Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Maya Lin: What's She Been Doing?

Maya Lin was a young student at Yale when she won the competition for the Viet Nam Memorial in 1981. She received lots of accolades. She was even the subject of an award-winning documentary.

Hard to believe, but it's been 31 years since Lin, as an undergraduate, created the memorial. She is now a 52 year-old wife and mother.
What's she been designing since the Viet Nam Memorial? Short answer: "a lot!" Below are just a few of the highlights. (click on images to enlarge)

Besides the well-known Viet Nam Memorial, Lin created the Civil Rights Memorial in tribute to those who put their courage (and lives)  up for what they believed.

Lin also designed the wonderful timepiece at the Penn Station's ceiling in New York City titled "Eclipsed Time."

Over the years, Lin has created more and more environmental art. Sometimes her creations involved changing the landscape such as "Storm King Wave Field" for  the Storm King Art Center, New York, which had been an open gravel pit.

Lin not only formed outdoors environmental art, but also a traveling museum exhibit titled, "Systematic Landscapes," tracing the wave lengths of the ocean and topography of Earth in undulating shapes.  Quoting from "Boundaries," her autobiographical book, "My affinity has always been toward sculpting the earth. This impulse has shaped my entire body of work."

Today, Lin's latest oeuvre is titled, "What is Missing?" The subject is conservation about those beings who are at risk of extinction.  There's a website , (maybe slow to load, but very well done)

 a traveling exhibit,

a sculpture at the California Academy of Sciences titled, "Listening Cone," which houses a 20-miute video,

And that, Dear Reader,  is a brief look at what Maya Lin has been doing over these 31 years. Pretty impressive, yes?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Van Gogh: Suicide or Homicide?

It's long been held that Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), died in the hay field he was painting by shooting himself. However, that wasn't really the end of the story of Van Gogh life.

After shooting himself in the chest, Van Gogh walked almost two kilometers from the field into town with the bullet wound. It is believed that the bullet had ricocheted off his ribs, missed all his internal organ and rested in his spine. He was attended by two doctors, but neither had the surgical skills to remove the bullet.
Van Gogh lingered for about 30 hours before he finally succumbed to an infection from untreated wound. This is the suicide version.

Now, the homicide version:

In their new book, "Van Gogh, The Life," authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith contend that Van Gogh was murdered. ( These authors have top credentials as previous Pulitzer prize winners who thoroughly researched their subject.) They drew their conclusion based on the following facts:

(1) No revolver was ever found,
(2) The entry of the bullet was not near the heart and was at a strange angle for a self-inflicted gunshot,
(3) Why weren't his painting supplies found in the hay field if he was painting as he claimed?
(4) Why was there rumor in town that he had been shot accidentally by two boys? (One boy, Rene Secretan,confessed in 1956 that he and his brother had known Van Gogh the summer of 1890 and had tormented him mercilessly. He also said they borrowed a gun from the owner of the tavern to play Wild West, but claimed Van Gogh took it from them.)

Now, comes the controversy. You see, dear Reader, at age 37 Van Gogh was lying on his death bed when he said,"Do not accuse anyone,it is I who wanted to kill myself". Naifeh and Smith claim that Van Gogh was depressed and tired of living and he didn't want to implicate the boys for cutting his life short. This proposal has raised much controversy among historians.

So what do you think suicide or homicide?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Most Successful Art Forger in America

Father Arthur Scott, a Jesuit priest, made arrangements with the curator of the prestigious art museum to donate a painting by Curran from his mother's estate. When the priest arrived with the art work, the curator was taken aback by Father Scott's appearance.

The priest was pale and sickly looking and seemed to suffer from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). He had trouble following and concentrating on their conversation. However, the painting was an important gift and the priest also told the curator that when the estate was settled, a financial donation would follow.

The museum gave Father Scott  a museum tour. As the priest left the museum and stepped into his red Cadillac, he turned and blessed the gathering while saying the words, "Pax vobiscum."

Only later when the catalog registrar placed the painting under a black light was it discovered that the painting was a fake. Furthermore, a search of records had nothing about Father Scott. However, there was much about Mark Augustus Landis, a forger, who used the priest alias (among other names) to "gift" museums with art.

Landis has been donating faked art for more than 30 years - often in the name of one of his deceased parents. The thing is that because he gives the art away, he hasn't broken any laws! This alone separates him from all the other famous forgers. (The estimate of fake works is more than 100 from such famous artists as Picasso.)

The University of Cincinnati decided to recognize Landis. They curated an exhibit of his art beginning April Fool's Day titled, "Faux Real." Landis himself not only donated 60 paintings to the show, but also his priest habit! Now that's what the Brits would call a "cheeky bloke." 

(Here are original arts by Paul Signac and Charles Courtney Curran with the Landis' fake below each)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Peep Show

Since Easter is this Sunday, the Peeps will soon be gone. In order to memorialize them for Easter, 2012, this blog honors Peep Art. (click images to enlarge)

"The Peep Show"
"The Village Peeps" by Chris Williams
"The Peepsons"
"Peeping Tom"
"Jiffy Peep"
"Peeptown Cupcakes"
"March of the Peeps" by Nancy Papenfuss
and because this is an art blog, we have "Peepinardo Da Vinci's Studio"
May these bring a smile to your face and have a Happy Easter!