BgArt News Blog
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
  Art Blog Search Terms
I sometimes look through the BgArt News Blog website statistics to see what words people are using to find the site. Some search terms make sense, like "art news" or "art blog", etc. But some search terms that people use to land at this art blog make me scratch my head. Some disturb me that people would even search for such a term, and some make me wonder how buygazette could even rank for the words.
Here's a few of the more bizarre things that people use to find this blog..

I could go on, but you get the point. A lot more of them contain all kinds of sex terms and profanities, even though the buygazette is generally family friendly.
>> Blogging

Monday, February 27, 2006
  Da Vinci Code Court Case
The author of the super-popular best-selling book the Da Vinci Code is in court today. Dan Brown's book publisher (Random House) is being sued for copyright breaches.
Authors of the 1982 book "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" claim that Dan Brown stole their themes and ideas rather any specific text.
I wonder if the Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors would be defending their artistic integrity in court if the Da Vinci Code book hadn't sold more than 40 million copies worldwide? The history of art is one of appropriation and building on the ideas of those before us.
'Da Vinci Code' Court Case Opens in London
"Both books hinge on the theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a child, and that blood line survives to this day. The earlier book set out the notion that Christ did not die on the cross but lived later in France." ABC
>> Book News
Sunday, February 26, 2006
  David Hockney Interview
david hockney exhibitionMark Feeney of the Boston Globe newspaper spoke to the British artist David Hockney about life and his exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), "David Hockney Portraits".
Here's a couple interesting David Hockney quotes I plucked out of the interview..
# All art is contemporary, if it's alive, and if it's not alive, what's the point of it?
David Hockney
# One of the things I'm doing in Yorkshire is finding out how difficult it is to learn not to see like cameras, which has had such an effect on us. The camera sees everything at once. We don't. There's a hierarchy. Why do I pick out that thing as opposed to that thing or that thing?
David Hockney
# Any artist will tell you he's really only interested in the stuff he's doing now. He will, always. It's true, and it should be like that.
David Hockney

David Hockney keeps seeking new avenues of exploration
"He may well be the world's most famous living artist -- who's the competition: Andrew Wyeth? Robert Rauschenberg? -- but there's no crust to Hockney, no great-man airs. He combines California informality with north-of-England bluffness. He still has his Yorkshire accent, a furry, rolling thing rich with elongated o's and pursed u's. The sound of it makes him seem that much less forbidding." Boston Globe
>> David Hockney News, Museum Exhibitions
Friday, February 24, 2006
  BgArt News Blog Questions
I was asked some questions about recently. It was for an art magazine, but their email was sent to my Yahoo mail, which I rarely check. So I'm probably too late to be mentioned in their story, but questions are good to work out why you do what you do. So, here they are..

Are you an artist yourself?
Yes. I'm an Australian artist that has been neglecting the easel way too much lately. I've traveled around a bit too much in recent years, which has kind of left me without a studio. The plan is to settle somewhere this year and focus more of my time holding a paint brush and less of my time traveling.

When and why did you start the blog?
BgArt News Blog was started about half way through 2004. I started it to share my love of art, to learn more about art, and to keep up with what is happening in the art world. It was definitely not started to make money from though, and it still has very few advertisements on it.

How do you decide what to feature?
It's often quite a selfish thing deciding what news to publish, as I usually just add posts that interest me. I have been learning to broaden my range though, otherwise I would just talk about expressive contemporary painters everyday.
People also send in art news or announcements and if it seems news worthy it gets listed. I generally try and look for interesting stories, rather than just adding every press release or gallery announcement I come across.

What do you hope people get out of the blog?
I hope they come across art news that they haven't seen before. If they have an opinion on a news story, they can also add it to the comments.

How often do you update the site?
It varies quite a bit. I try and post daily, but I don't beat myself up if I miss a couple days here and there. It's not like a job that I have to turn up to everyday, it's a place where I can indulge my passion in art.

Also, although this wasn't one of the questions, I thought I might think about the future of BgArt News Blog too.
I hope to post more often, more regularly. Inviting a few people to add posts could also be an option, allowing the opinions and stories to be more varied. Like most things in my life though, I take each day as it comes and decide which path to take when I come to it.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
  Andy Warhol Dollar Signs
andy warhol dollarsAndy Warhol would be loving the recent art auction action around his art. He seemed to enjoy making money as much as he enjoyed making art, so to see his dollar sign works going for double and quadruple their auction estimates would give the man great pleasure.
Rather than one of his "Dollar Sign" selling for an estimated $1.1 million, it sold for $4.5 million.
Warhol's Maos, Dollar Bills Jump in Price, Fueled by Bonuses
"There's a strong feeling of wealth within the global financial community,'' said Francis Outred, a Sotheby's contemporary art specialist, in an interview. "We have a new generation of buyers, 40 to 60 years old, who are buying the icons of their youth.'' Bloomberg
Here's some Andy Warhol quotes from the man that made money art..
# Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.
Andy Warhol
# Death means a lot of money, honey. Death can really make you look like a star.
Andy Warhol
# A lady friend of mine asked me, "Well, what do you love most?" That's how I started painting money.
Andy Warhol
>> Andy Warhol News, Art Auction News
  Magritte Book Art
surrealist magritteHere's an interesting online exhibition of book covers that have been influenced by the famous Belgian surrealist artist Magritte.
René Magritte didn't design them, they are just very influenced by the artist. It's an example of how much reach one artist can have. Although many people probably couldn't even point to the artist's country of origin on a map, his work or derivatives of it pervade our culture.
"I take care to paint only images that evoke the world’s mystery. In order to be able to do so, I have to be very wide awake." Rene Magritte Quote
Browse through the rest of the images here.
>> Book News
  Country Energy Art Prize
Country and coastal artists in New South Wales, Australia are asked to submit their works to the annual Country Energy landscape painting contest. With prize money of $35,000 it hopes to support and encourage artists that are based outside of the big cities.
Country Energy Art Prize for Landscape will be held at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. The panel of judges include the artists Tim Storrier, Helen Eager, and Euan Macleod.
See the finalists for 2005 or more details for entry here.
>> Art Contests
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
  South Park Bloody Mary Episode
Seems like everyone is either boycotting or protesting about something or other lately. Now that the Muslim cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed fiasco has settled a little, Catholic church leaders in New Zealand have decided to boycott a broadcaster for planning to air an "ugly and tasteless" episode of the South Park cartoon.
The Bloody Mary episode of South Park shows a statue of the Virgin Mary spurting blood.
Catholics urge South Park boycott
"New Zealand's Catholic bishops signed a letter on Sunday urging the country's 500,000 Catholics to boycott C4 and its sister station TV3, which recently apologized for showing the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
They asked for the ban to extend to companies that advertise their products on the commercial network."
The letter went on to say "Making known the extent of our offence might give them pause to consider that press freedom is not a license to incite intolerance or to promote hated or derision based on religion, race or gender". BBC
>> Cartoon News, Art Controversy News
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
  Jackson Pollock Paintings Found
abstract expressionist jackson pollockThe 32 Jackson Pollock paintings that were found in a storage unit have been labeled possible fakes or imitations of the artist recently. The Pollock-Krasner Foundation got Professor Richard Taylor of the Department of Physics at the University of Oregon to examine 6 of the works using "fractal analysis" to determine whether or not the found paintings are by the hand of Pollock.
Don't know what "Fractal Analysis" is? Me either, but here's some more from Richard Taylor about the process.. "Over the course of our research, my group has developed a computer pattern analysis technique.. Dimensional Interplay Analysis.. that detects artists' characteristic patterns in their paintings. All of Jackson Pollock's poured paintings analyzed by my research group are composed of a highly specific and identifiable form of fractal patterning. When paintings attributed to Pollock are analyzed, the computer looks for the specific fractal signature that we have found in Pollock's poured paintings."
And he came to the conclusion that "Our analysis has revealed significant differences between the patterns of the six paintings submitted by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and our database of the fractal nature of Pollock's paintings that we have analyzed."
Which means that Pollock Krasner Foundation is reserving its judgment for a later date, while it investigates the works more. Although they do say that the research by Richard Taylor is a "valuable contribution to our investigation". There's more information about the study on the Pollock Krasner Foundation website.
It seems that the owners did not approve of the research done by Taylor though. Over here the owners or representatives (I couldn't be sure) say that the Foundation acted "in direct violation of standard professional ethics" and went on to try and discredit the research done on the 6 paintings.
"Fractal Analysis is still a very new and contested field in art authentication and is but a small part of a much broader range of technical investigations. Other methods, time tested and universally accepted, are being applied to these paintings and any negative statement that would seem to be conclusive is premature. Moreover, to the naked eye of experts, it is immediately evident that some of these experimental works do not look like standard Pollocks. We are not surprised to hear that a number of them show no fractal dimension, for indeed we anticipated such a conclusion ourselves. What makes these paintings so compelling is their 'experimental' quality." Pollock Exhibit
>> Jackson Pollock News
Monday, February 20, 2006
  Lucian Freud +Kate Moss
lucian freuds kate moss paintingEarlier I posted about Lucian Freud's Kate Moss painting, and the image used (shown on the left) probably wasn't very flattering, or maybe people just genuinely don't like Freud. I was just under the impression that everyone loved Freud, and that there was nothing to criticize about the man's work.
But some of the comments were a bit harsh, so I've gone for a browse around the web to see if I can find some images that might do the work a little more justice (and perhaps show that Lucian Freud isn't a "hack"). Or at least show that the Internet is not the place to be an art critic.
Some of the comments from visitors on the image shown above included..
"That is one ugly picture.. poor use of color, and light.. look at those strokes.. it seems empty, as though it was generated on a computer...oh...where are the real artists"
Which is probably fine for the reproduction of the painting above, but here's some different versions..

lucian freud's kate moss painting
The painting above seems to show the work in a more natural setting. The color isn't as extreme and "computer generated" looking as the first image used on buygazette. Found here.

lucian freud's kate moss painting
This version (above) of Kate Moss is less than flattering, probably doing the original painting no justice at all. Found here.

lucian freud's kate moss painting
This version of the painting above looks like Kate Moss after being out in the sun for too long.

lucian freud's kate moss painting
This Kate Moss picture (above) is probably one of the better reproductions, found here.
Basically, the moral of this little Lucian Freud / Kate Moss rant is that the computer is no place to be judging the quality of a painting, especially if it's a really small, low resolution image of the work.
>> Lucian Freud News
Saturday, February 18, 2006
  Edvard Munch MoMA Exhibition
edvard munch exhibition"Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul" exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on the 19th of February, through to the 8th of May 2006. The retrospective of the famous Norwegian artist is the first to be held at the MoMA for more than 30 years.
Edvard Munch's famous Scream painting has been in the news quite a bit lately, with those suspected of stealing the painting going on trial this week in an Oslo court.
Anyway, the exhibition at the MoMA is an attempt to show that Munch was not a one hit wonder, but had quite a lot more going for him than just one iconic image. It covers his whole oeuvre, spanning more than 60 years. More than 130 oil paintings, works on paper, and prints by the artist will be on display.
Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul @ MoMA
"Beginning with the artist's early portraits and genre scenes, the exhibition charts Munch's move away from Norwegian naturalism toward an unprecedented exploration of modern existential experience. Through eighty-seven paintings and fifty works on paper representing each phase of his career, the exhibition reveals Munch's struggle to translate personal trauma into universal terms and, in the process, comprehend the fundamental components of human existence: birth, love, and death." MoMA Exhibition
>> Edvard Munch News, Museum News
Thursday, February 16, 2006
  Ren and Stimpy Cartoonist
cartoon newsThe cartoonist John Kricfalusi has started a blog recently. He's the cartoonist of Ren & Stimpy fame. It's still early days for his site, but it's already worth taking a look at.
"To me, a cartoon illustration is a painting- like in the old Golden Books by J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, Mel Crawford and Gustaf Tenggren-in other words, not just a cartoon drawing filled with flat color, but a real painting. Like they used to so thousands of years ago before culture died." John Kricfalusi Website
>> Cartoon News
  Pablo Picasso Painting of Dora Maar
pablo picasso painting of dora maarAn important work by Pablo Picasso of his model of nearly ten year, Dora Maar will be up for auction at Sotheby's in New York on the 3rd of May this year. It has been in private hands for 40 years and has rarely been seen by the public. It is expected to sell for around $50 million.
I think it's a bit spiky, dull, and too red and green.. but that's only because I can't put in a bid.
Here's what the Chairman of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide, David Norman said about the Dora Maar painting by Pablo Picasso..
"Not since Sotheby's sale of Picasso's Woman Seated in a Garden from the historic Saidenberg Collection has there been as important a portrait of Dora Maar to appear at auction. That portrait from 1938 sold for $49 million in November 1999 in New York. Dora Maar Au Chat presents the artist's most mysterious and challenging mistress regally posed three-quarter length in a large wooden chair with a small black cat perched behind her in both an amusing and menacing attitude. The faceted planes of her body and richly layered surface of brushstrokes impart a monumental and sculptural quality to this dazzling portrait. The painting is also remarkable for its brilliance of color and the complex and dense patterning of the model's dress. The powerful figure is set in a dramatic, yet simple setting composed of a vertiginously inclined plane of wooden floorboards and shallow interior space that is arranged in a manner reminiscent of Picasso's earliest manipulations of space in a Cubist manner. This is a thrilling painting to view and an incredible opportunity to bring to the market." Sotheby's
>> Pablo Picasso News
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
  Mark Rothko Essay
mark rothko photoThe arts writer for the Guardian, Jonathan Jones has wrote an interesting article about the abstract artist Mark Rothko. Anyone that is remotely interested in the artist should go have a read. It starts off with one of the most creative descriptions of death I've heard.
Feeding fury
"Mark Rothko was found on the morning of February 25 1970, lying dead in a wine-dark sea of his own blood. He had cut very deep into his arms at the elbow, and the pool emanating from him on the floor of his studio measured 8ft x 6ft. That is, it was on the scale of his paintings. It was, to borrow the art critical language of the time, a colour field." Jonathan Jones
>> Mark Rothko News
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
  Anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest
After the insanity of the Muslim Cartoon controversy, there's now a new and improved way for angry young men to express themselves. A graphic artist from Dimona Comix in Israel has come up with the Anti-Semitic Cartoon contest by Jews, to make fun of Jews.
I think it should be open to Muslim countries too though. It would make much more sense to give those that have been out smashing windows because of a cartoon, to create their own offensive cartoon.
The whole fiasco would be funny if it hadn't caused so much damage.
I think cartoons could be part of a country's arsenal. Rather than dropping bombs on a country, world leaders could just publish offensive cartoons of each other. War would be much more interesting if leaders traded blows with one ridiculous cartoon after the after.
>> Art Controversies
  Famous Love Quotes
No art news for today, but here's some famous love quotes to celebrate Valentines day. First a few by the Sufi poet and mystic Rumi..

Reason is powerless in the expression of Love.

Hangovers come with love, yet love's the cure for hangovers.

Like a thief reason sneaked in and sat amongst the lovers eager to give them advice. They were unwilling to listen, so reason kissed their feet and went on its way.

And a couple love quotes by a couple crazy artists ;-)

I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.
Vincent van Gogh

A lady friend of mine asked me, "Well, what do you love most?" That's how I started painting money.
Andy Warhol
Monday, February 13, 2006
  Contemporary Art Trends
The new ARTnews magazine for February has an interesting article about the top 10 art trends in contemporary art. It mentions the similarities that contemporary art has with historical movements like Mannerism or the Baroque period (If it’s sweet and sad, sentimental and repulsive, cute and creepy, it must be postmodern mannerism).
Top Ten Trends in Contemporary Art
"whether the work our writers discuss is Baroque, Gothic, or Romantic, to name some art-historical influences they cite, it is anything but Minimal. And whether the themes are political or religious, they might also be described as earnest. Several artists we interviewed say they want to heal the world—and many others do their part by recycling." Read the full story
>> Art News
  Rupert Murdoch Portrait Painting
rupert murdoch portrait paintingThe British portrait artist Jonathan Yeo has finished a portrait of one of the most powerful men in the media industry. The Australian born, American adopted media mogul of the News Corporation company (yes, he owns the Simpsons cartoon too!), Rupert Murdoch sat for Yeo in his London studio. Yeo first spent a week in Murdoch's Los Angeles offices, and a week in New York, just watching Rupert Murdoch and getting a feel for the man.
Murdoch liked the work and plans to hang it in his New York apartment.
Rupert, up close and cuddly
'Of course, I was dreading saying something terrible when we first met,' said Jonathan Yeo, who has previously painted Tony Blair and George Bush. 'But Murdoch is very used to people being nervous about meeting him. He is actually rather good at putting you at your ease. I was expecting a big, imposing, larger-than-life figure, but in person he has a low-key presence. He was much more easy-going than I had expected.' Guardian
Friday, February 10, 2006
  Marc Quinn to do Kate Moss
marc quinn blood artThe English artist Marc Quinn plans to imortalize the supermodel Kate Moss as the "Aphrodite of our age", with five bronze sculptures. Quinn has created a bit of a reputation for doing things a little differently. He is the artist that made a cast of his head using his own blood and the 3.6 meter tall marble sculpture of disable pregnant woman (Alison Lapper) that is currently on display in London's Trafalgar Square.
The painter Lucian Freud has also painted Kate Moss, which went on to sell for more than $7 million at a Christies art auction.
Moss the muse Artist's bronze vision
Marc Quinn said "Kate Moss is iconic now because she's come to signify what beauty is in our eyes. When you look back at the 1920s you think of Louise Brooks, and when people come to look back at these times they'll think of Kate Moss. I think the stuff about cocaine has added to this - [Kate] is sculpted by the collective desire, so having her in the contorted poses is about the way that society sculpts, twists and manipulates her and her image." Guardian
Thursday, February 09, 2006
  Nineteen Penises Exhibition
ninteen penisesThe Visual AIDS gallery in New York is having an exhibition of Nineteen Penises. (they're online too, so if you follow the link you can see them).
"Artists and non-artists alike have been depicting the penis for much of recorded time, in spite of the confusing and sometimes ferocious prohibition against its representation. This selection of artworks from the Frank Moore archive charts a circuitous itinerary through the vast continent of penis. Some of the members included here have been fashioned by hand, others are documented photographically, and all were emphatically made to be looked at. Whether the artist’s purpose was to arouse, protest, explain or provoke, each work testifies to an irrepressible desire to look at what we've been told over and over should not be seen in public." David Humphrey (the curator of the exhibition).
>> Art Exhibitions
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
  Brett Whiteley Painting a Fake
A painting signed by the Australian artist Brett Whiteley that was found in a Hobart rubbish tip recently has proven to be a fake. It had the Brett Whiteley signature and claimed to be painted in 1958.
The painting of a rodeo scene was examined experts at the Art Gallery of NSW and proven to be a recent work that has been artificially aged to make it seem original.
The artist's wife, Wendy Whiteley said "It doesn't take much to figure out it's a fake. I don't mean to sound cynical but the whole thing has the feeling of being a scam - how would even a very early Brett Whiteley end up on a tip in Hobart?". She also said "The date is completely wrong for that kind of work. If it had said 1948 or 50, we might've contemplated it as being a childish work of Brett's, but in 1958 he was painting things like Charlotte Lane, and in 1959 he won the Italian Government Traveling Scholarship, and the work was nothing like this." See more at ABC.
>> Brett Whiteley News
Monday, February 06, 2006
  Post Secret Book
post secret book
After the success of the Post Secret website, they have published a book of postcard secrets. It's the only website I know of that can make a person laugh, cry, be inspired and disgusted, all in the one viewing. They kind of make me want to go sit in a confessional box for an afternoon!
To be a part of the Post Secret site, you can send in your own postcard..
"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." PostSecret
Buy the PostSecret Book from Amazon.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
  Muslim Cartoon Controversy
The outrage over the publication of cartoons originally posted in the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper has escalated into violence and destruction. Embassies in Beirut and Damascus have been torched by protestors.
"Despite the attempts of clerics to stay the mainly young male crowd, hundreds of men, some carrying green flags with the words "God is Great" written in Arabic, pushed them away and threw cans of tear gas back at police.
The Maronite Catholic church near the Danish consulate was also attacked, prompting fears that the protests could turn into a sectarian clash. By 4pm order had been restored and the 2,000 demonstrators had dispersed."
The cartoons were first published in September, depicting several images of the prophet Muhammad in offensive settings. According to Islamic teachings it is forbidden to depict the prophet Muhammad.
The Danish newspaper were writing an article about free speech, and the problems that an author had trying to find a cartoonist that would illustrate a children's book he was working on (it would of involved depicting Muhammad).
The cartoonists have now gone into hiding because of death threats and the Jyllands-Posten newspaper has had to increase security.
There's a more detailed description of the whole saga over at wikipedia.

See previous posts on buygazette where a relative of Van Gogh was killed over an 11 minute film, an Austrian cartoonist was wanted for Blasphemy in Greece for depicting Jesus, and a Sikh play in the United Kingdom caused protests and death threats.
I guess the message is that artists should stick to paintings flowers and landscapes... and God forbid, don't upset any religion.
I can't see that happening anytime soon though. It's part of the arsenal that any decent artist should have; the ability to shock and question authority.
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