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    An Immense New Book Surveys the Work of More Than 300 African Artists

    
    Art
    History
    Photography

    #art history
    #books

    October 15, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    Zanele Muholi, Bhekezakhe, Parktown (2016), gelatin silver print, 50 × 35.9 centimeters. Photo © Zanele Muholi. Stevenson, Amsterdam, Cape Town and Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson, New York
    One of the most expansive volumes of its kind, African Artists: From 1882 to Now compiles a broad sampling of works from more than 300 modern and contemporary artists born or living on the continent. Within its 350-plus pages, the massive text spans a range of mediums and aesthetics, from Mary Sibande’s sprawling postcolonial installations and Wangechi Mutu’s fantastical watercolor collages to the cotton-embroidered photographs by Joana Choumali. The forthcoming volume follows the publisher’s 2019 book Great Women Artists, which gathers works from 400 artists from 54 countries across 500 years, and it’s available for pre-order from Phaidon and Bookshop.

    Papa Ibra Tall, “La semeuse d’étoiles (‘The Star Sower’)” (undated), tapestry, 201 × 298 centimeters. Photo © the artist
    Kwesi Botchway, “Green Fluffy Coat” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 78.7 × 78.7 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy of Gallery 1957, Accra
    Mary Sibande, “A Reversed Retrogress: Scene 1” (2013), lifesize fiberglass mannequins and cotton textile, 180 × 120 × 120 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy of the artist

    Michele Mathison, “Breaking Ground” (2014), steel and enamel, 203 × 104 × 40 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy Michele Mathison and WHATIFTHEWORLD
    Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, “Fragile 5” (2018), acrylic and oil on canvas, 187 × 196 centimeters. Photo © the artist, courtesy of the artist and October Gallery, London
    John Akomfrah. “Vertigo Sea” (2015). Photo © the artist and Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery

    #art history
    #books

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    The Exhausted Subject of a Newly Attributed Van Gogh Sketch Embodies All of Us Right Now

    
    Art
    History

    #art history
    #drawing

    September 21, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    “Study for ‘Worn Out,’” around November 24, 1882, pencil on paper, 48.8 x approximately 30 centimeters. Courtesy of Van Gogh Museum
    Hunched over with his face hidden in his palms, the weary subject of a sketch recently attributed to Vincent van Gogh (previously) embraces the collective spirit of 2021. The uncannily prescient drawing, titled “Study for ‘Worn Out,’” dates back to 1882 during an early period of the Dutch artist’s life when he spent time in The Hague. A recurring model, the exhausted, elderly man was a resident at the Dutch Reformed Almshouse for Men and Women, a place van Gogh frequented when looking for subjects. “In drawings like these, the artist not only displayed his sympathy for the socially disadvantaged—no way inferior in his eyes to the well-to-do bourgeoisie,” a statement said. “He actively called attention to them, too.”
    As its name suggests, the relatable pencil drawing is a preliminary rendering for van Gogh’s recognizable “Worn Out” and is also reminiscent of the lithograph “At Eternity’s Gate.” The piece is a unique find in the artist’s oeuvre considering his stature, and it follows the discovery of a bookmark in June that was hidden for more than a century.
    “Study for ‘Worn Out’” is on view at the Van Gogh Museum through January 2, 2022, when it will be returned to the anonymous private collector who brought it to the Amsterdam institution to confirm its authenticity.

    #art history
    #drawing

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    Archaeologists Uncover Children’s Hand and Foot Prints in What’s Thought to Be the Oldest Cave Art To Date

    
    Art
    History

    #art history
    #cave art
    #feet
    #hands
    #kids

    September 16, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    Image via Science Bulletin
    A series of hand and foot impressions uncovered in the Quesang village in the Tibetan Plateau might rewrite the art-historical timeline. According to an article published this month in Science Bulletin, researchers believe the ancient prints were made between 169,000 and 226,000 years ago and appear to be placed intentionally, cementing the notion that they’re the earliest examples of cave art yet to be uncovered. 
    Of course, there’s plenty of debate over whether these impressions are art, although archaeologists arguing for the categorization are staking their claims on intent. “​It is the composition, which is deliberate, the fact the traces were not made by normal locomotion, and the care taken so that one trace does not overlap the next,” geologist Matthew Bennett told Gizmodo, rejecting the idea that the prints are a byproduct of common movement like walking or grasping nearby material for stabilization. If the impressions are considered art, they predate the prehistoric figurative findings in both Sulawesi and Lasceaux, which date back about 43,900 and 17,000 years, respectively.
    Fossilized on a piece of limestone called travertine, the size and variances of the prints also indicate that they were made by two children. Archaeologists theorize that the indentations, which include five feet and five hands, were placed in mud near the Quesang Hot Spring before it compacted under pressure, or lithified, preserving the duo’s pieces in the hardened material for millennia. Although the research team isn’t sure that the creators were Homo sapiens—the timeline also aligns with the Denisovans, an extinct species from the hominin group that primarily occupied what’s now Asia—if they were, they were likely 7 and 12 years old.

    #art history
    #cave art
    #feet
    #hands
    #kids

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    A Restored Vermeer Painting Reveals a Hidden Cupid Artwork Hanging in the Background

    
    Art

    #art history
    #painting
    #restoration

    August 25, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    All images via Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
    A years-long restoration undertaken by the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden has entirely altered the understanding of a 17th-century painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. What was once thought to be a somewhat glum depiction of a young girl reading near a window is now an amorous portrayal thanks to the unveiling of a naked Cupid hanging in the background.
    Conservators knew the image of the Roman god of love existed after a 1979 X-ray, although it was assumed that Vermeer had altered the piece himself. Only after they performed a series of infrared reflectography imagings, microscopic analyses, and X-ray fluorescence examinations in 2017 did they realize that the Cupid was covered decades after the painter’s death, even though they still aren’t sure who marred the original piece or when. This dramatic of an alteration is rare during restoration, considering standard processes generally involve simple cleaning and repairs.
    “When layers of varnish from the 19th century began to be removed from the painting, the conservators discovered that the ‘solubility properties’ of the paint in the central section of the wall were different to those elsewhere in the painting,” a statement says, explaining further:
    Following further investigations, including tests in an archaeometry laboratory, it was discovered that layers of binding agent and a layer of dirt existed between the image of Cupid and the overpainting. The conservators concluded that several decades would have passed between the completion of one layer and the addition of the next and therefore concluded that Vermeer could not have painted over the Cupid himself.
    The new restoration—dive into the lengthy process in the video below—is just one of the mysteries that’s surrounded “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” since its creation between 1657–59. Originally attributed to Rembrandt and later to Pieter de Hooch, the artwork wasn’t properly credited until 1880. The piece is evocative of another one of Vermeer’s works, “Lady Standing at a Virginal,” though, which similarly features a painting within a painting by showing a solitary figure standing near a window with Cupid on the wall behind her.
    “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” will be on view in its original form for the first time in centuries as part of an expansive exhibition dedicated to the painter running from September 10, 2021, to January 2, 2022, at the Dresden museum. (via Kottke)

    

    #art history
    #painting
    #restoration

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    An XXL-Edition Compiles All of Frida Kahlo’s 152 Artworks in an Extensive Celebration of Her Life and Work

    
    Art

    #art history
    #books
    #painting
    #self-portrait

    July 22, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    “Self-portrait with Small Monkey” (1945), oil on masonite, 22 x 16⅜ inches, Mexico City, Xochimilco, Museo Dolores Olmedo, photo by akg-images
    An enormous new book from Taschen explores the life and work of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907–1954). Widely recognized as a groundbreaking figure in contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality, Kahlo’s now iconic image—particularly derived from her more than 50 self-portraits showing her bold brow, braided hair, and range of floral adornments—has secured her legacy as one of the most influential and profound artists of the 20th Century.
    Spanning 624 pages and weighing nearly 12 pounds, Frida Kahlo. The Complete Paintings compiles all 152 of her works paired with diary pages, letters, drawings, an illustrated biography, and hundreds of photos taken by Edward Weston, Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Nickolas Muray, and Martin Munkácsi that glimpse moments from Kahlo’s life with her husband and muralist Diego Rivera and of the Casa Azul, her home in Mexico City. Many of the pieces included haven’t been exhibited publicly in more than 80 years.

    Edited by Luis-Martín Lozano with contributions from Andrea Kettenmann and Marina Vázquez Ramos, the volume contextualizes Kahlo’s paintings by offering an intimate and wide-reaching exploration of her oeuvre that was so profoundly impacted by her experiences with a lifelong disability and an unending need to question politics and notions of identity. Lozano describes her unparalleled contributions in a conversation with It’s Nice That:
    Her uniqueness in art history is not only based in a feminist agenda as it has been stressed out in recent years, but mostly in her capacity to engage in ideological and aesthetic discussions of her time and contemporaries, in subjects such as public art and surrealism, and make them part of her core as an artist.
    Frida Kahlo. The Complete Paintings is currently available from Taschen and for pre-order on Bookshop.

    “The Little Deer” (April–May 3, 1946), oil on masonite, 8⅞ x 11 inches, Chicago, private collection, photo © Fine Art Images/Bridgeman Images
    “Portrait of Luther Burbank” (1931), oil on masonite, 34 x 24. inches, Mexico City, Xochimilco, Museo Dolores Olmedo, photo by akg-images

    “Ixcuhintli Dog with Me” (c. 1938), oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches, United States, private collection, photo by akg-images

    #art history
    #books
    #painting
    #self-portrait

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    ‘Fantastic Landscapes’ Surveys the Vivid Use of Color in Hokusai and Hiroshige’s Woodblock Prints

    
    Art
    History

    #art history
    #landscapes
    #printmaking
    #ukiyo-e
    #woodblock prints

    July 16, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    Utagawa Hiroshige, “Yamashiro Province: The Togetsu Bridge in Mount Arashi (Yamashiro, Arashiyama Togetsukyo),” from the series Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces (Rokujuyoshu meisho zue), 1853
    An exhibition opening this weekend at the Art Institute of Chicago plunges into the vast archives of renowned Japanese ukiyo-e artists Katsushika Hokusai (previously) and Utagawa Hiroshige (previously). Fantastic Landscapes brings together the vivid scenes created by the prolific printmakers through the first half of the 19th Century with a particular focus on their innovative uses of color. Peach skies, grassy bluffs in chartreuse, and their extensive applications of Prussian blue—Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” famously layers the chemical pigment—mark a broader shift in the artform. Today, the pair are largely attributed with sparking a worldwide fascination with Japanese prints.
    Explore some of the woodblock works on view as part of Fantastic Landscapes below, and see them in person between July 17 and October 11. You also might enjoy this monumental book compiling Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji and Hiroshige’s delightful shadow puppets.

    Katsushika Hokusai, “The Back of Mount Fuji Seen from Minobu River (Minobugawa Urafuji),” from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), about 1830/33
    Katsushika Hokusai, “Amida Falls in the Far Reaches of the Kisokaido (Kisoji no oku Amidagataki),” from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (Shokoku taki meguri)
    Utagawa Hiroshige, “Plum Garden at Kameido (Kameido Umeyashiki),” from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei)
    Utagawa Hiroshige, “Awa Province: Naruto Whirlpools (Awa, Naruto no fuha),” from the series Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces (Rokujuyoshu meisho zue), 1855
    Katsushika Hokusai, “A Mild Breeze on a Fine Day (Gaifu kaisei),” from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjurokkei), c. 1830/33
    Katsushika Hokusai, “Kirifuri Falls at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke Province (Shimotsuke Kurokamiyama Kirifuri no taki),” from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (Shokoku taki meguri), c. 1833

    #art history
    #landscapes
    #printmaking
    #ukiyo-e
    #woodblock prints

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    A Bookmark Illustrated by Van Gogh Has Been Discovered After 135 Years

    
    Art
    History

    #art history
    #drawing

    June 29, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    Detail of “Strip with three sketches” of a Woman Walking, Viewed from the Back, a Sitting Man (en face) and a Sitting Woman (en profil), before June 1883, graphite on paper, 28 x 5 centimeters. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the Bank Giro Loterij
    In 2021, it’s rare to stumble upon a work by Vincent van Gogh that hasn’t been previously identified, but researchers recently uncovered a few early drawings slipped inside one of the Dutch artist’s books. Now on view as part of Here to Stay at the Van Gogh Museum, the newly discovered bookmark has been hidden for about 135 years and dates back to autumn 1881, when the artist was in his late 20s and living in his parents’ village of Etten.
    Depicting three single figures in a vertical line, the pencil sketches were found inside the artist’s copy of Histoire d’un Paysan, an illustrated novel by Emile Erckmann and Alexandre Chatrian that details the French Revolution from the perspective of a peasant in Alsace. Van Gogh mailed the book, which he first inscribed with his name, to his friend and fellow artist Anthon van Rappard in 1883, saying “I do think you’ll find the Erckmann-Chatrian beautiful.”
    Van Rappard sat for a drawn portrait with van Gogh not long after receiving the novel, which was held by the family of van Rappard’s wife until the Van Gogh Museum purchased it in 2019. Despite their friendship, the pair had a falling out in 1885 after van Rappard criticized the lithograph “The Potato Eaters” (1885).
    The discovery will be on view alongside artifacts and other artworks acquired by the Amsterdam museum in the last decade through September 12. (via Artnet)

    “Strip with three sketches” of a Woman Walking, Viewed from the Back, a Sitting Man (en face) and a Sitting Woman (en profil), before June 1883, graphite on paper, 28 x 5 centimeters. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the Bank Giro Loterij
    Detail of “Strip with three sketches” of a Woman Walking, Viewed from the Back, a Sitting Man (en face) and a Sitting Woman (en profil), before June 1883, graphite on paper, 28 x 5 centimeters. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the Bank Giro Loterij

    #art history
    #drawing

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    Glitches Distort Household Objects and Art Historical Figures in Sculptures by Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford

    
    Art

    #art history
    #sculpture

    June 25, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    “Garden Gipsoteca: Hercules” (2019), marble, resin, pigment, urethane foam, steel, abd wood, 84 x 36 x 24 inches. All images © Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, shared with permission
    Artist Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford reenvisions classical sculptures as chaotic, glitched assemblages that piece together fragmented bits of the original work. His interpretation of “Hercules” is teeming with textured pockets of the figure’s beard and facial features that become increasingly smaller and indiscernible toward the base, while “Venus” is reimagined in a similarly disjointed fashion with fractured body parts forming an upward curve.
    Although many of his works evoke ancient art history, Hulsebos-Spofford’s pieces are rooted in modernist aesthetics and understandings of functionality, which manifest more apparently in his oversized Moka pot and Mr. Coffee sculptures. Each piece alters the traditional forms with an implied digital malfunction, which a statement about the works explains:
    Inspired by the history of the 1927 architectural competition in Geneva, which asked architects to submit plans for the creation of the Palace of Nations, Hulsebos-Spofford points to the unsettled quandaries and contradictions between classical design and modernist functionalism. Repeating classical sculptural figures remind us of copy-and-paste multiple errors that reference the history of the gipsoteca galleries…Behind all of these references, we are presented with a global constellation of history and technological decay.
    If you’re in Chicago, you can see the works shown here as part of League of Nations, which is on view between June 2 and August 29 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Find more of Hulsebos-Spofford’s sculptures on his site and Instagram, where he also shares glimpses into his process.

    “Hyperlexia: Venus” (2021), marble, resin, foam, and fiberglass, 40 x 30 x 24 inches
    “Mr. Coffee” (2019), sand blasting sand, resin, urethane foam, steel, hardware, and wood, 68 x 48 x 24 inches
    Detail of “Garden Gipsoteca: Hercules” (2019), marble, resin, pigment, urethane foam, steel, abd wood, 84 x 36 x 24 inches
    “Hyperlexia: Moka” (2020), aluminum, resin, foam, and fiberglass, 41 x 40 x 14 inches
    “Hyperlexia: Solicitude” (2021), foam, pigment, and wood, 48 x 36 x 36 inches

    #art history
    #sculpture

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