Archive for October, 2008

Eat, drink, and be scary.

October 31, 2008

Author Unknown


The same person is coming through in a different medium, … My art is simple, direct and definite.

October 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Grace Slick

Grace Slick was born on October 30, 1939, in Evanston, a Suburb of Chicago Il. Her father was an investment banker, and her mother was a singer in the early 0’s. After moving to Southern California in the mid 40’s, they finally settled in Palo Alto, Ca. Grace stayed in the Bay Area until she left to attend Finch college in New England. She later attended the university of Miami and studied art before returning to San Francisco, shortly before she joined her first band, the Great Society in 1965.

After a short time Grace and some of her fellow band mates formed the legendary group Jefferson Airplane and went on to Record some of rock histories most noted classic songs, including
White Rabbit and Somebody to Love. Through the next 20 years Grace continued to become an icon of popular culture, music and and a new generation, through her signature style music and out spoken presence. Over the years she and her band mates took several forms including Jefferson Starship, Starship and for Grace several solo albums with Paul Kantner, but always remaining a touchstone in Rock and Roll.

in 1989 Grace put down the mike for the very last time and without missing a beat she picked up her brush. As a continuation of her life long work as an artist. Where she once expressed her insightful observations of the world around her and within through voice, she is now speaking through her paintings.

In 2000 Grace began sharing her works with the world in art exhibitions. Since that time Grace Slick’s art has shown in some of the most revered galleries and much like with her music, she has attracted a devoted following of art collectors who have found the same power on her canvas’ as once was in her music.

When Grace is not traveling to art openings around the world she lives and paints in her Malibu, CA home.

Life … is never the way one imagines it. It surprises you, it amazes you, and it makes you laugh or cry when you don’t expect it

October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Niki de Saint Phalle

TThe path to becoming an artist was not an easy one for Catherine Marie-Agn’s Fal de Saint Phalle. She had many personal obstacles to overcome, but she was able to do this and make a personal statement with her artwork that is a lasting tribute. She has been called an Outsider Artist, because she didn’t receive formal training.
The term Outsider Art may no longer be relevant because it implies an ‘insider art,’ that everyone agrees on, something that is less true now than at another time.Niki de Saint Phalle was self educated but she also learned from sophisticated artists she associated with. She met many of the Surrealists in Paris, such as Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, and Salvador Dali. She came to know the American painter, Hugh Weiss, who encouraged her personal style of painting. Her marriage to the talented Swiss artist, Jean Tinguely (pictured below right), was of great importance to her development. It would be difficult to see her as an Outsider Artist, and more accurately she would be described as a Symbolist and Surrealist, with Pop Art influence.

Niki de Saint Phalle was an artist ahead of her time and her artwork will gain in stature with time. She took on subjects about women before women dared to do so. Her Nanas were images of giant women, and this scared people in the 1960s; they looked too powerful, too sexual, and out of control. Niki de Saint Phalle was also revolutionary for her ‘Shooting Paintings.’ These were conceptual in design and dealt with the subject of aggression, in particular, aggression of the father. The concepts she brought up in the 1960s are vital today and have led to further investigation by young artists.
Niki de Saint Phalle was born in 1930, the second of five children in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris. Her parents were the French banker Andre Marie Comte de Saint Phalle and his wife Jeanne Jacqueline, n’e Harper. The same year she was born, Nikki’s father lost his entire fortune in the stock market and Nikki and her brother were sent to live with their grandparents for three years. Nikki de Saint Phalle suffered at least two

Shooting a Painting major tragedies in childhood, the first was being uprooted from her mother for the first three years of life. The second, according to her later writings, was being raped by her father at a young age.
In 1933, the family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, and later to New York where Nikki attended convent school.
When she was 18 years old, she married Harry Mathews and moves with him to Cambridge, Massachusetts. While her husband studied music at Harvard University, Niki began to paint and experiment with various materials. In addition to this, from 1948 until about 1955, she also worked as a fashion model for “Vogue”, “Life”, “Harper’s Bazaar”, “Elle” and other French and American magazines.
In 1951, her daughter Laura was born. A few years later, the family moved to Paris, where Niki studied theatre science. Her husband continued his music studies and later becomes a writer. In 1953, Niki suffered from a nervous breakdown in Nice and was treated in a hospital – with electroshocks and psychiatric drugs. This personal catastrophe was an occasion for Niki to rethink her life’s plans and liberate herself.
In Paris, Niki met not only the Swiss artist couple Eva Aeppli and Jean Tinguely, but also the American painter Hugh Weiss, who encouraged her to remain true to her autodidactic painting style. Niki moved with her family to Deya, Majorca, where her son Philip was born in 1955. In 1956, she had her first solo exhibition in St. Gallen with plaster reliefs and material assemblages. She divorced Harry Mathews in 1960.
Niki lived and worked from this time on together with Jean Tinguely. Tinguely and Saint Phalle were married in 1971 and separated only two short years later in 1973. The couple never divorced but remained good friends and collaborated on many sculpture projects. Saint Phalle has described her husband as “my love, my work partner and also my rival.” Though the couple collaborated together she felt in competition with him for most of her career.
In Paris in 1962 de Saint Phalle exhibited ten works at a one-woman exhibition at Galerie Rive Droite. Among the visitors was Alexander Iolas, who invited Niki to exhibit in New York the following October. He supported her financially for many years and organized numerous exhibitions for her, even though few of the exhibits sold much. It was Iolas who introduced her to the Surrealist painters, Victor Brauner, Max Ernst and Rene Magritte. Niki de Saint Phalle took part in a large-scale installation at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, in which Robert Rauschenberg, Martial Raysse, Jean Tinguely and Per Olof Ultvedt were also involved.
In 1965, the first “Nanas” were exhibited in the Galerie Iolas in Paris. They were in no way seen by everyone as cheerful. On the contrary, critics labeled the seemingly lively and wildly dancing feminine figures with attributes such as “aggressive”, “satirical” and “feminist”. The “Giant Nana” realized in Stockholm one year later was even described as the “largest whore in the world”. The work – titled “Hon – en katedral” (She – A Cathedral) – lied there with thighs spread open, offering visitors entry through her vagina.
In 1967 In August, Niki de Saint Phalle’s first retrospective was held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, under the title Les Nanas au pouvoi. For this exhibition she created her first Nana Dream House and her first Nana Fountain and planed her first Nana town.
In spite of all the critics and skeptics, Niki de Saint Phalle became triumphantly successful with her controversial art. Her collaboration in the 1980s with the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely on a landmark fountain for the plaza of the Centre Pompidou in Paris is world renowned. The voluptuous Nanas are on display in numerous cities in France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and Japan. The marketing success of Niki de Saint Phalle perfume allowed the artist to fulfill a dream to create a park in northern Italy full of giant sculptures based on Tarot cards. In the 1990s de Saint Phalle worked in Hanover on the development of this unusual, spectacular garden. She was called the Honored Citizen of Hanover, and was working on a large grotto for her garden when she died in May, 2002.

I don’t think people are born artists; I think it comes from a mixture of your surroundings, the people you meet, and luck.

October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon was born October 28, 1909, in Dublin. At the age of 16, he moved to London and subsequently lived for about two years in Berlin and Paris.

Although Bacon never attended art school, he began to draw and work in watercolor. Upon his return to London in 1929, he established himself as a furniture designer and interior designer. In the fall of that year he began to use oils and exhibited a few paintings as well as furniture and rugs in his studio. His work was included in a group exhibition in London at the Mayor Gallery in 1933. In 1934, the artist organized his own first solo show at Sunderland House, London, which he called Transition Gallery for the occasion. He participated in a group show at Thomas Agnew and Sons, London in 1937.

 Bacon painted relatively little after his solo show in 1934 and in the 1930’s and early 1940’s destroyed many of his works. He began to paint intensively again in 1944. Pablo Picasso’s work decisively influenced his painting until the mid 1940’s. From the mid 1940’s to the 50’s, Bacon’s work reflected the influence of Surrealism.

In the 50’s, Bacon drew on such sources as Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X and Vincent Van Gogh’s The Painter on the Road to Tarascon. Bacon soon developed his distinctive style as a figure painter. In his mature style, developed in the 1950’s, the paintings include images of either friends or lovers, or images of people found in movie stills, reproductions of historic paintings and medical photos. His people scream in physical and psychic pain, seemingly tortured in bedrooms, bathrooms and cages. His work was always expressionist in style with distorted human and animal forms, potent images of corrupt and disgusting humanity.

 Bacon’s dramatic and riveting work gained international recognition and acclaim. His first major show took place at the Hanover Gallery, London, in 1949. His first solo exhibition outside England was held in 1953 at Durlacher Brothers, New York. His first retrospective was held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1955.

In 1962, the Tate Gallery, London, organized a Bacon retrospective, a modified version of which traveled to Mannheim, Turin, Zurich, and Amsterdam.

Other important exhibitions of his work were held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1963 and the Grand Palais in Paris in 1971; paintings from 1968 to 1974 were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1975. Retrospectives of his work were held at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1989-1990 and at the Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in 1996.

The artist died April 28, 1992, in Madrid.

Art doesn’t transform. It just plain forms.

October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, American painter, sculptor, and printmaker, startled the art world in 1962 by exhibiting paintings based on comic book cartoons.

Early life
Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York City on October 27, 1923, the son of Milton and Beatrice Werner Lichtenstein. His father owned a real estate firm. Lichtenstein studied with artist Reginald Marsh (1898–1954) at the Art Students League in 1939. After graduating from Benjamin Franklin High School in New York City, he entered Ohio State University. However, in 1943 his education was interrupted by three years of army service, during which he drew up maps for planned troop movements across Germany during World War II (1939–45; a war in which Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States fought against Germany, Japan, and Italy). Lichtenstein received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Ohio State University in 1946 and a master of fine arts degree in 1949. He taught at Ohio State until 1951, then went to Cleveland, Ohio, to work. In 1957 he started teaching at Oswego State College in New York; in 1960 he moved to Rutgers University in New Jersey. Three years later he gave up teaching to paint full-time.

Early works
From 1951 to about 1957 Lichtenstein’s paintings dealt with themes of the American West—cowboys, Native Americans, and the like—in a style similar to that of modern European painters. Next he began hiding images of comic strip figures (such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Bugs Bunny) in his paintings. By 1961 he had created the images for which he became known. These included advertisement illustrations—common objects such as string, golf balls, kitchen curtains, slices of pie, or a hot dogs. He also used other artists’ works to create new pieces, such as Woman with Flowered Hat (1963), based on a reproduction of a work by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). He also created versions of paintings by Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), Gilbert Stuart’s (1755–1828) portrait of George Washington (1732–1799), and Claude Monet’s (1840–1926) haystacks.

Lichtenstein was best known for his paintings based on comic strips, with their themes of passion, romance, science fiction, violence, and war. In these paintings, Lichtenstein uses the commercial art methods: projectors magnify spray-gun stencils, creating dots to make the pictures look like newspaper cartoons seen through a magnifying glass. In the late 1960s he turned to design elements and the commercial art of the 1930s, as if to explore the history of pop art (a twentieth-century art movement that uses everyday items). In 1966 his work was included in the Venice (Italy) Biennale art show. In 1969 New York’s Guggenheim Museum gave a large exhibition of his work.

Tries different styles
The 1970s saw Lichtenstein continuing to experiment with new styles. His “mirror” paintings consist of sphere-shaped canvases with areas of color and dots. One of these, Self-Portrait (1978), is similar to the work of artist René Magritte (1898–1967) in its playful placement of a mirror where a human head should be. Lichtenstein also created a series of still lifes (paintings that show inanimate objects) in different styles during the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, Lichtenstein began to mix and match styles. Often his works relied on optical (relating to vision) tricks, drawing his viewers into a debate over the nature of “reality.” The works were always marked by Lichtenstein’s trademark sense of humor and the absurd.

Lichtenstein’s long career and large body of work brought him appreciation as one of America’s greatest living artists. In 1994 he designed a painting for the hull of the United States entry in the America’s Cup yacht race. A series of sea-themed works followed. In 1995 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art launched a traveling exhibition, “The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein,” which covered more than twenty years of his work in this medium.

In a 1996 exhibition at New York City’s Leo Castelli gallery, Lichtenstein unveiled a series of paintings, “Landscapes in the Chinese Style,” which consisted of delicate “impressions” of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. The series was praised for its restraint (control), as common Lichtenstein elements, such as the use of dots to represent mass, were used to support the compositions rather than to declare an individual style. Lichtenstein died on September 29, 1997, in New York City, at the age of seventy-three.

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.

October 26, 2008

Paul Valery

Valéry was born of a Corsican father and Genoese mother in Sète, a town on the Mediterranean coast of the Hérault, but he was raised in Montpellier, a larger urban center close by. After a traditional Roman Catholic education, he studied law at university, then resided in Paris for most of the remainder of his life, where he was for a while part of the circle of Stéphane Mallarmé.

Valéry became a full-time writer late in life (at the age of fifty) when the man for whom he worked as private secretary, a former chief executive of the Agence Havas, Edouard Lebey, died of Parkinson’s disease in 1920. Until then, Valéry had first briefly earned his living at the Ministry of War before assuming the relatively flexible post as assistant to the increasingly impaired Lebey, a job he held for some twenty years.

After his election to the Académie française in 1925, Valéry became a tireless public speaker and intellectual figure in French society, touring Europe and giving lectures on cultural and social issues as well as assuming a number of official positions the admiring French nation eagerly offered him. He represented France on cultural matters at the League of Nations, serving on several of its committees. The Outlook for Intelligence (1989) contains English translations of a dozen essays resulting from these activities.

In 1931, he founded the Collège International de Cannes, a private institution teaching French language and civilization. The College is still operating today, offering professional courses for native speakers (for educational certification, law and business) as well as courses for foreign students.

He gave the keynote address at the 1932 German national celebration of the 100th anniversary of the death of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This was a fitting choice, as Valéry shared Goethe’s fascination with science (specifically biology and the theory of light).

In addition to his activities as a member of the Académie française, he was also a member of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon, and of the Front national des Ecrivains. In 1937 he was appointed chief executive of what later became the University of Nice. He was the inaugural holder of the Chair of Poetics at the Collège de France.

During World War II, the Vichy regime stripped him of some of these jobs and distinctions because of his quiet refusal to collaborate with it and the German occupation, but Valéry continued throughout these troubled years to publish and to be active in French cultural life, especially as a member of the Académie française.

In 1900 he married Jeannie Gobillard, a friend of Mallarmé’s family, who was also a niece of the painter Berthe Morisot. The wedding was a double ceremony in which the bride’s cousin, Morisot’s daughter Julie Manet, married the painter Ernest Rouart.[1] Valéry and Gobillard had three children: Claude, Agathe, and François.

Valéry died in Paris in 1945. He is buried in the cemetery of his native Sète – the cemetery celebrated in his famous poem le Cimetière marin.

Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.

October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain. The son of an academic painter, José Ruiz Blasco, he began to draw at an early age. In 1895 the family moved to Barcelona, and Picasso studied there at La Lonja, the academy of fine arts. His visit to Horta de Ebro from 1898 to 1899 and his association with the group at the café Els Quatre Gats in about 1899 were crucial to his early artistic development. Picasso’s first exhibition took place in Barcelona in 1900, and that fall he went to Paris for the first of several stays during the early years of the century. Picasso settled in Paris in April 1904, and his circle of friends soon included Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Gertrude and Leo Stein, as well as two dealers, Ambroise Vollard and Berthe Weill.

His style developed from the Blue Period (1901–04) to the Rose Period (1905) to the pivotal work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and the subsequent evolution of Cubism [more] from an Analytic phase (ca. 1908–11) to its Synthetic phase (beginning in 1912–13). Picasso’s collaboration on ballet and theatrical productions began in 1916. Soon thereafter, his work was characterized by neoclassicism and a renewed interest in drawing and figural representation. In the 1920s the artist and his wife, Olga (whom he had married in 1918), continued to live in Paris, to travel frequently, and to spend their summers at the beach. From 1925 to the 1930s Picasso was involved to a certain degree with the Surrealists, and from the fall of 1931 he was especially interested in making sculpture. In 1932, with large exhibitions at the Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, and the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the publication of the first volume of Christian Zervos’s catalogue raisonné, Picasso’s fame increased markedly.

By 1936 the Spanish Civil War had profoundly affected Picasso, the expression of which culminated in his painting Guernica (1937, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid). Picasso’s association with the Communist Party began in 1944. From the late 1940s he lived in the south of France. Among the enormous number of exhibitions that were held during the artist’s lifetime, those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1939 and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 1955 were most significant. In 1961 the artist married Jacqueline Roque, and they moved to Mougins. There Picasso continued his prolific work in painting, drawing, prints, ceramics, and sculpture until his death on April 8, 1973.

Art! Who comprehends her? With whom can one consult concerning this great goddess.

October 24, 2008

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven 16 December 1770– 26 March 1827 was a German composer and pianist. He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most respected and influential composers of all time.

Born in Bonn, then in the Electorate of Cologne (now in modern-day Germany), he moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. Beethoven’s hearing gradually deteriorated beginning in his twenties, yet he continued to compose, and to conduct and perform, even after he was completely deaf.

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.

October 23, 2008

William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897-1962), who came from an old southern family, grew up in Oxford, Mississippi. He joined the Canadian, and later the British, Royal Air Force during the First World War, studied for a while at the University of Mississippi, and temporarily worked for a New York bookstore and a New Orleans newspaper. Except for some trips to Europe and Asia, and a few brief stays in Hollywood as a scriptwriter, he worked on his novels and short stories on a farm in Oxford.

In an attempt to create a saga of his own, Faulkner has invented a host of characters typical of the historical growth and subsequent decadence of the South. The human drama in Faulkner’s novels is then built on the model of the actual, historical drama extending over almost a century and a half Each story and each novel contributes to the construction of a whole, which is the imaginary Yoknapatawpha County and its inhabitants. Their theme is the decay of the old South, as represented by the Sartoris and Compson families, and the emergence of ruthless and brash newcomers, the Snopeses. Theme and technique – the distortion of time through the use of the inner monologue are fused particularly successfully in The Sound and the Fury (1929), the downfall of the Compson family seen through the minds of several characters. The novel Sanctuary (1931) is about the degeneration of Temple Drake, a young girl from a distinguished southern family. Its sequel, Requiem For A Nun (1951), written partly as a drama, centered on the courtroom trial of a Negro woman who had once been a party to Temple Drake’s debauchery. In Light in August (1932), prejudice is shown to be most destructive when it is internalized, as in Joe Christmas, who believes, though there is no proof of it, that one of his parents was a Negro. The theme of racial prejudice is brought up again in Absalom, Absalom! (1936), in which a young man is rejected by his father and brother because of his mixed blood. Faulkner’s most outspoken moral evaluation of the relationship and the problems between Negroes and whites is to be found in Intruder In the Dust (1948).

In 1940, Faulkner published the first volume of the Snopes trilogy, The Hamlet, to be followed by two volumes, The Town (1957) and The Mansion (1959), all of them tracing the rise of the insidious Snopes family to positions of power and wealth in the community. The reivers, his last – and most humorous – work, with great many similarities to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, appeared in 1962, the year of Faulkner’s death.

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

This autobiography/biography was first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures.

You begin with the possibilities of the material.

October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg was born Milton Rauschenberg on October 22, 1925, in Port Arthur, Texas. He began to study pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin before being drafted into the United States navy, where he served as a neuropsychiatric technician in the navy hospital corps in San Diego. In 1947, he enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute and traveled to Paris to study at the Académie Julian the following year.

In the fall of 1948, he returned to the United States to study under Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, near Asheville, North Carolina, which he continued to attend intermittently through 1952. While taking classes at the Art Students League, New York, from 1949 to 1951, Rauschenberg was offered his first solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Some of the works from this period included blueprints, monochromatic white paintings, and black paintings. From the fall of 1952 to the spring of 1953, he traveled to Europe and North Africa with Cy Twombly, whom he had met at the Art Students League. During his travels, Rauschenberg worked on a series of small collages, hanging assemblages, and small boxes filled with found elements, which he exhibited in Rome and Florence.

Upon his return to New York in 1953, Rauschenberg completed his series of black paintings, using newspaper as the ground, and began work on sculptures created from wood, stones, and other materials found on the streets; paintings made with tissue paper, dirt, or gold leaf; and more conceptually oriented works such as Automobile Tire Print (1953) and Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953). By the end of 1953, he had begun his Red Painting series on canvases that incorporated newspapers, fabric, and found objects and evolved in 1954 into the Combines, a term Rauschenberg coined for his well-known works that integrated aspects of painting and sculpture and would often include such objects as a stuffed eagle or goat, street signs, or a quilt and pillow. In late 1953, he met Jasper Johns, with whom he is considered the most influential of artists who reacted against Abstract Expressionism [more]. The two artists had neighboring studios, regularly exchanging ideas and discussing their work, until 1961.

Rauschenberg began to silkscreen paintings in 1962. He had his first career retrospective, organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1963 and was awarded the Grand Prize for Painting at the 1964 Venice Biennale. He spent much of the remainder of the 1960s dedicated to more collaborative projects including printmaking, Performance [more], choreography, set design, and art-and-technology works. In 1966, he cofounded Experiments in Art and Technology, an organization that sought to promote collaborations between artists and engineers.

In 1970, Rauschenberg established a permanent residence and studio in Captiva, Florida, where he still lives. A retrospective organized by the National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C., traveled throughout the United States in 1976–78. Rauschenberg continued to travel widely, embarking on a number of collaborations with artisans and workshops abroad, which culminated in the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) project from 1985 to 1991. In 1997, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, exhibited the largest retrospective of Rauschenberg’s work to date, which traveled to Houston and to Europe in 1998.