My wonderful father-in-law, who painted in full passion until nearly his last day.
Sometimes, we do things just because we can.
This video made me smile after a long, serious day. I’m grateful for that.
I got an email this afternoon from 20×200, a wonderful site that sells art at consumer prices. Today’s featured artist is Jorge Columbo, who creates images using a painting app called Brushes that runs on his iPhone. And although the images feel traditional, there is something appealingly new about them. Aspects of photoshop and fingerpainting shine though in combination to offer some new angle on the streetscape.
I’ve also been collecting my thoughts on the iPad, and was struck by a comment by Columbo in this morning’s promotional email:
I do not have an iPad yet, but will surely get one. I have drawn on one already, and loved a larger screen. (I’m tired of mixing phone calls in with my art supplies). One day we’ll be able to draw on touch screens the size of a door. Compare the early iPods—2001: heavy, grey screen, no pictures, etc.—with current ones. Doesn’t it make you feel like this one iPad is ONLY the beginning? The basic thing for me remains: no visible tool. Finger creates art, period… The other key point is portability: a regular digital studio is now in your pocket. It’s not so much a toppling of status quo, more like a broadening of alternatives—shooting a movie in black-and-white film now doesn’t mean the same it meant a century ago—back then it was the single option; now it’s a choice among many.
In another blog post I read this morning, David Sheilds wrote:
Art, like science, progresses. Forms evolve. Form are there to serve the culture…
Sheilds doesn’t make the technological argument (that new forms are made possible by new technologies) but he doesn’t have to. The forces of change are multivariate.
And I’m buying Brushes.
If you want to give a really great gift to someone who has been laid off or is out of work, give that person a museum membership. A friend recently gave me a membership to MoMA, and I’ve been really enjoying it.
Yesterday afternoon, I went to see the William Kentridge exhibit there. Kentridge combines drawing, collage, animation and video to wonderful effect. I was particularly struck by the freedom and apparent casual treatment of materials: charcoal, ink splash, torn paper, lo-fi video. The craft and creative process is so present in the experience of watching the work. In one installation, 7 Fragments for Georges Melies, a set of projected animated films show Kentridge at work making and unmaking images using ink, coffee, charcoal, paper and his body. The video runs forward and backward, images emerge from the brush and then are consumed by the rag and vice versa.
Every person doing creative work knows that the act of starting can feel like an overwhelming hurdle to cross. In “7 Fragments…” the process seems to never stop, never end. The image is always present, and always not, in the same instant.
Today’s enthusiasm: the illustrator Noel Sickles, who became famous for writing and drawing the Scorchy Smith strip in the mid-30′s.
I spent a little time yesterday at the Marina Abramovic show at MoMa. The show was moving and surpising to me: one does not often have permission to stare at another person as if they are an object. And maybe this permission is inherent in all performance, but it was particularly palpable in this show.
As nude performers stood facing each other in a doorway, people stared, considered, and dared one another to pass through the space between them. I watched a group of middle-aged women pass through, one by one, high-fiving each other and giggling as they reached the other side.
In a moving installation called Luminosity, a nude woman displays herself on a pedastal high on a gallery wall, framed by a rectangle of white light, her arms splayed Christ-like. Her position, displayed as art object on the wall rather than within the visitor’s space, made looking the easy and obvious response. It was a fascinating contrast with the the performers on the gallery floor–a study in the subtle rules that govern looking.