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Posts Tagged ‘sculpture

“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint”*…

Studies of various types of water bird, swimming and diving among river weed. This work seems to have been intended as a kind of picture thesaurus.

One of the world’s most important collections of art has re-emerged after having been lost for more than 70 years.

The corpus – 103 original drawings by the non-Western world’s most famous artist, the 19th century Japanese painter, Hokusai – came to light in Paris and has now been bought by the British Museum.

The newly discovered artworks appear to have formed part of one of the most ambitious publishing projects ever conceived – a Japanese plan to create a huge pictorial encyclopaedia.

Known as the Great Picture Book of Everything, it was conceived by Hokusai (best known for his most famous work – The Great Wave) – but was never completed.

Published at around the same time as Hokusai was producing the 103 recently rediscovered drawings, The Great Wave is the artist’s most famous painting

The project was abandoned in the 1830s – either because of cost or possibly because Hokusai insisted on reproduction standards that were difficult to attain.

The Great Picture Book of Everything was to have been a comprehensive way for the Japanese to have access to images of people, cultures and nature around the world – at a time when virtually no Japanese people had been allowed out of Japan for some two centuries –  and virtually no foreigners had been allowed into 99 per cent of the country.

In that ultra-restrictive atmosphere, the project was to have given people an opportunity to explore a highly stylised printed version of the outside world as well as Japan itself…

The full story (and more examples of the work) at “Hokusai: More than 100 lost works by non-western world’s most famous artist rediscovered“– the artist’s abandoned attempt to create Great Picture Book of Everything.

* Edward Hopper

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As we picture that, we might send challenging birthday greetings to Hans Peter Wilhelm Arp; he was born on this date in 1886. A sculptor, painter, and poet (who also worked in other media such as torn and pasted paper), Arp was a friend and associate of Hugo Ball and a regular at the Cafe Voltaire, where he helped create the Dada Movement; at the same time he was associated with the Surrealists. But he broke with those movements to found Abstraction-Création, working with the Paris-based group Abstraction-Création and the periodical, Transition. Beginning in the 1930s, he expanded his efforts from collage and bas-relief to include bronze and stone sculptures, and to write and publish essays and poetry. Examples of his work are here.

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“Artifacts of our oldest cultures give evidence that the human race has always made things in miniature”*…

 

CBGB

1/12th scale model of CBGB, 315 Bowery

 

Drawn to the often-overlooked beauty of aging structures, [artist Randy] Hage began photographing the cast iron facades in the SoHo area of New York.  He has photographed over 450 storefronts over the past 14 years, 60% of which have since closed or been torn down. Hage’s models are not only acts of preservation but a way of calling attention to what has been lost as urban renewal and gentrification displace the storeowners and residents of these communities…

Hage then works from his photos to create exquisitely-detailed miniatures…

Hage15

scale model

See more of Hage’s marvelous work at “NYC Storefronts in Miniature,” and visit his website.

* Dorothy B. Thompson, Miniature Sculpture from the Athenian Agora

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As we get small, we might spare a thought for miniaturist of a different sort, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne; he died on this date in 1592.  Best known during his lifetime as a statesman, Montaigne is remembered for popularizing the essay as a literary form.  His effortless merger of serious intellectual exercises with casual anecdotes and autobiography– and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as “Attempts” or “Trials”)– contain what are, to this day, some of the most widely-influential essays ever written.  Montaigne had a powerful impact on writers ever after, from Descartes, Pascal, and Rousseau, through Hazlitt, Emerson, and Nietzsche, to Zweig, Hoffer, and Asimov.  Indeed, he’s believed to have been an influence on the later works of Shakespeare.

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Written by LW

September 13, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Design came into being in 1919, when Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus at Weimar”*…

 

Bauhaus

 

The Bauhaus—literally “school of building”—was a German avant-garde arts and crafts academy. Inaugurated six months after the end of World War I, the school encouraged artists and designers to use their talents to help rebuild the broken society.

With Germany in total ruins many thought it was time to start from scratch. The Bauhaus grammar—a triangle, a square, and a circle—evoked this back-to-basics mentality. They challenged everything, including the usual method of schooling. [Walter] Gropius borrowed the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk, or “synthesis of the arts, from composer Richard Wagner, envisioning a school that would “unite every discipline, architecture and sculpture and painting.” (Architects today love dropping the term.)

Gropius instructed students to leave “sentimental, aesthetically decorative conceptions… drawn mostly from past cultures.” Shedding decorative cruft built up over generations meant studying the “nature” of objects and designing from that. You can easily draw a line from the Bauhaus to the iPod—Steve Jobs said as much in 1983 when he addressed the International Design Conference at the Aspen Design Institute, which itself is part of the Bauhaus diaspora.

But Nazis thought the school’s rejection of traditional aesthetics was a rejection of Germanic pride. They chased down the Bauhaus from Weimar, to Dessau, then finally to Berlin, where they were forced to shut down in 1933—and in doing so, spread its influence throughout the world…

Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus movement 100 years ago on a simple but powerful rule, “our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.”  Learn more about the movement that he started and the extraordinary impact that it had: “The Bauhaus.”

*  Bruno Munari, Design as Art

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As we integrate form and function, we might send evocative birthday greetings to Mel Edwards; he was born on this date in 1937.  An abstract sculptor who worked almost entirely in steel, he marshals straight-edged triangular and rectilinear forms to make political statements.  He  has had more than a dozen one-person show exhibits (including at  the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the New Jersey State Museum), and has been in over four dozen group shows.

PS_08_Mel-Edwards_small-400x500 source

 

Written by LW

May 4, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Facts are like cows. If you look them in the face long enough, they generally run away”*…

 

Modern and contemporary works typically hang at 1.55 metres from the floor, to the middle of the picture. It’s the height used by museums, and for displays at Christie’s.

Artist signatures first became prevalent during the early Renaissance, when co-operative guild systems gave way to the celebration of individual creativity.

The most precious materials in classical Chinese furniture are zitan and huanghuali, two types of hardwood found, among other places, on China’s largest island, Hainan.

The earliest, securely attributed self-portrait by a European Master was made by Albrecht Dürer at the age of 13. Although there are works defined as self-portraits that pre-date this, he was the first artist considered to have looked at his own image in this way.

97 other tasty tidbits from the venerable auction house Christie’s at “101 things we have learned from the Online Magazine.”

* Dorothy L. Sayers

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As we consider our bids, we might send well-shaped birthday greetings to Korczak Ziolkowski; he was born on this date in 1908.  A designer and sculptor, he is best known as the creator of the Crazy Horse Memorial, a monument to Native American life and culture in Wyoming.  He began work in 1948, but died (in 1982) before the work was finished; all ten of his children have continued the carving of the monument or are active in the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, which supports the work.  If and when it is finished to Ziolkowski’s design, it is expected to be the largest sculpture in the world:  563 feet high by 641 feet long.  Crazy Horse’s head would be large enough to contain all the 60-foot-high heads of the Presidents at Mount Rushmore.

Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear, standing with a model of the Crazy Horse Memorial

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Written by LW

September 6, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Bosch is great because what he imagines in color can be translated into justice”*…

 

Detail from the left panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights depicting the paradise of the Garden of Eden

Further to a relatively recent post on Hieronymous Bosch:

I recently traveled to the small Dutch town of Den Bosch to The Noordbrabants Museum to see the largest assembly of work by Hieronymus Bosch ever assembled,Jheronimus Bosch: Visions of Genius. This town was where Bosch spent his entire life—he lived on one side of the square and worked in his studio on the other. I took a guided tour of the Museum (big thanks to Heidi Vandamme and Tamsin Aarts-Pickard at the museum and to Sander Knol at Xander Uitgevers, my book publisher in Holland!), and afterward I wrote down what I remembered. Needless to say the show is hugely popular—The Guardian called it “one of the most important exhibitions of our time”—and I think it’s fantastic…it’s a window into another world and another time…

From David Byrne, “11 Things I Learned from the Hieronymous Bosch Show.”

* Edward Dahlberg

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As we tend our gardens, we might send edgy birthday greetings to Christopher Lee “Chris” Burden; he was born on this date in 1946.  An artist working in performance, sculpture and installation art, his work is collected in the LACMA and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; the Middelheimmuseum, Antwerp, Belgium; the Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporanea, Brazil; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others. And he has been celebrated in the lyrics of songs by David Bowie (“Joe the Lion”) and Laurie Anderson (“It’s Not the Bullet that Kills You – It’s the Hole [for Chris Burden]”).

Metropolis II (2011) kinetic art project by Chris Burden. At LACMA, filmed March 16, 2013.

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Written by LW

April 11, 2016 at 1:01 am

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