Category Archives: art

Louvre Hopes to Find Rightful Owners of Paintings

Image Credit: CNN.com

In an effort to find the rightful owners of hundreds of works of art, the Louvre is displaying paintings stolen by Nazis during the occupation of France in the 1940s. Currently, 31 paintings are hanging in two rooms of the museum, on permanent display until their heirs are found. This is just a small portion of the 296 works held by the Louvre, and an even smaller percentage of the paintings left to be returned. An estimated 100,000 were looted in total, with 60,000 given back immediately after the war. Other museums, including the Musee d’Orsay and the Chateau de Versailles, have custody of some of the remaining works.

It’s a long process, however, to turn over the paintings, and in 2012, the French government established a working group to handle it. Those stepping forward to claim their families’ possessions must provide proof in the form of receipts, photographs or testimonies and verification can take years. The government maintains a database for this National Museum Recuperation effort, known as the Rose Valland List, named after a French curator who risked her life to keep notes on the stolen artwork.

Source: The Telegraph and Dazed

Sensory Profusion

Image Credit: Sound Scene, 2017–18; Sanne Gelissen (Dutch, born 1988), Sanne Geeft Vorm (Eindhoven, Netherlands, founded 2016); Glass fiber laminate, wood, metal; © Design Academy Eindhoven Photographs. Photo by Femke Rijerman; Courtesy of Sanne Gelissen / COPYRIGHT: Courtesy of Sanne Gelissen

Typically at museums, we ambulate among walls of flat paintings, dissuaded from approaching, altogether unable to interact with the works of art we are encountering—except through purely seeing them. In an antithesis to this, “The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” exhibition invites one to experience art through one’s four other perceptive senses. Dozens of touchable, sniffable, audible pieces categorized into 11 themes provide unique explorations of our technologies, communication channels and rituals. The collection highlights how sensory design can enrich our lives as humans and augment our journey through this world. Many exhibits engage multiple senses so as to make them accessible to people with a range of abilities.

“The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” is open at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City from April 13, 2018 to October 28, 2018. An accompanying 224-page exhibition catalog is available, and includes essays from the curators as well as other leaders in the field of multi-sensory design.

Source: Archinect and Cooper Hewitt

Subverting Perceptions

"Strength in honor" - 2016

Image Credit: Aida Muluneh

Ethiopian-born, but globally-raised, photographer and artist Aida Muluneh employs bold colors in her visual works to undermine viewers’ inclination to categorize. After graduating from Howard University in Washington D.C. and working as a photojournalist, Muluneh began asking whether the medium of photography was truly neutral. Pushing back against stereotypical representations of Africans and African Americans, the artist creates stunning images of face-painted models set against colorful backdrops.

Her work is part of the “Being: New Photography 2018” exhibition, on display through August 19, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Source: Washington Post

Photo Series “Noct Angeles”

Image Credit: Tom Blachford via Cool Hunting

Taken in any other city, Tom Blachford‘s photographs of Los Angeles would be utterly unremarkable. They portray such ordinary things as empty residential street corners, puddles in alleyways and glowing back porch lights. Devoid of people, motionless and eerie, these photos capture one of the more image-conscious places in America in a stark but not unflattering new way.

Setting out to shoot LA without any of the cliches, Blachford found that his intention to shoot “day for night” was undermined  by a rainy forecast. His prior series “Midnight Modern” was shot using the opposite technique, with moonlight masquerading as day time, but this too was nixed due to LA’s extreme light pollution, which gives the sky a chronic glow. In the end, Blachford found that the technique of simply shooting in the rain at night produced better results than he could have anticipated.

Source: Cool Hunting

Focus on Landscape Architecture: Courses beyond Curriculum

Entering into the field of landscape architecture, one must love to learn, since it is an inherent part of a discipline that pulls from an array of knowledge bases, including ecology, art, history, sociology, architecture…the list goes on. Fortunately, there is no shortage in the Austin community of places to supplement your education:

  1. The Contemporary Austin Art School
    The Contemporary Austin is an art museum that has locations both downtown and on the lake on the west side of Austin. The Art School offers adult classes in the spring and summer for many fine arts topics, including drawing, painting and photography.
  2. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
    Part of the UT School of Architecture, the Wildflower Center is located south of Slaughter Lane in Austin. Here, you can take a variety of classes from nature-loving experts, such as watercoloring, plant identification and botanical illustration. They have single-day workshops as well as courses offered in multi-week sessions. Refer to their calendar, as events happen daily, and remember that UT students, faculty and staff get free admission to the Center!
  3. The University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes
    If you want to learn Adobe software, interior design, native plant gardening or anything in between, Informal Classes offers an array of non-credit programming to compliment your semesters. Each course is different in its time requirements, location and fees, so be sure to browse the catalog to find your course.

Source: The Contemporary Austin, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes

Fun Friday: Ruby Silvious’s Marvelous Miniature Paintings

Photo Credit: Colossal

Instead of throwing out her tea bags after a hot cup of tea, Ruby Silvious takes advantage of the tiny fabric of the tea bag, creating miniature paintings. The paintings depict a wide range of everyday life scenes from leaves, homes, laundry, and cats. In January 2015, Silvious began painting on tea bags and traveled to Japan and Southern France where she drank a variety of teas discovering a wide variety of tiny canvases. Silvious has compiled a book of her paintings, and she exhibited her work in Philadelphia in late January 2018.

Source: Colossal

Extraterrestrial on Earth

Image Credit: Reuben Wu

Photographer Reuben Wu has been using adapted drones to light-paint in natural environments, creating beautiful and otherworldly landscapes. His image series “Lux Noctis” transform natural landscapes into images that evoke ideas of extraterrestrial exploration and science fiction. Wu’s photos endeavor to explore unknown and hidden places and present them as if they were a memory of a foreign place.

Wu uses drones to create light trails around rock formations and to provide supplementary light from above. The long exposure images are ethereal, colorful, and otherworldly. His other work similarly blends landscape, futurism and architecture.

Source: Colossal and Rueben Wu

Brutalism Balls

Image credit: Louise Samuelsen

Are you the type of person to stop and ogle a mid-century structure or admire the stark brutalism of a concrete wall? If you also have a sweet tooth, these Danish sweets might be just the thing for you.

Danish born designer and goldsmith Kia Utzon-Frank is not a baker by trade, but she began making  flødeboller because she could not find the treat in the UK. As an artist, she couldn’t help but elevate them. The meringue and almond paste balls are covered in cocoa, and decorated with ingredients including charcoal, black sesame and cocoa butter to mimic the texture of concrete, granite or marble. She now runs a Kufcakes Geometric Flødeboller Masterclass at the London-based art center Barbican, and will be hosting a brutalist-edition on March 3rd, 2018.

Source: Mashable and KUF Studios.

Space Graffiti

The fluid and much discussed space between vandalism and art has now entered Earth’s orbit in the form of a large mirrored ball. Rocket Lab, a New Zealand company determined to “…remove barriers to commercial space,” launched what is essentially a massive disco ball into orbit on January 21st, 2018. Humanity Star, composed of carbon fiber and reflective panels, will orbit Earth every 90 minutes for 9 months until it enters Earth’s atmosphere and is destroyed. Until then, it can be tracked online via Rocket Lab’s website, and will be the brightest, flashiest object in the night sky. 

However, like many artists and visionaries seeking to make their mark, Peter Beck and Rocket Lab didn’t seek permission before launching Rocket Lab. Astronomers have voiced concerns, as the bright object in orbit could interfere with research they are completing on actual stars. Those researchers see the satellite as nothing more than space graffiti. Others see Beck’s satellite as another encroachment on public space, the night sky being one of the few landscapes available to almost anyone, anywhere.

That universality was exactly the goal of the minds behind the Humanity Star. They simply hope Earthlings take a moment to look up and consider the space around them and their responsibility to Earth and its people.

Source: Rocket Lab and Dezeen.

Hemlock Hospice

David Buckley Borden has created a year-long, art-based trail, along with Aaron M. Ellison and their team of collaborators. The site-specific interpretive trail project tells the story of the endangered eastern hemlock tree. According to scientists working on the project, the hemlock tree will be extinct by 2025. The trail raises awareness about the aphids that are killing the trees, and larger issues of climate change. The trail is meant to capture the attention of artists and wider audiences, bringing consciousness to the environmental frailty of the New England forests. The Fisher Museum will hold public workshops, promoting reflection, creativity, and critical thinking, along with self-guided trail maps for the Hemlock Hospice project.

Source: World Landscape Architect

Architecture, Art, and Light in Marfa

Photo Credit: Mark Menjivar

Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas in the 1970s. Since then, Marfa has come to be known as a pilgrimage site for those interested in contemporary or minimalist art on view at Judd’s Chinati Foundation.

Artist Robert Irwin recently completed his contribution to the Chinati Foundation’s permanent collection. Irwin worked with the Chinati Foundation and the San Antonio-based architectural firm Ford, Powell & Carson for 16 years to create an architectural monument to light and space, receiving a 2017 design award from the Texas Society of Architects.

The building, a perfectly symmetrical ‘U’ shape, sits on the foundation of the ruins of a 1919 army barracks building. The artist, architects and the Chinati Foundation had hoped to accommodate Robert Irwin’s vision within the walls of the original structure, but ultimately its reinforced concrete walls proved too inflexible and unstable. Instead, Irwin’s building references the ruins that were once on site, and eye-level windows, sheer scrims, and polished interior surfaces allow the changing desert light to act as a material itself.

Source: Texas Architect Magazine and Artnet.

Animal Sculpture at the 2017 Wara Art Festival

Photo Credit: Spoon and Tamago

Northern Japan is know for rice production. After a harvest, rice straw—or wara—is recycled  to improve the soil,or it is woven into giant sculptures. For nine years Uwasekgata Park has hosted the Wara Art Festival, teaming up with creatives to create creatures from rice straw. Schools send art students to Niiigata to assist with the sculptures that remain on display well into the fall.

Source: Spoon and Tamago