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  #1  
Old April 6, 2012, 01:48 AM
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Default Let's discuss art!

Navo wanted to open one, so I will ease him off the burden. Damien Hirst is on my mind. Two famous installation ones are:

A Thousand Years



As the blog writes:
Although grisly, I found Damien Hirst’s (b. 1965 England) installation ‘A Thousand Years absolutely fascinating. Within a huge glass case, a whole life cycle is going on. From gestation to birth, life to death, (zapped by an insect-o-cutor, what a way to go eh). All is lived out before the eyes of the viewer. A small drama, of infinite importance to the life forms (maggots) that star in it. It made me think about our own life cycle, the importance we place on stuff that in the end, doesn’t really matter. How our time is taken up with the mundane, whilst those, not so lucky, fight for their very survival.
Another you may have seen is the following:

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living




Check out his interview (may be a bit graphic for kids):



Oh...homeboy is worth about 370 mill (US). Umm yeah
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Old April 6, 2012, 02:08 AM
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Good stuff Zeeshan. Will follow it keenly (I hope Mufi opens the linguistic anthropology thread too)
Would be great to read some personal reflections/reviews on art exhibitions or museums attended in addition to general info. Recommendations are always welcome.

Here is a brief excerpt from a travel account I wrote when visiting Spain a couple of years back. It's about my visit to the Prado Museum in Madrid with a friend:

"The first place she took me to was the Prado Museum. It was afternoon already and we knew we didn't have much time in the museum, so we went immediately to her favourite section - the one exhibiting the Black Paintings of Francisco Goya. Though I did go to the Prado again, once my other friends arrived, it was the paintings of this section that left the biggest impression on me. I was particularly taken by the painting below, which was possibly inspired by the Ruben's painting beneath it (also displayed at the Prado):


Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son c. 1819-1823


Ruben's Saturn Devouring His Son (1636)


The paintings depict the Greco-Roman myth of Chronos (Saturn) the Titan devouring his children because he had heard it prophesied that one of them would overthrow him. (There seem to be many such narratives in Greek and Roman mythology - the story of Oedipus springs to mind)

I find the former painting to be more potent in its imagery than the latter, despite the latter being more refined. The crazed, desperate look in Saturn's eyes as he peers out of the darkness leaves a particularly haunting impression. I have read on one blog that this painting can be seen as an allegory "on the situation in a country [Spain] that was consuming its own children in bloody wars and revolutions". I think this is an apt way of explaining the imagery as the painting was made weeks after the French declared their war on Spain. (On the other hand, contemporary accounts also say that Goya was also experiencing the onset of paranoid dementia at the time, so that could have had an effect to!)

These were also some of the memorable paintings I saw at the Prado:


Velazquez's The Triumph of Bacchus (1629)


Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych (1490-1510)
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Old April 6, 2012, 02:27 AM
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Thanks Navo. You do set a good precedent setting a discussion and not just posting links or external sources.

My first thought was also that of dementia when I saw that Goya in this thread (the revolution allegory seems a bit too direct and distilled - then again not a Goya expert here).

LOL Bosch looks like on shrooms or something. Anyway, many may have wondered the "my-3-year-old-cant-draw-that" theory. Well having seen Ed Harris' Pollock a search revealed the following article which may shed some light on what is art actually.

Enjoy.
============
Pollock's Fractals

That isn't just a lot of splattered paint on those canvases, it's good mathematics
by Jennifer Ouellette From the November 2001 issue; published online November 1, 2001

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In 1949, when Life magazine asked if Jackson Pollock was "the greatest living painter in the United States," the resulting outcry voiced nearly half a century of popular frustration with abstract art. Some said their splatter boards were better than Pollock's work. Others said that a trained chimpanzee could do just as well. A Pollock painting, one critic complained, is like "a mop of tangled hair I have an irresistible urge to comb out."

Yet Pollock's reputation has outlived his detractors. A retrospective of his work several years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City drew lines around the block, and an award-winning film of his life and art was released at the end of 2000. Apparently "Jack the Dripper" captured some aesthetic dimension—some abiding logic in human perception—beyond the scope of his critics. That logic, says physicist and art historian Richard Taylor, lies not in art but in mathematics—specifically, in chaos theory and its offspring, fractal geometry.

Fractals may seem haphazard at first glance, yet each one is composed of a single geometric pattern repeated thousands of times at different magnifications, like Russian dolls nested within one another. They are often the visible remains of chaotic systems—systems that obey internal rules of organization but are so sensitive to slight changes that their long-term behavior is difficult to predict. If a hurricane is a chaotic system, then the wreckage strewn in its path is its fractal pattern.

Some fractal patterns exist only in mathematical theory, but others provide useful models for the irregular yet patterned shapes found in nature—the branchings of rivers and trees, for instance. Mathematicians tend to rank fractal dimensions on a series of scales between 0 and 3. One-dimensional fractals (such as a segmented line) typically rank between 0.1 and 0.9, two-dimensional fractals (such as a shadow thrown by a cloud) between 1.1 and 1.9, and three-dimensional fractals (such as a mountain) between 2.1 and 2.9. Most natural objects, when analyzed in two dimensions, rank between 1.2 and 1.6.

In Jackson Pollock's drip paintings, as in nature, certain patterns are repeated again and again at various levels of magnification. Such fractals have varying degrees of complexity (or fractal dimension, called D), ranked by mathematicians on a series of scales of 0 to 3. A straight line (fig. D=1) or a flat horizon, rank at the bottom of a scale, whereas densely interwoven drips (fig. D=1.8) or tree branches rank higher up. Fractal patterns may account for some of the lasting appeal of Pollock's work. They also enable physicist Richard Taylor to separate true Pollocks from the drip paintings created by imitators and forgers. Early last year, for instance, an art collector in Texas asked Taylor to look at an unsigned, undated canvas suspected to be by Pollock. When Taylor analyzed the painting, he found that it had no fractal dimension and thus must have been by another artist.
Photographs courtesy of Richard Taylor

Physicist Richard Taylor was on sabbatical in England six years ago when he realized that the same analysis could be applied to Pollock's work. In the course of pursuing a master's degree in art history, Taylor visited galleries and pored over books of paintings. At one point in his research, he began to notice that the drips and splotches on Pollock's canvases seemed to create repeating patterns at different size scales—just like fractals.

Months later, back in his lab at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Taylor put his insight to the test. First he took high-resolution photographs of 20 canvases dating from 1943 to 1952. (Pollock moved away from drip painting in 1953.) Then he scanned the photographs into a computer and divided the images into an electronic mesh of small boxes. Finally, he used the computer to assess and compare nearly 5 million drip patterns at different locations and magnifications in each painting—from the length of a full canvas (up to four yards in some cases) to less than a tenth of an inch. The fractal dimensions of Pollock's earlier drip paintings, Taylor concluded, correspond closely to those found in nature. A 1948 painting entitled Number 14, for instance, has a fractal dimension of 1.45, similar to that of many coastlines.

A skeptic might suggest that the effect is coincidental. But Pollock clearly knew what he was after: The later the painting, the richer and more complex its patterns, and the higher its fractal dimension. Blue Poles, one of Pollock's last drip paintings, now valued at more than $30 million, was painted over a period of six months and boasts the highest fractal dimension of any Pollock painting Taylor tested: 1.72. Pollock was apparently testing the limits of what the human eye would find aesthetically pleasing.

Pollock's drip method was as complex and exquisitely controlled as it seemed crude and haphazard. It often took him weeks to achieve the fractal layerings in his paintings. To create and analyze paintings with similar fractal dimensions (if not the same beauty), physicist Richard Taylor invented a machine he dubbed the Pollockizer. It consists of a container, suspended on a string, that flings paint onto the canvas from a nozzle as electromagnetic coils kick it into motion. Taylor is quick to add that no machine, no matter how clever, can ever replace the human eye when it comes to aesthetic judgments.
Photograph courtesy of Richard Taylor
To find out if Pollock's fractals account for his lasting appeal, Taylor next invented a device he calls the Pollockizer. It consists of a container of paint hanging from a string like a pendulum, which can be kicked into motion by electromagnetic coils near the top. As the container moves, a nozzle at the bottom flings paint on a piece of paper on the ground beneath it. By tuning the size and frequency of the kick, Taylor could make the Pollockizer's motions chaotic or regular, thereby creating both fractal and nonfractal patterns.

When Taylor surveyed 120 people to see which patterns they preferred, 113 chose the fractal patterns. Two recent studies in perceptual psychology had also found that people clearly prefer fractal dimensions similar to those found in nature. But the studies disagreed on the exact value of that dimension: In one study, subjects preferred a dimension of 1.3; in the other, 1.8.

Last year, after relocating to the University of Oregon, Taylor collaborated with perceptual psychologists in Australia and England to see if they could resolve the discrepancy. The team began by dividing fractal patterns into three categories: natural, computer-generated, and man-made—the last category consisting of cropped sections of Pollock's drip paintings. They then asked 50 subjects to evaluate about 40 different patterns each, with each subject having to choose between two patterns at a time. The results, published in Nature last March, were conclusive: Subjects preferred fractal dimensions between 1.3 and 1.5, regardless of their origin, roughly 80 percent of the time.

The same predisposition seems to be at work in other mediums as well. Studies have found that people prefer patterns that are neither too regular, like the test bars on a television channel, nor too random, like a snowy screen. They prefer the subtle variations on a recurring theme in, say, a Beethoven concerto, to the monotony of repeated scales or the cacophony of someone pounding on a keyboard.

According to James Wise, an adjunct professor of environmental sciences at Washington State University and one of Taylor's collaborators, those preferences may date back to our earliest ancestors. On the African savanna they could tell whether the grass was ruffled by the wind or by a stalking lion by tuning in to variations in fractal dimensions. But in settings with high fractal dimensions (a densely branching rain forest, for instance), early humans would have been more vulnerable—and thus more uneasy. "Perhaps our appreciation of lower-dimension fractal patterns isn't so much about beauty," Taylor says, "but more a survival instinct."

Artists, architects, writers, and musicians may instinctively appeal to their audiences by mimicking the fractal patterns found in nature. In Pollock's case, at least, the inspiration seems clear. He began his first series of drip paintings, with their tightly meshed surfaces, soon after he moved from Manhattan to a farmhouse on Long Island, New York, in late 1945.

Taylor is so confident of his method that he says he can date any Pollock canvas to within a year by analyzing its fractal dimension. "This is what art theoreticians call the hand of the artist," he says, adding that it's a more reliable measure than the traditional art world's "more subjective analysis."

The Pollockizer proves that generating fractal drip patterns is much harder than it looks, Taylor says. "It's not an inevitable consequence of the process. It was the way Pollock dripped that made it fractal." In a famous 1950 documentary by Hans Namuth, one can see Pollock circling his canvases on the floor, dripping and flinging paint in motions that seem both haphazard and perfectly controlled. He wasn't merely imitating nature, he was adopting its mechanism: chaos dynamics.

All of which suggests Pollock's paintings are more than worth their price tags, Taylor says. "If someone asked, 'Can I have nature put onto a piece of canvas?' the best example there has ever been of that is 1948's Number 14."



For more about Jackson Pollock's life and art, see the Museum of Modern Art's Web site (www.moma.org/ exhibitions/pollock/website100/chronology.html) and the Paris Web museum (www.ibiblio.org/ wm/paint/ auth/pollock).

For a clear introduction to fractals (including an interesting fractal-generating application for Macintosh), go to: astronomy.swin.edu.au/pbourke/fractals/ fracintro.

Source:

http://discovermagazine.com/2001/nov/featpollock
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Old April 6, 2012, 03:05 AM
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^^ Fractals will always remind me of my housemate in first year of University who studied Mathematics and designed fractals all day on his computer. On the topic, really interesting to read the method behind the 'randomness' that seems to exist on the surface of his paintings.

I loved Bosch's one. It was beautifully preserved, given its age, and seemed to pictorially represent Dante's Divine Comedy. It was a really refreshing change from the usual Christ/Virgin Mary paintings.

The criticism that 'my three year old could paint this' is an interesting one. Are Rothko's paintings, famous for their warm colours and seemingly benign rectangles, less artistically meritocratic than, say, Richard Estes' photo-realist paintings?

Mark Rothko's Untitled (Green on Maroon)



Richard Estes' People's Flowers

Both of these paintings are from the same museum in Madrid, The Thyssen-Bornemisza but only one of them is called a masterpiece =p

For more about the paintings (and to see them in high res.) go here.
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Old April 6, 2012, 03:00 PM
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Hello?! No, no one.

Saw this on the Guardian today. Didn't know Caravaggio had such an interesting life!


Caravaggio's David with the Head of Goliath (1609-1610)

"On May 1606 Caravaggio was accused of murder and fled from Rome to distant lands (Naples, Sicily, Malta) to escape the price that had been placed on his head. His self-portrait as Goliath's severed head, held by David his executioner, was sent to the papal court in 1610 as a kind of painted petition for pardon. In fact pardon was granted, but did not reach Caravaggio before he died in Porto Ercole. In his David with the Head of Goliath Caravaggio pays tribute to the rapid brushstrokes Titian adopts in his later works and surrounds the youth's face with a kind of luminous halo that shines out from the dark, earthy tints surrounding the figure."(Source)

In addition, the Guardian's art blog provided this:

Caravaggio's dark heart in Malta
Jonathan Jones

Darkness descends ... Caravaggio's Decapitation of St John the Baptist suggests the painter's twilit world of anger.


"It seems like only yesterday that Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio, was killed by poisonous paints. That was a theory floated in 2010. The latest idea, proposed by yet another "expert" and reported in some papers this week, is that he was assassinated by the Knights of Malta.

I was once lucky enough to be sent by the Guardian in search of all Caravaggio's works, and Malta was the spookiest stop on the trip, the place I felt closest to his dark heart. He went there when he was on the run after killing a man in a fight in Rome. He was ordained as a Knight of St John there, joining a holy chivalric order with roots in the Crusades. Today, the traces of the Knights are easy to find in Valletta, their fortified city perched on a high rock above a deep harbour. It is a strange, spectacular place. Down in the harbour you can see the prison that Caravaggio escaped from after getting into trouble with the Knights (trouble was his middle name). Away from the British-style pubs in the centre you'll find the eerie, eastern-style streets that lead to the old fortifications whose massive bulwarks have withstood sieges down the centuries. The most compelling place in Valletta is, however, its cathedral, where you can see Caravaggio's huge, dark painting of the Beheading of St John the Baptist.

In a prison yard, an executioner is using a knife to remove the partially severed head of a slaughtered captive. Other prisoners watch in fascination and horror from a window: tomorrow it might be them dying in the dust. The painting suggests direct observation, intimate knowledge of crime and punishment. It takes us straight into the twilit world of anger and vengeance in which Caravaggio lived his life.

Was he killed by the Knights he had (mysteriously) offended? It's just another futile speculation. It does not add much to our appreciation of him. But conspiracy theories will always circle round this painter because his art invites them. Dark paranoia pervades his unforgettable picture of the judicial murder of John the Baptist: you feel he is scared about something, haunted by something, by guilt, and yes, maybe anxious that his sojourn in Malta is turning very sour.

Caravaggio in Malta had a hellhound on his trail. But wherever he went it followed him. It was his own shadow."
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Old April 7, 2012, 11:23 PM
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you two atels no one is readinh ur essays. this is not classroom ok.. we are not professors - not grading you........ chill and make it a little interesting if u can not esoteric.

but looking simply at the pics that u like navo i can tell u are one sick imdividual really, i have yet to catch exactly what it is since u do a very good job at huding it but u got some sick **** going in ur head. btw, i have a double phd in psychology....so i am right.
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Old April 8, 2012, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iDumb
you two atels no one is readinh ur essays. this is not classroom ok.. we are not professors - not grading you........ chill and make it a little interesting if u can not esoteric.

but looking simply at the pics that u like navo i can tell u are one sick imdividual really, i have yet to catch exactly what it is since u do a very good job at huding it but u got some sick **** going in ur head. btw, i have a double phd in psychology....so i am right.
That's just soo rude !!! If you don't have any interest in any topic then you can just bypass that thread.. You are not bound to go through each and every thread over here.. If there can be a thread for cars then art deserves a thread for itself.. There are thousands of people who has interest in art and what's wrong with it???

I think we come to a public forum with a high tolerance level and we should encourage all sorts of discussion..
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Old April 8, 2012, 12:15 AM
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iDumb, you caught me. I'm incredibly twisted and have only been able to hide it for so long because I can tightly regulate what I say over an internet forum. In fact, the only reason why I have two locations on BC is because I am constantly on the run from the police.

But seriously, the paintings above are not 'my favorites' or anything but the macabre and grotesque leave an impression more easily. It's also easier to remember their names, details etc. Most museums/art galleries I've seen in Europe contain innumerable paintings/statues of beatific Mary & Christ - and they get boring after a while. Same goes for the countless Buddha statues in museums in Asia.
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Old April 8, 2012, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navo
iDumb, you caught me. I'm incredibly twisted and have only been able to hide it for so long because I can tightly regulate what I say over an internet forum. In fact, the only reason why I have two locations on BC is because I am constantly on the run from the police.

But seriously, the paintings above are not 'my favorites' or anything but the macabre and grotesque leave an impression more easily. It's also easier to remember their names, details etc. Most museums/art galleries I've seen in Europe contain innumerable paintings/statues of beatific Mary & Christ - and they get boring after a while. Same goes for the countless Buddha statues in museums in Asia.
I loveeee paintings .. I love to travel too and never miss out on the museums of my interest .. Yes you are right the art museums can sometimes get boring due to a typed subject matter like religion.. but the artists/painters didn't have any choice as during the pre renaissance era mostly the artists had to paint according to the emperor/king/merchant's order ...They didn't have the liberty to experiment..Still then I loved some of those Byzantine art and frescoes in Gothic churches .. Some of them had interesting interpretation of history ..But what I really hate is the portraits of noble families or king/queen or whatever... but then again that's how these artists earned their bread... Anyways I will try to share some of my amazing experiences with pictures... The only problem is my I won`t be able to express my thoughts in English like you guys... It will be plain and simple..
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Old April 8, 2012, 01:00 AM
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More on the point, I will try to share some of the paintings/reviews/biographies of Bangladeshi artists - some famous, some less so. I'm sure many BC-ites would know them and it would be great to hear their thoughts on the artists' work.
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Old April 8, 2012, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navo
More on the point, I will try to share some of the paintings/reviews/biographies of Bangladeshi artists - some famous, some less so. I'm sure many BC-ites would know them and it would be great to hear their thoughts on the artists' work.
that`s exactly what I was thinking
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Old April 8, 2012, 01:08 AM
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That would be great to read about oronnya. Which Gothic churches did you see?

I agree, it's not the fault of the artists that their patrons wanted them to draw their kids/Biblical tales/images from Greek mythology. But to the lay museum-goer, a few centuries on, it gets repetitive. (I'm not saying that it detracts from the artistic merit of the paintings though!)

By the by, I'm thinking that as quite a few BC-ites seem to like traveling, a thread on 'travel stories/travelogues' would be very interesting. (People could redact the more personal elements of their stories if they didn't feel comfortable sharing too much)
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Old April 8, 2012, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navo
By the by, I'm thinking that as quite a few BC-ites seem to like traveling, a thread on 'travel stories/travelogues' would be very interesting. (People could redact the more personal elements of their stories if they didn't feel comfortable sharing too much)
Please do. I love to travel, and love to share my experiences (oddly enough, it's the minor details about the new place I've been to that I get hung up on)!
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Old April 8, 2012, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iDumb
you two atels no one is readinh ur essays. this is not classroom ok.. we are not professors - not grading you........ chill and make it a little interesting if u can not esoteric.

but looking simply at the pics that u like navo i can tell u are one sick imdividual really, i have yet to catch exactly what it is since u do a very good job at huding it but u got some sick **** going in ur head. btw, i have a double phd in psychology....so i am right.
LMAO!!! This post made my day. God BC is really a therapy.
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Old April 8, 2012, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oronnya
That's just soo rude !!! If you don't have any interest in any topic then you can just bypass that thread.. ..
which part of my post indicated I wasn't interested in art or that it doesn't intrigue me? There isn't any subject matter in the world that wouldn't interest me or anyone in this forum if presented in an interesting/appealing matter.

People don't come to forum to read essays. Why is twitter so famous and why are there restrictions to length of text? ever thought about it?

How can you show me art in a way that would make me go - oh my god! this is so cool. How is this thread different from reading any page from a random art book?

get it? if not? too bad. go back to reading books.
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Old April 8, 2012, 11:07 PM
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You have a point iDumb, but atlemi and verbosity go hand in hand haha.

As I said, it might be better to talk about personal experiences and particular pieces of art that have left an impression on us rather than just quoting general reviews? Might be more interesting to read.
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