Showing posts from 2015

Is De-Skilling Killing Your Arts Education?

I wish I could say this academic prejudice against skill was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it is stronger now than it has ever been. Conceptualism replaced abstraction as the dogma of the day, and has been in turn replaced by Postmodern hybridity, identity politics, or pure theory on the majority of college campuses. As in all educational endeavors, young minds are molded to fit the norm their professors set forth. De-skilling is the term I've commonly heard used to describe this odd institutional practice in the arts. The idea that you might train a surgeon to be clumsy, or an engineer to build poorly, or a lawyer to ignore law, would be patently absurd. In the arts, however, you will find an occasional musician who purposely plays badly, or a writer who ignores grammar, but only in the visual arts is training in the traditional skills of the profession systematically and often institutionally denigrated.
Graydon Parrish. Coi Burrus as Sappho, 2010, oil on linen

The Surprising and Stunning Photography of Andrey Yakovlef and Lili Aleeva

The French writer Francoise Sagan once said “Art must take reality by surprise.” I think that applies especially to the art of photography. Photography today shares with architecture a double function: it must be both pragmatic and sublime. Buildings combine form and function. They must stand no matter how artistic and innovative they may be from an architectural point of view. Likewise, the best fashion photography of our times is innovative, surprising and stunning and at the same time very practical and flexible. It conforms to the advertising needs of each client while also staging a new invention and offering a novel surprise in each photo shoot. Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva Few combine the pragmatic and creative functions of photography as well as Moscow-based photographer Andrey Yakovlev and art director Lili Aleeva. World-famous for the gorgeous models, elegant fashions, inventive sets, and above all creative photo series that never fail to surprise and impress viewers, Yako…

High-stakes art world

This is bad news for people who spend millions on art
In the high-stakes art world, a fear of lawsuits is putting a muzzle on authenticators.
“Art is about life and the art world is about money,” Damien Hirst famously said. And with the European Fine Art Foundation estimating $57.3 billion in global art sales last year, his observation has never rung more true. But as art prices soar, ensuring the authenticity of one’s artwork (read: its value) is becoming an increasingly muddled and costly affair. Four years ago, the Andy Warhol Foundation dissolved its authentication board, the official arbiter holding sway over which works are certified as those of the artist’s and those that are not. Embroiled in a series of lawsuits after rejecting the validity of questionable pieces, Red Self-Portrait (1965) among them, the board decided it could no longer bear the financial toll of continuously defending itself against disgruntled collectors, even though they had signed agreements in advance, bi…

teenaged Rembrandt discovered !

Has a long-lost painting by a teenaged Rembrandt been discovered in New Jersey?
The small oil on board sold for $870,000—1,000 times above its high estimate—and is suspected to be part of the artist’s earliest series on the Five Senses, made while he was still a student.
A painting catalogued simply as “Oil on Board, Triple Portrait with Lady Fainting” sold today, 22 September for $870,000 at Nye & Company Auctions in Bloomfield, New Jersey, against an estimate of $500-$800. The sleeper hit (lot 216), is believed to be a long-lost panel by a teenaged Rembrandt.

The 12.5in x 10in panel was described by the auction house as “Continental School, 19thC, appears unsigned”, and potential buyers were advised that the condition included “paint loss, some restoration to paint, wood cracks”. The painting shows an unconscious young woman with a handkerchief (presumably holding smelling salts) held to her nose by an older figure, while a man (perhaps her husband) looks on. 
The painting had been …


The origin of sunglasses dates back to the eighteen century, when the noblewomen and gentlemen of Venice began feeling the need to protect their skin, but also their eyes, from the reflections on the water of the Lagoon. Venetian noblewomen who wanted to protect their skin during the navigation of the city’s canals on board of the typical gondolas would use a sort of hand-held mirror made of green lens (the typical color of the Venetian glass, obtained by a mysterious and unknown material) that were called gondola glasses or vetri di dama. These can be considered as the very first attempt to protect the eyes and skin from the rays of sunshine. But Venetian opticians were also the first in Italy who started producing eyeglasses for men with temple pieces that reached to the ear, holding the lenses on the nose, in the way we still wear them today. This type of male sunglasses was known as Goldoni glasses and even …

the 'Mona Lisa' Smile

Scientists Discover the Legendary Secret Behind
the 'Mona Lisa' Smile One of the greatest mysteries in art history has been solved: British academics say they have discovered the secret behind the smile ofLeonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa by studying a recently discovered portrait by the Renaissance master, La BellaPrincipessa. By comparing the techniques employed in the two works, scientists from Sheffield Hallam University claim to have proved that the enigmatic "now you see it, now you don''t" effect of the Mona Lisa smile was intentional on the part of da Vinci. They have named it "the uncatchable smile." The epiphany came by studying La BellaPrincipessa. The earlier painting, which portraits the young illegitimate daughter of a Milanese Duke, has the same effect as the Mona Lisa: from some angles the young lady seems to be smiling, from others, the smile appears to have vanished. "La Bella Principessa's mouth appears to change slant de…

Vadim Stein's Sculptural Photography

Given his background, it’s not that surprising that Vadim Stein’s photographyhas a sculptural–even monumental–look to it. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Stein studied sculpture restoration. He also worked as an actor and lighting designer, fields which play a significant role in his sculptures, in which carefully chosen lighting helps create the folds and shapes of the the people he photographs, often in staged and dramatic positions. photo by Vadim Stein Of course, “people” may not be the right word to describe the beautiful women, often nude and partially wrapped in stretched out fabrics, that Stein usually photographs. Each of them has a perfect, dancer’s body. Their sinuous forms and muscular shapes can be detected even underneath the cloth that envelops them. There’s a classical perfection in the figurative photography of Vadim Stein. That too is no accident, since classical aesthetics has influenced this philosophical photographer. photo by Vadim Stein As we recall, for Plato beauty an…