venerdì 17 ottobre 2014

Sexes exhibit distinct differences in how they evaluate art

Funny study :

A provocative new study shows that the sexes exhibit distinct differences in how they evaluate art: men tend to place more emphasis on the artist, women on the art itself.

For the study, 518 men and women were asked to judge two unfamiliar paintings and to read a fictitious biography of the artist who painted them. Some of the study participants read a biography that characterized the artist as "authentic" or experienced, while other participants read one that characterized the artist as "ordinary" or a beginner. The men and women didn't know the biographies were fictitious.

The men and women then were asked whether they liked the artist and the artwork and whether they were interested in purchasing the artwork.

sorry :) but I must publish this photo with this article...perfect!

What did the researchers find?

When the artist was described as authentic, the men and women overall had a more favorable impression of both the artist and the artwork -- no surprise there. But the men tended to base their decision on whether to buy the painting on details presented in the biography rather than on the painting's artistic merits.

"Women are more willing to go through a complicated process of actually evaluating the artwork," study co-author Dr. Stephanie Mangus, assistant professor at Michigan State University's Broad College of Business, said in a written statement, "whereas men may say, 'This guy's a great artist, so I'll buy his art.'"

Could there be some neurological basis to the different ways men and women look at art?

"I am not aware of any hardwired brain sex difference that would explain this," neuroscientist Dr. Lise Eliot, an associate professor at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University, who was not involved in the study, told The Huffington Post in an email. "More likely, it has to do with a sex difference in artistic experience. We've seen a long-term trend of art becoming a 'girl thing,' so that for decades, more girls than boys have been taking art classes and will have a greater understanding of technique, effort, and innovation... There may also be differences in one's motivation to buy art. Perhaps men are buying more for investment and women, for aesthetic pleasure."

The study was published in the August edition of the journal Psychology & Marketing.

(source: )

martedì 14 ottobre 2014

art, technology and the environment

A really interesting art project to give the feeling of what is happening to Nature, by Maya Lin.
The project webiste is here, worth a visit:

Yale Environment 360: So let’s start with an overview of the memorial. It’s multimedia, multi-form, multi-location, and the Web site, What is Missing?, acts as a nexus for the project. So give us the grand tour of What Is Missing?

Maya Lin: I sort of call it my last memorial, but it is a memorial that will basically reinvent [itself]. I love rethinking what things are, changing assumptions — so what if a monument, which we normally think of as being singular and static, can exist in many places simultaneously? Then what if they are not all permanent but sometimes it is a traveling exhibit? One time we borrowed the MTV billboard in Times Square during Earth Day and for a month we played four five-minute videos.

You may also download the audio file. We have a Web site that shows you what is going on with the project throughout, but also is its own memorial. And, in fact, the Web site, I would say, is the piece that pulls it all together. It will be a map of the world looked at from an ecological point of view, but it is a map that allows us to see the past, the present, and by 2013 we will be beginning to show you plausible future scenarios, what we call green print, which is really rethinking what the planet could look like. We’ll be talking to many experts [who] focus on agricultural issues to economic issues to environmental issues. It is an experimental artwork, so I don’t know if I’ll ever be finished with it.

And even though I say it is my last memorial, I will be donating to it for the rest of my life. I set up my own not-for-profit foundation, and the goal was to raise awareness about the present crisis surrounding biodiversity loss, link it to habitat loss, and not just be about raising awareness about what we are losing, but maybe using it as a wakeup call, telling you what is being done right now by all the environmental groups, all the experts, but then let’s dream up plausible ways, by 2050, to reimagine what the world could look like. People care. I think they might be a little bit overwhelmed and they might feel helpless. Maybe art could pose the problems and look at possible solutions in a way that is maybe funny at times, maybe a little abstracted at times, trying to just look at it from a different point of view.

Full interview here:

mercoledì 8 ottobre 2014

Tibetan contemporay art rising

HONG KONG (from The NY Times)— The Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso was in Hong Kong last month, putting the final touches on his latest exhibition at Pearl Lam Galleries. A bookish figure in black glasses and a blue button-up shirt, he stopped to inspect one of his new works, a 10-foot by 10-foot collage that showed a construction crane hook holding up the concentric spheres of a mandala, a Tibetan spiritual symbol. Cartoon trucks and diggers surrounded the spheres, which were dripping and melting like the polar caps. The piece, called “Shangri La” (2014), is one of 16 in the show, which runs through Oct. 31.

An untitled mixed-media sculpture from 2012 by Mr. Gyatso. Credit Photograph by Jerome Favre, courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries

Mr. Gyatso, 53, whose work mixes Buddhist iconography and pop images like colorful children’s stickers, hoped that this exhibition would be a possible first step toward his ultimate goal: “My wish, someday, is to have a similar solo show in China, or even Lhasa,” he said, referring to the Tibetan capital. “I really want to show what I’ve done to my hometown.”

But the prospects of having a similar high-profile exhibition in mainland China, where there are more government restrictions than in Hong Kong, are limited, said the gallery owner, Pearl Lam. “Because of the censorship, it may be very difficult because of the Buddhist images — maybe more so than the commentary,” said Ms. Lam, who also has galleries in Shanghai and Singapore. “We're talking about it.”
“It’s very special to have a Tibetan artist,” she added. “He’s one of the few Tibetan artists known internationally.”

For decades, Tibetan art was mostly associated with antique collectibles, particularly the religious scrolls known as thangkas. But over the past decade, contemporary artists, like Mr. Gyatso, have been slowly gaining a foothold.

Mr. Gyatso’s following comes in part from his dedication to detail, a result of his training in traditional techniques like Chinese court painting (which he studied in Beijing) and the high craft of making thangkas (which he learned in India). “It’s very precise work done on silk, with lots of line painting,” he said of creating a thangka. “There are very strict rules to follow, especially if you paint a Buddha.”

Today he gives religious symbols an irreverent twist. The Hong Kong show included several Buddhas, beheaded and covered in stickers. “His head is supposed to be stuck in the wall,” Mr. Gyatso said, explaining to a gallery assistant. “The Buddha’s so frustrated, he’s banging into a wall.” A mantra written in Tibetan script was paired with pop-culture figures like Hello Kitty and a cartoon panda.

“Maybe some people find it disrespectful, considering it is a holy phrase,” he said. “I am fortunate that Buddhists are so tolerant.”

Other text-based artworks use terms trending on Chinese news sites, like “Pollution” and “Gutter Oil,” which refers to a food-safety scandal. There are also U.S.-themed pieces like “Drone,” embellished with rainbow sparkles, American flag bunting and a hot-pink butterfly.

“Historically, Chinese artists used poetry — poetry as commentary,” Ms. Lam said. “He’s doing this in a contemporary context.”

Mr. Gyatso, who was born in Lhasa, spent his childhood in the midst of the Cultural Revolution.

“I grew up not really knowing my home culture,” he said. “School was very strict. They were very focused on Communist ideological training. And no subjects included Tibetan culture or religion. It was forbidden to practice, or even learn about that.”

He lived in a state housing complex because his parents worked in the government, so his main link to the past was through a grandmother.

“I grew up in two neighborhoods,” he said. “When I was with my parents, we were in an isolated compound, with high walls and a gate. When I was with my grandmother, it was in a very Tibetan setting, near the old town and the old temple in Lhasa.”

In 1980, Mr. Gyatso was chosen by scouts from a Beijing university for minority students, which is how he ended up studying art in the capital. At the time, China was just beginning to open up to the world.

“Outside of school — gosh — it was buzzing with Western exhibitions, books, cinema,” he said. “After a while, they started closing things down. But while it lasted, it was amazing.”

Back in Lhasa, he started showing works in sweet-tea houses, which play a similar role in Tibetan culture as cafes in Paris or pubs in London. He and his friends founded the Sweet Tea collective in 1985. “For the first time, we realized that art could be shown and sold in a nongovernment setting,” he said. “In those days, there were no private or independent galleries. In Lhasa, there was nothing.”

Mr. Gyatso left China for the first time in 1992, when he moved to Dharamsala, the Indian home to the Dalai Lama and a Tibetan exile community. “There were books on Tibetan history and culture I could not find back home. I was tracing my roots,” he said.

After three years at the mountainside retreat, Mr. Gyatso moved to the booming art scene in London, where he studied at Central Saint Martins on scholarship, and then at the Chelsea School of Art and Design. In the 2000s, he started collaborating with Fabio Rossi of Rossi & Rossi, a family-owned London gallery. While Mr. Rossi no longer works with Mr. Gyatso, he continues to promote his contemporaries.

“In 2005 in London, I put on what was probably the first commercial show of contemporary Tibetan art in the West, including 15 artists from Lhasa, plus Gonkar,” Mr. Rossi said. “It was like throwing a stone into a pond and watching the ripples.” So far, Tibetan contemporary art is still producing ripples and not waves. But innovative Tibetan artists are making their way into more prominent exhibitions. Over the summer, the Hong Kong branch of Rossi & Rossi showed “Impermanence,” featuring 16 Tibetan artists.

In September, the Queens Museum in New York opened an exhibition of contemporary Tibetan artists called “Anonymous,” which runs until January.

Earlier this year, Mr. Gyatso, who is currently based in New York, and a contemporary, Tenzing Rigdol, were included in the Metropolitan Museum’s largely historic show, “Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations.”

Kurt Behrendt, an assistant curator at the Met’s Department of Asian Art, explained the choice to use Mr. Gyatso’s modern take on the Buddha.

“The large ‘Dissected Buddha’ collage by Gonkar Gyatso was included because it so effectively links the contemporary moment with the longstanding tradition of representing the Buddha,” Mr. Behrendt wrote by email. “By using iconography that is accessible and immediate — here, for example, the Buddha’s environment takes the form of a grid of Manhattan streets — Gonkar Gyatso is able to give his work great power.”

martedì 7 ottobre 2014

Women Artists history: Lavinia Fontana

Lavinia Fontana (August 24, 1552 – August 11, 1614) was an Italian painter. She is regarded as the first woman artist, working within the same sphere as her male counterparts, outside a court or conven

Lavinia Fontana : Portrait of Antonietta Gonzales 1594-1595
Lavinia Fontana was born in Bologna, the daughter of the painter Prospero Fontana, who was a prominent painter of the School of Bologna at the time and served as her teacher. Continuing the family business was typical at the time.

Her earliest known work, " Monkey Child", was painted in 1575 at the age of 23. Though this work is now lost, another early painting, Christ with the Symbols of the Passion, painted in 1576 is now in the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. She would go on to paint in a variety of genres. Early in her career, she was most famous for painting upper-class residents of her native Bologna. She began her commercial practice by painting small devotional paintings on copper, which had popular appeal as papal and diplomatic gifts, given the value and lustre of the metal.In addition to portraits (the typical subject matter for women painters[citation needed]), she later created large scale paintings with religious and mythological themes which sometimes included female nudes.

Fontana married Paolo Zappi (alternately spelled Paolo Fappi) in 1577. She gave birth to 11 children, though only 3 outlived her. After marriage, Fontana continued to paint to support her family. Zappi took care of the household and served as painting assistant to his wife, including painting minor elements of paintings like draperies.

Lavinia Fontana, 'La Famiglia Gozzadini' (detail) 1583

Fontana and her family moved to Rome in 1603 at the invitation of Pope Clement VIII. She gained the patronage of the Buoncompagni, of which Pope Gregory XIII was a member. Lavinia thrived in Rome as she had in Bologna and Pope Paul V himself was among her sitters. She was the recipient of numerous honors, including a bronze portrait medallion cast in 1611 by sculptor and architect Felice Antonio Casoni.

Some of her portraits, often lavishly paid for, have been wrongly attributed to Guido Reni. Chief among these are Venus; The Virgin lifting a veil from the sleeping infant Christ; and the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon. Her self-portrait – in youth she was said to have been very beautiful – was perhaps her masterpiece; it belongs to Count Zappi of Imola, the family into which Lavinia married.


While her youthful style was much like her father's, she gradually adopted the Carracciesque style, with strong quasi-Venetian coloring. She was elected into the Accademia di San Luca of Rome, and died in that city on August 11, 1614.

There are over 100 works that are documented, but only 32 signed and dated works are known today. There are 25 more that can be attributed to her, making hers the largest oeuvre for any female artist prior to 1700. Sofonisba Anguissola may have been an influence on her career.


Architects see much to like in Des Moines

More than 1,000 architects flowed into the Iowa Events Center last week for the American Institute of Architects Iowa Chapter fall convention.

(Photo: Charlie Litchfield/Register file photo)

full article here

From downtowns to university campuses to suburban shopping centers, new buildings and public spaces are popping up around the state as the post-recession recovery continues. With that in mind, I found a few architects to talk about the new buildings and designs they find inspiring and what trends they think leave something to be desired.

Let's start with Julie Snow, principal and CEO of Snow Kreilich Architects in Minneapolis. She was a keynote speaker at the conference. Snow has taught at Harvard University, the University of Southern California and the University of Minnesota College of Design. Her design work has won awards from the American Institute of Architects and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Q: What is your impression of the new architecture you've seen in Des Moines?

A: "The forward-thinking nature of the library, the Meredith Corporation — you really have some new architecture that conveys that Des Moines is a forward-thinking place. What you are doing downtown with new architecture is fabulous. … It's great to see a contemporary, forward-looking community."

Q: What stands out to you most?

A: "I think the sculpture park is amazing. To have that much public art is amazing." Having a sculpture like "Nomade," the iconic human figure made of white letters, gives Des Moines a poster-card image, she said. "That's your Eiffel Tower. … These things are iconic. They embody the city."

Q: What could we improve in the architecture or design of our city?

A: "You could do more bike lanes. Get more activity on the street level. Take out the skywalk. Create light rail travel.

"We shouldn't build any more (skywalks). It takes all the activity off the street. It brings retail up to that level and the retail just gets crummier and crummier and less unique."

Here is what other architects and architecture students at the conference had to say.

Q: What is an example of new architecture or design around Iowa that inspires you?

• "The Hub Spot on the Riverwalk in Des Moines. It's an inspiring example of current design. It's sort of unique. It's not historical. It's very contemporary. It takes some of the exciting things happening in Iowa — the riverwalk, redevelopment of our urban areas — and it makes something great out of those elements." — Tim Hickman, a principal at Substance Architecture

• "The new building on Iowa State's campus, the Sukup (Hall), the new bio-renewables complex for research for fuel. It's right next to the design building we work in every day. It's a really cool, modern, contemporary space." — Nathan Peters, an ISU senior majoring in architecture from Council Bluffs

• "The whole Iowa Events Center has really changed the way people come to Des Moines. Ten years ago none of this was here … and now you see a lot of large events … all coming to Des Moines because of this event center, so it's really exciting." — Thomas Thatcher, an ISU senior majoring in architecture from Johnston

• "I really appreciate when we can take older buildings and give them a face-lift and bring them into today's technology, really making them relevant to what we're doing right now as far as green construction." — Jennifer Evans, Benjamin Design Collaborative, Ames

• "The Substance (Architecture) pump house station is something that really inspired me. I think that's a really beautiful project with some really gorgeous detailing and I think it's something that's being used and loved by architects and residents." — Emily Hilgendorf, senior in architecture at Iowa State University

• "The trend in architecture to try and simplify things. In the past in architecture we tried to do too many complicated details to a building to try to pretty it up. … The trend seems to be to try to simplify them." — James Meier-Gast, OPN Architects, Cedar Rapids

Q: What is a mistake being made in the way we are designing our buildings and cities?

• "I think the biggest mistake we're making is letting developers build really low-quality things under the argument that they're helping cities and not advocating for high-quality design and materials both." — Tim Hickman

• "The notion that all buildings have to be foreground buildings, that they have to be buildings that garner attention. With the Internet there is so much consumption of imagery these days, so everyone thinks buildings need to stand out. I think what makes great cities right now are buildings that adapt to their context." — Anne Fourgeron, principal of Fourgeron Architecture in San Francisco and a keynote speaker at the conference.

full article here

venerdì 3 ottobre 2014

Virtual Reality: Turning Our Minds Inside Out

Special thanks to DrawLight and Rabarama for the projection mapping footage!

“Our destiny is to become what we think, to have our thoughts become our bodies and our bodies become our thoughts.” - Terence McKenna 

Learn More: 

The State of Virtual Reality 
“Born of technology, virtual reality at its core is an organic experience. Yes, it’s man meets machine, but what happens is strictly within the mind.”

Terence McKenna on Our Destiny 
“Octopi wears its mind on its surface.”

Terence McKenna 
“He spoke and wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, culture, technology, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness.”