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Posts Tagged ‘art

“So may the outward shows be least themselves”*…


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Further our our recent look at movie posters that move, Henning Lederer: “How would these great book covers from the past look like when set in motion? Here we go…”


* Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice


As we celebrate cerebration, we might recall that it was on this date in 1851 that Harper & Brothers published Herman Melville‘s novel, Moby Dick; it had appeared in the U.K. about a month earlier as The Whale. Based on Melville’s experience aboard a whaler and dedicated to Melville’s friend Nathaniel Hawthorne, the book received mixed reviews and sold poorly. It is now, of course, considered a classic– the peak of the American Renaissance.

The (altogether-unanimated) title page of first American edition




Written by LW

November 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most”*…


 click here for larger version

For Lapham’s Quarterly‘s fashion issue, designer Haisam Hussein reinvents the color wheel to show where various shades of colors were invented—from Int’l Klein Blue (Paris) to Scheele’s Green (Sweden), Turmeric (India), and Mauve (London).

Alongside the graphic itself are the origin stories for each color, which, as we’ve seen before, can be less than appetizing. White Lead, for instance, was created in Japan circa the year 700 by exposing lead sheets to vinegar and fermenting horse manure—then used by the elite class as face powder. Tyrian purple is derived from the secretions of sea snails, and Orchil (Florence) dye is made from dried and ground lichen that is activated with ammonia, such as that from urine.


Explore here.

And on a related note: “Pantone: How the world authority on color became a pop culture icon.”

* John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice


As we tackle tints, we might spare a thought for Alexander Calder; he died on this date in 1976.  A sculptor known for monumental stationary works called stabiles, he is also considered the father of the mobile (a type of moving sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended shapes that respond to touch or air currents).



Written by LW

November 11, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime”*…


In 1798  John Neagle, an honest Philadelphia blacksmith, was falsely convicted and incarcerated for America’s first major bank robbery; exonerated six months later, he then became America’s first recipient of a “wrongful imprisonment” settlement from the city.  The incredible tale in its entirety (and an explanation of the symbolism in the portrait of Neagle above) at  “The First American Bank Robbery Was An Epic Farce.”

* Howard Zinn


As we take care not to throw away the key, we might send beautiful– but  deadly– birthday greetings to Benvenuto Cellini; he was born on this date in 1500.  A Renaissance goldsmith, sculptor, draftsman, soldier, musician, artist, poet, and memoirist, he was an important figure in the Mannerist period… and as he confessed inThe Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, a multiple murderer and maimer.

When certain decisions of the court were sent me by those lawyers, and I perceived that my cause had been unjustly lost, I had recourse for my defense to a great dagger I carried; for I have always taken pleasure in keeping fine weapons. The first man I attacked was a plaintiff who had sued me; and one evening I wounded him in the legs and arms so severely, taking care, however, not to kill him, that I deprived him of the use of both his legs. Then I sought out the other fellow who had brought the suit, and used him also such wise that he dropped it.
The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, Ch. XXVIII, as translated by John Addington Symonds, Dolphin Books edition, 1961

The Cellini Salt Cellar (or Salteria)


Bust of Cellini on the Ponte Vecchio, Florence



Written by LW

November 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Sometimes I have chosen to see films just by their posters”*…


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Pablo Fernández Eyre‘s lovely video of movie one-sheets animated with the film footage that matches the image featured in the poster.

[via Laughing Squid]

* Jean Paul Gaultier


As we take our seats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1898 that an American institution was born.

The University of Minnesota football team (for our non-American readers out there, I’m of course referring to the kind of football where you’ll get a penalty for using your feet) was playing their final game against Northwestern University. The U of M’s team had been having a lackluster year, and there was a general feeling on campus that this was due to lack of enthusiasm during the games. So several students, lead by Johnny Campbell on a megaphone, decided to lead the crowd of spectators in a chant: “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-U-Mah! Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Minn-e-so-tah!” The crowd went bananas, as they say, and an energized Minnesota team won the game 17-6.

That day Johnny Campbell and his (presumably drunk) friends became the first cheerleader squad.


Johnny Campbell




Written by LW

November 2, 2015 at 1:01 am

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made”*…


For a few blessed days, Lura Cafe was the hottest new restaurant in Providence. The bright, cozy farm-to-table joint hid in plain sight next to a downtown parking lot, steps away from the Rhode Island Convention Center. Lura would be a refuge for diners in the know, serving modern takes on cafe classics—all local, all organic, all certified GMO-free. It was upscale and casual, timeless and avant-garde. It had a vaguely Nordic air of refinement.

It announced itself—as all similarly accoutred restaurants must—with a social media blitz, featuring sans serif lettering, sunny high-angle shots of brunch dishes, even a breathless write-up in the New York Times.

It was also totally fake…

Read more about the art project (“lura” a Swedish word for “fool, trick, deceive, lure, cheat, befool”) that aimed to deflate “the elitist subculture of foodies” at “The Hippest Cafe in Providence Was Totally Fake.”

* Groucho Marx (among others)


As we muse over the menu, we might pause to recall that today is National Vinegar Day– a moment to celebrate a fermented liquid consisting mainly of acetic acid (CH3COOH) and water that is used as a condiment, a preservative, a balm, a wart treatment, an herbicide, a cleaner, and a brass polish.



Written by LW

November 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Life is like topography”*…


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What if you could see Earth’s 5-billion year journey not just in a book or on screen, but on the planet’s very topography? That’s the idea behind the audio-visual performance Revolution of Topography, Cappadocia: Epic History of Humanity, which features 3D animations projection mapped onto the rocky surface of the Cappadocia Zelve Valley.

Produced by FikirbazZenger and directed by Ferdi Alıcı, Revolution of Topography has been billed as the world’s “largest mountain surface mapping”; and, with a 10-year screening time, will run for longer than any other projection mapping installation in history. The a/v installation, located at Cappadocia Zelve Valley Open Air Museum, will run through all phases of Cappadocia’s history, from geographical formation and topographical transformations to the emergence of civilization and religion…

More at “Mapping a Valley with Earth’s 5-Billion Year Journey.”

* “Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine and valleys of frustration and failure.”

– “Calvin,” Bill Watterson


As we take the long view, we might send spatially-sophisticated birthday greetings to William Paul Thurston; he was born on this date in 1946.  A pioneer in the field of low-dimensional topology, he was awarded the 1982 Fields Medal for his contributions to the study of 3-manifolds.  In later years, while his research continued, Thurston took on the challenge of  mathematical popularization and education. He served as mathematics editor for Quantum Magazine, a youth science magazine, and was one of the founders of The Geometry Center.  As director of Mathematical Sciences Research Institute from 1992 to 1997, he started a number of programs designed to increase awareness of mathematics among the public.



Written by LW

October 30, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough”*…


From The Guggenheim, “an online exhibition that enables you to take a position on the future of a world increasingly shaped by emerging technologies.”  Built with the help of a variety of contributors—from artists and architects to theorists and strategists–Åzone (from azone, ancient Greek for “without nation,” with reference to Åland, a unique and autonomous region of Finland, and the site of a Guggenheim-led retreat where this project was initiated) is “an online marketplace that allows visitors to learn about, discuss, and evaluate the effects of technology-driven change.”

Invest in the future at Åzone.

* Albert Einstein


As we place our bets, we might spare a reasoned thought for the Enlightenment giant John Locke; the physician and philosopher died on this date in 1704.  An intellectual descendant of Francis Bacon, Locke was among the first empiricists. He spent over 20 years developing the ideas he published in his most significant work, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), an analysis of the nature of human reason which promoted experimentation as the basis of knowledge.  Locke established “primary qualities” (e.g., solidity, extension, number) as distinct from “secondary qualities” (sensuous attributes like color or sound).  He recognized that science is made possible when the primary qualities, as apprehended, create ideas that faithfully represent reality.

Locke is, of course, also well-remembered as a key developer (with Hobbes, and later Rousseau) of the concept of the Social Contract.  Locke’s theory of “natural rights” influenced Voltaire and Rosseau– and formed the intellectual basis of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.



Written by LW

October 28, 2015 at 1:01 am


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