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.
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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.
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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)
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Cincinnati Art Museum Discovers That a Rare 16th Century Mirror Reveals a Hidden Image When Illuminated
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.
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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.
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A Previously Unseen Collection of ‘How to Draw’ Books Picasso Made for His Daughter Are On View in Paris
Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s eldest daughter with Marie-Thérèse Walter, used to join her father in the kitchen of their apartment to draw together. They filled multiple sketchbooks with playful renderings of animals, fruit, and clowns, and the Spanish artist even created a special book devoted to instructing Maya on how to paint.
These lovingly collaborative works are on view for the first time at The Picasso Museum in Paris after Maya’s daughter, Diana Widmaier-Ruiz-Picasso, discovered the collection of drawings while sorting through storage. When she showed them to her mother, Maya remembered creating the sketches during WWII when colored pencils and paper were difficult to come by. Diana said in an interview:
There’s a beautiful page where he’s drawing a bowl and she’s drawing a bowl. Sometimes she’s making an image and he’s doing another, showing her the right way to do it. Sometimes they would depict different scenes. Other times, he would draw a dog or a hat. Sometimes he’s using the whole page to draw one particular thing. Other times, he’s depicting certain scenes, scenes of the circus.
Alongside the sketchbooks, the exhibition features nine of the artist’s major works, photographs, and various ephemera, including origami sculptures he folded for Maya from exhibition invitations. Diana also noted that Picasso’s father, who was an art professor, taught him to draw “so that was something natural for him to do.”
Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter Of Pablo is on view through December 31.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.