Posts Tagged ‘art’
From Harvard’s Houghton Library (where your correspondent is currently ensconced), a pair of plates (click here for larger) from Jean Errard‘s Instruments mathematiques mechaniques, 1584. Errard, who was a pioneering mathematician, engineer, and developer of military fortifications, is thought by some scholars to have based these drawings on thoughts from Archimedes. In any case, they’re a treat.
* Hugo Cabret (in Brian Seltznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret)
As we muse on mechanization, we might send well-suspended birthday greetings to John M. Mack; he was born on this date in 1864. At the turn of the 20th century, mack and his brother Augustus developed a successful gasoline-powered sightseeing bus; then in 1905, they joined with three other brothers to form the Mack Brothers Motor Car Company. They continued to build sightseeing buses, but shifted their focus increasingly to heavy-duty trucks; then, in 1909, they produced the first engine-driven fire truck in the United States. With financing from J.P. Morgan, the company grew into what we now know as the Mack Truck Company.
In the silent film era, these colorized lantern slides were the equivalent of previews or trailers, alerting the audience to the theater’s upcoming schedule. Blank spaces in the slide’s design allowed for a small degree of customization by hand.
Films tended to be short by modern standards, so audiences would watch them in batches, rather than seeing one at a time as we do today. Film scholar Lisa Kernan writes that these magic lantern slides were “projected between features, much like today’s slides of local restaurant advertising and movie trivia quizzes.”
Even at the time the slides were in common use, Kernan writes, some theaters experimented with showing short bits of film to advertise coming attractions. By the 1920s, a company called National Screen Service was making trailers for major studio films using moving footage; by the 1930s, studios began to make their own, much more sophisticated preview trailers.
These lantern images were collected by W. Ward Marsh, a movie critic for theCleveland Plain Dealer from 1919 until his death in 1971. The Cleveland Public Library holds Marsh’s movie memorabilia and has digitized almost 700 examples of these slides…
Read and see more at “The Lantern Slides That Advertised Coming Attractions in the Silent Film Era.”
* ubiquitous line in movie trailers
As we take our seats and silence our phones, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967 that “La Bateau,” a 1953 paper cut by Henri Matisse was hung in New York’s Museum of Modern Art… upside down. It remained on inverted display for 47 days. Genevieve Habert, a stockbroker, noticed the mistake (by comparing the hanging to the photo in the catalogue). As it was a Sunday night and there were no curatorial officials on duty, Habert informed the New York Times, which in turn notified Monroe Wheeler, the Museum’s art director… who had the piece rehung correctly on Monday.
Matisse’s cut-outs are back at MoMA… right-side up, one trusts.
Eleanor Lutz, a designer in Seattle with a Bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from the University of Washington (where her research was in teaching mosquitoes to fly through mazes), has turned her talents to scientific visualization. Her wonderful site, Tabletop Whale, features a weekly animated GIF illustrating both the principles and the beauty of a scientific phenomenon.
Watch them move: more (and larger) animated GIFs at Tabletop Whale.
As we wonder at the working of the world around us, we might recall that it was on this date in 1810 that Crown Prince Ludwig (later to become King Ludwig I) invited the citizens of Munich to help celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen with horse races and a feast lubricated liberally by beer. The festivities were held on the fields in front of the city gates, named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wiesn.” The event was such a success that the Crown Prince decided to repeat it the following year– and so the tradition of Ocktoberfest was born. The current version of celebration begins in late September and runs through the first Sunday in October, and involves the serving of over 1 million gallons of beer.
“But when I make a good [taxidermy] mount I feel like I beat God in a small way. As though the Almighty said, Let such critter be dead, and I said, ‘F**k You, he can still play the banjo”*…
This isn’t your gun-toting great-uncle’s taxidermy: there are no hunting trophies mounted on smoking den walls or Teddy Roosevelt-inspired museum dioramas. In Taxidermy Art: A Rogue’s Guide to the Work, the Culture, and How to Do It Yourself, Robert Marbury introduces a world of bionic crocodiles, pigs in Chanel bowties, impalas with human faces, and polar bears climbing on refrigerators (get it?).
In 2004, with two friends, Marbury established the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (MART). In the decade since, Rogue Taxidermy–a genre of pop-surrealism that fuses traditional taxidermy with mixed-media sculpture–has evolved into a veritable subculture of people obsessed with turning dead animals into art. “Not since the Victorian era has taxidermy been so popular,” Marbury writes in the book’s introduction. (The Victorian era saw a trend of taxidermists like Walter Potter [see also here] making anthropomorphic tableaux of squirrels smoking cigars and kittens having tea parties.)…
See many more examples– and find out why taxidermy has become again as popular as it was in the Victorian Era– at “Inside The Bizarre World Of Rogue Taxidermy.”
As we ponder retrospective reanimation, we might send carefully calculated birthday greetings to Lewis Fry Richardson; he was born on this date in 1881. A mathematician, physicist, and psychologist, he is best remembered for pioneering the modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting. Richardson’s interest in weather led him to propose a scheme for forecasting using differential equations, the method used today, though when he published Weather Prediction by Numerical Process in 1922, suitably fast computing was unavailable. Indeed, his proof-of-concept– a retrospective “forecast” of the weather on May 20, 1910– took three months to complete by hand. (in fairness, Richardson did the analysis in his free time while serving as an ambulance driver in World War I.) With the advent of modern computing in the 1950’s, his ideas took hold. Still the ENIAC (the first real modern computer) took 24 hours to compute a daily forecast. But as computing got speedier, forecasting became more practical.
Richardson also yoked his forecasting techniques to his pacifist principles, developing a method of “predicting” war. He is considered (with folks like Quincy Wright and Kenneth Boulding) a father of the scientific analysis of conflict.
And Richardson helped lay the foundations for other fields and innovations: his work on coastlines and borders was influential on Mandelbrot’s development of fractal geometry; and his method for the detection of icebergs anticipated the development of sonar.
A new Banksy mural showing a group of pigeons holding anti-immigration banners has been destroyed following a complaint the work was “racist”.
The mural in Clacton-on-Sea – where a by-election is due to take place following the local MP’s defection to UKIP [the UK Independence Party, an ostensibly anti-EU, actively anti-immigrant party] – appeared this week. It showed four pigeons holding signs including “Go Back to Africa”, while a more exotic-looking bird looked on.
The local council, which removed it, said it did not know it was by Banksy. Tendring District Council said it received a complaint that the mural was “offensive” and “racist”.
The artist, who chooses to remain anonymous, posted pictures of the work on his website earlier. But by the time it had been announced, the mural had already been removed due to the complaint received on Tuesday…
… which is an ironic shame, given that the piece was, of course, anti-racist, and that it was an authentic Banksy, whose street work has sold for as much as $1.8 million, a boost the economically-challenged town could surely have used.
* Joesph Heller, Good as Gold
As we take aim at our own feet, we might spare a thought for Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone– better known by his canonized handle, St. Francis of Assisi; he died on this date in 1226. Founder of the men’s Order of Friars Minor (core of the Franciscan Order), the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis for men and women not able to live the lives of itinerant preachers, he believed that nature itself was the mirror of God, and strove to bring the Gospel to all God’s creatures.
South African artist Lorraine Loots agrees…
365 Postcards for Ants is the second phase of a project started on 1 January 2013, which involved me creating a miniature painting every single day for the entire year.
In celebration of our city’s designation as World Design Capital 2014, I’ve decided to do it all over again, and this time all the paintings will be Cape Town themed…
As we get small, we might send patronizing birthday greetings to Cosimo di Medici; he was born on this date in 1389. The first of the Medici political dynasty, de facto rulers of Florence during much of the Italian Renaissance;, he was known as “Cosimo ‘the Elder'” (“il Vecchio”) and “Cosimo Pater Patriae” (“father of the nation”). A fabulously-wealthy banker, he was a powerful patron of learning; he funded Ficino’s Latin translation of the complete works of Plato, and supported the work of scholars like Niccolo Niccoli and Leonardo Bruni. But he is perhaps best remembered as a patron of the arts: he supported Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, and Donatello, whose David and Judith Slaying Holofernes were Medici commissions; he commissioned Michelozzo Michelozzi‘s Palazzo Medici; and he enabled Brunelleschi to complete the magnificent dome of Santa Maria del Fiore (the “Duomo“).
History tells us that Walter Benjamin, the influential German critic of literature, art, and culture, died more than seventy years ago. So how is it that he’s now out doing lectures and has published a new book?
The fascinating tale in its entirety at “An Investigation Into the Reappearance of Walter Benjamin.”
[TotH to Tyler Hellard's Pop Loser]
* Walter Benjamin
As we celebrate simulacra, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that “Sugar, Sugar” hit the top of the U.S. pop charts. Written by Jeff Berry and Andy Kim as one of 16 musical segments performed by “The Archies” (a group of studio musicians) in the CBS “The Archie Comedy Hour,” the tune went on to become the number-one single of the year.