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"Writing a book is an adventure." - Winston Churchill

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Iconic Trees

July 5th, 2015

I was in Minnesota recently, visiting family, and took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Minneapolis Art Institute. One of their exhibitions was “American Modernism: Selections from the Kunin Collection,” featuring approximately 80 paintings from the art collection of Minneapolis businessman Myron Kunin. I liked how both Kunin collected paintings that fit well together, as well as the way the curators played off of those connections in hanging the show. One room showed these two tree paintings: at left, “Banyan Tree,” 1938, by Joseph Stella, and at right, “Chestnut Tree – Grey,” 1924, by Georgia O’Keeffe.

By coincidence, the day before I went to the Art Institute, I bought some vintage photographs from an antiques store, and was drawn to the unusual tree in the photograph in the center. It’s just a random photograph, by an unknown photographer, and it was sitting in a pile of other random vintage pictures. I picked out and bought a handful of photographs that grabbed my attention, as I’m building a collection of small vintage prints by anonymous photographers. The next day after I saw these two tree paintings from the Kunin show, I went back and pulled out my tree photograph to compare the images. As I look at these three tree images together, I see that they’re similar in the way that they focus on the trunk and do not show the whole tree. Granted, some anonymous photographer doesn’t exactly match up reputation-wise to Stella and O’Keeffe, but I like the way they all fit together.

paintings by Joseph Stella and Georgia O'Keeffe

 

Happy July 4th!

July 4th, 2015

Happy July 4th! We’re down in Sandbridge, VA, where we had an arts adventure a few years ago, and we’re enjoying some local small-scale fireworks on the beach. We hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday! Here’s a Bernd and Hilla Becher-style montage of some of tonight’s fireworks.

Sandbridge, VA

 

An homage to the Post-it note?

June 25th, 2015

It could be … but it’s actually titled “Off the beaten path and other miscommunications,” by Jules de Balincourt, a French-born painter who now lives in Brooklyn. I like this painting, it’s almost a quirky take on the paintings of Hans Hoffman. To see more of de Balincourt’s art, check out his website here.

painting by Jules de Balincourt

 

Art collector scam

June 23rd, 2015

I received an inquiry the other day, asking about buying art from Artsology. The inquiry said:

“Am interested in purchasing some pieces of artwork as I’m in the process of moving to Italy to expand my business field. I just bought a house in Milan, Italy and I’m interested in collecting an artwork for a space within my house for beautification. May I look through your website so as to pinpoint my choice, request for a quote and more information?”

I’ll admit, some of the language seemed a bit suspicious: “moving to expand my business field?” “Collecting an artwork … for beautification.” I wanted to think that maybe it was just an awkward attempt to write a thought in English when his natural language was Italian, so I went along with it. But then again, looking through Artsology to “pinpoint a choice of art” to buy, that doesn’t make much sense either, because a lot of the art works I show here are art historical pieces for arts education purposes.

But, I’m always happy to sell some art, so I pointed him in the direction of some art that is available for sale. He mentioned several that caught his interest, but then asked to see some more, at which point he mentioned that he wanted to buy four pieces. The exchanges were a bit awkward, but I was hoping to sell some art, so I continued to go along with it.

But then he slipped up, or rather, finally revealed himself to be a fake. He told me to contact a shipping company via an e-mail address that pointed to a website and a business that doesn’t exist. He also gave me the “shipping address” where he wanted the art sent. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to do a Google maps search for any address, and while the address initially showed up in search results, I think it was catching the street name and not the specific address. I went to Google maps “street view” to look around, and found that the street in question is only 3 blocks long. I was given the street address of #32, but as I “wandered” via street view, I saw that it started with street address #1, and hits a dead end 3 blocks later at #17. No #32 to be found. But I did find something interesting at the dead end of #17 … this graffiti, “vita mia ti amo alla follia,” which translates to “my life, I love you madly.”

I’m a bit bummed out that the sale of some paintings will not take place, and I won’t be able to make the claim that my art is being exhibited privately in Milan … but I can have a laugh at the message given to me at the end of the line of this little mystery.

vita mia ti amo alla follia

 

A local Legoland takes shape

June 19th, 2015

If you aren’t in the know, the picture below could be a bit confusing … someone’s front yard is filled with oversized Lego pieces? What’s going on here?

The Glen Ridge (NJ) High School has an annual tradition called “Project Graduation,” in which the seniors vote on a theme for their graduation party, generally hosted by a family in town. It’s an opportunity for the graduating class to celebrate in an alcohol- and drug-free atmosphere, filled with games and other activities that last thoughout the night.

At any rate, it was an unexpected visual sight to walk down the street and happen upon this scene!

Glen Ridge Lego graduation party

 

Graffiti and street art found on the Lower East Side

June 19th, 2015

I took this picture of an art-covered wall on the Lower East Side of NYC … and when I see it cropped like this, I wish it could somehow be transferred to a canvas … I’d love to hang something like this in my home!

graffiti found on the lower east side of Manhattan

 

Love and Street Art in DUMBO

June 18th, 2015

I happened upon this scene of love and street art in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn … except it wasn’t just a random act of canoodling, as they had a photographer taking shots of them from across the street. Now that I think of it, I wish I had gotten their photographer in the picture too, like I did with the Eiffel Tower jump-posers in Paris

posing for a picture in front of Brooklyn Street Art

 

Is Jeremy Lin quoting a little art history?

June 15th, 2015

I happened upon Jeremy Lin’s Instagram feed today, and noticed this picture of him taking a huge leap from a building, below left. He says there’s no Photoshop at play, but that a “magician doesn’t reveal his secrets.” There must be some trick at play, because no professional basketball player (or logical adult, for that matter) is going to take a leap like this and absorb the crushing blow to his knees and feet when he hits the concrete 15 feet below.

The first thought I had upon seeing this picture was, “Jeremy Lin is pulling an Yves Klein stunt!” Yves Klein was a French artist who was known for his paintings, but also had his photographer friend Harry Shunk take this photo of Klein leaping from a building (below right), which he titled “Leap into the Void,” from 1960. He looks like he’s on an inevitable path towards doing a belly flop and face plant onto the hard street below. But how did Klein really do it? There were two pictures taken – the first included a group of the artist’s friends holding a tarpaulin to catch him as he fell. The 2nd picture showed the same street but with no people. The two negatives were then printed together to create a seamless “documentary” photograph.

Do you think Jeremy Lin was actually referencing this picture? Or is it just a coincidence?

basketball player Jeremy Lin and French artist Yves Klein

 

Special order for the Giacometti people

June 11th, 2015

Did you ever stop to think how every aspect of life would be different if you had the body type of Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures? (pictured below right)

The artist Erwin Wurm may have been thinking of Giacometti when he created this super-thin toilet, which was included in a recent group exhibition at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, pictured below left. Perhaps Gabriel Orozco was also thinking of Giacometti when he created his modified Citroën, also posted below.

toilet sculpture by Erwin Wurm and sculpture by Alberto Giacometti

cut and reassembled car by Gabriel Orozco

 

Art for sad people

June 11th, 2015

Are you having a tough day and want some art that’s appropriate for your mood? Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve got two examples here of art that will reflect your sour feelings. We saw both of these pieces this past spring at the Independent Art Fair, and I wish I could tell you who the artists are, but the gallery dealers didn’t bother to put names or informational labels on the wall. It was a little frustrating and not very logical that art dealers would try to sell art but not tell you anything about it, not even the artist’s name. Cookie Monster didn’t like it either.

depressing and sad art work

 

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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