Readymades, Functional Art, and Art for Art’s Sake

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Contemporary Art, Products we'd like to see, Sculpture

We have a new feature in our Investigations section which explains and gives examples of three types of art, including readymades, functional art and art for art’s sake.

As a sneak preview, we’ll include a piece here which is a bonus beyond what you’ll see in the feature: this trio of sheep are by the French artist François-Xavier Lalanne (1927–2008) and are seen by most as sculpture. But they are also “functional art” in that they could be used as seating or foot rests. But before you rest your muddy sneakers on top of these sheep, keep in mind they have an auction value of anywhere from high 6 figures to over a million bucks!

Mouton trio by Francois Xavier Lalanne

Icons of Black History via Street Art

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Historical Figures in Art, Murals, Street Art

Check out our new feature on iconic figures of Black History via street art. It’s a collection of personal photographs taken throughout the United States as well as a couple from Paris, France, featuring important historical figures, including Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Nina Simone, Martin Luther King Jr., and several more.

Pictured below are two street art pieces featuring Jimi Hendrix, including one in Jersey City (below left, with Jimi as the centerpiece flanked by Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison), and one in Santa Fe (below right). Click on the image below or on the link above to see more.

Jimi Hendrix graffiti murals in Jersey City and Santa Fe

Francesco Clemente is bringing the heat

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Artist Spotlight

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I’d like to get outside and get some exercise, but it’s pretty darn hot out there – it’s about 95° right now, not exactly a motivating temperature for exercise. It made me wonder, what are some art works that depict intense heat? The first one that came to mind was Francisco Clemente’s “Sun” from 1980, pictured below. The man is laying in bed, with the hot sun beating down on him through his bedroom window, and he’s just laying there sweating. It’s a little hard to read the imagery of sweat on the main full picture, so I’ve included a detail of his face with the beads of sweat everywhere.

Painting titled Sun, featuring a sweating man, by Francesco Clemente

Another Clemente painting which gives the feeling of “heat” is this painting, titled “Fire,” from 1982. The man’s expression suggests that he’s uncomfortable, and the texture of the red and yellow watercolor paint seems to suggest a pretty intense heat. I think I’ll stay right where I am, next to my air conditioner.

Francesco Clemente painting titled Fire from 1982, watercolor on paper

An artist laughing at himself with his goofy hats

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Artist Spotlight

I happened upon the self-portraits of the artist Jean-Étienne Liotard, and found a couple things amusing. One, he often seems to be wearing goofy hats, and two, if you pair up his self-portrait from 1770 (below left) with his self-portrait from 1744 (below right), he appears to be pointing to and laughing at his younger self.

Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702 – 1789) was a Swiss-born painter, art connoisseur and dealer. From what I can gather, his style of hats and clothes were inspired by a trip to Istanbul and Turkish fashion. Another interesting thing about Liotard was that he was known for depicting most of his subjects as smiling, despite the usual approach of a serious expression for formal portraits. You have to appreciate a guy who laughs and has a good time, especially while painting himself!

Self portraits by Jean Etienne Liotard

Pieter van der Borcht the Elder sums up American Politics in the 21st Century

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Political Art

With the conclusion of the Republican National Convention last night, and the start of the Democratic National Convention next week, it seems like a crazy time in American politics. With that in mind, this 16th-century Dutch engraving by Pieter van der Borcht the Elder seems like a good summery of American politics in current times: the large fantastical animal (America) has a large number of heads of various other animals (different political beliefs) sprouting from its body. No one seems terribly happy as they stumble forward … let’s hope they can make it to the zoo and be appreciated for their diversity.

Pieter van der Borcht the Elder

Barbara Kruger-inspired ads for Hillary Clinton?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Political Art

I tend not to get political on the Artsology blog, other than from an observational point of view every once in a while. When I opened up the New York Times website on my computer this morning, I was “greeted” by a huge banner ad featuring Donald Trump’s face with a big “NO” covering it up (see below left). The first thing I thought of when I saw this ad was: is the artist Barbara Kruger providing inspiration for this message? While the yellow coloring in the ad (paid for by “The Hillary Victory Fund”) differs from Kruger’s standard red that she uses in almost all of her art, the style of presentation certainly matched up well with this untitled piece from 1985, which just so happens to be in the collection of the Smithsonian.

Barbara Kruger No

Angela Rogers from the HAI Art Studios

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Fairs, Artist Spotlight, Outsider Art

“HAI” is the “Healing Arts Initiative,” an arts studio in Long Island City, Queens, which is a gathering place for artists who are living with a mental disabilities. The two paintings here are by Angela Rogers, a self-taught artist, singer, poet, and performer who was born in 1963 in Marmet, West Virginia and grew up in Salisbury, North Carolina. At left is “Carnival of the Trinity,” and at right is “Carnival of the Beastie.” Scroll down for more info …

Angela Rogers from the HAI Art Studios in Queens

The artist says: “Painting is a cathartic experience for me. My goal as a painter is to go back to that pure and wise child state of mind where imagination holds no limits or boundaries. I’m inspired by things connected to the occult and the esoteric, such as archetypes in tarot cards. The text in my paintings is stream of consciousness/automatic writing, written freestyle in that particular moment. For me its a form of channeling information from a deep primal place.”

We saw these paintings at the 2014 Outsider Art Fair in NYC.

The woman in the tree, Lambertville, NJ

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Photo of the day, Street photography

When I originally took this photograph of a face painted onto the surface of a sawed-off tree-limb, I was taking the picture simply because I found the art in an unexpected place to be somewhat interesting. But now that I look at the picture on my computer, it strikes me that the painted tree face has a slight resemblance to the woman walking by, who seems to be giving me a not-so-happy look about being included in the picture. I wish I could say that I planned on composing the photograph this way, but in this case, it was just lucky. (photograph taken while walking the streets of Lambertville, NJ)

face painted on tree stump in Lambertville NJ

Real landscape, fabricated scale

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art project, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Photography

I took a photograph of some funky-looking moss near the beach, and when looking at it on my computer, it seemed to lend itself to fabricating a larger-scale landscape image … what do you think these guys are waiting for? Or looking for? They’ve got the getaway car ready …

What would your guess be as to the real scale of this “landscape?”

mysterious photo with men on a beach

I’ll let you in on the secret … the “beach” is about an inch and a half long in real life. It’s a broken sea shell.