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message 1: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Mar 01, 2010 12:24AM) (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Major Pablo Picasso Exhibit Opens at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow

MOSCOW, (REUTERS).- Russia's influence on Pablo Picasso was celebrated at a new Moscow exhibit on the Spanish painter, sculptor and co-founder of the Cubism movement. Picasso paintings of bulging-eyed women and sculptures bearing his trademark triangular noses feature in a 240-piece collection of works by one of most prolific and dominant artists of the 20th century. The largest Picasso exhibit on Russian soil in over 50 years opened on Friday and it was the Russian influence on Picasso -- by way of his Russian wife and access to her world -- that excited those in the marble halls of Moscow's Pushkin Museum near the Kremlin, which is housing the exhibit.

"At that time, Russia was the capital of revolution and this energy impacted Picasso greatly, it affected how he created," Mikhail Shvydkoy, the Kremlin's cultural envoy, told Reuters.

Anne Baldassari, director of France's National Picasso Museum in Paris, which is lending the bulk of the works, said art movements and masters in Russia such as avant-garde painters Kazimir Malevich and Vasily Kandinsky played an "undeniably large" role in Picasso's life and inspiration.

A year after the Russian revolution of 1917, Picasso, who was born in 1881 in Malaga, married ballerina Olga Khokhlova, whose pensive glances and oval eyes came to characterize many of his painted women. Though they separated bitterly after eight years when the painter started an affair with his 17-year-old muse, Khokhlova is believed to be the inspiration for Picasso's mother and child themes.

Walking past painting "Olga in an armchair", depicting Khokhlova with her head downturned in a drapey black and floral dress, Shvydkoy added: "He was surrounded by Russian culture and this made him a man of the world."

The Painter and His Model (1914) posed a new question about figuration inspired by popular imagery, postcards and studio photography.Portrait of Olga in an Armchair (1917) illustrates how the plastic acquisitions of pasted papers are annexed through the painting to create a great portrait.His works from the years 1919-1923, which featured a return to the techniques of sanguine, pastel and charcoal, depict themes inspired by the frescos of Pompeii or Primaticcio’s decorative motifs at Fontainebleau in the form of monumental drawings on cloth (Three Woman at the Fountain and The Spring, 1921). This culminated in the great painting masterpiece The Pipes of Pan (1923), which marked the end of Picasso’s second “classical” period. The portraits of his son Paulo, born in 1921, perverted the styles of Velázquez and Manet.

Picasso lived much of his adult life in France, but as French Minister of Culture Frederic Mitterrand put it while attending the exhibit's opening: "Russia taught him, encouraged him, moved him."

Instantly recognizable and much-loved paintings such as 1967's "The Kiss", depicting a black and white lip-locked couple with vertical eyes, the Cubist "Seated Woman" from 1937, and "Jacqueline with Crossed Hands", his 1954 painting of his second and last wife, crown the exhibit.

Picasso's Postwar Works, 1947 - 1972, are infused with the theme of joie de vivre.The series of paintings from the 1950s blend diversity and uniformity in colour to lend the artist’s everyday life a uniquely Picassian interpretation of pop culture. In 1950-1951, this also incorporated the polysemic bestiary invented from waste materials and household objects. Picasso’s work as a ceramicist is also present in a selection of the collection’s 108 unique pieces (1929-1962).The Studio of La Californie (1956), painted in memory of Matisse and as a tribute to Delacroix’s Women of Algiers, or the series of Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe After Manet testify to the important project of reinterpreting the history of painting that Picasso embarked on at the time. Finally, through the figures of the musketeers, bullfighters and musicians and the large nudes and embraces that populated his final works,Picasso addressed the themes of Sergei Diagilyev, Rembrant, Titian, and Velázquez in an attempt to push the pictorial dynamic to the limits of its capacity.
(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman, editing by Paul Casciato)

message 2: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments "Matisse to Malevich: Pioneers of Modern Art from the Hermitage"

AMSTERDAM.- Outstanding works by Matisse, Picasso, Van Dongen, De Vlaminck, Derain and many other contemporaries of theirs will be seen in a magnificent display from 6 March 2010 to 17 September 2010 at the Hermitage Amsterdam in the exhibition Matisse to Malevich. Pioneers of modern art from the Hermitage. For this exhibition about 75 paintings have been selected from the Hermitage St.- Petersburg, which has one of the world’s finest collections of French painting of the early twentieth century. Apart from the world-famous French masters, such equally celebrated Russian contemporaries as Malevich and Kandinsky will be represented. These artists are seen as the pioneers of Modernism. Almost all the works exhibited are on permanent display in St.- Petersburg. Most come originally from the Moscow collections of Morozov and Shchukin.

This is the first time that this extensive collection of avant-garde masterpieces has been seen in the Netherlands. The exhibition explores the origins of modern art as an art historical phenomenon, but also looks at the passion of the artists, when at a crucial moment in art history at the beginning of the last century they initiated a revolution in art.

Morozov and Shchukin
The Hermitage’s impressive collection originated with the famous Russian collectors Ivan Morozov (1871-1921) and Sergej Shchukin (1854-1936). Both were textile dealers, and they brought French art to Russia because they wanted to change the course of art in their homeland. They provided a tremendous stimulus. Shchukin was the most conspicuous collector of his time; no one else bought so many works by Picasso (51) and Matisse (37). Morozov and Shchukin dared to buy the revolutionary paintings – sometimes with the paint still wet – and during the turn of the century they dominated the art world in Moscow. What they bought was shown at regular intervals in their own house. This enabled the young Russian artists to see what was in vogue in France. With the outbreak of the First World War collecting came to an end. During the October Revolution of 1917 the two collections were confiscated, and in 1948 a large part of them was given to the Hermitage in St.- Petersburg.

Kandinsky (Winter landscape, photosheet 05.tif) met Picasso and Matisse in Paris and was deeply impressed by the colour effect in their work, but was also influenced by music (Schönberg). He wanted to represent his own feelings and expression yet more, he heard the colours of the music and his colours evoked music. Malevich went a step further, he had had experience of everything new in the twentieth century and finally brought everything – nature, life, ‘being’ – down to a geometrical plane.

Artists like Matisse, Picasso, Derain, De Vlaminck and Van Dongen were searching for renewal, for liberation from nature and from the academic traditions in painting. They formed the first important avant-garde movement of the twentieth century, which arose in French painting around 1900 in reaction to Impressionism and Pointillism. Bright and contrasting colours, rough brushwork, simplified forms and bold distortions characterised the new art. Light and shadow were depicted without intermediate shades and without soft transitions. In traditional painting the artists still wanted to represent three-dimensional space. For the pioneers that was no longer important; that was what photography was for. Through their work they provoked emotional reactions. Matisse, the most gifted and influential of them, was the focus of a group of artists known as the Fauvists or ‘wild animals’. No less than 12 paintings and 4 sculptures by him will be in the exhibition.

Picasso is represented by 12 paintings (including The absinthe drinker, photosheet 08.tif and Table in a café, photosheet 09.tif). Throughout his long and productive life he constantly experimented with new techniques, and from 1907 he laid the basis for Cubism: this new style developed from a harder and tighter manner of expression and the use of thick layers of paint.

Visit the Hermitage Amsterdam at :

message 3: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Mar 04, 2010 03:22AM) (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Turning a 10-Cent Comic Book Into a Million Bucks

This is a lesson for all those parents who threw away their children’s comic books: Last Monday, a copy of Action Comics No. 1, in which Superman first appeared in 1938, sold for a record $1 million. That price was eclipsed on Thursday by the $1,075,500 auction of a copy of Detective Comics No. 27, where Batman made his premiere in 1939.

Comics Debuts That Sell for Serious Money
Not bad hauls for comic books that originally sold for 10 cents each.

But this doesn’t mean that the masses who converged on comic book stores in January 2009 to grab Amazing Spider-Man No. 583, featuring President Obama, can trade in that issue for a deposit on a dream house. The recipe for what makes a comic book so valuable is a mix of content, rarity and condition.

Not surprisingly, the Man of Steel had it all.

Superman was the trailblazer for all other superheroes, and fans at the time agreed: the alien visitor proved so popular that he took over Action Comics, which was originally an anthology of different stories and characters.

“We had long theorized that Action No. 1 would be the comic to break the million-dollar barrier,” said J.C. Vaughn, the associate publisher of the “Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide,” an industry bible.

That first issue, Mr. Vaughn estimated, sold 130,000 copies; only about 100 remain.

The buyers of those record-setting Superman and Batman comics, perhaps emulating the superheroes, have kept their identities secret.

The condition of the Superman comic, sold by the auction house Comic Connect, was graded 8.0 out of a possible 10. Another copy, graded at 6.0, sold for $317,200 last year. The Batman book, sold at Heritage Auctions, was also graded 8.0. Fewer than 100 copies are believed to exist. A grade of 10 would signify a pristine book; an 8.0 indicates imperfections like a cover crease or stress marks on the spine.

In the 1990s, speculators flocked to the comic book market, buying issues in the hopes that they would increase in value. But print runs for popular titles also greatly increased. In 1991, the first issue of a new X-Men title, written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Jim Lee, sold more than eight million copies. “When you have thousands or millions of copies, it’s less likely a candidate” to increase in value, Mr. Vaughn said. The big money seems to be in first appearances. Last November, a 9.2-rated copy of Incredible Hulk No. 1 sold for $125,475 at Heritage Auctions; a 9.0-rated copy sold for $100,000 at Pedigree Comics.

message 4: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Klein’s Naked Model Painting May Fetch $10 Million in New York

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- A 1960s work by the French conceptual artist Yves Klein is expected to fetch about $10 million at an auction in New York, Christie’s International said today in an e-mailed statement.

Klein’s 9-foot-wide “Anthropometrie” painting “ANT 93, Le Buffle” (“The Buffalo”) will be offered in Christie’s May 11 sale of contemporary art. The work was painted in the artist’s trademark “International Klein Blue” in 1960 and 1961 on paper, now laid down on canvas, using a naked female model as a “living brush” to create the image of a buffalo.

“This is the second-largest ANT painting to come to auction,” Francis Outred, Christie’s European head of contemporary art, said in an interview. “Very few of his works make a specific reference to an animal. He’s using a naked female figure to make an image of a beast.”

Values of classic contemporary pieces by artists such as Klein and Lucio Fontana have remained more stable than those of fashionable names such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, whose prices fell by up to 50 percent during the financial crisis, dealers said.

A photograph from the early 1960s shows “Le Buffle” hanging in the Paris sitting room of Klein, who died of a heart attack in 1962, aged 34.

The painting is fresh to the auction market from an anonymous U.S.-based private collector who has owned it for 10 years. The owner has been encouraged to sell by the rising auction prices achieved for European conceptual artists of the 1950s and 1960s over the last three years, Outred said.
By Scott Reyburn

message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (zunook) Even though it is just common items that are used for Still-Life paintings. I find them very fascinating. So I thought to share this little tidbit of info I found for any one else who likes Still-Life also.

Recent Still-Life Paintings by William Bailey at Betty Cuningham Gallery

NEW YORK, NY.- Betty Cuningham Gallery presents an exhibition of new work by William Bailey, including recent still-life and figure paintings as well as a selection of works on paper. This will be the artist’s third exhibition at the gallery; on exhibition through 27 march, 2010. Bailey is known particularly for his still-life paintings. Although unlike other still-life painters, Bailey composes his paintings on the canvas from his imagination, adjusting the light source and relative scale of each object as he paints.

Also included in this exhibition are six figure paintings (four on canvas, two on paper). Like the objects in the still-lifes, the figures are painted from Bailey’s imagination and have a strange, dreamlike presence. Unlike the major works in this exhibition, Bailey’s drawings of the figure begin from direct observation.

William Bailey’s work can be seen in a host of public and private collections, most notably the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Bailey is the subject of two monographs, one by Mark Strand and the other by John Hollander and Guiliano Briganti.

William Bailey was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. After serving in the United States Army during the Korean War, he studied under Josef Albers at Yale where he received both his B.F.A. and M.F.A degrees. He has been exhibiting in New York since the late 1960’s. He lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut and Umbria, Italy.

message 6: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Salvador Dali~'Metamorphosis of Narcissus' shown at the Dali Foundation

Figueres, Spain- The Dalí Foundation presented today the temporary loan of the oil painting 'Metamorphosis of Narcissus', from the Tate Modern collection. This painting is from Dalí's Paranoiac-critical period. According to Greek mythology, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Unable to embrace the watery image, he pined away, and the gods immortalized him as a flower. Dali completed this painting in 1937 on his long awaited return to Paris after having had great success in the United States.

The painting shows Narcissus sitting in a pool, gazing down. Not far away there is a decaying stone figure which corresponds closely to him but is perceived quite differently as a hand holding up a bulb or egg from which a narcissus is growing. In the background, a group of naked figures can be seen, while a third narcissus like figure appears on the horizon. A long poem was written by Dalí to accompany the painting.

message 7: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Mar 11, 2010 08:04PM) (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Statues Seem Ready to Leap, but Police Say They Won’t

They stand about six feet tall and look like naked human beings. Over the next few days, 27 of them will be scattered across rooftops and ledges of buildings in Midtown Manhattan — including the Empire State Building — as part of a public art exhibition.

About the same time that the first figure was placed atop a four-story building at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, the Police Department issued a statement reassuring New Yorkers that the figures are not despondent people on the verge of leaping to their deaths.

Police officials said they were trying to prevent an overwhelming number of emergency calls from concerned pedestrians or office workers. Nevertheless, they said that all emergency calls about a potential suicide would be taken seriously — even those from places where one of the figures is located.

“We are going to respond no matter what because there could be a jumper at the spot,” said Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman.

The figures, which are anatomically correct, are modeled after the body of the artist Antony Gormley, who created the exhibition, which is being presented by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Part of his purpose is “to play with the city and people’s perceptions,” Mr. Gormley said in a statement.

Mr. Browne said the Police Department did not know about the exhibition until a few weeks ago, took no position on it and just wanted to ensure that officers and residents in the areas involved knew about the figures in advance.

Pedestrians who walked by the figure on Fifth Avenue as the sun was setting on Tuesday were divided about whether it looked like a person about to jump.

“It doesn’t look like a real person, but I can see how someone would think it is,” said Andre Lawrence, 29, who works a few blocks away.

Malcolm Sparrow, a former law enforcement official who now teaches law enforcement officials management skills at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, said he had not seen the figures but thought they would cause problems.

“If it’s modern art, I think it’s in poor taste for residents of New York City,” because of the “memory of people jumping off buildings,” he said, referring to people who leapt to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers on 9/11.

“It will produce a whole slew of calls,” he said, and “is certainly going to be an enormous waste of police time.
Published: March 9, 2010

message 8: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1840 comments I'm sure I read a novel where an artist did this. Damned if I can remember who wrote it, let alone the title. Current writer. Read it a year or so ago.

message 9: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Mar 12, 2010 01:02AM) (new)

Heather | 8092 comments An Italian Antihero’s Time to Shine
Published: March 9, 2010

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ROME — By at least one amusing new metric, Michelangelo’s unofficial 500-year run at the top of the Italian art charts has ended. Caravaggio, who somehow found time to paint when he wasn’t brawling, scandalizing pooh-bahs, chasing women (and men), murdering a tennis opponent with a dagger to the groin, fleeing police assassins or getting his face mutilated by one of his many enemies, has bumped him from his perch.

That’s according to an art historian at the University of Toronto, Philip Sohm. He has studied the number of writings (books, catalogs and scholarly papers) on both of them during the last 50 years. Mr. Sohm has found that Caravaggio has gradually, if unevenly, overtaken Michelangelo.

He has charts to prove it.

The change, most obvious since the mid-1980s, doesn’t exactly mean Michelangelo has dropped down the memory hole. To judge from the throngs still jamming the Sistine Chapel and lining up outside the Accademia in Florence to check out “David,” his popularity hasn’t dwindled much.

But, charts or no charts, Mr. Sohm has touched on something. Caravaggiomania, as he calls it, implies not just that art history doctoral students may finally be struggling to think up anything fresh to say about Michelangelo. It suggests that the whole classical tradition in which Michelangelo was steeped is becoming ever more foreign and therefore seemingly less germane, even to many educated people. His otherworldly muscle men, casting the damned into hell or straining to emerge from thick blocks of veined marble, aspired to an abstract and bygone ideal of the sublime, grounded in Renaissance rhetoric, which, for postwar generations, now belongs with the poetry of Alexander Pope or plays by Corneille as admirable but culturally remote splendors.

Caravaggio, on the other hand, exemplifies the modern antihero, a hyperrealist whose art is instantly accessible. His doe-eyed, tousle-haired boys with puffy lips and bubble buttocks look as if they’ve just tumbled out of bed, not descended from heaven. Coarse not godly, locked into dark, ambiguous spaces by a strict geometry then picked out of deep shadow by an oracular light, his models come straight off the street. Cupid is clearly a hired urchin on whom Caravaggio strapped a pair of fake wings. The angel in his “Annunciation” dangles like Chaplin’s tramp on the high wire in “The Circus,” from what must have been a rope contraption Caravaggio devised.

Rome’s art establishment at the turn of the 17th century, immersed in the mandarin froufrou of Late Mannerism, despised Caravaggio for the filthy, barefoot pilgrims he painted at Mary’s doorstep. Out to “destroy painting,” as Nicolas Poussin, the most high-minded of all French artists, saw it, Caravaggio connected with ordinary people, the ones who themselves arrived barefoot and filthy as pilgrims in Rome. And fortunately for Caravaggio, he also appealed to a string of rich and powerful patrons.

But almost immediately after he died from a fever at 38, in 1610, on the beach at Porto Ercole, north of Rome, his art was written off by critics as a passing fad and neglected for hundreds of years, setting the stage for his modern resurrection. Connoisseurs like Bernard Berenson were still dismissing his work a century ago when Lionello Venturi, Roger Fry and Roberto Longhi, among others, finally revived his reputation as a protomodernist.

Mr. Sohm, who announced his findings during a talk at the College Art Association conference in Chicago last month, focused on publications, not tourist revenues or exhibition attendance figures, and his study says nothing about how Michelangelo and Caravaggio stack up against box-office greats like Rembrandt and van Gogh.

But his research does corroborate evidence plain to anybody in or out of art academe or who has browsed for scarves in Italian airports where motifs of Caravaggio’s “Bacchus” and head of Goliath have become as ubiquitous as coasters bearing bits of David’s anatomy and mugs with the figure of Adam from the Sistine ceiling. Caravaggios are now used to decorate the cover of “Emerging Infectious Diseases,” a medical journal, and to advertise a sex shop in London.

“The only way to understand old art is to make it participate in our own artistic life” is how Venturi phrased it in 1925. That Caravaggio left behind no drawings, no letters, no will or estate record, only police and court records, makes him a perfect Rorschach for our obsessions. He was outed in the 1970s by gender studies scholars, notwithstanding the absence of documents to indicate he was gay. Pop novelists and moviemakers have naturally had a field day with his life. Exhibition organizers cook up any excuse (“Caravaggio-Bacon,” “Caravaggio-Rembrandt”) to capitalize on his bankability. Newly discovered “Caravaggios” test the market every year.

message 10: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Mar 14, 2010 12:46AM) (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Putting every New Yorker on paper

Artist Jason Polan has an ambitious goal: to sketch all 8.3 million people in the city. He captures his unsuspecting subjects eating pizza, riding the subway, catching a train.

Artist Jason Polan, 27, a self-proclaimed New Yorker who was born outside of Detroit and moved to the city a few years ago, adds to his sketchbook while taking in the sights on 42nd Street. (Michael Appleton / For the Times)

Reporting from New York
Jason Polan cannot talk on the phone right now. He is on his way to Taco Bell in Union Square to draw unsuspecting New Yorkers.

At 27, he has made it a mission to sketch every person in New York City, all 8,363,710. From the back, the side, eating a Burrito Supreme, splayed on a gallery couch in the Museum of Modern Art, rolling a suitcase across Grand Central Station, riding the No. 7 subway to Queens, buying pizza in Brooklyn.

He even captured Jerry Seinfeld scratching his head in a Midtown burger joint.

Polan says he is just another New Yorker, never mind that he was born in a small town 20 miles outside of Detroit and moved here a few years ago after graduating from college in Michigan.

"I'm a New Yorker," he says. "My mom's family is from Westchester."

In the great tradition of those cab drivers from the Khyber Pass who are here six weeks and declare themselves natives, Polan had only just dropped anchor in a studio apartment the size of a city bus when he began the dogged pursuit of his expansive goal with nothing more than a black pen and a notebook the size of a DVD box.

It's been almost two years and about 8,300 drawings since Polan began spending part of every day sketching New Yorkers in random parts of the city and posting his work at night on a blog, Sometimes he notes where he'll be the next day so friends can come by. He picks a bench near a busy corner, museum or park. He's partial to fast-food (Mexican) restaurants because the workers usually leave him alone to draw as long as he wants. He's even started a drawing club that miraculously has expanded to 150 members who regularly meet up to draw at Taco Bells in cities across the country.

The project was intended as a way for him to interact with people, but one of the first things you notice on the website is that many of his subjects are drawn from the back, apparently intentionally as a way to avoid eye contact.

"I never want to make anyone uncomfortable or be intrusive," Polan says.

He knows he's not the next Matisse, who with just an abstract line could capture the oneness of any person. But he shares that great artist's outlook, avoiding troubled and unsettling parts of this city to focus an optimistic eye on the life around him.

When you're in the city next, wander into any fast-food joint and you might find him. He's a regular at the Qdoba on 53rd Street and 3rd Avenue. Or check out the Taco Bell in Union Square. He's there every Wednesday afternoon -- his eyes fixed on someone, his right hand gripping a black pen, drawing.
By Geraldine Baum
March 4, 2010
Los Angeles Times

message 11: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Mar 15, 2010 06:14AM) (new)

Heather | 8092 comments At the Corner of Grit and Glamour

Jean Nouvel’s new apartment building is at 100 11th Avenue, at 19th Street, in Chelsea.

"During the past few years Chelsea became a one-stop-shopping destination for high-style contemporary architecture as well as high-end art, and the results can be depressing. For every significant building that went up, the neighborhood seemed to produce a half-dozen or so inferior knockoffs. The feeling on the streets now is the same as it is in most of the galleries: the sheer amount of work, and the mediocrity of most of it, can make the effort of sorting out the good from the bad too painful to contemplate..."

"So Jean Nouvel’s new residential tower is a luxury building. Seen from across the West Side Highway, the tower’s twinkling facade, with its hundreds of irregularly shaped windows tilted at odd angles to reflect fragments of sky or the surrounding city, offers a striking counterpoint to the soft, sail-like curves of Mr. Gehry’s creation. Rows of older brick buildings flank them to the north and south, and the contrast between glass and masonry, straight and curved lines, creates a nice rhythm along what was once a bleak strip of decrepit offices and warehouses..."

Cut-out windows frame contrasting views of Manhattan.

"These spaces have no tenants yet, and for now remain hidden behind fencing and construction equipment. Some of the window frames have been left intentionally empty, so that it may take a moment to sort out whether you’re indoors or out. A network of heavy steel beams reaching up several stories connects the screen back to the main facade; the beams will eventually support big planters containing trees that will seem to hover in midair..."

"Some will argue that all of this simply provides a veneer of civility to a culture that is sliding deeper and deeper into narcissism. For me, though, the building is a lesson on how to navigate an enlightened path in an era of extremes. It’s not utopia, but it demonstrates what a major talent can accomplish when he focuses his mind on a small corner of the city."

Published: March 14, 2010
New York Times

message 12: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1840 comments gorgeous

message 13: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments I think it is pretty neat, too. I would love to live there, to see out those windows! Wow!

message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim | 16 comments Just read the Jason Polan article. Basically, this guy has come up with a great publicity stunt. Once in a while apparently he spends a little bit of time to get off a better drawing, but for the most part he seems to be filling time. This would be interesting if he actually tried to draw a decent picture of every NYC resident. I wish him luck. I'm sure he'll get some attention. Maybe he'll learn a few things in the process.

message 15: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Mona Lisa smile created using 'trick'

Austrian neurologists say analysis of the masterpiece shows her face appears to shift depending where a person focuses their gaze.

If her eyes are stared at, it appears she has a subtle smile on her lips. But if the onlooker shifts their gaze to her mouth, then the smile disappears.

Professor Florian Hutzler, a psychology expert at the Center for Neurocognitive Research in Salzburg, said Leonardo da Vinci had used clever techniques to trick the viewer.

When seen directly, soft layers of shading around the mouth make the expression appear neutral. But when viewed in peripheral vision, the same brush strokes merge and give the impression of a subtle smile.

"In Mona Lisa's mouth, there is a smile hidden," he said. "When you look directly on the mouth, you see the fine details, the smile disappears and there is only a neutral expression.

"Mona Lisa changes her expression depending on where you look at her face."

According to the new study published in the respected journal Psychological Science, Leonardo was able to accomplish the illusion using the "sfumato" technique in which layers of paint are added on top of each another to create subtle changes in shading.

Professor Stephen Porter, a psychology expert at the University of British Columbia, said the study had implications for how people process facial expressions beyond the Mona Lisa.

He said: "The most significant finding of this elegant, brilliant study was that people pick up on, and are influenced by, subtle information from another person's face at a subliminal level.

"It shows that we quickly analyze faces holistically but are not aware of this process. Our assessments of trustworthiness and attractiveness are affected in powerful ways by very subtle factors."

message 16: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments FBI Blows Up Rembrandt to Solve Boston’s $500 Million Art Heist

By Tom Moroney
Art lovers who didn’t catch Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum before 1990 can see it on electronic billboards outside Boston -- courtesy of the FBI.

Twenty years ago today, the Dutch master’s only seascape and a dozen other artworks disappeared from the museum. Two billboards began flashing the Rembrandt painting this week, along with the phone number for a tip line and information about a $5 million reward.

“Maybe somebody will be driving along and say, ‘Hey, I’ve seen that painting before!’” said Rocky Sisson, executive vice president of Phoenix-based Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., which donated use of the billboards on Interstate 93 and Interstate 495.

The $500 million theft ranks as history’s biggest art heist, said Geoffrey Kelly, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in charge of the case for the past eight years.

The thieves also took two other Rembrandt works; one painting each by Vermeer, Manet and Flinck; five sketches by Degas; a Chinese beaker from the Shang Dynasty; and an eagle finial from the top of a Napoleonic flag, according to the museum’s Web site.

FBI agents have traveled to Paris, Japan and other destinations to track hundreds of leads in the past two decades, Kelly said.

Local Job

“My guess is that it was probably local guys,” Kelly said. The thieves may have planned to use the art as bargaining chips to barter for reduced punishment for future crimes, rather than intending to sell it, he said.

“There’s a very strong possibility that these guys went in to do a simple robbery and unwittingly committed the heist of the century,” he said.

The crime began at 1:24 a.m. when two thieves disguised as police officers were admitted to the museum by a security guard. The pair bound and gagged both guards on duty with handcuffs and duct tape, then spent 81 minutes choosing their loot, the FBI said.

The Boston billboards aren’t the first for the FBI. Billboards have helped the agency solve 35 crimes in the past two years, including robbery, missing persons and other cases, said Chris Allen, a spokesman.

The FBI’s Boston office hasn’t received any tips since the electronic billboards went active with Rembrandt’s work three days ago, Gail Marcinkiewicz, a spokeswoman, said yesterday.

Museum officials are confident that the paintings will be returned some day, said Katherine Armstrong, a spokeswoman for the Gardner, in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. It keeps vacant spaces where the four largest of the stolen paintings had been displayed.

“What keeps me up at night? Going into the museum and seeing those empty spaces,” Kelly said.

message 17: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Art Dealer Pleads Guilty in $120 Million Fraud Case

A once-prominent art dealer pleaded guilty on Thursday to a $120 million fraud scheme, admitting he sold paintings he did not own and at least once sold fractional shares of a painting that added up to more than 100 percent.

“I am deeply ashamed and sorry for my actions,” the dealer, Lawrence B. Salander, 60, said after acknowledging that he had defrauded clients including the tennis star John McEnroe; Roy Lennox, a hedge fund manager; and Earl Davis, the son of the painter Stuart Davis.

Mr. Salander’s gallery, the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, had occupied a town house on the Upper East Side, where it rented for $154,000 a month. It shut down in 2007. The gallery had displayed paintings as varied as English landscapes by John Constable and modernistic scenes by Robert De Niro Sr., the actor’s father, who died in 1993.

As Mr. Salander walked to the defense table in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday, he was steadied by his lawyer and another man. The lawyer, Charles A. Ross, told the judge, Justice Michael J. Obus, that Mr. Salander had had a stroke recently and had been hospitalized. Later, a prosecutor raised questions about Mr. Salander’s alcohol abuse.

Mr. Salander read an eight-page statement in a raspy voice, admitting to 29 charges of grand larceny and scheming to defraud investors. Among other things, he said he had bilked Mr. McEnroe out of about $2 million and the estate of Mr. De Niro out of more than $1 million.

“I did everything I have described knowingly and intentionally,” Mr. Salander told the judge.

Justice Obus then read each charge, stopping to ask Mr. Salander, “Is that correct?” or “Do you admit to that?”

Mr. Salander responded, “Yes, sir” or “I do.”

Once he had gone through all of the charges, Justice Obus told Mr. Salander: “Obviously, this case involves a great deal of money, and a great deal of pain and loss have been inflicted on the plaintiffs. I am hopeful they will be paid back to the extent it is possible here.”

Mr. Salander had been promised a prison sentence of 6 to 18 years, although Justice Obus indicated that in making a final decision, he would consider how much money had been repaid to Mr. Salander’s former clients.

The judge ordered Mr. Salander to appear on May 20 for another hearing after Assistant District Attorney Micki Shulman raised questions about Mr. Salander’s alcohol abuse. The judge told Mr. Salander, “I’m not going to make it a condition of bail that you never have a drink, but I don’t think you should.”

When Mr. Salander was indicted last year, the Manhattan district attorney at the time, Robert M. Morgenthau, said Mr. McEnroe had believed that he was buying a 50 percent interest in two paintings by Arshile Gorky, the Abstract Expressionist, for $2.03 million. Then, Mr. Morgenthau said, Mr. McEnroe heard that one of the paintings was hanging in another dealer’s home. Aides to Mr. Morgenthau said Mr. McEnroe later settled for full ownership of one of the paintings.

That arrangement later fell through because another Salander customer laid claim to the painting.

By James Barron
The New York Times

message 18: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Study: Last Supper paintings supersize the food

[image error]
AP – In this March 16, 2010 photo provided by Cornell University, Prof. Brian Wansink, holds a plate

Has even the Last Supper been supersized?

The food in famous paintings of the meal has grown by biblical proportions over the last millennium, researchers report in a medical journal Tuesday.

Using a computer, they compared the size of the food to the size of the heads in 52 paintings of Jesus Christ and his disciples at their final meal before his death.

If art imitates life, we're in trouble, the researchers conclude. The size of the main dish grew 69 percent; the size of the plate, 66 percent, and the bread, 23 percent, between the years 1000 and 2000.

Supersizing is considered a modern phenomenon, but "what we see recently may be just a more noticeable part of a very long trend," said Brian Wansink, a food behavior scientist at Cornell University.

The study was his idea. For biblical context, he sought help from his brother, Craig Wansink, professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Va., and an ordained Presbyterian minister.

The Bible says the Last Supper took place on a Passover evening but gives little detail on specific foods besides bread and wine.

"There's nothing else mentioned. They don't say there's a fruit cup or carrot cake," though other foods such as fish, eel, lamb and even pork have appeared in paintings through the years, Brian Wansink said.

For the study, he used paintings featured in the book "Last Supper," published in 2000 by Phaidon Press. They include perhaps the most famous portrayal of the meal, by Leonardo da Vinci. Computer technology allowed them to scan, rotate and calculate images regardless of their orientation in the paintings.

Details are in the April issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

The study is "not very meaningful science," said Martin Binks, a behavioral health psychologist and a consultant at Duke University Medical Center. "We have real life examples of the increase in portion size — all you have to do is look at what's being sold at fast-food restaurants."

A more contemporary test would be to analyze portion sizes in Super Bowl commercials, he suggested.

"That would be a much more meaningful snapshot of how this society's relationship to food has changed," Binks said.

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione, Ap Medical Writer – Tue Mar 23
Associated Press

message 19: by Fran (new)

Fran | 58 comments ARTS REVIEWED:
-Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917
The Art Institute of Chicago
Until 20 June

Has earned an account in the last number of Nature (

Books and Arts : Nature 464, 493-494 (25 March 2010) | doi:10.1038/464493a; Published online 24 March 2010
Matisse's methods revealed
Josie Glausiusz1

message 21: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments That looks incredible, Fran. Thanks for posting that, I love Matisse. I only wish I were closer to Chicago! :-(

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 112 comments Wow, I'd like to see that Matisse display. Pity I'm not anywhere near Chicago!

message 23: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Mona Lisa’s Identity, Solved for Good?

Reuters wire - Score another one for Occam’s razor: the sitter for the Mona Lisa was indeed named Lisa, according to German researchers. Lisa del Giocondo, to be exact. From Reuters:

Experts at the Heidelberg University library say dated notes scribbled in the margins of a book by its owner in October 1503 confirm once and for all that Lisa del Giocondo was indeed the model for one of the most famous portraits in the world.

“All doubts about the identity of the Mona Lisa have been eliminated by a discovery by Dr. Armin Schlechter,” a manuscript expert, the library said in a statement on Monday.

Mrs. Giocondo, whose maiden name was Gherardini, was married to a wealthy silk merchant in Florence and was first linked to the painting in 1550, about 50 years after it was finished. But doubts persisted and theories multiplied, including one about Mona Lisa being a man and another that she was Leonardo’s version of the ideal female, not a real person.

For all of those authors offering their theories, one expert had little sympathy after hearing the latest news. “One could even say that books written about all this in the past few years were unnecessary, had we known,” Frank Zoellner of Leipzig University told Reuters.

Among the unsurprised will be the staff of the Louvre, where the painting hangs. The museum doesn’t even have to change the masterpiece’s label — “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo” — though it may decide to delete one line from the description of the painting on its web site: “Among the aspects which remain unclear are the exact identity of the sitter.”

If it is indeed time to move on from the Mona Who? identity mystery, many other conundrums about the portrait persist. Millions of annual visitors who will now have less need to check her ID can instead puzzle over her inscrutable, seemingly mutable gaze.

That particular mystery was explored in a 2000 Times article by Sandra Blakeslee, who asked, “What is with this lady’s face? How did the great painter capture such a mysterious expression?”

You can forget the clichés and look at the painting. In the early 15th century, La Gioconda represented a turning point in the history of portraiture. Leonardo da Vinci linked the monumentality of a figure before a landscape with a virtuoso rendering of flesh tones. Discover the secret behind the smile... The answer from a Harvard neuroscientist: It isn’t the painting, it’s you. Or rather, the quirky way your brain processes images.

By . . . Mike Nizza

message 24: by Divvy (new)

Divvy | 69 comments Cool. Thanks Heather!

Scotti had me persuaded the portrait was of Lisa del Gioconda after reading her book Vanished Smile Nice to have this as a follow up.

Did you see the cover story in the January issue of ArtNews? Apparently they have Leonardo's finger prints on file and are trying to use them to authenticate a drawing that is either by him, or an unknown nineteenth century artist.

Amazing. The things still left to be discovered.

message 25: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Mar 26, 2010 03:31PM) (new)

Heather | 8092 comments I didn't see that story, Divvy. Thanks for adding the link. Very interesting!

Oh, and I just went to add Vanished Smile to my list and noticed I already have it! Now I'm more intrigued to learn about what Scotti has to say.

message 26: by Monica (last edited Mar 27, 2010 09:03AM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments Message # 15. Cool building! My sister has a place near there! I'm driving to the big apple in 6 days. Maybe I'll check it out but I don't plan to be on the west side.

Would anyone please like to suggest something to visit besides the Bronzino exhibit?

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 112 comments What kind of art do you like? Modern, Medieval, what?

message 28: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Pop. Mannerist. Rock and Roll, Art Noveau, Esthetic Movement, Gauguin come to mind. I like almost every that's not perverse.

Larry Rivers, Rauchenberg, George Segal, I like.

message 29: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments We take day trips, so our time is limited. We do our best to see 2 museums (or 1 museum and a show) and must eat NY deli food before we leave. Here's a few suggestions . . .

Discount passes for NYC sightseeing – good until 4/2/2010

MoMA, 11 West 53 Street (212) 708-9400 -- love the MoMA!
Radio City Music Hall

The Morgan Library & Museum
 -- I love this place.
[image error]
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
Admission is free on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

United Nations Headquarters
Rockefeller Center
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Chrysler Building

Central Park & Zoo (830 Fifth Ave)
Frick Collection
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
Guggenheim Museum

message 30: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments BTW, we take the train -- are you driving into NYC?

message 31: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Thanks Carol! I'm driving! I'm from there so 'know' it. But you couldn't know NY if you lived there 100 years! I want to have brunch at the Morgan for sure! I'll be there on Easter so that might not be possible. 'll check it out. I love their formal dining room.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 112 comments Now that is a ceiling.

message 33: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments The room is actually the original dining room.

message 34: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Susanna, I just realized you were referring to JP Morgan's library Ceiling! I couldn't remember the ceiling in the dining room, thought I'd better take a closer look!

message 35: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments I also love in the center of the building is the marble Rotunda, with variegated marble columns, mosaic panels, and columns of lapis lazuli. The marble floor, with its central porphyry disc, and above the apse, ceiling, and lunettes.

message 36: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8092 comments Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Disputed Picasso Set for Auction
After the resolution of a four-year old claim by a German academic that a 1903 Picasso painting had been sold under duress to the Nazis in the mid-1930s, Christie’s announced on Wednesday that it would auction the work, “Portrait of Angel Fernández de Soto (The Absinthe Drinker)’’ in London on June 23.

The portrait, which is from the artist’s Blue Period, was painted in Barcelona, Spain. It depicts the artist’s friend, Angel Fernández de Soto, seated at a cafe table, shrouded in tobacco smoke. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, which the composer founded to benefit theaters and actors, is selling the work, which it had bought at Sotheby’s in 1995 for $21.9 million. It had belonged to the New York collectors Donald and Jean Stralem.

Christie’s was to have sold the painting in New York in November 2006 to benefit the foundation but it was forced to withdraw it 24 hours before the auction after the collector Julius Schoeps filed a lawsuit saying that it had been forcibly sold by his great-uncle, Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a Jewish banker in Berlin. Three years ago Christie’s expected it to bring $40 million to $60 million. Now, after a settlement between the heirs and the foundation, the auction house believes it can fetch around $60.9 million.

message 37: by Anjali (last edited Apr 20, 2010 01:23PM) (new)

Anjali | 7 comments description

message 38: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments Monet --the cliffs at Etretat at sunset?
The sun reminds me of his sun in the painting that was labeled by a critic as impression.

message 39: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I love this Monet, the sun looks like a teardrop. I like how the water is glistening from the sunset. Very Beautiful.

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