Damien Hirst in Mexico

Contemporary British artist Damien Hirst is building a studio in Mexico, so he can escape the British winter 3 months of the year and to get closer to a culture he feels an affinity with. The part that particularly interests him is the Mexican relationship with death and how it is celebrated there. The “Young British Artist” (that is now 40+) has used death quite a lot in his work, with real sharks and sheep in glass. The Day of the Dead must really appeal to the morbid streak in Hirst.
The bell tolls for Hirst’s tried and tested work
“I think that the way that I deal with death is a bit Mexican. In England people hide or shy away from death and ideas about it, whereas Mexicans seem to walk hand in hand with it,” he said, a week before the country celebrates the departed on the Day of the Dead. “In that way I feel a bit liberated here.” Guardian
>> Damien Hirst News

Edvard Munch Board Game

I guess it’s always good to keep a sense of humor about life and the challenges we come across, which kind of made me smile when I read that the Munch Museum is selling a board game about the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream painting. One could either sit and cry about the great loss or lighten up and possibly even make a few extra dollars from it all.Continue Reading

Modigliani Movie

modigliani movieI recently watched the Modigliani movie, thanks to fellow artist Leith. I think it’s generally a challenging thing for a movie maker to create a film about an artist that is interesting, believable, and not too Hollywood-ized. Other notable artist movies in recent years include Frida (Kahlo), (Jackson) Pollock and (Jean Michel) Basquiat.
Anyway, the Modigliani movie, starring Andy Garcia as Amedeo Modigliani was really quite watchable. Its set in the 1920s around the streets of Paris, focusing on the struggles of being an artist, Modigliani’s relationship troubles, alcohol abuse, and his rivalry with Pablo Picasso. I didn’t realize there was such a rivalry with Modi and Pablo.. so perhaps it was just exaggerated for the sake of entertainment, or I haven’t read much about Modigliani (probably the latter).
Some parts were a bit exaggerated, like when Modigliani and Picasso finally sign up to enter a competition, but it was mostly quite easy to watch. The Gertrude Stein character was just how I imagined she would be from the famous Picasso painting of her.
Although the Basquiat movie is still my favorite artist movie, the Modigliani movie got me inspired enough to go get the brushes wet.
>> Movie Reviews, Famous Artist

Turner Prize 2005

A shed, humming bird, and nice bums are some of the works on the Turner Prize shortlist for 2005. The sometimes controversial Turner Prize is one of the most prestigious art awards in the UK, with the prize being up for grabs to British artists under 50 years of age for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the 12 months preceding 9 May 2005.
£40,000 is quite a bit of motivation for an artist to win the prize, with first place receiving £25,000 and £5,000 going to the other shortlisted artists. So everyone is a winner on this list below ;-)

Here’s the four artists, profiled on the Tate museum’s website..
Darren Almond uses sculpture, film and photography, and real-time satellite broadcast to explore the effects of time on the individual. Harnessing the symbolic and emotional potential of objects, places and situations, he produces works which have universal as well as personal resonances.
Gillian Carnegie works within traditional categories of painting – still life, landscape, the figure and portraiture – with a highly accomplished technique. Yet while apparently following the conventions of representational painting, Carnegie challenges its established languages and unsettles its assumptions.
Jim Lambie takes the ephemera of modern life and transforms it into vibrant sculptural installations. Working with items immediately to hand, as well as those sourced in second-hand and hardware stores, he resurrects record decks, speakers, clothing, accessories, doors and mirrors to form sculptural elements in larger compositions. Lambprioritizesses sensory pleasure over intellectual response. He selects materials that are familiar and have a strong personal resonance, so that they offer a way into the work as well as a springboard to a psychological space beyond.
Simon Starling is fascinated by the processes involved in transforming one object or substance into another. He makes objects, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys which draw out an array of ideas About nature, technology and economics. Starling describes his work as the physical manifestation of a thought process, revealing hidden histories and relationships.

Photography Auction Results!

Recent photography auctions by Chris-tobys have achieved record prices. At Sotheby’s a photograph by Edward Weston, titled the Breast reached an amazing $822,400 in New York, against an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. Other impressive prices reached where from Dorethea Lange’s “White Angel Breadline” which made $822,400, Richard Avedon’s “The Beatles, London, England” made $464,000 at Christies, and Robert Mapplethorpe’s “American Flag” made $352,000.
Art Market Watch
“The fall photography auctions have come and gone, and the results are so staggering that the New York photo world still hasn’t recovered. Prices soared at all three houses. Sotheby’s set a new world record for a 20th-century photo — $720,000 at the hammer, $822,400 with the auction-house premium — not once but twice.” ArtNet

Wallace and Gromit Studio Fire

wallace and gromitThe studio home of Wallace and Gromit was burnt to the ground this week. The Aardman Animation studio in Britain was engulfed by fire, losing many sets, plasticine figures and sketches from the popular Wallace and Gromit movies.
Figures from the latest movie were spared as they’re currently being exhibited elsewhere in Britain, so it wasn’t all bad news.
I liked the creators comments on the incident that the media was calling a major disaster.. He said “in light of other (world) tragedies, today isn’t a big deal”.
Chicken Run and the Wallace and Gromit films are definitely worth watching. They’re so low tech, yet so believable. The new film “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” was number one at the box office during its first weekend of opening in the United States.

Crazy Paris Art Work

Plancher de Jeannot (Jeannot's Floorboards)An exhibition in Paris at the Bibliotheque Nationale has caused a bit of a stir, with the work on an insane man’s ramblings that were carved into his floorboards.
Plancher de Jeannot (Jeannot’s Floorboards) is the bedroom floor of a schizophrenic French farmer, carved with 80 lines of unpunctuated text. It mentions religions, brain controlling machines, Hitler and the Pope.
People are saying that the work should not be on public display and is simply the work of madness. But isn’t it “madness” that inspires so much great art throughout art history?. Jeannot’s bedroom floor is an extreme case, as he was truly mad, but the measure of one’s sanity can hard determine the value of one’s art.
Paris revolts over morbid artwork
Some of the text on the floorboards.. “Religion has invented machines for commanding the brain of people and animals and with an invention for seeing our vision through the retina uses us to do ill.. the church after using Hitler to kill the Jews wanted to invent a trial to take power.. we Jean Paule are innocent we have neither killed nor destroyed nor hurt others it’s religion that uses electronic machines to command the brain.”
To read the story of Jeannot, go to the Guardian article here.

Post a Secret

post a secretCame across a fascinating site that combines art and the voyeur that is in all of us. It’s kind of like reading through someone’s diary or sitting in a confession box. Post a Secret allows visitors to send in an anonymous postcard with a secret on it.
They’re really quite addictive, sad, funny and creative.
Submitting your own Postcard Secret..
“You are invited to anonymously contribute your secrets to PostSecret. Each secret can be a regret, hope, funny experience, unseen kindness, fantasy, belief, fear, betrayal, erotic desire, feeling, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything – as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.”
Go have a look.. Post Secret

Patrick Caulfield Dies at 69

The British contemporary/pop artist Patrick Caulfield has died at the age of 69. The melancholy painter died after a struggle with cancer.
He was a unique artist. I mean, it’s all idiosyncrasy, really, and Patrick was a marvelous example. He was a quiet person, and I’ve always loved his work. I’m very, very sad” David HockneyContinue Reading