February 18, 2010

Great Book: from Author Umberto Eco the current Guest Curator at the Musee du Louvre.

I read this book in high school and it remains one of my favorite books. The brief synopsis is below–if this piques your interest I strongly recommend the book! I am actually looking forward to reading two in his non-fiction/philosophy collection “History of Beauty” and “On Ugliness”


Who is killing monks in a great medieval abbey famed for its library – and why? Brother William of Baskerville is sent to find out, taking with him the assistant who later tells the tale of his investigations. Eco’s celebrated story combines elements of detective fiction, metaphysical thriller, post-modernist puzzle and historical novel in one of the few twentieth-century books which can be described as genuinely unique.


February 18, 2010

Great Article About the Current Guest Curator at Musee du Louvre.

Umberto Eco: master of the list The author discusses his turn as guest curator at the Louvre  By Cristina Carrillo De Albornoz:  Web only Published online 11 Nov 09 (Museums) (http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Umberto-Eco-master-of-the-list/19656)

After Robert Badinter, Toni Morrison, Anselm Kiefer and Pierre Boulez, Umberto Eco is the next special guest curator of the Louvre. A noted historian and semiotician before he brought these sensibilities to bear on major novels such as The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum, Eco has spent almost two years in residence at the Louvre. His chosen subject is “The Infinity of Lists”, a tour through art, literature and music based on the theme of lists and motivated by his fascination with numbers (until 13 December). “The subject of lists has been a theme of many writers from Homer onwards. My great challenge was to transfer it to painting and music and to see whether I could find equivalents in the Louvre, because frankly when I suggested the subject I had no idea how I would write about visual lists,” says Eco.

 “The starting point for my ‘list of lists’ was Homer’s Iliad: firstly the creation of Achilles’ shield by Hephaestus, which not only symbolises perfect form but is in itself a work of art on which is engraved what is considered an allegory of the creation of the universe, an overall vision of Homer’s world. And secondly, the part where he lists all the ships leaving for the Trojan war.” Eco plays with these two opposing dimensions—perfect form and the list—in an attempt to rationalise the world. “The shield of Achilles is the epiphany of form, and every picture in an artist’s search for that form is a shield of Achilles,” concludes Eco. “Behind each list is the sense of ineffability.”

Jean-Marc Terrasse, auditorium manager of the Louvre, who is in charge of Eco’s project, was the writer’s guide to the museum for over 18 months during his research, and is also responsible for drawing up the parallel programme, explains: “The Louvre Special Guest is a project in which a major figure gives his or her vision of the Louvre on the basis of a chosen theme. Around this theme a multi-disciplinary programme of exhibitions, lectures, concerts and installations is organised at the museum.

Umberto Eco is an ideal guest for many reasons. He is a man who has worked in all the artistic disciplines and who thinks at great speed and has thousands of very lucid ideas. He is a particularly interesting personality because he has a very clear, erudite vision of the art world, combined with a particular ability to marry high culture and pop culture, the sublime and the profane, the arcane and the new.”

Moreover, adds Terrasse, “Umberto Eco is a modern-day Diderot, and in his book The Vertigo of the List he examines the Western mind’s predilection for list-making and the encyclopaedic format. In fact his central thesis is that in Western culture a passion for accumulation is recurring: lists of saints, catalogues of plants, collections of art, all show how in the right hands there can be a ‘poetics of catalogues’. From medieval reliquaries to Andy Warhol’s compulsive collecting, Umberto Eco reflects in his inimitably inspiring way on how such catalogues mirror the spirit of their times.”

Eco’s personal relationship with the Louvre and with Paris is a very strong one: since his days as a university student in the 1960s—the decade he spent in the French capital, where he has a house—he has been a frequent visitor there. “Eco loves the museum and what it evokes,” says Terrasse. “In the French traditional and literary subconscious since the 19th century, museums have been a place for adventure and a popular setting for crime novels. His knowledge of the diversity of the paintings in the Louvre is that of a great scholar, an expert. Indeed, for Eco, a museum is a place of selection that guarantees that what is exhibited is worthy of artistic consideration. A kind of objet trouvé, like Duchamp’s urinal.”

In his selection of works, the ever-surprising Eco has been guided not only by the subject of lists and enumeration but also by criteria such as voluptuousness and the effects of abundance, or “vertigo”. “Going round the Louvre he remembered an Italian painter who is very well represented—Pannini, from the 17th century, who specialised in depicting art galleries in his paintings,” explains Terrasse. “After him came others such as The Coronation of Napoleon by David, and the Dutch still-lifes composed of well defined ‘lists’ of fruit, meat and fish. He also included the collections of relics of saints, on account of their variety. Many contemporary art specialists draw a parallel between these and the works of Arman filled with spectacles and watches, or those of Damien Hirst and his profane relics. Other works selected by Eco include small Mesopotamian panels depicting battles, The Marriage of Thetis and Peleus and The Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War by Matthias Gerung, so full of figures that they really create a feeling of vertigo.”

This selection by Umberto Eco, which has been compared with interventions on other collections and with contemporary works of art, forms a book published under the title The Vertigo of Lists. “This book,” explains Terrasse, “is a philosophical and artistic sequel to Eco’s recent acclaimed History of Beauty and On Ugliness, in which he delved into the psychology, philosophy, history and art of human forms.”

Eco, for his part, says that “The search for The List in the corridors of the Louvre was as exciting as hunting the unicorn. Painting has a beauty that is born of accumulation; art embodies the plurality and variety of reality in the limits of the form. From Antiquity down to the 19th century we have been prisoners of the picture frame; in painting, the frame tells us that ‘everything’ we should be interested in is inside it. I want to invite people to go beyond the form of the physical limits of the picture, to imagine the etcetera, a very important concept that suggests that it may continue. I want to invite people when they look, for example, at the Mona Lisa to go beyond what is most obvious and to observe the background landscape and wonder whether it extends into infinity—something that Da Vinci perhaps intended. To look at a picture as if we had a movie camera that would do a travelling shot to show us the rest.”

Starting with a talk by Eco on the Louvre, which took place on 2 November 2009, there are more than 20 events on the special guest programme.

Notable among these are the exhibition on Christian Boltanski, a friend of Eco’s who was selected, according to Jean-Marc Terrasse, because “he uses lists for identifying society, people who have disappeared, objects, etc.” Other exhibitions on the subject are “Mille e Tre” (the title refers to the list of maidens Don Juan boasted he had seduced in Spain), on view until 8 February 2010, containing a selection of the museum’s prints on the theme of lists, from Antiquity to the present day: shopping lists, lists of colours, places, names, letters, numbers, titles, objects, plants, and many more.

 A series of talks has been organised on the subject of lists centred around Pieter Brueghel the Elder and the idea of a collection of knowledge, and on the treasures of the Middle Ages. In addition, there is a replica of a 17th-century Wunderkammer on which 300 short films are screened. The programme also includes music cycles and concerts, one in memory of Luciano Berio.

Looking Forward to a Night With My Paints

February 18, 2010

I have been so busy lately with normal life things and I havent been able to blog or paint or do anything else fun!
I am looking forward to a little creative flow tonight.
I know that everyone struggles to find time to use their creative outlets.
What are some good ways to work it into your daily routine?

Does Making Art Make you Crazy or Does Being Crazy Make you an Artist?

February 4, 2010

Why Van Gogh cut his ear: new clue

This was the title of an article I read lately and it led me to think about whether art making makes you crazy or only crazy people make art.

To an extent I think it is both. I often feel the need to make art when I am feeling crazy, down, and like I dont have a solid foundation in life matters. I also feel like I generally think a little more outside the box than normal non-creative people which makes me a smidge on the crazy side.

Am I crazy enough to cut my ear or anything else as dramatic? Probably not, but I do wonder if the creative lifestyle and making art leads you into a realm where others can’t follow and couldn’t possibly understand.

For now, I am going to keep all of my body parts and try to ground myself in reality to make sure I don’t get lost in the creative process. All the while I will be fighting the reality to be able to soar in the clouds long enough to create new “masterpieces”

You Break it, You Buy It?

January 26, 2010

I can only imagine how awful this art student must feel. This is a recent article I found on The Australian website, and I was thinking about how incidents such as these should be handled.

Should the person be responsible for the damages? Loss in value? Should these works become less accessible?

Art student tears strip off Picasso

  • From: The Times
  • January 27, 2010 12:00AM

NEW YORK: A clumsy art lover has accidentally ripped a Picasso valued at $US130 million ($143m) during a class at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The woman made a 15cm tear in the lower right-hand corner of The Actor, an unusually large 1.8m by 1.2m canvas of an acrobat striking a pose. “A visitor attending a class lost her balance,” the museum said in a terse statement.

The accident occurred in a second-floor gallery of early Picasso works during one of the museum’s art classes. The woman who fell was one of 14 people in a guided group during regular visiting hours. People who attend the art classes typically roam through the museum in a group stopping in front of works of interest.

The Actor, painted in the winter of 1904-05, marks Picasso’s shift from his Blue Period, of images of tattered beggars and blind musicians, to his Rose Period of paintings of costumed acrobats. The painting was donated to the museum in 1952 by the car company heiress Thelma Chrysler Foy and has been prominently displayed ever since.

Immediately after the accident on Friday, the painting was taken to the Metropolitan’s conservation studio for repair.

“Fortunately, the damage did not occur in a focal point of the composition, and the curatorial and conservation staffs fully expect that the repair, which will take place in the coming weeks, will be unobtrusive,” the museum said.

The Actor is not the first Picasso to suffer damage as the result of carelessness in recent years. In 2006, Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul, tore Picasso’s Le Reve with his elbow while showing it off to friends in his office.

The 1932 picture of Picasso’s mistress Marie-Therese Walter was about to be sold for a record $US139m. Because of the tear, the sale fell through and the painting’s estimated value fell to $US85m.

Is This Art Poll 1

January 26, 2010

Angst in Art: Artist in Angst

January 22, 2010

Originally I started creating artwork as an outlet for my youthful angst and overall poor adolescent experience.
This worked out great all through high school and college because it meant that I had more drive and material to work on than one person could complete.

I am now married and loving life-my adolescence turned into a fairly productive and seemingly content adult state–and then the lucrative creative material dried up.
I have noticed in my own work that I my focus has changed, that my powerful color charged abstracts that I created in college no longer appeal to me and that I prefer more subdued outlets.

Even the process has changed–I used to fling paint, build in extreme textures, and use vivid colors that in all actuality should not relate.
Now I prefer to move deep into my thoughts and slowly and methodically paint with a neutral palette.

What do you do when the angst that drove you to create is no longer as present? Do you go from creating angst in art to an Artist in Angst?

And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

January 19, 2010

I am not sure why, but the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah” (Jeff Buckley’s Version) has been on my mind for the past several days.
Especially the following lines of the song:
“Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah”
“And every breath we drew was Hallelujah”

I had a moment because it is just such a powerful song that has touched me where I am right now in my life.
Artwork is often like that. It reaches out and touches you where you are–even if you are as far removed as you could possibly be from the artist that created the work.

It has left me feeling motivated and a little sad that I havent been as creative as I would like lately.

Where’s my Muse

January 14, 2010

It has been a rough week with very little creative flow. I am thinking about posting an ad in the local paper:
~Local Ordinary Artist Seeks Muse~
Must have extraordinary muse like qualities that inspire ordinary artist to create “da Vinci” quality work.

I know that it doesn’t really work like this, but wouldn’t it be nice to have this happen? or maybe not.
On one hand it would be great to have amazing work stemming from an uncommon muse occurence. But on the other, I think the process of creating is almost more therapeutic and rewarding than the final product.

So here’s to my muse: the desire to create simply for the reward that comes from starting with a blank canvas, paint, and a brush to make something that wasn’t made before.

Give Praise

January 13, 2010

I am reading a new book for work called the “One Minute Manager” and I was shocked about the simplicity of its message and the lack of people that follow any part of the message.
Basically it has three secret to effective managing: one-minute goal setting, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands.
The part that caught me the most off guard and made me feel like most managers have the wrong ideaL: is the one-minute praisings.
It is important to find people at work or in your personal life doing good things and to tell them that you appreciate what they are doing and that it is being done well.
If not everyone in your life will always feel overworked and underappreciated.