Wednesday, October 15, 2014
“If you love someone,” pop star Sting sang years ago, “set them free.” Sometimes the first rule of love is forgetting all the rules that constrain the object of one’s affection, while trusting that the beloved will return on their own. Nineteenth century British artist J.M.W. Turner knew all the rules of painting from the Old Master tradition, but once he reached his seventh decade and found himself an Old Master, he began cutting ties to the old rules of his beloved painting and set it (and himself) free. The results, on glorious display at the Tate Britain’s exhibition Late Turner: Painting Set Free, heralded new
directions in art followed by the Impressionists and nearly every modern art movement to follow. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Turner Loved Painting, So He Set It Free."
Monday, February 25, 2013
Nothing hurts like a blown call. Baseball’s bittersweet beauty owes much to moments such as Umpire Jim Joyce’s missing a call to rob Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game, that rarest of baseball feats, in 2010. In baseball, calls are irreversible. In the world of art criticism, however, a blown call can be reversed, sometimes years and years later. In the February 2013 issue of Art News, Ann Landi chronicles cases of art critics changing their minds. Split Decisions: When Critics Change Their Minds gently, but firmly pulls away the curtain of infallibility from the world of art critics, whether they like it or not. But more important than documenting these moments of minds changed is raising the question of what makes art critics change their minds. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "What Makes Art Critics Change Their Minds?"
[Image: Cy Twombly. Fifty Days at Iliam. Shield of Achilles, 1978. Oil, oil crayon, and graphite on canvas.]
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
When I found out today about the death of American artist Cy Twombly at age 83, I quickly ran a gauntlet of reactions: one, I have to write about him; two, how do I write about the one major American artist I (like many others) just don’t “get.” The scribbles and seemingly random marks of Twombly’s art just didn’t speak to me, regardless of how hard I strained to hear them. Now that the man is gone and the art remains, I feel compelled to give him one more try. Twombly, the stereotypical “My kid could do that!” modern artist, is dead, but maybe the inner child he channeled in his work lives on. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Cy Twombly’s Inner Child Lives on."
[Image: Cy Twombly. Sunset, 1957. Oil, pencil, and crayon on canvas. 142.5 x 195 cm. © Cy Twombly.]
Friday, March 11, 2011
“I could paint that!” Or, “Even a monkey could paint that!” Walk through any museum or gallery containing modern abstract art and you’ll most likely hear similar sentiments from those who think little of abstract art and those who make it. There’s no difference between the paintings selling for thousands and sometimes millions and the finger painting of children in kindergarten, or so the argument goes. A recent study published by two psychologists argues against that idea by showing statistically that people can tell when an abstract painting is done by an adult human. Their experiment asked people with no, little, or much art knowledge to distinguish works by an adult human painter found in an art history book from artwork by a human child, a gorilla, a chimpanzee, an elephant, and, yes, even a monkey. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Even a Monkey."
[Image: Cy Twombly. Untitled (Scenes from an Ideal Marriage), 1986. Oilstick; oil and water color on paper 52 x 72 cm. (20.5 x 28 in.). © Cy Twombly.]