The new Musée Rodin book does an excellent job of framing Rodin’s multi-faceted legacy. It covers the artist’s beginnings, historical contexts, studio practice, and artistic achievements, including the surprising fact that Rodin failed the École des Beaux-Arts sculpture admissions test three times and largely developed his sculpture practice on his own. Due to space limitations, my review will address three facets not fully fleshed out in this well-illustrated volume: why Camille Claudel’s role is still under-explored; how Rodin enlarged the platform for sculpture and public art as he ushered in subjects lacking conventional beauty and frontal male nudity; and how his erotic art challenged the sexual taboos of his era (and even our own). Continue reading
Margaret Dreikausen, in her book Aerial Perception: The Earth as Seen from Aircraft and Spacecraft and Its Influence on Contemporary Art, notes the difference between two different views of the ground from the air. There is the vertical angle, or directly above, as we perceive the ground from a high-altitude aircraft or see the earth from the satellite perspective of Google Maps. And then there is the oblique angle, seen from lower altitude aircraft, looking outward over the landscape. According to Dreikausen, “the oblique angle gives a sense of wide-open space and is perceived in terms of aerial perspective involving the gradients of color and texture.” The oblique angle accentuates perspective, the three-dimensional shape of buildings, and the topography of the earth. Dreikausen traces how the oblique was first theorized in art as far back as Leonardo Da Vinci, who wrote about the way the views through the atmosphere change color and light, and the way perspective is shaped by far-off distance. She also notes the use of similar techniques in the paintings of Yvonne Jacquette and Susan Crile in more contemporary times. Continue reading
The Political Space of Art is quick to clarify its title: rather than focusing on literal space within art, its reference is more figurative. Using four artists working in different art forms – filmmakers The Dardenne Brothers, writer Arundhati Roy, visual artist Ai Weiwei and musician Burial – the book explores the formation of creative work within a thick web of political relationships and spheres. Continue reading
By way of justifying his art college’s lack of business of art courses, the former chair of the fine arts department at Ringling School of Art & Design, once told me that “our faculty are all practicing, exhibiting artists who know very well what it takes to make it in the art world.” Presumably, just the presence of these teaching artists and the example they set would provide their students all the information they needed. However, that claim is difficult to test. Certainly, art faculty don’t lose their jobs if they haven’t had a show or sold a work of art in many years, and no one would want that to be the criteria for evaluating an instructor. Continue reading
Crafted: Objects in Flux was a recent exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Emily Zilber curated the show and wrote the accompanying catalogue.
Zilber is an astute art historian and has carefully chosen her words in titling this publication. The title does not denote a category of art, but references the concept behind this book. Her approach created an opportunity for inclusion and possibilities. Continue reading
When one refers to the business of art, certainly in the context of artists, the focus is on artists as businesspeople, not only creating artworks for sale but marketing, promoting, exhibiting and selling this art. However, the skills in this realm that artists need to learn are similar, and sometimes identical, to those of art dealers and gallery owners, which makes Edward Winkleman’s recent gallery-oriented Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evolving Market (Allworth Press) a useful addition to an artist’s bookshelf. (Full disclosure: Allworth Press also is the publisher of my books.) The author of How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery, Winkleman looks at a variety of changes in the selling of art over the past decade that are likely to make a difference in whether a gallery thrives or closes, and what he has to say to dealers is often quite applicable to artists who sell on their own or through a gallery. Continue reading
For the latest edition in the Critical Spatial Practice series from Sternberg Press, Israeli intellectual and architect (and Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmith’s College in London) Eyal Weizman has turned his attention to protest and revolution. In a perhaps timely (and at this point arguably necessary fashion), he gives particular attention to the Arab Spring Protests that began in Tunisia in December 2010, the ripples of which are still shaping global politics at the moment with Civil Wars in Syria and Libya especially. Continue reading