For the next two weeks I will be blogging on flatmason.wordpress.com as there just isn’t enough time to do both blogs and sleep.
It seems today this might just be true. I have been thinking about writing a little informative blip about Marcel Duchamp. “Why,” everyone I know would ask…”Why, today would you care about Marcel Duchamp?” Well, rather than being accused of completely loosing it, and remembering things from the past that absolutely no one I know cares about, I guess I should explain what prompted this behavior and sudden interest in the Marcel Duchamp of Modern Art History 323. I ran across this picture of what at first looked like Nude Descending A Staircase No.2 . The painting, you might remember, is from the controversial 1913 Armory Show in New York. The same Armory Show that had America in a roar over this new artistic style, that flaunted traditional cubism and moved forward to a whole new movement, now termed Modernism.
I thought at first glance it was the very recognizable painting as the movement and composition of the lines and the color is hard to miss. Then, when I came to my senses, I recognized the robot like figure was really not at all the cubistic nude of the Duchamp I was remembering.
I was somewhat relieved by a quick search to find a picture of the original, look at it again after many years of it never even entering my conscious and remember the words of my professor, Olli Peter Valaine as he tried to explain Modernism. Remembering his words, I am now again interested, and drawn to the compelling fearlessness of Duchamp as he presented this entirely new look to cubism. Of course, he was practically kicked out of the French art world for it, and was ridiculed even in the cartoon media of the day when it was first shown at the New York Armory Show in 1913.
The point of this whole story, I guess, is somewhat varied, first I thought the robotic art piece was a bit of a slur on the original and some how almost sacrilegious, but then I remembered it was Marcel Duchamp that practically started this concept, of using famous art and turning it into your own. Talk about sacrilegious…he is the one that drew a mustache and beard on the Mona Lisa and called it “Ready Made” art, named it L. H. O.O. Q. which loosely translated from French slang means “a hot tail.” Marcel Duchamp was the one who signed his name, well sort of… he really signed it Richard Mutt… to a urinal, set it on a pedestal, entered it into an art show and called it “Fountain” and then defended it with some esoteric thought process of what constitutes art.
So I guess my, “What in the world is that about,” reaction to the robots, harks back to Duchamp and his art and brings me full circle, as I remember the convoluted sometimes entertaining story of Marcel Duchamp.
The rest of the circle is the Hemingway quote at the beginning. At first I was going to write this serious art history lesson about Marcel Duchamp and his role in the development of Modernism and the Cubustic movement and the Armory Show of 1913 and the artistic family of Duchamps, and how line development and repetition go hand in hand with art and interior design and on and on…well, that just became too much work and too uninteresting, thus the bleeding that lucky for us all did not happen. Instead, I decided to help you win a trivia contest. Question:
What artist added a mustache and beard to the Mona Lisa and got by with it?
Who signed a urinal and called it art?
Now you have the answer if it ever comes up.
Note: For some reason I can’t capture a picture of the Fountain and post it here, but if you are interested you can google it further. You will notice it is signed R. Mutt which was the name Duchamp used to enter it into an art show. All of that is another story, amusing and interesting, and like all art forms a pathway to the thinking of the artist. There is also an interesting article on Google by Sara Shea, that explains the tongue in cheek attitude of Duchamp.
Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 is part of The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fancy – Bleed.
I have a friend traveling in Morocco this week. I ask him to send me the designs and colors of Marrakesh that were outside of the door where he is staying. These are the pictures he sent this morning.
Since the main religion of Morocco is Islam, which forbids the representation of people and animals in art, Moroccan designs are complex patterns and abstractions. According to Islam beliefs, these patterns create a sense of beauty so that the viewer can focus on higher truths than humans and animals. Moroccan pottery varies within the country, however regardless of the area Moroccan pottery is made with meaningful designs, styles, symbols and colors.
Since Morocco sits in a strategic location at the point of blending cultures on the northwestern point of Africa this geographical location imbues Moroccan interior design with European, African as well as Persian influences.
The artist of this lovely painting was impossible to identify, it had been re-blogged so many times. However, I am certain it is a watercolor painting. I am also certain that it required, of the artist, an accomplished technical skill…so in honor of this lovely painting, I think I should pass on a little knowledge of watercolor technique.
It appears that the artist used a block out technique and a series of washes. I find it particularly beautiful, not only for it’s visual expression, but because of the exquisite technique. The technical planning that goes into a watercolor is similar to the technical layering achieved in a silk screen print (serigraph). When working in either medium a constant vigilance to the layering colors and the transparency of the colors is paramount. I would surmise the trees in the foreground were blocked out first, with a layers of light washes as more trees were blocked out to create the depth. These block out areas, meaning an area covered with a masking substance used to protect the paper as layers of pigment are applied, must be planned first. Notice the small areas of sky, that area would also have to be planned first. A somewhat crazy watercolor purist attitude is the use of technique such as this, never would those trees have been painted with an opaque medium later, however, the white line of light in the very back is probably opaque watercolor. My professor, Thomas Currey, a transparent watercolor purist to the core might have allowed that one line of opaque, but rest assured, he never would have allowed two.
Like all good design it is all in the planning.
If anyone happens to recognize this work I would appreciate the name of the artist, as I am unable to recognize the style.
The other day I was at a clients house and during a casual non-business related conversation I ask her if she had read any good books lately. She, a mother of two small boys, said, “Well, my book club is getting ready to read one.” I said, “Oh really, what?” She said, “I have no idea.” Puzzled, I questioned her further. The truth came out, apparently she is part of a group of young mothers that get together one night a month, spend time together, drink Margaritas and call it Book Club. She said, “When you are leaving your husband at home with the kids, really, you could hardly call it Margarita Club.” I thought this was all rather genius. So this beautiful pink Margarita is for Kim and Jill, two of my clients, in “Book Club” both extremely resourceful young women.
Even though I rarely have much interest in fashion as such, I do have an interest in art and design and I am always drawn to clothing that is art. This beautiful, recent collection from designer house Balmain is unbelievable in it’s richness. Look at the collection as a beautiful representation of all the elements of visual design. Learn something from these stunning pieces…Line, Shape, Direction, Size, Texture, Color, Value…Balance, Repetition, Contrast, Harmony, Dominance, Unity. Trust me it is all here in these exquisite pieces of clothing.
This collection is available for viewing on Dazed Digital, you should be able to click on any part of this post and get there, or for sure the blue link at the end of the pictures.
Getting ready to post my balloon pictures, I decided to Google Treb Heining as see what he was up to these days. This picture came up on MSNBC, so I captured it. No balloon story would be complete with out Treb. What seems like forever ago, Treb Heining, the balloon genius pictured, came to Western Kansas to help us with a balloon release for our Spring Festival. I had just returned from the advertisers conference in Chicago, where I heard about the balloon release Treb had just orchestrated at a birthday party for Prince. Never one to be intimidated, I called and ask if he would consider a balloon release for our spring festival in Colby, Kansas. For reasons, unknown to me at the time and certainly unknown to me now, he agreed to bring Melissa and Whitman and come to Kansas. It was great! One hundred local kids worked two days to help fill the 10,000 balloons, capture them in huge serpent like net bags, and bring them to main street for the actual festival release. Another thirty or so kids helped make the balloon arches he used to decorate Franklin Avenue, our main street. Consequently, we had two days of Los Angeles magic in western Kansas, a great memory that involved this fun guy that apparently still hasn’t grown up.
Treb’s image is by Jae C. Hong / AP. Click on the image and follow back to the origin if you are interested in more information about this balloon artist.
When I saw this image of garden furniture on another blog, though unidentified, I was certain it had to be MacKenzie-Childs. The quirky nature of this colorful design is easily recognizable. Several years ago, at least twenty, MacKenzie-Childs was the hot new showroom at High Point Market. During that beginning, Victoria and Richard hosted their own showroom and were there talking about their designs and showing everyone around. I am still charmed by my twenty year old image of Victoria, wearing her wool gaucho pants and puppy dog shoulder bag. I remember her hair had as many colors as her art. This artistic wisp of a woman left quite an impression. Looking for the first time at their showroom, I was impressed with the fearless individualism.
Attached are pictures of the beautiful home they created, sold and left to live on a houseboat. The MacKenzie-Childs are the perfect example of those that follow their most intense obsession, mercilessly. We should all be so determined.