I'll be reading...

...the new Camille Paglia book on art. I know that I read Sexual Personae my first year of college, and that it was hugely influential and changed the way I thought about a lot of stuff, even when I disagreed with her. But I don't remember anything specific any more. I know that Paglia is always a forceful and engaging writer, and she pretty much sold me on this book with the line "the only road to freedom is self-education in art." I'll get back to you when I get it and have a chance to read it.

Behold, the Mona Lisa!


No, not that one. And no, not that one. This one was recently presented in Geneva,

A Place Beyond Belief

Here's a short but touching story about a public art work in Kosovo that connects September 11, The Serbian War, and a temporary light sculpture that may become permanent.

Meme Challenge

A student emailed me this picture with the accurate-yet-predictable subject line "lol."

It's an easy trick: choose a few detailed, beautiful, and recognizable art pieces from the past, and compare them to some more recent minimalist pieces.

But the trick can work both ways, can't it? Couldn't I choose some older works that are less beautiful or socially acceptable, and then juxtapose them with two more recent works that are jaw-dropping?

If you make it, I will post it (within reasonable bounds, of course).

And for it's worth, the piece on the bottom left is by far my favorite of these four.

A Primer

Complex Art + Design has compiled a "Top 100" list of the most influential artists of the past decade. I've got to admit I've heard of very few of them. It took me a while to notice, but there are multiple images for each artist, so you can get a better feel for their work. I'm not particularly surprised to see so many commercial designers or street artists on a list of "serious" art, but I also have to admit I didn't realize how many street artists are also corporate designers, and vice versa.

Misinformation, city government, art

I think this is my favorite art story of the year. Someone put up fake plaques around Los Angeles attributing things--dumpsters, trees, for example--to artists. Who doesn't want an Andy Warhol dumpster? I want pictures of all the plaques!

Medieval churches not the only buried things out there


A giant Roman mosaic floor has been unearthed under a farmer's field in southern Turkey. Remarkably, the mosaic is still in "pristine" condition.

Houston Art Fair

Glasstire has a lot of photos from the Houston Art Fair. Check them out.

Doolittle (1989) and Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)

So here's one of my set pieces, a musical rant I've made many times over the years.

Look at all the things that people say made Nirvana such a great band in the late '80s and early '90s. The ability to fuse hard rock and pop sensibilities into a form that appealed across the spectrum; a blend of fast and slow, quiet and loud; commercial success with major labels without giving up their souls or producing the sort of bland studio work that came out of so many '80s bands; technical virtuosity; grunge.

Those are all fine, but here's the thing: The Pixies and Jane's Addiction were also making music in the same time frame, all those things are true of them as well, and they're much better.

So put away Nevermind and try out Doolittle and Ritual de lo Habitual. You'll wonder, as I often do, what's so great about those Nirvana guys.

More Barbie

So it seems I just can't resist Barbie art. From Jason Freeny: Barbie Anatomical Model. Prints are available, in case you're already thinking about birthday gifts.

Jane Alexander

Yesterday I went to the CAMH to see the Jane Alexander exhibit. I don't think I've ever used this word to describe an artist's work before, but it is freaky. Freakyfreakyfreaky.

The exhibit features a number of sculpture installations and also a series of photocollages. Almost all of them involve strange human-animal creatures. There are marching naked men with dog heads. Tiny men, in tiny suits, with monkey-like heads. Wingless birds. One of the pieces involves a miniature prison yard, surrounded by barbed-wire fences, rusty machetes and red rubber gloves. And a lamb-like guard.

Please take time to go see this exhibit. It is amazing.

Portishead, Third (2008)

In the mid '90s, Portishead were one of the pioneering groups of the sub-genre known as trip-hop. And then they did nothing as a band for 10 years, leaving a few songs behind to hear on "Best of the 90s" compilations.

Surprisingly, their third album came out in 2008. It's dark, raw, and sometimes abrasive. But it's so full of energy and integrity that I can't forget about it. The album is a great example of growing out of earlier styles and definitions without letting go of larger goals and passions. They may not be hip young trip-hop artists any more, but they're still definitely artists. Engaged, thoughtful artists.

Remember, you don't have to take my word for it

Just a basic Google search for "AP Art History notes," "AP Art History outline," or "AP Art History tests" will--almost instantly--give you more supplemental information and resources than you can even use. Find good stuff out there, and share with your classmates.

Art & Chess. This time without Marcel Duchamp.

What do chess sets look like when they're made by fancy-pants artists? Look here.

Texas Medical Center

From Offcite, a history of Medical Center Architecture, with a lot of old photos.

This is huge


The Warhol Foundation, the official body of the Andy Warhol estate, does a few things:

They represent Andy in all things legal and commercial, even though he's been dead since 1987. (Warhol still earns more money per year than most living people. This year he's number 13 on Forbes's list of "Top Dead Earners.")

They are the group that officially authenticates Warhols as "genuine." Due to the incredible difficulty of that task and the lawsuits that came from it, they stopped doing that last year.

They give money to art institutions in the form of grants.

They own, and are oh-so-slowly selling off, thousands of Warhol works, many of which have never been seen by the public.

But in a drastic and surprising announcement, the Warhol Foundation says that over the next few years, they will donate or sell ALL of their works to raise money for more grants. The market is about to be flooded by a whole lot of (mostly minor) Warhols. Thousands. Estimated to be worth over $100 million. Look Out!

Soup, Sales

Put on your Jackson Pollock Crocs, walk down to Target, and buy yourself some Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup cans. There's a limited edition of special labels that celebrate the anniversary of Warhol painting...Campbell's Soup cans.

Vespertine (2001)

All the official indicators of Fall are here: school has begun, it's labor day weekend, all the big September issues of the glossy magazines are on the stands. Now if we could just get the temperature to act a little more autumn-ish....

For a long time now one album has been perfect for the transition into cooler, quieter times: Bjork's Vespertine. I still think it's her best album--I've been listening to her since 8th grade--and I highly recommend the live version. Listen to this one as the sun goes down. Which will be happening earlier and earlier.