New York, 2012: we’re faced with worries about hurricanes and nor’easters affecting the big city. Flash back to New York, 1958: forget the weather, we’ve got an evil colossus robot ready to wreak havoc on New York, or in the case of the movie poster at left, an angry giant baby running around in his underwear, grabbing women and taking on tanks and jet fighters.
These posters are part of a collection being offered for sale on December 18th at Swann Auction Galleries, which bears the title “Monsters & Maidens: A Film Poster Collection.” The collection features approximately 150 posters, all sharing the common “monsters and maidens” theme – a beautiful, “damsel in distress” in the clutches of the film’s villain. Images range from promotions of A-list classic films like Dracula and Frankenstein to posters for B movies and beyond. You can see the full catalog here.
I opened up my new issue of Fast Company magazine to find the following Rolex ad, below left. I guess as either a reflection of my age, or my lack of interest in light pop music, my first thought upon seeing this ad was “why is Rolex featuring a hip-looking Donny Osmond?” Then I realized it wasn’t Donny at all, but rather Michael Bublé. Oh well, sorry guys. Although I’m not so sure I’m interested in a Bublé-promoted Rolex any more than I am a Donny Osmond-promoted Rolex. On to the next page …
I was partaking in my daily habit of checking web traffic stats for both Artsology and my other site The Arts Adventurer, when I noticed something strange with The Arts Adventurer. It seems that multiple people were finding the site by searching for the phrase “insides of Picasso.” My first thought was, “that’s really bizarre, who would look for that?” The only thing on the site that I thought might match that search phrase is my story about Le Bateau Lavoir, Picasso’s studio in Paris where he invented cubism. I mention that the exterior is pretty plain-looking, which lies in contrast to what went on “inside,” which was the invention of cubism. I guess that must be how it matched up with the search phrase. At any rate, I was curious to see what came up when I did my own Google search for “insides of Picasso,” and I came up with something quite different:
It seems that the ad agency DDB Brazil created a poster series that suggests what famous artists have inside of them is what makes them unique. In the ad campaign for MASP art school (“MASP” being the Museu de Arte de São Paulo), it shows the organs of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh, each one painted in a style which mimics their respective individual art styles, with the implied message that artistic talent truly does come from within.
I also thought it was interesting that they chose the same three artists – Picasso, Van Gogh, and Dali – that I chose for Artsology’s own “Dali, Picasso, and Van Gogh Match Game” – you can play it here. You can also scroll down to see the insides of Dali and Van Gogh, as presented by DDB Brazil.
I’ve heard about a very interesting project: Chicago artist Andrew Fishman is trying to send a message to Washington. If Congress can’t work together, America will be stuck in one place while the world moves on without it. His reference point is a short story by Dr. Seuss called The Zax. In it, a North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax bump into one another. Each Zax refuses to get out of the other’s way and both are hopelessly stuck in the same spot forever. Doesn’t that sound a little like the partisan bickering we hear about all the time these days? Here’s a selection from the book that seems to sum up politics these days perfectly, as the South-Going Zax says: “Never budge! That’s my rule. Never budge in the least! Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east! I’ll stay here, not budging! I can and I will, If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!”
Fishman wants to raise enough money to send every member of the U.S. Senate a copy of this book in the hopes of inspiring bipartisan cooperation. He is using a crowdfunding website called Indiegogo to raise funds. If he raises enough money, he plans to send the House of Representatives copies too. For more information, visit his fundraising page here.
It is noted that Mr. Fishman is not affiliated with the Dr. Seuss Foundation, this is just his own personal message that he would like to send. To learn more about Fishman and to see his art portfolio, check out his website here.
I saw something on Facebook last night, and thought it was a great thing for someone to try to do, so I wanted to pass along the message here:
“This is a strange – but urgent request – directed to my friends, especially those who are musicians or those in the antiques business. I was just told that one of the little towns in New Jersey that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy (Union Beach) is desperately trying to put their music program back together quickly enough so that the kids can try to salvage their Winter Concert. Many of the kids lost their instruments in the storm, and they’re trying to patch together something. Here is the list of instruments they need:”
The post continues: “If you have an old one lying around your house or in your shop, I’d ask only that you consider donating it to this cause. I will attempt this until 5:00pm on Thursday (December 6), because if I get any instruments I’ll need to drive them down there, and I’d like to do that by Friday. I’m looking around my house, and I know for a fact that some of you have old horns and percussion just sitting and doing nothing. If you ever wanted your old instruments to make a difference, this is it. Any takers?”
If anyone out there would like to help with this situation, let us know and we’ll try to assist in facilitating the effort.
I’m used to thinking of a ride on the subway as simply a means of transportation, although I guess I could say that years ago, when I lived in NYC, there were multiple occasions where the subway was also the stage for some sort of performance, musical or otherwise. But as far as the appearance of a subway car, it’s not something that I tend to think about, as you can see by the relatively straight-forward appearances of a NYC subway car, below left, and a Washington D.C. metro car, below right.
So it came as a bit of a surprise when I was in Paris a couple weeks ago and stepped on a subway “metro” and found myself within a faux library, as seen below. I didn’t see any posted explanations of whether this was an art installation or what the purpose of this theme was, but it didn’t really matter, as it was kind of cool to just look around anyway. They even had trompe-l’oeil antiquities (with shadow effects – see below) sitting on a “shelf” for added visual interest. It was an interesting distraction from being in a tube underground, making one feel, temporarily, at least, like you are traveling in someone’s distinguished library – now if only I could pull one of those “books” off the shelf to take a look!
I’m not quite sure how it happens that one of my favorite jazz bands releases a new album two months ago and I just hear about it today! I was listening to The Bad Plus while doing some work, and suddenly thought to check their website to see where they are on tour now, in the hope that maybe they would be swinging my way sometime soon. That’s when I realized that they have a new album, “Made Possible,” which was released at the end of September. Without hesitation, I went over to the iTunes store and bought it, so I’m just starting to listen to it now. In the meantime, I can tell you that they’re on tour now, playing in Chicago later this month, followed by Minneapolis (their hometown – conveniently home for the holidays). It looks like I’m going to have to wait until April 2013 to catch them live, when they arrive in NYC to play the Allen Room, for their “Jazz at Lincoln Center” debut.
A couple other notes about The Bad Plus – I noticed on the website that drummer David King has his own publishing company with a unique, artsy name: “Franz Kline in the Dunk Tank Music .” I’d love to hear how that name came to be …! Also, if you’d like to get the viewpoint of a couple kids and their thoughts about The Bad Plus, check out Junior Bop and Lil’ Groove here.
A little over a year ago we received an unusual report about some sculptures by Manfred Keinhofer being “arrested” at St. Marks Square in Venice. Now we learn that there’s an edition of 25 mini Guardian sculptures that have been produced and are available from Keinhofer for a suggested price of 200 Euros. They are made with plastic, in various colors, approximately 20 inches tall, and can be illuminated from within. If you find the Guardians story to be interesting, then these mini versions are kind of cool … I like the idea of a Guardian sitting watch in the corner of my office.
There’s a couple stories at play here in this blog post. First off, the picture below shows that a neighbor of mine is very good about “taking lemons and making lemonade,” in that during Hurricane Sandy, a tree fell in his front yard, crushing his car, his roof, and his chimney. As he’s been dealing with all of this damage, he removed the smashed bricks that used to be his chimney from their scattered positions on his roof and placed them in a pile in his front yard. I just noticed today that he’s decorated this pile of bricks with Christmas lights! I can’t say I’ve ever seen a pile of debris decorated for Christmas, and I admire my neighbor’s resolve in that rather than dwell on the despair that one would expect when your house gets damaged, he’s decided to utilize his sense of humor and put lights on this pile of bricks.
Now the explanation for this post’s title and the second story: I mention Charlie Brown, because his famous Christmas special has him initially teased for having – and decorating – a pathetic little pine tree, below right. One would think that it can’t get any more pathetic than having a Christmas tree that looks like that, unless of course you don’t even have a tree and only a pile of bricks instead! The Carl Andre reference is related to the fact that he was a “minimalist” sculptor who sometimes used bricks in his work. My first exposure to the work of Carl Andre actually revolves around one of his brick sculptures, which I happened upon by accident. Years ago I used to work for an art gallery in SoHo, back when SoHo was actually the center of the NYC art world and it was filled with galleries. On my lunch break, I often walked down Spring Street to go find food as well as sneak in a few gallery shows. I often walked past a storefront on the corner of Spring and Mercer, which I later found out was the building where Donald Judd lived and had a studio. In the front window of that storefront was a stack of bricks, as you can see in the picture below left. I always wondered why Judd had a pile of bricks stacked up, until I later found out that it was a Carl Andre sculpture titled Manifest Destiny. It always cracked me up that a famous artist could stack some bricks into a tower and call it a sculpture, so whenever I see bricks, I think of Andre. And now the story comes full circle – my neighbor has what would probably be Carl Andre’s version of a Christmas tree.
It’s almost the weekend of a new month, which means that the Brooklyn Museum is having their Target First Saturdays, where thousands of visitors enjoy free programs of art and entertainment each month. One of the things that caught my attention is a trailer they’re previewing for a movie called Flex is Kings. It’s about a dance movement callled “flexing,” and the screening of the movie will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and a dance demonstration. Free tickets will be available at the Visitor Center starting at 5 p.m.
As intriguing as the trailer is, it didn’t give me enough of a feel for what exactly “flexing” is, so I went in search for more info, and found this fantastic video, below. The sound track of Black Sheep’s “The Choice is Yours” seems perfect, as the bass line builds up to the point where they really get going. – check it out!