RIP: Cy Twombly

July 6, 2011 Art, News

Cy Twombly with his painting “1994 Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor),” at the Menil Collection in Houston in 2005.

According to Randy Kennedy of the NY Times:

Cy Twombly, whose spare, childlike scribbles and poetic engagement with antiquity left him stubbornly out of step with the movements of postwar American art even as he became one of the era’s most important painters, died on Tuesday in Rome. He was 83.

His death was announced by the Gagosian Gallery, which represents his work. Mr. Twombly had battled cancer for several years.

In a career that slyly subverted Abstract Expressionism, toyed briefly with Minimalism, seemed barely to acknowledge Pop art and anticipated some of the concerns of Conceptualism, Mr. Twombly was a divisive artist almost from the start. The curator Kirk Varnedoe, on the occasion of a 1994 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote that his work was “influential among artists, discomfiting to many critics and truculently difficult not just for a broad public, but for sophisticated initiates of postwar art as well.”

The critic Robert Hughes called him “the Third Man, a shadowy figure, beside that vivid duumvirate of his friends Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.”

Mr. Twombly’s decision to settle permanently in southern Italy in 1957 as the art world shifted decisively in the other direction, from Europe to New York, was only the most symbolic of his idiosyncrasies. He avoided publicity throughout his life and mostly ignored his critics, who questioned constantly whether his work deserved a place at the forefront of 20th century abstraction, though he lived long enough to see it arrive there. It didn’t help that his paintings, because of their surface complexity and whirlwinds of tiny detail — scratches, erasures, drips, penciled fragments of Italian and classical verse amid scrawled phalluses and buttocks — lost much of their power in reproduction…

Read the full article here

Check out a slideshow essay about Twombly’s work here

See more of Twombly’s work here (paintings) and here (sculpture)

“Solon I” – 1952

“Untitled” – 1954

“Untitled” – 1970

“Ferragosto I” – 1961

“Ides of March” – 1962

“School of Athens” – 1962

“Hero and Leander (To Christopher Marlowe)” – 1985

“Lepanto” – 2001

See more of Twombly’s work here (paintings) and here (sculpture)

Music Archive: “The Way We Were” – A Compilation of Late 70′s Punk Performances

July 1, 2011 Music

The Way We Were is a BBC Channel 4 tv program that looks back on certain aspects of recent British history. This episode released around 1985, hosted by the late Tony Wilson, features a compilation of live performances by bands that previously played on some of Wilson’s music shows of the late 70′s, like Granada TV’s So It Goes. Performances include Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, The Fall, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC and Joy Division – many of them making their TV debuts.

Besides being a tv host Wilson was the music mogul behind some of Manchester’s most successful bands. He was the founder and manager of The Haçienda nightclub, and was one of the five co-founders of Factory Records, home of the Happy Mondays, Joy Division, and later New Order. He was also the manager of many bands, including A Certain Ratio and The Durutti Column.

He was portrayed by actor Steve Coogan in Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, and by Craig Parkinson in Anton Corbijn’s 2007 Ian Curtis biopic Control, both excellent films.

Warning: The sound and/or video quality is not always the greatest.

Up for Discussion: Artists and Assistants

June 28, 2011 Art, News

Today’s Up for Discussion focuses on the topic of artists and assistants. First check out the article that sparked our discussion, followed by five varying opinions on the topic. Feel free to add your own opinion to the discussion by commenting on this post.

According to Stan Sesser’s Wall Street Journal article “The Art Assembly Line” (published June 3, 2011):

With the market revving up and pressure to produce higher than ever, more artists are turning to assistants for help. Who really painted that masterpiece?

Alexander Gorlizki is an up-and-coming artist, known for paintings that superimpose fanciful images over traditional Indian designs. His work has been displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Denver Art Museum and Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, among others, and sells for up to $10,000.

Mr. Gorlizki lives in New York City. The paintings are done by seven artists who work for him in Jaipur, India. “I prefer not to be involved in actually painting,” says Mr. Gorlizki, who adds that it would take him 20 years to develop the skills of his chief Indian painter, Riyaz Uddin. “It liberates me not being encumbered by the technical proficiency,” he says.

It’s a phenomenon that’s rarely discussed in the art world: The new work on a gallery wall wasn’t necessarily painted by the artist who signed it. Some well-known artists, such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, openly employ small armies of assistants to do their paintings and sculptures. Others hire help more quietly.

Art-market insiders say soaring prices and demand for contemporary art is spurring the use of apprentices by more artists. The art world is divided on the practice: While some collectors and dealers put a premium on paintings and sculptures executed by an artist’s own hand, others say that assistants are a necessity in the contemporary market…

Read the full article here

Continue reading to hear what our experts have to say…

… Continue Reading

New Music Video: Tidelands “Holy Grail”

June 22, 2011 Art, Film, Music

Tidelands asked illustrator Ami Kutata to create a video for their new single “Holy Grail”. Four months later, Kutata had completed the video, based on more than 1,000 pages of her watercolor work.

Kutata isn’t fluent in English, so Mie Araki, one half of Tidelands, translated the lyrics to “Holy Grail” for her. This created slightly different meanings which combined with Kutata’s own storyline to make for something entirely new altogether.

“She was really attached to the line in the song, ‘Over-dignified is just another way to compensate for what you’ve lost’, which became her main inspiration for the story and the images of a traveler, the queen and the dwarf town,” says Araki.

“Holy Grail” is the first single from Tidelands upcoming self-released debut If…, out July 26.

Watch: “Bela, L’Homme Chat” – A Mini Doc About a Street Performer and His Cats

June 21, 2011 Film

According to filmmaker Paul Trillo:

A short documentary shot during Cannes Film Festival 2011.

“Bela” follows the day in the life of a street performer named Bela Erdei or “the cat man”. Bela, a recognizable face to some, travels hours by train throughout the south of France to perform with his affectionate house cats. An affable and eccentric character who has a real passion for what he does.

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