Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Episode 96: Exiled Artists

Probably as far back as written history artists have exiled from their homeland for being subversive, political activists, out spoken or just a little bit to much of a free spirit. Some artists have fled their homeland due to death threats while others, like David, were officially exiled by their government. War is another reason artists have left their homes, like Walter Gropius who left Germany and moved to the US to teach at Harvard University. 

Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David, Self portrait, 1794

Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784

The fact that David made it through the French Revolution with his head still attached to his body is amazing, but he also managed to get his King beheaded, become known as the "Art Dictator of France", become the court painter to Napoleon and still died a natural death in Brussels. Although his heart can still be found in Paris. 

David's headstone at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

Michelangelo Merisi o Amerighi da Caravaggio

Ottavio LeoniChalk portrait of Caravaggio, circa 1621

Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath, 1610

When Caravaggio was attacked by his enemies in Naples, his face was so disfigured that he was almost unrecognizable. The Head of Goliath is Caravaggio's self portrait after the incident. You can listen to Episode 15 on Caravaggio on iTunes. Our Caravaggio post is here.  

Walter Gropius

Bauhaus Building

Harvard Graduate Center or “Gropius Complex”. Commissioned in 1948

John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Boston, MA, 1963

Pan Am Building, now the MetLife Building, Manhattan, NY 1958-1962
Gropius House, Lincoln, MA 1937-38
Walter Gropius fled Germany during WWII. He took at job at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and went on to design many of the US's familiar modern structures. 

We hope you enjoyed this episode! Come back next week for our St. Patrick's Day episode with Jo and Alisha! Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Episode 95: Friedensreich Hundertwasser

This was an especially fun episode to record because it was a listener request! We are so happy that it was requested because the more we learned about Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the more we fell in love with his art and personality.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born in 1928 and raised in Vienna, Austria. His birth name was Friedrich Stowasser but at the age of 21 he changed it to what we see now. He studied in a Montessori school but his real learning and passion came from nature.

Hundertwasser used the term Transautomatism to define his art style. This style is a kind of surrealism. The viewer is the prime focus to the art and it is all about how they interpret it. Hundertwasser was completely against straight lines and referred to them as 'godless and immoral'. He believed in being connected with nature and this concept was apparent in all of his works.

Painting: Color was his main focus in his paintings. He loved placing complimentary colors next to one another. He had two main categories for painting one was representing animalistic nature and vegetation and the other was the repetitive use of architectural symbols: houses, windows, gables and fences.

Yellow Houses: It hurts to wait with love if love is somewhere else, 1966

Singing Steamer in Ultramarine III, 1959

These pieces illustrate his love for vibrant colors and architecture.The lines may appear straight but he rarely used straight lines in his works.

Tapestry: Hundertwasser created his first tapestry because of a bet and created many more after that. He never used a template for his tapestries.
Yellow Ships, Sea of Tunis and Taormina
Printmaking: It was his aim to make many different unique pieces within the art of the graphic, thereby going beyond machine production.
Swimming Window, 1979
Architecture: Hundertwasser was quoted saying, "an uneven floor is a melody to the feet."

Hundetwasserhaus, 1983

Hot Springs Village in Rogner Bad Blumau, Austria

Waldspirale (Forest Spiral)
In his later years, Hundertwasser participated in nude speeches where he voiced his strong opinions on environmentalism and politics. His passion is what drove his art work to be completely unique and awe inspiring.

We hope you enjoyed this episode. Come back next week to learn more about Exiled Artists!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Episode 94: A&F's Top 10 Smooches!

It's almost Valentines Day, the day of love, and in honor of that day we here at Arts & Facts have compiled our own list of the top 10 smooches (kisses) in art. This has been a fun episode to research and we hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we had recording it!

Without further ado we give you:

Number 10

1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney
Snow White was the very first Disney Princess created in  1937 and was the epitome of innocence. I wonder if they knew then how long this magical kiss would live on, and how many incarnations it would have in pop culture.

Number 9

2004, Kissing Coppers, Banksy
These kissing coppers are located in Brighton, England on an exterior wall of the Prince Albert Pub. After vandals many attempts to deface the image the owner decided to sell it, for it's own protection (sure). In 2008 an art restoration company used chemicals to transfer the image from the pub wall onto canvas. You can still visit the Brighton pub to see a replica of the original, which has been covered by plastic to protect it from further attempts to deface it (as seen in the image above).

Number 8

Maritte, Lovers, 1928
Maritte's eerie interpretation of a kiss isn't an image soon forgotten. While kisses are supposed to be intimate touches the fabric over the lovers faces prevents them from actually touching. This can be interpreted in a couple of ways, the first is that as much as we might love someone we can never really know them fully, and the second is that perhaps the use of the fabric is a way to represent longing that can never be fulfilled. Either way Maritte's Lovers leaves a lasting impression.

Number 7

Picasso, The Kiss, 1969
The Kiss by Picasso is the last in a series of three, the other two being a sketch and a black and white image. There isn't a whole lot of information available on this piece but we think it's fair to say that if you didn't already know it was a Picasso you could easily tell at first glance. In this painting the woman seems to be much more engaged in the kiss than the man. 

Number 6

Canova, Psyche Revived by Cupids Kiss, 1787-1793
Canova's sculpture of Psyche and Cupid was just recently mentioned in our Classical Revivals episode, but it's so beautiful it deserves more attention. If you don't know the story behind this myth you can read more about it here at the Louvre's website. The twisting forms in this sculpture make it very interesting to view, keeping the eyes moving until they stop at Cupids lips. A very romantic piece to be sure.

Number 5

Richard Lam, Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot, Kissing Couple, 2011
This image was taken in 2011 during the Stanley Cup Riot in Vancouver, Canada. The riot broke out after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup against the Vancouver Canucks (never mess with Canada's hockey!). Businesses were looted, cars were set a flame and 140 people were injured. In the middle of all this we see a couple laying in the street kissing. Some people thought it was staged, but the photographer who captured this image says it wasn't. In fact, the woman in the picture had been knocked down by riot police and her boyfriend was kissing her in an effort to calm her down. 


Number 4

Gerome, Pygmalion and Galeta, 1890
In a kind of creepy story we learn that Pygmalion is sick of women. They're all rather superficial and selfish in his opinion, so he creates a sculpture of his perfect woman and kisses her everyday until she becomes real. In this image we see the moment of transformation when a normally cold kiss against marble becomes a warm kiss, flesh to flesh.

Number 3

Alfred Eisentaedt, V-J Day In Times Square, 1945
The Japanese had just surrendered and the war in the Pacific was over, people all over the US were celebrating. This is one of the images captured on that happy day in Times Square.


Number 2

Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-1908
This painting is part of Klimt's "Gold Period" and is famous for being compared to the Mona Lisa in terms of genius. Unlike the previous art works we have talked about there really isn't a story behind it unless we talk about Klimt himself who was known for his "fierce sexual appetite". 


Number 1

Rodin, The Kiss, 1882-89
Rodin's, The Kiss, is known as one of the most romantic sculptures of all time. It's a natural number one for us here at Arts and Facts. The story behind this piece is from Dante's Inferno and involves two adulterous lovers who end up murdered by the woman's husband.

We hope you enjoyed this week's episode on Arts & Facts Top 10 Smooches. Next week we will have a listener requested episode on Friedensreich Hundertwasser! We will see you then! Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Episode 93: Abstract Expressionism “I Could Have Done That! (But you didn’t)”

Abstract Expressionism is an art movement that developed after World War II in the United States and is considered the first American art movement to become an international art movement. 

According the Oxford University Press, Abstract Expressionism is, “interpreted as an especially ‘American’ style because of its attention to the physical immediacy of paint; it has also been seen as a continuation of the Romantic tradition of the Sublime". 

During this time, in the 1940's and 1950's, science and psychology are changing. Quantum Mechanics and psychoanalysis begin to change people's perceptions of the world. How a person feels is important, and this is something that is very evident in Abstract Expressionism.

Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950, MoMA

Franz Kline, Black Reflections, 1959

Paul Klee, Ancient Sound, Abstract on Black, 1925

Seon-Jeong Kim, Abstract Art 221


Seon-Jeong Kim said:

“I start my day from wondering what I painted on the previous day.
I end up my day feeling alive and achieved.
I paint my frustration, illusions, former existence, and transience of life.
I do not know where my mind is going.
I do not know what my painting will be.
Later, I see a path and it begins to shape my feelings.
Today, I go on this lonely journey to simplify my spirit.
I paint to free myself. I paint what I like.

If anybody feels the same way I do through my art, I will feel fulfilled. “

Come back next Wednesday to listen to our Valentine's Day episode on Arts & Facts Top 10 Smooches with Julia and Jo!

Have a great week everyone, and please, let us know what you think of Abstract Expressionism!