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Friday, June 27, 2008
  Painted Cans
painted beverage cansA group in Spain are asking artists to send in painted beverage cans to be published in a book and exhibited in Madrid. Entries close on the 31st of October 2008 and the project is open to artists worldwide.

So, your painted aluminium can will be shown on, you will get a copy of the book (if your can art is included), you will be in a group can show in Spain, and you can sell your crushed can if you choose to have it for sale. There's more details at the painted cans website here if you're interested.

I first saw painted drinking cans on the website of artist and designer Rik Catlow. He does some really interesting work. He also did a blog post on how he creates his smashed cans on his blog here.

"I started using the smashed cans for a canvas in 2001. I came up with the idea during my walks when I lived in NJ. I discovered all of these discarded beer and soda cans in the streets and thought it would be cool if I could make something out of them." Rik Catlow
>> Art Contests
Thursday, June 26, 2008
  Graffiti Animation by BLU
Here's an interesting video that combines graffiti and animation. They don't sound like two art forms that would easily go together but BLU proves that they do happily mix. He has some more graffiti on his blog here too.. very impressive stuff.

I found the video over at The Art Inquirer blog here.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
  Knitted Poo Invites
woolen poopTired of your glossy printed exhibition invitations being ignored by your local arts reporters? Why not send them some poo?! Some knitted poo!

99% of the invitations I have received are nothing out of the ordinary; gallery location, time, opening date, and a glossy example or two of the art. Which is surprising as I think part of the job of an artist is to show people things they haven't seen or things they see everyday in a new light.

I don't see why the show can't start with the invitation. How could you not go to the exhibition after receiving a knitted poo invite? I think it's genius. If I ever start painting poo and mount a poop exhibition I'm going to steal this idea! :-P

Corrine (Jafabrit) and the JafaGirls have used the knitted poo invites for "Fecal Matters" at the ChamberPot gallery in Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA.
>> Art Exhibitions, Funny
Monday, June 23, 2008
  Sylvester Stallone and Marilyn Manson
The Worth1000 website is always an interesting waste of time for me. It's a site of Photoshop contests, where artists try and out manipulate, blur, cut, transform, and paste each other. It's people using computer software to change pictures for those that don't know what Photoshop is.

One of their regular contests is called "Modern Renaissance" which asks contestants to put the celebrities of today into old paintings.

Rembrandt paints Rocky
Here's Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) painted by Rembrandt.

leonardo da vinci paints marilyn manson
And Leonardo da Vinci did another version of the Mona Lisa, with Marilyn Manson as the sitter.

See all the entrant over at Worth1000's Modern Renaissance 9 contest.

Here's some previous posts with Nicole Kidman & David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman, and an Alien Mona Lisa.

>> Art Competitions, Famous People
Friday, June 20, 2008
  Sports Writers become Art Critics
Last post I mentioned that the art critics at the Guardian newspaper were reporting sports stories for the day. Now it's the sports writers reporting on the arts.

Rugby Union columnist Thomas Castaignède does a report on Puccini's Tosca at the Royal Opera House, tennis correspondent Steve Bierley talks about the sculpture of Louise Bourgeois at the Pompidou Centre, sports writer William Fotheringham goes to see the electropop group Metronomy at Esquires in Bedford, golf correspondent Lawrence Donegan does classical music with Yefim Bronfman and the San Francisco Symphony performing Brahms at the Louise M Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and football writer Kevin McCarra does a story on contemporary dance with Tero Saarinen's Next of Kin at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

I think the tennis writer (Steve Bierley) did a better job reporting on the sculpture of Louise Bourgeois than the art critic (Jonathon Jones) did on reporting the football..

"Watch sport and you think about sport. Observe art and you discover yourself. Spirals, nests, lairs, refuges. Bourgeois leads you to dark places you are not sure you want to revisit. Sport is the toyshop; Bourgeois proffers no hint of a welcome. Even the "je t'aime" embroidered on the pillow in one of her claustrophobic rooms seemed like a threat. Rooms inside cages; bones inside glass spheres." Steve Bierley - Guardian Newspaper
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
  Art Critics become Sports Writers
Today in the Guardian the art critics have become sports writers for a day, while tomorrow the sports writers will become art critics for the day (after reading that sentence, I just wondered why the sports writers are called "writers" and the arts writers are called "critics".. does art have to be criticized to be written about?)

Anyway, it's a fun idea! I'm looking forward to seeing how the sports writers go tomorrow. Today the dance critic Judith Mackrell wrote about horse racing, the theatre critic Michael Billington wrote a report on darts, rock music critic Caroline Sullivan wrote about cricket (something like baseball for those that don't know what cricket is), critic of classical music Erica Jeal did a report on motorcycle racing, and the visual arts critic Jonathan Jones wrote about football (soccer).

The critics meet the champions
"Sport and culture are often thought to have nothing in common. But is this really true? What would happen if the Guardian's arts critics and sports writers swapped roles for a day? Today the critics get a taste of the sporting life, while tomorrow the sports team are set loose on the contemporary arts world" Guardian

I don't know much about sports writing, but I don't think Jonathon Jones will be asked to write about football again anytime soon..

"Watching football is, in theory, a bit like looking at art. The view from my seat (which has its own little TV monitor) might be compared to looking down on a vast green abstract canvas laid flat, with dots oscillating about like some 1960s piece of kinetic art. But while I can find deep meaning in, say, an abstract by Jackson Pollock, the game of football has always been as indecipherable to me as some people profess to find modern art. I am a football philistine." Jonathon Jones

Update: See also Sports Writers become Art Critics
Monday, June 16, 2008
  Pablo Picasso Auction in Sydney
pablo picasso - sylvette paintingA Pablo Picasso painting is being auctioned this week in Sydney, Australia at Deutscher-Menzies. The 1954 work titled "Sylvette" is expected to set a record for a painting auctioned in Australia with an estimate of between $5,000,000 and 7,000,000.

The owner of the painting, who also happens to be the chairman of the Menzies Art Brands company paid about $4.6 million for the Picasso painting in 2006.

Most people with a Picasso to put on the auction block send it to London or New York to attract international buyers. Rodney Menzies not only hopes that he will get a good price for his Picasso painting in Sydney, but that he will also put the international spotlight on his auction house.

Menzies said "We see Sydney positioned in the southern hemisphere as New York is positioned in the northern hemisphere."

Update: Pablo Picasso's portrait of Sylvette David sold for $6.9 which includes a 20% premium on the hammer price of $5.75 million. This breaks the record of $3.48 million for a painting sold at auction in Australia (Brett Whiteley's "The Olgas For Ernest Giles" painting).

>> Art Auctions, Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso Collection in Brisbane
Thursday, June 12, 2008
  Albert Herbert 1925–2008
I know this news is a month old, but I just found out (on the website) that the poetic UK painter Albert Herbert passed away at the age of 82 last month.

Here's a note from a Guardian report on the painter..
"Albert was a maverick, liked but seldom taken seriously by art establishments. He stopped showing at the Royal Academy when his paintings were contemptuously "skied" (hung high on the wall). His gallery, and champion for the last 20 years, was England & Co, in Notting Hill, but his subject matter was looked upon with suspicion by those holding the public art purse-strings, and there is no Albert Herbert in the Tate."

Clive James also wrote a piece on Albert Herbert..
"Still comparatively unsung among the British modern painters, the late Albert Herbert, who was born in 1925, always dealt in that trickiest of artistic qualities, enchantment. The danger of enchantment is that it can quickly cloy, but Herbert’s version of it never did. His exquisite balancing of the areas in the painting, a poise which would be convincing even if the pictures were abstracts, depends on an infallible sense of color."

His gallery has a lot of his work online on the England and Co. website here. The artist is quoted as saying "art is not about meanings but feelings" which makes sense when you see his paintings.

Albert Herbert - Elijah Fed by a Raven in the Desert
Albert Herbert - Elijah Fed by a Raven in the Desert ii 1991

Albert Herbert - Tree of Life
Albert Herbert - Tree of Life 1995

Albert Herbert - Adam and Eve
Albert Herbert - Adam and Eve 1990

>> Artist Obituaries
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
  Pablo Picasso and His Collection in Brisbane
During my recent walkabout I was feeling artsick (kind of like being homesick, but it's art that you miss) so I drove on to the city of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. It's not a city that you would usually go to if you're feeling artsick, but there was an exhibition of Picasso and his personal art collection on at the Gallery of Modern Art, so I had to go.

Here's a blurb from the GoMa..
The exhibition features over 100 works from Picasso's extraordinary collection plus more than 80 important works by the artist himself. A range of documentary photographs also feature.
'Picasso & his collection' includes paintings, drawings and prints by artists such as Chardin, Matisse, Renoir, Cézanne, Rousseau, Miró, Modigliani and Braque, as well as an extraordinary selection of Oceanic and African works."

As much as I don't like blockbuster exhibitions and the crowds they attract, I still have to go to them as they're the only chance to see names like Matisse, Modigliani, Cezanne and Picasso in Australia. I saw the exhibition on the opening day too, so I expected to fight my way through the crowds.

I enjoyed most of the "Picasso & His Collection" exhibition, but I would have been just as happy on the day if there was just one painting on show; Still life with Oranges by Henri Matisse (click on the image below to see a larger view).

It's easily one of the most beautiful paintings I have seen in the flesh. I love still lifes and I love paint, both of which Matisse nails in this painting.

Henri Matisse Still Life Painting
Henri Matisse Nature morte aux oranges ou Corbeille d’oranges (Still life with oranges or Basket of oranges) 1912 Oil on canvas 94 x 85cm RF 1973-72 Donation Picasso 1973–78 Collection: musée national Picasso, Paris Photo RMN © René-Gabriel Ojéda

There was also a couple nice Paul Cezanne landscape paintings. They weren't paintings that I recognized, but you really only need a 10 inch square of brush strokes to appreciate Cezanne.

Paul Cezanne Landscape Painting
Château noir 1905Paul Cézanne Château noir 1905 Oil on canvas 74 x 93cm RF 1973-60 Donation Picasso 1973–78 Collection: musée national Picasso, Paris PhotoRMN © René-Gabriel Ojéda

And here's a photo of Pablo Picasso in his studio with two wonderful little portraits by Henri Rousseau.

Pablo Picasso with Henri Rousseau Paintings
André Gomès 1951–97 Picasso dans son atelier du mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie, avec les deux portraits du Douanier Rousseau (Picasso in his studio at mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie, with two portraits by Douanier Rousseau) 1965 Gelatin silver print 20 x 17cm Collection: Documentation du musée Picasso, Paris

There's more information on the Picasso exhibition over at the GoMa website.
>> Art Exhibitions, Pablo Picasso
Friday, June 06, 2008
  Google Celebrates Diego Velazquez
Famous Spanish ArtistThe famous Spanish artist Diego Velázquez is on the Google homepage today. Google has appropriated the Spaniard's Las Meninas from 1656 (The Maids of Honour.)

I don't think Google has integrated their logo very well with the painting but I still love that they continue to celebrate artists in this way.
>> Famous Artists, Internet
Thursday, June 05, 2008
  Lovers of Banksy Thick - Lovers of Twombly Thinking People
I think one of the requirements for being an art critic of any importance (you could easily argue that no art critic is of any importance, but I think they have their place) is to enjoy poking hornets nests with sticks. If there was a manual on how to be a talked about art critic, Im sure it would say to make every fifth review a controversial review.

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones seems to enjoy making fun of the red hot grafitti artist Banksy, even if it's just to argue the value of another artist. Here's a little quote from one of his recent reviews of a Cy Twombly exhibition coming to the Tate Modern..

"Banksy is a thick person's idea of a radical artist. Twombly is a thinking person's. He began scrawling on his paintings in the 1950s when the presiding genius of modern art was Jackson Pollock. The idea of the abstract painterly mark as "writing" is already there in Pollock, but it was Twombly who made this idea explicit. Ever since he has painted grand, brave works that are at once abstract and literary, that demand to be read while also being hard, perhaps impossible, to read. This makes him sound difficult, and he is, but his work has a sensuality that is immediately, humanly rewarding." Guardian

Cy Twombly is showing at the Tate Modern from the 19th of June through to the 14th of September.
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