(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.

16 January 2013



RIO DE JANEIRO.- Natives listen to Rio de Janeiro government representatives during a meeting at the former Indigenous Museum --aka Aldea Maracana-- next to the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 15, 2013. Indigenous people, who have been occupying the place since 2006, protest against Rio de Janeiros governmet decision to throw them out and pull down the building to construct 10,500 parking lots for the upcoming Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup. AFP PHOTO/Christophe Simon.

The Year of the Snake

Photographs by Mattias Klum via National Geographic

Venom from snakes like the Jameson’s mamba, seen here in Cameroon, may soon combat heart disease.

The hollow fangs of the Jameson’s mamba deliver toxins that can lead to respiratory paralysis—and a person’s death within hours.

Snakes, snake eggs, and lizards infuse rice wine in bottles at a restaurant in Le Mat Village. Locals say that drinking these concoctions eases pain, keeps organs healthy, and boosts virility.

Line & Color

PAINTINGS I'D LIKE TO SEE IN PERSON: The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli

Born in Zurich as Johann Heinrich Füssli, the artist known as Henry Fuseli moved permanently to London in 1779 after a ten-year sojourn in Rome. He aroused striking public interest on presenting this soberly titled painting, The Nightmare, at the Royal Academy show of 1782. He depicted a young woman lying on a bed in a room with contemporary furniture reflecting a stylized Antique taste. Although dressed in virginal white, the sleeping—or swooning—woman is tormented in her sleep by a little demon who crouches heavily on her belly. That is the mara—spirit or hag—who gives its name to the painting, because “nightmare” originally meant not a bad dream but an incubus. According to a marginal Christian belief in the late Middle Ages, an incubus was a spirit that came to trouble women’s dreams with its sexual ardor. The horse whose head emerges from the left is clearly the fantastic spirit’s steed yet also an allusion to a passage in Romeo and Juliet that refers to a being who “gallops night by night through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love.” Fuseli’s painting was immediately engraved by Thomas Burke and swiftly became famous, indeed so popular that it spurred a great number of forgeries and caricatures. Fuseli himself produced painted and drawn replicas. Today this painting is certainly one of the most studied “Romantic” or “pre-Romantic” works of European art, henceforth presented as emblematic of the movement.
The Nightmare – 1781-82 – Oil on canvas – Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit (55.5.A)

© The Bridgeman Art Library

Image & Text via Musée du Louvre

The Frick: Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)

Image & Text via THE FRICK

Closes this weekend!

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) painted his Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier) in August 1888 during a highly productive fifteen-month stay in Arles in southern France. The opportunity to display this work in New York is the result of a special exchange program between the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, and The Frick Collection and marks the first time in forty years that the painting has left its home institution.

From the early years of his career in the Netherlands, van Gogh thought of himself as a “peasant painter.” With his many images of rural laborers in dark, earthen tones, he sought to dignify their modest lives and to associate himself with a long tradition of peasant depictions that stretched from the Old Masters to the nineteenth-century French artist Jean-François Millet. Following a two-year period in Paris, where he adopted the bright palette and rapid, visible brushwork of the Impressionists, van Gogh left for Arles. He envisioned the Provençal city as an exotic place—in his words, a “Japan in France.” Enraptured by the vivid colors and limpid light of the south, he painted brilliantly colored landscapes in and around Arles. His deeper interest, however, lay in portraiture, and he set out to paint a series of distinctive types of the region. His portrait of Patience Escalier, a gardener and former oxherd from the marshlands of the nearby Camargue, brought him back to his early interest in rural laborers. In this work, color and emphatic brushwork take on greater importance.

In Arles Vincent turned away from the lessons of Impressionism in pursuit of more forceful expression in his paintings. In his Portrait of a Peasant he exploits the power of contrasting colors and the tactility of paint to capture the essential qualities of the man and his environment. Van Gogh depicts his rustic subject in the sun-drenched colors of Provence at the height of summer. The brilliant yellow straw hat brings to mind the blazing sun; the vivid blue background the midday sky; and the cool green jacket the lush vegetation. The ridges and hollows and burnt golden color of the man’s weathered face recall the scorched earth, evoking, in Vincent’s own words, “the very furnace of harvest time, deep in the south."
An introductory video will present the results of new research and a comprehensive technical examination of the painting. The van Gogh presentation is coordinated by Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator of The Frick Collection.

Photography: The South Bronx in the 80s

Photos via The Gothamist

The South Bronx in the 80s, as seen by locals.

Donky Bicycle by Ben Wilson: Nominee for Design Museum's Annual Award Recognizing the Best in Global Design

"Donky Bicycle", designed by Ben Wilson, allows heavy loads to be carried on both the front and back platforms.

Image & Text via ARTINFO

LONDON — The Design Museum has announced its nominees for their annual award recognizing the best in global design.

Over 90 contenders spread across seven categories were selected by a panel of industry experts. Costumes from the movie “Anna Karenina” designed by Jacqueline Durran, the Olympic Cauldron by Heatherwick Studio, The Shard designed by Renzo Piano, and the Louis Vuitton Collection by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama were among the designs that were nominated.

The Design Museum's Designs of the Year award is in its sixth year and recognizes international talent in seven areas: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product, and Transport. The winners from each category and an overall winner will be crowned in April.

Veteran designer Zaha Hadid has been nominated twice this year for her work on the Galaxy Soho building in Beijing and the Liquid Glacial Table, which resembles running water. The late architect Louis Kahn, who passed away in 1974, has also been recognized for his work on Four Freedoms Park in New York, which was finally completed late last year.

Emerging designers have not been overlooked. Prototypes from the Varanasi Research Group's non-stick ketchup bottle and the Centre for Vision in the Developing World’s self-adjustable glasses aimed at children with no access to opticians both made the shortlist.

The Design Museum will be showing all the nominated works in an upcoming exhibition opening in March.

ARTINFO's Top 10 Picks From the Designs of the Year 2013 Nominees

14 January 2013

LACMA Acquires Couture Collection With Pieces by Balenciaga, Madame Grès, and More


The Costume and Textiles collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is becoming a bona fide sartorial attraction, thanks to the recent acquisition of 158 pieces by couture designers dating from 1880 to 2008. Made possible by patron Ellen A. Michelson, the collection boasts creations by nearly 50 designers, including Cristóbal Balenciaga, Jean Dessès, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Jeanne Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Jean Patou, Paul Poiret, and Paco Rabanne. The collection also has a large number of pieces by three of fashion’s most-recognized female designers — Coco Chanel, Madame Grès, and Madeleine Vionnet.

Haute couturier Dominique Sirop, a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne who worked with Saint Laurent and de Givenchy, assembled the predominantly French acquisition, which consists of both daywear and eveningwear. Some of the highlights include a prim 1987 rose and white chevron-striped evening gown by Madame Grès, an elegant 1925 silk satin evening dress with goldfoiled glass bugle beads and silver metallic-wrapped thread trim by Vionnet, and a luxurious fall 2007 brown leather and fox evening dress by McQueen.

A major part of the Vionnet acquisition was due to the recent donation by scholar Betty Kirke of the Betty Kirke Pattern Archives of Madeleine Vionnet, which include priceless paper patterns, muslin toiles, research notes, slides, and photographs that Kirke used for her book “Madeleine Vionnet.”

The acquisition, coupled with Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s 2011 gift of the Rodarte Frangelico-inspired couture collection significantly strengthens LACMA’s couture holdings, some 25,000 pieces in the museum’s Costume and Textiles Collection.

“In addition to expanding the breadth of LACMA’s repository of twentieth-century fashion, this outstanding acquisition allows us to draw entirely from our permanent collection in organizing exhibitions that explore the role of the couturier in the development of modern style,” said Sharon Takeda, LACMA senior curator Costume and Textiles, via email.


Martin Luther & Moon Medicine at the Apollo Theater

Concept band, Moon Medicine, played alongside Martin Luther Saturday night at the Apollo Theater. Moon Medicine is an aural and optical experiment conducted by interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers. His live work, by turns troubling and inspiring, weaves found images of punk, funk, film noir, sci-fi, traditional Samoan dance, and Buddhism with original video content and improvised turntableism and veejaying. The result is an evocative concert that is as much jam session as it is a performative film screening.

More information on Sanford Biggers: ARTIST WEBSITE