Posts Tagged ‘Art’

London Street Art Prepares for “The Thousands”

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

The blind flaneur needs to figure out how to get to London for this. via RJ Rushmore at Vandalog:

The street art exhibition I announced last week finally has a name: The Thousands. It also has a special blog where you can find regular updates about how well (or poorly) the whole event is going along with plenty of teaser images. Go there now to see some examples of the work that will be on view at The Thousands.

… The name The Thousands comes in part from a short fable by Daniel Alarcón which was published in McSweeney’s #28. I see the story of “The Thousands” in street art all the time. Around the world there are thousands of anonymous and semi-anonymous people and artists working outside the restrictions of government and/or the art establishment to create something that cannot be understood by those authorities. And this exhibition highlights the best of those thousands so that the art establishment will hopefully begin to understand and appreciate these artists. So that’s why it’s called The Thousands.

The Thousands will be open from November 18th through the 22nd of November at Village Underground in London (54 Holywell Lane, London, EC2A 3PQ).

Tracey Emin: Those Who Suffer Love

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

The work takes on an existence of its own … Emin at the White Cube Gallery. Photograph: [Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images/Guardian]

Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones reviews Those Who Suffer Love and concludes that
Tracey Emin is far from a narcissist because her depictions of sex and suffering draw on “honest truth”:

It’s as if Egon Schiele had collaborated with Thomas Edison to create the world’s first dirty film. Blue drawings flicker in the dark, or not the dark really, for a neon sign gives the entire space a green tint. Like Schiele’s women, the woman in this cartoon shows us everything, but the title – proclaimed by the neon sign – says this isn’t about sex, it’s about pain: it is called Those Who Suffer Love. The oscillation from drawing to drawing gives it a primitive, raw energy. The handmade quality gives it authenticity. The passion gives it life.

Downstairs in Tracey Emin’s exhibition at the White Cube Gallery, drawings from the sequence in the film can be seen among other examples of her graphic works going back to the 1980s. Emin draws with an honesty that only a snob would mistake for clumsiness. Her total lack of pretence is accompanied by a rich and sensitive knowledge of art: she knows that drawing is more than design, more than a shorthand for ideas, that it has a tangible existence of its own.

Her White Cube show celebrates the publication of her collected drawings. A negative view would be difficult to sustain – it’s an extreme and prissy understanding of drawing that would suggest Emin can’t draw or is only a pasticheur.

There’s a broken, smudged integrity to Emin’s drawings. It’s a powerful achievement to have so ably projected herself as a personality in the modern imagination and yet all the time be so firmly wedded to craft, to making. With a pen or a needle, Emin draws. I suppose the realities of the sex, love and loneliness she depicts are repetitive, but only in the way Munch or Klimt or Picasso are.

Emin is one of the most truthful artists of our century and one of the most substantial. She has never succumbed to the folly of the monumental or turned yesterday’s ideas into today’s merchandise. On the contrary, she always seems to explore new territory, even as she obsesses about the same old things. It’s the thread of drawing that allows Emin to be so artistically vital. If you draw, you work and if you work, you make something that’s not just you.

So here is the paradox: Emin is one of the least narcissistic artists of our time. She pretends it’s all about her; actually it’s all about the art. And the art lives – an autonomous, flickering ecstasy.

I’d never heard off Tracey Emin until a chance encounter with raccoons several days ago. Now I’m intrigued by how she navigates the boundaries between narcissism, documentation and transcendence. I’m adding One Thousand Drawings to my wish list.

Tracey Emin & the Bad News Raccoons

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

What I like most about the BBC is the surrealism that surrounds listening to it in the middle of the night. My local public radio station broadcasts the BBC World Service in the wee hours. If I wake up then I flip on the clock radio and let suave, cultured radio voices on the other side of the world lull me back to sleep.

When that happened several nights ago I was rudely awakened again around 3:30 by a riot of animals pawing at my back door. On the radio I heard a woman with an exotic East London accent talking about art, sex, and despair. I got out of bed, found the flashlight, and then discovered a family of raccoons, mama and five babies, desperately seeking to enter my summer bedroom. They clawed at the door with a ferocious certainty that it would open for them, as if storming the Bastille with Justice on their side.. I heard the woman on the radio say that sex used to get her out of bed in the morning, but now she’s 46 and doesn’t care so much about it anymore. I thought, maybe she needs these raccoons. How could I ship them to London?

I’ll spare you the narrative of how I tried and failed to chase away the intruders during an intermittent skirmish that lasted about as long as the BBC interview. For now, suffice it to say that a Boy Scout bugle sort of worked in the end, but it woke up the neighbors.

Later that day I remembered the scene and wannted to know who on earth I heard on the radio while I was feuding with raccoons. Turns out it was Tracey Emin, notorious Bad Girl of the 1990s British art scene.  She was interviewed by none other than Carrie Gracie, fiercest of BBC inquisitors. And the interview took place at the White Cube Gallery in London. Emin (right) and Gracie pose discretely in front of an erotic Emin drawing in the photo below.

Listen for yourself, although you’ll have to find your own raccoons for the full effect. Here’s the blurb for this edition of  BBC-The Interview:

Tracey Emin is a British artist who has courted controversy for the way she has made her private life public.

Her work includes a tent sewn with the names of everyone she had slept with and a display of her unmade bed complete with empty alcohol bottles, cigarette butts and other remnants of her life.

Her latest show has an animation of a woman masturbating.

Carrie Gracie asks her what lies behind it all.

Tracey Emin says more about her show, Those Who Suffer Love, in an echoing gallery talk at White Cube.  And then there’s the snarky TV news story embedded below.  A video of Emin dancing at the Beverly Hills Hotel comes closest to the surreal energy of my encounter in the middle of the night.

Doodling With Mary Cassatt On Her Birthday

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Google is celebrating the birth of Mary Cassatt today with a Cassatt-inspired  logo (left) on its main search page. Cassatt was born on May 22, 2023 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. She died near Paris on June 14, 1926. The Google Doodle is based on Cassatt’s painting, The Child’s Bath (below), now in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

So what can a Google Doodle do? Go to today and click on the logo. You go immediately to search results for mary cassatt. Select Google Images, and the first page of results includes a Cassatt image linked to Lewdness in the Loges on this site. That path drove more than 5,000 page views to blindflaneur overnight, taking the site’s total views over 150,000. The ripple effect carried another 100 readers to Shape-Shifters in the Fair Use Lab, a first for that nascent site. So, Mary, I’d buy you a beer on your birthday if you could drop by Café Mouffe!

Mary Cassatt. The Child’s Bath. 1893. Art Institute of Chicago.

Flaneur’s Gallery: Lady With An Ermine

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Leonardo da Vinci. Lady with an Ermine (Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani). 1489-1490. Czartoryski Museum, Kraków. [Source: Wikimedia Comons]

… Can sua picture
La fa che par che ascolti e non favella.

“’By his art he makes her look as if she’s listening, and not talking.” So says an Italian sonnet of the time when Leonardo painted the portrait of  Cecilia Gallerani. The poem by Bernardo Bellincioni is believed to be the earliest literary description of da Vinci’s art. Cecilia was the 17-year-old mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Leonardo’s Milanese patron.

100,000 Strolls In The Flaneur’s Gallery

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Edgar Degas. Barefoot Spartan Girls Challenging Boys. c.1860-62. National Gallery, London.
Edgar Degas. Spartan Girls Provoking Boys. c.1860-62. National Gallery, London.

Sometime last night this blog logged its 100,000th page view. By Internet standards that is a paltry number, but it pleases me in modest ways. Nothing of my making has ever generated 100,000 of anything. No small portion of this attention – 11,407 page views, to be precise – was stimulated by this jpeg image of Degas’s Spartan Girls Provoking Boys, first published on November 15, 2007. It is, by far, the most popular post on the blog. I’d like to think this represents an abiding curiosity about antiquity or Impressionism, and there is some evidence for that. “Spartan” and “Degas” rank among the blog’s top search engine terms. So do “nude” and “boy.” So I suspect the page views also reflect a prurient interest in naked youth.

William Kurelek’s Canadian Art

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Kurelek by William Pettigrew - NFB: (1967, 10 min 7 s) A documentary about the self-taught painter William Kurelek, told through his paintings. There are scenes of village life in the Ukraine and the early days of struggle on a prairie homestead and the growing comfort of family life. In Ontario, Kurelek paints the present life of Canada with the same pleasure he painted the old.

See William Kurelek on Wikipedia.

Louvre? Some Kind of Brothel, Right?

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

[Source: Nicolas de Crecy/NPR]

What would archaeologists of the future imagine if they dug deep into the rubble of Paris and unearthed the treasures of the Louvre?  That’s the concept behind a comic strip about the Louvre now on exhibit there. It’s the first exhibition of bandes dessinees ever mounted in the palace of high art, though you must descend to the depths of its medieval stone moat (excavated only in the 1980s) to view the comics. According to NPR:

The three strips currently on display are in fact drawings from the first three comic books ever published by the Louvre. One, by artist Nicolas de Crecy, is set thousands of years in the future and features a museum guide who is a cross between a pig and a dog.

De Crecy’s pig-dog can speak intelligently about all of the museum’s art objects — from the naked pre-Hellenic statuary to the Mona Lisa. In the strip, he’s charged with leading a group of archaeologists through the museum. But the archaeologists, who believe they have discovered a lost city preserved beneath a glacier, get almost everything wrong when they look at the art.

“When they saw the name E. Delacroix they think that it means Delacroix House and they conclude that it’s a bordel, it’s a whorehouse,” says [exhibit curator Fabrice] de Crecy.

The scientists’ tendency to make uninformed conclusions about what they find in the museum — rather than merely appreciating the objects for their own beauty — is a not-too-subtle swipe at pointy-headed academics.

Overall, Douar argues that the exhibit is more than just a tip of the hat to contemporary pop art. He says that bandes dessinees have a pedigree as old as any of the Louvre’s holdings from the Renaissance — from tapestries that tell stories to the work of the great Italian painter Carpaccio, who did a series of works telling the story of St. Ursula. Listen.

See The Louvre embraces comics for first time/AP/IHT 012209

Renoir’s Portrait of Alphonsine Fournaise

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Pierre Auguste Renoir. Portrait of Alphonsine Fournaise. 1879. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. [Source: WebMuseum Paris]

Alphonsine Fournaise was the woman in straw boater standing at the rail in the center of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. Alphonsine is the subtle heroine in Susan Vreeland’s novel of the same name, where she animates her family’s riverside resort on the Seine as artist’s muse and modern river goddess. La Maison Fournaise, where Renoir painted Boating Party as well as this portrait, is now the Musée Fournaise in the city of Chatou near Paris.

Jeff Koons, King Of Kitsch, Conquers Versailles

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

“Balloon Dog,” a sculpture by U.S. artist Jeff Koons on display at the Chateau de Versailles in Paris. [Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images/NPR]

King Of Kitsch Takes Over Versailles : NPR 100808:

The first retrospective exhibit of controversial artist Jeff Koons is on display at Versailles, just outside Paris. In recent years, only a few select works of contemporary artists have been displayed there. Now, Koon’s giant red aluminum lobster, vacuum cleaners and floor polishers display and giant balloon dog adorn the palace. Critics are calling it a sullying of French culture and identity. Read more