Using bacteria, ants, and scents in the making of art

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Artist Methods, Artist Spotlight, Videos

I happened upon this interesting video about Anicka Yi, who was the winner of the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize. In this clip, she discusses the materials in her installations – in this case, three different art works where she has used cultivated bacteria, ant colonies, and a custom scent. One comment that stood out as striking to me was this: she said that ants “… are the only species other than humans that practice slavery.” Watch more here:

Dining with artist plates

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Ceramics, Products we'd like to see

There seems to be more and more gallery-level fine art getting licensed for use on tableware … here’s a selection of interesting art plates that you could buy for your dining room table this holiday season.

Starting front and center, and then moving clockwise around the left: Jeff Koons “Banality Series” by Bernardaud; two different plates by Kehinde Wiley for his “Plate Set” at Artware Editions; René Magritte “The School Master,” from Artware Editions; Louise Bourgeois “Red Dots Plate” from the MoMA Design Store; Andy Warhol “Skull Plate,” also from the MoMA Design Store; Jean-Michel Basquiat “Venta Total Plate” from the Gagosian Shop; and finally, Alex Katz “Jessica Plate,” from the Whitney Shop.

table setting with artist plates featuring fine art

“Lost” Rodin moves to Philadelphia

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Historical Figures in Art, Sculpture

We reported recently on a long-lost Rodin sculpture of Napoleon which was identified by a Drew University art history student while taking inventory at the Madison (NJ) Borough Hall. Once they realized what a valuable item they had on their hands, and without the insurance needed to cover it, they sent it out on loan.

Well, it’s now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as you can see in the pictures below. But the museum provides some information which is news to me: while it is indeed a “Rodin sculpture,” the way that the Philadelphia Museum credits it is this: “modeled in clay, 1904,” presumably by Rodin, but “carved by Alfred Jean Halou … (and) Ernest Nivet.” I guess this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, since many significant artists throughout art history have had studio assistants, but for some reason – perhaps naively – I just assumed Rodin carved his own sculptures. Certainly the modeling of the form involved Rodin’s artistic genius, but there’s part of me that feels like he didn’t put in the hard work to sculpt it, and isn’t that part of the definition of being a “sculptor?” If you have thoughts on this, please share in the comments section below.

Long lost Napoleon bust by Rodin found in Madison NJ

SuperPutin and MegaDon

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

I saw in the New York Times today that there’s an exhibition in Moscow titled “SuperPutin.” I can’t find a website for the museum* where it’s taking place (the “Ultra Modern Art Museum,” also known as UMAM), which seems hard to believe … as I was hoping to see more images from the show. Various news sources show some of the paintings, but I wish I could see all of them, because they seem pretty absurd. For example, check out this “SuperPutin” painting, where he appears to be holding a huge Nerf gun called a “Putin Blaster.” I thought it might be fun to imagine what Donald Trump might do to one-up Putin with his own commissioned painting with a Nerf Gun … so we’ve conceptualized this “Mega Don” version for the upcoming “Super Trump” show.

*Editor’s note – I finally found the site: UMAM

Super Putin and Mega Don

Alive in Shape and Color

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art books, Art News, Book covers

I just heard about a new book that came out called “Alive in Shape and Color,” edited by American crime writer Lawrence Block. The concept is basically the same as our Fictionalize series, where we provide visually unusual art works to act as a starting point for writing short stories. In the case of Block’s new book, he has selected 17 paintings and invited 16 fellow writers to join him in using these images as inspiration for short stories.

Some of the artworks selected include (clockwise, from top middle:) Paul Gauguin’s “Girl with a Fan,” Hieronymus Bosch’s 3rd panel from “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Bouquet of Chrysanthemums,” and Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” among others. To learn more, or to buy the book, click here.

Alive in Shape and Color, edited by Lawrence Block

Art sneakers by Warren Lotas

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Artist Spotlight, Products we'd like to see

I was reading “A Fashion Guide for Miami Art Week” in the NY Times, and one of the artists mentioned was Warren Lotas, who described himself as “a designer slash artist for the Everyman.” I was curious to learn more, and from what I’ve gathered, he’s a 20-something artist who started painting and drawing on clothes and shoes, and has launched a fashion line. I was especially intrigued by his customized Nike sneakers, many of which are one-of-a-kinds. Here’s 4 pairs of Warren Lotas sneakers, below. To see more of his fashion designs, check out his Instagram feed or his shop at Grailed.

custom art sneakers by Warren Lotas

The Museum of Contemporary American Teenagers

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art Museum exhibitions, Art News, Art project

I received an e-mail from my sister this morning, telling me that her daughter’s high school, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (in Bethesda, Maryland), has a new project: a “pop-up museum” called “The Museum of Contemporary American Teenagers.” The pop-up location is an empty shell of a former suburban restaurant, and the project is meant to explain teen life and culture, including its stresses, stereotypes, struggles, humor and hopes.

The museum will open December 7th, and will be accessible on select days over a 10 day period (December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16). The museum will include approximately 30 exhibits, 150 ceramic selfie sculptures, expansive wall murals and a stage for performances.

You can learn more at the MoCAT website or via coverage here in yesterday’s Washington Post.

Museum of American Teenagers in Bethesda Maryland

Typewriters, 35mm Film Cameras, and Donkeys: Slivovitz does it all

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music, Videos

I received an e-mail from JazzNearYou with a promo for a “1-man label” called “MoonJune.” Considering that Artsology is a 1-man operation, I’m always interested in 1-man (or 1-woman) operations of just about any kind.

I like the description of what MoonJune aims to be: “progressive music exploring boundaries of jazz, rock, ethno, avant, and the unknown.” So I start looking around the website, and randomly click on an image link for one of their recording artists, a band called Slivovitz, and the first thing that grabs my attention is that all of their album covers have donkeys on them! Check it out:

slivovitz album covers featuring donkeys, from MoonJune Records

So now I’m curious to hear how these guys sound, and I happen upon this video (posted below). Between the album covers and the interesting video, this band clearly cares about visual art in addition to music. The video concept is by Daniele Rosselli, an Italian visual artist whose forms range from video art and video to photography, from directing to light installations, performances and design. I like the fact that a jazz band’s music video is not just a recording of them performing, but rather an elaborate visual feast put forth by Rosselli, which includes typewriters, 35mm film cameras, a hard-to-follow plot line through New York City, and a man swimming in a shirt-and-tie who ends up washed up on a beach.

The good news is, Slivovitz is on Spotify, so I’m getting a good feel for the music – love it!

Dogs in Paintings at the Louvre

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art History

Check out our new arts investigation into paintings of dogs at the Louvre. It’s interesting to see how many painters over history have placed dogs in prominent positions in their paintings. Take for example this painting by Peter Paul Rubens titled “The Coronation of Marie de Medici,” 1621–25, which is in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. How likely is it that there were really two dogs sitting front and center in the midst of this big crowd watching Marie de Medici get the crown placed on her head? The truth is, placement of dogs in paintings like this are often meant to symbolize loyalty, protection, and faithfulness, as opposed to being a realistic recording of dogs being present in the actual events.

On a side note, this painting is one of 24 that Marie de Medici commissioned Peter Paul Rubens to paint in 1621, with the instructions that the series depict Marie’s own struggles and triumphs in life, along with portraits of herself and her parents.

You can click on the link above or on the image below to see more dogs in paintings at the Louvre.

Coronation of Marie de Medici by Peter Paul Rubens at the Louvre