Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 16 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.
A new exhibition at London's Design Museum will introduce you to what NASA has in store for us as early as the 2030's. Titled "Moving to Mars", the exhibit includes clothing to wear as you hurtle to the Red Planet and coffee you can drink upside-down. The advanced technology will also have benefits to those of us left on Earth.
Many of you know of my fascination with contemporary architecture. Here are several examples to share with you: First, check out this London house converted from a Victorian structure with a generous use of wood slats. Then look at this housing development in Paris with its wave-like balconies. Finally, wave-like forms once again ornament an apartment tower in Barcelona, complete with color.
You are probably aware of the Internet buzz over Baby Thanos. This article in Creative Bloq looks into the phenomenon and highlights the power of one particular feature. If you were imagining a cute baby, be prepared for a shock.
Put yourself in touch with the saxophone magic of Soweto Kinch as he performs his jam night in Birmingham or at Steam Down in London. Obsessed with the future of Jazz in the U.K., his latest album, "The Black Peril", revisits the musical heritage from 1919, a year that included the armistice of World Wa I as well as the anti-black race riots in the U.S. The album touches on postwar atonality, West Indian folk, hip-hop, and early 20th century ragtime. Kinch comments: "The days of needing gatekeepers to say what’s cool, and to articulate what music means before the musicians get a chance to do it themselves, are numbered. We just need to play."
Born in 1940 in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, Francisco Toledo became one of the leading contemporary painters in Mexico. Known as El Maestro, his work was based on folklore and fables. His recent death at age 79 prompted Mexico's president to say, "Art is in mourning."
Ishbel Myerscough brings us incisive portraits, of others and herself, combining surface blemishes with inner reveals. Winner of the 1995 National Portrait Gallery BP Portrait Award competition, Meyerscough relentlessly portrays those elements of being human that we would rather hide, much in the style of Lucien Freud.
A trustee of the Metropolitan Museun of Art has just bequeathed over 375 pieces of art to the venerable institution. Jayne Wrightsman, who passed away at age 99 in April of this year, gave treasures of Old Master paintings, including works by Johannes Vermeer and Van Dyck. All told, Wrightsman and her husband donated over 1,275 works to the Met.
It is well known that male artists for centuries have been deeply absorbed in nude portraits of the female body. Less attention has been paid to intimate portraits of men. Now comes Aaron Skolnick, 30 years old, gay, and living in Kentucky, to give us small male nudes in an exhibit titled "Your Voice Lying Gently in My Ear" at Institute 193 (1B) in the East Village of Manhattan. The reviewer here notes that "the penises, hard and soft, the exposed buttcheeks, anuses, and close-ups of chests, legs, or armpits that turn up in Skolnick’s newest pictures appear more in the service of scientific inquiry than they do to invoke the old god Eros."
This is perhaps a good time to look at "Mansplaining: Figuring Masculinity in the Age of #METOO". In an age where men of power have been exposed (!) as abusing their wealth at the expense of women, an examination of what it means to be a man has come under critical gaze. The work of John Currin, shown here at Gagosian, specifically addresses these issues. Shown are oil on canvas pieces as well as watercolor and ink on paper.
A cafe in China has been designed to include an educational fairyland for children. Called Lolly-Laputin, the project is brilliantly designed to engage youngsters in an enchanting interactive environment.
Auction houses are often a prime source of art not shown elsewhere. At issue here is an Artemis Gallery online catalog of Ethnograhic/Tribal/American frontier works. Well-photographed and presented, a perusal of the pieces gives an excellent insight into the genre.
MoMA PS1 in New York will present a major showing of the work of Niki de Saint Phalle. Largely ignored by museums in the U.S., the artist was well known in Europe, where she first made avant-garde paintings in the 1950's and 1960's, followed by exuberant sculptures of female figures. Critics have called the sculptures both garish and ground-breaking; certainly their presence at the University of California San Diego was commanding and delightful.
"The birth of the complex cathedral of the modern mind". That and other challenging ideas are contained in an amazing article on the first development of human art and its now-changing timeline. A new discovery of a stencilled hand in Spain dated to over 66,700 years ago has startled scientists, because that is long before humans migrated out of Africa to Europe. Then follows this conclusion: "If, as well as interbreeding with Neanderthals and sharing artistic ideas with them, the first groups of Homo sapiens to enter Europe massacred them and helped make them extinct, it was our fellow thinking beings we were killing. Not just another extinction, but the first genocide." Another scientist raises this question: if Neanderthals were making art, what other species might have been around?
c. Corinne Whitaker 2019