The collective HAWINI arose from the common desire to make a commitment around the values of sharing and exchange with a single watchword: create. Since 2010, this group of eclectic characters put a lot into their social work while leaving an essential place to art and design. HAWINI settles in Sin El Fil, Beirut and they desire above all to try new techniques. Hanging out sometimes in the lines of the city and sometimes in the new interpretation of Pop Art, the collective is interested in the connections between the different universes of design, fine art, scenography and graphics. They propose concepts where creativity and technicality are fully connected and their trademark roses represent the flair and love we have for our dear loved ones.
Visit the “EVERLASTING ROSE” solo exhibition while you can and learn more up-close from our personnel.
As the fashion world continues to mourn the loss of legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld, the contemporary art world is remembering him as both a cultural icon and in his lesser-known capacity as a fine art photographer. The Zürich-based Galerie Gmurzynska, which has shown Lagerfeld’s photography since 1996, began planning to mount an impromptu retrospective of the artist’s work as soon as they received news of his death a week ago in Paris, at the age of 85.
French media first reported his death on Tuesday morning, February 19, and celebrities around the world were quick to take to social media to express sympathy for the loss of one of the fashion world’s most influential forces. He was best known as the creative director of Chanel, the fashion house he reinvented, and also served as creative director of Fendi and founder of his own eponymous label. Bernard Arnault, the billionaire art collector and chairman of LVMH, which owns Fendi, called him a creative genius, noting his encyclopedic knowledge of culture.
Karl Lagerfeld attends the opening of his eponymous label in Regent Street on March 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
A creative polymath, Lagerfeld was affectionately known as the “Kaiser” because of his German roots, but he has long been associated with France. Born in Hamburg in 1933, Lagerfeld began drawing at an early age and was obsessed with all things France, especially French painters. He took up photography in 1987, starting off by photographing his own designs and later exhibiting his monochrome landscapes and moody portraitsin black and white, the same palette he seized on for his signature look. Lagerfeld never strayed from his personal uniform: a black suit, shades, and a perfect white shirt pulled together with a tie. His white hair was always neatly pulled back in a ponytail.
Lagerfeld’s final catwalk appearance was last December, when he brought Chanel’s globetrotting fashion show to the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first time in more than three decades actually, that the Met decided to host a runway show. There had been speculation about his health when he was not present at Chanel’s haute couture show last month in Paris. He was admitted to the American Hospital in Paris on Monday morning; the cause of his death is still unknown.
Models walk the runway at the Chanel Metiers d’Art 2018/19 Show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 4, 2018 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Last Thursday, the Galerie Gmurzynska opened a sprawling show based on its 20-year relationship with Lagerfeld, featuring a range of images that capture both the mundane and the extraordinarily chic. A statement announcing the show quotes Lagerfeld himself, who once said, “What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce”—a sentiment that is echoed in the extravagant runway shows and editorial spreads he presided over as the creative director at Chanel for 35 years.
Many of the photographs in the show are black-and-white portraits of celebrities like Benicio del Toro and Ryan Gosling, but others—including hand-colored shots of costumes from Oskar Schlemmer‘s Triadic Ballet and architecture around Paris—illustrate his broad culturalinterests. See some examples of his photographs below and for more, check “Homage to Karl Lagerfeld: 30 Years of Photography” on view at Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich, through May 15, 2019.
For The Art Dose, this February was the ultimate month for love & affection. We invited everyone to celebrate with us the powerful universal message of love and we hosted various events with surprise guest appearances from our favourite artists. Stathis Alexopoulos, Andreas Psarakos and Zina Glou attended our “Exclusive Engraving & Customising Events” and made all the available art gifts a little more special with their unique personalisations.
Our goal was to offer one-of-a-kind and memorable gifts, especially made for each recipient separately. With love as a guide the artists created art gifts inspired by Valentine’s Day, but which remain forever in our hearts. During the events the customers had the chance to meet the artists, talk to them and even paint with them! They could add their names or initials to the artworks, or a favourite quote. Our curator Niki Kapopoulou, who had the idea of the group exhibition, notes that this interactive initiative aimed to unite art with people once again and bring all of us closer to one another. Our Group Show is still on for the entire February, so if you weren’t available, be sure to visit our gallery until the end of the month.
Among all the unique gifts you can also find artworks that have been created by: Cedric Bouteiller, Mr. Brainwash, David Gerstein, Hawini, Sonke, Caroline de Souza, Benjamin Spark, Richard Orlinski, Lawrence Jenkell, Andre Monet, Pavlos, Ian Philip, Benoit Paré.
First things that come to our minds while thinking about Valentine’s Day gifts for our loved ones are sweet and romantic things that we can eat, drink, wear or consume otherwise. But have you ever thought that an artwork makes a very special and unforgettable gift for Valentine’s Day? Not sure? Here are the arguments that we have.
LOVE INSPIRES THE ARTISTS
Weather it is visual arts, music or poetry, there is no need to explain in detail that all artists have created some of their best works when they were in love! It is a feeling that moved them and boosted their creative drive, resulting in beautiful and powerful artworks. This is one of our major arguments and we really think there is no better gift for Valentine’s day. Or any day in that case!
Kate Blue, Cedric Bouteiller / Mixed media on aluminum, 100x100cm
ART IS LOADED WITH EMOTIONS
Artworks inspired by love are very powerful emotionally. Whether it is a painting, sculpture or a print, if the main subject of the artwork is love — it is impossible to remain indifferent. We feel the energy of the artists and recognise why they put it in the work immediately. Art inspires different emotions to every person, but it’s common to have positive feelings when you see something that appeals to your inner and more delicate self.
Attar Red, Hawini / Acrylic on paper and felt, 120x130cm
ART IS UNIQUE
Valentine’s Day gifts are special, because they are bought for very special people in our lives, who deserve something really unique, not just a box of chocolates or underwear! And what is more unique than art, made by the hands of a passionate creator? Also, this day is supposed to be a celebration for love in general, so why we only think about our partners? Don’t you love your family or your friends as well? You surely have more than one people to celebrate and show your gratitude and affection.
Fairytale Love, Sonke / Mixed media on canvas, 100x100cm
ART IS ETERNAL
If you buy art as a present, it will stay with that person forever, because it cannot be eaten, drank or otherwise consumed. It’s an investment, a powerful move that shows that your love for them is serious and everlasting. If the artwork is unique or custom made, even better! Your thoughtfulness will be noted, trust us on this.
Adam & Eve, Benjamin Spark / Mixed media on canvas, 150x105cm
YOUR VALENTINE WILL SEE IT EVERYDAY
Art is definitely a very significant gift. We assure you, it will find a special place and live alongside with the person you love. It will inspire, uplift and remind them about the most tender and important feeling you have for each other. The artwork will be a precious remnant that will mark the day you bought it, the special occasion in which you gave it and maybe, even reveal the meaning of how much you value that other person in your life.
Cinderella, David Gerstein / Hand-painted alluminium wall sculpture, 100x73cm
Looking for a perfect gift? We’ve got you covered. For the entire February you can visit our gallery store in Glyfada and see up-close our brand new Group Show, LOVE Is The Answer. For us, February is the month of love and affection and our mission this year is to spread this powerful message and offer gifts that will make a difference and last forever.
Furthermore, we wanted to do something extra special. This Thursday on the 7th of February we will have an exclusive Engraving & Customising Event. Some of your favourite artists will made surprise guest appearances at the store between 15:00 to 20:00. They will be ready to customise or engrave any gift that you’ll choose during this event and it’s a great opportunity for you to meet them in person! Join us and help them create memorable, one of a kind gifts for you or your loved ones.
Get ready for an evening full of art!! #LoveIsTheAnswer
Since the beginning of skateboarding, art has always been an integral part of it. Blending artistry and sport through deck design and all sorts of different media, skateboarding has collaborated with high-profile artists and even launched successful careers of a number of them. Having great connections to their boards, skaters have always viewed artwork on them as a very important aspect. Since the skater culture is built around creative free-thinking individuals, skaters often decorate and customize these boards themselves by adding stickers or painting them in order to reflect their personality and individuality.
Skateboard art is therefore a very powerful creative force, and a number of core skateboard brands started featuring contemporary artists on their decks. One of the brands that has a long tradition in skateboarding and is famous for their unique boards and amazing artist collaborations is Supreme. Their cultural influence has been evident for the past 20 years, bridging the gap between contemporary art, skateboarding and street culture.
With its unique identity and attitude, but also the selectivity and exclusivity as its integral part, Supreme has built a colossal public aura and grown quickly into the embodiment of the skate culture, always defining it and setting up new standards of quality and aesthetics. A company based in these alternative sports but bound by art, Supreme has infiltrated the fine art world in many ways. The label has always pushed the limits by collaborating with esoteric and left-field creatives. Embracing the outsider and the individual, their brand and its products soon became usable forms of creative expression, with their skateboards becoming canvases for unique artworks. The early ‘90s skate culture has been a major influence on them, and it has marked everything they do. Their customized skateboards have become much more than just skateboards, evolving into pieces of highly recognized artworks reflecting trends in contemporary art and culture.
With an impressive list of artist collaborations and fresh and bold ideas, more companies besides Supreme, have built a reputation above the average skate company and have positioned their brand as an important binding factor between the skateboard culture and contemporary art. Making skate deck graphics that encourages a visit to a gallery, these companies continue to inspire and educate the youth. The graphical aesthetics on top of decks, have attracted the attention of a new kind of collectors.
Last August, the MoMA Design Store announced its latest skateboard collaboration with legendary Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. Ahead of the predicted release in October, the duo has now dropped the capsule online featuring three open editions: “Black Dots”, “Red Dots” and a “Yellow Trees” triptych. All skate decks are made of premium Canadian maple wood with each motif staying true to Kusama’s hand-painted versions of her famous polka dot and pumpkin visuals.
Another company, the Skateroom, is a social entrepreneurship whose main purpose is to help empower youth using art and skateboarding. Their vision is to offer art editions at an affordable price and make art available to the greater public. They collaborate with contemporary artists to create editions of artwork on the medium of skateboards and these limited editions are intended to be hung on a wall, just like a painting. Their latest collaboration is with the estate of Andy Warhol. They released collectible skate decks featuring the legendary pop artist’s Banana screenprint originally created in 1966. The decks arrive as an edition of 500 and feature “peel and see” stickers. Another notable collab they did, was with Artestar to produce a new series of skateboards featuring the artwork of Keith Haring, carrying some of the artist’s iconic drawings.
To conclude, since the early 1970s, when skate culture and street art became deeply intertwined, a new medium for artists was born: the skate deck. In earlier days skateboarding may was a subculture on the fringe, so simply being a skater was enough to set oneself apart from the crowd. However, nowadays we can see that the growing popularity of the sport pushed many creative skaters to find ways to individualize their boards. In the decades since, fine art, street art and skate culture have become inseparable, with renowned artists like Christopher Wool, Paul McCarthy, Ryan McGuinness, Shepard Fairey, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara reproducing some of their most famous works on the decks of skateboards, or make entire new artworks on them.
As of now, Sotheby’s will even offer a set of artist-designed Supreme skateboards estimated to sell for $1.2 million. The passionate Supreme fan Ryan Fuller made it his mission to collectall 248 artist-designed skateboard decks put out by the brand over the past two decades, and now he’s putting them on the auction block at Sotheby’s. The collection will be sold as a single lot in an online-only sale. Noah Wunsch, who is Sotheby’s vice president of global digital and market strategy, explained the set’s importance thusly in a press release: “The intermingling narratives of skate culture, art, New York City, and the evolution of Supreme’s brand is amazing to behold. We are thrilled to bring Ryan’s singular collection to auction for the first time.”
At The Art Dose you can find exclusive skateboard art from our collaboration with the artist Ian Philip. He is a french painter and plastic artist born in 1986, self-taught while growing up in a familiar environment that incited him to create. In a combination of contemporary design and interior decoration, his work led him to spent ten years on Cote d’azur, where his artworks was demanded by wealthy yacht owners. Today, he focuses on a more personal practice. You can find his skateboard sculptures in Greece, exclusively at The Art Dose, from our online shop or our store location in Glyfada.
Also, we can make custom sculptures with the iconic shape of the deck, in collaboration with the greek sculptor Stathis Alexopoulos. Over the years he participated in many group exhibitions and won numerous awards in Greek and international sculpture symposiums. His work is widely recognised by hubs, which are formed by blending belts and stripes, encircled and embraced eternally. For more information about custom orders, contact our store.
Because cathedrals have always striven to attract the highest standards of what human beings can offer to their faith, they have as a consequence been inextricably connected to art, in its many different forms. Churches and Cathedrals have provided the inspiration and springboard, as well as the financial resources, to encourage some of the Western world’s greatest music and visual art. Artists were often commissioned to produce workwhich would teach, inspire, challenge and even intimidate the faithful, illustrating to them the beliefs of the Church and the practices required of the people. Also at times of widespread illiteracy, visual art in churches was a powerful means of both communication and control.
Even though the emphases may have changed, this tradition continues today. In this article we will visit some of the most famous installations in Europe and we will learn more about this interesting aspect of art. Churches and Cathedrals might have been built to honour God, but in their conception and execution they reflect the creativity and industry of humankind. The following artists have seen the possibilities of such a setting and they brilliantly reminds us of our links to the mediaeval artists and crafts people who went before us.
Liverpool Cathedral is a building of the modern age. In the course of its construction it incorporated into the fabric works of art by contemporary sculptors and stained glass artists. But it has in more recent years built up a worthy collection of works of art, including paintings and sculpture by eminent 20th and 21st century artists.
In keeping with the vastness of the building, Liverpool Cathedral has good examples of larger works by five Royal Academicians: Craigie Aitchison, Tracey Emin, Elisabeth Frink, Christopher Le Brun, Adrian Wiszniewski, alongside works by a number of other contemporary artists. Thanks to generous benefactors, donors, trusts and the artists themselves, Liverpool Cathedral has commissioned some fine examples of contemporary art. These are to be found from one end of the building to the other, and are all very different from each other, each in its own way contributing powerfully to the visitor’s experience.
Tracey Emin, ‘For You’ (2008)
Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999, Emin was elected to the Royal Academy in 2008. ‘For You’ was commissioned by the Cathedral Chapter as the Cathedral’s contribution to Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008. It is a pink neon, written in the artist’s handwriting, with the words: ‘I felt you and I knew you loved me.’ In 2009 Emin was the winner of the Art and Christianity Enquiry (ACE) Award for Art in a Religious Context for this work. This unique award highlights religious faith in art, design and architecture. The previous year this work also enabled the Cathedral to win the first Liverpool Chamber of Commerce Arts Award.
About this work, Emin writes: “The Church has always been a place, for me, for contemplation. I wanted to make something for Liverpool Cathedral about love and the sharing of love. Love is a feeling which we internalise; a feeling very hard to explain. I thought it would be nice for people to sit in the Cathedral and have a moment to contemplate the feelings of love, it’s something we just don’t have enough time to think about and I hope this work creates this space in time.”
Founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092, Chester Cathedral has a rich and varied history and as you’ll discover, a diverse and exciting future. Chester Cathedral’s mission is to celebrate God’s presence in the world by offering worship and prayer, hospitality, pastoral care, education, and a creative use of their heritage.
The original church was built in the Romanesque or Norman style, parts of which can still be seen today. This church was subsequently rebuilt from around 1250 onward in the Gothic style, a process which took about 275 years and resulted in the incredible structure seen today. Inside the former St. John’s Church, artist Liz West has added an immersive spectrum of light and colour to the gothic interior landscape.
Liz West, ‘Our Colour Reflection’ (2016 – 2018)
Liz’s piece occupies the elegant Chapter House (built about 1250-60) with its rib-vaulted ceiling and its five soaring lancet windows on the east wall. She has carpeted the entire floor in hundreds of coloured disks. They bring their own distinctive colours and tones, but also mirror and reflect their 13th Century surroundings. The mediaeval building and the 21st Century artwork pay sincere tribute to one another and now cohabit harmoniously. They seem to call out to one another across eight centuries. Each brings its own art and craft, and then they join to co-create a fresh work of stunning originality.
For the site-specific work, West has created a composition of hundreds of mirrored disks that reflect the gallery lighting into the roof space, projecting a spectrum of hues onto the interior beams and archways. Visitors can view their own reflections in the mirrored surfaces as they meander through the space, forming a dialogue between the participant and the architecture of the original site. The installation uses the intangible elements of light and colour to transform people’s perception and experience of the space. ‘Our Colour Reflection’ aims to bring about a deeper sensory awareness in the viewer, tapping into their innate relationship with chroma, and exploring how it can move viewers emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
Westminster Abbey in London is resplendent with stained-glass windows, many of which are deeply rooted in England’s rich history. There are, for instance, depictions of Sir Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth I in St. Margaret’s Church and the towering memorial to the Battle of Britain in the RAF Chapel. The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066, and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs. The church we see today was begun by Henry III in 1245. It’s one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, and has the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint at its heart.
The latest addition to their collection of windows has a decidedly modern twist. The Abbey recently unveiled a colourful stained-glass window designed by pop art icon David Hockney—on his iPad.
David Hockney, ‘Queen’s Window’ (2018)
The window depicts blossoming hawthorn trees of Hockney’s native Yorkshire, rendered in bright blues, pinks, oranges and yellows. The piece was commissioned in honor of Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (she has ruled longer than any other U.K. monarch), and according to a Westminster Abbey statement, it “reflects the Queen as a countrywoman and her widespread delight in, and yearning for, the countryside.”
“It’s celebratory,” Hockney said of the newly revealed window in a video interview posted by the Abbey, revealing that he crafted the trees to look as though “champagne has been poured out over the bushes.” Hockney was chosen for the commission because he is “one of the most influential artists of the Queen’s reign,” according to the Abbey. He is among the few people who have received both an Order of Merit and a Companion of Honor, prestigious awards established by the royal family.
When John Hall, the Dean of Westminster, asked Hockney to design the aptly named “Queen’s Window” the artist got to work on his iPad, which has become a favourite tool of his in recent years. “Everything is at your finger-tips, there is no cleaning up,” he told Australia’s ABC in 2016. “I realized I could just reach for my iPhone and draw, even in the dark, which you couldn’t do with watercolour or something.” Throughout Hockney’s career, he has been known to experiment with new technologies—past projects have featured cameras, photocopiers and fax machines. He has previously described the iPad, which he began incorporating into his work in 2010, as a “terrific medium.”
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. The building is a busy place that serves as a place of worship, a visitor attraction and as a host for many events. A dedicated team of staff, volunteers and members of the Cathedral community are responsible for ensuring this building’s ongoing life.
In the summer of 2014, just before the beginning of the centenary of the first World War, the tree of remembrance was installed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This installation was meant to resemble the blasted, withered trees of the first World War battlegrounds. It was surrounded by barbed wire. Visitors to the cathedral were invited to leave messages of remembrance for relatives who died in the first World War or from conflicts of various kinds. To date 220,000 messages have been left at the tree of remembrance, which coincidentally is approximately the number of Irish who served in the British armed forces alone in the first World War.
Ciara Ní Cheallacháin, ‘Fallen’ (2014 – 2018)
Since its creation, the tree of remembrance has morphed into something different. It has become a repository of general grief with messages left in many languages. Some 36,000 of those messages were chosen at random and hanged from the ceiling of the cathedral, each one representing an Irish life lost in the war. The messages, resembling the leaves of a tree, are piled up around the bottom of the installation.
The installation artist, said the tree is a reminder that people are still being affected by violent conflict 100 years after the end of the first World War. “It is a much bigger response than we ever expected. It has become an important part of the visit to the cathedral for a lot of people,” she said. “When you talk to our tour guides, they will tell you that it is something that people immediately respond to in a way that we never anticipated they would.”
Most of us are so used to reading that we forget each letter is a shape and each word its own composition. There’s a significant aesthetic dimension to the writing we read daily—in emails and books, on packaging and signs—and so it makes sense that visual artists have co-opted graphic design and typography strategies for their own philosophical ends.
Using language, artists transform a basic communication tool—the alphabet—into unique provocations. Language is also particularly malleable, cost-free, and renewable. “There’s a million different ways artists can use it,” said Jewish Museum curator Kelly Taxter. “Often, it’s artists who work with issues of politics or social justice.” Just as artists are still finding new ways to manipulate paint, canvas, and space, they’re constantly developing fruitful new reasons to turn words into art.
Jenny Holzer turns common public objects into subversive artworks bearing powerful words. She engraves poetic statements about power, feminism, and individual agency into benches made from streaked Carrara marble, spotted granite, and royal blue-tinged sodalite. Holzer renders her phrases in all-caps and serif lettering, turning them into monumental proclamations:“PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT”, “IT IS IN YOUR SELF-INTEREST TO FIND A WAY TO BE VERY TENDER”, “RAISE BOYS AND GIRLS THE SAME WAY”. They become creative mandates in shared spaces and benevolent counterpoints to state directives.
If Holzer’s benches transform public park fixtures into artistic media, her LED banners co-opt a structure associated with commerce and advertising. On screens that would typically promote sales, company names or stock market updates, Holzer broadcasts punchy phrases such as “DON’T TALK DOWN TO ME” or “WITNESS” along with longer, looping messages. The artist often repurposes her poetic phrases, or “Truisms” building their power through repetition. (One of Holzer’s most famous messages, “ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE” has been readopted as a protest mantra in the #MeToo era.)
“I like placing content wherever people look,” Holzer told fellow artist Kiki Smith in a conversation for Interview Magazine, “and that can be at the bottom of a cup or on a shirt or hat or on the surface of a river or all over a building.” Holzer turns the public realm into her exhibition space, gifting her thoughtful poetry to anyone who wants to sit or read a sign.
Many artists working with words offer profound written statements in their work. Mel Bochner’s most famous pieces, in contrast, simply read “BLAH BLAH BLAH.” The artist plasters the essentially meaningless phrase on billboards and jams it in block letters across brightly colored paintings. He seems most interested in highlighting the banalities of contemporary communication. A 2017 monoprint, for example, juxtaposes collaged phrases such as “OH WELL, THAT’S THE WAY IT GOES”, “IT IS WHAT IT IS”, “WHAT CAN YOU DO?” and “SHIT HAPPENS.” Bochner elevates non-committal conversations and bromides to fine art. Reading them, the viewer can feel a little indicted. Who hasn’t leaned on some of those clichés when making small talk?
In another series, Bochner renders a group of synonyms—for words like “money”, “obscene”, “obvious” or “amazing”—in rows. The viewer is forced to consider both the subtleties of language and the garishness of English: We have an awful lot of ways to discuss commerce and convey hyperbole. Bochner’s style amplifies this sense of ornamentation; exclamation points and bright oranges, yellows and reds abound.
Ed Ruscha’s iconic photography series “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” (1963) captured the signage and architecture of 26 gas stations between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City. Ruscha developed anew mythology about the American West as he emphasized the roadside signs that populated it. Though the pictures are of buildings, nearly all of them contain words: “Conoco”, “Texaco”, “Stop/Save”, “Say Fina”, “Cafe”, “Mobil Service”, “Navajo Rugs”, “Beer & Liquors.” In fact, such phrases become inextricable from the landscape itself.
The series laid the groundwork for Ruscha’s career: Over the past five decades, he’s continued to link language and the environment. A painting from 1989 juxtaposes the phrase “Safe and Effective Medication” with a picture of dark clouds. In more recent work, the titular expressions “Pay Nothing Until April” (2003), “Wall Rockets” (2000), and “History Kids” (2009) overlie painted, craggy mountains. Viewers consider the association—or lack thereof—between the different elements as they wonder what any of those obscure phrases actually mean. Typography itself becomes as integral to a work’s mood as color or composition—Ruscha’s angular, thin, white lettering in all-caps is simultaneously delicate and declarative, mechanical and strange. It’s Ruscha’s own font, which he calls Boy Scout Utility Modern.
Adam Pendleton’s raw material is language, but the artist often doesn’t care if his words make clear sense. His broad project “Black Dada” which he began in 2008, co-opts the dreamlike, nonsensical aesthetics of European inter-war artists like Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí, repurposing them for Pendleton’s own concerns as a black American. In his 2017 painting “If The Function Of Dada”, for example, Pendleton silkscreens, inks and spray-paints so many black letters against his white canvas that the viewer struggles to decipher any messaging. It’s a perfect strategy to convey contemporary dissonance and chaos.
Not all of Pendleton’s work with text, however, is illegible. He’s appropriated phrases from writer Gertrude Stein, artist Ad Reinhardt and musician Sun Ra, and frequently overlaid varying backdrops (photographs of bricks or an African mask) with the word “INDEPENDANCE.” For the 2015 Venice Biennale, he created large-scale wall works for the Belgian pavilion that replicated the words “Black Lives Matter” in a loose, graffiti-like scrawl.
Using stencils of generic fonts, Kay Rosen paints words and phrases on gallery and museum walls, and also projects them onto façades. “ADD AND END” she tells us in a bright mix of primary colors (Happy Ever After, 1994/2016). “JUMBO MUMBO”, she says, in blue-and-black lettering (Big Talk, 1985/2017). The titles infuse the works with additional humor. “The linguist in me wanted meaning to be carried by the structureof the words, not type style; the inner painter insisted that colorconvey meaning; the sculptor in me obsessed about the construction of letterforms through materials and process,” she wrote in Art in America in 2014. “Visual consistency gives text authority—which is the fundamental lesson I learned at my publishing day job.”
Rosen’s work is often about concrete poetry and wordplay. In fact, some of her canvases read as rebuses. Head Over Heels (2016), for example, features the words “fall over” toppling sideways—you might also read the text as “fal lover” turning the title into a double entendre about both form and romance.
In the late Jason Rhoades’s installations, neon words hang from the ceiling-like linguistic confetti suspended in space. His work literally lights up the gallery space with riotous, evocative slang. In “My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage…” (2004) all 240 phrases refer to female genitalia. Visitors walk under a tangle of language that includes “Cooze”, “Fuzz Box”, “Private Property”, “Ginger” and “Fluttering Love.” Underneath lie overlapping towels, suggesting a Muslim place of worship. With his title, Rhoades indicated that the terms—and the female body itself—added up to a pseudo-religion for him. (Objectifying? Probably. But 2004 was…a different time.) In another work, Fuzzy Puddle/Turkey Beard (2003), the titular phrases appear in orange neon against a black sign. The latter hangs upside down. Lingerie lace loops over the bright, cursive wording—just in case the viewer couldn’t already guess what particular anatomy the phrases refer to.
Erica Baum, excerpts from Dog Ear, 2016. Courtesy of Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, NY.
Erica Baum doesn’t choose the words that she includes in her “Dog Ear” series, per se. In close-cropped photographs, the artist captures a dog-eared book’s page and the one hiding behind it. The viewer sees two separate triangular sections of text, one laid atop another in a square format. Neither the photographs nor their titles disclose the source material. In Enfold (2013), the dog-eared page simply reads “A” while the page behind offers a kind of fragmented nonsense poem: “a wave would be hear / to enfold the note / spraying its foa / music. I gre / my thing / struck / in.” Viewers must choose to read the words and guess at the larger story. Alternately, they can opt not to read at all, and simply look at each work as a group of black forms against light pages. The letters become secondary to the concept: Baum’s work captures the physical evidence of reading—folded pages signify that readers have temporarily abandoned their books as they return to real life.
According to legend, Christopher Wool developed the idea for his word paintings in 1987, after seeing graffiti scrawled in black lettering across a delivery truck. His subsequent canvases embrace their gritty conceptual origins. Across stark white backgrounds, he uses stencils to create blocky black letters, detached at their joints, erratically spelling out “Sell the House, Sell the Car, Sell the Kids” (a line from the film Apocalypse Now) or “TR/BL” (“trouble” with the vowels removed). Broken up into lines and curves, the letters become both heavy compositional elements and potential vehicles for additional meaning.
Yet given the limited palette and lack of any other context, the words stop short of real significance—“leached…of personality,” as Peter Schjeldahl wrote in a 2013 review of Wool’s Guggenheim retrospective. For the New York Times, Roberta Smith concluded: “These paintings conflate the act of seeing, reading and even speaking as you tease and sound out the meanings of their run-on or awkwardly broken words.” Time Out situated the work in a particularly historical context, asserting that Wool’s language “seemed to encapsulate a collective mood of foreboding and unease brought on by the Reagan administration and the various disasters—the AIDS crisis, the 1987 stock market crash, the savings and loan scandal—it left in its wake.”
The anonymous collective Guerilla Girls fits into a rich tradition of protest artists who employ words for explicitly political ends. In particular, the group uses language to reconsider gender discrimination and violence. “What do these men have in common?” one of their 1995 posters asks. Below the bold black wording, photographs of O.J. Simpson and minimalist artist Carl Andre appear. The answer to their provocation? The state accused both men of murdering women. Both enjoyed acquittals and avoided jail time. The Guerilla Girls discuss the prevalence of domestic violence beneath the pictures. They also include a tagline at the bottom: “A public service message from Guerilla Girls conscience of the art world.”
Another famous work, “Do Women Have to Be Naked to Get Into the Met Museum?” (1989), critiques the lack of art by female practitioners in major institutions. Across the Guerilla Girls’s oeuvre, wry ideology becomes an art form. Their messaging—and its situation within the institutions it critiques—supersedesall other aesthetic concerns.
Barbara Kruger co-opts the format of magazine advertisements in her prints, photographs and silkscreens. They overlay black-and-white pictures (often of women) with white text inside red banners. Commerce and feminism mingle uncomfortably: Kruger’s art often calls attention to the way that corporations, mass media and the government attempt to control women. All the works feature a Futura typeface, turning the artist’s oeuvre into its own subversive brand.
It’s no surprise that Kruger began her career as a graphic designer. In the 1960s, she worked for Condé Nast’s women’s magazine Mademoiselle. Yet as an artist, she’s been able to significantly expand her palette. Her large-scale installations have grown to cover the walls, floors, and sometimes even ceilings of rooms at museums and galleries, immersing viewers in her loud, bold language.
Art historians consider Lawrence Weiner one of the forerunners of Conceptual art. The artist is best known for rendering textdirectly on walls, letter by letter, often in his own invented sans serif font, Margaret Seaworthy Gothic. Flat against the wall, the phrases lack the objecthood that’s often an artwork’s prerequisite.
Despite lacking accompanying imagery, Weiner’s word art frequently evokes distinct settings and things. Stones skipped across the bay of Naples (2009) or Stacks of Severed Trees Laid Beside a Fissure in the Earth (2007), for example, suggest artworks and arrangements never made, just considered. As viewers read the piece, they complete Weiner’s projects themselves—conjuring a mental images of what he has merely described.
Alternately, other Weiner pieces focus on a sense of space. The Right Thing in The Wrong Place (2016) for example, evoke more ambiguous objects and agency. “He has experimented with how language can perform as a public artwork, as a sculpture,” Taxter said. According to her, his work asks “Who owns what phrases?” New York’s new, as-yet-unfinished multidisciplinary arts center The Shed recently commissioned Weiner to make work for the entry..
The chances are, when you think of the medium in which art is created and displayed, you’re thinking of blank canvasses or sketch paper waiting to be scribbled on. But technology has well and truly changed this. Thanks to the increasing development of smartphones and the complex technologies involved, people are now able to create art whilst staying closely connected to the industry.
In this roundup, gathered by the guys at Big Red Illustration, we’ll take a look at the best free apps for artists to help artists create, enhance, and share their works with the world.
Typendium allows you to discover the history behind some of the greatest and most popular typefaces we all love and adore including a unique collection of short essays and illustrations. Learn why certain types are considered controversial, or why Palatino is the world’s most pirated typeface, along with many other interesting tales from the world of typography. Who knows, you might just get inspired!
The Art Guide app is your gateway to experiencing a host of great art across the UK; helping you discover the best exhibitions and museums near you. This is one of the most comprehensive listing apps available for free and is brought to you by the charity behind the National Art Pass. A must have!
Eager to learn the stories behind the art you visit in galleries or exhibitions? Wish you could carry your favourite art with you at all times to share with friends? Share the art you discover in museums and galleries with Smartify. It’s really easy to use. Hold your phone up to a desired piece of artwork and the app will recognise the image and you’ll be able to find out more about it immediately on your phone.
Instagram is today one of the most popular social networks with billions of users uploading images every day. Follow your friends, artists and influencers in the industry to see what they’re up to. It can be a brilliant marketing tool for all artists, and uploading images and videos couldn’t be easier thanks to the filters and creative tools within the app.
InShot is one of the highest rated movie maker and HD video editors (with music) on the worldwide app market. The app helps you create video with ease along with editing video for YouTube, Instagram, IGTV, Facebook, Messenger, Musical.ly, Tik Tok, Twitter and many other platforms.
Whether you’re an illustrator, animator or photographer, precious files need to be stored securely and easily – look no further than the MEGA app. Many artists are more familiar with Dropbox but MEGA goes a step further with cloud storage that is user-controlled encrypted, which means your data will only ever reach your devices. Easily search, store, download, stream, view, share, rename or delete your files any time from your smartphone or tablet.
GIF’s are one of the most effective ways of reaching others online – they stand out and catch the eye thanks to their interactivity. GIPHY Cam allows you to create GIFs anytime, anywhere. Get creative by adding filters and special FX to your GIF then quickly and easily share them via text, Facebook Messenger, or post it on your social media pages for fans to see.
Hitting a creative brick wall is one of the most frustrating feelings any artist can experience. OverDrive could be the app to spark new ideas and allow the creative juices to flow again. OverDrive allows you to gather eBooks, audiobooks, and stream videos from your library using the app on your device. More than 30,000 libraries worldwide offer titles from OverDrive, so download the app and discover your next piece of inspiration!
Dribbble is a show and tell app for artists from all directions – illustrators, graphic designers, web designers, typographers, logo designers, and many others share small screenshots of their work, process, and current projects. It’s system is very basic: you upload a shot at 400×300 (120.000 pixels), the community takes a look and then give feedback if they want to. This system was designed for feedback from other designers, so you’ll always have many other opinions if you’re unsure on a project or need some advice.
As an artist, keeping your invoices and receipts in one place can be pretty chaotic. I mean, who care about boring paperwork, right? Genius Scan takes care of these tasks for you. Simply take a photo of your art sketch, invoice, receipt or note and it will upload to your desired cloud service app installed on your device to allow you to export your scans whenever you need to.
The third (RED) auction raised a total $10.5 million including matching funds by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the fight against AIDS. Curated by art and architecture stars Theaster Gates and Sir David Adjaye in collaboration with musician and activist Bono, the auction, held in Miami, featured contemporary art and design donated by Jenny Saville, Sean Scully, Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson, Jennifer Guidi and many more. In addition, Sir David Adjaye and Theaster Gates created unique pieces for the sale.
Bono Speaks at the Third (RED) Auction in Miami
The auction continued with (RED) Online, which remained open for bidding until 7 December at 4pm EST. The public exhibition presented by Gagosian was on view at the Moore Building, thanks to Craig Robins. A number of artist auction records were achieved in the live auction portion of event thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of a star-studded crowd who vied for works centered around the theme of light and the color red. Theaster Gates A Flag for the Least of Them led the evening’s results, achieving $807,000, a new record for the artist at auction. Additional auction records were set for artists including Jennifer Guidi, Hank Willis Thomas and Leo Villareal.
Bidding Opens with Christina Quarles’ ‘Untitled All Tha Truth’
To date, (RED) has generated more than $600 million for the Global Fund to support lifesaving HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa, while also helping to fund community-strengthening programs in Chicago with the Rebuild Foundation – an organization championed by Theaster Gates.
The December event follows two previous (RED) Auctions conducted by Sotheby’s. The first, organized by Bono and Damien Hirst in February 2008, featured works donated by Hirst, Banksy, Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn, Georg Baselitz and Howard Hodgkin, among others, and established 17 new auction records. The second, curated by Jony Ive and Marc Newson in 2013, offered important 20th- and 21st-century design, and attracted matching funds for the AIDS fight from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
These auctions have been game changing for the AIDS fight. It’s not just about the cash they bring in, which is literally lifesaving – but it’s also about the heat, about keeping this epidemic on the public agenda. Art has always been a vehicle for activism and for truth telling and the truth of the matter is that we’re at a pivotal point where the progress we’ve achieved is in real jeopardy. Theaster and David – and all the artists here tonight – are raising the red flag at a critical time when fatigue and complacency are very real threats to the future of this virus.
Christie’s auctioned off an artificial intelligence (AI) artwork for the first time this past October, hard on the heels of a pioneering all-AI art exhibition held at New Delhi gallery Nature Morte. While the market is eager to move the work, the field raises questions about ownership, obsolescence and the art world jobs that algorithms can’t do.
What is AI art?
Detail of Mario Klingemann, Chicken or Meat? Series 1, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
Many makers of AI art use generative adversarial networks (GANs), technology that allows a computer to study a library of images or sounds, make its own content according to what it has learned, test its own success against the original media, and then try again, improving incrementally through trial and error. The artworks resulting from this back-and-forth between two artificial neural networks—which include prints on paper, videos, and multimedia installations—are often disquietingly lifelike, the flora and fauna of the uncanny valley.
Munich-based Mario Klingemann, for instance, trained an algorithm on portraits of Old Masters paintings before exposing it to webcam footage of himself (see above picture). The process results in a video of melting, many-eyed grotesques that are often compared to the works of Francis Bacon.
Selling AI art!
Detail of Memo Akten, Deep Meditations, 2018. Courtesy of Nature Morte, New Delhi.
London-based Turkish artist Memo Akten was among the first artists to sell an AI artwork, with his GCHQ fetching $8,000 at a charity auction Google hosted in San Francisco in 2016. Two years later, Christie’s auctioned off its first AI artwork: a piece by Paris-based collective Obvious, entitled Portrait of Edmond Belamy (2018), which has sold for $432,000. Its impressive price would seem to suggest that in future we will get computers to make art for us!
Up close, however, the paintwork becomes a grid of mechanical-looking dots, the man’s face a golden blur with black holes for eyes. If you look into those eyes closely though, they show no sign of feeling or life. Did a computer make this? The answer is yes, but is this the future AI art visionaries such as the French collective Obvious have in mind? They programmed this virtual “painter” by getting it to compare its own work with 15,000 pre-20th century portraits and they said this is only the beginning. They will soon offer a companion AI-generated piece La Comtesse de Belamy, at auction, at a starting price of $12,000. (They have not yet determined which auction house will offer it and remain open to private offers.)
Portrait of Edmond Bellamy at Christie’s in New York. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images.
In some respects, AI art is like any other nascent form trying to elbow out some space in the art market. Aparajita Jain, the co-director of Nature Morte, says she priced the works in the gallery’s recent “Gradient Descent” exhibition “quite aggressively” from $500 to $40,000, to help establish AI art as a genre. One piece that the gallery sold was by Wellington artist Tom White, who creates Kandinsky-esque abstracts from AI understandings of everyday items such as binoculars and electric fans. Jain says the show has attracted a new audience, suggesting that AI art could help grow the market with demographics outside of the finance and real estate crowds that dominate the art market. “I’ve seen many atypical art collectors purchasing my work—including scientists, video game makers, and researchers in computer vision and AI,” White says.
Who owns what?
Tom White, Electric Fan, from the series “Perception Engines” 2018. Courtesy of Nature Morte, New Delhi.
In press materials for “Gradient Descent”, the gallery Nature Morte stated that the works are created “entirely by AI in collaboration with artists”. Obvious even signed their work with the mathematical equation for the algorithm they used, rather than the collective’s name. As much as artists and gallerists may enjoy attributing authorship to AI, and emphasize that they cannot anticipate just what an AI algorithm will produce, legally, there is no doubt as to whether it’s the human artist or the AI who owns the finished work. AI is simply a tool artists use, the way a photographer uses a camera or Adobe Photoshop in the creation of their images, says Jessica Fjeld, assistant director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School.
“Humans are deeply involved with every aspect of the creation and training of today’s AI technologies, and this will continue to be true tomorrow and for the foreseeable future,” Fjeld says. “For me, the far more interesting question is who among these people acquire rights in the outputs, not whether the software itself could have any claim of ownership,” she adds. Fjeld and her research partner Mason Kortz identify four key elements that go into AI art, each of which implicate copyright in various ways. These are: (1) the inputs; (2) the learning algorithm; (3) the trained algorithm; and (4) the outputs themselves.
All of the artworks mentioned in this article are being sold as outputs—prints, videos, and installations. Someone who copied these outputs and attempted to resell them would infringe on the human artist’s copyright, no different than if they’d forged an oil painting or reproduced a photograph without permission. But AI art does throw up some new challenges.
Owning the code & the training set
Detail of Harshit Agrawal, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Algorithm, 2018. Courtesy of Nature Morte, New Delhi.
While much AI art is made using open-source resources, such as Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s Torch environment, Fjeld says artists who create their own algorithms (elements 2 and 3) own those, too. “The artist could sell the code as a work, though I’m not aware of that having happened yet,” she says. It’s an interesting idea, though, and one that may appeal to collectors, who could then use an AI artist to create their own, previously unseen outputs.
Preserving the means to execute code as it was intended—especially where it interacts with proprietary software or hardware—could be challenging, however. Also many artists making AI art rely on public domain image or audio libraries to train their algorithms. ImageNet, SoundNet and Google Art are popular examples. One reason for this is that using copyrighted images in a training set (element 1) could yield outputs that too closely resemble a certain image.
In theory, “Gradient Descent” curator says the fact that AI artists don’t copy images or audio per se means they should be free to learn from copyrighted images, too, just as art students learn from textbooks and trips to MoMA. Anna Ridler, another of the artists in “Gradient Descent” is even more copyright hygienic, using her own sketches and photography in her training sets. “It is this construction of a database—what to include, what not to include, that becomes a creative act and very much part of the piece,” she says. “Because these databases are, in a way, in themselves artworks (I’ve made them), it will be nearly impossible for someone to replicate my work,” Ridler says.
AI art will transform the entire art market
Anna Ridler, Untitled (from the Second training set), from the series “Fall of the House of Usher” 2018. Courtesy of Nature Morte, New Delhi.
AI art does not pose an immediate threat to the livelihoods of human artists. Human artists using AI own their work—as long as it’s created using open source algorithms and training sets, or those they’ve created themselves. But the rise of AI art has far broader long-term implications for the art market. The curator Kalyanaraman, believes it has the potential to change non–AI art as radically as the invention of photography changed painting, giving rise to Impressionism, Expressionism and other schools more interested in the expression of uniquely human perception and emotion. He suggests that human artists using AI could easily create novel forms in painting and even surprising and challenging conceptual art, to the extent that such art is a direct visualization of a description.
Artists whose work simply looks new (like Piet Mondrian’s did), or can be described rather than felt, may see interest in their practice decline, and collectors of such works may see them lose value, the same way merely realistic images are no longer all that compelling in the age of photography, Photoshop, and digital illustration. Kalyanaraman offers Mark Rothko and Paul Klee, painters that, in different ways, emphasize the experience of a work as a relationship between two sentient beings—the former by engulfing the viewer in a tsunami of fire, the latter by tickling his feet—as the sort of artists who will endure.
“All of our perception is bundled in with our emotions,” he says. That sort of thing will be much harder for an algorithm to approximate.