Thursday, May 21, 2015

Disruptive Innovations: Reordering the Barnes Foundation

Few business buzzphrases draw as much interest (and ire) as “disruptive innovation.”  Disrupt or die, the thinking goes. Old orders must make way for new. At the Barnes Foundation, home of Dr. Albert Barnes’ meticulously and idiosyncratically ordered collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces left just so since his death in 1951, three artistic innovators aim at questioning and challenging Dr. Barnes’ old order. Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things invites three award-winning, contemporary installation artists to disrupt the existing paradigm at the Barnes and assist us in seeing Dr. Barnes and his collection in a whole new way. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Disruptive Innovations: Reordering the Barnes Foundation."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Body Language: Why Comics Still (and May Always) Get Women Heroes Wrong

Unlike comics creators of the past, comics creators of the present can’t be faulted for not trying to make better female comic superheroes. The days of Wonder Woman acting as the secretary for the Justice Society of America are thankfully long gone — artifacts of a sexist past. Yet no matter how hard they try, comics never seem to be able to turn the genderist tide. Now Marvel Comics comes out with A-Force #1 (shown above), a female version of the Avengers currently blockbustering at a googleplex near you. But, alas, as Jill Lepore points out, “They all look like porn stars.” Why do comics still get women heroes wrong? Is it the limitations of the medium or a body language we can’t help but read and respond to? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Body Language: Why Comics Still (and May Always) Get Women Heroes Wrong."

The Glam-Ur-ous Life: Archaeology and Modern Art

When British archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered in December 1927 the tomb of Puabi, the queen/priestess of the Sumerian city of Ur during the First Dynasty of Ur more than 4,000 years ago, the story rivaled that of Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt just five years earlier. “Magnificent with jewels,” as Woolley described it, Puabi’s tomb contained the bodies of dozens of attendants killed to accompany her in the afterlife — the ideal material for a headline-grabbing PR campaign that momentarily shouldered Tut out of the spotlight. A new exhibit at New York’s The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World titled From Ancient to Modern: Archaeology and Aesthetics puts Puabi back in the spotlight to examine how archaeology and aesthetics intersected, transforming ancient art into modern and making modern art strive to be ancient. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "The Glam-Ur-ous Life: Archaeology and Modern Art."

Eye Opening: Modern Art and the Early Days of American Television

By the 1960s, the two most criticized art forms in America were modern art and television.  Some critics called modern art mystifying junk, while others targeted TV as anything from trash to a threat to democracy. Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television at The Jewish Museum, New York, hopes to redeem both media by exploring how modern art provided an ethos and aesthetic for early television — a debt repaid later as television, in turn, inspired a new generation of modern artists, including Andy Warhol, who began as a modernist-influenced graphic designer for, among other clients, television networks. By looking back at modern art and television’s mutual love affair from the 1940s to the 1970s, Revolution of the Eye challenges us to reflect on the artistic aspirations of TV’s latest golden age. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Eye Opening: Modern Art and the Early Days of American Television."

The Shock of the New (and Old): The Whitney Museum’s New Home

With the May 1st grand opening to the public of its new building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the Whitney Museum launches a new era not only in the New York City art scene, but also, possibly, in the very world of museums. Thanks to a Renzo Piano-designed new building built, as Whitney Director Adam D. Weinberg put it, “from the inside out” to serve the interests of the art and the patrons first, the new Whitney and its classic collection of American art stretching back to 1900 has drawn excited raves and exasperated rants from critics. Their inaugural exhibition, America Is Hard to See, gathers together long-loved classic works with rarely seen newcomers to create a paradox of old and new to mirror the many paradoxes of the American history the art embodies and critiques by turns. This shock of the new (and old) is the must-see art event of the year. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "The Shock of the New (and Old): The Whitney Museum’s New Home."

Like a Rolling Stone: Was 1965 the Most Revolutionary Year in Music?

What do “Yesterday,” “Satisfaction,” “My Generation,” “The Sound of Silence,” “California Girls,” and “Like a Rolling Stone” all have in common? They were all hits in 1965, the year author Andrew Grant Jackson calls “the most revolutionary year in music.” In 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music, Jackson weaves a fascinating narrative of how popular music and social change influenced one another to create a year memorable not only for great music, but also for great progress in American culture. In this whirlwind tour of multiple genres of music as well as multiple pressing political issues, Jackson states a compelling case for 1965 as a key turning point in American music and society as well as provides a mirror for how music and society interact today, 50 years later. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Like a Rolling Stone: Was 1965 the Most Revolutionary Year in Music?"

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vision Loss: The Forgotten German Prophets Secretly Behind Modern Art

 The forgotten aspects of art history will always be the most intriguing. Digging up the dead storylines of art history, whether in the distant or the recent past, will never end, mostly thanks to forces that buried the facts, if not the bodies, for whatever agenda. Artists and Prophets: A Secret History of Modern Art 1872-1972 at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt resurrects German visionaries and Jesus wannabes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries to look at how their exploits and artistic creations helped shape the course of German and European modern art. It also shines light on how the impact of those figures fell into obscurity as another casualty of the ideological war waged by that most unfortunately unforgettable of German messianic aspirants — Adolf Hitler. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Vision Loss: The Forgotten German Prophets Secretly Behind Modern Art."