“Shackles broke, kings fell, and heads rolled. The French Revolution was one of the most dramatic social explosions in history, and its aftershocks still ripple through Western culture 200 years later. And now, thanks to the French Revolution Digital Archive, any Francophiles with an Internet connection has access to over 14,000 newly released images from the bloodbath. Quel bonheur!”
Loving Vincent – Bringing the paintings of Van Gogh to life
“What is truly groundbreaking about “Loving Vincent” is that every frame of the film is an oil painting on canvas, using the very same technique in which Vincent himself painted. And what makes it a great story to experience is the intriguing, tragic, and inspiring story of Vincent Van Gogh himself.”
I’ve never really been tempted by anything on Kickstarter before, but this concept for ‘the first feature-length painted animnation’ on the people and events of Van Gogh’s life, based on his own letters and told through his own paintings, certainly has me intrigued. (Via)
Dalí: the first celebrity modernist
There’s a big problem with seeing the surrealist movement as a pure, serious artistic phenomenon and Dalí as a hack who betrayed it. First, his best paintings are genuinely creepy and beautiful, and Un Chien Andalou, his 1929 cinematic collaboration with Luis Buñuel, is a masterpiece. But second, in taking modern art to the shops and turning it into telly, he recognised a reality. The avant garde in the modern age has two choices: either it is for a wealthy elite or it is for the masses. Dalí is accused, with some justice, of everything from snobbery to fascism, but the paradox is that he made modern art popular and accessible.
I, too, had his posters in my bedroom as a teenager. Whatever we think of the high-ness or low-ness of his art, he made an impact.
“Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure – that of being Salvador Dalí.”
Emptied Gestures: physical movement translated into symmetrical charcoal drawings by Heather Hansen
“Splayed across a giant paper canvas with pieces of charcoal firmly grasped in each hand, Heather Hansen begins a grueling physical routine atop a sizeable paper canvas. Her body contorts into carefully choreographed gestures as her writing implements grate across the floor, the long trails resulting in a permanent recording of her physical movements.”
This looked very familiar then I realised that there’s some student artwork on the wall in the next building that must have been inspired by this.
Maria Popova selects a great passage from Brian Eno’s diary about the nature of art: nice to see the Professor of Technoetic Arts, his old teacher (and my old teacher!) getting a mention.
Brian Eno on Art, Confidence, and How Attention Creates Value
“Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences. (Roy Ascott’s phrase.) That solves a lot of problems: we don’t have to argue whether photographs are art, or whether performances are art, or whether Carl Andre’s bricks or Andrew Serranos’s piss or Little Richard’s ‘Long Tall Sally’ are art, because we say, ‘Art is something that happens, a process, not a quality, and all sorts of things can make it happen.’ … [W]hat makes a work of art ‘good’ for you is not something that is already ‘inside’ it, but something that happens inside you — so the value of the work lies in the degree to which it can help you have the kind of experience that you call art.”
Via BOOOOOOOM, a beautiful video from the New York Times illustrating the audio diary that the writer and theologian John Hull kept after he became completely blind in 1983.
I found the mine cart sequence very affecting — I’ve read How Late It Was, How Late and Blindness and had been disturbed by their depictions of agoraphobia, but I hadn’t really thought about the link between blindness and claustrophobia before.
“Brazil-based Illustrator Frederico Birchal has created a series of minimalistic posters featuring the costumes of popular movies and TV shows.”
Alain de Botton on Art as Therapy
“Founder of The School of Life Alain de Botton believes art can help us with our most intimate and ordinary dilemmas: Why is my work not more satisfying? Why do other people seem to have a more glamorous life? How can I improve my relationships? Why is politics so depressing? In this secular sunday sermon he introduces a new method of interpreting art: art as a form of therapy, providing powerful solutions to many of life’s dilemmas.”
Here’s another take on this project, from The Spectator. A little sniffy, perhaps, but I guess Ben’s writing for his audience there in the way that Alain is here.
Elaborate new portraits drawn on vintage maps by Ed Fairburn
Using a wide variety of canvases including railroad blueprints, star charts, geological and street maps, Welsh artist Ed Fairburn uses additive and subtractive techniques to create portraits that seem perfectly integrated with the topography of streets, mountains and rivers.
“Funding cuts and a move to banish art lessons from schools made 2013 a sad year for creative education. But art students and their staff are regrouping for a fight they believe is there to be won.”
People Too create striking paper sculptures for Amnesty’s brutality campaign
Their deceptively delicate and very intricate creations for Amnesty International’s Fan the Flame campaign, which are fashioned entirely from white paper. Depicting acts of violence and brutality with a quiet poignancy that is hard to match is any other medium, the detailed sculptures all the more impressive for their impermanence.
Yet if the advent of digital photography compressed the core processes of the medium, smartphones further squish the full spectrum of photographic storytelling: capture, edit, collate, share, and respond.”
I love Craig Mod’s writing. Had only read his stuff about books and publishing before — this piece for the New Yorker on his changing relationship with cameras and networked photography is great.
"While the prop cams are both inactive in practice and redundant in theory (since they all appear to be looking at the same spot), the effect of feeling watched by many eyes is still disproportionately unsettling."
“As the frost sets in, I know we’ve all been thinking what on earth could provide the perfect bridge between ghoulish Halloween and chilly Yuletide? But wonder no more! Sufjan Stevens and animator Lee Hardcastle have presented us with the perfect remedy – a gruesome, bloody claymation horror story accompanied by his latest track Mr Frosty Man.”
"From a ship in the South China Sea to the cost of health care in the United States, the range of subjects here is broad, but the common thread is the form of storytelling — an integration of text, video, photography and graphics."
"I’m in love with the photo-making process: from the click of the shutter to the final product, it’s magic to me. And although the mechanical click has been replaced by a silent tap, my love for the art and science of photography has only intensified. I’m a firm believer in the idea that "the best camera is the one you have with you," and it’s never been more true than on today’s smartphone-saturated streets."
“The charming visual tale of an introverted little boy who grew up to become the quintessential modern genius.”
“What happens when the two crafts of experimental animation and pottery meet…”
I saw a zoetrope cake once. Here’s its ideal bowl.