December brings special joys for the art/culture/tech/ lovers among you. We begin with some of the exhibitions of Whitaker's digital paintings and sculpture currently on view:

"Wynken, Blynken, and Oz" in their bright red finery are being shown in the Christmas exhibition at the new Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, California, USA.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design has invited Whitaker to exhbit her 3D printed digital sculpture, "Black Pearl" in January, 2015, at a show titled "Beyond the Buzz: New Forms, Realities and Environments in Digital Fabrication".

"Awash in Memories", a unique digital painting on aluminum, will be included in the "Voices: An Artist's Perspective" exhibit, as well as the catalog and online gallery, to be shown at the NAWA Gallery in New York City next April.

Now, on to our links:

The Metropolitan Museum in New York City is showing paintings, drawings, and watercolors by Paul Cezanne, with a special emphasis on his paintings of his wife Hortense Fiquet. Hortense, mother of his only child, exerted an intense influence on Cezanne's works. He painted her over a period of twenty years in twenty-nine pieces. She was his constant and much admired model.

Patricia McClung creates photographic collages of public spaces, particularly sites like train stations, tourist destinations, and architectural landmarks. The photographer utilizes anywhere from 25 to 75 photographs for each collage, often including the people who happen to pass through those spaces at that time. Her results coalesce individual pieces of urban location into portraits of time and place with great skill.

Aranda\Lasch and Casey Reas use steel, plexiglass, LEDs, and microcontrollers to produce sculptures that mirror and reflect themselves and objects around them. The effect is both striking and dramatic, with mirrored light adding to the dimensionality of the sculptures.

When the world celebrates the 250th birthday of Beethoven it will also unveil a "world-class" concert hall in his honor. Erected on the banks of the Rhine River in Beethoven's hometown of Bonn, Germany, the building's design has been narrowed to three final proposals, shown here along with seven other short-listed designs that did not make it to the final three.

Zaha Hadid has run into flack for her designs of sports stadiums in Japan and Qatar. The ostensible concerns are cost and size. In reality, I suspect that the designs' resemblance to a vagina are behind much of the hostility. A group of 100 protesters, including Pritzker award winner Fumihiko Maki, has filed a petition protesting her proposals. You might also want to see Hadid's design for London's Science Museum. The schematics, and the architect's explanation of the rationale for the design, are stunning.

The National Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, is celebrating Spanish culture with an exhibition of paintings from Goya to Picasso. Over 130 works of art are being shown, including a stunning portrait by El Greco that looks as though it could have been painted today. Works by Velazquez, Goya, and Henry Moore are also featured.

Thomas Houseago's large sculpture titled "Baby" is sitting in the middle of the floor, actually looming over the room, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Composed of plaster, iron and wood, the piece was exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in 2010. At age 42, Houseago has spiraled through bankruptcy, alcohol, and crashed automobiles. He comments, "If I don't work, I get socially bizarre and agitated. I need my practice to kind of keep me good with the world." One patron comments on his work: "Thomas takes on all of history, with a vengeance. He doesn't apologize".

Look closely at this painting by Bartholomeu Spranger, now being shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Its elegant, dramatic properties are immediately evident, but there are subtle touches that will reward you for spending extra time with it. The painting is part of an exhibit called "Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague", one of the few times you will be able to see a major exhibition devoted to this artist who served a Pope, a Cardinal, and two Emperors in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in Prague. Spranger has been called a Master of Mannerism. The lavish catalog includes works by other artists working at the time. At another site called "Your Paintings" you can see a slideshow of six additional works by Spranger. Note: "Your Paintings" is a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation, and other museums and collectors in the United Kingdom.

"Face to Face", subtitled The Oldest Masks in the World, can be seen at the Israel Museum online. These rare masks, created in the Judean Desert and Hills in the Neolithic period some 9,000 years ago, are being shown together for the first time. You can click on each mask to see it in 3D and rotate it. The stone masks were discovered during the 20th century and have been brought together for this exhibition.

In Turkey, a vibrant arts scene seems to hide a less pleasant political reality. According to this article in the New York Times, an increasingly repressive atmosphere pervades the arts. Politically incorrect references, especially to the Armenian genocide of 1915 (a forbidden topic) risk censure or punishment by the authorities. Additionally, the acceptable limits appear to change frequently, adding to the tensions in the art world.

We don't expect to find a murder mystery unwind on the pages of Vanity Fair magazine, not do we suspect that it will convincingly unravel the careful myth of Vincent Van Goghs's supposed suicide. But that is exactly what is happening as two Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers look more closely into the fable that has evolved around the artist's death.

Surf on over to You Tube and watch Pixar's Renderman treat you to "This Teapot's Made for Walking". Sure,it's an advert, but why not: it is beautifully done.

"Spannungsfeld", tension field in German, consists of two figures, a male and a female, designed as a public art project for the new Physics and Nanotechnology Building at the University of Minnesota. Designed by a former quantum physicist, the two figures are ten feet tall and face each other. They were designed on the computer and then fabricated using stainless steel and granite. You can see them more closely in this video.

If you enjoy outstanding choreography, choral singing, and brilliant satire, you will want to watch "Shia LaBeouf Live", based on a song by the American singer and songwriter Rob Cantor. (Thanks to DM for this).

The Guardian reports on an exhibition in the U.K. featuring portraits that have not been seen for 120 years. Titled "Black Chronicles II", the exhibit features portraits of black women and men dating back to the beginning of photography in the 1830's. Included are carte de visites and photo albums illuminating the cultural history of both colonialism and imperialism as it affected black people in Great Britain at that time.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2014