Friday, 20 May 2022

6x6

from juno to jupiter: famed composer who championed the synthesizer Vangelis passed away, aged 79  

of angel and puppet: an exploration of innocence through the finger puppets of Paul Klee—see previously

the pรบca of ennistymon: a sculpture of a mythological chimera almost gets cancelled  

fern gully: spelunkers in China discover a massive ancient forest in a sinkhole  

capable of completing the kessel run in less than twelve parsecs: the Millennium Falcon was the last ship build at the Royal Pembroke Dockyard  

v’ger: Voyager 1 beaming back usual telemetry to mission control—via Boing Boing

Thursday, 19 May 2022

assunta

Dedicated and presented to the public for the first time on this day in 1518, the larger-than-life altarpiece by Renaissance artist Tiziano Vecellio (known mononymically in English as Titian) created for the Venetian Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari established the master as leading painter on par with contemporaries Michelangelo and Raphael (coming to be called “The Sun amidst small stars,” after the last line of Paradiso). This aspect of Marian theology, that the Virgin Mother was taken up into Heaven, was counted among various albeit popular adiaphora in the sixteenth century and not made an article of faith until 1950 and still unsettled whether she was raptured while still alive or assumed after a normal death—a difference of opinion that the artist acknowledges with a barely visible stone sarcophagus at the base of the image that allows parishioners to take it or leave it. Though bold and potentially scandalous for its departure from the conventional artwork of Venice, the work was ultimately well-received and earned him further commissions for the Doge. Though unplanned and a result of the chaos of the plague which killed him, Titian was interred in the same church in 1576, aged eighty-eight.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

salon des refusรฉs

A counter-exhibition with the official sanction of Napoleon III despite his traditional tastes in the arts opened on this day in the Palace of Industry in 1863 with a gallery of the rejected submissions received by the Paris Salon of the Acadรฉmie des Beaux-Arts, relenting to pressure by spurned painters and the public alike, who were finding the acceptance process increasingly fraught and favouring conservatism. Those showing the alternate exposition included many now-famous works by ร‰douard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Johan Jongkind and James McNeill Whistler.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

el tres de mayo de 1808 en madrid

Considered by many to represent the first modern work of art for its departure from convention stylistically and in its message, the 1814 commission for the provisional government of Spain by Francisco Goya, The Third of May, depicts and commemorates resistance to the forces of Napoleon during the occupation and Peninsular War over access to the Mediterranean—the French garrisons originally invited under the pretence of jointly conquering and dividing Spain and award the Spanish prime minister the principality of the Algarve and not realising the ruse until it was too late. Picturing in media res the suppression of the junta uprising against the soldiers of the First French Empire, the rebels and their ranks facing the firing squad on Prรญncipe Pรญo hill portrays war as bleak and unheroic—in vast contrast to the usual posed compositions of charging victory and unflagging patriotism—and inspired Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and Massacre in Korea among other revolutionary and edifying works of art.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

rapunzelstiltskin


Though off-the-shelf as it were an under-nuanced in my hands, we are finding this text-to-image generator inexhaustibly engrossing (previously), especially once we were able to get a better feel of how it operated and could choose an accessible subject and prompt equally familiar thematic variations. We selected a coquetry of “Disney Princesses” with each panel filtered through the style of commercially popular, ideally mononymous, artist. Here is an assortment of some of the better and less nightmare-addled results, and mouse over the images to see the influencing painter. I think Rembrandt is my favourite.  Give Latent Diffusion a try yourself and be sure to share the outcome. 


 

 

 

Saturday, 30 April 2022

soft construction with boiled beans

Via Super Punch and Web Curios, we are directed to more composite artistic stylings of the next generation of Dall·e (see previously—try your own hand at a version open to the public here) with some incredible machined responses to human prompts: like enthralled forest animals around a campfire, Darth Vader on the cover of Vogue magazine (see also) or this IT-guy laying cable, coded “Hellenistic,” that came out looking like tortured Laocoรถn under assault by sea serpents. 


Try feeding the title (one of surrealist Salvador Dalรญ’s paintings, with the parenthetical premonition of civil war) into Latent Diffusion at the link above and see what you get. Results will vary.

 

Friday, 15 April 2022

universal day of culture under the banner of peace

Observed annually on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments—or short-form the Roerich Pact after its chief sponsor Saint Petersburg painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich—in Washington, DC on this day in 1935 (incidentally the first international treaty to be signed in the Oval Office, Roerich I think is seated to the left of FDR) with the underpinning idea and legal standing that the defence of cultural heritage and artefacts is above their exploitation as nationalistic or propaganda purposes or wanton destruction and that the protection and preservation of cultural is always more important than military necessity. Lightly influenced by the Neo-Theosophical movement, the signatories’ wish was that this day would be “consecrated to the full appreciation of national and universal treasures” and hoped that it would become a secular catechism to remind us all of “creative heroic enthusiasm, of improvement and enhancement of life” through the edifying arts. The icon is of the artist’s design and has been flown at the poles and the world’s highest peaks and incorporated into the coat of arms of many institutions working towards world peace and conserving the culture of all humanity.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

narkotyki

We thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to the artist, novelist and political theorist of the inter-war period in Europe Stanisล‚aw Ignacy Witkiewicz (*1885 - †1939, known professionally as Witkacy), witness to quite a bit of history, through the lens of his portrait factory, with many of his commissions documenting his drug intake—even if just the dregs of caffeine from a cup of coffee—with coded annotations whist painting, usually under a course of self-medication of synthesised mescaline, cocaine, nicotine and alcohol, aggressively marketed to the masses at the time, despite addiction and substance abuse being acknowledged problems, as relief for those broken by World War I. Wikiewicz died by intentional overdose after fleeing to eastern Poland after learning of the Nazi invasion on the western border when he heard reports of the Soviets approaching from the opposite flank. More from Public Domain Review at the link above.

saponification

Accomplished French chemist and professional skeptic whose research and work had a immense influence in several disciplines of science, mathematics and the arts as well as helping to establish the field of gerontology with himself a subject of study, Michel Eugรจne Chevreul (*1786) passed away on this day in 1889 in Paris, aged 102. Revolutionary work with vegetable oils and animal fats fundamentally changed the manufacture and availability of soap and candles—incidentally leading to an understanding of the pathology and treatment of diabetes. Having first honed his acumen as chemist in a dye and pigment manufacturing plant, Chevreul expounded several volumes regarding the theory of colours and their compliments which particularly informed Impressionist and Pointillist styles, after his career with oleic experimentation, he set his focus on disenchanting, disabusing the public of popular charlatanism and mysticism and raging against seances and table-turning, giving one of the first explanations of the ideomotor effect for mediums and dowsers. Having lived through the French Revolution, Chevreul was one of the seventy-two scientists and engineers commemorated on the first balcony of the Eiffel Tower and was only one of two honorees alive to see the Tricolour raised at the top of the structure.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

midjourney

Via Waxy who is beta-testing the site too, we are directed towards Parker Malloy’s playing around with a text-prompt art generation tool that’s netted some truly mind-blowing, dreadful excellence of a neural network’s ability to produce the stunning and arresting results. The instructions that produced these works are as follows: “Chicago skyline by Andy Warhol,” “Spider-Man-themed silkscreen,” and Shakespeare’s line from The Tempest, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” Much more to explore at the links above—Joe Biden as a Grant Wood portrait is uncannily on point as well. 




 

stanze della segnatura

Born on this day (or possibly 28 March) in 1483 (†1520—on the same day), the artist mononymously known as Raphael—Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino—would go on to become one of the trinity of Italian High Renaissance art alongside Leonardo and Michelangelo, prolific despite his relatively early death, working in Umbria, Florence and finally in Rome under the patronage of two popes, the majority of his creations on display in the Vatican. Reflecting his Neoplatonic ideals, arguably his best known, commercially duplicated work is The School of Athens (Sculoa di Atene, complemented by The Parnassus and the Disputa on opposite walls), a suite of frescos commissioned between 1509 and 1511 to decorate the rooms of the papal palace with a celebration and revival of the arts and sciences and cameos of philosophers portrayed by contemporaries.

Friday, 1 April 2022

7x7

health officials warn of “second wave” of immersive van gogh exhibitions: symptoms to be on the look out for include a flattening of the artist’s legacy and an intense desire to watch Emily in Paris  

a book by its cover: the absurdist collages of Paperback Paradise  

match game: flawless digital recreations of classic TV game show sets  

111 west 57th street: super tall, slender residential tower tapering from Steinway Hall is an homage to the piano-maker  

earendel: the Hubble space telescope images the oldest, most distant star  

old dutch master: a series of fifteenth century Flemish style portraits recreated in an airport lavatory—see also—via Things Magazine  

achieve hover status—everyone else will want to hover but can’t: an AI (see previously) comes up with pranks to play on the user

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

8x8

plotto: the prolific, formulaic writing of William Wallace Cook—see also  

harry lime: a Third Man tour of Vienna—see previously  

pinscreen: Claire Parker and Alexander Alexeieff animate Nikolai Gogol’s short story The Nose (1963)

anti-social media: Facebook organised a smear campaign against TikTok through a GOP shill—via Waxy 

zone: Dyson to offer noise-cancelling headphones that also creates a pocket of purified air  

the fauvist: the art of Marguerite Zorach, an early proponent of Modernism in America—via Messy Nessy Chic 

love me, feed me, don’t leave me: the strange saga of a Garfield-themed restaurant  

floriography: cryptological communication by means of floral arrangement through their symbolic and emblematic meaning

Saturday, 26 March 2022

see something, spray something

 

My workplace located in the extended concrete canvas of The Meeting of the Styles (previously) international street artist collective and noticing some of the murals being given a new layer, I took a stroll around Mainz-Kastel through the train depot and some unwalkable places to document some of the expansive graffiti, especially noting those that referenced the district’s Roman connections and the neo-Classical redoubt / reduit bridgehead fortress that’s just across the tracks on the bank of the Rhein from the station.  We’ll see if we’re host to a whole new gallery of works soon.


 

7x7

the hay-bailer, that chain-maker: an assortment of highly satisfying precision industrial machines at work

mars & beyond: a 1957 Disney film narrated by Paul Frees about extraterrestrial life

pelagic zone: the highly specialised eyes of the strawberry squid (see previously)  

nymphรฉas: often dismissed as victim of his own popularity and over-exposure, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series was far from a tame variation on a theme but rather a memorial to lives lost in the Great War  

aerial photo explorer: historic birds-eye-view images of England—see previously—via Things Magazine  

tired vs wired: a Twitter bot that generates aphoristic comparisons between Web 2.0 and the Web 3.0 to come, via Web Curios  

vertical parking: towering garages to remedy congestion

Thursday, 3 March 2022

8x8

wild chapluns and pea beasts: the vibrant art of Maria Prymachenko, via Kottke

ill-gotten assets: those who are tracking the jets, yachts and other property of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, via Maps Mania (with more resources)

subway hands: a collection by Hannah La Follette Ryan—via Everlasting Blรถrt
blades & brass: a 1967 short to commemorate the first indoor hockey match, held on this day in 1875  

nostromo: a sixty-second Alien remake using household items (see also)

try to keep up: five news take-aways for today

megamix: Hood Internet (previously) celebrates entering the Naughts with a 90s retrospective, via Boing Boing 

world central kitchen: chef and humanitarian Josรฉ Andrรฉs helps out in Ukraine, via Super Punch

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

6x6


serenade
: French illustrator Gaspard portrays musicians harmonising with feathered friends in lush settings  

bon temps roulez, mes amis: New Orleans celebrates its first full-scale Marti Gras in two years  

donzig: a rather clever mashup of Donna Summers and Danzig’s cover of The Doors’ Mother  

complications: a clock face engineered to make telling the time a challenge—see also  

displaced persons: a historical pamphlet on the situation in Ukraine following World War II 

 aux in: a superlative collection of boom-boxes from Japan

Monday, 28 February 2022

guernica

Whilst on tour, displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting was vandalised on this day in 1972 by art dealer and gallerist Tony Shafrazi—ostensibly to protest the announcement of the release on his own recognisance of the junior commander responsible for the brutal 1968 Mแปน Lai massacre. Apprehended by security after spray-painting “Kill Lies All” on the canvas—a reference to the conceit in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake where the phrase could be read in either direction, Shafazi whom had previously participated in other protests against the war recoiled, “Call the curator. I am an artist!” The paint was easily removed with no damage to the work. With clients including the Shah of Iran and Donald Trump, Shafazi during his subsequent career is responsible for cultivating and promoting the talents of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Keith Haring and David LaChapelle.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

der hรถllensturz

Whilst on display at the Alte Pinothek in Munich, the artwork The Fall of Damned by Peter Paul Rubens commissioned by the Duke of Pfalz-Neuberg in 1620 (for whom the great Flemish artist had already created the Greater and Lesser Last Judgment) features a jumble of rather Rubenesque figures being hurled to Hell by the Archangel Michael, the painting vandalised on this day in 1959 by a philosophy professor called Walter Menzl, who doused the canvas with wood polish stripping agent. Fortunately the painting could be saved and restored and the defacer turned himself in to the authorities, offering that he had intended to target rather The Four Apostles (that artist’s last major work) of Albrecht Dรผrer for the herostratic fame but decided against it for the religious implications.

8x8

squirrel monkey: imagining Wordle vintage 1985—see also  

ะผะธัั‚ะตั†ั‚ะฒะพ: Ukrainian art community despairs as invasion advances

rumble: the overlooked musical virtuosity of Link Wray  

snake island: Ukrainian soldiers stand their ground and face off a battleship defending a military outpost on Zmiinyi, the rocky islet where Achilles was entombed 

regression to the mean: a spate of controversial laws passed in the US to curtail discussions in classroom that would make straight, white cis people uncomfortable (previously)

existential crisis: dread creeps into the everyday and makes it difficult to focus on what’s vital and the ultimately inconsequential  

ะฐั€ั…ั–ั‚ะตะบั‚ัƒั€ะฝะพั—: Ukrainian designers and architects fight back against Russian incursion  

acrophobia: sociable early internet word game that solicited wrong answers only plus several contemporaries