BgArt News Blog
Thursday, July 31, 2008
  Basil Sellers Art Prize
basil sellers prize winner daniel crooksDaniel Crooks has won the first biennial Basil Sellers Art Prize in Australia, pocketing $100,000 for his Study for ‘Static no. 11 (man running)’ work. The work is a two-channel HD digital video with sound.

The subject that artists have to play with to enter the art prize is sport. I always thought sport and art went together about as happily as oil and water.

Brett Whiteley's "The Cricket Match" is one of the few sporting pictures that I would hang my wall. There's also George Bellows boxing paintings and Edgar Degas horse racing paintings. I can't think of any others at the moment.

Here's what the organizers of the art/sports prizes hopes to achieve.. "It is hoped this prize will support the continuing development of the winning artist's work, encourage a wider discussion and experience, and liberate sport and art from their opposing corners in the cultural landscape."

The 16 shortlisted artists are James Angus, Jon Cattapan, Daniel Crooks, Kate Daw and Stewart Russell, Ivan Durrant, Shaun Gladwell, Mark Hilton, David Jolly, Josie Kunoth Petyarre and Dinni Kunoth Kemarre, Richard Lewer, Selina Ou, Scott Redford, Elvis Richardson and Anne Zahalka. See their entries here.
>> Art Prizes
 
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
  Hazel Dooney in Melbourne with Porno
Hazel Dooney nude photoHazel Dooney is showing in Melbourne at the Mars gallery with a photography exhibition called PORNO. This will be her first photography exhibition, but it won't be the first time she has created controversy with her sexually charged works. Her "Sex Tourist" watercolors caused a stir at the Art Melbourne art fair last year when a sponsor of the event tried to have her work censored.

The new exhibition is inspired by the proliferation of home-made pornographic images that are distributed via the internet. As Ms Dooney argues, "Porn's creepy sensibility has insinuated itself into every aspect of popular culture ... and even achieved some legitimacy. It has found its way into the hands of millions of middle-class suburbanites who might never have risked a foray into an actual 'adult store' to buy it over the counter. With the proliferation of more sophisticated home media and simple editing applications, many have experimented with producing it themselves."

Along with photographs which she created or for which she modeled, Hazel Dooney has also assembled a series of sexually explicit photographs created by amateurs: these she has reprinted and refined in order to present them in the more serious context of art.

See more Hazel Dooney work at her Website here or read her Blog here.
 
Sunday, July 27, 2008
  Million Dollar Leg of James Stewart
million dollar leg tattooThe New Zealand entrepreneur James Stewart is selling ad space on his left leg and hopes to make a million dollars out of it. With about 2000 square centimeters of skin to tattoo, selling for $500 per square centimeter, he hopes to reach his million dollar goal. With the money from his Million Dollar Leg project, Stewart wants to further develop and market his Art Klick website for New Zealand artists.

He got the idea from the Million Dollar Homepage, which is an advertisement for everything that is bad about the internet. So if the sponsors on his leg are anything like those on Alex Tew's Million Dollar Homepage, he'll have a leg filled with casinos, ringtones, loans, insurance, and dating companies.

Here's what James Stewart plans to do with the million dollars..
1. Pay off Bills/loans
2. Develop Art Klick into a website of international standards
3. Advertise and market Art Klick to the world
4. Move to Wellington and get a new office + hire staff
5. Donate $50,000 to charity (chosen by the Art Klick Community),
6. Give another $1,000 to the members of Art Klick whose artwork I use for the tattoo
7. Start my next two website ideas……
 
Thursday, July 24, 2008
  I Love Painting
Up until a few week ago I hadn't painted for about 18 months as I didn't have a studio to paint in. Since being back in the studio and using oil paints I have noticed that I used to take painting for granted. I used to just do painting and not realize what a special privilege it is to be doing something that I love doing so much.

Here's what I love about painting..

I can't believe it took me more than 18 months to get back into a studio!

 
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
  Death of the Art Critic
The Guardian's art critic Jonathan Jones is questioning the role of the art critic in a recent blog post..
"What has passed away is a certain kind of revered and influential critical voice, it is sometimes said: where are today's equivalents of the poet and critic William Empson, the art critic Clement Greenberg, the critic of the novel FR Leavis?" Guardian

The arts writers at the Guardian might be concerned that the sports writers can do their job just as well as they can.

I think the art critic will live.. just as painting still lives (even though painting supposedly dies every generation.) In my opinion, art critics become irrelevant when they start thinking their writing is as important as the art they review. They start to see that their words have some kind of influence, which causes their ego to inflate, which leads to art reviews about the art reviewer rather than the art.
 
Friday, July 18, 2008
  Indian Art - Ashok Bhowmik
Tamarind Art in New York City is showing work by the contemporary Indian artist Ashok Bhowmik. The exhibition opened on the 10th of July and finishes on the 15th of August.

I know very little about contemporary Indian art and have never heard of Ashok Bhowmik but I just love the "Ancestor's Face" painting below, so I thought I better share it.

Here's a blurb from the art gallery.. "Ashok Bhowmik is the featured artist in our current exhibition, 'Alchemy of Enigma.' Ashok's paintings manipulate and invoke a spiritual yet haunting imagery within the synapses of the mind. His juxtapositions have a distinct style, streamed with color and accents against stark, bleak backgrounds to add to the simplistic yet powerful nature of his images. Ashok graduated from the Government College of Art and Craft in Kolkata and has exhibited in many solo and group shows worldwide. He currently lives and works in Kolkata." Find out more at the Tamarind Art gallery website here.

indian artist ashok bhowmik
Ashok Bhowmik - Ancestor’s Face

indian artist ashok bhowmik
Ashok Bhowmik - The Egyptian & The Clock
>> Art Exhibitions
 
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
  Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell - Part 3
This is Part 3 of 3 of Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell. See Part 1 of Imperial Clothing here or Part 2 here.

Movement
This country has always been about movement, all its best traits are in growth and action. Not in the attempt to capture movement, or express oneself through the action of painting, or the exhibitionism of performance. But in physical movement of purpose, dance, music, sports, the effort to build. This requires focus, planning, thought and balance. And knowledge of a task at hand. Skills attained through years of training and trial. Many American Museums best features are the buildings themselves, others fail miserably, such as the Japanese Pavilion at LACMA. Which ironically features an excellent collection of screens and scrolls, which the rest of the museums lack, having a broad array of mediocre examples of art and artists. Many of these new Towers of Babel, and Ivory Mausoleums to benefactor's fame, are filled with decorative wallpaper, disposable pop, and self-exhibitionist decadence. Really, we have more than enough wall space, now how about promoting some relevant art to fill it.

Sports can be more truly dramatic and exhilarating than most art. Michael Jordan with the ball, five seconds left in playoff action, provides more relevance to mans nature and passion than the latest Biennial. Dance is wonderful in this country, from the streets, to clubs, to troops. To, yes, even BET at times. But Music is our true contribution to the world. No, not the insipid redundancies of a Philip Glass, or cute witticisms of the Talking Heads. While Europe and Japan love jazz, and regard it as the equal of European musics (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Atonal.), the American Art World will nod its head briefly in its direction, then go back to its own limited concerns. Yet right here in this country Miles Davis has proven himself to be the musical equivalent of Matisse. Charlie Parker created the analytical cubism of music, be bop, while Coltrane explored synthetic cubism, creating the first truly international music, both technically, and incorporating music's from around the globe. Together they created the quality and breadth of art of Picasso. Louis Armstrong provided the bridge between the old worlds concepts, and the new, as Cézanne did in painting. Monk gave us the poetry of Klee, the modernization of ancient regional sensibilities of Braque and Tamayo came in Gillespie's Cubano Bop, Blue Note artists, and advanced bluesmen.

It is ironic how the American Art World puts everything outside itself in deprecating categories, especially Ethnic Art, yet what could be more ethnic than it? Hordes of young, white, metrosexual males and anorexic princesses live in self-proclaimed, and often City funded, Art Colonies. Thinking they are the heirs of Picassos floating laundry and Gauguins Marquesas, yet those artists, and traveling jazz musicians, never enjoyed forced air heating, indoor plumbing, and polished oak floors. Nor the young Bohemian's parking places for their Toyota Prius and daddies BMW.

The End
So what is the future of "high' culture and art in America. There may be none, for now as in the time of the Academy, it belongs more on the Society page than Cultural. It has limited itself, both to its own inbred small circle, and from the world. There is no true discourse, no heated arguments over meaning, no passion, when everyday those privileged enough to have the time to create should justify their existence. For that is what art is, We, Relationships, Eternity, God. Purpose. These are the continuing concern of art. In a time of War, and coming economic turmoil, we must get back to who we are. And unite over common ground. Not behind a candidate, a religious article, or political doctrine. Those are the false gods of ignorance, hate and division.

Will a revolt come from within? The huge number of vanity galleries swamps the ability for talent to be seen, develop and attack. And lack the vitality, constructive self-criticism and passion to do battle. Will it make an end run around the system, and appeal directly to the masses? Possibly. But as in the innumerable numbers of cable stations, the fragmentation of focus keeps it off the powers that be. Tough times are coming. As with "new" art, there is no "new" economics, the numbers are horribly out of balance, and the time has come to pay the piper. Monies wasted on the arts, grants to the soft mediocre artists who need to toughen up, must end. All true artists will find a way. Get a job. Or find private commissions that are not tax write-offs for dad. And use the public's money for real concerns. Education, healthcare, jobs, ecology, the physically and emotionally handicapped from War. A balanced budget. We must open our eyes, if Art is ever to be relevant and vital again. The best and brightest, the most passionate, should not all be diverted to more pressing needs. For Art is needed. To unify, not divide. Veritas, adapt our needs to Truth, not to our own desires. Art is now false and a mirage. It sucks up to individual vanity. Look around, the Emperor has no clothes. Imperial clothing.

By Donald Frazell
Read Part 1 of Imperial Clothing - Read Part 2 of Imperial Clothing
 
  Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell - Part 2
This is Part 2 of 3 of Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell. See Part 1 of Imperial Clothing here or Part 3 here.

Sales: Galleries and Critics
Now, everyone wanted to be the next famous gallery owner or art critic to discover "the next big thing". They became the rock stars as much as, if not more so than, the artists. For they made money and went to parties, which people like Woody Allen made infamous. Artists were romanticized, their lives captured and presented for consumption in huge coffee table books, so everyone could not just understand and appreciate art, but actually get into the minds of heroically hyped "Gods' of Art, and therefore be them. But no true artist wants to have his life dissected and simplified for consumption. They are workers, making objects to stimulate and connect people to life, to feel it intensely, and find meaning. The artists lives themselves are irrelevant, the work is all. When successful, it should trigger spiritual feelings of fulfillment, and purpose. Passions should be the same as when entering Yosemite Valley in the spring, the works of God surrounding us, of eternity, of life, of belonging in the immensity of creation. The Sistine ceiling conveys this powerfully, as does Stonehenge, the Pyramids, and Goya's Third of May. The Olympics have now been similarly packaged, sentimental stories told by sympathizing, emoting hucksters, while the purpose of the athletes work, their performance, gets lost on hidden cable channels. Their stories are soon forgotten, to be replaced by others, and their hard work in competition never seen or appreciated.

So now artists, like pop stars and athletes, are packaged for consumption. For pop, the package is the product. Meant to be viewed, used, and disposed of. It has no shelf life. It is the product of media, to be sold by the new self-promoting Vollard, or professional hypester Rosenberg. Critics and gallery owners now become more famous than the producers they hype, by naming new movements, and attaching their stars, paychecks, and careers to their stable of wannabe professional artists.

But the product was disappearing. After a last gasp of Modernism in the WWII generation, from Pollock to Diebenkorn and Tamayo, inertia grasped the art world. What happened? The media and salesmanship had overtaken meaning itself, with critics quoting Marshall McLuhan every other article, to justify their paychecks. When the quote itself had been a warning, not a goal. A burgeoning need for product hastened a new academy. Not a limited structural hierarchy as before, one that could easily be discredited and replaced by "the next big thing". But one that could be controlled and defanged, one based on fallacy and vanity, serving the needs of the wealthy. One that became so marginalized mediocritized, and self absorbed, it was irrelevant to real life, and so removed as a true threat to the powers that be. Removed from everyday concerns, the masses lost all interest in it.

Academia
The art school of the nineteenth century was run by the official Academy, court appointed hacks that backed the status quo, with a few exceptional artists, like Delacroix and Ingres. After that all great artists were self-taught, or as Cézanne said, the Louvre is my teacher. All early moderns went to, and dropped out of, different art schools. No great artist has ever graduated from an art school. Or taught at one but briefly. Schools by definition are self-perpetuating and teach accepted techniques, and so self interested and conservative. They are professional and standard creating, analyzing past life, as an autopsy is to breathing. Infatuated with the individual, the paying student and themselves, and fundraising. In music also, artists from Miles Davis to Wynton Marsalis have dropped out of Julliard and Berklee, going on the road with the real teachers, performing artists who had actually created themselves. In art it is always true, those who can do, those who can't teach, and get a degree. It is a commodity toward professionalism, not creative art.

The American art school had always been used both as a training academy to produce work acceptable to the current ideas of the wealthy, and as a finishing school for young ladies preparing for marriage into society. The two have now been blended, as grants are given by trust funds and charitable organizations run for and by the rich. They are playgrounds for their children, and others who have bought into the castrating ideology of "Meism". A few are publicized as rebels and trendsetters, such as Basquiat, a middle class black youth of rather limited ability. A promising student at his best, romanticized to both promote and excuse the excesses and irrelevancy of sheltered privilege. A token, who had bought into the pop lifestyle and self absorbed ideology, using drugs not out of rebellion, but decadence. Government funds are lobbied for, and administered by, wealthy interests whose tax deductible contributions therefore come right back to them, rather than paying for essential public needs, such as education, healthcare, ecology, jobs, and funding a war they created.

Creation and Purpose
For what is creative art? "Art" covers a huge array of activities, such as applied arts, learned skills necessary for life and everyday activities, that utilize creativity for a given purpose. But art lacks subdivisions to explain purpose, and one word covers a huge variety of quality and intent. Music has categories, for better and worse. Miles hated the term jazz, saying it was a white mans word, he was just making more music. But when categorizing by type, at least one can wind ones way through the variety of purpose and quality of music. Jazz is the quintessential American art form, blues, bluegrass, R&B, even country often having great worth also. But most is entertainment. Creative artists seek to master their craft to get beyond their own individuality, to become one with the universe and contribute to its growth. They aim to trigger in the viewer or listener an intensification of life, of caring for, and becoming part of our world. It is losing oneself in Nature, the Universe, God. Entertainment, pop in its current form, is about glorifying the individual, and so by identifying itself with a pop god, the mass becomes more than itself. Losing ones cares, not dealing with them, and feeling superior through their chosen deity. This can be addicting, a drug, and so easily marketable.

What is its purpose? For Purpose is everything. It is what it has always been. From cave art to Michelangelo to Picasso, it is about, who are we? Does life have meaning? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Gauguin asked these questions, as did John Coltrane. It is about God. Not of dogmatic religion, though art has always been at its service, but of the eternal. The search to build upon our past, not ignoring it, but adding our current experiences on those who came before, to understand what makes us human. It is about We. Understanding who we are as humans and our culture, moving into the future as a society, and world. It is bit-by-bit defining who we are and bonding together.

All great explosions in art have come about not because of individuals, but changes in society, knowledge of who we are, and our place in the Universe. Egyptian, Hellenic, Pre-Columbian, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic art all exploded into life when societies formed, civilization crystallized, and ideas about life matured. Tribal arts from all over the globe appealed to gods for life to continue, nature to spare them and nourish their crops. It defined a people, giving them identity as a whole, not individually. Ones identity within the group came next, and art strictly for group religion became a personal quest for meaning as well. Western art developed in the Renaissance because of new knowledge, that uncovered from the ancients, and physical knowledge, science, which redefined their presence in the universe, and who they were. Another bigger explosion, from Darwin, Einstein, and the Industrial Revolution led to Modernism. Attempts to redefine who we are led to new art built on the past, with our new knowledge added, much changing our notions about our very being. Artists such as Braque and Picasso no longer bothered to sign their works, they knew they did not matter any more than anyone else, we were all built of the same stuff, trees, animals, rock, air. It was not about individualism, not self-expression, which is for children, and those who wished to market them.

Current State
Psychology and fetishism now rule the day, forms of decadence, not vitality. The market are those who can afford over priced and hyped work, to both exhibit their wealth, and speculate on their investments. Pop has focused on music and film. It brings in more money on a mass scale. Interior decorators create atmospheres matching furniture and flooring, buying abstract designs and figurative art as wallpaper, for clients who seldom know what they truly want. But the majority of galleries for the wealthy are either accepted Masters, or work that reflect the needs and vanities of the clientele. Many have psychologists to deal with their unresolved issues and frustrations, finding success in monetary terms has not translated into happiness, which has become fools gold. Happiness actually being a short term state, which drugs, entertainment, and societies fixation on instant gratification, has made all important, mistaking it for life's goal. When in truth it is a by-product of fulfilled purpose and contentment. Most painting is now their children's work, reflecting insecurities and need for self-validation. They seek bought self worth, instead of earning it.

Modernism went beyond the previous prosaic and illustrative work with ones based on music and poetry, the oneness of all in the chaos. Line as melody, color became harmony, and the structure built by Cezanne on knowledge of our physical oneness with the world, gave rhythm. A rhythm European music could never build, but came about in Modernisms musical equivalent, jazz. But Modernism split Cézannes atomic apple over and over, until finally there wasn't enough left to work with. As building a signature style for commercial purposes became more important than the works own integrity. Art is built of relationships. Stripped of them, it is simply decoration. Then, first pop, now self-expression and willfully ignorant self-adulation has taken over. Leading to decadence and arrogant distancing from the rest of humanity.

And the art schools supply their needs. The film Art School Confidential has a good bead on it. Ones about the sprawling myopic gallery scene and bloated museum industry have yet to be created. As Eisenhower warned of the Military-Industrial Complex threat, so the small art world should have taken heed of the Museo-Artschool-Gallery Complex, a self perpetuating agenda based on its own needs, not the real worlds. Culture is based on the past, adding links with acquired knowledge. Sciences are not taught in these schools. Not economics, history, religion, physical activity and development, all the things that make us human. No sexuality, no love, no passion, no sacrifice, no charity. Only a bloated sense of self-importance, as if the rest of the world should pay attention to their unknowing ramblings and desires. The lessons are dated, mediocre, and redundant. Creativity cannot be taught, it must be earned. Talent is nice, but many hacks have some of that. Cézanne by schools definition would have little, as did Einstein, but their devotion, study, and ability to bring together supposedly disparate ideas created new ways of viewing the Universe, so we are able to understand it more, from the information we are constantly receiving. This took years of self disciplined study, of the best and newest solid information, not a few years in over aged daycare centers. As Cézanne said, art is a priesthood. These are no monks.

Read Part 1 of Imperial Clothing - Read Part 3 of Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell
 
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
  Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell - Part 1
Donald Frazell has allowed me to publish his article on art, culture and America. I'll publish it in several posts though as it's more lengthy than a usual post.

Donald is opinionated and happy to criticize the establishment, but they're attributes that should be encouraged.


Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell

Marketing The Cult of Individualism
This basically sums up the state of "Art" in America. Why? Because as with the Romans and British before us, America is a place of commerce, engineers and industry. We are a practical people, with one great genius. Selling a product. Coca Cola, Chevrolet, or the NFL, our marketing leads the world. It takes what it can use, from evangelism in religion, to music from our ethnic populations, to modernism for advertising; business brings to the world what it can convince them they need.

Museums
How has this affected Art in our country? From a weak history in visual arts, we institutionalized Art in academia. Fine Arts catered to the wealthy, bringing them the sense of luxury they required. Our crafts were democratized, simplified forms from countries of cultural birth, gaining a simple grace and sturdiness. On the streets and countryside, the arts of common people blended, taking from their neighbors what they could use, adapted to new environments, and flourished. Music, dance, furniture, housing, and house ware all grew and took on new character. The Fine Arts continued to emulate Europe, and also weak copies of arts from Asia. Only in the new fields of film and photography did we create new forms, ones that influenced the rest of the world. With our emergence as a superpower after WWII we convinced ourselves of our superiority, that our culture, and therefore our Art, must lead the world.

We created truly great collecting institutions in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and private collections from the Frick in New York City, to the later Norton Simon in Los Angeles. In the post war era, every city wanted a Guggenheim to promote its greatness, and, of course, market for business and tourism. We went on a building binge, architects from around the globe vying for commissions to create the newest edifice proclaiming civic pride, and individual immortality. Museums, as with NFL stadiums, are selling their naming to the highest bidder, ensuring commercial sales in the sports venues, and personal immortality in all the Arts. For Art is believed to be eternal. Marketing genius.

What to put in this exploding acreage of empty wall space? Most of the great Art of the world had already been bought, or stolen. From the collections of Morozov and the Steins, to the Elgin Marbles of empire, and grave robbers from around the world. As artists like Van Gogh and Matisse became known, celebrity reigned with the explosion of media during the twentieth century. A vast new source of material became available, as investment, and speculation, making even the worst study or sketch of "name" artists valuable. New "schools" vied for attention to be documented, promoted, and sold. A new industry was born. The old Academy had been destroyed by the Post Impressionists. Now, everything was fair game, no standards to be created, fought against, or reformed.

Mega shows blossomed in the 1970s, after the success of the King Tut traveling exhibit, just as the supply of new creative arts was drying up. Hype, and attendance money, ruled the day. Cézannes apple had been sliced into such small slivers, there was no substance left to Modern Art. Pop, disposable art born of media, and psychological fetishes took over. Horrible shows proliferated. Ads promoting the glories of Picasso raged at many Museums, based around one quality piece to be reproduced ad nauseum as bait. The rest of the show comprising of a few mediocre pieces, and a lot of trash. For while no artist ever created as much significant work as Picasso, no one created, and preserved, as much garbage also. And collectors, read speculators, have wares to hawk, and increase their investments worth. Minimalist navel contemplating exhibits "filled" nearly empty galleries, eye stimulating and mind numbing op art flourished. Pop posters enlarged from the newest rags were plopped on walls. Supposedly shocking sexual art, illustrating self-loathing and perversion, totally lacked in sensuality. The harder they tried to be "new" the more they seemed childish rantings. And critics wrote volumes about the supposed glories of exhibitionism, and pseudo-intellectual games about viewer-artist-gallery-museum-blahblahblah-relationships All to get attention for themselves, for career, and $.

Museum budgets expanded, fundraising exploded, monies from membership and museum shops became means of revenue, no longer education and appreciation. Advertising campaigns to bring in new viewers grew, special shows drew hordes, earphones attached telling them what to think and feel, explaining the artists motives and emotions, when such things are truly irrelevant. With rising insurance costs, tickets became exorbitant, and museums competed to get shows. Where taped messages led the masses to buying trinkets and posters demonstrating ones good taste in Museum stores. They had to compete with forms of entertainment, and so, became it. And people missed truly significant works.

One example, from the 1980s, was the second Van Gogh show at the Met. It was a truly wonderful show, having many of his works from Arles and with Gauguin. But as the hordes fought in bunches before the paintings, viewing by number from the audio stuck in their ear, not thinking for themselves, a truly significant show right next to it was virtually unattended. Two rooms held the complete watercolors of Cézanne. His works influenced the century as no other, the watercolors having particular inspiration on post war work. But as the hype machine had focused on the Van Gogh show, no one attended. Three times I viewed it, no more than two others in the room each time. Marketing told the public to come and see this one show, huge lines and hefty ticket prices kept people focused strictly on the special "event". For people had disposable cash, and had been taught to appreciate art as a commodity, whether they understood it or not. The purpose of art never having been explained, the Trivial Pursuit generation saw all things to be used, to entertain, and personal desires given primacy. Not the accumulated knowledge of man, to be added to ones appreciation for life.

Read Part 2 of Imperial Clothing - Read Part 3 of Imperial Clothing by Donald Frazell
 
Sunday, July 13, 2008
  Banksy is Robin Gunningham
Banksy Identity UncoveredThe Mail on Sunday newspaper believes they have uncovered the identity of the underground British graffiti artist Banksy. The Mail On Sunday say that Banksy is the 34 year former public schoolboy (private school) Robin Gunningham.

Banksy uncovered: The nice middle-class boy who 'became the graffiti guerrilla'
"The notion that Banksy is Robin Gunningham, 34, who was educated at the £9,240-a-year Bristol Cathedral School, will shock the artist’s fans, fond of their hero’s ‘anti-establishment’ stance." Mail on Sunday

Banksy's publicist would neither confirm nor deny if Banksy was Robin Gunningham, so the mystery continues. It was thought that Banksy's real name might be Robin Banks of Bristol, with parents that believed he was a painter and decorator. The BBC published this photo of Banksy in November.
>> Banksy News, Who is Banksy?
 
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
  Art Monthly - Nude Girl Cover
nude girl magazine coverA lot of artists are cheeky trouble makers that delight in upsetting people that like their todays and tomorrows to be the same. A lot of Australians are like that too; they make fun of people that are too serious and they seem to enjoy getting into trouble.

The front cover of Art Monthly in Australia this month shows a magazine editor poking a stick at the nest of a lot of noisy hornets. After the recent uproar over the Bill Henson teen photos in Australia, there's only one reason to be publishing a cover with a naked young girl on it, which is to create controversy.

From the editorial of Art Monthly Australia..
"As Donald Brook argues, it should never be a question of art or pornography, but rather: ‘Should works of art enjoy a general indulgence, recognised in law, so that even culpably pornographic works of art like those on the walls of brothels in Pompeii may sometimes be tolerated?’ The past few weeks in Australia have certainly exposed just how timid and intolerant our society seems to have become, even while Henson is now free to show his work."

The image is called "Olympia as Lewis Carroll’s Beatrice Hatch before White Cliffs" by Polixeni Papapetrou (the mother of the girl in the photo). Olympia Nelson was 6 years old when the photo was taken and is now 11 years old.

child nudity photo
The Sydney Morning Herald did a report on the story (photo by Penny Stephens showing Olympia Nelson with her mother, father, brother and the nude picture)..
"THE girl at the centre of the latest controversy over child nudity in art said yesterday that she was "really, really offended" at comments by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, that he "cannot stand" the naked image of her, aged six, on the cover of an art magazine." SMH

Politicians are sharing their opinions on the magazine cover with the Australian opposition leader, Brendan Nelson saying "If you were sitting on a bus and the person next to you turned on their laptop and this was the screensaver, you would be very concerned. What these people have done in this publication and using the photographs of this child in this way is send a two-fingered salute to the rest of society."

>> Photography, Australia, Controversial News
 
Monday, July 07, 2008
  Marc Chagall Birthday
marc chagall-birthdayGoogle has celebrated the birthday of Marc Chagall with a new logo on their homepage. If I didn't know it was supposed to say "Google" I wouldn't know there was a word there, but I think it's one of their better logos. It represents the artist more than the Google logo.

Marc Chagall born 7 July 1887 - died 28 March 1985.

"Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things I love."
Marc Chagall

"If a symbol should be discovered in a painting of mine, it was not my intention. It is a result I did not seek. It is something that may be found afterwards, and which can be interpreted according to taste."
Marc Chagall

"But perhaps my art is the art of a lunatic, I thought, mere glittering quicksilver, a blue soul breaking in upon my pictures."
Marc Chagall
 
Sunday, July 06, 2008
  Harleston & Waveney Art Trail - Open Studios
Harleston & Waveney Art TrailFor three weekends this July the "Harleston & Waveney Art Trail" is being held in the UK. They're weekends where a group of artists open up their studio doors to the public. The artists work in different mediums and styles, but are located close to each other as you can walk or bicycle along the art trail.

Earl has taken the art trail and gives the following advice.. "But please try to avoid some of my mistakes. In one lady's house I was admiring her unmade bed and said I thought it was better than work by Tracy Emin but then her husband yelled and shook his fists at me. I told him he was one of the best performance artists I'd seen in years and he then chucked me out. It was certainly a very moving and emotional experience. The next studio I visited had a very impressive fish tank but I thought comparisons with the work of Mr Hirst were perhaps best left unsaid."

More information can be found at the Harleston, Norfolk website here. I'm located nowhere near Norfolk or the UK, but I love the idea of a group of artists opening up their studios.

Here's a list of the artists opening up their studio for the art trail weekends.. (which are the weekends of the 5th/6th, the 12th/13th, and the 19th/20th of July).

1 Harleston Gallery
2 Alan Frewin
3 John Lidzey
4 David Rock
5 Christina Greathead
6 Rosemary Elliott
7 Dom Theobold
8 Jilly Szaybo
9 Poppy Szaybo
10 Ian Scott
11 Jazz Green
12 Val Lindsell
13 Mark Goldsworthy
14 Agnes Compton
15 Alice Paulser
16 Jane Callender
17 Gill Levin
18 Parr & Lyne
19 Noelle Francis
20 Nell Close
21 Timothy Summerson
22 Geoffrey H King
23 Anya King
24 Dee Nickerson
25 John Ogden
26 Nicola Slattery
 
Friday, July 04, 2008
  Studio and Art News
I haven't posted much this week as I have started painting in my neighbor's shed. It's the first time I have used oil paints or had a studio in almost two years, so the internet just hasn't been as important for me this week.

I forgot how much oils smell, but I also forgot how much fun they are. I like the idea of growing a painting, letting it develop over time, and not feeling pressured into finishing it at any point. So oils are perfect for me.. and I'm starting to like the smell again!

Anyway, here's what has been happening lately..
 
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
  Artist Books - Blurb.com
A friend just sent me a link to a book publishing company called Blurb.com. They allow you to create your own book or exhibition catalog at a very reasonable price, and you don't have to order hundreds of copies to make it worthwhile. You can just buy one copy if you want.

Leith's email sold me on the idea, so I'll just share some of it..
"There seems to be a lot of artists there (and photographers etc) self publishing on good quality paper and binding at reasonable cost. A lot are just doing it for themselves or for friends/family or even as a professional looking hard back portfolio. Anyway, check it out.. might be worth looking into down the track.. the software (free download) is really simple to use and everything about the site, forums and the software itself seems good quality to me. I’m thinking of doing a book for myself and/or galleries."

Here's their pricing page to have a book published. There's also some examples of artists that have published their own art books here (in the Fine Art category). After you click on a book, click "Book Preview" to see inside it.

Here's a few books that I liked..
Shelley Mansel Art Book
A Decade of Painting - by Shelley Mansel

Christine Brennan Art Book
Christine Brennan Paintings - by Christine Brennan

Joseph Adolphe Art Book
Joseph Adolphe Paintings - by Joseph Adolphe

Has anyone used Blurb.com to have a book published? Or are there better book publishers out there?
 
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