Most things, natural or manufactured, break after a while. And, most photographers spend an inordinate amount of time ensuring that their subject — usually an object — is represented in the best possible wholesome light, literally and metaphorically. However, for one enterprising photographer it’s all about things in their broken form, albeit displayed exquisitely in a collage of their constituent pieces.
From the Guardian:
Canadian photographer Todd McLellan makes visible the inner workings of everyday products by dismantling, carefully arranging the components and photographing them. His book, Things Come Apart, presents a unique view of items such as chainsaws and iPods, transforming ordinary objects into works of art.
See the entire galley here.
Image: Raleigh bicycle from the 80s. Number of parts: 893. Courtesy of Todd McLellan/Thames & Hudson / Guardian.
Nobel laureate and professor of brain science Eric Kandel describes how our perception of art can help us define a better functional map of the mind.
From the New York Times:
This month, President Obama unveiled a breathtakingly ambitious initiative to map the human brain, the ultimate goal of which is to understand the workings of the human mind in biological terms.
Many of the insights that have brought us to this point arose from the merger over the past 50 years of cognitive psychology, the science of mind, and neuroscience, the science of the brain. The discipline that has emerged now seeks to understand the human mind as a set of functions carried out by the brain.
This new approach to the science of mind not only promises to offer a deeper understanding of what makes us who we are, but also opens dialogues with other areas of study — conversations that may help make science part of our common cultural experience....read more
A recent proposal to ban all pornography across Europe has raised some interesting questions. Not least of which is the issue of how to classify the numerous canvases featuring nudes — mostly women, of course — and sexual fantasies hanging prominently in most of Europe’s museums and galleries. Are Europe’s old masters, such as Titian, Botticelli, Rubens, Rousseau and Manet, pornographers?
From the Guardian:
A proposal to ban all pornography in Europe, recently unearthed by freedom of information campaigners in an EU report, raises an intriguing question. Would this only apply to photography and video, or do reformers also plan to rid Europe of all those lewd paintings by Titian and his contemporaries that joyously celebrate sex in the continent’s most civilised art galleries?...read more
Only yesterday we posted a linguist’s claim that text-speak is an emerging language. You know, text-speak is that cryptic communication process that most teenagers engage in with their smartphones. Leaving aside the merits of including text-speak in the catalog of around 6,600 formal human languages, one thing is clear — text-speak is not Shakespearean English. So, don’t expect to see a novel written in it win the Nobel Prize for Literature, yet....read more
Residents and visitors to London are fortunate — they are bombarded by the rich sights, sounds and smells of one of the world’s great cities. One such sight is Tate Modern, ex-power station, now iconic home to some really good art. In fact, they’re hosting what promises to be a great exhibit soon — a retrospective of Roy Lichtenstein from February 21 to May 27.
Black paintwork, white brickwork, in tree-lined Greenwich Village. We’re spitting distance from Bleecker, whose elongated vowels once made music for Simon and Garfunkel and Steely Dan. When the floodwaters of the nearby Hudson inched upward and east during Hurricane Sandy, they ceased their creep yards from the steps outside.
Lego as we know it — think brightly colored, interlinking, metamorphic bricks – has been around for over 60 years. Even in this high-tech, electronic age it is still likely that most kids around the world have made a little house or a robot with Lego bricks. It satisfies our need to create and to build (and of course, to destroy). But is it art? Jonathan Jones has some ideas.
Lego is the clay of the modern world, the stuff of creativity. You can shape it, unshape it, make worlds and smash them up to be replaced by new ideas. It’s a perpetual-motion machine of kids’ imaginations....read more
Please forget Instagram, Photoshop filters, redeye elimination, automatic camera shake reduction systems and high dynamic range apps. If you’re a true photographer or simply a lover of great photography the choice is much simpler: black and white or color.
A new photography exhibit in London pits these contrasting media alongside each other for you to decide. The great Henri Cartier-Bresson would have you believe that black and white images live in a class of their own, far and above the lowly form of color snaps. He was vociferous in his opinion — that for technical and aeasthetic reasons only black and white photography could be considered art....read more
Science fiction stories and illustrations from our past provide a wonderful opportunity for us to test the predictive and prescient capabilities of their creators. Some like Arthur C. Clarke, we are often reminded, foresaw the communications satellite and the space elevator. Others, such as science fiction great, Isaac Asimov, fared less well in predicting future technology; while he is considered to have coined the term “robotics”, he famously predicted future computers and robots as using punched cards....read more
The Garden of Earthly Delights. Hieronymous Bosch.
The Tilled Field. Joan Miró.
We tend to think of appropriation as a postmodern thing, with artists in all media drawing on, referring to, and mashing up the most influential works of the past. But we forget that this has been happening for centuries — millennia, actually — as Renaissance painters paid tribute to Greek art, ideas circulated within the 19th-century French art scene, and Dada hijacked the course of art history, mocking and inverting everything that came before it. After the jump, we round up some of the best, most famous, and all-around strangest artworks inspired by other artworks. Some are homages, some are parodies, some are responses, and a few seem to function as all three.
Joan Miró’s The Tilled Field, inspired by Hieronymous Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights...read more
The recent finding in a Spanish cave of a painted “red dot” dating from around 40,800 years ago suggests that our Neanderthal cousins may have beaten our species to claim the prize of “first artist”. Yet, evidence remains scant, and even if this were proven to be the case, we Homo sapiens can certainly lay claim to taking it beyond a “red dot” and making art our very own (and much else too.)
Why do Neanderthals so fascinate Homo sapiens? And why are we so keen to exaggerate their virtues?
It is political correctness gone prehistoric. At every opportunity, people rush to attribute “human” virtues to this extinct human-like species. The latest generosity is to credit them with the first true art....read more
Artist Ben Heine uses hand (pencil) and eye (camera) to create fresh perspectives on everyday scenes. In his own words, “I find a location, do a drawing, then take a photo to combine with the drawing.” Simple. Fresh. Unique.
To see more of his unique images follow the jump.
Fascinating insight into the Burning Man festival courtesy of co-founder, Larry Harvey. It may be more like Wall Street than Haight-Ashbury.
Go to Burning Man, and you’ll find everything from a thunderdome battle between a couple in tiger-striped bodypaint to a man dressed as a gigantic blueberry muffin on wheels. But underneath it all, says the festival’s co-founder, Larry Harvey, is “old-fashioned capitalism.”
There’s not a corporate logo in sight at the countercultural arts festival, and nothing is for sale but ice and coffee. But at its core, Harvey believes that Burning Man hews closely to the true spirit of a free-enterprise democracy: Ingenuity is celebrated, autonomy is affirmed, and self-reliance is expected. “If you’re talking about old-fashioned, Main Street Republicanism, we could be the poster child,” says Harvey, who hastens to add that the festival is non-ideological — and doesn’t anticipate being in GOP campaign ads anytime soon....read more
You’ve probably seen a Kinkade painting somewhere — think cute cottage, meandering stream, misty clouds, soft focus and warm light.
According to Thomas Kinkade’s company one of his cozy, kitschy paintings (actually a photographic reproduction) could be found in one of every 20 homes in the United States. Kinkade died on April 6, 2012. With his passing, scholars of the art market are now analyzing what he left behind.
In death, the man who at his peak claimed to be the world’s most successful living artist perhaps achieved the sort of art-world excess he craved.
On Tuesday, the coroner’s office in Santa Clara, California, announced that the death of Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, purveyor of kitsch prints to the masses, was caused by an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium. For good measure, a legal scrap has emerged between Kinkade’s ex-wife (and trustee of his estate) and his girlfriend....read more
Frank Jacobs over at Strange Maps has found another “out in leftfield” map. This cartographic invention is courtesy of an artist who “paints” using his GPS-enabled bicycle.
GPS technology is opening up exciting new hybrid forms of mapping and art. Or in this case: cycling, mapping and art. The maps on this page are the product of Michael Wallace, a Baltimore-based artist who uses his bike as a paintbrush, and the city as his canvas.
As Wallace traces shapes and forms across Baltimore’s street grid, the GPS technology that tracks this movements fixes the fluid pattern of his pedalstrokes onto a map. The results are what Wallace calls GPX images, or ‘virtual geoglyphs’ .
These massive images, created over by now three riding seasons, “continue to generate happiness, fitness and imagination through planning the physical activity of ‘digital spray-painting’ my ‘local canvas’ with the help of tracking satellites 12,500 miles above.”...read more
Posted in Idea Soup
Tagged art, GPS, map
Over the centuries many notable artists have painted religious scenes initiated or influenced by a very deep religious conviction; some painted to give voice to their own spirituality, others to mirror the faith of their time and community. However, others simply painted for fame or fortune, or both, or to remain in good stead with their wealthy patrons and landlords.
This bring us to another thoughtful article from Jonathan Jones over at the Guardian.
“To paint the things of Christ you must live with Christ,” said the 15th-century artist Fra Angelico. He knew what he was talking about – he was a Dominican monk of such exemplary virtue that in 1982 he was officially beatified by Pope John Paul II. He was also a truly great religious artist whose frescoes at San Marco in Florence have influenced modern artists such as Mark Rothko. But is all holy art that holy?
Posted in Art
Tagged art, money, religion
Alfred Hitchcock was a pioneer of modern cinema. His finely crafted movies introduced audiences to new levels of suspense, sexuality and violence. His work raised cinema to the level of great art.
This summer in London, the British Film Institute (BFI) is celebrating all things Hitchcockian by showing all 58 of his works, including newly restored prints of his early silent films, such as Blackmail.
Alfred Hitchcock is to be celebrated like never before this summer, with a retrospective of all his surviving films and the premieres of his newly restored silent films – including Blackmail, which will be shown outside the British Museum....read more
Jonathan Jones dissects artists’ fascination over the ages with anatomy and pickled organs in glass jars.
From Hirst to Da Vinci, a shared obsession with dissection and the human body seems to connect exhibitions opening this spring.
Is it something to do with the Olympics? Athletics is physical, the logic might go, so let’s think about bodies… Anyway, a shared anatomical obsession connects exhibitions that open this week, and later in the spring. Damien Hirst’s debt to anatomy does not need labouring. But just as his specimens are unveiled at Tate Modern, everyone else seems to be opening their own cabinets of curiosities. At London’s Natural History Museum, dissected animals are going on view in an exhibition that brings the morbid spectacle – which in my childhood was simultaneously the horror and fascination of this museum – back into its largely flesh-free modern galleries....read more
Posted in Art
Tagged anatomy, art
Following on from our recent article on contemporary artist Rob Mulholland, whose mirrored sculptures wander in a woodland in Scotland, comes Chinese artist Liu Bolin, with his series of “invisible” self-portraits.
Bolin paints himself into the background, and then disappears. Following many hours of meticulous preparation Bolin merges with his surroundings in a performance that makes U.S. military camouflage systems look almost amateurish.
Liu Bolin’s 4th solo exhibit is currently showing at Eli Klein gallery
The best art is simple and evocative.
Like eerie imagined alien life forms mirrored sculptures meander through a woodland in Scotland. The life-size camouflaged figures are on display at the David Marshall Lodge near Aberfoyle, Scotland.
Contemporary artist Rob Mulholland designed the series of six mirrored sculptures, named Vestige, which are shaped from silhouettes of people he knows.
In Rob Mulholland’s own words:
The essence of who we are as individuals in relationship to others and our given environment forms a strong aspect of my artistic practise.
In Vestige I wanted to explore this relationship further by creating a group, a community within the protective elements of the woods, reflecting the past inhabitants of the space.
Digital cameras and smartphones have enabled their users to become photographers. Affordable composition and editing tools have made us all designers and editors. Social media have enabled, encouraged and sometimes rewarded us for posting content, reviews and opinions for everything under the sun. So, now we are all critics. So, now are we all curators as well?...read more
Posted in Art
Tagged art, curator
As in all other branches of science, there seem to be fascinating new theories, research and discoveries in neuroscience on a daily, if not hourly, basis. With this in mind, brain and cognitive researchers have recently turned their attentions to the science of art, or more specifically to addressing the question “how does the human brain appreciate art?” Yes, welcome to the world of “neuroaesthetics”.
From Scientific American:
The notion of “the aesthetic” is a concept from the philosophy of art of the 18th century according to which the perception of beauty occurs by means of a special process distinct from the appraisal of ordinary objects. Hence, our appreciation of a sublime painting is presumed to be cognitively distinct from our appreciation of, say, an apple. The field of “neuroaesthetics” has adopted this distinction between art and non-art objects by seeking to identify brain areas that specifically mediate the aesthetic appreciation of artworks....read more
From Jonathan Jones over at the Guardian:
Works of art are not objects. They are … Oh lord, what are they? Take, for convenience, a painting. It is a physical object, obviously, in that it consists of a wooden panel or a stretched canvas covered in daubs of colour. Depending on the light you may be more or less aware of cracks, brush marks, different layers of paint. Turn it around and it is even more obviously a physical object. But as such it is not art. Only when it is experienced as art can it be called art, and the intensity and value of that experience varies according to the way it is made and the way it is seen, that is, the receptiveness of the beholder to that particular work of art....read more
Posted in Art
Tagged art, art criticism