line by making the colours so bold. This Vermeer restoration takes things to a whole other level by changing the image and its composition. I’ll be curious to see if we see more boldness like this in the future.

For more on this, see this piece: A Restored Vermeer Painting Reveals a Hidden Cupid Artwork Hanging in the Background.

Two recent pieces on Basquiat

Here on this blog, I like to post anything I can about my favorite artists, and Basquiat is one of my most favorite. Here’s two recent pieces on him:

  1. How Basquiat and Street Artists Left Their Mark on Hip-Hop Culture – The New York Times
  2. Basquiat’s Painting on an Apartment Door Acquired by Dallas Museum of Art

The last one has this incredible photo in it:

Basquiat with two rich women

First off, the photo is titled: Jean-Michel Basquiat at the opening of Primitivism in 20th Century Art, 1985 (photo by Andy Hanson). I can’t believe that any museum or gallery categorized his work as Primitivism. (Ok, I can.) And then that photo. Basquiat looking cool and sophisticated. The women…well…something else. Anyway….good links. Check them out.

A brilliant use of tattoos


Over at My Modern Met they have a story on how artist Ngoc Like uses tattoos to cover the scars of her patrons: Scar Cover-Up Tattoos Help Women Regain Confidence in Their Bodies.

Some people may not want to cover their scars: they may not like tattoos or they may be indifferent or even proud of their scars. And that’s fine. But for people badly affected by scaring, this is a wonderful way to recover from that, I think.

See the article for many more photos such as the one above.

 

Barcelona saves Haring

I love this story. In the 80s, Haring went to a club and painted the mural you see above. To prevent it from being demolished, Barcelona City Council Steps in to Preserve a Little-known Keith Haring Mural.

Good for them! Something similar was done for a painting by Basquiat.

Here’s to the preservation of great works by great artists from the 80s.

Four new links on Gerhart Richter

Here are four relatively new pieces on Richter, for fans of him (like me). The last one is fun especially.

  1. Gerhard Richter’s Slippery Mystique
  2. Gerhard Richter at the Met Breuer | Apollo Magazine
  3. Gerhard Richter gives Holocaust art to Berlin | Painting | The Guardian
  4. Saltz Challenges: Produce a Perfect Faux Gerhard Richter Painting, and I’ll Buy It – Slideshow – Vulture

(Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP)

 

The fascinating history of art in the Oval Office of the White House

The New York Times does a great job of telling the story of The Art in the Oval Office. There’s a good story of how it has evolved from Kennedy to Biden, and the Times does a good job of telling it by using various interactive tools. Well worth viewing.

Personally I like how different Kennedy was than the other presidents. But judge for yourself.

On Basquiat’s Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)

This is a very good story about an exhibit centered around the painting above. It deals with our time, Basquiat’s and much more: Behind Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: Reframing a Tragedy – The New York Times.

A minor aside is that Basquiat painted on so many objects, from fridges to walls. It’s great that Keith Haring saved this.

That problem you have? There’s a pill for that

Yes there is a pill for every problem you have at the web site of Dana Wyse!

Actually, it’s a really good art site where Wyse has a pill (or other packable object) for problems real and imagined. You can buy them too.  Worth checking out.