The ultimate in cheesy art

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Kitsch Art

I was walking around the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ, and saw these wonderfully horrible, cheesy art works. See that glow? The paintings have LED lights embedded in the canvases, so that your wall art takes on a whole new lit-up dimension! Imported from Turkey, these magical art works are available to light up your life! It’s like crossing the worst-possible Thomas Kinkade painting with a Lite-Brite set.

cheesy art at the Willowbrook Mall

NFL Football fans in cold weather

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Sports, Photo of the day

I’m watching an NFL playoff game, the Minnesota Vikings against the Seattle Seahawks, being played in Minnesota, so of course it’s really cold there. As I’m watching the game, the tv cameras pan over some fans in the stands, and I had to jump up and quickly snap this picture from the tv … what an interesting shot, don’t you think? I love how the fans with their winter apparel become a mass of dark shapes, and the sunlight is hitting just perfectly from behind so it’s almost like everyone’s got a halo of light around their heads.

NFL football fans watching a game in sub-zero temperatures

Digging up some East Village art gallery history

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Photo of the day

As a former resident of the East Village, I have many fond memories of the neighborhood. I happened upon a great Tumblr site yesterday, showcasing the photographs of Daniel Root. Mr. Root photo-documented the East Village of New York City in 1984, and went back in 2015 to revisit the locations of his pictures and document their current state. The picture that captured my attention was the image of Civilian Warfare Gallery (see below left), which in the early 1980s was located in the east storefront space of 526 East 11th Street, between Avenues A and B. This image was of interest to me because in the mid 1990s, I had my own art gallery – McKinney Arts – in the west storefront space of the same building (see below right). I knew there was some art history in that building, and knew specifically that Civilian Warfare had been there, but didn’t know which storefront they had occupied until I found Mr. Root’s photograph. I had also heard somewhere that the painter Grace Hartigan might have had her studio in the west storefront space, but have yet to find any confirmation of that.

At any rate, check out the appearance of the art galleries when they inhabited 526 East 11th Street at their separate times, and then scroll down to see a current view of the same respective storefront spaces. Obviously I’m a bit biased, but I’d say there’s not much exciting going on there now compared to before!

Civilian Warfare and McKinney Arts, East Village art galleries

view of 526 East 11th Street in the East Village

3,000 photographs of doors in New York City

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Photography

I was just introduced to the work of Roy Colmer (1935-2014), who was a painter, photographer, graphic designer, and video and film artist. One of his well-known projects is “Doors, NYC,” a series of over 3,000 photographs of doors from the streets of Manhattan, from Wall Street to Fort Washington. Colmer worked on this project between November 1975 and September 1976, and he moved through NYC on a daily basis, often by subway, from one neighborhood to another, and from one block to the next. The end result was a twelve-volume index, which maps the photographs by intersection, block, and side of the street (even or odd numbers). Colmer considered this to be a conceptual art work, with an exploration of the serial possibilities of photography. The images as a whole show the individual creation of urban space over time, and the presentation of that space through photography.

You can see the whole collection here, but we’ll pick out a few of our favorites to give you an idea of what some of his photographs looked like.

photographs of doors by Roy Colmer

photographs of doors in nyc by roy colmer

Fantastic industrial machines from old cigarette cards and Surrealist art

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Making an art history comparison, Vintage Illustrations

I love the images on these old cigarette cards from the U.K. in the late 19th/early 20th Century … they look like they could be props in a Jules Verne novel. From left we have: a steam turbine, a “modern” lighthouse lantern, and a “steam hammer.” It made me wonder, what was a steam hammer used for? I found out it was used for tasks such as shaping forgings and driving piles, and could deliver a 125-ton blow! Scroll down for more …

20th C industrial machines depicted on cigarette cards

It also makes me wonder if images like these might have served as inspiration for the Surrealist painters? These two paintings below, by Max Ernst (left) and Marcel Duchamp (right) have some elements that seem to reference early industrial machines.

paintings by Max Ernst and Marcel Duchamp

Robert Irwin and a photographic tribute to Willem de Kooning

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art News, Photography

The NY Times had an interesting article on the artist Robert Irwin in last Sunday’s newspaper. I have to admit I’m not very familiar with his work, but would like to learn more about an artist who “over the last half-century” has been “devising hugely ambitious public installations that are virtually guaranteed never to be realized.” How does that work? And wouldn’t that get frustrating after a while, let alone fifty years?

At any rate, what caught my eye was a picture of the artist from behind, surveying construction of one of his art works (top picture, below), photographed by Alex Marks for the New York Times. The imagery of an artist’s gray hair on a creased neck immediately brought to mind a photograph of Willem de Kooning by Duane Michals (scroll down to see it below).

What do you think – is Marks paying homage to Duane Michals? Or is this just a coincidence picked up by an art geek with a little too much time on his hands?

photographs of artists by Alex Marks and Duane Michals

Star Wars pancakes for breakfast, anyone?

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

The chef at the restaurant La Ricetta Zama in Japan makes cartoon pancakes … check out his pancake version of R2-D2 from Star Wars, below … scroll down for a look at how he makes these.

pancake by Japanese chef showing R2-D2 from Star Wars

I’m having a hard time finding the chef’s name – it appears to be “Keinagaki” from his Instagram feed, but it might be Keisuke as well. At any rate, I look at that R2-D2 pancake and wonder how does he do it? He’s actually not shy about sharing his technique – check out the photo sequence below – he starts by drawing the outlines using pancake batter from a bottle with a nozzle top, and lightly cooks it on the frying pan. Then he adds more layers, briefly cooking each to help distinguish the lines by how long they’ve cooked; then he fills in the rest, flips it, and voila! A cartoon pancake, ready to serve.

manga pancakes from Japanese chef

Found portraits, one accidental, one abstract

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Found art, Photo of the day, Street Art

I was out walking around doing a “photo stroll” and found two unexpected portraits, one which I believe is accidental, and one somewhat more-abstract. The image below left was seen on part of a concrete arch on a bridge in town, and the image of a “profile” seems to be accidental, with a large gray stone positioned nicely as an eye and a big head of “hair” and a shoulder made conveniently by a growth of moss. Do you see it too?

The portrait below right appears to be a stencil done with spray paint, but do you see the same “man” that I do here? I see an old man with a blue hat, a white mustache and beard, and wearing a yellow rain coat … or am I nuts? This was found on the top of a low stone wall also in my hometown of Glen Ridge, NJ.

one profile portrait and one old sailor stencil art

Finding Van Gogh’s Spots

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Art News

I was in Minneapolis visiting family over the holidays, and one of my art outings included a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to see their exhibition titled “Delacroix’s Influence.” The show was packed, and at times it was hard to get a good look at the art without crowds moving in front and around oneself at all times. As the title of the show indicates, it wasn’t just about Delacroix but also the artists that he influenced, one of whom was Van Gogh. One of the paintings in the show that held my attention was Van Gogh’s “Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun,” from November 1889. The subject matter of olive trees was also referenced in a subsequent Van Gogh article in the New York Times where the writer was on the trail of the artist during “Van Gogh Europe 2015,” a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death, in which there were events and exhibitions related to Van Gogh throughout the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

What grabbed my interest from this article were several photographs in which they had found locations where Van Gogh had painted some of his famous paintings. There are several different organizations and websites that allow one to track these spots, and to go see them with a comparison to the Van Gogh painting … one such example is shown for the Olive Trees painting below.

location where Van Gogh painted Olive Trees

Another real-photo-to-painting-comparison from the Times article was for Van Gogh’s “Starry Night Over the Rhone,” from 1888, pictured below left. The current-day photograph, below right, shows exactly how the lights from the town reflect over the water, and really brings to life what Van Gogh was seeing when he painted this picture 128 years ago. The only thing missing, however – and it’s a significant element – are the stars … there appear to be no visible stars in the photograph below. But it’s still fun to compare the two images side-by-side.

Van Gogh Starry Night Over the Rhone

Old Navy says artists should aspire to be President while a President aspires to be an artist

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Products we'd like to see

Old Navy is making news these days with their new t-shirts that suggest that kids should not be “young aspiring artists,” but with a cross-out of the word “artist” that gets replaced with the word “President” (among other things, such as “Astronaut”). President and Astronaut are certainly two things that are great things to aspire to, but we find it curious that aspiring to be an artist isn’t good enough? What does Old Navy have to say about the fact that a certain President – George W. Bush – has in recent years aspired to be an artist? (and for history buffs, President Dwight Eisenhower and Prime Minister Winston Churchill were avid painters as well) We’ve got a few more t-shirt ideas here in response to Old Navy’s recent marketing.

Old Navy George W Bush aspiring artist

Old Navy aspiring artist t-shirts