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Art

Detailed Portraits of Tahiti’s Third Gender by Kehinde Wiley Challenge Gauguin’s Problematic Depictions

May 25, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Portrait of Geysha Kaua, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 151,5 x 122,5 cm 59 3/4 x 48 1/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

American artist Kehinde Wiley (previously) has unveiled a new series of paintings of Tahiti’s Māhū community, a group of Polynesians classified as a third gender between male and female. Presented at Galerie Templon in Paris, the colorful portrait series challenges a collection of 20th century works by Paul Gauguin, removing elements that Wiley considers problematic and exploitative side effects of colonialism.

Wiley takes issues with Gauguin’s depictions of the Māhū for being unrealistic fantasies that sexually objectify the community for the sake of his White audience back home. The paintings in his “Tahiti” series incorporate tribal patterns, bright colors, plants, and poses inspired by Gauguin’s work, but these distinctive elements were chosen by the models themselves as a form of “self-presentation.”

Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta,II, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 162,5 x 213,5 cm 64 x 84 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

“I am interested in transformation and artifice,” the artist said in a statement. “My newest exhibition will engage with the history of France and its outward facing relationship to black and brown bodies, specifically relating to sexual proclivity. Gauguin features heavily in the imagination of France and her global interface–with that comes an entire history of complicated gazing. I interrogate, subsume, and participate in discourse about Māhū, about France, and about the invention of gender.”

The “Tahiti” exhibition opened on May 18 and will remain on view at the gallery (along with a new video work) through July 20, 2019. Follow Kehinde Wiley on Instagram to see what else he has been up to, including preparing for his upcoming Black Rock Senegal residency.

Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 92 x 78 cm 36 1/4 x 30 3/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Moerai Matuanui, 2019 Huile sur lin/ Oil on linen 183 x 153,2 cm 72 x 60 3/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Shelby Hunter, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 183 x 244 cm 72 x 96 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Tuatini Manate,III, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 180 x 241,5 cm 70 7/8 x 95 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Tuatini Manate, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 114,5 x 92 cm 45 1/8 x 36 1/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

The Siesta, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 183 x 244 cm 72 x 96 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

 

 



Art

Head-Turning Historical Portraits by Ewa Juszkiewicz

May 13, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Ewa Juszkiewicz subverts the traditional notion of female portrait sitters as passive, simple subjects in her subtly unusual oil paintings. The artist constructs each painted portrait using familiar tropes from European art history, sometimes even citing specific paintings as inspiration. Female subjects with smooth, pale skin and luxurious apparel are placed in front of abstract or generically bucolic settings, sometimes with a “gender-appropriate” item in hand, like a paint brush, small book, or feather.

But in place of the beautiful face a viewer would expect in the center of these pleasant trappings, Juszkiewicz has turned the subject’s head 180 degrees to show an elaborate hairstyle, or filled the face with unruly plants or ribbons. A statement on the artist’s website explains, “Through the deconstruction of historical portraits, she undermines their constant, indisputable character and tries to influence the way we perceive them. Juszkiewicz experiments with the form of the female figure and face, balancing on the border between what is human and inhuman.”

The artist lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. She is represented by Galerie Rolando Anselmi in Berlin, where she will have a solo show on view in November and December, 2019. Juszkiewicz shares updates from her work and travels on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Design

Picasso Portraits Reimagined as Glossy Digital Sculptures by Omar Aqil

May 1, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

For his series Character Illustrations, the art director and illustrator Omar Aqil (previously) uses Pablo Picasso’s painted portraits to inspire digital recreations. Aqil mirrors the artist’s Cubist style by collaging discrete metallic and glossy objects together in the shape of human or animals faces. The Pakistan-based digital artist also references specific works by Picasso in his ongoing series MIMIC, in which he creates futuristic garments and sculptures mixed with elements of interior design. You can see more of his digital musings inspired by famous painters and art historical movements on Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Art

Historical Paintings Get a Pixelated Update

February 15, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Based on “Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn, Princesse de Broglie” by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Greek artist and art director Dimitris Ladopoulos (previously) continues to use the Houdini algorithm, referred to as treemapping, to interpret paintings from the art history canon. The program calculates the density of information in a user-provided image and then divides it based on selected parameters, creating a pixelated effect that forms distinct color tiles of varying heights. In a statement about the project, Ladopoulos draws a comparison between treemapping and the original painter’s use of varied brushstrokes to bring fine detail, color variation, and texture to select areas of the canvas. You can see more of Ladopoulos’s work on Behance and Instagram.

Based on “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci

Based on “Portrait of a Young Man” by Titian

Based on “Vincent van Gogh” by John Peter Russell

Based on “Young Woman with a Water Pitcher” by Johannes Vermeer

 

 



Design History

A Dozen New Stamps Celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s Drawings

February 13, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The head of Leda (c.1505–08), on view at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

The innovative yet timeless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci will soon be arriving in mailboxes around the U.K., thanks for a special stamp release marking the quincentennial anniversary of the Italian artist’s death. In tandem with the special stamp edition, twelve cultural institutions throughout the United Kingdom will be showcasing a total of 144 of da Vinci’s works in the dispersed show Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. The exhibitions opened at the beginning of February and are on view through May 6, 2019 in Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, and other U.K. cities. Stamp sets are available from Royal Mail. (via artnet)

The skull sectioned (1489), on view at Ulster Museum, Belfast

A star-of-Bethlehem and other plants (c.1506–12), on view at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Studies of cats (c.1517–18) on view at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

The skeleton (c.1510–11) on view at Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cardiff

The fall of light on a face (c.1488), on view at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The head of St. Philip (c.1495) on view at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

The skeleton (c.1510–11) on view at Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cardiff

 

 



Art

Watch a Conservator Delicately Remove Murky Varnish and a Warped Wooden Panel From an Aging Painting

December 28, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Julian Baumgartner, of Baumgartner Fine Art Restoration in Chicago, condenses over 40 hours of delicate swiping, scraping, and paint retouching into a 11.5 minute narrated video of a recent conservation project. Baumgartner walks the audience through his restoration of The Assassination of Archimedes, which involved cleaning a darkened varnish from the surface of the piece, removing the work from its original wooden panel using both modern and traditional techniques, mounting the thin paper-based painting to acid-free board, and finally touching up small areas that had become worn over the years. You can watch the entire process in the video above, and learn about Baumgartner’s other conservation projects on Instagram and Youtube.

 

 



Design

Hokusai’s ‘Great Wave’ Emerges on a Giant Building Facade

December 26, 2018

Johnny Waldman

Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”

Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” all images via @etaloncity

Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is perhaps one of the most iconic images that Japan has ever exported. And it’s now emerged as a giant mural on the facade of a new development in Moscow. Called Etalon City, the development, which comprises 9 buildings, is located in the South Butovo region in south-west Moscow. While the rectangular buildings will feature the silhouettes of New York, Chicago, Barcelona, and Monaco, a decision was made to include Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” on the 6 square-shaped towers that are situated along the highway and most visible. The total area of the facade is almost 60,000 square meters. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

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