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Life imitating Jeff Koons imitating life

December 2nd, 2013

I saw this angel figure holding the gazing ball on my dog walk today, and just had to pull a picture from Jeff Koons’ recent exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery titled “Gazing Ball.” The comparison brings up a number of interesting questions and ideas, such as:

  • What’s the difference between these two pieces? At least a million bucks (sources report that Koons’ sculptures at this show topped out at $3 million).
  • Is this another case of life imitating art (by Koons) which imitates simple objects in life?
  • If the homeowner took this angel and gazing ball inside, cleaned it up, and placed it on a pedestal, would it be like owning a Jeff Koons?

After seeing this comparison, it’s tempting to go out to a garden store and buy my own “Jeff Koons” and bring it inside … I like the idea of appropriating someone who appropriates someone else … would that make me an artist?

comparing someone's yard ornament against a Jeff Koons Gazing Ball sculpture


Who is this guy?

December 2nd, 2013

I saw this portrait on the stairwell going up to the offices at the Paula Cooper Gallery this past weekend … my first thought was, “is this a portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald?” I don’t know, what do you think when comparing the painting to a photograph? I went through the roster of artists on the Paula Cooper website, and didn’t see any examples of work that looked similar to this one, so I don’t know who the artist is. If anyone can help I.D. either the artist or the subject, let us know. At any rate, hanging the painting in the stairwell where he can glance down upon the viewer created a somewhat creepy effect … nice work there, art installer.

might this painting be a portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald?  Seen at the Paula Cooper Gallery


Post-Thanksgiving art gallery tour in Chelsea

November 30th, 2013

We took our family and holiday-visiting family guests into NYC today to go to some art galleries in Chelsea, and despite seeing some impressive shows by art world notables such as Richard Serra, Gary Hume, and Roni Horn, this is what my 11 year old liked best: “In pursuit of magic,” a stencil-and-spray-paint graffiti piece on a West 21st Street sidewalk. I like it too, but maybe not my true “favorite” piece of the day …

street art literally painted on the street


Copying Bernd and Hilla Becher to sell gazebos

November 29th, 2013

Are you familiar with the photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher? Bernd (who passed away in 2007) and his wife Hilla were artists who worked as a collaborative duo and were best known for their grid-based photographs of German architecture, including grain elevators, water towers, and other industrial buildings. An example of their work is shown below. So where do the gazebos fit in? Scroll down for more …

photography of grain elevators by Bernd and Hilla Becher

As far as the gazebos … I received an odd e-mail today, addressed to “Dear madam/sir,” and following with: “Good day! For the present, do you have any new plan to replenish your stock of gazebo or any outdoor furniture?” My first reaction was, “what obnoxious spam, why are they trying to sell gazebos to Artsology?” But when I scrolled down through the e-mail and came across the following picture, it made me laugh to think it’s like a Bernd and Hilla Becher presentation of gazebos … what’s art in some circles is e-mail spam in others, and vice versa.

Bernd and Hilla Becher inspired advertising picture


Thanksgiving Turkey, contemporary art-style version

November 28th, 2013

Don’t try eating this turkey for Thanksgiving! Mixed media sculpture by Rina Banerjee, titled “To trace blood, draw out birth place like bamacale and urchins, pioneers and refugees, these dusky races may fade us into empty lights forgotten,” 2013. Now that’s a mouthful! We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Mixed media sculpture by artist Rina Banerjee


Marilyn Monroe by David Mach

November 27th, 2013

Take a look at this portrait of Marilyn Monroe by artist David Mach. It looks like a typical portrait of Marilyn, not terribly different from a lot of other images of Marilyn that we’ve seen over the years.

But if you take a closer look, you’ll see that it is quite different … because the whole image has been made with colored pushpins!

Scroll down and see the close-up detail and you should be able to make out the round pin heads that make up the image.

For more on David Mach and his art, check out his website here.

a portrait of Marilyn Monroe made with colored pushpins

Portrait of Marilyn Monroe made with colored pushpins by David Mach


A new way of seeing: art by Natalie Frank

November 26th, 2013

The Montclair Art Museum is having an “Artist Talk” with Natalie Frank on December 11th at 7 p.m. I was not familiar with her work and decided to investigate, and came away quite fascinated with her paintings. But the back story behind her art is also very fascinating: a series of childhood eye surgeries had caused her to grow up receiving sensory input from only her left eye, but her brain somehow compensated for this and she believed she was perceiving the world no differently from anyone else. But then just a couple years ago, on a visit to an eye doctor, she was given a corrective prism on her glasses that gave her a whole new perception of depth in a way that those with normal vision take for granted. Frank says “I was looking at the corners of doors, and the edges of cabinets – I had never seen something recede or extend into space like that before.” Imagine the effect this would have on an artist!

You can see an example of the sense of depth in this painting below, titled “Praying in bed,” 2011. For more information on Natalie Frank’s art, check out her website here. To learn more about her artist talk or the Montclair Art Museum, check out their site here.

paintings by Natalie Frank, who will give an artist talk at the Montclair Art Museum in NJ


Take your foot off the gas

November 25th, 2013

Wherever you are on this Monday morning, hopefully you’re in a better position than the driver of this car … on what seems like an impossible perch in the Yorkshire Dales in northern England. I happened upon this photograph by Max Pam, titled Trabant in trouble, Yorkshire, 1991 in the 2013 Paris Photo catalog. Quite spectacular, don’t you think?

Max Pam is a contemporary Australian photographer, and Gary Dufour (who is the Chief Curator and Deputy Director at the Art Gallery of Western Australia) writes this about Pam: “Each photograph is shaped by incidents experienced as a traveler. His photographs extend upon the tradition of the gazetteer; each photograph a record of an experience, a personal account of an encounter somewhere in the world. Each glimpse is part of an unfolding story rather than simply a record of a place observed. While travel underscores his production Pam’s photographs are not the accidental evidence of a tourist.” For more on Max Pam, check out his website here.

Trabant in trouble, Yorkshire, photograph by Australian photographer Max Pam


Jeff Koons appropriates balloon art, and Urban Outfitters appropriates Jeff Koons

November 22nd, 2013

I’m amused by the Koonsian-full-circle with the Balloon Dog sculptures, and find it interesting that everyone seems to love it. So, first Jeff Koons takes the idea of a simple balloon dog, which could probably be made with a balloon and some helium and a few good twists for just a buck or so, and he turns it into sculpture which then sells at auction for $58.4 million (see below left). Then Urban Outfitters decides to take on Jeff Koons’ subject matter, and creates 4″ balloon dog Christmas ornaments, which probably sell for a few bucks – if you could get them – they’re listed as sold out now on the Urban Outfitters site. Now even retailer Plow & Hearth is getting in on the act – you can get their Balloon Dog Garden Stakes for $24.99! What’s next …?

balloon dog products based on Jeff Koons balloon dogs


The Monuments Men, coming in December

November 22nd, 2013

I saw a trailer for this in the movie theater, and am definitely looking forward to this movie. “The Monuments Men” is based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history. The focus is on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed? But as the “Monuments Men,” as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1,000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.


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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