Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jaume Plensa at YSP

If you live near Wakefield , Yorkshire (UK) you may want to go visit the Yorskhire Sculpture Park which presents some works by Spanish artist Jaume Plena. The exhibition includes a 50-metre curtain of poetry made of suspended steel letters, large illuminated sculptures in the landscape, and engraved gongs that visitors can strike to fill the gallery with sound. OK, the sculptures and all are really cool, but you can even play a damn gong!! I'd go just for that. You'll be able to visit it until 22.01.12. Click read more to see the other works (gongs included) and a video of the installation process.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Art, legal issues and trials (and errors)

October 21, 1926. Marcel Duchamp is on a ship heading for the USA. Along with Messieur Duchamp there are 20 sculptures made by Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi. At the time import/export laws declared that ordinary merchandise was subject to duty at 40 per cent, while art was not. When the sculptures came to customs check the custom official said: “This is not art, this is some kind of industrial item. You’ll pay the full cost.”
Bird In Space - Brancusi
“That’s not even a bird. Has no wings nor beak”

The whole thing grew up on press and media turning soon into a big, and still today famous, US court case which asked: when is a sculpture not a sculpture? The two contestants were the US government and the sculptor, Constantin Brancusi. Among the expert witnesses were Jacob Epstein and the great photographer Edward Steichen, while also drawn into the dispute were Marcel Duchamp (of course), Ezra Pound, and Henri-Pierre Roché, author of Jules et Jim. The point of the legal issue soon became the eternal question: “what is art?” Well, the trial itself lasted about two years, but in the end the court sentence was: “Yes, it’s a bird”. Marcel Duchamp received his money back.  Today Constantin Brancusi is considered one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century.

Next time you see a contemporary work of art, think twice before saying: “meh, it’s just a gimmicky”.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rafal Bujnowski - Negative painting

'Milena' is a painting made with the use of reverse color palette. Rafal Bujnowski, artist from Poland, realized it in 2005. The proper image should be developed by the viewer's imagination, or by taking a photograph and reversing it into negative, you can see it after the jump.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Maurizio Cattelan

Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite:

A gigantic middle finger sticking straight up from an otherwise fingerless hand, outside of Milan's stock exchange:

Since the early 1990s, this kind of work by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has provoked and challenged the limits of contemporary value systems through its use of irony and humor. He teases the art world without ever falling into the naive trap of thinking he can subvert a system of which he is part. Click read more the see other works by Cattelan.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jeremy Geddes

The White Cosmonaut (2009)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ron Mueck - Hyperrealism

 Mask II (2001-2)

Hyperrealism is one of the most innovative and interesting contemporary movements. It is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. Hyperrealism is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 2000s. Ron Mueck is an Australian born and London based sculptor who reached popularity in mid 90's and he's considered one of the movement's most representative artists. You can see some photos of his sculture's making process here

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Colleges and Academies of Fine Arts

I'm not really sure if arts can be taught. You can learn the history of art, the artists, the past movements, but you can't learn how to make a work of art. You can learn all the techniques and become a good painter or a good illustrator, designer or drawer, but that won't make you an artist. Of course I do realize that studying is a good start point (after all I'm an art student myself...), so I've decided to dedicate a post to the most renowned schools, colleges and academies of fine arts around the world.What you think? Is art a matter of studying or not? Can someone be an artist without ever studying it?
The Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze was founded in 1563 by Cosimo I de' Medici under the influence of Giorgio Vasari. While the Company was a kind of corporation which every working artist in Tuscan should join, the Academy was constituted only by the most eminent artistic personalities of Cosimo’s court, and had the task of supervising the whole artistic production of the medicean state. The extraordinary contribution of academics including Michelangelo Buonarroti, Francesco da Sangallo, Agnolo Bronzino, Benvenuto Cellini, Giorgio Vasari, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Giambologna, increased the prestige of this institution.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Robert Capa

Robert Capa (born Endre Ernő Friedmann 1913 -1954) was a Hungarian combat photographer and photojournalist; On June 6, 1944 (D-Day) he swam ashore with the second assault wave on Omaha Beach, but instead of guns and weapons he was armed with two Contax II cameras mounted with 50 mm lenses and several rolls of spare film. Thanks to him we have today one the most real and intense war reportage of all times. There are different explanations about why his photos are so blurred, the official story is that most of his photos appears out of focus because a darkroom assistant in London, when processing Capa's images, had used too much heat and the emulsions melted.  Because of that error, of the 106 photographs Capa took that day only eleven survived. Someone says (and Capa himself) that it’s a stylistic choice, since the out of focus best represents how those moments were lived by the american soldiers; That is also why he decided to call his book “Slightly Out of Focus”. Someone else explain that Robert Capa's hands were badly shaking in the excitement of the moment (something which he denied). This is one of these cases were reality mixes up with legend, and we probably won’t ever know the truth about this, but what we surely know is how important his photos are, as historical documents and as photographic and artistic works. Director Steven Spielberg used Capa's photos to depict his WWII scenario in "Saving Private Ryan". More in the next page.