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Baseball mural helps distract from the reality of prison

October 30th, 2014

While we’re on the topic of baseball in the aftermath of last night’s Game 7 of the World Series, I thought I’d share this detail from a baseball mural that covers one of the outside walls of the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, which was at one time home to New Jersey’s “Death Row.” It’s all part of our exploration of Trenton via our sister site The Arts Adventurer, check out our coverage of the baseball mural here.

The Arts Adventurer finds a baseball mural at New Jersey's death row


Van Gogh pitches for the Royals?

October 30th, 2014

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning the World Series last night. Even though I didn’t have any formal fan loyalty to either team, I enjoyed watching the Series … but I have to admit, every time I saw Kansas City Royals reliever Wade Davis take the mound, with all of the endless close-ups that the network cameras like to do, I thought I was seeing Van Gogh up there pitching against the Giants. I wonder if Davis likes to paint …?

Wade Davis, pitcher for the Royals, reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh


A Halloween prop reveals some historical references

October 28th, 2014

I saw the Halloween prop gravestone, below left, and had a laugh at the idea of a “Last Stop Cemetery.” But the image of the skull perched above the wings struck a visual memory, and it had me walking home wondering if my hunch that this was a historically accurate reference was correct.

What triggered the recognition of this symbol was the accidental discovery two years ago of a Revolutionary War-era cemetery right in plain view of every day life in the middle of Orange, NJ. It was a walled-in church on the corner of Main Street that I was driving by almost every day to take my son to summer camp, and one day I pulled over to take a look, and found a graveyard filled with tombstones from the mid-to-late 1700’s, including many who were noted as fighting in the Revolutionary War. As you can see, however, this poor chap Stephen Cundia actually died before the Revolutionary War began, but it’s still quite an amazing artifact to see some 249 years later.

But back to my original point about the skull and wings – as you can see from this example from 1765, it was something used long before anyone started making Halloween props, and there were many more just like this one spread throughout this cemetery in Orange. So, I’ll tip my hat to the Halloween prop-maker for at least throwing in some historical accuracy in his “Last Stop” tombstone.

comparing a Halloween prop to a real gravestone from 1765


If Jackson Pollock had listened to Mother Nature

October 28th, 2014

We know that Jackson Pollock favored a color palette with blacks, whites, and grays or silvers, but on occasion he did add some brighter or warmer colors, as we can see here below in Convergence, from 1952. But scroll down and check out the color palette given us by Mother Nature today … can you imagine a Pollock drip painting exploding with oranges and reds like this photograph?

Speaking of Pollock’s Convergence, have you seen our blog post where we found a man inside of Convergence? Check it out here.

Jackson Pollock Convergence next to fall foliage colors


The Fine Art of Hiding One’s Face

October 23rd, 2014

In the short course of reading some news online, I came across these two interesting photographs, both of which have the subjects hiding their faces with some art … it seemed like an unlikely coincidence to happen upon these images within just a few minutes of each other, but I like them both on their own as well as together.

On the left, we have a photograph of a young Honduran migrant who didn’t want to reveal his face, hiding behind a painting he found in a guard shack, while waiting with a group of migrants for a northbound train in Mexico. This photograph was taken by Rebecca Blackwell, who works for the Associated Press.

On the right, we have a photograph of the artist Hans Haacke, taken by Misha Friedman. Haacke is known to have often resisted allowing his face to be photographed, because he says that artists are too often fetishized as personalities. I find that a bit curious, because doesn’t the act of always hiding his face add a sense of mystery to his personality?

a Honduran migrant worker and the artist Hans Haacke


The Arts Adventurer in the Hanging Gardens of Montparnasse

October 22nd, 2014

While my journey to Paris via The Arts Adventurer took place nearly two years ago, I kind of ran out of steam in the effort to tell the full story and cover all of the adventures. But seeing as my wife will soon be leaving for Paris on a business trip next month, it rekindled my memories and my urge to complete the story … so I’ve just posted Chapter 6: The Hanging Gardens of Montparnasse. I’ll try my best to not let too much time go by again before moving on and adding the following chapters, since it was my exploration of Montmartre after Montparnasse where it really started to get pretty interesting. But for now, check out Jardin Atlantique, known as “The Hanging Gardens,” a preview of which below will not exactly explain why they’re “hanging gardens” (for that, you need to read the post!).

The Hanging Gardens of Montparnasse as explored by The Arts Adventurer


The Gallery Insider: Tam Van Tran

October 21st, 2014

We’re still in the process of moving over our “Gallery Insider” series to the website, and have just posted our coverage of Tam Van Tran’s exhibition last year at the Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe Gallery in New York City. If you’re not familiar with our Gallery Insider series, we visit contemporary art gallery exhibitions in New York and come away with highlights of the exhibition along with essential questions related to the show that teachers can utilize with their classes. It’s a great way to take a break from discussing art concepts only in the context of art history and instead cover those concepts with contemporary art.

You can get an overview of our Gallery Insider series here, and please check back, as we have several more already completed that we will soon add to the site, and of course we’ll continue with new coverage of current shows happening in New York City this fall.

art works by Tam Van Tran


Lamp For Haiti: 2nd Annual Evening of Art, Culture, and Fun

October 21st, 2014

Lamp for Haiti is a non-governmental, non-sectarian organiation providing health care and community support to residents in Cite Soleil, a community of over 200,000 living in poverty in Haiti. They will be hosting their 2nd annual Evening of Art, Culture and Fun on Friday, November 7th, 2014, at The Commonwealth Club in Upper Montclair, NJ. The evening will include food and drink, Haitian music, and an art show and sale, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to projects in Haiti.

Some of the projects that have been recently completed, as you can see below, are the acquisition of an X-ray machine and a 2-room addition to the Health Care Center. Lamp for Haiti works with local residents, other Haitian professionals, and both governmental and nongovernmental partners. For more information on Lamp for Haiti and this upcoming event, visit their website here.

Lamp for Haiti is a non-profit assisting in health care for Haitians in poverty


Picasso’s studio at the Bateau Lavoir, birthplace of Cubism

October 21st, 2014

While our sister site The Arts Adventurer has been around for a few years, the most popular “adventure” viewed on a regular basis is our trip to Paris in the fall of 2012, and in particular, our search for the birthplace of Cubism. This “birthplace,” of course, was the studio of Pablo Picasso at the Bateau Lavoir, a building which once housed a piano factory and had been turned into artists’ studios by the landlord in 1889 (Picasso didin’t move in until 1904). Today, one can visit this area, but the actual studio is not open to the public; there‚Äôs a small storefront with a plaque noting the history of the building. And as you can see from the picture below left, the entrance to the hallway where one could find Picasso’s studio over a hundred years ago is very bland and simple and offers no real insight as to the creative endeavors that once went on inside.

To see more of our current-day explorations of this area in Montmartre and some more history that we dug up regarding Picasso’s time there, check out our visit to Le Bateau Lavoir here.

Picasso's studio, birthplace of cubism, Le Bateau Lavoir in Montmartre


Robert Smithson Spiral Jetty board game

October 19th, 2014

Check out our new Robert Smithson “Spiral Jetty” game, where two players can race each other out to the end of the Spiral Jetty and back … it’s one of Artsology’s “print-and-play” games, in which you can print out a PDF with the game and instructions which can be played with a dice and two pieces, like a regular board game. Click the link above to go to our web page with an intro to the game along with a link to the PDF, or just click the image below to go directly to the printable PDF.

Robert Smithson Spiral Jetty arts game for kids

Click the image to get the printable PDF board game.


Vincent Van Gogh at Artsology Artsology offers free online games about the arts, and delivers investigations into topics in the visual arts, music, and literature. Artsology is a good resource for fun learning about the arts for people of all ages and is enjoyed by students, homeschoolers, and adults. Follow us on Twitter or become a fan of our Facebook page. Pablo Picasso paintings at Artsology

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