Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 16 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.
The 24th International Symposium D-Art was scheduled to exhibit this summer in Vienna, Austria, and Melbourne, Australia. Due to the covid pandemic, those geographic shows have been canceled but an online gallery is now available. You will see Whitaker's new digital self-portraits, all based on a crude selfie run through a nummber of A.I. algorithms and then digitally transformed. Whitaker writes: "Do we want to face what we have become? Do we stop to ask if we like ourselves? A.I. and I ask those questions, and neither of us has any answers."
What appears to be a giant aquarium with crashing waves is actually an anamorphic optical illusion in South Korea. It is staggeringly large, complete with everything except the sound of the water. Created by a company called d'strict, which calls itself an Art Tech firm, you will find some other quite startling installations that they have created.
You may suspect that I love pattern, energy, and complexity, having looked at my imaging, so it will come as no surprise that I am drawn to the work of Bisa Butler. To call her a quilter is to miss the point. She is everywhere in the art world right now, from a cover of Time magazine to multiple museum exhibitions. Yes, the pieces are stitched, consuming as many as 1000 hours to complete. Her figures and backgrounds pulsate with color and activity, the figures giving an air of pride. Her portraits are sometimes taken from black and white photographs of historical figures, reworked in an amalgam of velvet, wool, silk, chiffon and wax-cast cotton prints.
Covid 19 may be silent and invisible, but artists have found numerous ways to portray it. Part of the impetus comes from a need to confront the virus as it is rather than as the outsized, ever-expanding entity that our imagination conjures.
An exhibition called Cut was scheduled to open at the Los Angeles gallery A-B projects but did not due to the pandemic. The British artist Phoebe Cummngs created the images on site, using raw clay as her material. The clay was meant to disintegrate, become brittle, shred and shrink during the show, raising questions of mortality, inevitability, decay and dissolution. The sculptures begin as quite evocative and lovely forms before their decline due to age, an intense concept at its core.
"Hiroshima Mon Amour" features the work of Spanish artist Antonio Saura, being shown at the Sainsbury Centre. Saura's work focuses on the decomposition and dissolution of the human form, driven almost but not quite to the moment of disappearance. The Sainsbury Centre lies on the beautiful campus of the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, the U.K. Other objects in their collection are equally dramatic, specializing in the works of Giacometti and Francis Bacon. At this site you can get a more complete view of the Saura work mentioned above.
The Wellcome Galleries at the Science Museum in London offers some highly unusual and stunning exhibits of items not usually seen in a museum setting. Be sure to see the Forest of Rods and the model of a cat.
"Bottle of Notes" is the title of an installation by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen in northeastern England. The community of Middlesbrough had once been a thriving steel manufacturing center but fell into depression. The artists picked a bottle as their subject, since bottles are often seen on the shoreline of the nearby North Sea. Other historical references, to Edgar Allan Poe, for example, and Captain Cook, made an impact on their thinking. The resultant steel bottle is thus contemporary in its design and connected to the past.
Takashi Murakami is producing extravagantly popular images that appeal to the general public and to luxury buyers as well. What is less well known, perhaps, is that he holds a PhD in nihonga, or traditional Japanese painting created after 1900. He also taps into something called kawaii, referring to "young people obsessed with computers at the expense of social interactions". His story-telling expertise is seen as well in his sculptures - one called "Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination".
Henri Matisse is much admired for his paintings today, although at one time he was known as a Wild Beast for his participation in a group called the Fauvists. This article looks at five of his best-known paintings and discusses their impact on the art world then, and now.
Art News presents an interesting comparison of portraits by artists of themselves when they were near death. Particularly haunting are the images done by Goya and Frida Kahlo. See what you think.
I'm not sure I would accept a proposition to base my house design on a car but I must admit that this residence, based on the Audi logo, looks impressive. The 3,000 square foot home is made primarily of concrete which is softened by warm wood, colorful large contemporary paintings, and extensive greenery.
If you are looking for a good read, "The Lost City of Z" will keep you glued to its pages for several hours. Published in 2005, it reads like adventure fiction, yet is based on a true story. Deep in the Amazon rain forest lies an area known as "green hell". Multiple reports suggest that it holds the remains of a fantastic empire of great wealth, and over the decades numous explorers have tried in vain to find it. All have died or disappeared, sometimes in bizarre circumstances. I could not put the story down.
Bright, patterned and colorful, what more could we ask for in a depressing environment brought about by covid 19? A group of London Designers has come up with some fanciful suggestions to lighten our lives. It is hard to look at these without breaking into a smile: can you imagine what some of our grey and grimy cities could look like if these talented minds were set loose on them?
c. Corinne Whitaker 2020