I bought a Picasso drawing for around a hundred bucks!

Mine, all mine?

Maybe that's premature. I bought a lottery ticket for 100 Euros--around $135. If I win the raffle, I have a 1 in 50,000 chance, then I win a Picasso drawing from 1914.

All proceeds from the lottery go to relief organizations for Tyre, Lebanon.

Questions I've been asked so far:
  * No, I will not just hang it in my living room to get damaged or stolen. I'm aware these things need special handling.
  * Yes, the winner (or a legal proxy) has to go to France to pick it up. I've never been to France, and I'm looking forward to the trip.
  * No, I will not let anyone lick the drawing, no matter how much they enjoy licking great art (you know who you are).

For those of us who like art And economics

SMU in Dallas has a good business school, and they have one of the best arts administration schools. The two have been getting together more often, and they've done some interesting studies into what makes an art organization (which is pretty much a business) thrive.

Piano in Texas


Sometimes we need an outsider to tell us what our familiar home space is really like. So please read this funny interview with Renzo Piano, enthusiastic Texas lover. (Piano is the superstar architect who designed, among other things, the Menil Collection building in Houston. His addition to the already-perfect Kimbel Art Museum in Fort Worth opened last week.)

Ai Weiwei goes to prison again

Not detained for tax evasion again; this time he's organizing an exhibit at the iconic Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay. Because Ai Weiwei is currently prohibited from travelling outside China, an intermediary will oversee the actual installation. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.

A polar bear authenticates a Pollock painting?

This painting definitely is(n't) a Pollock. Photo.
This story in the New York Times looks at the conflict between forensic evidence pointing to the authorship of a painting and expert aesthetic analysis authenticating the authorship of the painting.

This particular example, a painting by Jackson Pollock (or not), brings up the weird possibility: what if Jackson Pollock put this paint on this surface, but it's still not a "Pollock"?

How much is that painting worth?

This triptych sold for $142 million. Photo.

A director at auction house Sotheby's explains the pricing of expensive art.

Longstanding celebrity crush

There are few absolute Truths in this world, but here's one: the more I hear from Bjork, the more I love her. Here she explains the tiny city of television.

Turner Prize short-list

Here's a slideshow of the 2013 Turner Prize shortlist.
Here's an explanation of what the Turner Prize is.
Here's a list of former winners.

(Here's a photo of an orangutan.)

"conservative with a small c"

In a culture soaked in words like "indie," "sell-out," and "meme," it's fascinating and refreshing (at least to me) to see a cross-dressing potter who never went to art school (Grayson Perry is one of Britain's most celebrated and successful artists) defend the Canon and remind us that it takes patience and practice to understand art. On BBC, no less.

Cave Man Art...

...was probably cave woman art. Or cave young boy art. But probably not cave man art.

Thanks to Mattie for sending this story my way. Wish her the best in her art-heavy First Year Seminar.

Computer nerd solves art mystery?

I don't even know how to sum this up, so I'm just going to link to the story and throw out a few keyweords to intrigue you: software engineer, Penn & Teller, movie, Vermeer, Hockney, centuries-old mystery, forgotten technology. Clink on the link, you're dying to.

The student becomes the teacher. Literally.

CVHS graduate and first-year teacher Rachel Vogel writes about taking a few of her students to the Menil. It's a great read, both because it's a great story and because Rachel is a great writer. (She was one of the 11 students in my first-ever Art History class. They really helped shape the class and what it's become. Thanks again, Rachel!)

Banksy follow-up

It seems that the social media are the only places left to see the new Banksy New York pieces, since the first two have already been painted over.

Banksy is in NYC!

Banksy is hitting New York this month, and he's embracing "social media." Each piece (it looks like he'll do one a day?) is photographed, put on Twitter, Instagram, and a web site made for the "residency." Each piece also has an accompanying audio tour piece that you can listen to online, or call a 1-800 number to hear. This looks like fun.

How does he keep his anonymity when he announces ahead of time that he's in town? People will surely be scouring the NYC area all night looking for him. Will he employ decoy artists? Walk around in his monkey mask to remain disguised? Or just allow himself and his crew to be photographed while he works, like he did in Israel?

The mimes are asking you to tone it down

In one of those "surely this is an April Fools prank" stories, Paris has a troupe of mimes that wander the nightlife sections of the city and encourage people to be less rowdy. Question of the week: what other behaviors would mimes be good at encouraging?

Lascaux coming to Houston


The Houston Museum of Natural Science will have a big interactive and high-tech Lascaux Cave Painting exhibit beginning October 18. Ideally, you would have to follow a dog into a hole that drops you down into the exhibit, but I doubt they'll organize it that way.

Music review


For only the second time ever (the first in 1960, conducted by Klein himself), Yves Klein's "Monotone-Silence Symphony" was performed last week in New York. It's exactly what the name describes: musicians playing a single note for 20 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of silence. This performance didn't include nude women dipped in paint and literally thrust up on a canvas while the music was being played, but it seems the performance was a hit anyway. I wish I could have been there. Klein has been a favorite of mine for a long time.

Sparkly Warhols


The other weekend I went to a show called Warhol Out West. I wanted to see some big bright canvases (they also had a good collection of tiny Polaroids), but wasn't really expecting to see anything new. Even if you haven't seen all of his paintings, after a while you feel like you've got the basic ideas. But then I turned a corner and found a few pieces that were quite shocking. A number of the paintings (notably a big one with shoes and a slightly smaller one with a portrait of Georgia Okeefe) had diamond dust mixed into some of the ink, giving the works a literally shimmering appearance. I've never seen one of the sparkly Warhols before, and I'm so happy I paid the way-too-high fee for the show.

Glasstire's Fall Preview

Want to go see some art shows without travelling to New York or Venice or some other vaguely art-sy city? Check out Glasstire's Fall Preview of upcoming shows in Texas.

Secret Fore-Edge Paintings

We all agree that books are wonderful.
We all agree that paintings are fantastic.
And we all like hidden messages.

But where can we find all three brought together? Where?


High-quality fake Van Goghs

I know where you can purchase a high-tech 3-D replica of a Van Gogh painting that is "pretty indistinguishable" from the original. The interesting thing? It's the Van Gogh Museum who is selling the replicas.

Good Art and Marginal Utility

One study suggests that we appreciate good art more with repeated exposure, but we appreciate bad art less with repeated exposure. It must be true--or at least scientificish--because it's in The Economist.

Mo' Money

Oh, so this is what "labels" are for. I know I've shared a number of art works dealing with cash, but I don't remember which ones, or when. Anyway, here's another cool cash artist: Mark Wagner makes very intricate collages out of bills.

Amazon.com Art

No matter if you applaud, condemn, or shrug off the commodification of art, there's no longer any use denying that art has become a commodity: it's got an Amazon.com store. It launched in beta form about a week ago. Happy shopping!

Burning Down the (replica) House

I'm not sure what to make of this. Artist Chris Larson built a replica of an iconic mid-century house...so he could burn it down in public.


Highlights of yesterday's visit to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City:

1. You may have seen this contemporary painting on the web, but I got to see
the glorious original, along with some counterparts.

2. Seeing Chris Burden's television commercials from the 1970s. Why was I never made aware of these before?  "Leonardo Da Vinci. Michelangelo. Rembrandt. Vincent Van Gogh. Pablo Picasso. Chris Burden." Brilliant!

I'll bet the Whitney has very fancy ketchup

The Whitney Museum has a new logo, and you won't be the first person to say it looks familiar.

Kinda related: for years and years I have wanted a t-shirt with the message "When I am empty please dispose of me properly," taken from the Whataburger drink cups. If you run across one please get it for me--I'll pay you back.

Follow-up on Picasso attack

The Houston artist vandal who spray-painted a work by Picasso at the Menil Collection was sentenced to two years in prison. He's already served five months, and expects to get parole soon and go back to UH to finish his degree. Put in context of college antics and not art or vandalism, this is actually pretty good.
  "Duuuude, I went to Florida and got so wasted! What did you do?"
  "I made a criminal and misguided artistic statement that resulted in damage to a Picasso. I was in the national news. I then fled to Mexico, turned myself in through international diplomacy, and sat in jail for a bit before getting a BA. That's what I did."

Paintings and T-shirts


When we talk about the ways that art influences us, we usually have emotional and lofty ideas in mind. But take a few moments to listen to this podcast from Planet Money to hear how a Frank Stella painting and an un-finished museum in the Middle East have made a huge impact on...t-shirts. And other clothing, too.

Unwoven Light

Spending some time at the Rice Gallery is always one of the highlights of my summer, and this year looks to be just as good. Unwoven Light is made of sections of twisted, suspended chain-link fence with the negative space filled in with colored glass. It shimmers and shines. I'm looking forward to this!

The Making of Cite


You know the cool hand-made issue of Cite that y'all grabbed so enthusiastically this week? Here's a video on the process they used to make it.

On Bush and Degas

In The Smart Set, Morgan Meis writes a short and astute commentary on the paintings by George W. Bush--and compares Bush to Degas.

Art Through Time

Are you looking to make more thematic connections as a way to prepare for the exam? Have a look at Art Through Time. It's a series of videos--each about 30 minutes--focused on certain themes.

Gettin' Real in Big D

Plenty of local-ish commentators have had a lot to say lately about the thriving art scene in Dallas. But now it's serious: The Economist has picked up the story, focusing on the Dallas Art Fair. It's glossy, expensive, and has cosmopolitan ambitions--perfect for Dallas.

Speaking of Dallas, remember to find time in May to go up and see the Cindy Sherman show. They also have a big Chagall show! You're not doing anything else of importance in May, are you?

Kehinde Wiley

I didn't expect to ever say this, but please read this article in GQ.

Why can't you go to the Louvre this week?


Pickpockets. The museum, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors a day, closed yesterday when a number of staff walked out to protest the proliferation of pickpockets in the museum. They don't know when they'll reopen.

A Jew speaks, both in and out of the box

Here is a follow-up to the "The Whole Truth" exhibit in Germany that has received so much attention. The writer is a journalist who, after visiting the show, signed up to be the "Jew in a Box" for an hour.

A museum's day off


What happens at a museum on the day it's closed? This piece from NPR about Versailles gives us some clues.

Breaking News

Overheard just a few moments ago in my advocacy class:

"You know what post-modern sculpture is? Anything! There were artists who went to the restroom, pulled the toilet out, and then took it to a museum and called it art."

1. I assume he's referring to "Fountain."
2. Duchamp did not pull the toilet out of a restroom--he purchased it at a plumbing supply store.
3. I don't usually argue arbitrary classifications, but 1917 is probably a little early for "post-modern." I would stick with "modern."

When is Nazi art not Nazi art?

I'd never heard of Charles Krafft until this week, but his case is very interesting. Apparently people have shown and collected his work, including porcelain assault rifles and perfume bottles with Hitler stoppers, for their critical and ironic qualities. And now they're quickly pulling the work off walls as it's finally become clear that he is actually a Holocaust denier and white supremacist. The case makes for some weird stories and difficult questions about irony, artists' intentions, and the conundrum of identity and "identity."

Tilda Swinton sleeps at MoMA

There are a number of actors whom I've hyperbolic praised, saying something to the effect of "I'd even watch ________ just sit for hours without doing anything." Tilda Swinton is one of those actors, and I missed my chance.

She--without any previous announcement or publicity--performed her piece The Maybe at the Museum of Modern Art this weekend. The performance piece requires her to spend about eight hours in a transparent box for viewers. She'll perform the piece again at MoMA, but they won't say when.

Warhol's time capsules


I followed through on looking at Warhol's Time Capsules for a little bit this morning. There were 612 of them in all.

Here is the NPR story from 2004 that introduced me to the boxes.

Here on the Andy Warhol Museum web site, they have a brief introduction and an interactive inventory of one of the boxes, number 21.

And here is the ongoing Time Capsule Blog.

Play around with it and let me know what you think.

Manet's model

In The Smart Set, James Polchin writes about Victorine Meurent. You know her as Olympia. And the naked woman in Luncheon on the Grass. And the compelling woman who looks back at the viewer in a lot of Manet's painting.

Big Air Package


Big Air Package, an installation from Christo, opened this week in Germany. It's an inflatable dome, made of 20,000 square meters of fabric, that fills up the large exhibition space it was made for. Viewers enter through airlocks and then move around inside the light-filled dome.

More here and here.

Cindy Sherman in Dallas

Forget about that road trip to New York. The Cindy Sherman retrospective that was at the Museum of Modern Art is about to open at the Dallas Museum of Art. It goes away June 9, so you should consider going up to Dallas during Spring Break rather than waiting for the summer. Do everything you reasonably can to make sure you see this exhibit.

Perspectives 181

Last night I went to the opening for Perspectives 181: Human Nature, the CAMH's biannual show of art by Houston-area teens. It's a strong show, and you should visit.

Me and Evan at the opening
For me most of the standouts were the photographic works. Carnegie's own Evan Coleman has a large and beautiful print in the show, and there are also cool digital photos from Miranda Jankovic, Chantal Bondoo, Melinda Flores, and Claire Dorfman (I have no idea who these others are, except that they're apparently Houston-area teans).

It's ok to change your mind

But before you do, read this article on major art critics who have changed their minds and what they have to say about the process.

Slow Art Day

I just learned about Slow Art Day, which is April 27 this year. There's also a Tumblr with good photos. Two things I notice about the Tumblr immediately: they seem to really like fun and lighthearted art; they post often, averaging 60 per week. I'll follow it for a while and see what I think.

Photos of the world's coolest bridges

Ok, so maybe this isn't what the bridges actually look like here on the ground. But Clement Valla finds places where Google Earth's satellite imagery doesn't match up with the aerial photography and makes weird anomalies.

Another Attack

Unfortunately, it's time to follow another example of my favorite(ish) topic: art attacks. A woman wrote something with a marker pen onto Liberty Leading the People this week in France. The 28-year-old woman was immediately apprehended, and the "superficial" graffiti has already been removed. The woman was described as being possibly "unstable" and is being evaluated. It seems she scribbled "AE911" onto the painting, a reference to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Nude Male Art

A museum in Germany is doing a show on the topic of nude males in art. A nudist group asked the museum to open the museum for a nudist audience, and the museum said Why Not?  Good for them. But I'm assuming they won't be organizing a show on serial killers in art, just in case.

The ABCs of Architects

I'm not sure how informative this video actually is, but it's awfully fun.


Tomorrow an exhibit of contemporary Mexican art centered around the drug war opens at FotoFest. If you go, please please bring me back a brochure and any other materials you can get. I don't know anything about FotoFest, but I would like to.

Book recommendation

For those of you out there aspiring to be globally gifted art and math nerds, here's the book for you: the new edition and reprinting of The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art. Have fun with that.

(Another) Road Trip to Dallas?


When I was at the Prado exhibit Friday afternoon, I was reminded of the Meadows Museum in Dallas.

Mr. Meadows visited the Prado in Madrid, and was so impressed with the art that he began his own collection of Spanish art (Mr. Meadows was kind of a super-rich guy). He donated the art, and millions of dollars to make a museum for the art, to Southern Methodist University in the '60s. A new building was constructed about 10 years ago.

The Meadows is one of the world's largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, and is considered by many to be the highest-quality Spanish collection other than the Prado. The Meadows is one of Dallas's secret gems. From their web site:

The Meadows Museum collection includes masterpieces by some of the world’s greatest painters: El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Miró and Picasso. Highlights of the collection include Renaissance altarpieces, monumental Baroque canvases, exquisite Rococo oil sketches, poly-chrome wood sculptures, Impressionist landscapes, modernist abstractions, a comprehensive collection of the graphic works of Goya, and a select group of sculptures by major 20th-century masters, including Auguste Rodin, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg, David Smith and Fritz Wotruba. At the base of the plaza is a 40-by-90 foot moving sculpture, Wave, designed by Santiago Calatrava.

Teenagers are so funny

Or at least people pretending to talk like teenagers are. Thanks to Travis for passing along Classic Art Interpreted by the Modern Teenager. Enjoy.

In case you're ready to move into IAE

Here's an article on some people who made a serious--though sometimes mocking--study of the dense and often ridiculous language written about art. The authors call it International Art English. It's often referred to simply as Art Speak. As much fun as it is to make fun of IAE, you may actually want to work on your fluency.

Path of Beauty

Here's the way we like to imagine our trips to the museum. Here's the actual trip.

The Forger

Here  (and here and here) are some links to the story of Mark Landis, an art forger who passed fakes off to dozens of museums, sometimes posing as a Jesuit Priest. But Landis has not been charged with any crime, because he never received any money for his forgeries. He just gave the (fake) art away. Apparently he feels philanthropy is the greatest feeling.

I don't know if this is a case of the truth being stranger than fiction, but it's surely a case where the truth feels like it came right out of fiction. Landis's story would make a great novel or film.

Escape from Tomorrow


I'm going to make two (safe and unoriginal) predictions about this movie: lots of people are going to talk about it; almost nobody will be able to see it. It was shot almost entirely at Disney parks, without Disney's permission or even knowledge.

On trees and divorce and museums and vandalism and...

What happens when two guys marry a tree, and the tree is taken on as a work of art at a museum, and then the museum removes the tree? Find out the full story, which is still developing this week, about the Art Guys and the Menil.

On food and faith


There's more and more talk lately about the Art of Food, and whether it is the next major medium for art, or whether that's all a lot of silliness. If you're just now beginning to think about Culinary Arts as a real thing and not just a fancy name for cookin', then this article may be a great place to start.