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kottke.org posts about Art

Sunburn Photographic Printing

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 27, 2023

an arm with a photo 'sunburnt' onto it with a UV light

a person's back with a photo 'sunburnt' onto it with a UV light

a person's stomach with a photo 'sunburnt' onto it with a UV light

For his project Illustrated People, Thomas Mailaender imprinted photographic images onto people’s skin by shining a UV light through negatives. The visual effect created is not unlike that of a sunburn but it goes away as soon as the skin is exposed to light. I wonder…does it hurt like a sunburn?

The Knitting Clock

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 26, 2023

Knitting Clock

Artist Siren Elise Wilhelmsen designed a clock that knits while it tells time — the clock makes one two-meter long scarf every 365 days.

Time is manifested in physical objects; in things that grow, develop or extinguish. Time is an ever forward-moving force and I wanted to make a clock based on times true nature, more than the numbers we have attached to it.

(via clive thompson)

Light Painted Landscapes

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 25, 2023

a bright circle of light over a rocky desert landscape

bright diagonal lines of light over a rocky desert landscape

It’s been a bit since we’ve checked in on artist Reuben Wu, who uses drones to paint (sculpt?) with light in the sky over dark landscapes. Most of his recent stuff seems to be video on his Instagram account but I pulled a couple of photos of his that I haven’t featured before. Always inspiring stuff worth exploring.

The Rijksmuseum Brings All the Vermeers to the Yard

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 24, 2023

Johannes Vermeer's painting, The Girl with a Pearl Earring

Wow! A forthcoming exhibition at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will bring together 23 of the 37 known paintings by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, including The Girl with a Pearl Earring. As the museum’s website says: “Never before have so many Vermeers been brought together”.

The exhibition will include masterpieces such as The Girl with a Pearl Earring (Mauritshuis, The Hague), The Geographer (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main), Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid (The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin) and Woman Holding a Balance (The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC).

Works never before shown to the public in the Netherlands will include the newly restored Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.

This page lists all of the works that will appear in the exhibition — you can click on the title of any of the artworks to see a zoomable high-resolution image of the painting, e.g. The Milkmaid or Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window.

Johannes Vermeer's painting, The Milkmaid

Johannes Vermeer's painting, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window

Accompanying the exhibition is an online guided tour of Vermeer’s works, narrated in English by Stephen Fry. The History Blog raved about the tour:

This is one of the best virtual exhibitions I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of them. It is written in a personable, light-hearted style that still manages to be incredibly information-rich. The way they zoom into the detail of the paintings to illustrate the commentary is flawlessly paced and takes full advantage of the ultra-high resolution photographs. Fry explains changes Vermeer made based on the most recent imaging and research into his process. There are also annotated areas of each painting which you can click on for a shot of additional information. The notes open in windows that have click-through images, so every note is really multiple notes. Then when you’re done exploring the nooks and crannies, you click back to the main tour and the narration picks up where you left off. Whoever designed this is a content management genius, seriously.

The exhibition runs at the Rijksmuseum from February 10 to June 4, 2023 — but note that The Girl with a Pearl Earring will only be available for viewing until March 30, at which point the painting will return to Mauritshuis in The Hague. I….think I might have to get to Amsterdam to go see this?

Lessons on How to Draw by Hokusai

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 23, 2023

In 1812, Japanese woodblock print artist Katsushika Hokusai, who would later become famous for his iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa prints, published a three-volume series called Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing. All three volumes are available online: one, two, three. Even if you’re not in the market for drawing lessons, the pages are wonderful to flip through.

a page from Hokusai's Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing

a page from Hokusai's Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing

a page from Hokusai's Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing

a page from Hokusai's Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing

a page from Hokusai's Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing

a page from Hokusai's Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing

a page from Hokusai's Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing

(via open culture)

The Embroidered Supermarket

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 19, 2023

embroidered sculpture of sardine tins

embroidered sculpture of a Pepsi can

embroidered sculpture of Oreo cookies

embroidered sculpture of a Campbell's tomato soup can

Textile artist Alicja Kozlowska’s Embroidered Ordinaries series recalls the the pop art of Warhol & Lichtenstein and Andreas Gursky’s 99 Cent II Diptychon while also being firmly contemporary. There’s maybe a Duchamp/readymade something something riff in there? I dunno, I’m not an art critic, just a fan. Anyway, I love how detailed these are — remarkably true-to-life for objects that are embroidered. (via colossal)

How Beautiful Japanese Manhole Covers Are Made

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 17, 2023

From steel scrap to testing the final product with a ton of water pressure, here’s how Japanese manhole covers are made. The video is perhaps a little long in parts, so I would not blame you for skipping ahead to ~12:10 to see how some of the covers are hand-painted in brilliant color.

See also Japanese Manhole Covers Are Beautiful.

Gio Swaby’s Colorful Textile Portraits

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 13, 2023

fabric portrait by Gio Swaby

fabric portrait by Gio Swaby

fabric portrait by Gio Swaby

fabric portrait by Gio Swaby

I am loving these vibrant fabric portraits by Bahamian artist Gio Swaby (Instagram). Here’s a brief statement of work from her website (italics mine):

Gio Swaby is a Bahamian visual artist whose practice is an exploratory celebration of Blackness and womanhood. Her work centres on Black joy as a radical act of resistance. It works through the philosophy of love as liberation and explores pathways of healing and empowerment. It allows space for both the strong and soft to coexist.

(via colossal)

Everyday Paper Mâché

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 10, 2023

a stack of National Geographic magazines made from paper mâché

a junk drawer made from paper mâché

a stack of books made from paper mâché

a record player made from paper mâché

Bernie Kaminski makes everyday objects out of paper mâché and posts the results to his Instagram account. At a glance, you wouldn’t be able to tell that some of these weren’t real and then after a moment you’re like, waaaait a minute… At any rate, the twee design aesthetic here is off the charts. (via @thoughtbrain)

Lego’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 06, 2023

Lego set based on The Great Wave Off Kanagawa

As part of the company’s effort to get more adults building with bricks, LEGO has released an 1810-piece set based on Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Here’s the only problem: it’s sold out online (and on Amazon as well). Perhaps you can find one at your local toy store?

If you were lucky enough to procure a set, Lego has produced an 85-minute audio piece about The Great Wave that you can listen to while you’re putting it together. The piece includes interviews with woodblock printer David Bull, Alfred Haft, curator of Japanese Art at the British Museum, and anime & manga scholar Susan Napier. Very cool.

Meet the Artists Behind the USPS’s Upcoming ‘Art of the Skateboard’ Stamps

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 03, 2023

Last month, the US Postal Service revealed some stamps that are due to be released in 2023. Alongside a stamp honoring John Lewis and some cool microphotography stamps are a series of four stamps featuring the Art of the Skateboard.

the USPS 'Art of the Skateboard' stamps

Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps, which feature skateboard decks created by four different artists:

Di’Orr Greenwood is a member of the Najavo Nation who does pyrographic art, burning images into the wooden decks of some of the boards she designs. Greenwood also carves cedar wood flutes and teaches skateboarding. From her Instagram, one of decks she’s designed recently:

a skateboard deck designed by Di'Orr Greenwood

William James Taylor Jr. is a prolific self-taught artist from Virginia. You can check out his work on Instagram and buy a bunch of decks with his designs — here are just a few of them:

skateboard decks designed by William James Taylor Jr.

Crystal Worl is “Tlingit Athabascan from Raven moiety, Sockeye Clan, from the Raven House” who currently lives and works in Juneau, Alaska. Her Instagram is here and here’s a recent deck from her website:

a skateboard deck designed by Crystal Worl

Federico Frum is a street mural artist from Colombia who is based in Washington DC; he operates under the name MasPaz. From his Instagram, a recent desk design:

a skateboard deck designed by Federico Frum

I’m excited to get some of these stamps when they come out later in the year. (via lizzie armanto)

Our First Closeup Image of Mars Was a Paint-By-Numbers Pastel Drawing

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 30, 2022

Pastel drawing of the surface of Mars

On July 15, 1965, NASA’s Mariner 4 probe flew within 6,118 miles of the surface of Mars, capturing images as it passed over the planet. The image data was transmitted back to scientists on Earth, but they didn’t have a good way to quickly render a photograph from it. They determined that the fastest way to see what Mariner 4 had seen was to print out the imaging data as a series of numbers, paste them into a grid, buy a set of pastels from a nearby art store, and do a paint-by-numbers job with the pastels on the data grid. The result (pictured above) was the first closeup representation of the surface of an extraterrestrial planet — in color, no less!

After the flyby of the planet it would take several hours for computers to process a real image. So while they were waiting, the engineers thought of different ways of taking the 1’s and 0’s from the actual data and create an image. After a few variations, it seemed most efficient to print out the digits and color over them based upon how bright each pixel was. So Mr. Grumm went to a local art store and asked for a set of chalk with different shades of gray. The art store replied that they “did not sell chalk” (as that was apparently too low for them, only convenience stores sold “chalk”), but they did have colored pastels. Richard did not want to spend a lot of time arguing with them, so he bought the pastels (actual pastels seen below), had the 1’s and 0’s printed out on ticker tape about 3in wide, and his team colored them by their brightness level (color key seen below).

Here’s a closer view of the pastels and numbers:

detail of a pastel drawing of the surface of Mars

The choice of color palette was serendipitous:

Though he used a brown/red color scheme, the thought that Mars was red did not enter his mind. He really was looking for the colors that best represented a grey scale, since that was what they were going to get anyway. It is uncanny how close his color scheme is to the actual colors of Mars. It’s as if they came right out of current images of the planet.

Compare with the photography we’re getting from Curiosity these days; we’ve come a long way in the last 60 years. (via @jenniferrrrrroberts and robin sloan)

A Timeline of the Evolution of Western Art Movements

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 20, 2022

From Behind the Masterpiece, a whirlwind summary of evolution of Western art movements, from prehistoric art to the Renaissance to Romanticism to Impressionism to Cubism and beyond. 23 minutes seems like the sweet spot for this kind of thing: any shorter and there wouldn’t be time to give the viewer a sense of each movement but if it were 40 minutes, perhaps many fewer people would be enticed to watch. (via open culture)

Genetic Portraits: Split Multi-Generational Portraits of Family Members

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 13, 2022

Genetic Portraits

Genetic Portraits

Genetic Portraits

I’m not going to actually look, but I’ve probably featured Ulric Collette’s series Genetic Portraits here before. Collette photographed family members in the same pose and then digitally stitched them together. The resemblances and differences between family members are fascinating. (via jenni leder)

Update: A similar series by Bobby Neel Adams. (via @geedix)

Update: See also these similar paintings by Daevid Anderson.

Love a Good Train Station Mosaic

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 05, 2022

Dang, look at these new mosaics by Kiki Smith and Yayoi Kusama for Grand Central Madison, the MTA’s newest LIRR station.

mosaic in Grand Central Madison by Kiki Smith

detail of mosaic in Grand Central Madison by Yayoi Kusama

detail of mosaic in Grand Central Madison by Kiki Smith

As a former (and future?) New Yorker, I know a lot of the city’s dwellers appreciate the MTA’s commitment to public art and to mosaics in particular. Like the Dude’s rug, it really ties the city together.

China’s Van Goghs

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 01, 2022

I did not mean to watch an entire 75-minute documentary in the middle of my workday, but this sucked me right in and it might do the same to you. Zhao Xiaoyong is one of thousands of painters in Dafen, China who hand-paint replicas of famous paintings by the likes of Matisse, Degas, Renoir, Leonardo, and Kahlo. But a favorite artist amongst many of them, including Zhao, is Vincent van Gogh.

Zhao says, “I’ve been painting his paintings for nearly 20 years. I want to see the originals.” He works from photos of paintings and believes his work will be better if he can see them in person. And so, he and a few others make the trip to Europe — to visit a buyer of their paintings in the Netherlands, to see the originals of their replicas in the Van Gogh Museum, and to visit some of the places he lived and worked. It quickly becomes a spiritual journey. On a street in Arles, they came across a scene that van Gogh painted in 1888:

Here we are! Oh, it is like this. Things from a hundred years ago are still here. See, the sky in my picture is so blue. The sky is so blue! Van Gogh also painted this picture at dusk. Now I know why his sky is so bright. It was at dusk when he painted. Just like how we experienced today. It’s just like that.

Never having painted from life before but inspired by the scene, Zhao paints the scene as van Gogh would have more than a century before — that is, as van Gogh would have stood there painting but also in the artist’s signature style and informed by Zhao’s deep knowledge of having made many replicas of that specific painting over the years.

After his trip, while sitting around a dinner table with friends, Zhao asks, “Have I become an artist? Do I have anything that deserves appreciation?” and it’s not difficult to imagine any number of painters and artists throughout the centuries and asking themselves those same questions over dinner and drink. Fascinating documentary.

P.S. You can follow and buy Zhao’s work on Instagram. (via open culture)

My Recent Media Diet, Spring 2022 Edition

posted by Jason Kottke   May 07, 2022

Well hey there, it’s been a few months, so it’s time for another roundup of what I’ve been reading, watching, listening to, and experiencing recently. In addition to the stuff below, I have a few things in progress: the second season of Russian Doll, Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks, and I just started dipping into Rebecca Woolf’s forthcoming memoir, All of This. Oh, and I’m listening to Russell Shorto’s The Island at the Center of the World on audiobook and the third season of Michael Lewis’ Against the Rules podcast. All always, don’t sweat the letter grades too much.

Everything Everywhere All at Once. This movie is a little bit of a miracle: action, comedy, heartfelt, and a little bit of a mess, all together in a perfect balance. This is the best movie I’ve seen in ages. (A+)

Encanto. The kids and I liked it fine. (B+)

The Expanse (season six). I’m going to miss spending time in this world with these people. (A-)

Matrix by Lauren Groff. Was delighted and moved by this work of historical fiction about Marie de France. (A)

Station Eleven. I loved the slow burn and resolution of this show. I didn’t think I wanted to watch a TV show about a flu pandemic causing the end of civilization, but it was actually perfect. Both actresses who played Kirsten were fantastic. (A/A+)

The Last Duel. Every director is entitled to their Rashomon I guess? And I’m not sure Matt Damon was the right choice here… (B)

Pig. Had no idea what to expect from this one. Even so, Taken + Truffle Hunters + Fight Club + Ratatouille was a surprise. (B+)

Strafford ice cream. This Black-owned dairy farm makes the richest, creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had. So glad I randomly bought a pint of it a few months ago…I’m never going back to anything else. (A)

Severance. Fantastic opening credits sequence and while I wasn’t as enamored as many were after the first few episodes, the show definitely grew on me. (A-)

My Brilliant Friend (season three). I don’t know why there’s no more buzz about this show. The acting, world-building, story, and Max Richter’s soundtrack are all fantastic. And the fight against fascism! (A)

The Gilded Age. Exactly what I wanted out of a period drama from the maker of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park. (B+)

Exhalation. Second time through, this time on audiobook. I love these stories - Chiang is a genius. (A)

The Book of Boba Fett. This turned into season 2.5 of The Mandalorian and I am totally ok with that. (B+)

Other People’s Money podcast. As a snack-sized in-between season for his excellent Against the Rules podcast, Michael Lewis revisits his first book, Liar’s Poker, written about his experience working for Salomon Brothers in the 80s. (A-)

The King’s Man. Not as fun as the first movie but more fun than the second one? But they all could be better. (B)

Turning Red. I loved Domee Shi’s short film, Bao, and this film is similarly clever and heartfelt. (A-)

Drive My Car. Really appreciated the cinematography of this one; wish I could have seen it in the theater. (A-)

Jennifer Packer at The Whitney. I was unfamiliar with Packer’s work before seeing this exhibition, but I’m a fan now. (A-)

Licorice Pizza. I’m really flabbergasted at the two pointless racist scenes in this film. PT Anderson is a better filmmaker than this. It’s a shame because I enjoyed the rest of the film — the two leads are great. Can’t recommend it though. (D)

Death on the Nile. These movies are fun. Sometimes all you want to do is watch Kenneth Branagh chew scenery as Hercule Poirot. (B+)

Moonfall. Not as fun or coherent (I know, lol) as some of Emmerich’s other movies. The acting in this is…not great. (C+)

Hawkeye. Fun but I don’t know how many more Marvel things I want to keep up with. (B)

Spider-Man: No Way Home. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is always fun. (B+)

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Better than the overcomplicated sequel and Mikkelsen was a better Grindelwald than Depp. The story wrapped up so nicely that who knows if there will be a fourth movie. (B)

The Tragedy of Macbeth. Brilliant cinematography and set design. (B+)

The Batman. Oh I don’t know. I guess this was a pretty decent detective story, but I’m not sure why Batman needed to be involved. (B)

The Northman. This would have been much better had it ended 20 minutes sooner. Not sure we needed another movie that concludes with ultimately pointless violent masculine revenge. (B-)

Kimi. Soderbergh does Rear Window + The Conversation. The direction is always tight and Zoë Kravitz is great in this. (A-)

The Mysterious Benedict Society. The kids and I enjoyed this solid adaptation of the first book of a popular series. (B+)

Armageddon. The pace of this movie is incredible — it just drops you right into the action and never stops for more than 2 hours. Also, the top question when searching this movie title on Google is “Is Armageddon movie a true story?” *sigh* (B-)

Past installments of my media diet are available here.

Clever Cutout Portraits

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 28, 2022

Rudy Willingham holds up paper cutouts of people (and Muppets!) against carefully chosen backgrounds and photographs the results, resulting in these witty portraits.

cutout portrait of Big Bird

cutout portrait of Beyonce

cutout portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

cutout portrait of Prince

You can find more of Willingham’s work across his various social media platforms: website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

Octopuses, Seahorses, and the Amazing Biodiversity of the Ocean

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 27, 2022

a colorful drawing of several different kinds of octopuses

a colorful drawing of several different kinds of seahorse

Zoe Keller’s Ocean Biodiversity Print Series celebrates the diversity of the animals that live in the sea. Each of the four prints concerns a different sea creature or region of the ocean: the octopus, the jellyfish, the seahorse, and the deep sea. (via dense discovery)

Spoiler Paintings

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 26, 2022

Spoiler Paintings by Mario Garcia Torres

Spoiler Paintings by Mario Garcia Torres

Spoiler Paintings by Mario Garcia Torres

For his series of Spoiler Paintings, Mario García Torres silkscreened short texts on colorful backgrounds that reveal major plot points of movies like The Usual Suspects, The Matrix, E.T., Basic Instinct, Heat, and Fight Club.

Although the Spoiler Paintings may seem conventional and harmless, they were produced with the intention of displacing the reaction in a work of art by producing tension even before seeing the piece. This objective is achieved by using the widespread notion that knowing the end of a film destroys its experience.

Massive New Book Collection Offers Unprecedented Views of the Sistine Chapel

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 25, 2022

page spreads from a book featuring photos of the Sistine Chapel

page spreads from a book featuring photos of the Sistine Chapel

page spreads from a book featuring photos of the Sistine Chapel

There are famously no photos allowed when visiting the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. So, this new book series “that includes 1:1 scale images of the masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and other Renaissance artists” from the chapel might be your best bet to enjoying this wonder of the art world at home. But here’s the bad news: the 20-pound volume costs $22,000 and has been limited to 1999 copies, no reprints.

Published by Callaway Arts & Entertainment and Italy’s Scripta Maneant, the book uses state-of-the-art color printing to ensure its colors match those used in the Chapel. The close-up detail of each image provides a perspective that cannot be obtained by visiting the Chapel in person. Readers can see the artist’s brush strokes and texture of the paint, as well as the small cracks and imperfections that line the walls and ceiling.

The publishing agreement with the Vatican stipulated that only 1,999 copies could be printed. Six hundred of them are in English. The Italian language copies have already sold out. The deal also stipulates no reprints.

This book looks incredible — two photographers took 270,000 images over 65 nights that were stitched together using 3D software to accurately portray the paintings done on the chapel’s curved surfaces. (via open culture)

The Birdsong of Printed Circuit Birds

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 22, 2022

As part of her Circuit Garden project, artist Kelly Heaton makes birds out of electronic circuitry that can be adjusted to produce a wide variety of birdsong. Here she demonstrated with a printed circuit bluejay:

As Heaton explains, the sounds made by the birds aren’t recordings…they’re generated by the electronics, like a synthesizer.

My “printed circuit birds” are self-contained sound generators. The electronics are [100%] analog: no audio recordings or software are involved. By “analog” I mean that the sound is dynamically produced by the bird’s body (circuit), like a vintage synthesizer. In this video, I adjust knobs to change resistance in the circuit, thereby altering the song quality. You can think of this like adjusting neurons in a bird’s brain to alter the impulse by which it vocalizes.

one of Kelly Heaton's printed circuit birds

(via clive thompson)

How Ukrainians Are Saving Art During the War

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 13, 2022

Building on the lessons of World War II, Ukrainians are trying to save their art and other important cultural artifacts from destruction during Russia’s invasion. When an invader repeatedly tries to deny the cultural distinction of a people for decades and even centuries, like Russia has done with Ukraine, saving buildings and statues and paintings can be of great importance.

Because under the 1954 convention, “damage to cultural property means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind”. So attacks on cultural heritage are a considered war crime. But treaties can only do so much. In the years since, conflicts around the world have rendered immeasurable damage to cultural heritage. A lot of it intentional. Like the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan buddhas. And Isis’ attacks on ancient sites all over Syria.

“That cultural heritage is not only impacted, but in many ways it’s implicated and central to armed conflict. These are things that people point to that are unifying factors for their society. They are tangible reflections of their identity.”

And Putin has made it clear that identity is at the ideological center of Russia’s invasion: “I would like to emphasize again that Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us. It is an inalienable part of our own history, culture, and spiritual space.”

“He thinks that we don’t really exist and they want to destroy all the signs of our identity.”

BTW, regarding the destruction of the museum that housed works by Maria Prymachenko at the start of the video: according to the Ukrainian Institute, the works were saved from burning by local residents.

The Rembrandt Book Bracelet

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 12, 2022

a bracelet made out of tiny Rembrandt drawings of hands being worn on someone's wrist

a bracelet made out of tiny Rembrandt drawings of hands

Inspired by the online availability of high resolution images from the Rijksmuseum’s collection, design firm Duinker and Dochters created a book of 1400 images of hands from Rembrandt’s work that is wearable as a bracelet. From the Cooper Hewitt:

Designers Lia Duinkers and Lyske Gais, are fascinated by the details Rembrandt achieved in his depiction of hands. From hundreds of images of Rembrandt’s hand illustrations, they created an intriguing book-bracelet, an intricate piece that not only pays homage to the talent of Rembrandt, but also spotlights the genius of Duinker and Gais’s skills in graphic design, bookbinding, and jewelry design. Entitled “Rembrandt’s Hands and a Lion’s Paw” the book-bracelet is comprised of 1400 miniature pictures of hands derived from 303 Rembrandt etchings and drawings in the collection of the Rikjsmuseum and available as high-resolution images on the museum’s website.

Here’s what the bracelet looks like in its storage box:

a bracelet made out of tiny Rembrandt drawings of hands in its storage box

What a fantastic little object…you can marvel about how it was made on their website. (via colossal)

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 11, 2022

painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat with text that says 'King Pleasure'

painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that features two large figures accosting a smaller figure

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure is a new exhibition of the life and work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, curated by his two younger sisters, Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux. It opened this past weekend in NYC and includes a bunch of work that’s never been exhibited before. From the NY Times:

The show, “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure,” features more than 200 artworks and artifacts from the artist’s estate — 177 of which have never been exhibited before — in a 15,000-square-foot space designed by the architect David Adjaye. Providing perhaps the most detailed personal portrait to date of Basquiat’s development, the show comes at a time when the artist’s market value continues to soar and his themes of race and self-identity have become especially resonant. (The mayor’s office is to proclaim Saturday, the show’s opening, Jean-Michel Basquiat Day.)

“They’re literally opening up the vaults,” said Brett Gorvy, a dealer and a former chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s. “These are paintings I’ve only seen in books.”

This looks great; definitely hitting this the next time I’m in NYC. Tickets are available here. (via pentagram, who did the identity for the exhibition)

Alphabet Truck

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 07, 2022

Over a period of four years and after thousands of miles of driving, Eric Tabuchi photographed the backs of semi-trailers with letters of the alphabet on them, eventually compiling all 26 letters. Here’s the first dozen:

Alphabet Truck

(via present & correct)

Sheila Bridges’ Harlem Toile

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 29, 2022

Toile de Jouy is a fabric, typically featuring “romantic pastoral scenes”, that was popular in France in the 18th century — the wealthy covered their walls in it. Interior designer Sheila Bridges developed her own patterns for her Harlem Toile, inspired by her Harlem and Philadelphia neighborhoods and the African American experience more generally.

As an African American living in Harlem, I have always been intrigued and inspired by the historical narrative of the decorative arts, especially traditional French toile with its pastoral motifs from the late 1700s. I’m entertained by the stories these patterns tell and the questions they sometimes raise. But after searching for many years for the perfect toile for my own home, I decided that it quite simply didn’t exist. I created Harlem Toile de Jouy initially as a wallcovering then expanded the collection to include fabrics, bedding, plates, glassware, umbrellas and clothing. This design (which lampoons some of the stereotypes deeply woven into the African American experience), has been featured in The Studio Museum In Harlem, the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, and the Musée De La Toile De Jouy in Jouy-en Josas, France. I am honored to have my Harlem Toile De Jouy wallpaper included in The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s permanent wallpaper collection.

a variety of scenes featuring Black people on Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile

Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile pattern on a tea cup

Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile pattern on a pillow

Veronica Chambers wrote a great piece about Harlem Toile for the NY Times: The Wallpaper That Is Also a ‘Reminder That My Ancestors Had My Back’.

The wallpaper, which was created by the celebrated interior designer Sheila Bridges in 2006, features beautiful drawings of African Americans in the lush, historical settings that rarely featured them — a couple in 18th-century dress dance under a structure that recalls the Arc de Triomphe to the tunes of a boombox that rests playfully on the grass; women in ball gowns sit under a majestic tree, one combs the other’s hair while yet another woman holds up a fairy-talelike mirror; a courting couple in fashion that now brings to mind the popular series “Bridgerton” feast on a picnic. For a Black girl who grew up loving Jane Austen and Toni Morrison with equal aplomb, Harlem Toile was more than wallpaper. It was a tableau of possibility and belonging.

I’m not doing justice to all of what is being expressed in Bridges’ work and how it’s resonating with Chambers & other members of the Black community, so you should just read the piece. (thx, caroline)

Discover Modern Art with Each New Browser Tab

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 29, 2022

I just switched my web browser to use the New Tab with MoMA extension. Each new browser tab I open contains another piece of art from MoMA’s collection. Here are a few things that have popped up so far:

screengrab of an artwork by Jacob Lawrence

screengrab of an artwork by Julie Mehretu

screengrab of an artwork by Beauford Delaney

screengrab of an artwork by Hannah Hoch

I’m really enjoying this so far…it feels like being in a slow-moving art history class all day long.

Claude Monet’s War Paintings

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 24, 2022

This is another great episode of James Payne’s Great Art Explained on the work of Claude Monet, specifically the massive water lily canvases he completed before his death, created as “a war memorial to the millions of lives tragically lost in the First World War”.

Claude Monet is often criticised for being overexposed, too easy, too obvious, or worse, a chocolate box artist. His last works, the enormous water lily canvasses are among the most popular art works in the world.

Yet there is nothing tame, traditionalist, or cosy about these last paintings. These are his most radical works of all. They turn the world upside down with their strange, disorientating and immersive vision.

Monet’s water lilies have come to be viewed as simply an aesthetic interpretation of the garden that obsessed him. But they are so much more.

These works were created as a direct response to the most savage and apocalyptic period of modern history. They were in fact conceived as a war memorial to the millions of lives tragically lost in the First World War.

I’ve seen these paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie — amazing to see them exactly the way in which the artist intended them to be seen.

See also Film of Claude Monet Painting Water Lilies in His Garden (1915) and Monet’s Ultraviolet Vision.

Encyclopedia Botanica Digital

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 23, 2022

digitally conjured flowers

digitally conjured flowers

digitally conjured flowers

The Fleur is artist Ondrej Zunka’s collection of imagined digital flowers with fanciful forms — an “Encyclopedia Botanica Digital”. (via colossal)