Category Archives: Art
In this mixed media artwork by street artist Herr Nilsson, a variety of Disney princesses reveal their true gritty side. In much of Nilsson’s work, he depicts cute little characters who are disturbingly comfortable with the nasty realities of the cruel world. In continuation of that theme, Nilsson illustrated three princesses—Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty—along the city streets of Stockholm, poised and ready with weapons. He then photographed the playfully dangerous dames as they waited around corners, ready to attack unsuspecting pedestrians at night.
Through his work, Nilsson draws on classic stories of perfection and ideal happiness and drastically redefines those fairytales. For each photograph, innocence and naivety are perfectly juxtaposed against a corrupt reality. Visually, the women’s bold, colorful dresses and smiling expressions suggest that these beautiful cartoons have gone a bit mad, perhaps tired of fulfilling the constant expectations of their assigned character. The somewhat enchanting scenes are, in fact, a striking reality check where viewers come face-to-face with fictionally optimistic characters revealing their inner dark sides.
On 24 January 1967, Mao Zedong renamed the Shanghai People’s Commune as the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee. These Revolutionary Committees (革命委员会, Geming weiyuanhui), which were supposedly based on a “three-way alliance of Red Guards, Party cadres and army men”, were to replace the original political structures that had existed until then in China.
One of their main functions, however, was to bring the factional struggle to an end that crippled the nation. The term “revolutionary committee” itself originated in the Soviet Union, where it refered to a power structure which combined the military and the state.
The formation of the revolutionary committees was the result of the power seizures by rebel and Red Guard factions that had led to nation-wide administrative paralysis. The introduction of the committees was a very slow process. Only by 5 September 1968, almost a year and a half after their inception, the committees had been set up in all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, “with the exception of Taiwan”. Although Mao himself had allowed that the committees were merely provisional organs of power, they remained in existence until 1979, when they were abolished and replaced by people’s governments at all levels.
The revolutionary committees were not merely organizational tools that served political purposes. All work units, from factories to schools, from workshops to rural communes, formed their own revolutionary committees to take care of day-to-day administration.
When I was a guest on Dr. Michael Brown’s nationally syndicated radio show “Line of Fire,” our conversation focused on a chapter in my book Jesus Uncensored, entitled “The Ethnic Cleansing of Judaism in Medieval and Renaissance Art.” Here I show that classical artworks washed out all traces of Judaism in the personae of Jesus, his family, and followers–despite the fact that they were all dedicated practicing Jews throughout their lives. The process of totally Christianizing the Jesus circle placed an artificial wedge between Judaism and Christianity that remained in place for centuries.
As late as the nineteenth century a painting of Jesus and his family by British artist John Everett Millais and another of the twelve-year-old Jesus by German painter Max Liebermann met with public uproar because they were deemed too Jewish . Liebermann repainted his young Jesus, rendering him blond with no indication of his Middle Eastern Jewish ethnicity. He took the Jew out of Jesus, which soothed and pleased the critics.
Surprisingly, that legacy of bristling at Jewish Jesus representations continues to the present day. Here’s what a listener to Michael Brown’s radio show said in response to my interview:
“While I was in high school–a Catholic high school–we had a project to draw in class. I drew a picture of Jesus, but removed his golden locks and blue eyes and replaced them with a more Middle Eastern looking man with thick hair. The teacher lost her mind. All this resulted in a trip to the Dean’s office, as if I offended her. All I heard was ‘why does it matter.’ So I said, ‘You tell me why it matters. I don’t recall too many blond-haired, blue-eyed people from that region of the world.'”
In commentaries and descriptions of exhibits of artworks depicting Jesus, we never hear that these paintings, as magnificent as they are artistically, distort and falsify biblical history. Renaissance artists revolutionized art with the introduction of realism and naturalism over the earlier artificialism and primitivism. Unfortunately, naturalism and realism did not extend to who the figures were naturally and realistically in their actual lives. Art historians with whom I’ve spoken dismiss these criticisms as ignorance about the Renaissance style of contemporizing figures in painting–dressing people in contemporary Renaissance attire and picturing them in Renaissance settings as Northern Europeans in skin tone and physical appearance.
While it is true that this kind of historical distortion was commonplace in Renaissance painting, it does not explain the obliteration of Jesus’ and his family’s true identities or the pictorial conversion of orthodox Jews into latter-day Christians.
Nowhere in these artworks is there a hint of the subjects’ Jewish identities or origins. For example, Bartolome Esteban Murillo‘s sixteenth century painting The Baptism of Christ pictures John the Baptist baptizing Jesus–an act reported in the Gospels (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23). Curiously, Jesus and John are not dressed in Renaissance attire, but John is holding a crucifix staff, thus telling the viewer that this is a Christian event and a Christian conversion.
Baptism of Christ by wikimedia
The fact is that there was no Christianity at the time of this baptism, nor did John or Jesus have any intention or desire to launch a new religion. Neither Jesus nor John ever heard the word “Christian”; it does not appear in the Gospels, although the term “Jew” appears eighty two-times. Moreover, John only baptized Jews–purifying them with the ancient Jewish practice of baptism for the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
Murillo’s powerful image supports the false conclusion that Christianity was already present. Consider too that the cross was a hated symbol in the time of Jesus and John the Baptist–a reminder of the countless times Jews were brutally crucified by the Romans. Jesus and John would very likely cringe at the image of the cross in this depiction. The cross didn’t become a Christian symbol until the fourth century CE, when it was introduced by the Emperor Constantine on his military banner and shields . No wonder that it didn’t catch on promptly as an endearing Christian symbol.
What has been overlooked by art historians and other apologists is that the pervasive distortions of biblical history in misrepresenting Jesus, his family, and followers established a powerful foundation for anti-Semitism–anti-Semitism by omission. In stripping away Jesus’ Jewish identity these paintings implanted the firm conviction that Jesus was of different ethnicity and religion than the others–the Jews. This conclusion was made even more explicit in paintings like The Tribute Money , by Peter Paul Rubens (1612), and Albrecht Durer’s sixteenth-century Christ Among the Doctors (Pharisees), both of which depict a blond ethereal Jesus in contrast to the dark, menacing and ugly Jews–the others.
If we were to restore the authentic ethnicity of Jesus and others, these painting would be strikingly different, even while preserving the “Renaissance style.” Consider, for example, Michael Pacher’s fifteenth century painting The Marriage of the Virgin, which depicts the marriage ceremony (some say betrothal) of Mary and Joseph. In reality, Mary was a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl from a rural village in Nazareth. Her betrothal and marriage was to Joseph, a working-class Jew originally from Bethlehem. After their marriage they showed their dedication to Judaism by taking the arduous seven-day trip to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Jewish holidays, particularly the Passover festival (Luke 2:41).
In Pacher’s painting, Mary and Joseph are Christians, with the marriage ceremony performed by a latter-day Christian high church official in a Christian setting. Mary and Joseph’s Jewish identities are erased. Several other Medieval and Renaissance paintings of the marriage also Christianized this Jewish marriage ceremony. Similar misrepresentations of other scenes and events are typical and routine for classical artworks.
Marriage of the Virgin by WIkimedia
In writing about this “ethnic cleansing of Judaism in Medieval and Renaissance art” in Jesus Uncensored I presented a “what if?” that punctuates why artists would not dare to paint a Jewish Jesus:
“Imagine, let’s say, if the painter Raphael presented his patron with a scene of Jesus in a synagogue with a Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), wearing tassels (tstsit), donning phylacteries (tefillin) for morning prayer, and surrounded by other Jewish worshipers in similar attire–with Jesus pictured affectionately kissing his beloved Torah. “Raphael, what have you given me?” the startled patron would surely ask. “Sir,” Raphael would respond, “this is a painting of the authentic Jesus. That’s what Jesus did every morning. Don’t you want to experience the real Jesus?” The patron is unlikely to be impressed and Raphael might then be swiftly turned over to the Inquisition.” (This “what if” image is based on a description in Luke 4:16 of Jesus in a synagogue on the Sabbath.)
The Cultural Revolution (文化大革命, Wenhua Dageming, 1966-1976) was a mass campaign of enormous dimensions. Aside from the general revolutionary high-tide that swept China, the period was marked by a large number of sub-campaigns. Indeed, whenever the situation called for a shift in orientation within the larger framework of the Cultural Revolution, this was engineered by setting in motion a new campaign. Factional struggles within the leadership also functioned as catalysts for campaigns.
Often, these sub-campaigns came so hard and fast that propaganda posters had to serve as the main source of information for the people. With the country in complete chaos, these images which contained clear and unambiguous indications of what behavior and slogans were acceptable at that particular moment, were seen as more dependable than the media. This was in particular the case in those localities where the “excellent revolutionary” situation that prevailed – according to the media, that is – had become completely unintelligible to the innocent bystander.
Locally produced posters are extremely interesting. Not only because they shed light on the local situation, but also from an artistic point of view. They are often striking in their simplicity of design and coloring, usually done in simple red, white and black, and are somewhat reminiscent of the block prints made in the war years. As such, they bear witness to the urgency of the times.
The 3 July and 24 July proclamations are Chairman Mao’s great strategic plans! Unite with forces that can be united with to strike surely, accurately and relentlessly at the handful of class enemies, 1968
Recorded in 1924 and produced as a private venture by Sylvia Beach, who published the book two years earlier, the copies did not go on sale but were given to Joyce for distribution among family and friends. Two copies were also kept by Beach at her Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris.
The first mention of the recording seems to be in a 1935 Beach catalogue of Joyce material, where it was recorded with the following note: “Phonograph record of a reading by James Joyce from Ulysses pages 136-137, recorded by His Master’s Voice on one side only….Signed James Joyce, Paris, 17 November 1926 (date of recording). Only remaining copy of the 30 that were made.”
However, it is unknown if there were 30 or 20 copies made as Beach later wrote on the label of another example: “Only 20 copies were made of this record S.B,” writes the Irish Times.
In the recording, Joyce reads from a section of the Aeolus episode which takes place in the offices of the Freeman’s Journal – one of the main nationalist newspapers of the day. Joyce was forced to recite the whole section from memory due to his failing eyesight which led to a number of failed takes before a satisfactory recording was cut.
The 12-inch acoustic recording, signed and dated by Joyce, is being sold as part of an auction of rare books and literary memorabilia on 11 June, with a guide price of $15,000-$20,000. The recording was the first of 20/30 pressings, of which only two others are said to remain, and has apparently never been removed from its sleeve let alone played. It was described by Sotheby’s as a “true Joyce rarity.”
“This copy and the one offered in the Horowitz catalogue are the only examples we have been able to trace being offered in the last 30 years,” the auction house said.
“Our research indicates there are perhaps no more than two or three unbroken copies of this record extant and even shattered examples are almost unheard of in commerce,” reports the Irish Times.
Another Irish literary great represented in this year’s auction is Samuel Beckett, who was greatly influenced by Joyce and became friends with him in Paris in the late 1920s.
According to Reuters, the top estimate for Beckett’s “Murphy” manuscript currently lies at $2.13 million eclipsing even the $1.4 million which was paid for a partial draft of Joyce’s “Ulysses” sold at the start of the 21st century.
Minute knots and chains have industrial and medical uses
Scientists have devised a new molecular technique, inspired by Celtic Knots and trees, which could be used in the treatment of multiple diseases.
Researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in NUI Galway have discovered a new process that could be used in the industrial and medical fields.
“Polymerisation is the adding together of many smaller units,” says research assistant to the project’s leader Doctor Wenxin Wang, Ben Newland. “It is one of the most important processes in industrial manufacturing.”
The new process gives scientists a “simple method to produce large quantities of well-defined material”, which could be used in diagnostic, therapeutic and imaging processes in the body Newland says.
The Celtic Knots are an example of the new technique. A single chain is linked repeatedly, wrapping around itself, creating a very dense structure. These structures are needed to carry DNA, and can be used in gene therapies or new forms of drug treatment.
The tree-inspired hyper-branching, could also be used to produce hydrogels. These hydrogels are composed of a soft jelly, in which cells can be suspended. This could be used to deliver cells to damaged areas of the body, Newland said. In conditions like Epidermolysis Bullosa, where connective tissues of the skin tear, this hydrogel would be applied to the wound, using the Celtic Knot as a skin adhesive. The cells could then repair the broken tissue.
As a topical ointment, it might be approved sooner by the FDA, Newland says. Regarding its use on people, Newland concedes this would be a big step, but estimates we could see this within 5 to 10 years.
Newland believes the polymerisation technique itself “will become widespread”, due to its numerous industrial applications in the manufacturing of elastics or higher strength plastic, for example.
Dr Wang, who has pursued this technology since 2007, notes that “although these are early steps, we are looking forward to seeing the future realisation of these structures in a wide range of applications.”
The NFB is involved in international collaborations with biomaterial groups investigating the use of biomaterials in the body.
Whether alcohol or absinthe, LSD or heroin, some of humanity’s creative geniuses produced their greatest work as mind-altering substances did theirs. A Paris exhibit connects the dots.
PARIS – For the first time in Paris, the Maison Rouge art foundation explores head-on the role of drugs in art.
It is impossible to imagine a history of modern and contemporary literature without English essayist Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater or French poet Charles Baudelaire’sParadis Artificiels (Artificial Paradises). The list is long, from Baudelaire to American novelist William Burroughs and German writer Ernst Jünger.
Some will end up addicted to a “substance,” others will just experiment – like German philosopher Walter Benjamin with hashish in Marseille. The same goes for a large part of the history of musical creation in the last 50 years. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, sang the Beatles. You know what the initials of the song title spell out, right?
What’s strange is not that the Maison Rouge’s exhibition, entitled “Under the Influence” and subtitled “Artists and Psychoactive Drugs,” talks about drugs and art, it is that it is the first foundation or museum to do so in such detail. Anyone with an interest in surrealism remembers French surrealist writers Jacques Vaché and René Crevel – two famous addicts – and playwright Antonin Artaud, of course, with opium and peyote. Many contemporary artists don’t even bother to hide their use of hallucinogenic drugs.
Such a wide-ranging topic should have its place in a big Parisian museum like the Centre Pompidou. Unfortunately it seems that talking about drugs in Paris’ temple of contemporary art is considered too shocking. Whatever, what’s important is that the exhibition exists.
“Under the Influence” goes from fact to fact, but also from interrogation to interrogation. Only one has a simple answer: the use or abuse of products by an artist that have the effect of affecting – briefly or durably – perceptions, emotions or thoughts is a major factor in art since the beginning of the 20thcentury, even maybe earlier. These products can be legal or illegal.
In the first category are alcohol and tobacco, there is enough for a separate exhibition: Van Gogh andabsinthe, Pollock and Bacon’s penchant for the bottle. The second category includes the substances that come from a plant – opium, cocaine, etc – and the third and last category the substances created by chemists – LSD being the most famous.
Many famous artists are represented: Francis Picabia, Hans Bellmer, Jean Cocteau, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri, Gary Hill, Markus Raetz; and others less known: Daniel Pommereulle, Bernard Saby, Frédéric Pardo, Batan Matta.
This doesn’t mean that these 91 artists were all “drug addicts,” but, just like the writers, some artists got hooked and some even died because from it. A percentage of them took drugs in the 60s and 70s – when it was all the rage – and then stopped more or less quickly. Others experimented with drugs as if they were scientists, French poet Henri Michaux for instance, who drew after taking mescaline, or artist Jean-Jacques Lebel after dropping acid.
There are also those who broached the subject from afar, like a chronicler or a historian would. Matthieu Briand is one of them – his sculptures are tributes to the creator of LSD, Albert Hofmann.
Hallucinogenic drugs or hallucinations?
When a psychoactive drug is absorbed, how does it act and how far can it make the artist go? What perception of the world does it stir up? Or what “visions” – a word to be used with caution- does it impose? In some cases, the answer is easy. The comparison between Michaux’s “mescalinian” drawings and his work when he’s not under the influence suggests that the drug set off ideas of swarming and crystallization: “lots of crystals, everything always end up in crystals,” he wrote, but he also experienced muscle rigidity – his 1956 drawings resemble those produced by a seismograph.
With Lebel, the assessment is less definitive. Are these curves, the “psychedelic” interlacing, due to chemistry or the artist’s unique graphic style? Austrian painter Arnulf Rainer was drawing under the influence of mescaline, LSD, psilocybin, and hypnosis. What he accomplished was however very much like his work in a “normal” state, granted we know what normal actually is.
Painting by Arnulf Rainer
Like Rainer, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, also went off the deep end. She spends her life between her workshop and a psychiatric ward. Where is the influence? Is it the hallucinogenic drugs or the hallucinations? This begs the question: how does creation happen? What mental and physical operations are needed to bring out archetypes and obsessions?
Many artists who try drugs are only trying to find the answer to this question. American performance artist Brian Lewis Saunders is the perfect example of this. In 2001, he drew, for weeks on, a self-portrait under the influence of a different mix: Valium, cocaine, marijuana and other various types of medicine. His portraits can be figurative or almost destroyed, hilarious or frightening.
Another spectacular experiment comes from French artist Bruno Botella. He worked on clay mixed with a hallucinogenic substance. By contact of his skin, enhanced by a solvent, the molecule penetrates the body and affects the movements – and therefor the shape that is given to the clay. The protocol resembles a lab experiment. The relationship between science and art appears very clearly all throughout the exhibition.
Installation by Yayoi Kusama
The exhibition also confirms that the hypothesis that is repeated all too often – that these substances liberate the creating power, by taking away inhibitions and stimulation the central nervous system is just not true. This is no more true than to say that Van Gogh was only Van Gogh because of his inner turmoil or than Jean-Michel Basquiat needed heroin to draw or paint. But it is also worth remembering that it killed them both.
- French street artist Seth Globepainter travels around the world, creating large scale murals and placing local city dwellers next to them. Whether in India, China, Mexico, or other countries, this adds a human element to Globepainter’s artwork and gives us a peek inside the culture of these places. Especially impressive is how all of his pieces feel distinctly different, further showcasing the street artist’s impressive range and style.
Posted on January 19, 2013 at 1:00pm — 2 Comme
Polish illustrator Pawel Kuczynski cleverly uses satire to portray today’s social, political and cultural reality.
At first sight, his illustrations might seem funny, but when you look closer, they actually show some serious problems of today’s world.
Born in 1976, Pawel is a graduate of Fine Arts Academy in Poznan. The artist began drawing satirical illustrations back in 2004, and so far has been “rewarded with 92 prizes and distinctions“. In 2005, Pawel Kuszynski received “Eryk” award from Association of Polish Cartoonists for getting a record number of awards in international competitions
The vibrant and immediately eye-catching pieces draw you in. There is little known about Vic, but his works are remarkable. His process to create the gorgeous scenes is quite simple: firstly, he sketches out the picture with a pencil and brush, then he follows the picture with acrylic paint and impasto gels with a palette knife. He mixes bold colors and imagery to create a layered effect. The final product is an array of illustrious textured paintings. They have depth and feature varied cities and the people who live in them. All of his works are centered on cubist techniques and contemporary coloration.
Micko-Vic’s acrylic paintings are modern masterpieces that stand out and lighten up any mood.
Click on image below to view gallery
Famous Quotes Paired with Clever Illustrations