Coming to a theater near you?

The giant, sold-out, scalper-worthy Leonardo da Vinci show in London is going to show in movie theaters throughout the world.

A Pandora for art

This Wired article is about a service for art that works a lot like Pandora does for music. You can take a picture--or describe in words--an art work you like, and it recommends others that share similar traits. Interesting fact: the article claims that art sales are greater than music sales, they just are among a much smaller group of people.

Mo' Money

I've documented a few examples of artists using money--either literally or in representation--as their subject. John Baldessari joins the game with this billboard on the High Line. The $100,000 bill was actually printed, but never circulated.

"Another Lecture 2011"

Everything you need to know in order to sound like an architect is here in this short video.

Or, if that isn't your thing, here is artist Nathan Coley (and actress Cate Blanchett) making fun of pretentious architecture talk.

Hanging from the ceiling!

I knew--thanks to Ms Harris's comment a few weeks ago--that Maurizio Cattelan has a big show at the Guggenheim. What I didn't know until today is that he refused the service of walls and instead hung all the art from the ceiling in the center.

Road trip to New York?

Something About Mary

We were talking this morning about Mary's face and gesture in the Annunciation.

This ought to explain a lot. Also try this. Or this. Or even this.

Never Mind the Cave Paintings

This recent archaeological find in England may help scholars understand the culture that created the drawings a little better (but probably not).

Leonardo as Rock Star

Here's yet more evidence that "Rock Star" may not be such an anachronism for Leonardo: scalpers are making huge profits for tickets to his show in London.

(I checked, and it seems that tickets for the King Tut exhibit at the MFAH are not being sold on ebay.)

Art collecting for the digital generation

I've seen this talked about in a few places over the past week. (S)edition Art Gallery--I've also seen it as S(edition), you get the point--is selling limited digital downloads of contemporary art from big-name artists (anyone heard of this Damien Hirst fellow?) for your digital collection.

I didn't go through the registration process to see what's inside, but let me know if you're curious and you do. I'd love to see what's in there.

Cleaning up Art. With Bacteria.

Some art restorers have found a way to use bacteria to clean up old frescoes. Basically, you grow bacteria that are good at eating up the things you want gone, and then you let them loose on your fresco. And, um, then you kill the bacteria.

Bayeux Tapestry

Watch this video.
You may or may not also like this.

I Want Pygmies!

Watch this short video, all of which is fun, and you'll see what I mean. I promise you'll want Pygmies too.

Picture of the Day

Next Friday's picture of the day is the Rose window at Chartres Cathedral. It's image 18-14 in your textbook. Get ready!


"Cleaning woman in Germany damages $1.1 million sculpture by scrubbing off 'rain puddle'"

Some art gets attacked, other art gets over-cleaned. Maybe there's some karmic balance? Maybe?

The Wal-mart Museum

Many of the great art museums began as the private collection of a rich family or were primarily funded by super-rich patrons. Think Guggenheim, Barnes, Louvre, Whitney. And now, Crystal Bridges, in Bentonville, Arkansas.

At the moment everyone is calling it the Wal-mart Museum, because it's located in the same town as Wal-mart's headquarters, is funded primarily by a $1.2 billion endowment from the Walton family, and features art owned by the Waltons.

But if the collection is good (it seems to be) and it is run well (it promises to be), then this will no more be a Wal-mart museum to future generations than the Guggenheim is the Yukon Gold Company Museum or the Menil Collection is the Schlumberger Oilfiled Services Museum.

"Over the River" one step closer!

Christo's Colorado project "Over the River,"years and years in the making, is now a step closer to execution. Today the US government approved the work. This isn't the last hurdle, but it was the biggest one.

Picture of the Day

Next Friday, the 4th, we'll be doing our next "Picture of the Day" exercise. The entire class will be devoted to an open-ended discussion of the Saint Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels. Do as much research as you like and be prepared to speak. This is also a great selection to practice your formal analysis skills.

To the manner born

This week Baby X was born. His mother, performance artist Marni Kotak, delivered him in a birthing room set up in an art gallery. There were video cameras and a live audience.

Marni next plans to work on her lifetime performance project--raising her son and documenting everything.

Your turn

Send me an art story that I'm missing. Post it in the comments, email it to me, mail it to me in a plain brown envelope, whatever. Show me something interesting.

This isn't about art

but it's just as important to me--more important. The new Murakami novel is finally coming out in English! I pre-ordered mine back in July, and it's finally--almost--here.

It's big and massive and sprawling and weird. But don't worry about 1Q84 right now.

As soon as possible--in the next week or month or year--read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. I'll gladly give you a copy. Just read it.

Van Gogh shot by teenage thugs?

There's a new theory about Van Gogh's suicide. Maybe it wasn't a suicide?

Maybe soon researchers can get back to important work: Caravaggio's death.

Salon of Beauty

I haven't seen this new work by Ana Serrano yet, but it looks like something worth checking out. The Rice Gallery often has amazing work on display.

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Let Monty Python remind us. This is a scene from The Life of Brian. Watch the video here. Hint: it's got a transcript below the video.

Road Trip! Caravaggio at the Kimbell

Fort Worth is already my favorite city in Texas, but if you're looking for a reason to go visit, this ought to do. Since the Kimbell is the only US venue to host this show, you had better get your behind to Fort Worth some time between October 16 and January 8.

What are you looking at?

I expect to see a lot more of this type of analysis, which uses scanners to see exactly what in a picture people are looking at. Basic formal analysis sentences, "the blah-blah-blah line leads the eye to blah-blah-blah," can now be tested. With science!

I really love this guy

Like a lot of Americans, I first heard about Antony Gormley when he orchestrated the "Fourth Plinth" performance/stunt/insanity. And then he got a lot of New Yorkers upset.

And now he's taken over The Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Taken over. He had all the work from one gallery removed and 85% from another. He had floors raised and moved. He rearranged and changed and made it a completely new space, which is fun because The Hermitage is one of the most imposing spaces around.

What's next for Gormely? I can't wait.

Greek pottery

Here is a good explanation, with pictures, of red and black figure pottery.

Go read a newspaper

painted by Andy Warhol. The National Gallery of Art is doing a huge show on his headline paintings.

Catch them while you can

The Byzantine Frescoes at the Menil are going to be returned to Cyprus.

Two new feeds

I subscribed to two more daily feeds this weekend:

Artwork of The Day from the Metropolitan Museum of Art gives a small picture and the basic catalog info for a different work from their collection each day. Click on the picture, and it will take you to the page in the catalog database for more detailed commentary.

Contemporary Art Daily provides multiple photos and (often but not always) some sort of commentary or gallery description. It tends to focus on a particular exhibit at a gallery rather than a single work. I highly recommend this one to anyone interested in contemporary art or the "art scene," whatever that may actually be.


"How To Design a Product to Be Put on Display in an Art Exhibition"

Have you ever wished there were a simple kit that provides everything you need to be an artist?Now there is!

What would you like to ask British Architecture?

Here's the answer.


I can (occasionally, rarely, quietly) be a pretentious, elitist snot. But I've never turned by back on Hockney, and I'm glad the art establishment, for what it's worth, hasn't either. Get to know this guy. This seems like a good place to start.

The Thinker got a tattoo

At least the one in Buenos Aires did. There are actually 22 sculptures made from the original mold.

Finally, something Ms Casperson and I can agree on

I surf the web for art news. She surfs the web for funny pictures of cats. So we can both enjoy this.

Never Mind....

After finishing our 5-minute essay practice today, I read that there will no longer be 5-minute essays on the AP Exam. There will now be six 10-minute essays!

Another take on the 9/11 Memorial

This time from Witold Rybczynski in Slate.

Marco Tempest

Here's a five-minute video you should watch if you're interested in art, magic, or iPhones.

World Trade Center

I'd like you to read two things in commemoration of the anniversary.

One is a recent essay from Simon Schama. If you don't already love Schama, you will. He's English by birth, but he's a New Yorker by choice and I trust his opinion on the Memorial more than anyone else's. (I know this is probably inappropriate, but: those of you who are already indoctrinated in the Schama cult, click on the slide show and check out Simon's shoes!)

The other is a 2001 essay by Laurie Kerr about the Islamic symbolism and tradition present in the World Trade Center building itself. I think it opens up a new way of looking at the attacks that only adds to what we already know and think about Bin Laden's horrific project.

A Primer

Before we begin Chapter 3, our first big one, and before the Tutankhamun exhibit opens at the MFAH, you should probably check out this video. It's got pretty much everything you need to know in a compact three minutes. "Maybe we can all learn something."

Mesopotamia Supplement

I'd start at ArtLex and check out their concise summary with links.
And, aside from your textbook and CD, I'd probably leave it at that. If you find anything cool to share, please let me know.

What kind of museum visitor are you?

No doubt you've already participated in a few "what is your learning style" or "what is your personality type" surveys. Here's a story about another type: types of museum visitors.

Museums are just beginning to put a lot of thought into the types of museumgoers (thanks to the DMA--yay for my hometown museum!), and it seems a good thing to know how you like to experience art. You may not have a preference yet, and you may find that your preference changes after taking an art history course and building up your knowledge base. Over the years I've moved from a timid "observer" to a fierce "independent."

Leonardo's new work

Ok, so it's not newly produced, but may (or may not) be newly seen.


Go back to my post "Money Money on the Wall," from 19 July.

And now read this, about a collector who paid more than $21,000 for $20,000.

Crazy? Fun? Stupid?

I'm so excited

about this!

Drop the camera and put your hands up!

This story about a Long Beach policy is mostly being treated as a joke or a censorship blip.

I think restricting people from taking bad photos is probably an idea worth exploring.

Why didn't I know about this sooner?

I literally saw this site for the first time about ten minutes ago. And I need to share it now.

I knew that Google Earth had done this with the Prado, but I had no idea they had done it with so many museums.

Go immediately. Have fun.

Prehistory Supplement

Art History Resources: the motherlode of art history links.
Gotta support students: a senior seminar project on prehistoric art.
A primer on the Art History Archive.
A 3-D virtual tour of Lascaux Caves--in French, no less!

Ai Weiwei

Perhaps you followed the story this summer about Ai Wewei, the well-known Chinese artist who was "detained" by Chinese authorities for several months and eventually released. I thought I'd put together a quick primer on who he is and what happened:

Video about a current show of his architectural work.
Video about Sunflower Seeds, one of his pieces.
PBS Frontline profile of Ai Weiei.
Certainly his most famous design.
New York Times story on his detention.

Frida's Corsets

I'm not really sure what this short essay's purpose is, what question it's trying to answer or new idea it's trying to get across. But it's a compelling and quick read.

But don't take my word for it

There are a few web sites that are attempting to become complete Art histories, but in a different model than the traditional survey textbook.

ArtHistoryUnstuffed is based on a blog and podcast model--it's got a single author with a vision and control.

smarthistory is slightly more wiki-like. It has a number of contributors, allows users to submit content, and includes multi-media presentations. It's attempting to become an online textbook and course unto itself, not just to supplement a traditional book or course. The cool thing about smarthistory is that it's got more than you could ever want. The problem may be that it's got more than you can possibly fit into your schedule. Or your brain. (Hint: the Flickr pool may be a great place to get good notecard images.)

Have fun with both, and let me know if you come across any other sites of this type.

A new Oldenburg just went up

Claes Oldenburg, the 82-year-old sculptor who made "the giant clothespin" among other large objects, watched as workers erected his newest public piece, a large paint brush, in Philadelphia.

More Oldenburg images here.

"Jim Henson's Fantastic World"

Since we've already brought Spongebob into things, why not the Muppets, too? I'd love to see this show, but it's in Queens.

Should we celebrate?

This Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the theft of the Mona Lisa. Is there a more famous heist?

Read about the history here.

I never thought this would happen...

...but the same name keeps popping up on all the arts blogs this week: Spongebob Squarepants.

I've never seen the show, so I will not comment on its artistic merits. But a former designer for the show is accused of hiring thugs to beat up and hold up his art dealer.

And just how ubiquitous is Mr. Squarepants? Neither Spongebob nor Squarepants get flagged by the spellchecker.