Late afternoon light on architecture like a Hopper painting

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Making an art history comparison, Photo of the day

There was something about this rooftop structure and the way the late afternoon light was hitting it that brought to mind Edward Hopper’s painting “Lighthouse Hill,” from 1927 (see inset). Both structures – the rooftop apartment in NYC and the house in Hopper’s painting – are getting late afternoon light from the southwest, with dark shadows on the eastern side of the structure, and both sit perched up high – on a rooftop in my photo, on a hill in Hopper’s art.

The rooftop structure in the NYC picture is at 535 West 24th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

photograph of NYC with atmospheric lighting like a Hopper painting

Frans Hals is not welcome here

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Finding visual references, Making an art history comparison, Photo of the day, Street Art

I was walking on West 25th Street just east of 10th Avenue yesterday when I saw this ripped oval-shaped street art piece on the side of a townhouse there. It looked like either a reproduction of a Frans Hals painting, or at least a Hals-inspired copy, wheat-pasted to the side of this building. Not many people get bothered by the presence of Dutch Masters, but I guess in this case, Frans Hals was not welcome here.

I tried to find an exact match, but the closest I could come was this “Portrait of an unknown woman with clasped hands and diadem cap” by Frans Hals, painted in 1634.

Frans Hals street art next to an actual Frans Hals portrait

NYC construction site still life

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Photo of the day, Street photography, The Arts Adventurer

I was walking down 10th Avenue near 29th Street in New York City yesterday when I noticed this mess of red and orange-capped pipes and rusty residue sitting on the sidewalk. There was something about this that caught my attention – it was primarily the red caps, that reminded me of lids from Play-Doh containers (scroll down below the picture for a visual reference), as well as the vertical pipes in the top right corner that reminded me of Eva Hesse sculptures. At any rate, I thought of this collective mess as a construction site “still life.”

a pile of red capped pipes at a construction site on 10th Avenue NYC

Red Play Doh containers and Eva Hesse sculptures

The Blue Roofs of Beijing, China

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?"

I’ve been looking around in Google Earth, and when checking out Beijing, China, I noticed that many of the rooftops were blue. I took a number of screen shots and made this composite image, just for the sake of making some abstract art. But I was curious – why are there so many blue roof tops in Beijing? I’m not the only one to notice this … some of the attempts at answers that I saw online were:

  • “It’s the color that China associates with industry: the roofs of industrial buildings and warehouses are blue.”
  • “It’s the roofing systems used on many buildings.”
  • “Blue, the color of the ocean, is the new color of prosperity in China, the symbol of China’s current economic expansion.”
  • “In the past only royal buildings and important temples were allowed to have a blue roof, but once that restriction was removed, everyone wanted a blue roof.”

The phenomena of blue roofs in China is interesting, but the explanations given above show that one never knows what to believe on the internet.

composite image of blue roofs in China

London Aerial Abstraction in Six Slices

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Art project

I’m having a little fun looking around in Google Earth, and decided to take a satellite view of London … I found some interesting architecture that takes on abstract qualities when seen from overhead, so I sliced together six different views of London to make this composite abstraction. If you’re familiar with London and recognize any of these locations, please share in the comments section below.

aerial composite view of London, England

Assumption of the Virgin in Leatherhead, UK?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Making an art history comparison, Optical Illusions, Photo of the day

Seeing this satellite image of Leatherhead (below left), a town in Surrey, England, the white shape caught my eye, and brought to mind an image of the Assumption of the Virgin, with an arm raised, wearing a flowing dress and robe. What do you think? Below right is The Assumption of the Virgin, 1670, by Bartolome Esteban Murillo. Not an exact match, by any stretch, but can you see the resemblance? At least I’m not trying to convince you that Mona Lisa is visible on a Dorito

satellite view of Leatherhead, Surrey, and a painting by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

When your front door is a street art gallery

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Found art, Graffiti, Photo of the day, Street Art

Ever wonder why some doors just seem to attract the attention of street art and graffiti artists? Someone had to be the first person to tag the door, but then how fast does it become a common and known location for other artists? Here’s two examples of doors in New York City that have attracted a wide variety of street art: wheat-paste pieces, marker tags, sticker “slaps,” as well as regular spray-painted tags. At left is the entrance to 192 8th Avenue (between West 19th and 20th Streets), and at right is a door on Gansevoort Street between Washington Street and 9th Avenue.

Click here to see more art-covered doors in New York City.

doors in NYC that are covered in street art of all types

Short film about Jean-Michel Basquiat and visual sampling

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Contemporary Art, New York art world in the 1980s, Videos

I found an interesting short film about Jean-Michel Basquiat that was produced as a promotional piece for the record-breaking auction sale that took place last night. The film was made by Tamra Davis, who reflects on her friendship with Basquiat, and it includes parts of several interviews made by her over the years in which he describes his process for making art. I thought it was interesting how he compared his approach to music, where musicians might reference another musician or – in the case of hip hop – where actual samples would be included in new music. Basquiat’s thought was: if a rapper can use James Brown samples in his music, why can’t I use art samples in my work?

There’s a lot more to the video than my brief overview … check it out here:

Jean-Michel Basquiat painting sells at auction for $110.5 Million

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Contemporary Art

I saw this ad (below left) for Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction, which took place last night. The ad caught my attention for two reasons: I thought it was a gorgeous photograph of a Basquiat canvas, with the fact that they’re showing it hanging on the wall gives one a sense of how big it is … the image made me wish I could see it in person. The 2nd thing I noticed in the ad was that it said “estimate upon request.” I wondered, why won’t they give out the information on what the estimate for this painting is? Do they really think they’ll add to their potential client list by forcing people to call and ask for the estimate? Won’t the major players who can spend millions on a Basquiat already know that a major painting is coming up for sale at auction? Why not let the curious public know how much this might sell for?

Well, even if they had posted the estimate – $60 million was the guarantee to the seller – no one would have guessed that it would eventually sell last night for a whopping $110.5 million! Scroll down for more …

Yusaku Maezawa next to $110 million dollar Basquiat painting

The sale price of $110.5 million made this Basquiat painting the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction. Only ten other works have broken the $100 million mark. Quite often at these types of auctions, the sellers and buyers keep a low profile, but last night soon after the sale was completed, the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa posted a picture of himself next to the painting (above right) with the caption: “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece.”

So, who is Yusaku Maezawa, and how did he gain his fortune? I found it interesting to learn that he was in a band in high school, and upon graduation, rather than go to college, he moved to the United States and started collecting CDs and records of bands that he liked. When he returned to Japan, this music collection became the basis for his first business, in which he sold CDs and records of his favorite bands by mail from his home. When he moved this business online in 2000, he started selling clothing online as well, and it became Japan’s largest online fashion mall, Zozotown. You can learn more about Maezawa here and here.

The good news is that Maezawa is not going to hide away this Basquiat in his own private home; he plans on loaning it to institutions and exhibitions around the world in advance of eventually placing it in his own museum, which is still in the planning stages, but will eventually open in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

Disassembling farm equipment and making it into art

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Museum exhibitions, Art News, Artist Spotlight

I received a press release from the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, regarding an upcoming exhibition featuring the work of David Brooks. The show is titled “Continuous Service Altered Daily,” and the artist has taken apart a 1976 John Deere 3300 series combine harvester and displays every part – electrical wiring, nuts, bolts, rubber hoses, tires, and so forth – throughout the Bemis Center’s first-floor galleries. You may be wondering: why? Scroll down for more …

Pictured below left: a John Deere 3300 Harvester at work in a cornfield; below right, one of the exhibition galleries at the Bemis Center.

John Deere 3300 Series Harvester

According to the artist’s website, the dismantled harvester machine parts are grouped into nine zones that represent nine continuously occurring ecosystem services upon which we rely daily, including: decomposition, water purification, erosion and flood control, air purification, pollination, habitat formation, primary production, disease regulation, and ornamental resources. Each part and every object on display has been given an interpretive individual label that supports this correlation. It’s a little hard to comprehend based on what I’m seeing in the press release as well as the artist’s site, but that’s what they’re telling me.

At any rate, I want to show you how some of the parts are displayed, how they look when isolated as individual machine parts and how they can be transformed into art objects. Here’s a few below, with a description under the photo:

David Brooks John Deere harvester parts

Clockwise, from top left: “Iconic Species (Ornamental Resources zone),” 2016 – brass-plated auger bearing; “Precipitation,” the complete set of elevator augers; the header unit.

I will say this – the more I’m researching the artist David Brooks, the more interesting things I’m finding, above and beyond this particular work and exhibition … I hope to have more on this artist soon.