From 'snow architecture' in Austria to a Chinese theatre that resembles a butterfly, see recipients of the 2013 Archetizer A+ Awards.
Bestselling author Dan Brown likes to claim that the historical events in his novels are ‘fact,’ but how much is true? Noah Charney finds 10 mistakes and oversimplifications in the new book ‘Inferno.’
Many books have been published on the numerous mistakes in Dan Brown’s past books, especially The Da Vinci Code. The novel begins with a statement: “FACT, the Priory of Sion—a European secret society founded in 1099—is a real organization.” But there is little in The Da Vinci Code that is correct and well researched. For instance, the Priory of Sion is not a real organization, but the product of an infamous forgery by a Frenchman named Pierre Plantard, who planted fake medieval documents in order to convince people that he should be made king of France.
Like The Da Vinci Code, Brown’s new book Inferno begins with a page labeled “FACT” and goes on to tell a tale riddled with oversimplifications. There are fewer historical errors, à la The Da Vinci Code. Still, here are 10 of the most wincing howlers.
1. The David
The Daily Pic: The ICP's latest triennial expands what cameras can do.
These are tight croppings from “Windows, Ponte City” and “Doors, Ponte City”, by Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, now in the International Center of Photography’s latest triennial, which previewed today. Curators are calling the show “A Different Kind of Order” – referencing the collapsing verities of photographic art, and of the worlds it points to. The triennial gives an excellent overview of the vast range of “lens-based” work being made today, from “straight” views of people living with the world’s rising waters (by Gideon Mendel) to distinctly arty, hand-made objects that use photos as art supplies (by art-world regulars Wangechi Mutu and Huma Bhabha). In between are projects like “Ponte City”, which is based in photography’s ability to document the world but doesn’t simply take it for granted. Subotzky and Waterhouse made a close study of a residential tower in Johannesburg, designed for white South Africans under Apartheid but now occupied by the country’s majority, and they present their images as lightboxes that recreate, in miniature, the tower itself. Other standouts in the show include A.K. Burns (with reperformances of ultra-esoteric YouTube porn) and Rabih Mroue (whose video about death-by-sniper was a gem of the last Documenta).
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The Daily Pic: The German master made artifice seem inevitable.
A drawing of a seated “priest”, made in 1517 by Albrecht Dürer and now in the great Dürer exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, which the Daily Pic won’t be done with until the show closes.
What specially interests me in this image is how the old man’s face seems so carefully observed from life, with a clear sense that we are below him looking up into his eyes, and yet the drapery of his robe is so clearly based on late-medieval stylizations. I think this is about much more than a “holdover” of archaisms in Dürer’s newly naturalistic art; I think it gives a crucial clue to his art’s fundamentals.
Bear with me – and click below – while I try to explain.
My overwhelming reaction to the Dürer show was one of immediate, simple pleasure and amazement at his art’s excellence, even beauty. And yet it so happens that I don’t believe in the inherent excellence or beauty of any work of art – I’m not even sure they are coherent concepts – just as I don’t believe in a work’s ability to directly and simply and inevitably tickle some aesthetic sense that we have. Art is so complex and bizarre in its rules and games, it seems the clearest of all candidates for being socially constructed. (I’m a believer in what philosophers call “institutional” and “anti-essentialist” theories of art.) So here’s my reading of my own reaction to Dürer: I think what he does, more than almost any artist, is “naturalize” (sorry for the jargon) the excellence of his own art. Through details such as this priest’s credibly real face, captured live by Dürer’s pen (or claiming to be so), the artist convinces us that all he is doing is reporting on the way the world is. And then that naturalism has a kind of contagious effect on the rest of the image, so that the evident artifice of its stylizations also end up reading as natural, and inevitable – and so as excellent, even perfect. It’s not that his scene is built to look like a simple view into some new and improved reality, as Raphael managed in his “Alba Madonna”, a few years earlier than this Dürer drawing. In the Dürer, even things that are obviously artful and unreal – the entire making of this image, in fact, including its stylizations – feel necessary and natural.
Raking in $495M in one night.
A contemporary art auction at Christie’s shattered the record for the highest sales figure at an art auction Wednesday night, raking in a massive $495 million. Among the 12 pieces that brought in the big bucks were works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The top seller, a famous painting by Pollock titled No. 19, 1948 brought in $58.3 million. An impressive 66 out of the 70 works in the auction found new homes, leaving just four unsold.
A group of scholar-soldiers had one of the most important jobs of the war: protect Europe’s greatest art and cultural monuments from the carnage of battle. Robert Edsel tells the story of the Monuments Men at work in Italy.
Italy has long been identified by its cultural treasures; Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is but one. Its ancient cities—Rome, Syracuse, and Pompeii; jewel-box towns—Venice, San Gimignano, and Urbino; places of worship—St. Peter’s Basilica, Florence’s Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), and Padua’s Arena (Scrovegni) Chapel; and iconic monuments—the Colosseum, Leaning Tower, and Ponte Vecchio, have been so studied and admired through literature, verse, and image that they have become the shared heritage of all mankind.
(Deane Keller Papers, Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University)
As events in Milan demonstrated, World War II and the new technology of aerial bombardment—in particular, incendiary weapons—posed history’s most lethal threat to that heritage. When the Allies landed in Sicily on the night of July 9–10, 1943, another threat emerged: ground warfare. The Germans were determined to concede not an inch of Italian soil. How many more monuments, churches, libraries, and immovable works of art lay in the path of war? Even then, as the bombing of The Last Supper illustrated, the Western Allies were not immune from mistakes in judgment and execution.
War is many things, but above all, it is messy. Rarely does it unfold as planned. Prime Minister Winston Churchill once observed: “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.” Ethical dilemmas arise. Loyalties are tested, but loyalties to whom? Country, cause, or self ? The effort to protect Italy’s cultural treasures during war lived up to Churchill’s admonition.
This might jolt a partier on a Saturday night. London-based artist Reza Aramesh has installed his haunting sculptures for '12 Midnight' at five nightclubs in NYC, including Bossa Nova Civic Club in Bushwick.
Mixing war photography, Renaissance-style sculpture, and peep-shows, Iranian-born artist Reza Aramesh has brought to New York a poignant series of installations forcing the viewer to confront assumptions about violence, culture and sex. With images taken from war photography, and made from handcrafted lime-wood and then painted with polychrome, the busts will be installed in five nightclubs in NYC: Marquee, No. 8, Santos Party House, Sugarland, and Bossa Nova Civic Club.
The men depicted in the sculptures are erotic not only in their physique and pose, but also because Aramesh has designed them to be viewed through a box with holes -- evoking an illicit feeling associated with pornography or peep shows. Also of note for the works are the plinths upon which the scultpures rest. Not merely slabs showcasing the sculptures, the plinths are covered in graffiti by New York-based Jason Castro.
Pictured above are the truly powerful sculptures, provacatively questioning how people in the modern world experience war through media. Of note in particular is the sad, lingering air around Dying Iranian Solder, 1987.
The Nets season is over, Jay-Z and Barbra Streisand paid respects, and Disney On Ice rocked the house. Nearly a year after Barclays Center opened, its architect Christopher Sharples of SHoP Architects is being honored by the first annual Architizer A+ Awards on Thursday night. Sharples was brought on after Frank Gehry's replacement Ellerbe Becket's designs were compared to an airplane hangar. Here's a look back at some of the reactions to the arena.
SHoP has also spared Brooklyn another retro stadium. The architects have created something tougher, more textured and compelling, an anti-Manhattan monument, not clad in glass or titanium but muscular and progressive like its borough.
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has designed a six-story-tall rubber duckie, which is currently floating in the city's Victoria Harbour.
While it may not be the most conceptual public art installation of all time, a six-story-tall traveling rubber duckie is causing a frenzy along the banks of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
The massive bath toy, created by the Netherlands’s Florentijn Hofman, was first pulled into town on May 2 by tug boat. And it has already created a rubber duck craze in the city, with many street vendors selling armfuls rubber duckies both big and small. Hofman told CNN that he thinks his piece’s success has something to do with nostalgia. "I see it as an adult thing. It makes you feel young again. It refers to your childhood when there was no stress or economic pressure, no worry about having to pay the rent," he said.
This is not the first of Hofman’s installations to reference childhood iconography. He’s previously staged a giant floppy rabbit at Sweden’s 2011 Open Art Biennale and a suspended pig with Mickie Mouse ears in Strasbourg.
Since launching in 2008, the rubber duck project has traveled to Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo, and Amsterdam. It will remain in Hong Kong until June 9, before moving on to a secret location in the United States—once which will be announced only a week prior to launch time.
Looking for an escapist trip to a bygone era? The British Film Institute has posted some of the amazing footage from Claude Friese-Greene's 1920's color films capturing British life. Scroll down to see some of our favorites.
In 2006 the BBC and the British Film Institute co-produced the documentary series The Lost World of Friese-Greene which explored the works of Friese-Greene as he set out to record life on the road in England for collection of films The Open Road. Compiled as a series of shorts, the intial showings were not successful as his tehcniques for coloring the film were found disruptive by the audience. However, in 2013, the films are a delight, as it is fascinating to see instantly recognizable landmarks captured in their inter-war daily life. Above is the short The Thames opposite the Tower of London, London (1926).
Hyde Park, London (1926). Check out the fashionable women strolling through Hyde Park towards the end of the clip.
A new auction record for the artist.
At Sotheby's contemporary art auction on Tuesday night, Barnett Newman's "Onement VI" fetched a record $43.8 million for the artist. The auction was seen as a qualified success, as the total haul of $293.6 million was above the estimate of $283.9 million. There was one major disappointment at the auction however, as “Study for Portrait of P.L.,” a painting by Francis Bacon of his violent, alcohol lover Peter Lacey failed to attract a single bid despite its suggested price tag of between $30-40 million.
The Daily Pic: Jorge Macchi makes an I-beam go limp.
A piece called “Pendulum” by the artist Jorge Macchi, and now in his solo show at Alexander and Bonin gallery in New York. I like how Macchi makes an I-beam do the one thing it is absolutely meant not to do: bend. Another crucial component: The cheap plastic stools that can only barely support the steel, and show slight signs of buckling that prove its weight. And yet the sight of a curved I-beam seems so unlikely that there’s always some suspicion that the piece is trompe-l’oeil.
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The Daily Pic: Why did the AbEx-er make a print, then copy it by hand?
This pairing represents the strangest, most interesting moment in “Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio and Dubuffet”, which just closed at the Phillips Collection in Washington. The show was about contacts between its three titular artists, but a wall of Pollocks is what stopped me. The picture on the left is a photographic screenprint after a painting, and Pollock wasn’t happy with the result. So he made not one but two very, very close painted copies of the print – one is on the right here – for reasons I can’t quite figure out. I guess he was trying to put back in the spontaneity of the original canvas, but the act of copying itself negates the unmediated expression that the AbEx “hand” is supposed to be about. It looks as though process is less important than final result, even for an action painter like Pollock. Or maybe he wanted to play with perfect handmade seriality, decades before others were trying that move. (Or just one decade before Warhol did, with his soup cans.)
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How big of a 'Golden Girls' fan are you? On Wednesday, Christie's is auctioning John Currin's famous 1991 painting 'Bea Arthur Naked.'
Over 20 years after its debut, the fact that John Currin's 1991 painting Bea Arthur Naked still stirs up buzz is a testament both to the painting's smart and provacative wink at a feminist icon and to Bea Arthur's lasting legacy. Much like the characters the actress played, the painting is dignified and yet irreverent. It is also a reminder of Currin's early Nineties work that led him to be labeled as a misogynist -- and which caused Village Voice art critic Kim Levin to ask readers to "boycott this show." The painting is part of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction on Wednesday May 15, and is expected to go for between $1.8-2.5 million.
Ooh la la. On Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, Christie's will auction the 'Absolute Perfection' diamond. The largest D color flawless diamond ever auctioned, the 101.73 carat jewel is expected to fetch at least $20 million. According to the Daily Mail, the diamond was cut from a 236-carat rough diamond found in Botswana.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s 11th Hour auction at Christie’s on Monday night saw record sales for artists, including Elizabeth Peyton and Mark Grotjahn. Isabel Wilkinson reports from the scene.
"$450,000," called the auctioneer, pointing to a bidder in the crowd at Christie's.
He wheeled around to another: "$500!"
Then back to the first: "$550!"
"Do I hear six?" he asked solicitously. "Six hundred thousand?"