Posts Tagged ‘art’
Images by the masters; words by Beyonce… Beyonce Art History.
[TotH to AH]
* Thomas Merton
As we muse on the timelessness of great art, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that The Turtles played a formal White House ball at the request of their fan, President Nixon’s elder daughter. The New York Times reported:
Tricia Nixon covered her face with a white lace mask, shimmering with crystals and held like a lorgnette, to greet some 450 of Washington’s prettiest, handsomest, slimmest 20-to-30-year-olds at a masked ball tonight, her first White House party.
It was likely one of the stranger social gatherings in the recent history of that august home. The Turtles’ web site recounts:
Kids with obvious SDS connections were passing out literature, while Tricia was dashing around with all the genuine charm of a Cinderella. Despite the fact that the tipsy [Mark] Volman kept falling off the stage and was challenged by Pat Nugent because Mark was trying to pick up on Lucy Baines Johnson,
Still, the Turtles were a big enough hit to be asked by one of the guests, the daughter of the president of U.S. Steel, to play at her coming out party.
Canadian/French/Moroccan photographer and performer 2Fik considers himself a stateless person; his work is a self-described “soap opera” of mashed-up cultures, in which he plays all the roles, darting and weaving through questions of identity.
His newest exhibition, “2Fik’s Museum” (through May 18 at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn), is a collection of photos that feature the artist in re-creations of some of European art history’s best-known works.
[TotH to CH, from whence the photos above]
As we imagine that we were there, we might send melodious birthday greetings to Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington; he was born on this date in 1899. A composer, pianist, and bandleader, Ellington composed over 1,000 works. And while he created and performed in genres that ranged from blues and gospel to film scores and classical, he is best remembered a titan of jazz (though Ellington himself much preferred the label “American music”). Ellington was recommended by the judges panel for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1965, but was denied it by the Board. In 1999, after his death, the Pulitzer Board awarded him a special posthumous prize.
In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington.
- Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe, April 25, 1999
Australian artist Jeremy Geddes creates oil paintings that are astonishingly– dangerously– counterintuitive, at the same time that they’re astoundingly photo-realistic. Geddes’ describes his process in this 2011 interview with Empty Kingdom.
[TotH to Laughing Squid]
As we look away then back again, we might spare a thought for Jean-François Lyotard; he died on this date in 1998. A co-founder (with Derrida, Châtelet, and Deleuze) of the Collège International de Philosophie– the bastion of Postmodernism– Lyotard was a philosopher, sociologist, and literary theorist. As a champion of “the sublime”– in Lyotard’s rehabilitation of an ancient aesthetic concept, the pleasurable anxiety that one experiences when confronting wild and threatening sights– he would surely have approved of Geddes’ work.
From inner-city food deserts to car-centric suburbs, aspects of the physical environment are frequently cited as a contributing factor to the rise of obesity in the developed world. However, new research, published earlier this year in the International Journal of Obesity and summarised online at the Public Library of Science (PLOS) blog, Obesity Panacea, found a surprising correlation between elevation and obesity in the United States.
As the paper’s lead author, Dr. Jameson Voss of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, points out, mapping obesity prevalence in America reveals distinct, and hitherto unexplained, geographic variations:
Obesity appears most prevalent in the Southeast and Midwest states and less prevalent in the Mountain West. Despite significant research into the environmental determinants of obesity, including the built environment, the explanation for these macrogeographic differences is unclear.
Intriguingly, those areas in which less than a quarter of the population is obese map almost exactly onto the more mountainous regions of the country—the Appalachians, the Rockies, and the Sierra Nevada. And, indeed, after controlling for diet, activity level, smoking, demographics, temperature, and urbanisation, Voss and his colleagues found “a four- to five-fold increase in obesity prevalence at low altitude as compared with the highest altitude category”…
Read the full (and filling) story at Edible Geography.
As we head for higher ground, we might send playful birthday greetings to Joan Miró i Ferrà; he was born on this date in 1893. A painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, who worked over time as a Fauve, Magic Realist, Surrealist, and Expressionist (and pioneered Color Field painting), Miró had a huge influence on artists in the later Twentieth Century (Frankenthaler, Rothko, Motherwell, and Calder among many others), and on design pioneers like Paul Rand.
William Hogarth (1697-1764) was a British painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist sometimes credited with beginning the tradition of sequential art in Western culture (by virtue of his series of paintings depicting the rise and fall of a dandy, A Rake’s Progress).
Two centuries before M.C. Escher and his play on perspective, Hogarth created Satire on False Perspective. Subtitled, “Whoever makes a DESIGN without the Knowledge of PERSPECTIVE will be liable to such Absurdities as are shown in this Frontifpiece,” there are in fact quite a few absurdities buried within it. Click here for a larger version of Satire, and see how many you can spot…
Hogarth provided no key, but Wikipedia has accumulated a list of (so far) 22. To get you started: notice that the tavern sign is overlapped by two distant trees.
[TotH to Scientific American, from whence the image above]
As we train our eyes on the vanishing point, we might spare a thought for Aphra Behn; she died on this date in 1689. A monarchist and a Tory, young Aphra was recruited to spy for King Charles II; she infiltrated Dutch and expatriate English cabals in Antwerp during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. But on her return to London, George II turned out to be a stiff; despite her entreaties, the King never paid her for her services. Penniless, Aphra turned to writing, working first as a scribe for the King’s Company (the leading acting company of the time), then as a dramatist in her own right (often using her spy code-name, Astrea, as a pen name). She became one of the most prolific playwrights of the Restoration, one of the first people in England to earn a living writing– and the first woman to pay her way with her pen. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, where the inscription on her tombstone reads, “Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be / Defence enough against Mortality.“