While Americans pound coffee and gobble sleeves of Milanos, those in more civilized—if less productive—nations know the restorative power of a pause that involves a fresh cup of tea. Bigelow Tea joined Los Angeles-based artist and designer Geoff McFetridge for tea time and captured the creative magic that can happen in the couple of minutes it takes to to steep a cup of tea. The contemplative short, directed by Bucky Fukumoto, is part of Bigelow’s “While You Were Steeping” series.
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“It helps to know that the pitchers in his still lifes are almost always the ones with the spout sticking up like a phallus. And the fruit dish: a few soft peaches are the breasts. When you crack the codes, you understand that they are pictures about his love of a woman, his desire, his anger, his disdain. And you understand why his pictures that only show a pitcher and fruit dish can be so sexy and also so unbelievably sad. And then he turned everything over again and suddenly he was the very fruit dish himself. This is one of the greatest challenges when writing about Picasso, because for much of what one writes about him, the exact opposite is also true. A person with such an extreme personality, with such extraordinary hypersensitivity, with so many contradictions—that kind of person usually ends up in the nuthouse.”
-Picasso biographer John Richardson, interviewed by Cornelius Tittel in 032c
The J. Paul Getty Trust is serious about sharing. The institution, which encompasses the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation, is following its “Open Content” program that set free some 5,000 high-resolution digital images for use, modification, and publishing with a virtual library. Translation: 45 years of art books for free. Among the 250 (and counting) of the Getty’s backlist titles now available to read online or download as PDFs are the 2004 catalogue of the first-ever exhibition of Cézanne’s watercolor still lifes (“a moving examination of this most subtle and luminous of mediums and genres,” according to Getty President and CEO James Cuno), the definitive English translation of Otto Wagner’s Modern Architecture, and books on globe-spanning conservation projects. We suggest igniting your winter reading list with Kevin Salatino‘s Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe.
Once upon a time, before Banksy murals were making the covers of auction catalogues, what many today know as street art was viewed as urban blight. Martin Wong saw creativity ripe for collecting. A new exhibition brings together works from his trove and traces the evolution of the New York graffiti art movement. We tagged writer Nancy Lazarus to take a sneak peek.
Pictured above, an untitled 1984 work by Zephyr, a key figure in the transition of the writing movement from trains to canvas. The below portrait of artist and collector Martin Wong was taken in 1985 by Peter Bellamy. (All images courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York)
“Street art has become the biggest art movement the world has seen,” said Sandra Fabara, the graffiti artist known as Lady Pink. She was one of the few female artists involved in the street scene of Manhattan’s Lower East Side during the 1970s and 1980s. That’s where Martin Wong, an avid collector, befriended and mentored a group of fellow graffiti artists.
“He was passionate, not just a patron,” said Christopher Ellis, aka Daze, one of many members of the group who paid tribute to the late Wong on Monday at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), which today opened an exhibition of works from Wong’s pioneering collection. On view through August 24, “City as Canvas: Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection” consists of nearly half of the 300 mixed media pieces that Wong donated to the museum in 1994, five years before he died of AIDS. Sean Corcoran, MCNY’s curator of prints and photographs, curated the show, and the artists helped to identify many of the pieces in the exhibition.
François Halard, Robert Rauschenberg Portrait #2, 1998. (Image courtesy Demisch Danant)
The puckish Robert Rauschenberg at work and play in his studio in Captiva Island, Florida. Blurred geometry at Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre. The crumbling grandeur of the Villa Noailles. Pleated pottery arrayed in Cy Twombly’s bedroom. These are some of the dreamy spaces, people, and places captured over the past two decades by François Halard, the subject of a career-spanning exhibition that opens Saturday at New York’s Demisch Danant gallery. Many of the works in “François Halard: Architecture” have never before been published or exhibited—don’t miss the Polaroids, including the mind-blowing dolce vita view from Twombly’s studio in Southern Italy.
“I’ve always remembered Where the Wild Things Are so clearly, which isn’t the case with most other children’s books. Wild Things was a favorite from the start. I remember looking at the images a lot and really studying [Maurice Sendak's] crosshatching at a young age—and even attempting to draw like him on my own. This was probably kindergarten, and so he was an early influence. All of the fantastic creatures—and especially the monsters…have such character and personality, and it’s so great that they’re not evil monsters but more co-conspirators. Maybe Maurice got me started on monsters and beasts, which pop in my work a lot, too.”
Biographer and art critic Deborah Solomon stopped by The Colbert Report this week to discuss her latest book, American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), which reveals that the American-as-apple-pie artist wrestled with severe depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. The real scandal, for Colbert, is that Rockwell was not the political conservative that he has been made out to be. Among Solomon’s revelations is that he [gasp!] voted for Kennedy.
Western Canada’s largest art gallery—and with a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks, it’s firmly in art museum territory—is in expansion mode. Planning is underway for a bigger (310,000 square feet), better Vancouver Art Gallery, which will be located on a city-owned site in downtown Vancouver. The aim of the project is “to create an architecturally significant visual art museum that places prominence on artists and art and that celebrates the rich cultural context of Vancouver.” But who will design it? The gallery has narrowed a pool of 75 architectural firms from 16 countries to an all-star shortlist of five: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Herzog & de Meuron, KPMB Architects, SANAA, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Will KPMB convert on the home-country advantage? Will Herzog & de Meuron ride their recent art-smart triumphs in Watermill and Miami to another commission? Will a field trip to Philly’s Barnes Foundation seal the deal for team TWBT? Stay tuned, art and design fans, the announcement of the winning firm is expected this spring.
JR is coming to Lincoln Center. The French artist, who rocketed to global fame following his 2011 TED Prize win, has created works inspired by the New York City Ballet as part of the NYCB Art Series inagurated last year by the Brooklyn-based artist team known as FAILE. JR photographed around 80 NYCB dancers, and their images will be used to create a large-scale installation that will be displayed in various areas of the David H. Koch Theater, the ballet company’s Lincoln Center home. An enormous image featuring all of the dancers—and spanning some 6,500 square feet, according to NYCB—will be displayed on the theater’s promenade and serve as the centerpiece of the installation. Tickets are now on sale for three special Art Series performances that will take place on January 23, February 7, and February 13, with all tickets priced at $29.
El Lissitzky Video Editing Suite (2011), part of Jon Rafman’s Brand New Paint Job series
“Digitally skinning an object in a 3D program is a simple process of changing the surface of an object or environment. That’s what I like about Brand New Paint Job—it walks the line between art and design by forcing High Modernist painting into becoming wallpaper, and in the process realizing one of painting’s greatest fears, which is becoming decorative. In the same way the functional room or object becomes somewhat useless in having itself covered and being turned into an art object. It’s also a comment on the nature of the relationship between art and design, and how important design is to art. Design is a huge part of the art vernacular—even though it’s deconstructed and used in anti-design ways—especially for my generation, where people are using and appropriating branding techniques and corporate aesthetics. It’s almost troll-like: on one level I’m trolling the paintings and on another level I’m trolling interior-design chic as a concept.”
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