“The heart of the uprising,” “The symbol of a divided nation,” “the neo-cons’ worst nightmare”… These are just a few of several descriptions from over the last few weeks that have been used to frame Tahrir Square. Alongside the hundreds of media reporters and news correspondents, culture writers also jumped on the coverage bandwagon and began to ponder the role that the events would play in shaping the practices of Egypt’s contemporary artists. With a self-proclaimed expertise on all things Egyptian that would make the likes of New York Times’s Thomas Friedman seem humble, these cultural pundits sounded more like political analysts than art critics as they clashed and concurred on the state and fate of the arts in Egypt Read more
Tag Archive for Arts News
For 10 years, David Schwimmer made you chuckle as earnest, feckless Ross on Friends. But in his feature directorial debut, Trust, he will infuriate you and make you cringe — especially if you’re attempting to parent a teenager. Unlikely as this shape-shift seems, Schwimmer in real life has been focusing for the last seven years on the very unfunny subject of sexual predators. Trust is based on the story of a father he met while involved with a Santa Monica rape treatment center, and it is really a horror story for the Internet Age Read more
So the thing is that Haiti is a difficult place right now; but “Haitian art” — as the entire range of styles, genres and artists has often been reduced to — is thought of by the uninformed as happy, colorful canvases depicting village scenes, landscapes and jungle animals. There is much more, of course; and the contemporary artist’s inclination is to make work, which reflects the landscape that is now. Enter the age-old conundrum: should artists allow the “sale” potential of a piece to influence their art? You know, just add a dog in the background, and someone will buy it.
It’s easy enough to say no, no, no. Never let the reality of empty pockets affect your work! That’s selling out Read more
Spring is on our steps, so it’s time to pack for either a short trip to Long Island or a longer trip to Europe in search of the most appealing and titillating art exhibitions to keep our spirits high.
1. On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and his Contemporaries, 1922-1960, through April 24, 2011, The Noguchi Museum, Long Island, New York
This year, The Noguchi Museum, one of New York’s lesser-known cultural jewels, marks its 25th anniversary with an exceptional exhibition exploring the relationship between Isamu Noguchi (1904-88) and dozens of important creative figures in the worlds of art, architecture, design and theater, among them, Constantine Brancusi, Frida Kahlo, Buckminster Fuller and Martha Graham.
2 Read more
Fuck the Backmischung! It is plastered in pink on the windows. Unless you speak Deutsche, I’m sure you have only understood the first sentiment, so allow me to explain the second.
Backmischung means the cake mix, and Armin Stegbauer is on a mission to radicalise the cake from the innocuous headquarters of Caf Kubitscheck in Munich. Don’t let the pastel colour scheme fool you. This is high octane baking Read more
To mark this year’s World Theatre Day (March 27) I want to blend two very true things:
Theatre is an organic byproduct to the human experience on this earth
This earth is very old and still going
There is a rather mind-blowingly cool organization based in San Francisco called The Long Now Foundation. Started in 1996 (or 01996 as they would write it), the Long Now folks hope “to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.” And “to provide counterpoint to today’s ‘faster/cheaper’ mind set and promote ‘slower/better’ thinking.”
I thought… where does theatre live in The Long Now?
Stewart Brand, in his book The Clock of The Long Now, shows us this diagram of the timing of various cosmic currents.
copyright The Long Now Foundation.
Nature time is slowest — fashion/art (although I might correct this to be ‘pop art’) time is fastest Read more
For months, the United Kingdom has been roiled by student protests standing up to the coalition government’s attempt to sharply raise annual tuition at universities to up to 9,000 ($14,600). Now, a coalition of more than 90 artists, musicians, and creative figures have come together to make a statement of solidarity with the young protesters. The list includes some big names: visual artists Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, and Rachel Whiteread; Clash rocker Mick Jones, Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie, and Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes; and fashion designer Stella McCartney. And the form of solidarity offered is not just abstract — it comes in the form of cash to pay the fines of persecuted and jailed students, thus encouraging further civil disobedience against the education fee hikes.
Artist Jake Chapman’s “Can’t pay your fees? We’ll pay your fines!” campaign looks to fund payment of the fines incurred by student protestors in the UK Read more
An enchanting journey in the Mexican countryside with “Dreaming in Reverse,” a beautiful series of photomontages by American artist Tom Chambers. Sensing that little time remains to photograph the beauty of Mexico, Chambers have created this series to express both his concern for cultural loss, as well as his appreciation for the inherent loveliness of Mexican life.
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If there’s anything that history has proven again and again over centuries of art-making it is that art is perpetually informed by the work that preceded it; reconfigured and recontextualized for new generations of viewers and new understanding. Each of the Old Masters are remembered not only for the styles they innovated but for what their work contributed to the art historical milieu at large. Enter Eddie Martinez.
His work–a colorful and crudely-rendered assortment of tablescapes and recurring abstracted figures–is at all times evocative of the still lifes and portraits that dot the landscape of art history, executed in a manner not only revelatory of their influence but aesthetically on par with something else entirely. Now after years of developing his own remarkable and distinct pictorial language with little formal education, and an international career that has seen an incredible rise in recent years, Martinez is well poised to significantly influence future generations of artists as a kind of new master.
Eddie Martinez, Untitled, 2009, Mixed media on canvas, 24 x 30 inches Read more
How often does an architect get the opportunity to renovate his very first project forty-nine years later? For Bill Morrow, it was like stepping into a time machine, only this time with greater knowledge, a bigger budget, and more materials to work with.
It all started when artist/photographer Margot Mandel set out to hire an architect to remodel her mid-century home in Woodland Hills. She had already interviewed four candidates and had given up on finding someone to carry out her vision when she remembered an incident from eighteen years earlier. A stranger stopped by the house and as she walked through the door, she said, “I know this house. I grew up here.” She then relayed how her father, Bill Morrow, designed and built the home in 1961 Read more
The advent of the industrial revolution, mass production and large-scale manufacturing industries during the last two centuries has had a revolutionary effect on architecture. The fathers of modern architecture, such as Le Corbusier, Mies Van Der Rohe and Walter Gropius were inspired by the automobile factories and methods of the era; this gave birth to the computer as a design tool.
Parametric design is a method of intelligently designing architectural objects based on relationships and rules using the computer. These are defined in parametric software and are easily manipulated to quickly generate multiple iterations of the design in 3D. This month, I’ve selected 10 buildings that use parametric design either as a whole, or on part of the building Read more
The recent unveiling of Starbucks’ new logo brings conversation about branding to the mainstream. The new, simplified cup design eliminates the name and focuses solely on the iconic mermaid; once revealed, the design incited a blaze of comments across the blogosphere.
Recent market reports indicate that food packaging will be $11.7 billion business in 2011. Although the container holding your latte is a different case (as you’ll see the design after you’ve committed to buying it), there’s no question that brand and design plays a big role in the products we encounter–and purchase–daily. Consider such iconic examples as Wonder Bread; is it any wonder the primary colored circles remained despite a brand redesign? These images are embedded in our subconscious.
Food packaging designs have the power to capture our attention, present a lifestyle, express a brand’s mission, steer us toward healthier choices and, ultimately, compel us to buy a product Read more
Surface Truths: Abstract Painting in the Sixties considers the work of 17 artists and the directions they pursued as they moved away from an aesthetic that supported a self-evident creative process to an aesthetic seeking to erase gesture, pictorial depth and illusion. Artists of the 1960s responded to the painterly character of Abstract Expressionism with a cool, linear approach absent of personalized brushwork, refocusing attention on the flat surface of the canvas and applying pigment consistently to achieve “an all-overness.” A significant number of artists redirected their attention to materials. The combination of unprimed canvas, synthetic paint mediums and techniques such as staining made it possible for them to paint in new ways, sometimes without a brush, to achieve the desired effects.
Par Transit, 1966, Kenneth Noland (American, 1924-2010), Acrylic on canvas, 114 x 241 in. (289.6 x 612.1 cm), Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr Read more
Anxiously reading the headlines about Japan’s unfolding nuclear crisis in the wake of last week’s earthquake and tsunami, I’ve been looking around for effective ways to help the relief effort.
A benefit auction starting March 24th offers a great way to send much-needed funds to Global Giving’s Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, a grassroots organization that is well-equipped to deploy supplies and aid across the country. Handmade for Japan, which was organized just one day after the earthquake on March 12th by Ayumi Horie, Kathryn Pombriant Manzella and Ai Kanazawa, will raise money for Global Giving with an eBay auction featuring the work of artists from the US and Japan. Fittingly, the emphasis is on ceramics. The auction begins Thursday, March 24th, 8pm and runs through Sunday, March 27th, 8 pm Read more
By Kia Lala
John Stezaker Marriage I 2006 Collage 23.5 x 28.5 cm Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London, John Stezaker, 2006
The British artist John Stezaker has a retrospective of his photographic collages in London at the Whitechapel Gallery and newly commissioned works on display at the Louis Vuitton Maison. Stezaker appropriates iconic imagery from the past, landscapes, vintage studio headshots of forgotten film stars, those that show up in old shoe boxes in antique shops collecting dust along with nostalgic memorabilia, waiting to be picked through, rediscovered.
What is unusual in Stezaker’s use of these images for his collages, is that his manipulation of them is minimal – often a single incision slices and splices two photographs creating uncanny symphony. Or a composite of just two images, a poster shot of a generic waterfall placed over a face, creates a window of such powerful reflection, that the simplicity in technique seems astonishing in the context of today’s excessive digital doctoring Read more
One of the things that distinguishes us as humans is the need to leave our mark behind, to say “I was here, I mattered.” We see evidence of this as far back as 10,000 years ago when our ancestors first stamped and stenciled their handprints on cave walls. More formal self-portraits start appearing as early as 2300 BC in ancient Egypt, carved on the tombs of the Pharaohs. But self-portraiture didn’t become fully established as an art genre until the Early Renaissance with the advent of the manufacture of affordable flat mirrors. Luckily for us, artists have been gazing at themselves in mirrors ever since.
Phaidon Press’s 500 Self-Portraits is a visual orgy, a must-have art book for anyone who is interested in the history of portraiture Read more
The new Census numbers for Philadelphia are in, and the city managed to actually record a population increase, the first in 50 years. And while the increase was tiny — 8,456 residents, which represents a .6% increase to 1,536,006 — the reversal of the decades-long decline is huge. Many older industrial cities are shrinking in population — Chicago, Baltimore — so this increase is especially notable. It is also notable because it confirms that Philadelphia has recaptured the “fifth largest American city” spot from Phoenix, which had passed Philly for a few years Read more
Every new music director comes to the LA Philharmonic and benefits from a legacy that is strong and intact. Since their formation nearly a century ago, the Philharmonic has been conducted by giants like Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski, William Steinberg and Eduard van Beinum. They have always given everything they had. They do the same for their new director, Gustavo Dudamel Read more
On Saturday, March 19, the world learned that China became the #1 earner in fine art auction revenue for the year 2010. It was the first year since the end of World War II that the US or the UK hadn’t earned the top spot. And though Andy Warhol was the #1 selling artist for the year, 2010 also turned out to be the first year to see four Chinese artists ranked among the top ten global auction earners. (In 2009, when China ranked third, there was only one Chinese artist among the top ten) Read more
Over the seven decades of his long career, Frank Lloyd Wright created some of the most innovative buildings of the 20th century. But advances in building materials and digital design technology — and his worrying, even megalomaniacal vision of architecture as a tool for social transformation — have gradually caused the field of architecture to move beyond his shadow. Wright always insisted architects should not confine themselves to merely designing pretty buildings. He believed architecture was “the mother of all arts” and could transform the world.
Frank Lloyd Wright in his workroom at Taliesin in 1956 / Photo by Ed Obma; 2010 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ
Herein lies the paradox of his career: he was a visionary figure whose ideas were often so radical and ambitious that they seemed impractical, even dangerous Read more