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.