Monthly Archives: March 2014

so you want to see the president…

“No pictures. Get to your group.” Sorry, sir…I’m the only one getting busted for taking pictures of art at the White House. #normanrockwell

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pieta

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Michelangelo carved the Pieta at 24. Now, plenty of people have done VERY successful things in their mid-twenties, but let’s be real, Michelangelo blows the doors off all those featured in “30 under 30.” What the hell is Clinkle compared to significant religious iconography?!

In fact, the piece was was so damn good, people didn’t even believe it was his. Michelangelo overheard visitors gawking and incredulous about the work—they thought it was made by another (more accomplished) sculptor, Solari.

So, PISSED and rightfully so, Michelangelo carved his own name right on the sash in between Mary’s breasts. It was the only work he ever signed.

People hated on the Pieta well after the Renaissance. Someone in the 70s climbed on her and screamed, “I am Jesus Christ!” while hacking away at her with a hammer. She suffered damage and a nose job. She’s now behind bulletproof glass in a totally different spot from her original location in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Thanks for ruining the fun for all of us, Lazlo Toth. Pieta is Italian for “pity,” and now I know WHY.

dancer of fourteen years

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Degas’ “Girl of Fourteen Years” was exhibited in the sixth Impressionist show in 1881. Most critics hated it (some called her “heinous”), but the heirs cast many bronze pieces of her anyway. Haters gonna hate.

The wax original of this little lady was acquired by Paul Mellon, in between racing horses and being an absolute millionaire. How charitable it was, then, when he gave DC’s National Gallery sixty-some-odd castings and sculpture, the largest collection of Degas’ 3D works.

Now, hold your horses (sorry Mellon), here comes the best part! One of the castings (at least 28 were made) was sold at auction and purchased ON ACCIDENT by the owner of Auto Trader. You’re telling me that you own a search engine for cars and you buy the wrong artwork, for 19 MILLION dollars, on accident?!

Sheesh, must be nice.

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untitled #9

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Last Friday, Google celebrated the birthday of Agnes Martin. Did you even notice? Unless you’re as obsessed with minimalist art as you are with this season’s push for pastels, you probably DIDN’T.

Nevertheless, Martin’s work blends the grid’s mathematical accuracy with artistic wonder. She puts viewers on the same plane, makes two-dimensional works absolutely limitless, and yet, she stayed hella calm during her process. 

“The main thing in making art often,” she said in her documentary, “is letting go of your expectation and your idea.”

Well said, girlfriend. 

the waterfall

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Henri Rousseau’s most famous for painting jungle scenes, and yet, the man never visited a jungle. Instead, he studied encyclopedias, botanical illustrations, and taxidermied animals. When all those Impressionists were outside being one with nature, Rousseau was chillin’ in the library.

fountain

Et voila, Duchamp gives us the everyday urinal. The normal becomes the unnatural, the mundane into magical, the Kohler showroom looking like a “been there, done that” for every gallerina.

Duchamp’s work was titled the “Most Influential Work of the 20th Century” in 2004. Perhaps only more incredulous is the tried and trued tales of 5 performance artists pissing in it. Chalk it up to the charitable artistic communities and their “contributions.”

Now go out there and make something that belongs to someone else your own. GO! PILLAGE! CLAIM!

nighthawks

Edward Hopper painted this work in 1942 and within months, it was sold to the Art Institute for a cool $3,000.

His wife Jo modeled as the redhead. It’s been parodied on the Simpsons for crying out loud, talk about influential.

self-portrait as bonze

Vincent van Gogh’s “Self Portrait as a Japanese Bonze” was sent to Paul Gauguin as an old-school evite to to join him in south of France to create an artistic community.

He had previously written to Emile Bernard that he was impressed with the tradition of Japanese artists exchanging artworks with each other and hoped the two chums would join him in Arles. I’m calling this the original bromance.

It was later auctioned off in 1939 after being labeled “degenerate” by the Nazis and confiscated. It now belongs to the Harvard Art Museum.

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winged nike

Winged Nike of Samothrace is believed to have been part of an outdoor theater, coming down from the heavens with a full and successful fleet. She’s been standing in the Louvre’s main staircase since 1884, a year after she was discovered without her arms and her head (duly noted: she was removed during WWII for safekeeping with other armless sculptures, ahemmm, Venus de Milo).

Perhaps more amazing than the fact she is made out of marble and she looks soaking wet is that there is an EXACT replica in the Idaho State Capitol.

Idaho? Since when is Idaho celebrating naval victories from the 3rd century BCE?!

Bernini’s “Ecstacy of St. Theresa” was a work commissioned by Pope Innocent (OF COURSE). Created in just four years, the 1652 marble sculpture features St. Therea of Avila getting, ahem, down, with an angel. In her diary, she describes a religious experience: “He appeared to me…with a spear…and thrust it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails…to leave me all on fire…the pain was so great that it made me moan.”

Right, t-girl. Do your thing. Just so you know, that face speaks VOLUMES.