Not going far with this luggage – urban archeology in Brooklyn

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

I was walking around East Williamsburg and in the direction of Bushwick in Brooklyn yesterday when I happened upon this scene on Morgan Avenue. I found this suitcase filled with rubble alongside the railroad tracks … I don’t know, I’m sure it was just someone’s garbage (as there was plenty of that around), it just seemed odd that the rubble was somewhat neatly packed inside the suitcase.

suitcase filled with rubble on Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn

You can get a better sense of the area where I found this with the picture below. The suitcase was found on the right side underneath the trees. The idea of luggage left behind on the side of the railroad tracks lends itself to some creative fiction …

Morgan Avenue train tracks in East Williamsburg Brooklyn

Captain America as window guard spokesman

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art in Advertising, Comic Book Art, Murals, Photo of the day, Street Art

As I was wandering around East Williamsburg in Brooklyn today, I saw this building for American Architectural Windows, which has been manufacturing, supplying and installing aluminum fenestration products to the U.S. building industry since 1983. It only makes sense, then, that they utilize Captain America as their unofficial (visual) spokesman, with his shield in one hand and a Sentry window guard in the other.

The art is by HOPS1 Bklyn, who does illustration, portraits, comic art, murals and graffiti art.

Captain America mural by HOPS1 Bklyn in Bushwick

Finding a Van Gogh painting on the curbside in Bushwick

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Found art, Historical Figures in Art, Making an art history comparison, Photo of the day

I went out to Bushwick in Brooklyn today to look around and check out all of the street art … but within a minute or two of parking my car, before I really got started exploring, I happened upon this Van Gogh painting (or rather, a well-done replica) sitting on the curbside. It was a very good copy of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Joseph Roulin,” from 1889 … as I stepped closer, it looked like a real oil on canvas, and not any sort of mass-produced print, and if you compare it to the real painting (scroll down to see it, below left), it’s a pretty convincing match.

a replica Van Gogh painting sitting on the curb in Bushwick, Brooklyn

In fact, Van Gogh painted 6 different portraits of his friend the Postman Joseph Roulin. We’ve got the matched-up version below left, from 1889; below right is another Van Gogh portrait of Roulin from the year before, in 1888.

Two portraits of the Postman Joseph Roulin by Vincent Van Gogh

In addition to painting 6 portraits of Joseph Roulin, Van Gogh also painted Roulin’s wife Augustine and their three children: Armand, Camille and Marcelle. You can see Van Gogh’s portraits of the Roulin Family here.

Holzer-like messages on the sidewalks

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

Are you familiar with the artist Jenny Holzer? She is a conceptual artist with the main focus of her work being the presentation of words and ideas in public spaces. Some of her earliest (and best known) works are her “Truisms,” three of which are included below.

Examples of Jenny Holzer Truisms

Lately, as I’ve been walking my dogs along my usual route, I’ve been seeing a series of messages scrawled on the sidewalks near the Glen Ridge train station. They’re always written in chalk, and they’re usually consisting of uplifting and positive messages. So, in that sense, they’re not truly Holzer-like as far as stating any sort of “truism,” but I like the public nature of them, encouraging anyone walking by to think positive thoughts. Below are a few of the latest messages by our unknown-and-mysterious chalk writer. (if you have any tips on who the author might be, please share in the comments below)

positive chalk messages written on Glen Ridge sidewalks

Artists on an island

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Art project, Videos

Here’s an interesting video about two artists – Catherine King and Wayne Adams – who live on their own self-made island/complex, which is completely off the grid and floating off the coast of Vancouver Island. They’ve named the complex “Freedom Cove,” and it includes their home, a lighthouse, a dance floor, an art studio, and four greenhouses, where they grow most of their food (they fish the local waters as well). It’s pretty amazing to see what they’ve built here … but they never really show much of the art that either artist makes … so watch the video first, then scroll down to see some of their art which I’ve found in order to help give a bigger picture of this couple.

It’s actually quite hard to find much of their art online; King is described as a retired ballerina, carver, and sometimes painter, and Adams is described as a sculptor who carves pieces from legal ivory. Below are a few ivory pieces that I could definitely attribute to Adams; everything else I find on these two artists is only the story about their home. One could say it’s an art project in its own right!

legal ivory carvings and sculptures by Wayne Adams

New Gallery Insider with Ron Mueck

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Artist Spotlight, Contemporary Art, Sculpture

Our latest “Gallery Insider” features hyper-realist sculptor Ron Mueck and his recent self-titled exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Click on the link above (or the picture below) to see highlights from the exhibition, and for teachers (or homeschoolers) looking for materials to use in teaching contemporary art, check out the feature’s essential questions and topics for discussion which you can use in the classroom.

Click here to see all of our Gallery Insider features.

Gallery Insider featuring sculptor Ron Mueck

Public art featuring a giant beard meant for climbing

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Historical Figures in Art, Products we'd like to see, Sculpture

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, social scientist, journalist, and businessman who worked with Karl Marx in developing Marxist theory. He’s also the inspiration for a giant 16 foot-tall sculpture of his head (and significant beard) meant for climbing, located at the University of Salford in Manchester, England.

climbing sculpture featuring the beard of Friedrich Engels

The sculpture was conceived and created by “Engine,” an arts production company based in Manchester. It features a climbing wall on the front (pictured above), a viewing platform at the top, and stairs on the rear side (pictured below). Jai Redman, an artist and director at Engine, stated that the sculpture is “… a metaphor for how it is an effort and a struggle to pull ourselves out of ignorance.” It also looks like a fun, interactive piece of public art!

Friedrich Engels interactive beard climbing sculpture in Manchester

An artistic confrontation as opposed to a dialogue

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Museum exhibitions, Art project, Artist Spotlight, Making an art history comparison, Videos

I heard about an interesting show that took place at the Museum Berggruen in Berlin titled “Confrontation,” which took place from November 2016 through May 1st, 2017. The show featured work by George Condo set alongside work from the museum’s collection, including works by Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti, among others.

I especially like Condo’s explanation for the show title:

It’s about putting things together and seeing how they react to one another … I could have a dialogue every day with the lady down the street who’s selling cupcakes. But if I say to the cupcake lady, ‘Something is wrong with the frosting. Why is it blue?’ – suddenly we’re having more of a confrontation. And then it’s memorable!

Here’s a couple pairings: far left: George Condo’s “Windswept Figure,” 2007; Pablo Picasso’s “Dora Maar With Green Fingernails,” 1936; George Condo’s “The Chinese Woman,” 2001; and an undated African reliquary figure.

Art works in the exhibition Confrontation featuring George Condo

Here’s a video about the exhibition – it gives many more views of the works in the show, along with commentary by Condo and others. It gets a little tricky to follow because the subtitles jump back and forth between English and German, depending on who is talking, but it still affords a good look at the show.

The mysterious hula skirts and bagel guys

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

I saw this unusual street art on an electrical box near the parking lot for MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts … it doesn’t make much sense, with two bare-chested guys pushing what appears to be a 5-foot tall bagel into a paper bag. It might make sense if it was for a local bagel joint, but there’s no words or company name on it. Does anyone know what this is?

men in hula skirts pushing a bagel