Category Archives: art

Own the beauty of Vermeer

Vermeer painting
Or at least a high resolution image of Vermeer by going here:

Download All 36 of Jan Vermeer’s Beautifully Rare Paintings (Most in Brilliant High Resolution) | Open Culture

Open Culture has lots of great links, including at the bottom of the Vermeer one, mentioned above. Open Source is good; so is Open Culture.

(Image linked to on the Open Culture page)

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David Hockney: still going, still great

David Hockney

And the NYTimes has an update on where he is in his life and his career, here: David Hockney, Contrarian, Shifts Perspectives – NYTimes.com.

I have always admired Hockney both for the wonderful lushness of his paintings and for  the way he speaks about art. Both of those admirable qualities are on display in the piece in the Times. He’s in his 80s now: I hope he continues to work and speak for some time to come.

(Image linked to in the NYTimes and taken by Nathanael Turner)

Cindy Sherman is on Instagram and is doing something new

And the New York Times has a good analysis of here work so far. I really enjoyed the analysis. As for me, I found it interesting that she has transitioned the account from a basic one that recorded events the way most of us do into something that extends her art in a way few of us can do. I also like that great artists like Sherman can take new media and incorporate it into their work but also extend it. David Hockney did something similar with the Brushes app. Here's hoping more artists do such things.

Thoughts on the legend that is Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat in a suit

The big art news this week was a record sale for one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings.  Right after reading about that, I saw this tweet by Will Black: “Painting by street artist Basquiat, who lived in a cardboard box, sells for $110.5m in New York. Value PEOPLE while they are ALIVE”.

A few thoughts on that tweet. First, while Basquiat may have been poor starting out, by the time he died too young at the age of 27, he had a net worth of $10 million dollars. Second, that transition from poverty and obscurity to wealth and fame was fast. We should value people while they are alive, but there are better people to use as an example than Jean-Michel Basquiat.

As for my own thoughts, I have always loved Basquiat’s paintings since the 80s. Their greatness was there from the beginning. If we knew nothing else about the artist than his work, we would still think he was great.

But Basquiat was not just a painter: he was more like a rock star. Like Keith Haring, he had a public persona more akin to music superstars much in the same way that Andy Warhol did. It’s no surprise that Basquiat was influenced by Warhol in more ways than one. And now, at least in the world of the art market, he has surpassed Warhol.  It’s good to see that too. For many reasons.

Jean-Michel Basquiat had something else that was great, and that was his sense of style. There’s a good piece in Dazed on the importance of clothing to him. They correctly note that:

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a fashionable man. He walked the Comme des Garçons runway for their SS87 collection and favoured the long, slim cut, slightly militaristic jackets of Issey Miyake. Biographers and friends recall the stories of Basquiat setting up tabs at his favorite clothing boutiques, trading canvasses for clothes.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a legend for his time, and a star. It’s good to see that star is getting brighter.

For more on his fashion, see: The meaning and magic of Basquiat’s clothes | Dazed. It’s a strong piece.

On  George W. Bush the painter, or, the importance of good teachers

Whatever you think of George W. Bush as a president, most agree he is  not bad painter. There are two reasons for the latter: one, he had good teachers, and two, he is a good student. How do I know he had good teachers? According to this, Pocket: Art critics alarmed to discover that George W. Bush is actually a pretty good painter, Bush…

… didn’t have to sign up for classes at a local art school or the museum, of course. Instead, he took private lessons from a prominent Dallas artist named Gail Norfleet. Norfleet wrought a change in Bush’s worldview. He began to see the colors even in shadows, the subtle shifts of palette in a clear blue sky. “I was getting comfortable with the concepts of values and tones,” Bush writes in the introduction to his book. Norfleet also thoughtfully introduced the once monochromatic president to her mentor, another well-known Dallas artist named Roger Winter, and it was he who gave Bush the idea to paint world leaders. Bush also consulted a landscape painter, Jim Woodson, whose visions of the vast, untouched terrain of New Mexico are nothing like the conventional bluebonnet vistas many still associate with Texas art. It was Woodson who introduced Bush to, among other things, larger canvases and thicker paint, and guided him toward a more complex view of the world about him. (Underlying by me for emphasis).

 

Bush took the lessons from these teachers to heart. But he was fortunate to have access to good teachers. A lesson for us all.

Something beautiful: Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’, Illustrated

Artist Karina Puente is illustrating  Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ and the web site ArchDaily has a sample of some of her work, including the image you see above.

I hadn’t expected to like illustrations of this book. The writing itself is so evocative, I would have thought that illustration would limit it.  I make an exception for these works: they complement rather than reduce the writing.

I’d love to see an edition of Invisible Cities filled with Puente’s illustrations. For now, we can enjoy what we see at Archdaily.com.

Beautiful Geometric Paper Sculptures 



Colossal has some gorgeous paper sculptures on exhibit on their site. Created by Matthew Shlian, they are well worth seeing. Click the link to see.