Swaym art

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose or selves at the same time

Modern Living’ Finds Fun Amid Function

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At The Carnegie’s Modern Living: Objects and Context, curators Matt Distel and BLDG present two types of environments for considering artists’ household-inspired sculptures and design firms’ tables, lamps and more. The exhibition explores where the definitions of design and art merge and diverge. Can something functional also have aesthetic value? Should an object intended as sculpture be put into everyday use?  On opening night Dec. 4, it wasn’t long before visitors gravitated from thoughtfully viewing pieces in a museum-like setting on the first floor to lounging in an upper gallery that’s been reimagined as a patio in Los Angeles. Similar objects fill both rooms, but the furnishings take on new purpose upstairs, where teams of design firms and artists created three living spaces for their objects. In the “backyard,” a simulated bedroom and a dining room, the show’s vibe changes from looking to living.  Distel, The Carnegie’s exhibitions director, said Modern Living was inspired by the new restaurants and businesses

Historicism in Paint

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Currently on display at the Taft Museum of Art is Heroism in Paint: A Master Series by Jacob Lawrence, featuring the world-renowned painter’s first venture in creating a series of historical paintings — The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture series, which launched his successful 60-plus-year artistic career and made him into a de facto historian. Lawrence was profoundly influenced by artists of the Harlem Renaissance, whom he often came into contact with but were a decade or so older — so he had plenty of role models to look to as a young artist. The painter was not only exceptional for being a successful black artist in his day, but he was also a recipient of prolonged arts boostership: Lawrence began classes at the Harlem Artists Guild as a teenager, was a recipient of numerous fellowships and grants and was enrolled as an easel painter in the Works

Pastel Drawing and Painting: An Intro for Beginners

art gambar“My goal for this book is to show how I translate nature’s impressions into personal expressions,” Elizabeth says. “Know with certainty that you can do the same. Of course, each of us sees differently. Personally, I paint nature because it’s what I know best. While nature supplies shape and movement, light and shadow, sound and scent, what we create with them depends on what lies within ourselves. Our feelings about life–our memories, longings, fears and joys–influence how we perceive all that surrounds us. My aim is to show you how to translate and edit what you see into what you paint, thus pairing emotional response to nature’s changes with an ever-growing mastery of pastelist skills.”
Pastel drawing for beginners | Elizabeth Mowry, ArtistsNetwork.com

To achieve the lightly hazed background, I introduced blue pastel into everything beyond the near trees,” Elizabeth says of ‘Picnic Place’ (pastel on sanded board 14×16). “A few summer wildflowers mingle with tall grasses to establish a strong sense of foreground.”

An Introduction to Pastel Drawing and Painting by Elizabeth Mowry

If you’re new to pastel, I hope you won’t be intimidated by the term technique. A reassuring

Sculpture Moved To Avoid Collisions with People Texting

Artist Sophie Ryder probably didn’t intend for her giant sculpture of two clasped hands to provide a teachable moment about the dangers of texting while walking, but it did exactly that.

Standing 20 feet high and made from steel wire, The Kiss bestrode a walkway on the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral, ninety miles west of London. People were knocking into the arms while walking through the archway.

It’s the sculpture that’s paying the price for people’s carelessness, though.

“We had to move ‘the kiss’ because people were walking through texting and said they bumped their heads! Oh well!!” Ryder wrote on Facebook this week. The sculpture had been in place for only a few days.

“Sorry some people are complete numpties,” said one of her fans, using a time-honored Scottish expression for “a stupid or ineffectual person.”

Curated by Jacquiline Creswell, the Cathedral’s visual arts advisor, “Relationships: An exhibition by Sophie Ryder” also includes figures depicting Minotaurs and another human-animal hybrid, namely the “lady hare,” which depicts a crouched female form with the head of a rabbit.

The exhibition was intended to “challenge us to consider how we interact with each other and our own loved ones,” which is ironic, since the pedestrians’ mishaps provided a shining example of how often

Neville Wakefield Transforms Red Bull Studios Into Giant Spa

What do you get when you combine soap, swimming pools, and a tricked-out HVAC system inside a two-story recording studio? The ingredients for “BIO:DIP,” an installation by Nicolas Lobo and Hayden Dunham, that opens at Red Bull Studios New York in Chelsea on February 19.

Following a critically-acclaimed installation by artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe with artist-musician Jennifer Herrema, the site has become associated with cool, immersive collaborations.

Curator Neville Wakefield describes the exhibition, for which Lobo and Dunham were each given free reign over a single level, as “two one-person shows that happen to be within the same space, rather than a two-person group show.”

“I really like the idea of these two autonomous bodies of work coming together within this other body, which is the body of the building and the architecture and all that it contains, and what it represents,” he told artnet News via telephone. “I was also interested in the way that [Red Bull Studios] functions kind of a little bit like an organism, in the sense that there are these spaces within the space that are about art, but also about recording, music, and retail—I like spaces that are impure or hybridized in some way.”

For Lobo, a Los Angeles-born, Miami-based installation artist, this means revisiting the swimming

New Book Features Prison Inmates Drawings of Corporate Executives

A clever new artists’ book highlights the fact that while some serve time for minor offenses, corporate officers whose companies may be guilty of grievous acts tend to walk free. It features renditions of corporate executives from companies like Chevron, Goldman Sachs, and Monsanto, all drawn by people who are serving prison sentences.

Artists Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider have published Captured: People in Prison Drawing People Who Should Beall profits from book sales will go to support the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has made corporate responsibility a cornerstone of his campaign. (He also has pledged to support the arts if he gets into the Oval Office.) It’s a limited edition of a thousand books; at time of writing, nearly half have sold.

The pair was also responsible for the guerrilla installation of a bust of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Brooklyn park. That work is included in a current exhibition about activist artists at the Brooklyn Museum.

The book project began when the pair were watching documentaries about environmental crimes, and were outraged that the alleged corporate perpetrators can get away with only monetary consequences.

“If any normal person did these things, they would end up in jail,” said Tider

Dutch Exhibition Inside Historic Prison Criticizes Smartphone Users

Every time we click “agree” to another set of terms and conditions, we strengthen the digital Panopticon in which we live; constantly and willingly placing ourselves under surveillance with every new account we create. Some people, like the team behind an upcoming exhibition housed inside a former penitentiary in the Netherlands, might say we are prisoners of our smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

The show, called “Hacking Habitat: Art of Control,” aims to show viewers how “high-tech systems are taking increasing control of our lives,” and will do so by bringing together works by 86 artists—from Joseph Beuys and William Kentridge to Metahaven and Mediengruppe Bitnik—whose works deal with subjects like advertising, mass surveillance, Wikileaks, and the dark web. All this will be housed, fittingly but chillingly, in Wolvenplein, a cruciform-plan building in the center of Utrecht, built as a solitary confinement prison in 1856.

Wolvenplein, which translates from Dutch to “Wolf Square”, was a functional prison in the center of the city until 2014. During World War II, the Germans took it over and jailed those who were found in possession of banned media. From the 1950s until its closure it was used as a house of detention, no longer employing practices of solitary confinement. Declared a

10 International Pop Artists You Should Know

When most people think of Pop art, the big names come to mind: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis reminded the art world that the genre is actually a much larger phenomenon with its critically-acclaimed 2015 exhibition, “International Pop.” As the show travels to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, opening on February 24, here are 10 under-appreciated masters of the field whose work you can see in the show.

And for more Pop art on offer, check out artnet Auctions’s Pop art sale, which runs through February 24.

  1. Antônio Henrique Amaral(1935–2015)
    Pop goes political in this piece by Antônio Henrique Amaral, who was an outspoken critic of the military dictatorship in his native Brazil in the 1960s, as well as US involvement in Latin America. He maintained an appreciation for the absurd up until his death at 79, last year.
  2. Evelyne Axell(1936–1972)
    Belgian feminist artist Evelyne Axell is pushing the envelope with this colorful, female-focused piece, which was recently censored by Facebook for its suggestive imagery.
  3. Rosalyn Drexler(1926–)
    This Rosalyn Drexler work, with its subject matter and dramatic contrast, recalls Robert Longo’s classic “Men in the Cities” photographs of men in suits, but was painted by the American artist over a decade earlier.
  4. Erró(1932–)
    This eye-catching

Must See Art Guide Seoul

Art Basel Hong Kong, the Shanghai Art Fair, the Beijing International Art Biennale—the list of art events in Asia is getting longer and longer each year, and the competition to be the top cultural destination in the region is getting fierce. Along with Beijing, Singapore, and Tokyo, Seoul can now be considered one of the top arty Asian cities you need to know. With the opening of the Seoul Museum in 2014 and the rise of Korean Art in the international auction market, it’s high time to take a closer look at the largest metropolis in South Korea.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Nam June Paik’s death, and Gallery Hyundai is marking the occasion with the seventh solo exhibition of the artist held at the gallery. On display are a variety of works created in 1980s and 1990s, the most significant of which is Paik’s 1990 shamanic performance dedicated to Joseph Beuys. Then, head over to the Jongno-gu district where you can find most of Seoul’s galleries. Be sure to stop by Arario Gallery to see its show focusing on the work of Kang Wook Lee. The abstract painter poses the open-ended question of “what a painting is” through

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1. Art+Feminism Train the Trainer:

In hopes of encouraging more women to contribute and edit pages on Wikipedia, art+feminism will provide tutorials on how to write great entries for the site. Beforehand, curators Jennifer Blessing and Susan Thompson will give a tour of the current exhibition “Photo-Poetics: An Anthology.”
Location: Guggenheim, Sackler Center Media Lab, 1071 Fifth Ave
Price: Free with RSVP – Bring your laptop and power cords.
Time: 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 18th


2. Who Owns Digital Social Memory?:
Rhizome will host a panel that discusses how we archive personal data with our rapidly changing social technology, who should own that data, and what privacy concerns are raised by social media archiving. Panelist include Kimberly Drew, associate online community producer of the Met and founder of the Black Contemporary Art Tumblr; Nathan Jurgerson, social media theorist and editor of the New Inquiry; artist Guadalupe Rosales; and artist and filmmaker Crunc Tesla. The panel will be moderated by Rhizome’s artistic director, Michael Connor.
Location: The New Museum 235 Bowery
Price: $15
Time:7:00 p.m.

Friday, February 19th
The Swiss Institute, current tenant at 18 Wooster Street.Photo via Google Maps.

The Swiss Institute, current tenant at 18 Wooster Street.
Photo via Google Maps.

3. Sabisha Friedberg: A

100 Years Ago Today, Dada Was Born at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich

100 years ago today, on February 5, 1916, the now-legendary Cabaret Voltaire—the artist hangout that gave birth to the Dada movement—was opened in Zurich.

Dada—which advocated coincidence as a leading creative principle—deliberately contravened all known and traditional artistic styles at the time. It was championed by Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Richard Huelsenbeck, Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and Marcel Janco.

It all started with a “Dada Evening” organized by Ball and Emmy Hennings who opened the popular nightclub frequented by Zurich’s artist community.

Several artists rattled off a bizarre and chaotic repertoire of performances which reflected the chaos and destruction caused by World War I, which was raging outside of neutral Switzerland’s borders at the time.

Ball described Switzerland as a “Birdcage surrounded by roaring lions,” and the Dada Evening he organized was the artistic reaction to what was going on in war-torn Europe.

“Several factors contributed to the development at the time,” writes Martin Mittelmeier in his recent book Dada: Eine Jahrhundertgeschichte [A Century of History] . Even before the war, modernization and innovation led to unprecedented growth and developments, especially in industry and the economy.

According to Mittelmeier, the themes featured in news reports at the time were surprisingly similar to today’s. “The talk was of people being

Photographing reflective surfaces and objects is usually quite challenging, and can easily turn the work of the photographer into a frustrating task.

Reflections are a hard to tame beast, but it gets easier to control if you know the rules. So, in this article I will show you how to create a high impact image with controlled reflections, like the one below, with a really simple, but highly effective, technique and using equipment you most certainly already own.

A reflective surface acts like a mirror reflecting light, so if the light source of your image comes from the same direction as the camera, it causes specular highlights resulting in blown out spots without texture, and an overall poor looking image like the following one photographed with the flash mounted on camera.

It all comes down to the basic principles of light and the way it behaves, which is in fact very predictable. The law of reflection explains this phenomenon. If you project a ray of light on a flat reflective surface like a mirror, then the angle of incidence equals de angle of reflection, like the following diagram illustrates:

So, physics apart, what this really means is that if you are trying to photograph a

A taste for the landscape: the Hudson River School

Take a look on this painting: there are two men at the top of the rocks, contemplating a fantastic fluvial valley, studded with rocks, shrubs and water jumps. A majestic tree embraces the scene, like giving shelter to both men who are contemplating the marvelous landscape. Two clearly symbolic elements – the waterfall and the eagle- emphasize an imaginary vertical line, dividing and organizing the composition. Everything is peaceful; everything is perfect within the grandiloquence of the Nature. The painting we are talking about is, of course, Asher Brown Durand’s “Kindred spirits”, an emblematic and paradigmatic work from the Hudson River School.

Within that boisterous artistic period that was the American 19th century, no tendency or movement is more interesting and suggestive than the Hudson River School. The painters of this school gave a radical turn to the developing of landscape painting, making the landscape no longer a mere foreground for a composition, and turning it into the authentic reason and protagonist of the picture. But there is more, much more of which to speak. In this small essay we are going to try to discover some less evident aspects of this sensational artistic period.

There is much to say about the

Diving In

I should first say I have grown perplexed with the intellectual complexity of some group shows in which the relationship of the work to the exhibit’s theme needs long curatorial explanation because it isn’t evident in what we see. It’s the artistic equivalent of writing in code. Yet, at the same time, I’ve grown bored with shows having simpler, broader themes — they often are banal and unchallenging. By This River strikes just the right balance. It has an active and thoughtful curatorial voice. Its theme is about how we long to live close to bodies of water and the effect that desire has on us — and nature. That has intellectual depth, yet you get it just by looking at it. And you get more of it the longer you spend with individual pieces. The idea for By This River, which features six artists, goes back to 2006 when Solway had his own gallery (with wife Angela Jones) in Los Angeles and discussed rivers with Patterson, who was born in Pittsburgh. (Solway is now the director of Carl Solway Gallery, which his father

The Past Is the Present at Taft Museum’s Curtis Show

You can feel like you’re viewing the history of photography — as well as American history — from one of those disorienting, spinning Rotor amusement-park rides as you walk through Taft Museum of Art’s Enduring Spirit: Edward Curtis and the North American Indians. The work is powerful and artful, yet seems disconnected from the realities of its own times. (The show is up through Sept. 20.) In room after room in the museum’s Fifth Third Gallery, there are sepia-toned photos — mostly photogravure but also other older, painstakingly crafted processing techniques — showing American Indians in environments devoid of European presence or influence. As if America was still all theirs. They are on horses, wearing headdresses or knotted headbands, carrying children in decorated cradleboards, participating in traditional ceremonies. These photos are spectacularly evocative in their lighting and in Curtis’ focus on the details of his subjects’ clothing and ornamentation, and on the gravitas their portraits exude. The photos appear to date from around the same time — still photography’s early days — as Matthew Brady’s Civil War work.

Chop Shop

I had a disorientating introduction to the Elsmere, Ky., art gallery/studio known as 506 Ash. That is also its address on Ash Street, itself one of the more unusual streets I’ve come across in our metropolitan area. It was a Saturday afternoon and just past the gallery — a well-kept single-story building with parking in front and big garage doors — a flatbed tow truck was blocking the street. It was loading up a damaged racecar that had been inside the powder-blue garage of Kentucky Auto Service & Towing. The car had no glass in its windows and a big 14 on its side. Beyond this were auto-repair and body shops all along both sides of the street until it reached a cul-de-sac. Some had names seemingly designed to be first in a phone-book listing — A-N-D Auto, A-4-A Auto Electric & Service, Asap Motors. Parked out in the open, either in lots or yards, were cars presumably awaiting work.

Cultural Traditions Inspire Story of Community

“I was born and raised in northern Israel,” says ZviDance founder Zvi Gotheiner, whose modern dance company appears this weekend for the second time in Cincinnati as part of ZviDance/Dabke, presented by Contemporary Dance Theater. The 2012 work for four couples, which premiered to strong reviews from prominent critics, draws from the rich dance and music traditions of the Levant.

“Dabke is [essentially] a line dance,” says Zvi (everyone seems to call him Zvi) by phone from New York City, where he has lived, danced and choreographed since 1988.

He first learned to do the energetic community dance on a kibbutz, one of the traditional Israeli settlements organized under collectivist principles, where he was brought up.

“It’s done mainly in a circle, holding hands or shoulders,” he says. “The group is performing simple patterns of steps while the dance leaders are doing improvisation with fancy footwork. Traditionally it’s done by men.” Nobody knows where the original dance came from.

“Scholars say it arrived through the Turks, through centuries, but it is

Nature morte

How we would define a still life painting? Academically, we could say that a still-life is a painting that depicts inanimate objects from the daily life, represented within a space limited by the painter. But without a doubt this definition is too simple for a pictorial genre that has fascinated the greatest painters, from early baroque to the 21st century. In this brief essay we will make a short but intense review of the history of the still-life through 10 fundamental works, from the antiquity to the contemporary age.

“Transparent bowl with fruit and vases” – mural painting in Pompeii, Italy, 1 st century a.c. – It is extremely difficult to determine when the genre of the still-life was born. We know that even the ancient Egyptians decorated the tombs with paintings of fruits, vegetables and other foods, aimed to feed the deceased souls in the afterlife. This example, discovered in the ancient city of Pompeii, is extraordinary for its naturalism and the gentleness with which each piece of fruit is represented, using a different pigment for each piece of the bunch of grapes that constitutes the center of the painting. It is also notable the contrast between the solid transparent


In the spring of 1891, an elegant and comfortable ship called Océanien crosses the Indic Ocean en route to the French colonies in New Caledonia. Its picturesque passengers, divided into three classes under the deck, covered from rich, important functionaries and landowners; to young people of humble origins who traveled to the colonies searching a future that the old France was not able to assure. In other words, the transoceanic ship was sort of a human zoo, a circus with so many actors that nobody noticed the presence of a middle age man with a powerful moustache, who spent the endless hours sitting on the deck, gazing into the horizon. Nevertheless, that anonymous personage who occupied one of the humble third-class cabins was not an ordinary passenger. He was an admired painter called Paul Gauguin, who travelled to Tahiti searching an artistic redemption, a comeback to the primitive and the exotic that could help him to find a way in which his Art could be purified. In his own words, “Occident is rotten (.) and anyone who is like Hercules can find new strengths travelling to far-away places. And coming back one or two years after, solid”

Nevertheless, Gauguin’s trip was

Natalie Cole: Underappreciated But Never Forgotten

It may be some sort of cosmic sign — or maybe just cruel irony — that only a few nights after a video clip of Aretha Franklin performing a rousing rendition of Carole King’s “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman” on CBS’ The Kennedy Center Honors broadcast went viral, Aretha’s closest artistic rival in the mid-1970s, Natalie Cole, has left this mortal sphere. And on New Year’s, no less.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Aretha was the heavyweight champion of soul music: She undisputedly set the bar so high for artistic achievement that she won the Best R&B Female Vocal Grammy award for eight consecutive years. Despite a bevy of worthwhile contenders to the throne bearing first names like Roberta, Chaka, Minnie and Mavis, it was actually Natalie Cole’s 1975 debut Inseparable that stormed the palace, broke Aretha’s Grammy streak and unseated the Queen. Wild tales of the two singers’ bitter hostility are now part of R&B lore. But, while Natalie Cole’s early musical arrangements by underappreciated songwriting-producing duo Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy were clearly lifted from/inspired by Franklin — and while the two singers even covered some of the same songs — Cole was a

Cincinnati Art Museum Springs into Fall

Usually, when one says a work of art is “alive,” it’s a figure of speech — the expression typically acknowledges a natural connection between artist and observer. But next weekend, the Cincinnati Art Museum will be giving a new meaning to the phrase “living art.” More than 60 florists will be contributing to Art In Bloom, a four-day biennial CAM event. They will be crafting floral arrangements that reflect and pay tribute to great works of art from the museum’s collection, displaying them as an accompaniment to the original pieces. The flowers will interpret the mood, color scheme or overall feeling of each painting. And three of the selected floral artists will be creating their interpretations in front of a live audience at the museum. “It is a demonstration, essentially,” says Robin Wood of local Robin Wood Flowers, commenting on her upcoming participation in the “Garden Party” luncheon portion of Art In Bloom on Thursday. Wood will be creating an arrangement in the Fountain Room as she discusses her process with her observers. The dining event will give the gallery a live energy

How an Unlikely Duo Became the Hottest Songwriters in Pop Music

LOS ANGELES — Ten minutes into a recent recording session with a Grammy-winning producer they had never previously met, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, the in-demand pop songwriters of the moment, had a bouncy new hook.

“She’s a new girl now,” Ms. Michaels, 22, sang with finger-snapping pop-soul syncopation for maximum catchiness. Mr. Tranter thumbed the words into his iPhone, fleshing out Ms. Michaels’s lines, which alluded to liquor and Instagram. The pair petted each other’s tattooed arms while volleying ideas, never separating by more than a few feet until Ms. Michaels entered the vocal booth. Mr. Tranter, 35, called out suggestions and encouragement.

Less than an hour later, they had a story of feminine renewal — taken from Ms. Michaels’s life, but sung from the male viewpoint — and a simple, layered keyboard demo. There were 10 minutes to spare before dinner, enough for J-Roc, the producer known for his work with Timbaland (Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé), to cue up a futuristic R&B track

Within three minutes, Ms. Michaels had delivered another melody wordlessly into her phone, citing Radiohead as inspiration. “Hot butter on

Artists Anonymous

In art, as in life, context is key. An image that would otherwise be treated with contempt — or worse, blithe indifference — can be illuminated with only a few facts. Likewise, stripped of its context, a piece of art can become something else entirely as the viewer imagines a contextual framework for the art. This is the premise of a new photography exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Unknown Elements, which features 26 photos from the museum’s collection “about which some details are unknown.” Displayed in Gallery 212, the photographs range in date from the mid-19th century to the present day and are accompanied by written works from local writers — poems, short stories and other responses paired to selected images to serve as a “prompt” for viewers’ own reflections. It is a fascinating and playful approach that allows visual art and writing — two forms that have always been compatible — to comment on the role imagination plays in photography. By omitting a photograph’s date, photographer or subject, part of its ownership is surrendered and given over to the viewer to make his or her own conclusions.

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