Posts Tagged ‘art’
Perhaps understandably, most people tend to ignore scraps of paper they see lying on the ground. But Sydney-based artist Laura Sullivan has always found herself intrigued by the promise of scrawled handwriting, and has been picking up stray to-do lists, IOUs, poems, and angry letters for the past twelve years.Now, a selection of the 400 notes she has collected in public spaces around the world will be exhibited in a gallery show that puts the intimate concerns of anonymous strangers on display for all to see…
The serendipitous story in full at “Turns out, Other People’s Shopping Lists Are Oddly Poignant.”
* Edgar Allan Poe
As we celebrate chance, we might send thrilling birthday greetings to Ross Thomas; he was born on this date in 1926. The author of 20 novels under his own name, and another six as “Oliver Bleeck,” Thomas specialized in building yarns around the machinations of professional politics and the intrigues of global corporations– so successfully that he is considered by many to be the Len Deighton or John Le Carre of the U.S.– only funnier. As the Village Voice put it, “what Elmore Leonard does for crime in the streets, Ross Thomas does for crime in the suites.” His debut novel, The Cold War Swap, won the 1967 Edgar Award for Best First Novel; Briarpatch earned the 1985 Edgar for Best Novel; and in 2002, he was honored with the inaugural Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award, one of only two authors to earn the award posthumously (the other was 87th Precinct author Ed McBain in 2006).
As we perl one, knit two, we might send challenging birthday greetings to Francis Picabia; he was born (Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia) on this date in 1879. A French avant-garde painter, poet and typographist, Picabia experimented with Impressionism and Pointillism before becoming a Cubist. He then became one of the early major figures of the Dada movement in the United States and in France, and was later briefly associated with Surrealism.
See his work at the major retrospective now hung at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and on their web site.
On this most bizarre of days, an alternative: hours of fun at The New Yorker‘s “Cartoons at Random.”
* “The Witch Doctor”
As we fight the urge to bury our heads, we might spare a thought for John Ruskin; he died on this date in 1900. Best remembered as the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, he was also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker, and a philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany, and political economy, and in styles and literary forms equally varied: Ruskin penned essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale.
Ruskin was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century, and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has steadily improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognized as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability, and craft.
You may either win your peace, or buy it:—win it, by resistance to evil;—buy it, by compromise with evil.
– Ruskin, The Work of Iron, in Nature, Art, and Policy. Lecture at Tunbridge Wells, February 16, 1858
Anton LaVey was a fan, and so was Ansel Adams who called him the “Antichrist.” William Mortensen was clearly no ordinary photographer.
Born in Utah, William Mortensen spent the formative years of his career in Hollywood working as a still photographer on Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings, among other gigs, before setting up shop in Laguna Beach in 1931. Mortensen’s experiences in the fantasy factory of Hollywood provided a solid starting point for his jaw-dropping exercises in imaginative manipulation. Consciously channeling the Old Masters of centuries past, Mortensen tirelessly executed dozens of astounding portraits and evocative “scenes”—pictures so ravishing that the viewer is often bound to question their status as photographs…
Read more of Mortensen, and see more of his work, at “William Mortensen– the Anti-Christ of Photography.” There’s even more in this short (23 minute) documentary, Monsters and Madonnas:
* Diane Arbus
As we fiddle with the focus, we might recall that it was on this date in 1839 that John William Draper took a daguerreotype of the moon, the first celestial photograph (or astrophotograph) made in the U.S. (He exposed the plate for 20 minutes using a 5-inch telescope and produced an image one inch in diameter.) Draper’s picture of his sister, taken the following year, is the oldest surviving photographic portrait.
Japanese match book covers… Many more at Agence Eureka.
* “Trois Allumettes,” Jacques Prevert
As we close the cover before striking, we might recall that it was on this date in 1890 that the Meiji Constitution went into effect in Japan, and the first Diet convened. Modeled on both the Prussian and the British models, the Meiji Constitution provided for a form of mixed constitutional and absolute monarchy that lasted until 1947. In practice, the Emperor was head of state, but the Prime Minister was the actual head of government.
… and so it becomes the subject of art.
A year ago, local artist Elle Luna challenged artists from around the world with her “100-Day Project,” an idea with a simple premise: do the same thing every day for a hundred days — draw a doodle, write a poem, whatever — and document the results.
San Francisco–based designer Katrina McHugh responded by making infographics based on popular song lyrics that reference the natural world, mirroring the style of vintage encyclopedias she inherited from her grandfather. The project, titled “100 Days of Lyrical Natural Sciences,” is a gorgeous and hilarious exercise in taking metaphor too literally…
Try your hand at identifying the songs in question at “Classic Pop Songs, Reimagined as Infographics.”
* Brian Wilson
As we tap our toes, we might spare a thought for Cabell “Cab” Calloway III; he died on this date in 1994. A master of scat singing and led one of the United States’ most popular big bands from the start of the 1930s to the late 1940s, regularly performing at the Cotton Club in Harlem. His band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon “Chu” Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. His “Minnie the Moocher” was the first jazz record to sell 1 million copies.