An inflatable museum on the National Mall?

The new director of the Hirshhorn wants to add a blow-up bubble tent to the courtyard of the building, one that sticks out the top and runs onto the mall.

"An Ultramodern Building Shows Signs of Age"

This can get a little tedious, but it's also a fascinating look at the micro-engineering behind architecture. It's about the problems facing the marble exterior screens of the National Gallery of Art's East Building.

"Complaints Choir" has just permanently entered my vocabulary

And it should yours, too. Here is an article about them, and here is the nine-step process for making your own complaints choir.

A new blue

Wherever Yves Klein is hanging out, he must be sad to have missed this--a surprising blue pigment, fresh out of the lab.

Tromp L'oeil, both old-school and new

The New York Times reviews an exhibit of tromp l'oeil paintings from the ancient to the contemporary, while New Scientist looks at "Augmented Reality" technology as a new form of the old trick.

Roman painting

The Independent takes up the question: is the Roman painting we have as good as it got?

Amateur art criticism, in a nutshell

Check out the Andy Warhol Polaroids of sports stars, but mostly take the time to read the comments.

The best one (comment, that is) reminds us that the photos were taken over 15 years. The reader doesn't belabor the point, just reminds us of the control and discipline necessary to make the images seem so well-connected.

Jeanne-Claude, 1935-2009

This makes me quite sad. (Update: here's a gallery of more of her work.)

Bayeux Tapestry

Here's the amazing video I was telling you about but not showing.

And here is a place to make your own Bayeux Tapestry scenes. Thanks to Avery for the heads-up; I didn't know anything about these.

Reading List

A local AP Art History teacher is compiling a list of resources to share with teachers and students. He's soliciting help from all the teachers on teh College Board e-mail list, so it should get bigger and better soon. Check it now and then.

"Street Art", meet street art

While a city was voting to make an exception to their grafitti zero-tolerance policy concerning a Bansky "mural," taggers defaced it. Literally--while the vote was going on.

Van Gogh now online

And in English!

An Art History-English combo!

The new show at the Morgan Museum and Library: Jane Austen.


I thought this would be another fluff piece on people who vandalize art. It's definitely about vandalism, but not quite as fluffy. It goes well with today's talk about iconoclasm.

Note: for the contemporary artists/vandals, ART stands as the religion that the art pieces violate. How meta-fun!

It's not about the urinal (it's about evolution?)

I just came across this essay from last week.

Question: how much do we even trust the idea of "craftsmanship" when so much of our reality is mass-produced? Duchamp may have had this question in mind. Warhol definitely did, and this essay and those like it do not quite address it.

Follow-up question: how come only past APAH students read this and not current ones?

What's her name?

Slate explains how Renaissance paintings get their titles.

Another view of the Fourth Plinth

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones points out something that we wouldn't notice: you can't really see the Plinthers very well if you're actually at the plinth. I find the fact that he considers the web-cam portion of the project ancillary and so easily dismissed surprising.

I'm beginning to get upset I don't still live in Dallas

I've been watching the Arts District get better all my life, and now when it's hitting its prime? I'm elsewhere.

3-d tour of Karnak

This site has 3-d wideo animation of the development of the Karnak tombs and temples. It's fun stuff.

Time to rewrite chapter 16

A treasure hunter with a metal detector has, according to experts, changed the way we view Anglo-Saxon culture.

It seems everybody gets an opera these days

First Rufus Wainwright pens an opera. Then Ikea hosts an opera about...Ikea. And now there's an opera about Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. I'm beginning to feel a little left out that I am not the star and/or subject of an opera.

Fancy new building coming to Dallas

Have you been to Dallas lately? They've got a handful of fancy new buildings by big-name architects. Worth a visit.

Damien Hirst wants you!

If you happen to have an identical twin you can bring along.

Listen up

A factual account of Van Gogh's ear. You know the one I mean.

Gangsta cartoon characters

This perfectly illustrates the difference between "I've always wondered about that" and "I researched, theorized, and made a compelling photo essay about that."

Free art in Seattle

Someone left some sculpture in a Seattle park, promising to remove it before the "next rain."

And, um.

I don't imagine you'll want to watch this whole clip, or the other four parts of it. But it is rather nice to see a famous and successful artist--Lucien Freud--who isn't "media savvy" or working to promote himself. He's, well, quite dull. A nice reminder that if your work is really good you can sometimes skip the forceful personality and self-promotion. They're not all trying to channel Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollack.

This post has nothing to do with art

But if you are reading this (is anyone still reading this?), you are probably heading off to school in the next week or so. Need/want/willing to listen to advice? These tips are good. Best of luck at your new home.

In case Tim and Eric are still following violence against art

A Russian woman threw a cup at Mona Lisa. This article includes the obligatory list of other attacks. She (the Russian attacker, not Mona Lisa) was apparently upset at being denied French citizenship. This episode surely won't help her appeal.

If only all hotels worked this way

This hotel in Berlin allows artists to stay for free-if they contribute to the hotel.

Be in Pasadena on September 12

To see some skywriting. (I wonder if it will look any different than what we already picture in our head when we just read about it?)


I've taken a summer break from TED. But now that I check again, I see some really cool stuff. Like this guy, who makes microscopic sculpture.

Echigo-Tsumari Festival

The website for the Echigo-Tsumari Festival has a searchable index of the participating artists, with a photo for each. It's definitely worth some time. I chose this one from James Turrell. He's familiar to us in Houston, both for the tunnel linking the buildings at the MFAH and the Quaker meeting house with the retractable roof in the Heights. He also has a great piece at the Nasher Center in Dallas.

The best way I found is to go to the Search Artworks page, pick one randomly, and then spend time browsing using the "next" and "previous" buttons.

A quick lesson in perspective

Look at this cool photograph. But more important, read the description at the bottom, about the thousands of men at the back and handful at the base.

Fourth Plinth Project

I forgot what a plinth is and had to look it up, but this is a crazy-beautiful idea: peformers of all types and genres will be atop a plinth in Trafalgar Square, one at a time, until October 14. Someone will be up there 24 hours a day. There's also 24-hour live web coverage. I'll be following this. Here is a better explanation.

Louvre now available in English

The catalog, that is. Here is another article about it.

Artists really are crazy?

This article says maybe.

That sneaky College Board

Remember the Guggenheim/Guggenheim question on the AP exam? At the AP conference this week, a member of the test development committee said that they photoshopped "Guggenheim Museum" out of the New York photo. Otherwise, they felt, the "Both of these buildings are museums" question would be a little too easy.

"Bona fide art salami"

It seems we're still testing Duchamp's simple-enough statement that it is art because I say it is.

Worth the work

This article in the Times doesn't include photos of buildings, but if you follow along with Google images, it's quite rewarding.

Star Wars Architecture

This is actually a funny piece, complete with links to real architecture that inspired or was inspired by Star Wars.

The rest is...

Slate asks but doesn't quite answer: "How Smart is Lady Gaga?"

Every museum should have a working bowling alley

Not the the one at the Frick Collection is all that working. But still.

You don't have to be tasteful, just smart!

Ikea is putting on an opera about Ikea? In an Ikea?

I wigh it go one of those faux-Swedish names. Like Stajed Musickj.

This will make Rachel unhappy

As I suspect she probably had something to do with the theft.

This may or may not make Timothy happy

Arguing over Night Cafe's ownership. Darn that Yale.

This will make Lucy happy

A stolen Renoir has been recovered.

Francis Bacon at the Met

Here's Slate's slide show. Here's one from the NY Times. Here's an essay on Artnet.

Personal note: I remember writing an elegy for Bacon when he died in '92, my senior year of high school. The poem is long gone, but I'm quite sure it was horrible.

Great ceilings

I've seen two of the ten.

Dying medieval paintings in Spain

These may be restored, but it's not certain yet.

Please return textbooks

Please return your textbooks, AP study guides, and CDs to me as soon as possible. Also remember my offer to buy 12th edition, 1st volume for $10 a copy.

Renzo Piano

The Menil Collection is Renzo Piano's first American building. This was his big splash last year. And this is his latest.

What were you doing when you were 12?

Apparently, this is what Michelangelo was doing. And it will soon be in Texas, permanently.


Hatin' on Timothy--playa or otherwise--is now acceptable again.


I'm going to have to demand that there be no more playa-hatin' on Timothy, at least for the next few days.

Newish books that I will recommend even though I haven't read them

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art.

Seven Days in the Art World

Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

Changes in the 2010 exam

Changes to the AP Art History Exam beginning with the 2010 exam administration:

Decision to not count prehistoric examples:
The AP Art History Development Committee has been concerned over the years about students' use of prehistoric examples when answering the 30-minute long essays. These long essays typically ask the student to provide contextual information about the work of art, but there is little known about the particular cultures that produced prehistoric art. Students who use prehistoric examples cannot earn full credit because they cannot provide a factual discussion of the context. Therefore, beginning with the 2010 exam, prehistoric examples such as the Woman of Willendorf, the caves of Lascaux, and Stonehenge will not be accepted as appropriate examples.

Emphasis on using examples from non-Western cultures other than Egypt and the Ancient Near East:
The Development Committee is also concerned about the overuse of Egyptian and Ancient Near East examples for the essay question that asks students to discuss art beyond the European tradition. To address this issue, the committee will add the following statement to the Course Description for 2010: "One of the 30-minute essay questions requires students to incorporate at least one example of art beyond the European tradition into their essays. Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East are fully covered in the multiple-choice questions in Part I and the short-answer essays in Part II of the exam. The intent of this essay question is to draw from areas such as Africa (beyond ancient Egypt), the Americas, Asia, Islamic cultures, and Oceania."

First, be glad that you're not taking the exam next year, when these changes go into effect. But second, realize that this shows the readers' concerns and biases this year. They do not like to see prehistoric examples in the 30-minute essay, and they would also prefer not to see Egypt and the Ancient Near East (Mesopotamia) used as non-European examples. They aren't telling you NOT to use them, but they are so against them that they will not allow them after this year. Take this to heart.

Caravaggio and optics

This article suggests that Caravaggio used photography for his paintings.

Three perfect paragraphs

Ok, it's not art history, but I just had to share.

Read the first paragraph of this article. Brilliant, isn't it? Even for those of us who don't read The New Yorker? Then scroll down and read the last paragraph of the first page and the first paragraph of the second page--James Parker's existentialist reading of the Bourne movies. He's almost convinced me to pair this with The Trial in English IV next year.

Late Picasso

You remember what Schama said about Picasso later in life. This review begs to differ.

Stacked boxes

Though it's the counter-example in this photo essay, I'm especially intrigued by the actual stacked boxes building in London.

"New" Leonardo portrait?

This new-found Leonardo portrait joins the "new" Shakespeare portrait in new pictures of old people. Party game: which dead people do we want to find new portraits of? And can Rachel help us out with her pre-patriarchal time machine?

Street art is ignorant?

From this self-promoting blog from a Turner Prize jurist:

"Anyway, I believe in education. The reason I don't like street art is that it's not aesthetic, it's social. To celebrate it is to celebrate ignorance, aggression, all the things our society excels at. For middle class people to find artistic excitement in something that scares old people on estates is a bit sick."

There's a lot in this paragraph: "aesthetic" is more important than "social," street art is ignorant and aggressive, ignorance and aggression exemplify "all the things our society excels at" (he's British, not America, but our societies are a lot alike), middle class people are aligned with "old people on estates" more than street kids.

I find myself agreeing with most of these points, though I hate to admit it.

What do you think?


The Tate is now available on iTunes. Or at least a lot of stuff from the Tate.

Global art guide

Suddenly the New York Times web site is advertising its "global edition." I have no idea what it is, but I did notice the global arts guide. I assume it's part of the new global edition.

Store windows in Paris

If Pop Art is right, and it's commercial design that we take as high culture, then this stuff is the best art out there right now.

Jenny Holzer

has a big show at the Whitney.

Tunnels and abandoned places

This artist photographs herself in abandoned places, many of them underground. Warning: there's a bit of nudity, but it's still pretty pg-13.


I'll bet this is even funnier when I learn who the characters are.

Performance Art in the 70's

Here are some performance art ideas that don't involve animals but are even weirder.

Fashion photography

A photo essay on fashion photography. As a bonus, spot Andy Warhol and win a prize.

A new president, a new White House

An excerpt from winners of a design contest asking contestants to re-imagine the White House. My favorite is the concept of many White Houses throughout the city.

To be honest, I thought he'd been dead for a while

The New York Times's obituary had a paragraph about a news event, Andrew Wyeth's death, and then a few pages of pre-fab summary.

Slate's Timothy Noah writes a piece a bit more personal and topical.

A tour of the National Gallery

The Times isn't content to just tell you to visit the National Gallery while you're in DC. It takes you on a guided tour.


The Prado is using Google Earth to map some of their famous paintings. You can get near microscopic clarity on any part of the works.

I especially love the complicated math of the story: "The Google Earth images have a resolution of 14,000 megapixels, some 1,400 times greater than a picture taken on a standard 10 megapixel camera." Ya think?

Rembrandt and Recession

There's been a lot written about how our current economic troubles are affecting today's art market and artists. Here's an essay about how a Dutch economic collapse influence Rembrandt, and about how our current situation changes the way we can see his--and change the way we see his paintings.

Philip Perlstein

I'm not familiar with this artist. What do y'all think?