Aboriginal Bark Paintings
Of all the exhibitions I went to in Sydney over the past week, it was "They are Meditating" that inspired me the most. It's an exhibition of Aboriginal bark paintings that were given to the Museum of Contemporary Art by the Arnott's Biscuit company.
They're more contemporary than any non-Aboriginal Australian art, but they also have thousands of years of tradition in them. You don't walk away from them feeling hollow or cheated or confused as they're real, they have meaning.
I wasn't allowed to take photos of the paintings, but I bought the "They are Meditating" catalogue and scanned a few of my favorites.
This first Aboriginal bark painting is by an artist called Yirawala, painted in 1970. It's a smallish painting that almost had me mesmerized. Not many paintings have affected me like this little beauty..
Title: Yirritja moiety divided into "skins" by Maralatj, 1970
Ochres on bark, 66.5 x 28cm
This next bark painting is by Roy Riwa. The crabs made me think of Picasso.
Artist: Roy Riwa
Title: Crab Totems, 1970s
Ochres on bark, 69.5 x 30.4cm
The last Aboriginal painting that I scanned is by Fred Nganganharrilil. It shows why 'decorative' shouldn't be a bad word in art.
Artist: Fred Nganganharrilil
Title: Flying Fox Dance, 1970s
Ochres and synthetic polymer on bark, 88.8 x 44cm
Sydney Hotel Night Photos
I was just playing with the night view function on my little digital camera and realized that I shouldn't drink coffee and attempt night pictures. I was leaning up against the window and even tried to stop breathing while I clicked but I was still shaking (click pictures for larger views)..
After about 30 photos I finally got one without the blurring, but I think I liked the blurs more..
Blurred or not, it's a nice view. I could never understand why people were so obsessed with nice views. Hotels charge more for them, real estate agents talk about them like they're gold, and now I know why.
This is the view that I have from my bed, which is probably why I didn't get much sleep last night. During the day I'm not as motivated to rush straight out the door either. If your hotel room has a view of a brick wall or an air conditioner, you're much more inspired to get out of the hotel for the whole day. But now I keep looking for excuses to go back to the hotel during the day!
¶ 5:22 AM9 comments
Omar Faruk Tekbilek at the Sydney Opera House
Since going to see PJ Harvey at the Sydney Opera House last month I have been looking for any excuse to go back. I have been looking for pop/rock/folk musicians to perform there; musicians that I know. Last night I made it back to the Opera House (almost in the same seat as last time) to see the Turkish Sufi musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek.
It was just as impressive as PJ Harvey but for very different reasons. Omar Faruk Tekbilek's concert was mostly instrumental, played to God (or Allah) as much as it was to the audience. He's an artist that takes you places if you let him.. and I found myself lost in his music a few times.
From his website; he is playing a few concerts in the United States and Spain in the coming few months. Here's some samples of his music on his website too.. I recommend Whirling (great to paint with).
I couldn't find any videos of the concert on You Tube, but this is what he sounds like..
I'll be staying in Sydney until Saturday, so I might also take some holiday snaps and post them.
¶ 2:07 AM0 comments
Monday, March 24, 2008
Ten Famous Jews by Andy Warhol
Warhol's Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered is now showing at the Jewish Museum in New York. The series of work by Andy Warhol has been called "Famous Jews," "Ten Most Famous Jews," or "Jewish Geniuses"
The portraits are of Albert Einstein, Sarah Bernhardt, Franz Kafka, Louis Brandeis, Martin Buber, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, the Marx Brothers, Golda Meir, and Gertrude Stein.
From ArtDaily, here's some interesting questions about the famous jews series by Andy Warhol.. "While Jewish audiences tended to embrace Warhol’s series, several leading art critics dismissed it as crass and exploitative. In the twenty-eight years since its debut, Ten Portraits has continued to confront viewers with these questions: Why did a Pop artist who otherwise displayed little interest in Jewish culture or causes create a series devoted to eminent jews? How do we reconcile Warhol’s commercial motives with the high-minded portrayal of cultural and historical icons? How has our view of Ten Portraits changed since its first showing?"
I could answer the first question (Why did a Pop artist who otherwise displayed little interest in Jewish culture or causes create a series devoted to eminent jews?) by using an Andy Warhol artwork..
Innocent Spam - Funny Cartoons
I probably get more spam than most people as I have a few different websites, all with their own email addresses. So every time I click Send & Receive I get another 10 spam emails in my junk folder. A full day will see my junk email folder fill with more than 500 spam emails and more than 1000 if the spammers have extra bills to pay. I sometimes get really bothered by them and wish really bad things upon the senders (REALLY bad things), but the only person that my cursing and screaming affects is me. So I just accept spam as being a part of the internet, just like traffic is a part of big cities; you can kick and scream all you want, but it won't get you out of the traffic jam any quicker.
Anyway, for some strange reason I have been collecting titles from the spam emails. I haven't decided what to do with them yet, but some of them are quite funny. I even have them in a few different categories, like penis spam, finance spam, weird spam, etc.
Here's a few from different categories (I didn't include any of the more offensive ones)..
Subject: beckons trots screwman wheft
Subject: Typewriter Diamond Clock Weapon Circus
Subject: Vulture Drink Child Eyes Fire
Subject: To win or not to win? Choose it now!
Subject: Dear Customer Feel Good Now!
Subject: New software issues strongly recommended
Subject: The most defiant fillies will strive for riding your new big Italian stallion
Subject: Beat her womb with your new big rod, so that she knew who wears the pants!
Subject: There are no losers among the possessors of long dic'ks. Now you can be one of them!
Subject: Make your trouser python huge and rock hard!
Subject: have a king-size phallus Billie
Subject: Dave's obvious penis
Subject: All sweet flowers succumb to big rod
Subject: If your girl cannot be satisfied with your weewee, you have to turn it into a schlong!
Subject: If you treat your filly as a goddess, why not become a God in her bedroom?
Subject: The most powerful weapon for your s'e_xual battles
The point of this post was to mention someone that is actually doing something with spam, but I got a little sidetracked. Janet Nelson of the Planet named Janet blog is using spam titles to create funny little drawings. Her ongoing series is called "Innocent Spam"
Funny, huh? I like how artists turn ordinary or repulsive things into something funny or beautiful.. Isn't that called alchemy?
Find more Innocent Spam cartoons on Janet's blog, or there's a few posts to her funny spam cartoons here, here and a funny dragon here.
British Art Gallery Sues Artist
The Art Newspaper has reported that the British artist Sarah-Jane Szikora is being sued by her former art gallery, Halcyon. The Halcyon gallery was taking up to 75% of the sale price of works sold by the artist, which makes me think that the artist might be able to afford legal fees now that she should be putting 25% more of each sale in her own bank account. I know that art galleries have a lot of operating and marketing costs, but isn't 75% of each sale a bit greedy?
Rather than repeating the story, here's what's happening in summary from the Art Newspaper..
"Ms Szikora was represented by Halcyon Gallery for 11 years until her contract expired on 1 January this year. Ms Szikora then arranged to mount a self-funded, solo exhibition in the Arndean Gallery in Cork Street which was scheduled to open to the public on 29 January.
On 28 January, Halcyon succeeded in securing an injunction from a High Court judge preventing the artist from opening the exhibition to the public or selling works from it, and is now suing Ms Szikora for breach of contract.
Halcyon Gallery says that under the terms of her agreement, she was obliged to offer all works made before 1 January to Halcyon on a first-refusal basis, which she failed to do."
Update: I was just reading the news section on the artist's website and thought I would include this from it..
"I remain the subject of legal action by Washington Green and Halcyon Gallery. Sadly, after years of loyal service to the Halcyon group, there is a claim by them that I have breached my contracts. They successfully brought me to court and prevented me from selling any art work at my recent ‘sugarlumps’ exhibition. It seems to be their intention to aquire this whole collection of very personal paintings via the courts, but they are now also seeking damages. I have no means to take on such a wealthy company and If they are successful in their claim, It is possible I will be bankrupt.
Blimey…I only want to paint and to pay my bills! how did this happen??
Artists out there, please….DO NOT sign contracts without legal advice!!!"
Andy Warhol Fragrance
The New York perfume maker Bond no. 9 has released another Andy Warhol fragrance in their ongoing series of Warhol smells. "Andy Warhol Union Square" is the name of their newest bottle of pop perfume.
I'm not much of a perfume connoisseur as I really only have the last bottle of Andy Warhol perfume to compare it to, but I have been inspired to smell nice (most days of the week). Both the design of the bottle and the smells have improved from the first release, which was called Silver Factory by Bond No. 9. The new perfume bottle design looks more like it could have came straight out of the Warhol factory.
Bond No. 9 describes the perfume more eloquently than I could ever hope to, so here's their description of the new Warhol fragrance..
"Let’s start with the scent itself. While most floral fragrances just hint at cool, and vice versa, this one is an ambi-sexual, daringly balanced mix of sweet and cool. Sometimes the gentle scent of lily of the valley seems about to prevail, looped together with blue freesia, golden amber, and animal musk to enhance its sensuality. At other times, crunchy green-stem notes and white birch wood are poised to turn this scent into one of pure, clean energy. But then the sweetness and the coolness merge, and stay merged." Bond No 9
Sexy Time - Free Art Print
The Australian artist Hazel Dooney is offering an unlimited print titled "Study for Unsated" to download for free. Which means that you will have to print the work, but if you then send it to her studio she will sign it and send it back to you.
Here's Hazel's blog post with a little more about the work.
And here's a link to the high resolution art print to download.
I wouldn't advise that you print it out at work or school unless you're the boss or the teacher!
Knitted Sweaters for Trees - KnitKnot Tree
Sheep have wool to keep them warm during the cold winter months, but what about the trees? How do they keep warm? Until now they had to just shiver through winter, but now they can also keep warm with wool.
The Knit Knot tree on Xenia Avenue in Yellow Springs, Ohio is getting a lot more love from passersby since covering up with a multi-colored, knitted tree sweater.
From an Associated Press article.. "What takes this to a different level is it is a community thing," saidCorrine Bayraktaroglu, an artist who helped start the "knitknot tree" project. "People are really, really enjoying it. They're coming from towns to have their photograph taken with the tree. They're adding stuff to the pockets."
There's more about the KnitKnot tree on Jafabrit's blog here.
Some trees seem to be able to handle the weather better than others, and they only need to wear knickers.
The panties on trees are by artist Carol Hummel and are called Down Unders.
"Dirt Divers are a series of work that personifies trees highlighting human intrusion on natural objects. Instead of protection and care, this intrusion has the human element burying its head in the sand in denial of its impact. It raises questions about where human intrusion is appropriate when inflicted on our environment." Carol Hummel
Sigur Ros Video - Heima
YouTube is a ridiculously addictive waste of time, yet I keep going back. Not everyday, just when I want to hear a band, singer, or when someone sends me a link and says "you must see this." But when I do go to YouTube I keep jumping from one video to the next, until I realize that hours have passed and nothing constructive has been done on the PC.
Anyway, here's a full length documentary on the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. If you know the band you will want to watch the film and if you don't know the band you may be about to fall in love with them. It goes for 97 minutes which is probably the longest YouTube video that I have ever watched, but it was an enjoyable 97 minutes.
I love the song which is playing at about the 50th minute. I don't know what they're saying in their songs and I don't really care, they just sound great.
There's a bunch of samples, downloads and news on their website here. Their 2005 Takk.. album is one of my most used CDs lately. I tried buying all their CDs but the store that I ordered them from couldn't get them for me.
¶ 6:47 AM3 comments
Monday, March 10, 2008
Doug Moran Prize Winner 2008 - Fiona Lowry
Another notable portrait prize in Australia has announced their winners for 2008. The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize winner was Fiona Lowry for her naked self portrait "What I Assume You Shall Assume"
The 34 year old first time entrant Fiona Lowry received $100,000 for her winning entry. The Doug Moran portrait prize is Australia's richest portrait prize and now has a total prize pool of $210,000.
While the prize money is twice that of the Archibald prize, it just doesn't seem to get as much love from the mainstream media. Perhaps they need a few controversies to get the media talking. Controversy seems to work for the Archibald prize.
The photographer Belinda Mason won the $50,000 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize with her photograph titled "Four Generations"
The Doug Moran prize finalists will be on display at the New South Wales State Library in Sydney until the 4th of May.
I liked the winning portrait by Fiona Lowry, but I thought I should choose my own winner from the 2008 Moran finalists here. It's a portrait by Nigel Milsom. It ticks a few of the boxes that get me excited about a painting; It looks like a painting (I can see paint!), it creates an emotional response in me, it's simple, uncomplicated, and a little meloncholy.
Archibald Prize Winner 2008 - Del Kathryn Barton
The Sydney artist Del Kathryn Barton has won the Archibald prize for portraiture in 2008. Her painting titled "You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella" has won her $50,000 and a whole bunch of media attention as the art prize is one of the few in Australia that get any mainstream media love.
Her winning portrait depicts herself and her two children, Kell and Arella. The artist said "This painting celebrates the love I have for my two children and how my relationship with them has radically informed and indeed transformed my understanding of who I am." She also said "Both my children have taken my world by storm and very little compares to the devotion I feel for them both. The intensity of this emotion is not something that I could have prepared myself for. The alchemy of life offered forth from my inhabitable woman's body is perhaps the greatest gift of my life."
It's an interesting choice, and most of the media seem relatively happy with the winner for 2008, but I don't think it should have won. Del Kathryn Barton has been Hot lately, with a waiting list of collectors lining up to get a piece of her and auction records of her work being broken again and again (with paintings being sold for $150,000+), but I can't see what all the fuss is about. I think she's a good artist, but she doesn't seem to have broken free from the spells of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. Del Kathryn Barton is currently showing at the Karen Woodbury Gallery in Richmond, Victoria.
Also at the Art Gallery of NSW, Joanne Currie Nalingu's painting called "The River Is Calm" won the Wynne Prize, which is for landscape painting or sculptures of the figure. While the artist Rodney Pople won the Sulman Prize for "Stage Fright".
Here's a list of the finalists for the Archibald prize in 2008. My two picks for the top prize would be Jun Chen's "Ian Smith" and Zhong Chen's "Nicholas Harding" portraits.
Coxsoft art also mentioned a portrait of the late Aussie actor Heath Ledger by the artist Vincent Fantauzzo. It was a close second to take out the Archibald prize, with judges divided between the Heath Ledger portrait and the Barton self portrait.
Jeff Koons Studio Tour Auction
CharityBuzz.com is currently auctioning an oportunity to take a private tour of the Jeff Koons studio in New York with the artist himself. The tour is for four people and only has about 12 hours left before bidding ends. The current bid is at $3,250.
Here's more about the Koons studio auction from Charity Buzz..
Amazing opportunity for a once in a lifetime, behind the scenes tour with art star Jeff Koons! Enjoy a private tour of his studio in New York with the artist himself. You will visit the site where Koons and his many assistants finely craft his extraordinary paintings and sculptures. Better than Andy Warhol's Factory. Words cannot describe what is in store for you and a maximum of 3 friends.
Terms: Includes: private tour of Jeff Koons's studio in New York City and lunch with the artist for a maximum of 4 people. Date to be mutually agreed upon and based upon Mr. Koons's schedule. Transportation, airfare and accommodations not included. Must be redeemed within one year of the close of the auction.
Here's a link to the Jeff Koons auction at Charity Buzz.
>> Jeff Koons News¶ 10:58 PM3 comments
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Child Painter Marla Olmstead
Last night there were a few new comments on some earlier posts about the child painter Marla Olmstead, which made me think that the media must be talking about her somewhere. But I was tired and went to bed without checking if it was anything worth mentioning.
This morning I woke up with what would have been a very interesting story about her, but the funny thing was that it was a dream!. I dreamt that I was watching the news and saw that Marla Olmstead's parents were arrested on child slavery charges. They were "allegedly" keeping her locked in a room with painting supplies and forcing her to paint.
After waking up and laughing to myself, I turned on the PC to make sure it was just a dream. Thankfully it was only a dream, but I think I will finish what I'm doing before going to bed from now on.