Tag Archives: sculpture

On the Embrace


There’s been plenty of reaction to the above sculpture, “Embrace”. You can get a sample of the it in places like the Washington Post, NBC, and the artistic website hyperallergic.. Not all of it, but a lot of the reaction has been….not good.

If you are unaware, the city of Boston unveiled “Embrace” just this month. The work is based on a photo of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King and it represents part of that photo. Conceptually that’s a great idea. In reality, it’s not, at least according to many who’ve seen it.

Having read a number of reactions to it, I think the problem can be seen if I ask myself  the question: is it a monument or a sculpture? It has elements of a monument: it is a large realistic work in bronze of a famous and celebrated couple. It also has elements of a work of art: it is symbolic and abstract in a way. As a result, it falls somewhere in the middle between monuments and  sculptures. And in falling in the middle, people get unsure of how to process it, I believe.

Of course, monuments can be abstract and non-representational: take the Washington monument in D.C.  And sculpture can be bronze and representational: think of anything by Rodin. Even monuments that are abstract and non-representational can be controversial, as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial showed when it was first unveiled. There is no formula for what works that will guarantee that a monument or sculpture will win acceptance.

I do believe, though, that if the Embrace was realistic like the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington, it would be more liked. Likewise, if it were made of something other than bronze and made more abstract, people might be confused but less vitriolic about it. Alas, it is what it is.

I feel in the long run this work will come to be accepted and even loved. Works like this weave into the lives of people, and as they do, they become parts of the best of them. I also hope we see more sculptures and monuments of great African American leaders such as the Kings. That’s an idea we should all embrace.

On Michael Snow, Toronto’s artist

Michael Snow died last week. It’s hard to think of an artist whose work is as well known and as well photographed as his. Even people who know nothing about art have likely seen his sculpture at the Skydome, not to mention his Canadian Geese sculpture at the Eaton Center. His work is spread throughout the city of Toronto, and the city would lose some of its luster without his creations.

Of course you can read about his life and career in wikipedia, but I also recommend taking some time and read this: Michael Snow, Prolific and Playful Artistic Polymath, Is Dead at 94 in The New York Times. The Times piece has more on his role as a filmmaker and how influential he was there.

R.I.P. Michael Snow.

(Top image is from Wikipedia: bottom image is from the New York Times. Attribution for the Wikipedia image here)

What do Brad Pitt, David Salle, Steve Keene and Diane Arbus have in common?

What do Brad Pitt, David Salle, Steve Keene and Diane Arbus have in common? They all are artists I’ve been reading about over the last few weeks and months. Now you can too.

In addition to reading about those four, there are additional pieces below on other artists of note. Most of them are painters but there are some sculptors too. Quite a mixed bag! Enjoy!

(Images linked to those in the Washington Post and Colossal).

On the late great Claes Oldenburg

The great sculpture artist Claes Oldenburg died recently. He was a fine artist, and I was always pleased to see his Floor Burger sculpture when I went to the AGO in Toronto.  His work seems so pleasant and carefree now, but back in the day it provoked controversy.

For more on him, the Times has a good write up here, Claes Oldenburg Captured a Carefree (and Consumerist) America.

For a good review of some of his sculptures, check out this in the Guardian, Claes Oldenburg’s most incredible sculptures.

(Image is of Binoculars Building, a collaboration between him and Frank Gehry and taken by Bobak Ha’Eri)

On the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London

I am fascinated by the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London. While there has been many a fine artist and their work displayed there, I am especially glad to see the work Antelope by Samson Kambalu going up next. To see why I think so highly of it, read this: Anticolonial hero statue to occupy Trafalgar Square fourth plinth from September in The Guardian.

The Guardian has been covering the work that has been placed on that plinth for some time. You can read about that, here: Fourth plinth in the Art and Design section of The Guardian. I was recently in London and saw The End by Heather Phillipson and that was good, but I’d love to see this work by Kambulu.

To learn more about The Fourth Plinth, go here. It started off empty due to lack of funds for a sculpture of William IV to fill it. I’m glad that happened. Londoners and tourists have benefitted ever since. (No offense to William IV.)

My belief is that a statue of Elizabeth II will go there once she dies. We shall see. Meanwhile check out the various artists who have had pieces there.

 

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.)

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 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 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.

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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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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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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

Beautiful Dense Wire Tree Sculptures 

The wire tree sculptures by Clive Maddison are worth a look. Amazing transformation of simple wire into a complex sculpture. From Colossal. Link here: Dense Wire Tree Sculptures by Clive Maddison

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.

Something beautiful: DIY geometric paper animal sculptures by Paperwolf

These paper sculptures by Wolfram Kampffmeyer (aka Paperwolf) are gorgeous. You buy them and make them yourself. Simply go to Etsy, here, and order a from a range of different animals, sizes, and prices. Great gift idea, too.

If you want to see more of them, you can also check them out here: DIY Geometric Paper Animal Sculptures by Paperwolf. Not surprisingly, from Colossal.