Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Picturing a Day With(out) Art

Today, December 1st, marks the 23rd observance of Day With(out) Art, the art world’s way of observing World AIDS Day. At the time of that first observance in 1989, the AIDS epidemic and public awareness of its extent seemed to reach an apex. With greater understanding of the disease itself—enough to prevent it in many cases, but still not enough to find a cure—the disease that took so many lives during those days and nearly decimated a generation of great artists seems more of a product of that ‘80s era than something still taking lives today. In marking this day of remembrance, artists around the world want to remind us of the magnitude of what we have lost as well as what we have to gain by eliminating the diseLinkase. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Picturing a Day With(out) Art."

[Image: Movie poster for Untitled, a film to be screened nationwide on December 1st, 2011. A list of screening locations can be found here. The trailer can be found here.]

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Bug That Saved the Renaissance

One of the odder cultural moments of the late 1970s that still sticks with me is the cinematic tour de force titled The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, the improbably story of a basketball team enjoying a renaissance after an astrologer gathers together a bunch of players born under the sign of Pisces (the “fish”), including Moses Guthrie (played by “Dr. J” Julius Erving in his finest film performance). Just as improbable as that “fish” saving a city is the idea of a bug (the bacteria Pseudomonas stutzeri, shown above) saving the Renaissance, or more specifically, the artwork of that era. If the use of bacteria to strip away the damaging grime proves to be a viable solution to previously hopeless conservation projects, saving the treasures of the past might become as easy as a slam dunk. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "The Bug That Saved the Renaissance."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do Great Artists Have More Sex?

Although I risk impinging on the territory of fellow Big Think blogger Marina Adshade of Dollars and Sex, I can’t help but comment on a recent report in The Guardian titled “When art breeds success in the bedroom: Does success as an artist bring you more sexual conquests? Well, yes and no, say researchers.Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research and chief organizer of the humorous and thought-provoking Ig Nobel prize, stumbled across an article in the Frontiers of Psychology titled “Status and Mating Success Amongst Visual Artists” written by UK researchers Helen Clegg, Daniel Nettle, and Dorothy Miell in which the trio argue that successful male artists have a lot of sex, whereas less successful male artists have less. When you talk about female artists, however, success means pretty much nothing at all when it came to their sex life. At the risk of going against their findings (and of sounding like Carrie from Sex and the City), is really true that great male artists have greater sex? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Do Great Artists Have More Sex?"