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Experiencing the Alps in my attic office

January 3rd, 2014

Check out the photograph below … it reminds me of some of the monumental photographs of the Alps as taken by the Italian photographer Olivo Barbieri (2nd row, below left), which I saw at the Yancy Richardson Gallery in NYC a couple months ago. Truth is, it’s simply a cropped photograph of the snow-covered view out of the skylight in my attic office, which you can see in the original view, 2nd row, below right. It’s fun to play with perception based on photographic cropping …

photograph of the snow on my skylight window

photography at left by the Italian photographer Olivo Barbieri


If Brice Marden were a graffiti artist …

January 3rd, 2014

If Brice Marden decided to do graffiti, do you think he would come up with something like the street art pictured below left? Graffiti by unknown artist as seen at 5 Pointz in Long Island City last year, alongside an oil on canvas painting by Brice Marden, below right.

finding similarities between graffiti and a painting by Brice Marden


Finding beauty via composition after devastation

January 3rd, 2014

I saw this photo by Sergey Ponomarev on the cover of the New York Times this past Sunday, and it really struck me as a beautiful picture … it depicts a boy standing on a swing, but he’s on Samar Island in the Philippines, only days after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the area. I think it’s the composition and color that makes it a really strong picture; the deep blue of the cloud-filled sky contrasted with the dark silhouettes of the trees and this centrally-located playful boy. The painter in me is tempted to try to use this image as inspiration to make a painting with a similar composition.

photo of post-typhoon damage on Samar Island by Sergey Ponomarev

I think the other reason why I really like this image is because it reminds me of several paintings by Eric Fischl. As you can see in the 4 paintings below, he also often has a figure with a strong vertical presence in front of a deep blue sky or the ocean. Granted, I’m probably a bit biased about finding a connection to Eric Fischl right now because I’m reading his new biography, “Bad Boy,” which has been pretty good so far. If you have any interest in Fischl and other 80’s painters such as Julian Schnabel, Ross Bleckner, David Salle, and the 1980’s art world, it’s a good read.

comparing Eric Fischl paintings to a photograph in the NY Times


Split Rocker Snow Globe by Jeff Koons

January 2nd, 2014

Forget the million dollar sculptures and paintings and let’s bring things back to earth … how would you like to add a Jeff Koons to your art collection for a mere $350? Yes, indeed, it’s truly possible if you have a thing for snow globes. Jeff Koons has taken a break from high art in order to bring his art to the masses with this new piece … no word yet on whether it’s a limited edition or not, but it’s taking his monumental Split Rocker flower piece and shrinking it down to something that fits inside of a small plastic ball. Oh Jeff, what will you think of next?

Split Rocker Snow Globe by Jeff Koons


Edvard Munch is Screaming out of a Tuba

January 1st, 2014

As I was wandering through Hunt & Gather, an antiques store in Minneapolis, I noticed a small figure protruding from the bell of a tuba … and who should it be? None other than an inflatible “Scream” figure, based on Edvard Munch’s famous painting. Poor Munch, he never had any idea his painting would spawn everything from dresses to sushi rolls.

inflatible Munch Scream figure inside a tuba at Hunt & Gather in Minneapolis


Pop art and perfume at the Newark Airport

January 1st, 2014

When we went home for the holidays, we flew out of the Newark Airport. While waiting for our plane to begin boarding, I noticed a big picture window for a fragrance store, and these two items caught my attention: a Ralph Lauren Polo fragrance that had the boxes colored in bright, multi-color combinations … while these color schemes and the images were not made by Andy Warhol, they certainly mimic the look of some of his work, where he would use the same motif several times on the same canvas but with different colors. And at right we have some sort of perfume container with Keith Haring drawings on the top … I don’t have any interest in the perfume or cologne, but I wouldn’t mind having that Haring vessel to place on a shelf.

Ralph Lauren Polo perfume boxes in the style of Andy Warhol, and perfume bottle with Keith Haring drawing


The Bad Plus in concert

December 31st, 2013

Over the holiday break I had a chance to see The Bad Plus in concert at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. It was a very enjoyable show, they played a number of their classics as well as a group of new material … my only complaint was that I wish the set went longer than 70 minutes as I didn’t want the gig to end!

If you’re in the mood for jazz and are in NYC, skip the mayhem at Times Square tonight and go see The Bad Plus at the Village Vanguard, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the show is already sold out. But they continue to play nightly gigs at the Vanguard though January 5th, and then move on for a 4 night run in St. Louis. To check their upcoming schedule, visit their website here.

And if you want to know what the kids think about The Bad Plus, check out this cartoon here.

jazz trio The Bad Plus at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Minneapolis

The Bad Plus are (from left): Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass, and David King on drums


The Face Transformer Tool

December 20th, 2013

I happened upon a nifty little online tool, called the “Face Transformer,” which was created by the computer science department at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. Using this tool, you can upload a picture of a person’s face and transform it … you can change the person’s ethnicity, see how they might look as a baby, and many other tricks. So we decided to use their “Modigliani” transformation and see what Julia Roberts might have looked like if Modigiliani had painted her. What do you think? Then we decided to see what would happen if Miley Cyrus was transformed into a half-woman-half-chimp … scroll down to take a look at that one!

The Face Transformer Tool with actress Julia Roberts turned into a Modigliani

using a face transformer tool to change Miley Cyrus into a half chimp


Modigliani – or Akhenaton – in Madison Avenue store window

December 20th, 2013

There’s a store on Madison Avenue in NYC (near 90th Street, I think it was), which seems to like their mannequins look like characters out of a Modigiliani painting. We saw one there last March (see this comparison), and happened upon this one, below, just this past weekend. Although now that I’m looking at a comparison again, I’m wondering if she looks more like a Modigliani, or like King Akheneton? Maybe she’s the offspring of a Modigliani-Akhenaten union?

does the mannequin look like Modigliani or King Akhenaten


A puddle reminds me of a Matisse cutout figure

December 19th, 2013

As I was walking the dogs today, a small puddle on the slate sidewalk caught my attention … I thought it looked like a Matisse cutout, which you can see examples of below, flanking both sides of my discovery. What do you think? Can you see the joyful head rearing back, the left arm overhead, the right arm hanging down by the right knee, and the two legs kicking back?

It’s not the first time I’ve seen funny things on the slate sidewalks of Glen Ridge, NJ … I once found a group of “Rorschach Art” works … another time I found a Takashi Murakami head … another time I saw an Adolf Gottlieb made out of bubble gum … and last but not least, a Hokusai Wave on the sidewalk. I never realized that just walking the dogs around the neighborhood would reveal so much art!

a puddle on the slate sidewalk looks like a Matisse cutout figure


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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