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Art Design History

Balloons Inflate Around Copper Forms in a Playful Reinterpretation of the Enigmatic Venus Figures

August 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Reddish Studio, shared with permission

Although research suggests the ancient Venus figurines were created as totems of survival amid a changing climate, the enigmatic forms continue to puzzle historians, their exact cultural context and relevance unknown. The mysterious statues, with exaggerated physical features like large, distended bellies and generally plump appendages, recently inspired a playful project by Naama Steinbock and Idan Friedman, the designers behind Reddish Studio based in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

Titled “Venus of Jaffa,” the series interprets the prehistoric sculptures as lighthearted, impermanent forms. Each figure is structured with a thin, copper frame designed to hold a balloon. Once inflated, the latex—the studio used neutral tones to evoke both flesh and the original earthenware—puffs around the armature to form the supple curves of a female body. In a statement, the studio describes the works, which were originally shown at Jerusalem Design Week 2022:

This project is meant to spark curiosity while referencing both the archeological finds and the way they take part in our current culture with their bespoke museum displays… While the archeological Venus statuettes have survived tens of thousands of years, the new addition to their dynasty is only ephemeral and has the lifespan of a party decoration.

For more from Reddish Studio, visit its site. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art History Illustration Photography Science

A New Book Plunges into the Vast Diversity of the World’s Oceans Across 3,000 Years

July 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

Carl Chun, Polypus levis, from Die Cephalopoden (1910–15), color lithograph, 35 × 25 centimeters. Image from the Biodiversity Heritage Library/Contributed by MBLWHOI Library, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Library, Massachusetts. All images © Phaidon, shared with permission

Despite thousands of years of research and an unending fascination with marine creatures, humans have explored only five percent of the oceans covering the majority of the earth’s surface. A forthcoming book from Phaidon dives into the planet’s notoriously vast and mysterious aquatic ecosystems, traveling across the continents and three millennia to uncover the stunning diversity of life below the surface.

Spanning 352 pages, Ocean, Exploring the Marine World brings together a broad array of images and information ranging from ancient nautical cartography to contemporary shots from photographers like Sebastião Salgado and David Doubilet. The volume presents science and history alongside art and illustration—it features biological renderings by Ernst Haekcl, Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock prints, and works by artists like Kerry James Marshall, Vincent van Gogh, and Yayoi Kusama—in addition to texts about conservation and the threats the climate crises poses to underwater life.

Ocean will be released this October and is available for pre-order on Bookshop. You also might enjoy this volume devoted to birds.

 

NNtonio Rod (Antonio Rodríguez Canto), Trachyphyllia, from Coral Colors, (2016). Image © NNtonio Rod

Jason deCaires Taylor, “Rubicon” (2016), stainless steel, pH-neutral cement, basalt and aggregates, installation view, Museo Atlántico, Las Coloradas, Lanzarote, Atlantic Oceanl. Photo courtesy of the artist

Christian Schussele and James M. Sommerville, Ocean Life, (c.1859), watercolor, gouache, graphite, and gum arabic on off-white wove paper, 48.3 × 69.7 centimeters. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Duke Riley, #34 of the Poly S. Tyrene Maritime Collection (2019), salvaged, painted plastic bottle, 30.5 × 18.4 × 7.6 centimeters Image courtesy of Duke Riley Studio

Nicolas Floc’h, Productive Structures, Artificial Reefs, -23m, Tateyama, Japan, (2013). Image © Nicolas Floc’h

 

 



Art History

Great Women Painters: An Enormous Volume Surveys the Work of 300 Artists Across 500 Years

July 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

Lubaina Himid, “Le Rodeur: The Exchange” (2016), acrylic on canvas, 72 × 96 inches. Image © Lubaina Himid, courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London, by Andy Keate. All images courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

In the same vein as Phaidon’s formidable Great Women Artists and African Artists, a forthcoming book from the publisher similarly widens the art historical canon while recognizing some of the most influential and impactful painters working in the medium today. The massive compilation, titled Great Women Painters, highlights more than 300 artists across 500 years and a vast array of movements and aesthetics. Arranged alphabetically, the book pairs icons like Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo, and Leonora Carrington with contemporary artists, including Ewa Juszkiewicz, Katharina Grosse, and Wangari Mathenge, in a broad and diverse overview of the women who have had profound impacts on the world today. The nearly 350-page Great Women Painters will be released this fall and is currently available for pre-order from Bookshop.

 

Shara Hughes, “Hard Hats” (2021), oil and dye on canvas, 96 × 72 inches. Image © Shara Hughes, courtesy of the artist, Pilar Corrias, London, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and New York, and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York

Ewa Juszkiewicz, “Untitled (after Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun)” (2020), oil on canvas, 63 × 47 1/4 inches. Photo © Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech, by Melissa Castro Duarte

Hayv Kahraman, “Appearance of Control” (2010), oil with gold paint on 23 wooden panels (sliding puzzle) in artist’s frame, 65 3/4 × 96 7/8 inches. Image © Hayv Kahraman, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Wangari Mathenge, “The Ascendants XVII (She Is Here Too but Why Are You?)” (2021), oil on canvas, 193 × 160 centimeters. Image © Wangari Mathenge, by Brian Griffin, courtesy of Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

 

 



Art Dance History Music Photography

30,000 Photographs of Black History and Culture Are Available From Getty’s Archive

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

August 7, 1962, a student at the Jamaican School Of Arts And Crafts models a bust of a woman in clay. Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

From a black-and-white portrait of a reclined James Baldwin to a candid shot of a father and daughter on a Harlem park bench, a new archive from Getty grants open access to thousands of images devoted to Black history and culture. The massive collection—which was developed with historians and educators Dr. Deborah Willis, Jina DuVernay, Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, Dr. Mark Sealy MBE,  and Renée Mussai—comprises 30,000 photographs taken in the U.S. and U.K. that are available for free non-commercial, educational use. Applications for access are open now.

Organized by decade from the 1800s to the 2020s, the Black History & Culture Collection offers a broad, varied look at the people, events, and undeniably influential movements that continue to shape life today. The collection is further searchable by type and subject matter, which encompasses everything from art and entertainment to politics and sports. You can find a curated selection of images from the multimedia platform Black Archives, which partnered with Getty to shine light on specific moments from the collection. (via Peta Pixel)

 

A father and daughter sitting on a bench by Harlem Meer, Central Park, New York City, New York, 1948. Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A group of girls in dresses and ballet slippers watch a girl perform dance movements as a woman accompanies her on an upright piano, 1920s or 1930s. Photo by FPG/Getty Images

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies during a hearing on slavery reparations held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on June 19, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The subcommittee debated the H.R. 40 bill, which proposes a commission be formed to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

1919 in New York. A parade in silent protest (anti-lynching) in Harlem. Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images

American singer and actress Eartha Kitt (1927  to 2008, right) as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company, circa 1945. With her are other members of the dance troupe, Lawaune Ingram, Lucille Ellis, and Richardena Jackson. Photo by FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images

A photograph of author James Baldwin smoking a cigarette. Photo by Bettmann/UPI/Getty Images

A mural of two hands holding up a dove symbolizing peace, possibly in the United States, circa 1960. The mural is signed by various artists and the words ‘Para Todas’ ‘For All’ are visible in Spanish and English. Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Botanist George Washington Carver donated $33,000 in cash to the Tuskegee Institute to establish a fund to carry on the agricultural and chemical work he began. Photo by Bettmann/UPI/Getty Images

 

 



Art History

Cincinnati Art Museum Discovers That a Rare 16th Century Mirror Reveals a Hidden Image When Illuminated

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

Buddhist bronze mirror, 15–16th century, China or Japan, bronze, Source Unknown, Cincinnati Art Museum, x 1961.2. All photos by Rob Deslongchamps, courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum, shared with permission

Prior to the ubiquity of the glass mirrors we use today, people often peered into polished bronze for a low-fi glimpse of their reflection. These objects often featured cast three-dimensional symbols or renderings on the side opposite the convex reflective surface, but another particularly artful subset also contained an added dimension of mystery.

While plumbing the archives at the Cincinnati Art Museum, curator Hou-mei Sung uncovered what appeared to be an ordinary patinaed mirror printed with the name of Amitābha Buddha. After closer inspection, though, she realized that the small bronze piece would reveal a hidden image of the spiritual figure enshrined in rays when illuminated.

Dubbed a “Magic Mirror,” the extremely rare work is part of a small collection of light-penetrating objects that date back to the Han dynasty (202 BCE to 220 CE)—only a few similar Buddhist pieces from China and Japan are thought to exist and are currently housed at the Shanghai Museum, Tokyo National Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sung’s discovery is presumed to be the oldest uncovered, and although it’s still unclear exactly how ancient artisans created the pieces, it was likely a religious decoration hung in a temple or the home of a wealthy family.

If you’re in Cincinnati, you can see the mirror and its secret image starting July 23.

 

 

 



Craft Design History

An Astonishing Array of Ceramic Mosaic Tiles Comprise a Japanese Museum’s Historical Collection

June 24, 2022

Kate Mothes

Image © Ryota Murase. All images courtesy of the Mosaic Tile Museum, shared with permission

In the Gifu Prefecture of Japan, a nucleus of creativity blossomed in Kasahara Town, Tajimi City, more than a millennium ago. Known for its history of ceramic production, the region celebrates its distinctive heritage with a spring and autumn festival, a ceramics-themed park, and pottery shops that teach visitors the tradition. Among its newest attractions, set in a rolling green, the Mosaic Tile Museum Tajimi focuses on a more recent aspect of the ceramics industry.

Following World War II, reconstruction efforts required building materials, and tiles were suddenly in high demand. In its heyday in the mid-1900s, Kasahara Town had more than 100 tile factories, and the delicate pieces were still being used for the construction of high-rise buildings in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Soon, international competition and new materials hampered local manufacturing and the ornate tiles fell out of fashion, discarded when new buildings replaced earlier ones. Around that time, a group of locals who understood the historical significance of these tiles began to salvage as many as they could from structures scheduled for demolition. “The volunteers fondly recall how their requests were initially met with bewilderment, but their activities have resulted in the preservation of the extremely rare materials forming our enormous collection today,” says a statement on the museum’s website.

Housed in an architecturally exuberant expression of the relationship between ceramic and the earth, the building was designed by architect and historian Terunobu Fujimori to nestle sympathetically in the surrounding landscape. Today, the museum’s collection holds more than 10,000 individual tiles, sample books or boards portraying tile products, tools and utensils, and objects such as wash basins, bathtubs, and export goods.

You can find more information on the museum’s website.

 

Image © Akitsugu Kojima

Image © Akitsugu Kojima

Image © Katsuhiko Kodera

Images © Katsuhiko Kodera (left) and Akitsugu Kojima (right)

Image © Akitsugu Kojima

Image © Akitsugu Kojima