Archive for January, 2008

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.

January 31, 2008

Emile Zola

emile.jpgEmile Zola was born in Paris in 1840. His father, François Zola, was the son of an Italian engineer with a French wife, and his mother was Émilie Aubert. The family moved to Aix-en-Provence, in the southeast, when he was three years old. Four years later, in 1847, his father died, leaving his mother on a meagre pension. In 1858, the Zolas moved to Paris, where Émile became friends with the painter Paul Cézanne and started to write in the romantic style. Zola’s widowed mother had planned a law career for him, but he failed his Baccalauréat examination.Before his breakthrough as a writer, Zola worked as a clerk in a shipping firm, and then in the sales department for a publisher (Hachette). He also wrote literary and art reviews for newspapers. As a political journalist, Zola did not hide his dislike of Napoleon III, who had successfully run for the office of President under the constitution of the French Second Republic, only to misuse this position as a springboard for the coup d’etat that made him emperor.

Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.

January 30, 2008

William Ralph Inge  (known as the Gloomy Dean)

inge.jpgClergyman and theologian, born in Crayke, North Yorkshire, N England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, taught at Eton, and was vicar of All Saints, Kensington, before being appointed professor of divinity at Cambridge (1907). He was Dean of St Paul’s (1911–34), earning his byname from the pessimism displayed in his sermons and newspaper articles.

Inge was a prolific author. In addition to scores of articles, lectures and sermons, he also wrote or contributed to over a hundred books in his lifetime. He is best known for his works on Plotinus and neo-platonic philosophy, and on Christian mysticism. He was a strong proponent of a spiritual type of religion–“that autonomous faith which rests upon experience and individual inspiration”–as opposed to one of coersive authority; so he was outspoken in his criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church. His thought, on the whole, represents a blending of traditional Christian theology with elements of Platonic philosophy. He shares this much in common with one of his favorite writers, Benjamin Whichcote, the first of the Cambridge Platonists.

He was nicknamed The Gloomy Dean because of his pessimistic views in his Evening Standard articles and he is remembered as a supporter of animal rights

I hope that my painting has the impact of giving someone, as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his own separateness, of his own individuality.

January 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Barnett Newman

newman.jpgThe American painter Barnett Newman (1905-1970) was a central figure among color-field abstractionists between 1950 and 1970.

Barnett Newman was born in New York City on Jan. 29, 1905. Between 1922 and 1926 he studied with Duncan Smith, John Sloan, and William von Schlegell at the Art Students League and at the same time attended the City College of New York, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in 1927. He did graduate work at Cornell University.  In 1936 he married Annalee Greenhouse, and in 1948 he and William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko founded a school of art in New York called “Subjects of the Artist.” Throughout his life Newman traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He also taught occasionally: at the University of Saskatchewan in 1959 and at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962-1964. He died in New York City on July 3, 1970.

During most of his career Newman shunned one-man exhibitions, preferring to have his work seen by a small group of friends, patrons, and fellow artists. His list of one-man shows is therefore limited to five. By the 1960s Newman’s stature in the field of contemporary painting became increasingly apparent to a wider audience. His work was included in a number of national and international group shows, including the Seattle World’s Fair (1962), the São Paulo Bienal (1965), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “New York Painting and Sculpture, 1940 to 1970” (1969-1970).

It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.

January 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Jackson sexy man..

pollock.jpgPaul Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming on 28 January 1912. He was the fifth and youngest son of LeRoy McCoy Pollock and Stella McClure Pollock. The family left Cody when Pollock was less than a year old, and he was raised in Arizona and California. After a series of unsuccessful farming ventures, his father became a surveyor and worked on road crews at the Grand Canyon and elsewhere in the Southwest. Pollock, who sometimes joined his father on these jobs, later remarked that memories of the panoramic landscape influenced his artistic vision.

Even as his art was gaining in assurance and originality, Pollock was experiencing personal turmoil and recurring bouts of depression. He was also struggling to control his alcoholism, which would continue to plague him throughout his life. His brothers Charles and Sande, with whom he shared living quarters at 46 East 8th Street in Manhattan, encouraged him to seek treatment, including psychoanalysis. Although therapy was not successful in curbing Pollock’s drinking or relieving his depression, it introduced him to Jungian concepts that validated the subjective, symbolic direction his art was taking. In late 1941, Sande wrote to Charles, who had left New York, that if Jackson could “hold himself together his work will become of real significance. His painting is abstract, intense, evocative in quality

Pollock’s radical breakthrough was accompanied by a period of sobriety lasting two years, during which he created some of his most beautiful masterpieces. In his barn studio, he spread his canvas on the floor and developed his compositions by working from all four sides, allowing the imagery to evolve spontaneously, without preconceptions. Pollock described this technique as “direct” painting and likened it to American Indian sand painting. He maintained, however, that the method was “a natural growth out of a need,” and that its only importance was as “a means of arriving at a statement.” The character and content of that statement were then and remain controversial, subject to widely varying interpretations–which is why Pollock’s art has retained its vitality in spite of changing tastes.

By 1955, however, Pollock’s personal demons had triumphed over his artistic drive, and he stopped painting altogether. Ironically, his work had begun to earn a respectable income for him and Krasner, who was becoming increasingly estranged from her troubled, alcoholic husband. In the summer of 1956 she took the opportunity of a trip to Europe to re-evaluate their relationship, while Pollock remained at home with a young mistress to distract him from the agonies of self-doubt and inaction that plagued him. In Paris, on the morning of 12 August, Krasner received a telephone call informing her that Pollock had died the night before in an automobile accident. Driving drunk, he had overturned his convertible, killing himself and an acquaintance and seriously injuring his other passenger.

Enlightenment means choosing to dwell in the state of presence rather than in time.

January 27, 2008

 Eckhart Tolle

eckhart1.jpgSpiritual Teacher and author was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge.  At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life.  The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.  Later, he began to work in London with individuals and small groups as a counselor and spiritual teacher. Since 1995 he has lived in Vancouver, Canada.

There are so many moments and works that influence us in what we do. Movies, music, TV and, most importantly, the profound everydayness of our lives.

January 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Barbara Kruger (one of my personal faves)

kruger.jpgBarbara Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1945. After attending Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, and studying art and design with Diane Arbus at Parson’s School of Design in New York, Kruger obtained a design job at Condé Nast Publications. Working for Mademoiselle Magazine, she was quickly promoted to head designer. Later, she worked as a graphic designer, art director, and picture editor in the art departments at “House and Garden,” “Aperture,” and other publications. This background in design is evident in the work for which she is now internationally renowned. She layers found photographs from existing sources with pithy and aggressive text that involves the viewer in the struggle for power and control that her captions speak to. In their trademark black letters against a slash of red background, some of her instantly recognizable slogans read “I shop therefore I am,” and “Your body is a battleground.” Much of her text questions the viewer about feminism, classicism, consumerism, and individual autonomy and desire, although her black-and-white images are culled from the mainstream magazines that sell the very ideas she is disputing. As well as appearing in museums and galleries worldwide, Kruger’s work has appeared on billboards, buscards, posters, a public park, a train station platform in Strasbourg, France, and in other public commissions. She has taught at the California Institute of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.

I mean, art for art’s sake is ridiculous. Art is for the sake of one’s needs.

January 25, 2008

Carl Andre

carlandre.jpg(1935 – ) American Minimalist sculptor, Carl Andre is known for his geometrical arrangement of commercial and natural materials such as bricks, cement blocks, logs, and bales of hay. In 1976 Britain, his sculpture created from brick titled Equivalent VII was the source of controversy because of the public’s claim that the Tate Gallery wasted public funds to purchase it. Andre returned to the spotlight in 1985 when he was charged with murdering his wife, Anna Mendieta. Later, it was found that she fell from a window and consequently, Andre was acquitted at his trial.

All good ideas arrive by chance.

January 24, 2008

Max Ernst

max.jpgMax Ernst was born on April 2, 1891, in Bruhl, Germany. He enrolled in the University at Bonn in 1909 to study philosophy, but soon abandoned this pursuit to concentrate on art. At this time he was interested in psychology and the art of the mentally ill. In 1911 Ernst became a friend of August Macke and joined the Rheinische Expressionisten group in Bonn. Ernst showed for the first time in 1912 at the Galerie Feldman in Cologne. At the Sonderbund exhibition of that year in Cologne he saw the work of Paul Cézanne, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh. In 1913 he met Guillaume Apollinaire and Robert Delaunay and traveled to Paris. Ernst participated that same year in the Erste deutsche Herbstsalon. In 1914 he met Jean Arp, who was to become a lifelong friend. Despite military service throughout World War I, Ernst was able to continue painting and to exhibit in Berlin at Der Sturm in 1916. He returned to Cologne in 1918. The next year he produced his first collages and founded the short-lived Cologne Dada movement with Johannes Theodor Baargeld; they were joined by Arp and others. In 1921 Ernst exhibited for the first time in Paris, at the Galerie au Sans Pareil. He was involved in Surrealist activities in the early 1920s with Paul Eluard and André Breton. In 1925 Ernst executed his first frottages; a series of frottages was published in his book Histoire naturelle in 1926. He collaborated with Joan Miró on designs for Sergei Diaghilev that same year. The first of his collage-novels, La Femme 100 têtes, was published in 1929. The following year the artist collaborated with Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel on the film L�Age d�or.

His first American show was held at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, in 1932. In 1936 Ernst was represented in Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1939 he was interned in France as an enemy alien. Two years later Ernst fled to the United States with Peggy Guggenheim, whom he married early in 1942. After their divorce he married Dorothea Tanning and in 1953 resettled in France. Ernst received the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale in 1954, and in 1975 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum gave him a major retrospective, which traveled in modified form to the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in 1975. He died on April 1, 1976, in Paris.

It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.

January 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Edouard Manet

edouardmanet.jpgEdouard Manet was born on January 23, 1832 in Paris. He is often identified with the “Impressionists,” and was influenced by them, but he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. However, because of the Paris art world’s generally hostile regard for Impressionism, he chose not to exhibit with them. He preferred to show his work in the more conservative exhibitions sponsored by the French government.

Manet learned to paint in the traditional style, but his work became more spontaneous after his exposure to Claude Monet and the other “Impressionists.” He used expressive outline, severe lighting contrasts, bold color and rich texture to portray the world around him.

His early masterworks The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia engendered great controversy, and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism—today these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art.

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

January 22, 2008

Thomas Merton

merton.jpgThomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.         After a rambunctious youth and adolescence, Merton converted to Roman Catholicism whilst at Columbia University and on December 10th, 1941 he entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, a community of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists), the most ascetic Roman Catholic monastic order.
     The twenty-seven years he spent in Gethsemani brought about profound changes in his self-understanding. This ongoing conversion impelled him into the political arena, where he became, according to Daniel Berrigan, the conscience of the peace movement of the 1960’s. Referring to race and peace as the two most urgent issues of our time, Merton was a strong supporter of the nonviolent civil rights movement, which he called “certainly the greatest example of Christian faith in action in the social history of the United States.” For his social activism Merton endured severe criticism, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who assailed his political writings as unbecoming of a monk.
        During his last years, he became deeply interested in Asian religions, particularly Zen Buddhism, and in promoting East-West dialogue. After several meetings with Merton during the American monk’s trip to the Far East in 1968, the Dali Lama praised him as having a more profound understanding of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. It was during this trip to a conference on East-West monastic dialogue that Merton died, in Bangkok on December 10, 1968, the victim of an accidental electrocution. The date marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his entrance to Gethsemani.