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Art History

Art Without Intent Celebrates the Aesthetics and Mysterious Histories of Found Objects

November 25, 2022

Kate Mothes

A vintage head on a stand that reads "desire"

All images © Art Without Intent, shared with permission

“The found object is an illegible, unknowable thing, out of reach even when in hand,” reads a statement of Art Without Intent, both a collaborative project and a way of looking at historic material culture. In March 2022, a group of nine antique and art dealers curated the Found Object Show in New York City. Crackled paint, weathered patinas, eccentric shapes, and amusing juxtapositions characterized the pop-up exhibition of 96 eccentric items.

Removed from their original contexts, transformed by time and the elements, and reinterpreted in a salon-style exhibition, the objects transmit an aesthetic experience similar to viewing art, even if the anonymous makers did not intend to create artworks in any formal sense. “Transformed physically and contextually, a found object sometimes packs the same aesthetic and conceptual punch of conventional art. But without artistic motive nor objective meaning, it must lie in wait to ambush an imagination,” the group explains.

Accessibility is a unique facet of the show, which invites dedicated collectors, history buffs, curious passersby, and children into the showcase, in which all objects are available for sale in a unique art-gallery-meets-antique shop atmosphere. “Art without intent ennobles the random, celebrates the anonymous, and embraces the subjective, empowering individuals to see art where they may least expect to find it.”

The next Found Objects Show will feature eighteen exhibitors and is scheduled for March 24 to 26 with an additional focus on stuffed animals. You can find out more about the project, purchase a catalogue on the website, and follow updates Instagram. (via BoingBoing)

 

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Barbells made from coffee cans.

Items in 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022 through a window with a logo in the foreground.

Two images of found objects. Left: Five metallic hands sitting on a concrete surface. Right: Two laced shoes with long leather extensions from the toes.

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Two images of found objects. Left: Two sculptural metallic pieces on stands. Right: Conical forms covered in barnacles.

A piece of wood in a trapezoidal shape with three holes and a comb-like addition on the front.

Installation views of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

An aged wooden box filled with animal skulls.

 

 

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Design History Music

Diagrams of Turntables and Amps Chart the History of Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Rock and Roll

November 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

A screen printed diagram with musicians and band names in gold

All images © Dorothy, shared with permission

How do you visualize the history of hip-hop? Or jazz? Questions of origin and influence are common for artists, and the inventive team behind the U.K.-based design studio Dorothy (previously) goes gold as they painstakingly map out the history of music genre by genre. Plotted onto the circuit board of a guitar amp, the diagram of a 1950s phonograph, or that of a turntable, the latest editions in Dorothy’s Blueprint series chart the pioneers and greats who transformed rock and roll, jazz, and hip-hop in gilded screen-prints. The trio of metallic designs, plus three more devoted to alternative, electronic, and dance music, are available in the Dorothy shop.

 

A detail image of a screen printed diagram with musicians and band names in gold

A screen printed diagram with musicians and band names in gold

A detail image of a screen printed diagram with musicians and band names in gold

A screen printed diagram with musicians and band names in gold

A detail image of a screen printed diagram with musicians and band names in gold

 

 



Art History Illustration

Plant Magick: A 520-Page Book Explores the Vast Esoteric Connections Between Botanics and the Divine

October 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Taschen

The most recent addition to Taschen’s Library of Esoterica series, Plant Magick delves into the mythical, religious, and metaphysical histories of botanical life. The vast visual compendium explores an array of human interactions with the natural world as they relate to the spiritual and symbolic. Illustrations, photos, collages, and hundreds of other artworks across mediums are nestled within the 520 pages and include references to Buddha’s meditation under the Bodhi tree, the elaborate flower crowns worn during May Day celebrations, and the mind-bending experiences associated with psychedelics.

Similar to the series’ book on tarot, Plant Magick offers insight into the long legacies and enduring links between the creative and the divine. The title is currently available for pre-order from Taschen and Bookshop.

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Six Centuries, 700 Scientists, 300 Groundbreaking Milestones: A New Book Examines the Invaluable History of Science Illustrations

October 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

Sagittal section of the body of a male; An Atlas of Topographical Anatomy: After Plane Sections of Frozen Bodies, Christian Wilhelm Braune, Philadelphia, 1877 © Courtesy US National Library of Medicine. All images courtesy Taschen

From medicine and biology to chemistry and astronomy, a massive new book published by Taschen chronicles the unparalleled contributions of illustrations to scientific study. Compiling more than 300 distinct charts, renderings, and graphs within its 436 pages, the volume opens with early developments like Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation and Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentrism, which positioned the sun at the center of the solar system. It then travels throughout the following six centuries, capturing everything from the use of anesthesia and zoological studies to current-day renderings of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to the illustrations themselves, the book also details how such visuals continue to impact both the theories and principles that are the foundation for scientific discovery and the general public’s conceptions of how the world works.

Science Illustration. A History of Visual Knowledge from the 15th Century to Today is available now from Taschen and Bookshop.

 

“A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2”, an ultra-high-resolution computer model gives scientists a look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe, Goddard Space Flight Center’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA, 2014. Image © NASA

A slice of the lower part of the root of horseradish cut transversely, An Idea of a Phytological History Propounded, Nehemiah Grew, London, 1673 © ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Rar 6191

Spectra of the stars and nebulae, ‘Spectrum Analysis,’ Henry E. Roscoe, London, 1885. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington, D.C.

Application of anesthesia, ‘Illustrations of Strange Diseases and Their Surgical Treatments,’ Hanaoka Seishū, 1805, illustrated by Tangetsu. Image courtesy US National Library of Medicine

Montgolfier balloon carrying the Marquis d’Arlandes and M. Pilatre de Rozier, Paris, 1783 © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Tissandier Collection

 

 



Art History Illustration

A 500-Page Book Explores the Japanese Folkloric Tradition of the Supernatural ‘Yōkai’ Entities

September 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of PIE International, shared with permission

Translating to “strange apparition,” the Japanese word yōkai refers to supernatural beings, mutant monsters, and spirits. Mischievous, generous, and sometimes vengeful, the creatures are rooted in folklore and experienced a boom during the Edo period when artists would ascribe inexplicable phenomena to the unearthly characters. Japan’s Miyoshi Mononoke Museum in the Hiroshima Prefecture houses the largest yōkai collection in the world with more than 5,000 works, and a book recently published by PIE International showcases 60 of the most iconic and bizarre pieces from the institution.

Encompassing a range of mediums from painted scrolls and nishiki-e woodblock prints to kimonos and metalworks, Yōkai is a massive volume of 500-plus pages of colorful illustrations, paired with text by author, collector, and curator Koichi Yumoto. The book reproduces rarely seen works by artists like the renowned ukiyo-e printmaker Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, showcasing the pieces in incredible detail and contextualizing their role in the broader tradition and art history.

Yōkai is currently available on Bookshop.

 

 

 



Art Documentary History

‘Beyond the Visible,’ a Documentary Illuminating the Life and Work of Hilma af Klint, Is Free to Stream

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

Released in 2020, an acclaimed documentary serves as a corrective to the art historical record. Beyond the Visible spotlights the life and work of the pioneering Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), an obscure figure during her lifetime whose colorful abstract works predate those of famed male artists like Vasily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. Directed by Halina Dyrschka, the feature-length documentary centers on af Klint’s groundbreaking practice and the spiritual, scientific, and natural phenomena that inspired her work.

Beyond the Visible is currently available to stream for free on Kino Lorber’s YouTube, which is a trove of art history and culture. To learn more about af Klint’s legacy and view her expansive oeuvre, pick up The Complete Catalogue Raisonné: Volumes I-VII. (via Open Culture)

 

 

 

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