What’s NEW at TATE MODERN: LONDON

So I don’t know if it’s me or all us ART fans out there love going to the same museum 1000x just to see their favourite works… but this last time I went to visit the Tate this past weekend, I got a MASSIVE SURPRISE. While much of the Tate is under construction, that did not stop them from bringing out their A Game. See for yourself:

To begin Gerhard Richter’s 11 Glass Panes is now on display. Put 11 planes of glass together and what do you get? A FABULOUS mirror (obvi take a SELFIE in it when you’re there – it is the cool thing to do)!

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Ellsworth Kelly has a WHOLE room – while I am only showing one piece it is because I am encouraging you to go and see the rest! They are LARGER THAN LIFE and truly BRILLIANT minimal pieces of art.

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Lastly, another new piece I came across was Tracey Emin’s Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing. What a tragic past she had, but what a GENIUS way to express her emotions.

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Get inspired. Express yourself. Love He(ART).

XX,

DP

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Kurt Schwitters Retrospective @ Tate Britain

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In the last years of his life Kurt Schwitters remained dedicated to his craft, and that resonates at the exhibition currently on at Tate Britain. Having fled his native country Germany and later Norway, Schwitters landed in London where, as viewers, we see the impact the new and foreign environment had on him and vice versa. Like a collage mathematician, Schwitters use of found objects in his works create a sense of harmony amidst the madness of World War II, which in which he coined the term “merz” to describe this process. Using everything from bus tickets to advertisements, rubbish and the like, the work of Schwitters is undoubtedly deserving of this retrospective.

This is DADA at its finest! So is it art that we he(ART)? or Anti-Art?

Cheers, NYX

In Honour of Mark Rothko, A Reflection on His Contribution to Abstract Expressionism

Today marks the day Rothko committed suicide – 25 February 1970.

Being one of my favourite artists, I decided I would share a fragment of one of the paper’s I wrote about Rothko and Abstract Expressionism:

The new creative approaches of the Abstract Expressionists in the 1940s and 1950s (up until around the 1960s) were groundbreaking to the visual world. “Abstract expressionism is defined as a twentieth-century painting style in which artists applied paint freely to their MASSIVE canvases in an effort to show feelings and emotions” declares Robert Smith in his article entitled “Abstract Expressionism and the Imaginative Curriculum.” Most “abstract” art, as in the case of Abstract Expressionism, was developed as a response to the whole range of human experiences (remember these works evolved right after WWII). Jonathan Harris, in his article entitled: “Mark Rothko and the Development of American Modernism 1938-1948 claims:

“Represented as the ‘universal Free Style of the West’, the large agitated canvasses of Jackson Pollock or Rothko’s floating fields of colour become emblems of freedom of liberal American society: beacons of individualism, unfettered activity and creative risk, proposed as possible only in a true democracy (43).”

Rothko took advantage of these liberties, and became the a leader of Abstract Expressionism.

This new field is divided into two categories: Action Painting and Color Field painting. Generally, works of this period were painted on a GRAND scale. While these branches appear physically different in terms of style, they both are a combination of spontaneity, ingenuity, and the investigation of the unconscious disregarding pictorial imagery. Line and color are the basic components underlying the work of the Abstract Expressionists, created through rhythm and movement. Rothko was the leader of the Color Field movement.

The notion that a painting is supposed to inform the viewer dominates. However, unlike art of past generations, the Abstract Expressionists did so in an untraditional manner. Paintings of this modern period were more than a history or religion crash-course. They were on a search for “something” more. This “something” was not “nothing.” In the case of Mark Rothko, the “nothing,” was not only a search from within the artist, but also a search within oneself. “I am interested only in expressing basic human emotions-tragedy, ecstasy, doom,” Mark Rothko.

Let us remember this great artist, and hold him close to our he(ART).

XX, DP

p.s. If you are in London visit his Seagram Murals at the Tate or if you are in Houston, Texas visit the Rothko Chapel.

Naked Paintbrushes – Yves Klein’s Lasting Impression

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Ever want to go back and be a part of history? Well, the Tate website has posted a video that briefly explains and exhibits Yves Klein’s (bio hyperlinked) “Anthropometries (video hyperlinked).” Through this series, Klein reconfigured the way art could be produced and examined by using the female nude NOT as the subject of painting (like Manet’s “Olympia” – below); RATHER Klein used the female body/bodies as paintbrushes to create works that appear almost primitive in form.

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Maybe you were too young to be there, so you haven’t really heard much about this… Maybe you weren’t in the right “artsy” circle (because most likely, no offense, they were only a SELECT few that were and that was WAYYY back in the late 50s)… Or maybe you are just new to the “art world.” But now, you can get an inside look into how these paintings were developed. And keep in mind he had a LIVE symphony playing for his guests (who are dressed to a T) as these nude females were brushing up onto canvases and were being directed by Klein, who acted kind of like an orchestra maestro. What an interesting experience that would be to witness.

Is it kind of like finger painting when you’re a child? Maybe, but not really (and we do not suggest dipping your child into paint by any means). Could it be an incredibly extended simile – without a doubt. But that is a stretch. A MASSIVE one. Maybe we should just admire his works from these series, in his signature colour IKB, and appreciate his break from tradition.
Props to you Yves, you made a lasting impression – literally.
Peace Out, K

Terms All Should Be Familiar With – “IKB” & “YBA”

There are two terms that all should be aware of in the contemporary art world: IKB and YBA. While they have nothing to do with each other essentially, they should be a part of your vocabulary.

IKB stands for International Klein Blue. Yves Klein, a French artist, created inspiring performances along with creating sponge-works that often use this pigment (and reach incredibly high prices at auction). He too creates works on canvas, often monochrome, applying paint thickly and textured. It is the most significant, brilliant, awe-inspiring blue that Yves Klein himself developed and has became his trademark. While IKB can be seen on canvases and sponges (and some statuettes too), it can be found in his performances as well. Klein in the 60s had nude models dip themselves in paint and brush up against a canvas making their bodies act as a paint brush. They models who took part in this and the viewers who watched this action/process piece witnessed such creativity as a a live symphony was playing aside them. “Klein adopted this hue as a means of evoking the immateriality and boundlessness of his own particular utopian vision of the world,” according to MOMA. But folks, do not try and recreate this blue – for its formula is a secret and only YK knows its components. Sorry dudes, you will just have to go to a museum (Tate Modern has one) and witness this greatness in person if you ever feel the urge to see it in the flesh – which we HIGHLY recommend you do. It will create a lasting impression in your he(ART).

The next term we think is an absolute necessity is YBA. YBA stands for Young British Artists. Artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Mark Quin, Rachel Whiteread, and the Champan Brothers (and more), were members of this Goldsmiths College organized group. They first exhibited in London in 1988 with their first show FREEZE, curated by Hirst.

YBAs are noted for their shock tactics – think Hirst’s “Shark Tank” (above), or Tracey Emin’s “My Bed” (below “Shark Tank”). Both create a sense of shock, horror, and for some, fear. While Emin’s work is more biographical, for she had a rough upbringing, Hirst is creating works for the sake of g-d knows what? Emin’s bed is surrounded by empty alcohol bottles, tobacco butts, stained sheets, worn undies – as a result of one her nervous breakdowns. Hirst has placed a dead shark in formaldehyde. GROSS, and yet, some people LOVE it. As we’ve mentioned before, we think his works have become too commercialized. But that still does not stop him from being one of the founders of the movement we all should take note of. We as viewers should also be aware of the fact that they too use untraditional forms of media to create their works of art. While some may find their work appalling, other’s find it intriguing.

What is your he(ART) telling you?

xx, DP