Chinese protest artist. He lived in US and China, and has been arrested and jailed several times in China for his political activism, though the actual crimes he's been accused of include bigamy, failure to obtain a building permit, dissemination of pornography, and tax evasion. He is assisted in making much of his sculptural art, and he also has done performance-type pieces, like photographing himself breaking an ancient Chinese vase (exemplifying another of his protest pieces). Most recently, and notably, he had a protest exhibit installed in Alcatraz.
From artsy.net: "A cultural figure of international renown, Ai Weiwei is an activist, architect, curator, filmmaker, and China's most famous artist. Open in his criticism of the Chinese government, Ai was famously detained for months in 2011, then released to house arrest. "I don't see myself as a dissident artist," he says. "I see them as a dissident government!" Some of Ai's best known works are installations, often tending towards the conceptual and sparking dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production. For Sunflower Seeds (2010) at the Tate Modern, he scattered 100 million porcelain "seeds" handpainted by 1,600 Chinese artisans—a commentary on mass consumption and the loss of individuality. His infamous Coca Cola Vase (1994) is a Han Dynasty urn emblazoned with the ubiquitous soft-drink logo. Ai also served as artistic consultant on the design of the "Bird's Nest" stadium for Beijing's 2008 Olympics, and has curated pavilions and museum exhibitions around the globe."
I wrote this letter to LG after she introduced me to Yamaguchi: "Akira Yamaguchi turns to the contemporary world - pop culture, technology, the metropolis - though he retains a traditional sense of composition and style. The result is that many of these contemporary artifacts, things that we not only take for granted, but also things that we might view with a sense of disdain, and he presents them with the same dignity that classic screens were once decorated with landscapes of the mountain villages and the seashore. And by doing that, by utilizing the nostalgia and mystery of classical Japanese forms, Yamaguchi manages to instill the modern world, so often thought to be bereft of mystery, with a sense of wonder and complexity. And while it seems to be a celebration of this mystery, he still manages to critique it as well. His canvasses are busier, his compositions overcrowded with people stacked on floors, occupying land, sky, and the subterranean. And there's also a self-consciousness to Yamaguchi's art work that allows him to also see the boring utilitarianism of an airplane, or the silliness of a man dressed as a robot, even as he serves to memorialize those things: airplanes are depicted as floating cities gridlocked in the sky, a robot is given the portrait due a samurai."
From Wikipedia: "Born in Tokyo, he grew up in the city of Kiryū, Gunma Prefecture.
He received his B.A. in oil painting (1994) and M.A. in oil painting (1996) from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Yamaguchi designed the cover art for the album V by the nu-jazz music duo United Future Organization and illustrated the book Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan by Donald Keene.
A friend of Sofia Coppola, he played the bellboy in Lost in Translation (1999).
He lives and works in Tokyo. His artwork has been exhibited worldwide. He is represented by Mizuma Art Gallery."
Popularized modernist photography, began a movement towards gritty urban photography, married Georgia O'Keeffe. Known best for his image - The Steerage, 1907 - which is of a boat of immigrants arriving in New York City. I first heard about his work in the Visual Culture and Society class.
"A vital force in the development of modern art in America, Alfred Stieglitz's significance lies as much in his work as an art dealer, exhibition organizer, publisher, and editor as it does in his career as a photographer. He is credited with spearheading the rise of modern photography in America in the early years of the twentieth century, publishing the periodical Camera Work (1903-17) and forming the exhibition society, the Photo-Secession. He also ran a series of influential galleries, starting with 291, which he used not only to exhibit photography, but also to introduce European modernist painters and sculptors to America and to foster America's own modernist figures - including his later wife, Georgia O'Keeffe. Insistent that photography warranted a place among the fine arts, Stieglitz's own work showed great technical mastery of tone and texture and reveled in exploring atmospherics. In later years, influenced in part by Cubism and other trends, he became interested in straight photography, favoring more clarity and less lush effects.
Emerging first in the milieu of Pictorial photography, Stieglitz sought to gain recognition for his medium by producing effects that paralleled those found in other fine arts such as painting. Many of his peers resorted to elaborate re-touching to create an impression of the handmade, but Stieglitz relied more on compositional effects and mastery of tone, often concentrating on natural effects such as snow and steam to create qualities similar to those of the Impressionists.
Stieglitz's early work often balances depictions of soft, ephemeral, natural processes with motifs drawn from American industry. Romantic in spirit, he was troubled yet fascinated by the rise of American power and sought to soften its apparent brutality by cloaking it in nature.
His later work reflects the decline of Pictorial photography and the rise of a new approach that claimed a value for photography as a revealer of truths about the modern world. Turning to more geometric motifs, effects of sharp focus, and high contrast, it celebrates a more mechanized phase of modern life in America."
I first saw her work in the Mexican museums, particularly those in Zacatecas. She is not my favorite artist, but her surrealist oil paintings (which are remind me of other female surrealists of the time, including Leonor Fini, and Leonora Carrington) are compelling (though I like her least of those three artists). She also has some amazing and mythological sketches that are white ink on a black background, and are figures (L'Androgyne).
From Wiki: "Alice Phillipot (later Paalen and Rahon) (June 8, 1904 - September 1987) was a French/Mexican poet and artist, whose work contributed to the beginning of abstract expression in Mexico. She began as a surrealist poet in Europe, but began painting in Mexico. She was a prolific artist from the late 1940s to the 1960s, exhibiting frequently in Mexico and the United States, with a wide circle of friends in these two countries. Her work remained tied to surrealism, but was also innovative including abstract elements and the use of new techniques such as sgraffito and the use of sand for texture. She became isolated in her later life due to health issues, and except for retrospectives at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1986 and at the Museo de Arte Moderno in 2009 and 2014, has been largely forgotten despite her influence on Mexican modern art."
Sculptor who does many public installations - primarily figure-based works. He's best known for Event Horizon: "In 2007, Gormley's Event Horizon, consisting of 31 life-size and anatomically correct casts of his body, four in cast iron and 27 in fiberglass, was installed on top of prominent buildings along London's South Bank, and installed in locations around New York City's Madison Square in 2010. Gormley said of the New York site that "Within the condensed environment of Manhattan's topography, the level of tension between the palpable, the perceivable and the imaginable is heightened because of the density and scale of the buildings" and that in this context, the project should "activate the skyline in order to encourage people to look around. In this process of looking and finding, or looking and seeking, one perhaps re-assess one's own position in the world and becomes aware of one's status of embedment." Critic Howard Halle said that "Using distance and attendant shifts of scale within the very fabric of the city, [Event Horizon] creates a metaphor for urban life and all the contradictory associations - alienation, ambition, anonymity, fame - it entails.""
His sculptures are meant to be politically resonant. From his own website: "Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture since the 1960s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human beings stand in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise."
Street artist who popularized the stencil method. From Wikipedia: "Banksy is an English-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director whose real identity is unknown. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. Banksy's work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Observers have noted that his style is similar to Blek le Rat, who began to work with stencils in 1981 in Paris. Banksy says that he was inspired by "3D", a graffiti artist who later became a founding member of Massive Attack, an English musical group.
Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. Banksy does not sell photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, but art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder. Banksy's first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, billed as "the world's first street art disaster movie", made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film was released in the UK on 5 March 2010. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film."
Golly, I love this woman's work. She was active from 1941 until she committed suicide in 1971. She was 48 years old when she died.
Bio excerpt from manythings.com: "Diane Arbus is known for creating intense black and white photographs of very unusual people. She used a special camera that produced square shaped images. Often her subjects look sad, conflicted or physically abnormal. But they do not try to hide their insecurities. They openly stare at the camera. One art expert said Diane Arbus turned photography inside out. Instead of looking at her subjects, she made them look at her."
Bio exerpt from Jewish Women's Archive: "Diane Arbus changed how the world looks at photographs and how photographs look at the world. Best known for her pictures of "freaks" and eccentrics such as "The Jungle Creep," "The Marked Man," and nudists, she also changed the world of children's fashion photography and celebrity photography. She was alternately described as shy, sweet and girlish or coldly aggressive and "as tough as any man" in her field. Friends and colleagues were amazed by her ability to relate to her subjects, her openness and vulnerability with them. On the other hand, some people who posed for her found her to be manipulative, bossy, and cold. In a 1985 article titled "The Hostile Camera," Calvin Bedient said of her: "She is a modernist heroine, braving the dark places of psychology, her only shield her camera, an eye that would not flinch.""
Uses stills from Google Street View to create his photographs. I first saw his work at a Geary Street gallery in San Francisco during a first Thursday that I attended with Joe K, and then at the same gallery during a visit with LG. The concept may seem contrived, but his work is exceptional - one of my favorite contemporary artists/photographers.
From his MoMA bio: "Doug Rickard (American, born 1968) studied United States history and sociology at the University of California, San Diego, before moving to photography. He has drawn on this background in research for his series A New American Picture, which focuses on places in the United States where unemployment is high and educational opportunities are few. On a virtual road trip, Rickard located these sites remotely using the Street View feature of the website Google Maps, which has mapped and photographed every street in the country. Scrutinizing the Google Maps pictures, he composed images on his computer screen, which he then photographed using a digital camera. The resulting pictures—digitally manipulated to remove the Google watermark and cropped to a panoramic format—comment on poverty and racial equity in the United States, the bounty of images on the web, and issues of personal privacy."
Nighthawks at the Diner, of course! That image itself is enough to love this guy. Distiller of Americana. Summer Interior (a female nude) is very, very good as well.
From Wikipedia: "Hopper derived his subject matter from two primary sources: one, the common features of American life (gas stations, motels, restaurants, theaters, railroads, and street scenes) and its inhabitants; and two, seascapes and rural landscapes. Regarding his style, Hopper defined himself as "an amalgam of many races" and not a member of any school, particularly the "Ashcan School". Once Hopper achieved his mature style, his art remained consistent and self-contained, in spite of the numerous art trends that came and went during his long career.
Urban architecture and cityscapes also were major subjects for Hopper. He was fascinated with the American urban scene, "our native architecture with its hideous beauty, its fantastic roofs, pseudo-gothic, French Mansard, Colonial, mongrel or what not, with eye-searing color or delicate harmonies of faded paint, shouldering one another along interminable streets that taper off into swamps or dump heaps."
In 1925, he produced House by the Railroad. This classic work depicts an isolated Victorian wood mansion, partly obscured by the raised embankment of a railroad. It marked Hopper's artistic maturity. Critic Lloyd Goodrich praised the work as "one of the most poignant and desolating pieces of realism." The work is the first of a series of stark rural and urban scenes that uses sharp lines and large shapes, played upon by unusual lighting to capture the lonely mood of his subjects. Although critics and viewers interpret meaning and mood in these cityscapes, Hopper insisted "I was more interested in the sunlight on the buildings and on the figures than any symbolism." As if to prove the point, his late painting Sun in an Empty Room (1963) is a pure study of sunlight.
Most of Hopper's figure paintings focus on the subtle interaction of human beings with their environment—carried out with solo figures, couples, or groups. His primary emotional themes are solitude, loneliness, regret, boredom, and resignation. He expresses the emotions in various environments, including the office, in public places, in apartments, on the road, or on vacation. As if he were creating stills for a movie or tableaux in a play, Hopper positioned his characters as if they were captured just before or just after the climax of a scene.
Hopper's solitary figures are mostly women—dressed, semi-clad, and nude—often reading or looking out a window, or in the workplace."
I first really heard about El Greco from Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage." Philip discovers is introduced to El Greco by his friend, and the work of that artist represents a watershed moment in the development of Philip's artistic vernacular. The nonconformist works of that old master prove that representation is not determined by specific rules or parameters.
Wikipedia: "[El Greco] was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. The nickname "El Greco" refers both to his Greek origin and Spanish citizenship. The artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), often adding the word Κρής (Krēs, "Cretan").
El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.
El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting."
Of course, Goya is a name that everyone's heard. I first remember seeing his work in posts from Strange Tales Magazine. Then, when in Zacatecas, Mexico, I saw a small collection of his work, and primarily his sketches. And Goya's sketches and prints are amazing and often grotesque, and they are my favorite of his output.
From wikipedia: "He is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya's late works especially have been highly influential and he is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns.
Goya was born to a modest family in 1746 in the village of Fuendetodos in Aragon. He studied painting from age 14 under José Lúzan y Martinez and moved to Madrid to study with Anton Raphael Mengs. He married Josefa Bayeu in 1775; the couple's life together was characterised by an almost constant series of pregnancies and miscarriages. He became a court painter to the Spanish Crown in 1786 and the early portion of his career is marked by portraits commissioned by the Spanish aristocracy and royalty, and the Rococo style tapestry cartoons designed for the royal palace.
Goya was a guarded man and although letters and writings survive, we know comparatively little about his thoughts. He suffered a severe and undiagnosed illness in 1793 which left him completely deaf. After 1793 his work became progressively darker and pessimistic. His later easel and mural paintings, prints and drawings appear to reflect a bleak outlook on personal, social and political levels, and contrast with his social climbing. He was appointed Director of the Royal Academy in 1795, the year Manuel Godoy made an unfavorable treaty with France. In 1799 Goya became Primer Pintor de Càmara, the then highest rank for a Spanish court painter. In the late 1790s, commissioned by Godoy, he completed his La maja desnuda, a remarkably daring nude for the time and clearly indebted to Diego Velázquez. In 1801 he painted Charles IV of Spain and His Family, the tone and intent of which is still debated; perhaps Goya saw Charles IV as a weak, ineffectual king. In 1807 Napoleon lead the French army into Spain.
He remained in Madrid during the disastrous Peninsular War, which seems to have affected him deeply. Although he did not vocalise his thoughts in public, they can be inferred from his "Disasters of War" series of prints (although published 35 years after his death) and his 1814 paintings The Second of May 1808 and The Third of May 1808. Other works from his mid period include the "Caprichos" and Los Disparates etching series, and a wide variety of paintings concerned with insanity, mental asylums, witches, fantastical creatures and religious and political corruption, all of which suggest that he feared for both his country's fate and his own mental and physical health. His output culminates with the so-called "Black Paintings" of 1819-1823, applied on oil on the plaster walls of his house the "Quinta del Sordo" (house of the deaf man) where, disillusioned by domestic political and social developments he lived in near isolation. Goya eventually abandoned Spain in 1824 to retire to the French city of Bordeaux, accompanied by his much younger maid and companion, Leocadia Weiss, who may or may not have been his lover. There he completed his "La Tauromaquia" series and a number of canvases. Following a stroke which left him paralysed on his right side, and suffering failing eyesight and poor access to painting materials, he died and was buried on April 16th 1828 aged 82. His body was later re-interred in Spain."
LC introduced me to Kline's work. He works in mostly black paint on white canvasses. His images appear totally abstract, and perhaps without motive, but he purportedly scrupulously plotted each piece. LC compared his work to Keith Haring's chalk drawings on the subway advertising boards. Haring's drawings look pre-conceived, and pre-determined, but were entirely impromptu.
From Wikipedia: "Franz Kline (May 23, 1910 - May 13, 1962) was an American painter born in Pennsylvania. He is mainly associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s and 1950s. Kline, along with other action painters like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Lee Krasner, as well as local poets, dancers, and musicians came to be known as the informal group, the New York School. Although he explored the same innovations to painting as the other artists in this group, Kline's work is distinct in itself and has been revered since the 1950s...
Kline is recognized as one of the most important yet problematic artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York. His style is difficult for critics to interpret in relation to his contemporaries. As with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and other Abstract Expressionists, Kline was said to be an action painter because of his seemingly spontaneous and intense style, focusing not at all on figures or imagery, but on the expression of his brushstrokes and use of canvas. However, Kline's paintings are deceptively subtle. While generally his paintings have a spontaneous, and dramatic impact, Kline often closely referred to his compositional drawings. Kline carefully rendered many of his most complex pictures from extensive studies, commonly created on refuse telephone book pages. Unlike his fellow Abstract Expressionists, Kline's works were only meant to look like they were done in a moment of inspiration; however, each painting was extensively explored before his housepainter's brush touched the canvas.
Kline was also known for avoiding giving meaning to his paintings, unlike his colleagues who would give mystical descriptions of their works. In a catalog of Kline's works, art historian Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev writes that "his art both suggests and denies significance and meaning." Many of his works have been viewed by art historians as indications of a progression towards minimalist painting. They believe that his works hold an objective opacity and frankness that differs from the subjectivity involved with the New York School's style. This would make his work more similar to the avant-garde platforms like minimalism that replaced the Abstract Expressionist movement in the 1960s."
LC sent me "Fight For the Water Hole" as an example of compelling and uniquely United States artwork. His work marked a historical transition into graphic design and visual culture.
From his homepage bio: "Frederic Remington (1861-1909) is best known for his art depicting the cowboys, soldiers and Native Americans of the Old West. A native of Canton, New York, Remington found inspiration in these subjects from an early age.
His career took off in the mid-1880s when he began making western illustrations for Harper's Weekly and many other widely read New York magazines. Remington's pictures brought visual information to the eastern public accompanying both factual accounts and fiction of the Old West. He was praised and trusted for the accuracy of detail in his work. Many people assumed, and still assume, that he was a westerner, if not, in fact, a soldier or a cowboy himself. In truth, he was an easterner who was as fascinated by the subjects he depicted as his audience was.
Frederic Remington traveled west repeatedly. He loved the idea of the frontier and greatly admired the rough and heroic cowboys and soldiers he met there. He enjoyed meeting them, hearing their stories and following their lives in his visits as a journalist/illustrator. Among other things, he admired them for seeming undaunted by the many elements of frontier life that Remington himself could barely tolerate - poor and scarce "grub," long rides in the saddle, and extended periods between baths.
On these trips, Remington collected innumerable materials to use as props to create convincingly detailed illustrations, paintings and bronzes in his studio in New Rochelle, New York. He took a camera and made his own photographs, not as art, but as notes. He bought hundreds of widely available western landscapes and portraits of Native Americans. He carried notebooks and sketched everything from distant horizons to the details of creases on leather boots.
He worked for the great magazines of the 1880s and 1890s, creating images of soldiers, cowboys and Indians that shaped the world's perception of the American west. He produced over 3,000 signed paintings and drawings. Most of them were illustrations, but many were made as art as he turned away from the publishing world and accomplished masterful art. Today, he may be best known for his sculptures, which he began in 1895 with The Broncho Buster.
He created 22 different subjects in bronze before his death at 48. His worked on increasingly sophisticated artistic goals in his paintings, moving toward impressionism."
I love this photographer. He is of the same school as Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, and is the creator of the "Women Are Beautiful" series, which I was first exposed to at the Portland Museum of Art, and which I have seen numerous times since.
From Wikipedia: "Garry Winogrand (14 January 1928 - 19 March 1984) was a street photographer from the Bronx, New York, known for his portrayal of American life, and its social issues, in the mid-20th century. Though he photographed in Los Angeles and elsewhere, Winogrand was essentially a New York photographer.
He received three Guggenheim Fellowships to work on personal projects, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and published four books during his lifetime. He was one of three photographers featured in the influential New Documents exhibition at Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1967 and had solo exhibitions there in 1969, 1977 and 1988. He supported himself by working as a freelance photojournalist and advertising photographer in the 1950s and 1960s, and taught photography in the 1970s. His photographs featured in photography magazines including Popular Photography, Eros, Contemporary Photographer and Photography Annual.
Photography curator, historian, and critic John Szarkowski called Winogrand the central photographer of his generation. Critic Sean O'Hagan, writing in The Guardian in 2014, said "In the 1960s and 70s, he defined street photography as an attitude as well as a style - and it has laboured in his shadow ever since, so definitive are his photographs of New York." Phil Coomes, writing for BBC News in 2013, said "For those of us interested in street photography there are a few names that stand out and one of those is Garry Winogrand, whose pictures of New York in the 1960s are a photographic lesson in every frame."
At the time of his death Winogrand's late work remained undeveloped, with about 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film, 6,500 rolls of developed but not proofed exposures, and about 3,000 rolls only realised as far as contact sheets being made."
I first came across Gustave Doré when searching online for prints to accompany journals I was writing, and I think he was most talented as a printmaker. His illustrations of The Divine Comedy, the Bible, and, my favorite, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are astounding. He was considered to be among the Romantic school.
A lengthy Wikipedia quote: "Doré was born in Strasbourg on 6 January 1832. By age five, he was a prodigy troublemaker, playing pranks that were mature beyond his years. Seven years later, he began carving in cement. At the age of fifteen Doré began his career working as a caricaturist for the French paper Le Journal pour rire. and subsequently went on to win commissions to depict scenes from books by Rabelais, Balzac, Milton and Dante.
In 1853, Doré was asked to illustrate the works of Lord Byron. This commission was followed by additional work for British publishers, including a new illustrated English Bible. In 1856 he produced twelve folio-size illustrations of The Legend of The Wandering Jew for a short poem which Pierre-Jean de Ranger had derived from a novel of Eugène Sue of 1845.
In the 1860s he illustrated a French edition of Cervantes's Don Quixote, and his depictions of the knight and his squire, Sancho Panza, have become so famous that they have influenced subsequent readers, artists, and stage and film directors' ideas of the physical "look" of the two characters. Doré also illustrated an oversized edition of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven", an endeavor that earned him 30,000 francs from publisher Harper & Brothers in 1883.
Doré's illustrations for the English Bible (1866) were a great success, and in 1867 Doré had a major exhibition of his work in London. This exhibition led to the foundation of the Doré Gallery in Bond Street, London. In 1869, Blanchard Jerrold, the son of Douglas William Jerrold, suggested that they work together to produce a comprehensive portrait of London. Jerrold had obtained the idea from The Microcosm of London produced by Rudolph Ackermann, William Pyne, and Thomas Rowlandson in 1808. Doré signed a five-year contract with the publishers Grant & Co that involved his staying in London for three months a year, and he received the vast sum of £10,000 a year for the project. Doré was mainly celebrated for his paintings in his day. His paintings remain world-renowned, but his woodcuts and engravings, like those he did for Jerrold, are where he really excelled as an artist with an individual vision.
The completed book, London: A Pilgrimage, with 180 engravings, was published in 1872. It enjoyed commercial and popular success, but the work was disliked by many contemporary critics. Some of these critics were concerned with the fact that Doré appeared to focus on the poverty that existed in parts of London. Doré was accused by The Art Journal of "inventing rather than copying." The Westminster Review claimed that "Doré gives us sketches in which the commonest, the vulgarest external features are set down." The book was a financial success, however, and Doré received commissions from other British publishers.
Doré's later work included illustrations for new editions of Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Milton's Paradise Lost, Tennyson's The Idylls of the King, The Works of Thomas Hood, and The Divine Comedy. Doré's work also appeared in the weekly newspaper The Illustrated London News.
Doré never married and, following the death of his father in 1849, he continued to live with his mother, illustrating books until his death in Paris following a short illness. The city's Père Lachaise Cemetery contains his grave. The government of France made him a Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur in 1861."
Painted Oedipus and the Sphinx, and a few other legit mythological paintings. Mid-nineteenth century.
His full Wikipedia bio: "Moreau was born in Paris. His father, Louis Jean Marie Moreau, was an architect, who recognized his talent. His mother was Adele Pauline des Moutiers. Moreau initially studied under the guidance of François-Édouard Picot and became a friend of Théodore Chassériau, whose work strongly influenced his own. Moreau had a 25-year personal relationship, possibly romantic, with Adelaide-Alexandrine Dureux, a woman whom he drew several times. His first painting was a Pietà which is now located in the cathedral at Angoulême. He showed A Scene from the Song of Songs and The Death of Darius in the Salon of 1853. In 1853 he contributed Athenians with the Minotaur and Moses Putting Off his Sandals within Sight of the Promised Land to the Great Exhibition.
Oedipus and the Sphinx, one of his first symbolist paintings, was exhibited at the Salon of 1864. Moreau quickly gained a reputation for eccentricity. One commentator said Moreau's work was "like a pastiche of Mantegna created by a German student who relaxes from his painting by reading Schopenhauer". The painting currently resides in the permanent collection at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Moreau became a professor at Paris' École des Beaux-Arts in 1891 and among his many students were fauvist painters Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. Jules Flandrin, Theodor Pallady and Léon Printemps also studied with Moreau.
Moreau died in Paris and was buried there in the Cimetière de Montmartre.
During his lifetime, Moreau produced more than 8,000 paintings, watercolors and drawings, many of which are on display in Paris' Musée national Gustave Moreau at 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld (9th arrondissement). The museum is in his former workshop, and began operation in 1903. André Breton famously used to "haunt" the museum and regarded Moreau as a precursor of Surrealism."
I first noticed his work in a museum in Zacatecas, Mexico. They just had a few of his engravings on display. They were dark, overtly-sexual, and contained sado-masochistic elements. I later looked him up, and while his engravings remain my favorites of his body of work, he is best known for the sculptures he made from dolls, which are also stellar.
His Tate bio: "Hans Bellmer 1902-1975. Draughtsman, painter, constructor of dolls, etcher, lithographer and writer, deeply involved with erotic fantasy. Born in Katowice, in Silesia. Obliged by his father to study engineering at the Berlin Polytechnic 1922-4, but became friendly with the painters Grosz and Dix. Abandoned his studies and began to work as typographer and book binder, then as industrial draughtsman in an advertising agency. Gave up all activity useful to the State after the rise to power of the Nazis in 1933 and began to construct 'artificial girls'; published Die Puppe 1934. Fled to Paris in 1938, in contact with the Surrealists. Drawings and paintings full of erotic variations on the female body, including illustrations for the poems of Georges Hugnet Oeillades ciselie en Branches 1939. Lived in the Midi 1942-6, where he had his first one-man exhibition at the Librairie Silvio Trentin, Toulouse, in 1944, then returned to Paris. Published Les Jeux de la Poupée 1949, L'Anatomie de l'Image 1957. Received a William and Noma Copley Foundation Award 1958. Major retrospective exhibition at the Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, 1971-2. Died in Paris."
I first came across his sketches and prints in the Museo de Arte Moderno, in Medellin, Colombia. The exhibit consisted of thousands of small images, many torn from notebooks and other places. There was a iconographic lexicon, an indecipherable hieroglyphic alphabet, based on all of history's iconographies. The work blew me away.
From a writeup in BOMB: "José Antonio Suárez Londoño does not email, does not use a cell phone, not even a fax machine, and is entirely indifferent to the art world's ups and downs. Once a week he goes to a print workshop in his native Medellín, where he prints his own etchings and teaches a weekly portrait drawing class. He is, however, among the most unanimously respected living artists in Colombia for having reinvented the role of drawing and representation in his country. Confined to the silent angles of his readings and devoted to the daily tracing of his drawings and etchings, Suárez Londoño behaves as if these were enough of a country for him. And indeed, for us, they constitute a continent of artistic wonders.
Suárez Londoño produces small-scale prints, drawings, and sketchbooks. His work's structural intimacy is tied to the need for his personal voice to register history with the detached, fractured tone of a neutral witness. Working in a nation where the very notion of intimacy has been historically upset by political violence and civic distress, Suárez Londoño's rigorous decision to restrict his artistic project to keeping visual diaries—which together form an autobiography made up of fragmented images—acquires epic dimensions.
Suárez Londoño's project started in the early 1990s. The writer Héctor Abad Faciolince wanted to write accompanying texts for the daily drawings that the artist was producing. Though the project never saw completion, Suárez Londoño kept making a drawing a day in sketchbooks, each containing 365 drawings full of minuscule hand-written notes documenting the vicissitudes of life and the pleasures and miseries of everyday things.
Following the example set by Francisco Goya's Caprichos and Desastres, Suárez Londoño's works keep track of the passage of time through an ordinary citizen's life, travels, readings, and encounters. He is among the most skillful and inspired printmakers in Latin America today; the history of printmaking in the region had not reached such heights since the works of the Mexican José Guadalupe Posada or the Brazilian Oswaldo Goeldi.
Uninterested in technical virtuosity or the medium's specificity, Suárez Londoño's project is the utopian one of autobiography through an ongoing and forever unfinished body of work. In that impossible autobiography, he builds an intimate locus of lines, shapes, colors, and inks—a refuge, perhaps, from the deadening noise of our most human planet."
Everybody had the Chat Noir poster in college. He was small and disturbed, and seemed to revolutionize commercial advertising. Self-Portrait in the crowd, and the paintings of prostitutes are stellar as well.
From Wikipedia: "Toulouse-Lautrec was mocked for his short stature and physical appearance, which led him to drown his sorrows in alcohol.
He initially only drank beer and wine, but his tastes expanded into hard liquor namely absinthe. The cocktail "Earthquake" or Tremblement de Terre is attributed to Toulouse-Lautrec: a potent mixture containing half absinthe and half cognac (in a wine goblet, three parts absinthe and three parts cognac, sometimes served with ice cubes or shaken in a cocktail shaker filled with ice). To ensure he was never without alcohol, Toulouse-Lautrec hollowed out his cane (which he needed to walk due to his underdeveloped legs) which he filled with liquor.
In addition to his growing alcoholism, Toulouse-Lautrec also had a fondness for frequenting prostitutes. Toulouse-Lautrec was also fascinated by their lifestyle and the lifestyles of the "urban underclass" and later incorporated them into his paintings. Fellow painter Édouard Vuillard later said that while Toulouse-Lautrec did engage in sex with prostitutes, "[...] the real reasons for his behavior were moral ones...Lautrec was too proud to submit to his lot, as a physical freak, an aristocrat cut off from his kind by his grotesque appearance. He found an affinity between his own condition and the moral penury of the prostitute."
By February 1899, Toulouse-Lautrec's alcoholism began to take its toll, and he collapsed due to exhaustion and the effects of alcoholism. His family had him committed to Folie Saint-James, a sanatorium in Neuilly for three months. While he was committed, Toulouse-Lautrec drew 39 circus portraits. After his release, Toulouse-Lautrec returned to Paris studio for a time and then traveled throughout France. His physical and mental health began to decline rapidly due to alcoholism and syphilis which he reportedly contracted from Rosa La Rouge, a prostitute who was the subject of several of his paintings.
On 9 September 1901, he died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at the family estate, Château Malromé, in Saint-André-du-Bois at the age of 36. He is buried in Cimetière de Verdelais, Gironde, a few kilometres from his family's estate. Toulouse-Lautrec's last words reportedly were: "Le vieux con!" ("The old fool!"). This was his goodbye to his father. Although in another version he used the word "hallali", a term used by huntsmen for the moment the hounds kill their prey, "I knew, papa, that you wouldn't miss the death." ("Je savais, papa, que vous ne manqueriez pas l'hallali").
After Toulouse-Lautrec's death, his mother, the Comtesse Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Joyant, his art dealer, promoted his art. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be created in Albi, his birthplace, to house his works. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum owns the world's largest collection of works by the painter."
Outsider artist. I first became familiar with Darger's work through the documentary "In the Realms of the Unreal" which played at the Nickelodeon when I was working there. Darger was orphaned, and spent his youth in orphanages and asylums. He was a reclusive adult and spent his life working as the janitor of a Catholic school. He had an almost nonexistent social life. But Darger had a rich innerlife, and created a fantasy world all his own, in which young girls had to fight off armies of villians. He documented and illustrated this fantasy using self-taught techniques, including elements of collage, tracing, pastiche, and simple print making. He not only created amazing artwork, but wrote everyday of his adult life. In the last entry in his diary, he wrote: "January 1, 1971. I had a very poor nothing like Christmas. Never had a good Christmas all my life, nor a good new year, and now... I am very bitter but fortunately not revengeful, though I feel should be how I am..."
From Wikipedia: "Darger's human figures were rendered largely by tracing, collage, or photo enlargement from popular magazines and children's books (much of the "trash" he collected was old magazines and newspapers, which he clipped for source material). Some of his favorite figures were the Coppertone Girl and Little Annie Rooney. He is praised for his natural gift for composition and the brilliant use of color in his watercolors. The images of daring escapes, mighty battles, and painful torture are reminiscent not only of epic films such as Birth of a Nation (which Darger might easily have seen) but of events in Catholic history; the text makes it clear that the child victims are heroic martyrs like the early saints. Art critic Michael Moon explains Darger's images of tortured children in terms of popular Catholic culture and iconography. These included martyr pageants and Catholic comic books with detailed, often gory tales of innocent female victims.
One idiosyncratic feature of Darger's artwork is its apparent transgenderism. Many of his subjects which appear to be girls are shown to have penises when unclothed or partially clothed. Darger biographer Jim Elledge speculates that this represents a reflection of Darger's own childhood issues with gender identity and homosexuality. Darger's second novel, Crazy House, deals with these subjects more explicitly...
Darger's landlords, Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner, came across his work shortly before his death, a day after his birthday, on April 13, 1973. Nathan Lerner, an accomplished photographer whose long career the New York Times wrote "was inextricably bound up in the history of visual culture in Chicago", immediately recognized the artistic merit of Darger's work. By this time Darger was in the Catholic mission St. Augustine's, operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, where his father had died."
Outsider Artist. I first came across Singleton's work in the Ogden Museum of Art in New Orleans, LA. He carves reliefs into found wood, and paints the images with vivid primary colors. The images themselves are rudimentary, but the subject matter is grim and gritty.
From knowla.org: "Born to Herbert, Sr., and Elizabeth Singleton on May 31, 1945, Singleton was the oldest of the couple's eight children. When Singleton was around ten years old, his father, who worked for the New Orleans utilities department, left home one day to purchase a pack of cigarettes and never returned. His mother later found employment in a hospital. Singleton dropped out of school after the seventh grade and spent most of his time hanging out in the streets of Algiers on New Orleans' West Bank. He associated with gangs, pimps, and prostitutes and experimented with illegal drugs, eventually spending thirteen years incarcerated in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for various narcotic-related offenses.
Singleton's encounters with law enforcement officials have been frequent and traumatic. In 1980 one of his sisters and two of his male friends were shot to death in an early morning raid by three white police officers who were searching for suspects in the murder of another white police officer. The raid occurred in New Orleans's predominantly African American community of Algiers. During the aftermath of the raid, Singleton and several other residents were taken to police headquarters, where they were allegedly beaten and tortured in attempts to obtain confessions. Singleton recalls that he and the other suspects were detained for over twelve hours and that a plastic bag was placed over his head in an attempt to suffocate him. Singleton has depicted this harrowing incident in one of his carvings, in which he is seen strapped to a chair with a white plastic bag over his head. In view of Singleton's background, the numerous scenes of violence and police brutality depicted in his carvings are not surprising...
Subject matter among Singleton's carvings may be grouped into three categories: religious scenes, scenes from contemporary African-American street life, and social and political themes of national and international scope. Given the frequently violent incidents of his past, it is not surprising that many of Singleton's most compelling sculptures recalled his own experiences. Death, police brutality and harassment, lynchings, tavern brawls, dishonest card games, prostitutes and pimps, and scenes of prison life abound. Singleton's raw and emotive depictions of various aspects of the drug subculture are not always comfortable to view; they are unusually graphic since they were carved by a person who experienced many of these activities firsthand. Panels that depict various Mardi Gras activities and second-line parades, provide a more lighthearted dimension to Singleton's work."
Itō Jakuchū was from a wealthy Japanese family. He lived from 1716 to 1800. From Wikipedia: "Jakuchū can definitely be said to have lived the life of a literary intellectual (bunjin). He was friends with many notable bunjin, went on journeys with them, and was influenced by their artistic styles. His own degree of experimentation was a result of a combination of this bunjin influence and his own personal creative drive. In addition to his experiments with Western materials and perspective, Jakuchū also employed on occasion a method called taku hanga (拓版画, "rubbing prints"). This method used woodblocks to resemble a Chinese technique of ink rubbings of inscribed stone slabs, and was employed by Jakuchū in a number of works, including a scroll entitled "Impromptu Pleasures Afloat" (乗興舟, Jōkyōshū), depicting a journey down the Yodo River."
I wrote this to LG after she introduced me to Itō Jakuchū: "Jakucho Ito, exemplifies this sense that a person can have a very magical apprehension of the world, and yet maintain an immediacy that prevents the work (and the sentiment it inspires) from becoming something more...I don't know...ethereal. I'm explaining this badly, and I'm in danger of orientalizing a culture whose difference I'm fascinated by (a culture that you clearly have way more experience with), but this is a sense (an awe in the magic of the world) that I've experienced in many other contexts as well - though it is one that I consider rare in the US (you can find it in New Orleans and a little bit in the Pacific Northwest). Jakucho Ito has these compositions that are of natural subjects - mostly animals. These canvases are meticulously laid out, the animals are staged almost as if they'd self-consciously posed for the picture - as if the tiger agreed to stalk out of high grasses, or the fish consented to swim in the same direction - and by idealizing his subjects, Ito presents nature as something harmonic, something that creates its own framing and staging, so that there's a design that precedes the artist and the representation. I hesitate to call it intelligence, but there's something cosmic being represented there. And I also get the sense that each of these representations means something deeper. A fish isn't just a fish, and a rooster isn't just a rooster. These are creatures with subjectivities and designs, they are operating in the world even when we take their unreasoning animality for granted."
She replied back, correctly, "When I talk about Jakuchu I always remark on his use of color and pattern and composition. But all the things you said it so true- the way he portrays nature he makes it seems so magical and fecund. And you're right, they're very staged, but not staid. They're dynamic and teeming with life, but you're right, it's like everything is posing. I never took the time to notice that.
The things I like best about his works are all the different and disparate motifs going on. My favorite one is "Chrysanthemums by a Stream, with Rocks" and if you look at it you have this undulating stream contrasted with the meticulous details of the realistic flowers which contrasts with the very abstracted rocks. And the grass at the bottom, long and sharp. And the softer, rounded leaves. There's so many different conflicting things happening and yet nothing fights with each other. It's all so cohesive, but nothing gets lost. I can pick out and appreciate all these different elements as a whole, but also individually.
And look at this one! The hole in the branch! He's so playful in all his works.
Not my favorite pop-artist out there. I first heard of him in season 10 of the Simpsons, in which he appeared as a kleptomaniac version of himself. I saw some of his work in NY during a vacation there with Harmony, and neither of us were taken with the palate or subject matter. But I love that Johns was a precursor for Warhol. The first time I was moved by Johns' work was when I saw his abstract print "Cup We All Race 4," which was an homage to John Peto's eponymous work, a trompe l'oeil depicting a dented tin cup hanging from a nail in the wall.
From Wikipedia: "Johns is best known for his painting Flag (1954-55), which he painted after having a dream of the American flag. His work is often described as Neo-Dadaist, as opposed to pop art, even though his subject matter often includes images and objects from popular culture. Still, many compilations on pop art include Jasper Johns as a pop artist because of his artistic use of classical iconography.
Early works were composed using simple schema such as flags, maps, targets, letters and numbers. Johns' treatment of the surface is often lush and painterly; he is famous for incorporating such media as encaustic and plaster relief in his paintings. Johns played with and presented opposites, contradictions, paradoxes, and ironies, much like Marcel Duchamp (who was associated with the Dada movement). Johns also produces intaglio prints, sculptures and lithographs with similar motifs.
Johns' breakthrough move, which was to inform much later work by others, was to appropriate popular iconography for painting, thus allowing a set of familiar associations to answer the need for subject. Though the abstract expressionists disdained subject matter, it could be argued that in the end, they had simply changed subjects. Johns neutralized the subject, so that something like a pure painted surface could declare itself. For twenty years after Johns painted Flag, the surface could suffice - for example, in Andy Warhol's silkscreens, or in Robert Irwin's illuminated ambient works.
The paintings of Abstract expressionist figures like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning are indexical in that they stand effectively as a signature on canvas. In contrast, Neo-Dadaists like Johns and Rauschenberg seemed preoccupied with a lessening of the reliance of their art on indexical qualities, seeking instead to create meaning solely through the use of conventional symbols. Some have interpreted this as a rejection of the hallowed individualism of the abstract expressionists. Their works also imply symbols existing outside of any referential context. Johns' Flag, for instance, is primarily a visual object, divorced from its symbolic connotations and reduced to something in-itself."
One of my favorites, though he seems to have fallen out of favor with some. I was first introduced to Warhol while I was a teenager, when I read the book "Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Rock." I learned more about Warhol's approach to pop art and print making in the art class "Visual Culture and Society." Harmony and I saw many of his works in NY, during our trip there, including the Campbell's Soup cans at the Museum of Modern Art. With LG, I saw the all 102 prints of "Shadows" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. We came across more of his work in Savannah, at the Jepson Center, where we saw the exhibit "In Living Color: Andy Warhol and Contemporary Printmaking."
From Wikipedia: "It was during the 1960s that Warhol began to make paintings of iconic American objects such as dollar bills, mushroom clouds, electric chairs, Campbell's Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles, celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Troy Donahue, Muhammad Ali, and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as newspaper headlines or photographs of police dogs attacking civil rights protesters. During these years, he founded his studio, "The Factory" and gathered about him a wide range of artists, writers, musicians, and underground celebrities. His work became popular and controversial. Warhol had this to say about Coca Cola:
"What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca-Cola, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.""
From biography.com: "In the late 1950s, Warhol began devoting more attention to painting, and in 1961, he debuted the concept of "pop art"—paintings that focused on mass-produced commercial goods. In 1962, he exhibited the now-iconic paintings of Campbell's soup cans. These small canvas works of everyday consumer products created a major stir in the art world, bringing both Warhol and pop art into the national spotlight for the first time.
British artist Richard Hamilton described pop art as "popular, transient, expendable, low cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, big business." As Warhol himself put it, "Once you 'got' pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again."
Warhol's other famous pop paintings depicted Coca-cola bottles, vacuum cleaners and hamburgers. He also painted celebrity portraits in vivid and garish colors; his most famous subjects include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger and Mao Zedong. As these portraits gained fame and notoriety, Warhol began to receive hundreds of commissions for portraits from socialites and celebrities. His portrait " Eight Elvises" eventually resold for $100 million in 2008, making it one of the most valuable paintings in world history.
In 1964, Warhol opened his own art studio, a large silver-painted warehouse known simply as "The Factory." The Factory quickly became one of New York City's premier cultural hotspots, a scene of lavish parties attended by the city's wealthiest socialites and celebrities, including musician Lou Reed, who paid tribute to the hustlers and transvestites he'd met at The Factory with his hit song "Walk on the Wild Side"—the verses of which contain descriptions of individuals who were fixtures at the legendary studio/warehouse in the '60s, including Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, "Little Joe" Dallesandro, "Sugar Plum Fairy" Joe Campbell and Jackie Curtis. (Warhol was a friend of Reed's and managed Reed's band, the Velvet Underground.)
Warhol, who clearly relished his celebrity, became a fixture at infamous New York City nightclubs like Studio 54 and Max's Kansas City. Commenting on celebrity fixation—his own and that of the public at large—Warhol observed, "more than anything people just want stars." He also branched out in new directions, publishing his first book, Andy Warhol's Index, in 1967.
In 1968, however, Warhol's thriving career almost ended. He was shot by Valerie Solanis, an aspiring writer and radical feminist, on June 3. Warhol was seriously wounded in this attack. Solanis had appeared in one of Warhol's films and was reportedly upset with him over his refusal to use a script she had written. After the shooting, Solanis was arrested and later pleaded guilty to the crime. Warhol spent weeks in a New York hospital recovering from his injuries."
I first heard about Cocteau in literature courses, and he's best known for his literary work, in particular, the novel Les Enfants Terribles. He also ran with a pretty stellar crowd of artists and authors. But he did create some visual work, and I found his homoerotic sketches to be particularly compelling, and his self-portraits are also noteworthy.
From biography.com: "In the 1910s, Cocteau formed friendships with many prominent members of the Parisian avant-garde, including writer Guillaume Apollinaire and artists Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso. He was so impressed by seeing the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky perform with the Ballets Russes that he met the company's founder, Sergei Diaghilev, and asked to work with him. Cocteau designed posters for the Ballets Russe, and in 1917 he was one of the collaborators on the ballet Parade: Cocteau wrote the story, Erik Satie composed the music, Léonide Massine choreographed the dance and Picasso designed the set and costumes.
Cocteau's activities of the 1920s were remarkably varied. He composed opera libretti for several composers. He published collections of poetry and illustrations as well as a novel inspired by his experiences during World War I. He staged a ballet called Le Boeuf Sur le Toit (The Ox on the Roof) and directed modern adaptations of several classic dramas. He promoted the work of young writer Raymond Radiguet, with whom he fell in love. When Radiguet died of typhoid fever, Cocteau was despondent and tried to console himself by taking opium."
Photographer whose collection "Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink exhibited at the Ogden Museum of Art, in New Orleans. I didn't get to see the exhibit, but was told about it by LG, in response to whom, I wrote: "Yates' pictures, as the reviews noted, seem to perfectly capture and preserve a very specific historical moment and place. There's an amazing confluence of culture - namely that of the skating rink, which has it's own American nostalgia, but also of a rural southern skating rink, which is almost mythical in the national imagination - and style - both of the region and of the period. Furthermore, there's a documentation of youth culture, male bravado, a transient moment in which female sexuality may have been less stigmatized. And all of these things amalgamate in images of the people who frequented the skating rink. There may still be political messages to be found there - perhaps about youth culture in the white rural south, or about the grandiosity of youthful conceptions of masculinity - but the portraits are beautiful without needing to moralize their subject matter. So I think the beauty of Yates' photography comes, on one hand, from the technical expertise required to beautifully capture a group of arguably unbeautiful people, but on the other, he is able to capture a sense of authenticity that Stanton's photoblog strives for but seems to lack."
In Yates' own words: "I had just purchased a medium format, twin lens camera and, as usual, I was out riding around looking for something to shoot. I happened upon an old wooden structure built in the 1930's in the Six Mile Creek area of rural southern Hillsborough County, Tampa, FL. The sign on the building read "Sweetheart Roller Skating." The owner was just driving up. "Mind if I shoot some pics?" I asked. "Sure, but if you want some good ones, come back tonight -- this place will be jumpin'." That weekend in September 1972, I ran eight rolls through the camera. After that I photographed nearly every weekend until late spring of 1973. I was twenty-six years-old.
Now and again, you happen upon something that just leaves you stunned in utter amazement. Such was the case over forty years ago when I drove up to Sweetheart, and such is the case today, as I have recently unboxed the proof sheets and scanned all 800 negatives. Revisiting this visual time capsule -- my vintage prints, editing the proof sheets and scans, printing in the lab for several up-coming exhibitions -- so much has come back to me, especially how emotionally dynamic the rink scene was with all the young people. Remember, that was the fall of 1972 into the spring of 1973. Yes, "the times, they were-a-changin'" back then. The 1960's and 1970's were all about the "great upheaval in the social fabric of America" -- the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the Sexual Revolution, the Women's Movement, the counterculture, political protests in the streets, drugs, rock and roll, new- found freedoms, and experimentation. These kids were in the thick of it."
Portrait photographer and creator of the Humans of New York blog, in which Stanton posted pictures of people accompanied by blurbs they offered as self-descriptions. I had heard about the blog, because it got a little press. Colin has criticized it a bit, and then LG sent me a New York Times article that critiqued Stanton's work. This was what I wrote in response to the article: "The HONY photos set out to document a specific time and place - but as the New Yorker article mentions, both the images and the quote blurbs seem redolent of our contemporary, social media-inspired era, in which identity politics rein, and the blurb, this small and decontextualized unit, acts as a synecdoche. An image comes to represent the totality of an individual, or the totality of the character one sees oneself as embodying, or even of an entire city or regiou - New York in this case. The whole is represented with recourse to only one of it's parts. And that also is how facebook culture seems to function, where complexity is reduced to an image and a phrase. And it's become very effective: we have so much signifying material in our culture that a single portrait can speak more than one might assume at first glance. What I liked most about the New York Times article was that the author, Vinson Cunningham, does such a good job at identifying other photography projects that have mirrored Stanton's in the pairing of portraits and text. And Cunningham also does a good job in addressing the intersections of politics within each of these projects, because it seems like the historical impetus has been to politicize the portrait with recourse to textual contextualization - often illustrating the hardships faced by folks who are marginalized and underserved, and simultaneously assuming a privileged viewer." I wrote this to LG about Rizzuto: There's another photographer I recently discovered, kind of a fringe guy, who might be located on the outsider spectrum somewhere between Vivian Maier (who possessed a genuine talent and the drive to cultivate her craft, but strove for anonymity), and Henry Darger (who was not fully sane, and produced art in order to manifest a fantasy world that existed only internally). His name is Angelo Rizzuto. He had a very short Wikipedia entry, so I'll just quote it: "Angelo A. Rizzuto (born Deadwood, South Dakota, 1906; died New York City, 1967) was an American photographer who worked in Manhattan from 1952 until his death. His street photography opus of 60,000 images lay in file cabinets unviewed until 2001.
Little is known of Rizzuto's life. He grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from Wittenberg College in Ohio in 1931. He attended Harvard Law School in mid-1930s. His father had a successful construction business, but when the father died Rizzuto and his brothers fought over the estate, which drove Rizzuto to a suicide attempt. After drifting around the country and working odd jobs, he settled in Manhattan.
For many years he was psychiatrically unfit, variously tormented by the belief that he was the victim of a global conspiracy of communists, perverts and Jews.
Every day at 2 p.m. between May 1952 and June 1964, Rizzuto would venture out with a camera to record images for what was to be a vast encyclopedic kaleidoscope of Manhattan, a book to be called Little Old New York.
Rizzuto photographed New York's inhabitants and ended every roll of film with a portrait of himself. His images include cityscapes, compassionate photographs of children and confrontational pictures of angry women, along with anguished self-portraits.
Before he died, knowing that he would not live to see his intention realized, Rizzuto bequeathed 60,000 photographs and $50,000 to the Library of Congress, where they languished until photo historian Michael Lesy discovered and compiled them into book form entitled Angel's World: The New York Photographs of Angelo Rizzuto.
Except for Lesy's book, Rizzuto's work is largely unknown. His collection of 60,000 images in the Library of Congress is still unprocessed by library staff and is not available online."
When you look at Rizzuto's portraits of the women he photographed in New York, you can see another way in which portrait photography is able to generate meaning. When viewing Rizzuto's portraits, you get more a sense of the photographer's point of view, and his portraits are not able to capture the essence of their subjects in the way that the Yates or Stanton images do. The women are either candid, or taken by surprise, and they haven't been asked permission. Rizzuto is somewhere between voyeur and antagonist, and his gaze, though compelling in his images, beautiful even at times, is the unfortunate apotheosis of masculinity, simultaneously hating the women he desires, violating them even as he reveres them. The images themselves convey this sense of violation and adulation, though they rarely say much more about the women themselves. The women are, at their most complex, specular and untouchable. They are often well dressed and groomed, and they exhibit a world that is inaccessible to the photographer. And then Rizzuto would include his own selfie at the end of each role, and these self-portraits would contain so much more about the subject than the pictures he took of others. They document his madness and the narcissism of what very well may have been schitzophrenia."
I was introduced to the social protest photography of Jacob Riis by an article that LG sent to me. His photographs of tenements are amazing, both in artistry (particularly use of flash, specificity of detail in the setting, and pathos) and in their call to social responsibility.
In that article, Vinson Cunningham writes: "The reformist journalist Jacob Riis, for example, used photographs—collected in books like "How the Other Half Lives"—to uncover the squalor of late-nineteenth-century tenement life on the Lower East Side, along the way becoming an innovator in the use of flash photography. But, rather than pithy quotes or even harrowing anecdotes, the accompanying writing was deep and skillfully rendered reportage, connected chiefly by implication to the pictures Riis had taken. Thus occupying the vague space between archetype and anecdote, between the particular and the more broadly illustrative, Riis's photos realized photography's unique and enduring possibility—to serve artistic and documentary ends at once.
This is how, when observing a photograph of three children asleep on the street, we experience a kind of moral-aesthetic double vision: we feel the injustice and brutality of the thing itself, for these three and others facing a similar plight, and, at the same time, marvel at Riis's ability to mythologize them, making each an avatar of bravery, of camaraderie, of love."
I was introduced to the photography of Margaret Bourke-White in a New York Times essay that was shown to me by LG. She is an amazing photojournalist, and worked for and shot the first cover of LIFE Magazine. But I love her more artistic work.
gallerym.com writes: "She first gained recognition as an industrial photographer based in Cleveland, Ohio. Arriving in the Lake Erie city by boat in 1927 she said, "I stood on the deck to watch the city come into view. As the skyline took form in the morning mist, I felt I was coming to my promised land...columns of machinery gaining height as we drew toward the pier, derricks swinging like living creatures. Deep inside I knew these were my subjects." Her pioneering photographs of steel mill interiors came to the attention of Henry Luce. He brought her to New York to work on Fortune, a magazine drenched in the romance of industry."
Vinson Cunningham of the New Yorker writes: "During the throes of the Great Depression, the novelist Erskine Caldwell and the photographer Margaret Bourke-White travelled together through the rural South, hoping to gather impressions from the lives of black and white tenant farmers. The resulting book, "You Have Seen Their Faces," might be read as a direct ancestor to HONY: each of Bourke-White's photographs is a melodrama in black and white, adorned with an illustrative caption. A barefoot black boy in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, stands surrounded by newsprint-papered walls, a dog at his feet. "Blackie ain't good for nothing," the caption says. "He's just an old hound dog." A white man, jowly, with round glasses, gazes skyward: "Beat a dog and he'll obey you. They say it's the same way with the blacks."
Like Riis, Caldwell and Bourke-White had explicitly political reasons for undertaking their project, involving the periodically necessary task of introducing America to itself. Hence the grammar of the title: You, presumably a Northern, urban liberal, well-meaning but essentially ignorant of the lives of your poor southerly neighbors, are now invited to partake in Their hardships. And—again, as with Riis—this acquaintance is earned by way of more than pictures and homespun snippets: the pages of "You Have Seen Their Faces" are split almost evenly between text and image; Caldwell goes on at length, magisterial and morally devastated at turns, providing a real accounting of American exploitation, and of its casualties. It is not, Bourke-White and Caldwell seem to say, enough simply to see the faces of one's destitute countrymen. Instead, the collision of photograph and paragraph requires a constant movement between broad themes and searing details, between sentiment and cold fact."
Photojournalist. I was first introduced to his work through a New Yorker article that LG gave to me. From getty.edu: "During the Great Depression, Evans began to photograph for the Resettlement Administration, later known as the Farm Security Administration (FSA), documenting workers and architecture in the Southeastern states. In 1936 he traveled with the writer James Agee to illustrate an article on tenant farm families for Fortune magazine; the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men came out of this collaboration."
Vinson Cunningham, of the New Yorker, writes: "Another hybrid text of the era, James Agee and Walker Evans's "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," regards the entire enterprise with something like despair. To the extent that "Famous Men" has an overriding agenda, it is to arrive at a sense of the dignity—or, perhaps, even more simply, the reality—of others, despite the stubborn mystery of their circumstances. This might explain the vast expanse of interpretive space between the book's images and text: Evans's photos sit alone at the front of the book, unremarked upon, serving as a kind of tonal prelude, then cede the stage completely to Agee's wild, modernistic jumble of verse, prose, and theatric convention. If there are connections to be made between the photos and the words, they are left untraced, leaving crucial labor to be done by readers—involving and implicating them in an important, if impossible, process of discovery."
Fantastic comic book artist I came across by way of Strange Tales Magazine. He worked on numerous films, including Alien, Fifth Element, and The Abyss. He was a founding creator of Heavy Metal Magazine.
From Wikipedia: "The Lieutenant Blueberry character, whose facial features were based on those of the actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, was created in 1963 by Charlier (scenario) and Giraud (drawings) for Pilote and quickly became its most popular figure. His adventures featured in the spin-off Western serial Blueberry may be Giraud's work best known in his native France, before later collaborations with Alejandro Jodorowsky. The early Blueberry comics used a simple line drawing style similar to that of Jijé, and standard Western themes and imagery, but gradually Giraud developed a darker and grittier style inspired by the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone and the dark realism of Sam Peckinpah. With the fifth album, "The Trail of the Navajos", Giraud established his own style, and after censorship laws were loosened in 1968 the strip became more explicitly adult, and also adopted a wider range of thematics. "Angel Face", the first Blueberry album penciled by Giraud after he had begun publishing science fiction as Mœbius, was much more experimental than his previous Western work.
Arzach is a wordless comic, created in a conscious attempt to breathe new life into the comic genre which at the time was dominated by American superhero comics. It tracks the journey of the title character flying on the back of his pterodactyl through a fantastic world mixing medieval fantasy with futurism. Unlike most science fiction comics, it has no captions, no speech balloons and no written sound effects. It has been argued that the wordlessness provides the strip with a sense of timelessness, setting up Arzach's journey as a quest for eternal, universal truths.
His series The Airtight Garage is particularly notable for its non-linear plot, where movement and temporality can be traced in multiple directions depending on the readers own interpretation even within a single planche (page or picture). The series tells of Major Grubert, who is constructing his own universe on an Asteroid named fleur, where he encounters a wealth of fantastic characters including Michael Moorcock's creation Jerry Cornelius."
A GIF artist I found via High Fructose Magazine. The best of his moving images are profound and disquieting representations of femininity.
From High Fructose Magazine: "For years, artists have been using GIFs in mind blowing ways to bring their visions to life. Native American GIF artist George Redhawk aka DarkAngel0ne, who is blind, uses them to "see" art. With the help of visual aides and using photo manipulation software designed for the visually impaired, Redhawk creates eerily captivating versions of his favorite paintings and photographs. He doesn't call himself an "artist" but tell that to the more than seven million people who have viewed his work online. This includes the support of his favorite artists like digital artist Adam Martinakis (covered here), who is currently planning an official collaboration with Redhawk. Strange and beautiful, yet slightly confusing, his animations leave the viewer feeling entranced while also off balance. For Redhawk, this also describes the experience of his damaged vision. Redhawk began creating GIFs out of a personal exploration, but today, his work challenges us to see the world through his eyes - and to pursue our passions despite all obstacles.
I first came across their interpretive architectural prints in Medellin, in the Museo Antioquia. From the Museo del Arte Moderno (and then fed through the Google Translator): "Medellin has an industrial and cultural development have positioned him as one of the most dynamic cities in Colombia. Not surprisingly, one of the main cultural institutions, the Museum of Modern Art of Medellin (MAMM) is now located in what was the former steel plant Medellin SA (Simesa), located in the area known today Town Rio, whose building built in 1939 is known as Talleres Robledo. Now, the museum is preparing to expand; its main plant will have another building that aims to be a renewed space for art and culture.
MAMM currently hosts the exhibition Utopia. Between fiction and vagary, a retrospective that reviews the work of the past three decades that the Utopia group, art group formed by Fabio Antonio Ramirez, Jorge Mario Gómez and Ana Patricia Gomez, has "built" and where speculation about the space the fabrications about what the structural manipulation of a territory implies for the order in societies in relation to build, to live, or what Heidegger assumed as being in the world, being on the ground (dwell), are evident in set of works ranging from drawing markedly technical character, plans, elevations and perspectives to explore the collage, painting and, largely, in the sculptural object drift proposals installation times when the two and the only object dimensions are no longer sufficient. Utopia revealed through a visual poetry diverse tensions between the reality experienced and projected fiction taking place in the architecture of a city as "the Capital of the Mountain".
To get in context, recall that the idealists of modern architecture project saw a symbol of progress and development for companies; just some of the great minds of the twentieth century had the belief that art, especially architecture, could change people, it is "art in which we live". But the architects of the modern movement were not the first to feel this kind of visionary urgency, while Utopia was already seen in the fifteenth century when Leon Battista Alberti and Leonardo da Vinci speculated about building the ideal city. Sadly, the apparent concern for social problems as one of the great utopias began to fade when faced with the planes of the "ideal" cities of Le Corbusier and projected "glass boxes" of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, and this was due, of course, the real structures of the city itself, because we know that paper can with everything, but when projecting the issue is different. Just containing these marked tensions is that the Utopia group takes its starting to address what it meant working from the relentless failure of the "heroic modernity".
The exhibition Utopia corresponds to the investigation by the essayist, researcher and critic and curator Efren Oscar Giraldo Roland-Alzate, winning project of the IV Prize Curator Historical and whose publication Le Corbusier in the Medellin River Architecture, fiction and mapping Utopia group works (1979-2009) it is now part of the collection Research Colombian Art Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation.
Theoretical analysis that emerged from the judicious review of the work of Utopia highlighted three fundamental principles on which it has been possible to move axes, in an interdisciplinary way and at the same time critical, approaches and ideas that go far beyond the visual results or the beauticians inquiries.
In the first instance, and drawing a brief concept map, we find the term speculations, that is, meditations and musings. Here, from a formal setting, the parts corresponding to "surveys and experiments in space." Sculptural and objectual explorations propositions that flow at times at the facility.
Secondly we are located within the term fictions, in the exact words of the researcher and critic Efren Giraldo, "(...) appeal to possible worlds that are the result, in turn, crosses between different references in which the pictorial speculation It is carried dimensional realization and references create imaginary worlds ".
Finally, the third axis corresponds to the Utopias, an idealized vision jobs where either the reality or the "already known orders" is identified. In this set of works become relevant inquiries on urbanism, while utopia proposed in any way the representation of space as a way of organizing societies through the "power geometrical" as called Felix Duque, in the construction of architectural structures to create "places".
The importance of this decision shows, in addition to reviewing a historic moment in the creation of the Antiochian and Colombian art, is that undoubtedly the Utopia group expanded the horizon in plastics interdisciplinary speeches, introducing the use of the language of architectural design . Thus, it has become for later generations of artists in an important reference as it was from the cross between these two disciplines, art and architecture, artists like Fredy Alzate Gomez and John Mario Ortiz have developed a consistent work where they play with ambivalences generated mull over the problem of (real or imaginary) architectural space. They are works in which, projective way, have been able to expand our worldviews."
I first heard about him through the eponymous indie bio pic that came out years ago, and believed him to be a somewhat over-hyped street urchin and junkie, but after seeing many of his works in person, he's one of my favorite contemporary artists, and I believe he possessed genius. I have seen numerous of his works at museums like the New York and San Francisco MOMA, but was especially moved by the "Basquiat and the Bayou" exhibit that I visited with LG.
From Wikipedia: ""Basquiat's canon revolves around single heroic figures: athletes, prophets, warriors, cops, musicians, kings and the artist himself. In these images the head is often a central focus, topped by crowns, hats, and halos. In this way the intellect is emphasized, lifted up to notice, privileged over the body and the physicality of these figures (i.e. black men) commonly represent in the world."
— Kellie Jones, Lost in Translation: Jean-Michel in the (Re)Mix
Fred Hoffman hypothesizes that underlying Basquiat's sense of himself as an artist was his "innate capacity to function as something like an oracle, distilling his perceptions of the outside world down to their essence and, in turn, projecting them outward through his creative acts." Additionally, continuing his activities as a graffiti artist, Basquiat often incorporated words into his paintings. Before his career as a painter began, he produced punk-inspired postcards for sale on the street, and became known for the political-poetical graffiti under the name of SAMO. On one occasion Basquiat painted his girlfriend's dress with the words "Little Shit Brown". He would often draw on random objects and surfaces, including other people's property. The conjunction of various media is an integral element of Basquiat's art. His paintings are typically covered with text and codes of all kinds: words, letters, numerals, pictograms, logos, map symbols, diagrams and more."
Amazing still life painter. I've seen his work in museums, but it faded into the background of 17th to 18th century realism, which I like, but often find undifferentiable - which is itself perhaps a testament to new ways of seeing, and the demand for ingenuity and individuality from contemporary artists. I discovered Chardin when doing casual research of the trompe l'oeil artists, but his name is ubiquitous.
A short bio from his eponymous website: "Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was born in the Paris artists' quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés on November 2, 1699. As the oldest son of a master carpenter, who produced billiard tables for the king, Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was obviously expected to take over the father's business and was therefore trained as a carpenter. Soon, however, it turned out, that his talent as a painter surmounted his skills as a craftsman. His father therefore sent Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin to Pierre-Jacques Craze's studio when he was 19 years old. He continued his education as an artist under Noël-Nicolas Coypel, who aroused his interest in still life. In spite of these apprentice years, Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin remained largely an autodidact.
In 1724 Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin became a master of the "Sint Lucas Gilde", in the same year he also met Marguerite Saintard. Due to his uncertain financial situation, their planned wedding, however, could not take place straight away. Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin's situation only improved a little when he was admitted to the Académie Royale in September 1728, after some unsuccessful exhibitions. He could then get married in 1731.
Until 1735 Chardin worked in Fontainebleau for Jean-Baptiste Loo, where he contributed to the restoration of paintings and produced several genre scenes. In 1735, however, the happiness he was experiencing with his wife and two children, ended abruptly, when Marguerite died. After his wife's death Chardin's style changed, he turned to figure painting and his pieces became very popular.
After 1740 Chardin not only worked for bourgeois clients, he also received more and more commissions from aristocratic circles. Chardin's financial situation improved considerably when he married the childless widow Marguerite Pouget. At the same time he established himself at court, in 1743 he became a Conseiller of the academy and later their treasurer. In 1755 Chardin finally became a fully respected court painter. Soon, however, Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin fell ill. Gallstones and diminishing eyesight complicated his work. From 1770 his position at court diminished and the interest in his work ceased. Due to his physical ailments he turned almost exclusively to pastel drawing.
In 1779 Jean Baptiste-Siméon Chardin died in Paris."
Letter to LG: "Tim Youd. I am kind of with you in some regards - namely, that I'm torn between respecting the labor of the project, and it's ephemeral nature, and then, on the other hand, finding it a little bit, as you say, hokey. I mean, what is he trying to say? And I don't think that all art has to say something, but this particular performance almost is demanding that the act of typing these novels is also conveying some compelling message. In turning the novels into a ripped up piece of ink blot, is Youd commenting on the ephemeral nature art in general? Is he reducing these novels to the meaninglessness that inevitably threatens to envelop all works of art - or anything, for that matter, that doesn't serve an immediate function?
Is this a commentary on the ways in which we consume art? Is the ripped diptych a physical manifestation of the inner process that we undertake when devouring a novel, thereby making it something new and different from what the author intended?
Or, on the other hand, is this project totally meaningless? Are all of those interpretations simply things that I'm reading into Youd's work? Because, as you mentioned, he's chosen the dudeliest of the dudely books - tons of Bukowski and Chandler - and he's kind of slumming it when he chooses the post office or the Santa Monica Pier as the site of his performance. For those reasons, his project smacks just a bit of, well, identity building - which is less compelling than those other possible interpretations. It's like he's screaming, "I enjoy edgy dude literature, and I'm a bit of an edgy dude myself, and I'm literary and an artist. Please come and watch me. I refuse to even learn proper fingering. I perform my hunt and peck method of typing." Even that, the fact that he types with his index fingers, seems somehow contrived - an affectation to further confirm that he's playing artistic dude for everyone. Maybe if he chain smoked non-filters and shot bourbon during his performances, he'd really become these authors he emulates.
And, while the performance itself is fleeting and ephemeral, Youd still ends each performance with a piece of artwork to display. He creates a diptych of the pages he's typed on, and the typewriters themselves become objects to hang on museum walls. So there's this sense that the performance is actually being recorded - it's not quite as ephemeral as it seems. That said, I really, really like the diptychs. I like how they look. I like that there's a novel typed on them. I enjoy that reductionist representation of a novel. I want to see them in person (though, I have to admit, I'm not too driven to see Youd perform)."
Letter to LG: "I looked up the Bidou Yamaguchi noh masks, and love them. I won't go on too much about those, because I'm getting tired, but I love that they appropriate western art via traditional eastern craftsmanship. I really love masks in general, and I'm always intrigued by ways that traditional craftwork transitions into high art, or exhibition-worthy art. So the noh masks are kind of a golden ticket for me. And they just look so cool. I read an article that describes noh as an essentially impressionistic form. The masks are limited to one expression, which is supposed to be emblematic of the god represented by the mask. It's not a realist representation, and I could go off on this a lot, but that itself presents a very specific condition of the Gods and spirits as unchanging, where as the non-masked noh performers, the human characters, allowed to exhibit their human facial expressions, are changing and emotive and complex. This itself is an unintentional commentary on God as a manifestation of religion or spirituality - in that the Gods are fixed and eternal. And yet, they have a mystery about them, because the mask is essentially a poker face. We have to interpret meaning and motive, because they don't wear their intentions in their facial expressions. So perhaps by applying these same representative qualities to classic western works of art, Yamaguchi is commenting on the ways in which these canonized works, that have become ubiquitous because they are a part of the canon, are relying on the same impressionistic methods of representation..."