Category Archives: art

On Ruth Asawa

The US Postal Service has issued commemorative stamps for the great American artist, Ruth Asawa. If you don’t know much about her (I did not), then I highly recommend this piece.

She lead a storied life, and overcame great hardships on her way to becoming the artist and the person she was. That sounds trite, but it’s true.

One of my goals has been to learn more about women artists, artists who have often been overlooked but should never have been. That goal has lead me learn about artists such as Asawa. I recommend you do, too.

How to Pronounce Artists’ Names

I love this idea. If you read about artists, you likely have thought: I wonder if I am pronouncing their name correctly? I always had this problem with David Salle.

Wonder no more. Instead, go to this page on artspace.com and look up the artist you were considering and there is a very good chance you will see an entry for them.

P.S. It’s David SALLY, not David SAL. 🙂

 

Basquiat – the big book from Taschen

The good folks at Taschen are celebrating their 40th Anniversary. One way they are celebrating is by releasing this fantastic book on the great artist, Basquiat. 

 

I picked it up on the weekend and I love it. It is packed with more images of his work than I have seen anywhere else. All for a very reasonable price.

You can order it directly from Taschen, or get it wherever fine books are sold.

P.S. For more Basquiat, you can see many of his images online,here, at wikiart.org.

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Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Modern Master


I was happy to come across this exhibit on one of the fine artists from the DaDa era: Stories — Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Modern Master – Hauser & Wirth.

I’ve read a number of books and other pieces on DaDa and I always felt that she never gets enough recognition for the fine work she did. I’m happy to see she is getting it here. If you want to learn more about her and her work, follow the link.

In praise of Mary Pratt

Mary Pratt is a master of colour and light. You get a sense of that just from this photo of her, and if you have ever seen her paintings, then you already know that. I have been studying her painting recently, and in search of more information of her, came across this great piece in Canadian Art. She passed away in 2018, but her art will live on long after this decade or even century has passed.

If you aren’t already a fan, I recommend knowing more about her and her work. That linked article is a good starting point.

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Simple impressive: 15 Of The Most Beautiful Subway Stations In The World

This really deserves a look: 15 Of The Most Beautiful Metro Stations In The World

A surprising number of them are in Moscow. Only one that isn’t in Europe.

Subways should be beautiful: they get used by so many people. We deserve beauty.

(Image above a link to the original post)

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The Art of Emily Bickell (and where you can get it)

One of my favorite artists is Emily Bickell, largely for her paintings of water, which I think are sublime. You can get affordable print versions of them here:  Traces Art Print by emilybickell | Society6.

Better still, you can get affordable original versions of them here: Art Interiors.

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On Haring, Basquiat and the art that defined 80s New York


Some good links on the art of the 1980s, of which Basquiat and Haring played a big part, here and here.

Most of the time the links I post are mostly because I want other people to know about them. Links that talk about my youth are mainly for me. 🙂 But fans of either painter or art of that time should click through.

Painting above by Haring in tribute to Basquiat. May they both RIP.

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The Most Influential Artists of 2019 according to Artsy

It seems every year the website Artsy puts together a list of artists who were recently influential. The lists are always interesting, mixing artists you likely heard of (e.g., Jeff Koons) and others you may hear more of.  It’s a great way to find out what artists are making a difference right now.

I had not heard of Mrinalini Mukherjee before. (Not that I even pretend to know everything about the current art world.) But I am glad to have discovered her for myself. Go here and learn more for yourself: The Most Influential Artists of 2019 – Artsy

(Image about is of Mukherjee and a featured work of hers.)

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Reason over Passion

Still a great work, after all these years. More on it, here: 1968 – Reason over Passion by Joyce Wieland | 150 years 150 works

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The story behind JFK’s official presidential portrait


I’ve always loved and admired  JFK’s Official White House Portrait. I found it intriguing, too. After reading the “Story of Aaron Shikler’s Posthumous Painting of John F. Kennedy”, I found it even more so.  Fans of the work or JFK will want to read that piece.

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In praise of gray (the colour)

Gray is a beautiful colour, but it is hard to appreciate. If you feel that way, I recommend this piece, which is beautifully write about this beautiful colour: Ode to Gray

And then there are these quotes by Gerhard Richter about the colour gray.

I’d love to read more such pieces on colours that mean so much to artists. These two artists make me appreciate gray more than I ever did.

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Postcard Art of Bauhaus Artists


Fans of Bauhaus, take note: The Exuberant Postcard Art of the First Bauhaus Exhibition.

Lots of really good works by members of Bauhaus, including Klee (above).

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Now for a completely different form of floor tile!

That is actual floor tile you can buy! The floor is flat underneath, but the different shaped tiles trick your eye into thinking otherwise.

For more on this trompe d’oeil, see: An Optical Illusion Tile System Designed by Casa Ceramica via Colossal

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Tourism posters in the pandemic era


It’s not a fun time, and it’s not an era for travel, but if you want a souvenir of your non-travels from the pandemic, head on over to Colossal and check out:  Witty ‘Coronavirus Tourism’ Posters Advertise the Thrilling Adventures of Staying Home

Better still, if you like the one above, or any of the other ones, visit the artist’s commercial site and buy one!

Hey, what’s the point of (non) travel if you don’t get a souvenir or two.

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It’s a good time to check out the Criterion Channel

If you are tired of other streaming services, or if you want to improve the films you are watching, now is a good time to check out the high quality films on  The Criterion Channel.

Right now they have a 14 day free trial. Now, if you are not a cinephile, the list of films they have could feel daunting. To make it simple, here is a list of 50 essential films you can watch there, with reasons why you want to see them.

If you aren’t sure, you can check out Criterion films streaming on Netflix, Apple TV and more. Consider giving them a try, though.

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Fun Fluorescent Sculpture because we could use some fun right about now

For more, check out:  Fluorescent Cacti and Leaf Sculptures by Nobel Truong from the great art site,  Colossal

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Free Picture Stencil Maker

This is a nice little tool if you want to turn a photograph into a stencil or drawing: Free Picture Stencil Maker.

If you wanted to simplify an image, this can help. For example, if you wanted to break down an image for painting or drawing, this could be really useful.

Give it a try!

 

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One of my favourite works at the AGO is Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected]

It’s a great work for many reasons, not least is the technically superb use of Audio Visual technology. It’s well worth seeing and experiencing. Do so soon: it ends May, 2020.

For more on it, see: Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected] | Art Gallery of Ontario

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Mario Moore and his paintings of blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’…

…is a fantastic story you can read about here:  Princeton University portraits lacked diversity, so artist Mario Moore painted blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’ – The Washington Post.

His painting is fine, and the subject matter he has chosen especially so. Check out the story: it has many of his works on display too.

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Three good pieces on Anselm Kiefer, in the Guardian

Anselm Kiefer had a big show in England this year, and that lead me down a rabbit hole reading pieces in the Guardian on him.  Never boring in his art work or his interviewers, anyone interested in knowing more about this great German artist can learn more here:

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Tokyo Noir

For more stunning photos like this, go see Cinematic Photographs of Tokyo at Night by Masashi Wakui | Colossal.

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Glitched Sculptures of Greek Gods


Some amazing work here: Glitched Sculptures of Greek Gods by Zachary Eastwood-Bloom Reimagine Classicism in the Digital Age.

From the good people at Colossal. Go to their site to see more of Eastwood-Bloom’s work.

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Two good pieces on Andy Warhol


By Blake Gopnik, Andy Warhol Inc.: How He Made Business His Art – The New York Times.

By Jerry Saltz, on the Whitney retrospective of Warhol.

P.S. I think Andy would approve of being used on a skateboard.

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how to become artist in 6 steps, with 33 rules to follow


From this superb piece, Jerry Saltz: How to Be an Artist, come this:

Step One: You Are a Total Amateur
Lesson 1: Don’t Be Embarrassed
Lesson 2: “Tell your own story and you will be interesting.” — Louise Bourgeois
Lesson 3: Feel Free to Imitate
Lesson 4: Art Is Not About Understanding. Or Mastery. (It is about doing and experience)
Lesson 5: Work, Work, Work

Step Two: How to Actually Begin
Lesson 6: Start With a Pencil
Lesson 7: Develop Forms of Practice
Lesson 8: Now, Redefine Skill
Lesson 9: “Embed thought in material.” — Roberta Smith
Lesson 10: Find Your Own Voice (then exaggerate it)
Lesson 11: Listen to the Crazy Voices in Your Head
Lesson 12: Know What You Hate
Lesson 13: Scavenge

Step Three: Learn How to Think Like an Artist
Lesson 14: Compare Cats and Dogs
Lesson 15: Understand That Art Is Not Just for Looking At
Lesson 16: Learn the Difference Between Subject Matter and Content
Lesson 17: See As Much As You Can
Lesson 18: All Art Is Identity Art!
Lesson 19: All Art Was Once Contemporary Art

Step Four: Enter the Art World
Lesson 20: Accept That You Will Likely Be Poor
Lesson 21: Define Success
Lesson 22: It Takes Only a Few People to Make a Career
Lesson 23: Learn to Write

Step Five: Survive the Art World
Lesson 24: Artists Must Be Vampires
Lesson 25: Learn to Deal With Rejection
Lesson 26: Make an Enemy of Envy
Lesson 27: Having a Family Is Fine

Step Six: Attain Galactic Brain
Lesson 28: What You Don’t Like Is As Important As What You Do Like
Lesson 29: Art Is a Form of Knowing Yourself
Lesson 30: “Artists do not own the meaning of their work.” — Roberta Smith
Lesson 31: All Art Is Subjective
Lesson 32: You Must Prize Vulnerability
Lesson 33: Be Delusional

But read the piece: the comments he provides are what gets to the heart of it.

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On Jeff Koons


Two worthwhile pieces on Jeff Koons: this Stop Hating Jeff Koons – The New York Times, and in a way, this.

I used to have great disdain for Koons, but the more I think about his work, the better appreciation I have for it. There is a ceiling to that appreciation: the emptiness of it imposes that. But Koons and his work gets me to think about art and the art world and the meaning of art and culture, and for that his work appeals to me.

However you think about him, those pieces are worth reading.

(Image via link to the NYTimes.com piece)

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How to appreciate art better


A good list: 10 Rules for Appreciating Art by Sister Wendy Beckett (RIP), the Nun Who Unexpectedly Popularized Art History on TV | Open Culture.

Not just for people who know little about art. Thanks Sister Wendy: you are missed. As are you, Francis Bacon, the painter of the image above.

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Advice to young (and not so young) artists. (We are all artists in some way)


Here are two good pieces full of advice for artists.

One big: Advice to Young Aspiring Artists from Patti Smith, David Byrne & Marina Abramović | Open Culture

One small: None of us know what will happen – Austin Kleon

Key quote from the Austin Kleon piece is this, from Laurie Anderson:

The world may end. You’re right. But that’s not a reason to be scared. None of us know what will happen. Don’t spend time worrying about it. Make the most beautiful thing you can. Try to do that every day. That’s it. You know? What are you working for, posterity? We don’t know if there is any posterity.

(Image from pexels.com)

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A beautiful photo essay of Venice at night

That photo above is just one of the many photos over at Via Colossal of Venice at night. Far removed from the tourist busy city of day. Well worth visiting Colossal to see the rest.

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The brilliant pothole mosaics from Jim Bachor’s

Your city should be so lucky as to have Jim Bachor filling your potholes with amazing mosaics such as this:

For more on it, see: Mosaic Vermin Invade New York City as Part of Jim Bachor’s Latest Pothole Interventions at Colossal. Also, search from him on Instagram: he posts regularly and he does a wide range of mosaics. And he travels, so maybe your city is next.

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Where to See Basquiat Around the World

A good item to add to your bucket list, if you are a fan of Basquiat: travel the world and see all the places where his works are displayed. To do that, you will need this list: Where to See Basquiat Around the World – Barron’s. And money. And time.

After you do that, you can go see all the Vermeers in the world!

(Image: Wikiart.org)

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How to learn to watercolor in no time at all

Sounds impossible, but if you go here and watch the enclosed video, you will feel confident you can watercolor too: How to watercolor: In under 3 mins. 

That particular post comes from Danny Gregory , who has a great blog for all of us artists. (That’s you too). Well worth reading.

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Heroic Symbols 1969 by Anselm Kiefer


For fans of Anselm Kiefer, there is an in depth discussion of this particular work, here:
Heroic Symbols 1969 by Anselm Kiefer – In Focus | Tate

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Can you work a day job and still make great art?

If you are Philip Glass you can. And likely anyone who has the capacity to make art can as well. It may take you longer, but you can do it. To see how he did it, see this piece: How Philip Glass Went From Driving Taxis to Composing – The Atlantic

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All the Vermeers in the World

What if your goal was to see all the Vermeer paintings in the world? There are not that many: you just need to travel a lot to do it. One person set out to do that. See Vermeer Goals for details.

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Women in the work of Francis Bacon

This is a terrible title for a good article of the women that Francis Bacon painted: Sex Scenes: Francis Bacon’s Bohemian Muse, Lesbian Bartender and Artist/Model – GARAGE

Besides the article, the close up photos are worth viewing: you can really get an appreciation for Bacon’s brush work in the photos.

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How art can make us more confident


According to this, art can make us more confident by providing us with stories and representations of people with characteristics we share that overcome similar obstacles that we run up against. After all….

Confidence isn’t the belief that we won’t meet obstacles. It is the recognition that difficulties are an inescapable part of all worthwhile contributions. We need to ensure we have to hand plenty of narratives that normalise the role of pain, anxiety and disappointment in even the best and most successful lives.

I agree.

The image is an extended version of the work highlighted in the article. Like the Stations of the Cross and other works, they illustrate the difficulties of a way of life, and by making us aware of them, allow us to best prepare to meet them and overcome them.

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This is beautiful: sculptures of old machines exploded into separate parts

These sculptures by John Peralta are beautiful. Here’s one

You can see more here: Machinations: Historical Machines Exploded into Individual Components in Sculptures by John A. Peralta | Colossal

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In praise of composition notebooks


They’re as basic as notebooks get, and cheap to boot. But as you can see from
via Austin Kleon’s Tumblr, some great artists have done fine things with them.

Go to a stationery shop or dollar store and get yourself one or two or more and get creating.

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Knowing more women artists: Berthe Morisot


Sadly, I don’t know enough women artists. If this is you as well, then you want to check out this piece: You know Monet and Manet. This female Impressionist deserves your attention, too. – The Washington Post.  I agree: Morisot is one artist you should know better.

As well as doing a good job of summarizing this great artist, hey highlight the travelling show that is currently running and highlighting her work. If you can, it would be well worth visiting it if it coming near you. (Currently it is Quebec City.)