As spring comes round, flowers will seek the sunshine, and cameras will tend to trope towards them. Photographer and art blogger James Wagner snaps dogwood on 23rd St, and an ocean away, the seim anew: secret blogger and LifeBlog UIer Celia captures trees in North London. Good photos.
Seim anew, FW 215.22: Teems of times and happy returns. The seim anew.
Inspired by Things Magazine's recent note on buildings as logotypes (London's Gherkin building and NatWest tower, etc), Rodcorp went back to an old favourite: "How simply (or in how few lines) and recognisably can we draw buildings?". The question tends to privilege strong silhouettes and bridges, but so be it. Here's a list (with the help of Arup's Mr Urick, a clever man who spends his days designing buildings) and some drawings from unreliable memory.
First, the bridges etc:
Sydney: The Sydney Opera House, the most recognisable building of all surely?, next to the Harbour bridge (which may only be unambiguous when it's next to the Opera House).
London: Tower Bridge. Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia.
Paris: Eiffel Tower. Athens: The Acropolis.
New York: Guggenheim Museum.
And then the pseudo-Platonic forms:
Cairo: A Pyramid.
Paris: La Defense. New York: Flatiron.
Washington: The Pentagon. [Brussels: the Atomium should have gone here.]
Orlando: Epcot Centre. London: The London Eye.
A list of others to do (gradually becoming a list of buildings that would be recognisable but less distinctive as a logo/drawing, or distinctive as a drawing but maybe not particularly recognisable...):
Brussels: the Atomium
New York: The WTC towers, Statue of Liberty, Empire State (though confusion with Chrysler?).
San Francisco: Golden Gate bridge. And perhaps the TransAmerica pyramid.
Cairo: The Sphinx.
Moscow: St Basil's Cathedral, Red Square.
Los Angeles: Hollywood sign (building? structure?).
Istanbul: Haga Sofia.
China: The Great Wall?
Angkor Wat or various other pre-modern cities.
South Dakota: Mount Rushmore.
St. Louis: St. Louis Arch.
Rio de Janeiro: Statue of Christ the Redeemer.
London: Big Ben you idiot! (quoting Urick).
Hong Kong: Bank of China.
Washington: The Washington Monument.
Seattle: The Spaceneedle.
Toronto: the CN Tower.
Rome: The Vatican (Michael Angelo's "arms" in front), the Pantheon (the dome and skylight from the inside).
Kuala Lumpur: Petronas Towers.
Venice: Ponte di Rialto.
Many things in Brasilia by Oscar Niemeyer.
Chicago: Sears Tower
Athens: the Parthenon
Nevada: Hoover Dam
Paris: Louvre Pyramid
Superheroes: Hall of Justice (introduces a whole new topic, fictional landmarks...)
Now read this:
Tesugen on imageability of cities, and Webb on the same: Lynch's Image of the City.
And then: Constantin Boym's missing monuments, and buildings of disaster.
And you could even download world landmarks for The Sims (more here).
CityOfEverythingInteresting has a much less literal way of drawing simply, and is asking whether his sketches of the Bilbao Guggenheim are recognisable. We haven't yet made a Rodcorporate trip to Bilbao, but his sketches are indeed recognisable, avoid Jonathan Bell's fear of building-as-logo (see the comments) falling short of building-as-architecture. Perhaps they even recognisably reveal the building's references: is this an echo of Niemeyer's Brasilia cathedral?
Witold Riedel's close-up stacks/slices are fantastic.
Death of the gallery - "perhaps the growing reliance on curatorial exposition serves as a safety rail of sorts, there to stop us falling into the hole where the art should be, but isn't" [via Ideasbazaar]
Michael Landy on destroying all of his possessions (back in 2002) - "The inclusion of fellow artists' work in Break Down almost certainly cost him his Turner Prize nomination" [via catfunt]
Designer of the Year, at the Design Museum. Sam Buxton's MIKROmen, house and world are 2D fold-out dioramas in laser-etched aluminium. Also: interesting lights,
Australian football boots, and ho-hum web design. Downstairs: the Archigram show (see: Hill, Angermann, Pearman).
Industrial Art Gallery. Nice cogs. [via ?]
Swarovski shakes up chandeliers with crystal texts - "an Art Deco falling spiral chandelier had crowds of party-goers mesmerised as they sent text messages to the light and watched their SMSs trickle through the crystal strands like a luxurious ticker tape"
Matthew White, master of the timelines and the counterfactuals, did some frequency analysis on 20 art books and came up with the 100 Most Important Art Works of the Twentieth Century. Snappy descriptions, though the limitation of frequency analysis is that we get Vladimir Tatlin at number five, and no (eg) Man Ray or Freud in the list at all. 10 of 150 works are by Picasso (6) and Duchamp (4). [via Perfect/matt]
Not unrelated: Komar and Melamid's The Most Wanted Paintings
Mass production and industrialization have neutralized the uniqueness of everything around us. It is the brilliance of Koons that he has, from this sick truism, manufactured a set of desirable objects which repeatedly separate the rich from their millions.[via artblog]
And it is the key to deciphering the sour mystique of Koons' personality, or lack thereof. A sort of benign Hannibal Lecter or a more talented Mr. Ripley, Koons is as inert, unchanging, formally sterile, and unresponsive as his objects.
There is nothing self-reflective or introspective about man or object. What is is, or not is, for that matter; what's the difference? This is diametrically opposed to Duchamp, whose work and life were full of jokes, mystery and plenty of back story.
Newly scanned version of an A4 print of the James Joyce text portrait, from April 1995.
Photoshop, Streamline, Freehand and text-scanning software on Mac were used to render a black and white photo of Joyce into areas of pure black or white, into which some scanned (and uncorrected) text from Finnegans Wake was then flowed (riverrunned, ho ho). Original photo looked like this. Joyce's fellow text portraits, Roland Barthes (text from Death of the Author) Jacques Derrida (probably from 'White Mythology'), weren't nearly as successful - the source image really has to be very strong/recognisable and fairly high-contrast for this kind of thing to work. So perhaps it's lucky they're all safely locked inside very old software formats and hardware technology. And there's a very poor quality photo of the A0-sized version of Joyce.
Jackson Pollock's Mural (1943) is now in the collection of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, but was painted in a single 15-hour Dyonisiac burst ("it was a stampede": Pollock's words), for Peggy Guggenheim's appartment. Nearly 20 feet long, he had to knock out a wall in his appartment/studio to fit it in. And Anthony Lane reminds us that it too had to be resized:
When the mural reached its destination, it was too long, and eight inches needed to be chopped off one end. Marcel Duchamp said they weren't needed, and he was right; you feel that the painting has neither beginning nor end - it could be a slice of a loop, and you want it to go on forever, like a Bach chorale. [Lane, Nobody's Perfect, 2002, 343]The backstory: The mural arrives at the appartment and Peggy calls Duchamp and David Hare in to deal with the crisis.
Duchamp coolly advised cutting eight inches off one end. According to David Hare, "Duchamp said that in this type of painting it wasn't needed". Pollock apparently had no objection, so the painting was relieved of its superfluous inches. [Tomkins, Duchamp, A Biography, 1996, 362]Did MD and David Hare perform the cutting? Do the remnants, those supplementary inches, still exist?
MD once said that that Pollock "still uses paint, and we finished that… [Pollock] never will enter the Pantheon!" (Duchamp had somewhat self-righteously declared painting dead with his last oil on canvas, Tu m’ from 1918). On the other hand, Duchamp convinced Guggenheim to give Pollock his first one-man show, and he also who suggested that Pollock paint the mural on canvas rather than directly on the wall so that it could be exhibited publicly.
But despite this ambivalence (typically Duchampian) towards abstract expressionism, we shouldn't be surprised that Pollock didn't mind it being truncated - from an interview in the New Yorker, 1950: "There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was. It was a fine compliment."
Also: Arthur C. Danto sees the very first Pollockian drips in Mural, albeit marginally and probably unintended.
Jonathan Jones in The Guardian has an interesting article on the gestural painter Cy Twombly, who has a retrospective at the Serpentine in London this month:
Twombly, you realise in his 50-year retrospective, is one American artist who asked himself, what if there is no such thing as progress? What if you can't supersede Pollock; what if Pollock is where American art begins and ends?Fifty Years Of Works On Paper is at the Serpentine Gallery, London, 17 April - 13 June 2004.
Conventional histories of modern American art like to see an evolutionary ascent from the primordial soup of Pollock's paintings to the enlightened rationality of today's video installations. But what if it was a descent all along? It is a thought worthy of Edgar Allan Poe.
Journey to Pripyat (with more pictures than before). So very Ballard.
Vocab is an ontology for explicitly describing relationships between people. Clay Shirky says that any attempt to systematise the totality of our soft, messy relationships is doomed to fail, but it might be very useful for limited applications and services. [via various]
Citizen Kubrick (enjoy the sheer librarianship of the man), and then: Stanley Kubrick and the Future of Graphic Design and Futura Extra Bold, and Stanley. Also: Kubrick's Napoleon script. [via various]
Fuben - Fucked Up But Essentially Nice, also the Japanese word for Inconvenient. Still on Japanese words, "'Kizuna' means a kind of mental linkage between people. 'Friendship' and 'family tie' are probably close counterparts in English."
It was a small pool that would suck the water down and in a few minutes it would come gushing out again. If you put a handkerchief in, the handkerchief would be sucked down and would come up in a few minutes nice and clean. [Whittlesey 1988]