Eye candy

A guest post from Manny.

Recently I saw an interesting article on GQ Brasil,the Brazilian version of the American magazine, that read “Artista americana recria telas clássicas da pintura com balas de goma” which means “American artist recreates classic painting with jelly beans.” The photos are interesting as she recreates Van Gogh's Starry Night, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Hokusai's Great Wave, Gauguin's Woman with Mango, Renoir's Young Blonde Girl, and my personal favorite Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring. The article was quite concise, so I wanted to ask you guys what you think. Does recreating previous masterpieces with jelly beans really make it art? Just to mention, the artist Kristen Cuming said that it takes about 100 hours to make, and some contain about 12,000 jelly beans. So, her patience recreating these masterpieces might be an art form in itself.  

When I was reading this article it reminded me of the recent artist from Denver, Andy Bell, who decided to recreate George Zimmerman's mugshot by creating a 3ft by 4ft mugshot made entirely of Skittles. If you're not sold already, the work was named “Fear Itself.” It seems that recreating art with candy has become a trend, even as you can see used to make a social statements. The work by Bell has already received offers to be purchased. What do you guys think? Are Bell's recreations more or less art than Cuming's?

If you're just a person with a sweet-tooth and an eye for art, the next article might be more comfortable. Looking for the portrait of Zimmerman I stumbled upon this article from a website that showcased a few more art works made of candy which includes Barrack Obama made of Cheerios, Warhol's Monroe made of Smarties, Van Gogh's Self Portraiture made of tofu and other Chinese ingredients, and of course you can have an artistic expression without the chocolate Mona Lisa.Don't like candy? Then I have a few other articles from GQ Brasil that you might like.

And if you liked everything, perhaps you can occasionally check the culture section of the Portuguese magazine because it has quite a few interesting articles dealing with art. You'll just have to allow Google Chrome to translate the page for you. Unless you speak Portuguese.

Colossal and The Burning House

Another student guest post.

"Colossal" is an art and design-centric blog that has been described by the creator, Christopher Jobson, as a blog "that explores the intersection of art, design, and physical craft." The premise of the site is connecting viewers to different artists and art projects, the majority of which feature odd materials, locations, or ideas. The blog is meant as a sort of "in" to the less widely publicized art world. It offers pictures and videos of the various artwork accompanied by articles or comments on the pieces. The works range from pictures of smog-filled snow globes to huge portraits made of lace. It is extremely well organized, although an excessive emphasis  is put on how odd materials used are/ how these things have "never been done before" as opposed to looking at the artwork itself, which is quite beautiful and important independent of the various circumstances (although those are of course worth mentioning). The pictures and videos are always in high quality however, and the contributors are good about offering up links for those seeking to continue more on a certain piece, coupled with constant updating, it's impossible to grow bored with the site.
Some of my favorites from the site include works by Seth Casteel, Josh Ritter, Sean OhlenKamp, Hekkei Leis, Nomerz, Peihang Huang, and Robert Proch.
            “Dogs Under Water” by Seth Casteel is, unsurprisingly, an album of pictures taken of dogs as they dive underwater. The pictures are taken from an odd angle at the bottom of the pool, so that the focus of the photos is the dog’s face, with their bodies narrowing away from the frame. This collection is one of my favorites simply because the pictures are hysterical, with the water causing the loose gums of the dogs to balloon so that their teeth seem to be bared and their jaws unnaturally wide, at odds with the rest of their faces which appear relaxed and friendly. The whole effect is an adorable and ridiculous album with a simple yet genius premise.
            Colossal exposed me much more to the medium of stop motion videos and there are two in particular I want to talk about: Josh Ritter’s stop motion music video for his song “Love Making its Way Back Home” and “The Joy of Books” made by the Ohlenkamps inside of their bookstore. As far as Josh Ritter’s goes, the music is lovely and the cut-out figures that tell the story in the video are solid outlines made of construction paper. No drawing grace the outlines and no attempts are made at giving them distinct features and the progress of the story, which follows a man on an odd road trip, is slow and steady, making the film feel more like a simple story of life and the human condition in general than a quick anecdote.
            Another stop motion I particularly liked was “The Joy of Books," a whimsical video featuring a bookstore at night, where the books and merchandise move about to a fast, electric beat. It’s like watching a childhood dream come true (there’s one moment in particular, in which a tiny book helps another book to flip its pages as he reads himself with a clip-on light that is simply magical).
            In a different medium, a group of drawings done in graphite called “EverydayReflections” by Hekkei Leis is another fantastic collection. The attention to detail and photo-like representations of people as they as they stare ahead (as though into a mirror) is stunningly done. The idea of showing “everyday life” is, I find, usually poorly executed- either because the artist over-exaggerates the grime and boredom of the average person’s life or because the location or activity chosen is implausible or uninspired. That’s the reason I’m a fan of this piece; I liked the idea of reflections, as the viewer is much more connected than if they were just looking in on someone and it feels incredibly personal to be looking at someone brushing their teeth or combing their beard but it’s not invasive, as though Leis is trying to make some comment on the different character’s psyches- the drawings aren’t overdramatic or nuanced. They’re simple and straightforward and relatable.
            Another favorite is the street art done by Nomerz, an artist who paints quirky faces on rundown buildings in Russia. The faces are all individualized, but all have in common an uncharacteristically wide set face (as there’s no outline of a face; the shape of the building dictates the shape of the head), extremely far apart eyes, and more proportional noses and mouths (most of which are quirked in a smirk or some other bemused expression). They all look zany and wise as they peer out from stout, dilapidated buildings.
            Lastly “The Fine Art of Barbie” by Peihang Huang and Robert Proch’s acrylics are two groups of paintings I like. Peihang Huang’s oil paintings are just beautiful. Each painting features the head and shoulders of an attractive woman reclining. It’s hard to tell if it is the same woman in every picture, as she is lovely, but in a sort of simple, idealized way (as she is inspired by Barbie). What makes the paintings particularly arresting are the bright hues used and the blocky painting style in which large smudges of colors are used to create the faces. The colors aren’t jarring, and for the most part blend together in certain regions of the face. The technicolor beauty of the women as they lay down, eyes closed or downcast, make the viewer feel as though they are stumbling into some surreal, luxurious, saccharine world.
            An artist with a similar penchant for bright colors, Robert Proch, paints energetic acrylics in which people are made up of blocks and wisps of colors with cold toned palettes (mostly blues steel grays), turned at odd angles with blurred edges, giving off a chaotic vibe. Rather than a surreal, saccharine world of excessive beauty and luxurious colors, his paintings are more discordant and hyper but nonetheless wonderful.

The Burning House” offers a very different kind of blog, but it is also made wonderful through its various contributors and wide array of objects featured. The premise of this site is people offer up pictures of the 10 things they would take with them if their house were on fire. The items are artfully arranged and accompanied with a key and explanation, as well as (usually) the name, location, age, and gender of the person whose photo it is. One thing that makes the blog particularly interesting is how the contributors are from all over the world. It offers up an artful view of the human psyche. As the blurb on the site says, "think of it as an interview of you condensed into one question". If “The Burning House” doesn't do it for you, there's a somewhat similar blog that features pictures of teenagebedrooms, although it's a bit more informal and at times irritating (as some of the bloggers tend to put on airs).  

Want to clean some pictures?


A new iBook for your iPad not only explains the process of art restoration, but allows you to "clean" some pictures yourself by swiping the screen. I'll try it out and tell you what I think soon.

Sixth Sense I

This is a guest post from Sarah.

This painting is Sixth Sense 1, 51”X60”, 1975, from Leonard Goldstein. Acrylic on canvas.

I have always enjoyed pointillism, and I thought that abstract pointillism looked even more interesting. 
We did not have as much time to look at pointillists, or at least, not enough for me, and I thought you would like this.


This is a guest post from Timothy.

Recently someone hit the paved trail at Terry Hershey park (where I run) with a graffito that reads , "If graffiti ment something it would be illegal," which reminded me of Banksy.

Because we were unable to watch the movie by Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop, I thought that I could make up for it by guest-blogging about Banksy. 

Most of my exposure to Banksy has been through his book, Wall and Piece, which I got as a present. If you're interested by Banksy's work, I would be glad to lend you the book. It's a pretty fun book, although it's often very sobering.

Here's a New Yorker (A very fine weekly publication) article on Banksy.

And this is the website of the French graffiti artist, Blek le Rat, who is considered to be Banksy's predecessor.

Here's a link to Banksy's website. He's rather flippant in his art, but in general too. Make sure to look at the development of the Robbo incident.

Lastly, this is quite possibly my favorite Banksy work. (Editor's note: it's probably my favorite, too.)

Another art attack


This one isn't quite as mysterious or personal. A controversial painting depicting the president of South Africa with exposed genitals (called "The Spear") was destroyed by two men. Apparently a news crew was in the gallery at the time and recorded it.

Here is the painting before it was attacked.
Here is an ad for Durex condoms alluding to the painting.
Here is the Lenin poster that inspired the painting.

Get permission before loving New York

An artist and furniture maker was arrested for hanging up illuminated I heart New York signs in Brooklyn. I normally keep a pretty liberal view about street art, but in this case I'm on the side of the law, for two reasons:

1. People in New York are understandably jumpy about terrorism, and NYPD didn't go after Miyakawa until they got multiple calls about suspicious packages. "People should have known it was art" isn't really that strong an argument.

2. It's especially not a strong argument when the art in question is a plastic bag with a flashlight in it. That's kind of sloppy as art, public or otherwise.

I hope he doesn't do any jail time, don't get me wrong, but it's hard for me to see this one as an overactive or anti-art police story.

A Brief History of John Baldessari

This video pretty much sums it all up, and it's narrated by Tom Waits.

Thinking about investing in art?


You may want to read this first.

Extra credit option

Still looking to pick up some points for your final grade? Here's what you can do: write a guest post for this blog. Review an art exhibit from one of the local museums, introduce us to a great website, comment on some of the latest art news...whatever you like.

If you're interested, you should do a few things. First draft your post and have it ready to publish. Second, make sure you have links and a photo to include. Third, let me know in class or via email that you're ready, and I'll make you a guest author for the blog. If you're not familiar with Blogger, I can show you the basics in class.

Arnold Feeni and Bride

Botero, The Arnolfini (After Van Eyck), 1997. Oil on canvas.
Here's another painting for sale that I would really like to own.

Science. Choreography. Insects.

I don't know. This seems like a sightly different version of rats in mazes, only with a highly invasive species of ant from Argentina. But it's got a cool name, I have to admit.

For your enjoyment

An out-of-context image about an out-of-context image.

Crystal Bridges

C-Monster provides a thorough, engaging, and funny review of Crystal Bridges, the recently-opened museum of American art in Bentonville, Arkansas. You know, the Wal-Mart Museum. Quasi-seriously this time: road trip?

Presidential art

I enjoyed this essay about depictions of presidents in protest art. Make sure you get down to the picture of Thomas Jefferson, on fire, next to a Blockbuster and a dinosaur. Seriously.

Devastating news

Mr. Garner says The College Board no longer allows the free response booklets--including the image packs--to be distributed. 

Road trip to Spain?

If you've enjoyed the Hockney work we've been watching on the video this week, you can see The Bigger Picture, which just opened at the Guggenheim Bilbao. This exhibit will not only include the landscape paintings, but also iPad drawings, digital video and sketchbooks.

Art History Major Cat

I'll pass this on, for what it's worth.

Art Headline of the Day

"Exhibition of Russian criminal tattoos on view at Gallery Max Hetzler"

Flickr Finds

I know I've recommended the site Colossal before, but I want to specifically point you to its ongoing series called Flickr Finds. Each is a collection of incredible photographs culled from the ubiquitous photo-sharing website.

"come and crush a cup of wine"

Those of you not in APAH 4.0, please raise a toast or say a prayer or have a moment of silence or do whatever is you do for the test takers this afternoon.


Today I asked students to predict their score on the AP exam. The average of the predictions is 3.31.

For comparison, the averages for my classes over the past three years were 3.06, 3.50, and 3.45. The averages for the exam overall were 2.85, 2.89, and 2.74.

Kehinde Wiley

First, make yourself acquainted with the work of Kehinde Wiley.

Next, get excited that he just opened a show that features women.

As a bonus, get the new Santigold album. On top of the musical excellence, it's also got cover art from Wiley. Enjoy!

The Scream

Last night Munch's "The Scream" (one of four versions, actually) sold at Sotheby's for $119.9 million, a record sale at an auction. The bidding went on for 12 minutes among eight bidders, and the winner is for the moment still anonymous. There's speculation that it's MoMA.

Turner Prize finalists

If you believe that contemporary art is a large-scale scam that makes no sense to anyone not part of the elaborate game, this brief article will probably help confirm your view.

An excerpt: "...and Paul Noble, who produces minutely detailed drawings of a dystopian imaginary city named Nobson Newtown populated by human excrement. The judging panel said Noble's work was an 'utterly compelling ongoing narrative' about a 'dysfunctional' world."

Quiz reminder

You have a quiz tomorrow. Over the Renaissance. It's been on the calendar for weeks. I've had fun making it, and you should have fun preparing for it.

A commercial for a painting

Christie's has a slick new video for an Yves Klein painting they'll be auctioning soon.

Is there even an Yves Klein work in your textbook? The man knew how to manage spectacle--he would have loved the internet age, I think. He had a proprietary--and beautiful--blue pigment named after himself, International Klein Blue, or IKB. His favorite tools for painting were naked women and fire. The painting for sale, above, is significant for using both. In one piece, Klein conducted an orchestra to play a single note for ten minutes while nude women covered themselves in IKB and made a new painting. Afterwards, the live audience--in formal wear for the art opening--stood in silence for ten minutes. In another piece, Klein sold patrons certificates proclaiming them the legal owners of pure, empty space. The only payment he would accept for pure space? Gold. But if you would then burn your certificate and therefore the art, he would throw (half) the gold payment into the river.

Warning: the video has a bit of nudity. It's nothing salacious, but it does make it clear that the artist is working with nude women.