One of my favourite artists, Walter de Maria, passed away earlier this week.
De Maria was best known for the huge size of much of his work both in the gallery, where he would fill whole rooms with single pieces, and outside with his land art, for example The Lightning Field.
William Forsythe‘s Scattered Crowd,an installation of suspended white balloons, is quite magical.
The Tate’s retrospective of Damien Hirst‘s work is a curious exhibition. The two things that impressed me most about it were 1) the scale of some of the works – many of the pieces really need to be seen in a gallery to be fully appreciated; and 2) how some of his most famous works still have the power to shock and amaze.
As Hirst has returned time and again over his career to similar themes and techniques – death, cigarettes, pills, spot paintings – the exhibition is repetitive and so lessens the impact of some of his best work. The first medicine cabinet was an interesting concept well executed. But the exhibition has dozens, plus a whole room for Pharmacy. Mother and Child divided remains the finest of the formaldehyde works, though I also have to admit a fondness for ’Isolated Elements Swimming in the Same Direction for the Purpose of Understanding’. Many of the others though feel unnecessary.
It is a case of diminishing returns with many of Hirst’s concepts, original at first but then overdone and tiring. I would not have missed any of the cigarette butts works. Nor am I that bothered for most of the spot paintings, though some, especially Iodomethane 13c, are impressive in size and have a hypnotic effect. Any of the pill cabinets taken is isolation are lovely but once again there are too many of them.
The butterfly pieces are interesting. They grow from early, sparse pieces to beautiful and intricate stain glass like works.
I left the exhibition feeling that Hirst had perhaps done enough in his early works to earn his reputation as one of the UK’s key artists but that that reputation has been tarnished over recent years when his work seemed to lose direction and become self-parody. I hope that he will find the creativity to be fresh and challenging once more.
I like the humour and playfulness in the work of Canadian artist Michel De Broin.
Take some time to look at the website where there is a lot more work, some good videos, and descriptions of the projects.
There is a good interview with him on We Make Money Not Art
The great Australian writer and art critic Robert Hughes passed away on 6 August 2012, age 74.
Hughes has been a major influence on how I view and think about art. This blog takes its name from a Hughes line in his documentary “The New Shock of the New”.
He has given us some important books, and arguably the most important TV series, on art. He will greatly missed.
Obituary in The Guardian
German artist Agnes Meyer-Brandis’ latest project “The Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility” is one of my favourite pieces of art of recent years. It is inspired by the 17th Century story The Man in the Moone by English bishop Francis Godwin in which the protagonist reaches the moon in a chariot pulled by “moon geese”.
Meyer-Brandis has raised eleven geese from birth, given them all names of astronauts, and has become their goose mother. The geese are being given training in astronomy, navigation and morse code. They have a schedule which will see them make their first trip to the moon in 2024, and then they will take Meyer-Brandis there in 2027.
There are a lot of articles about the project online which are worth reading including many more photos and some video. Nicola Triscott’s excellent blog post explains a bit more about the project and also talks about some of Meyer-Brandis earlier work, which like the Moon Geese mixes science, art, literature.
I have mixed feelings about a lot of public art. When done well I believe it can greatly enhance a space and the lives of those who encounter it (Gormley, Kapoor and Heatherwick are three who have done this well, and the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square has mostly been successful). But too often it comes across as a folly, bland or unfitting for the space.
Argentinian sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas‘ huge sculpture of a whale in a forest in Argentina falls firmly into the former. An amazing piece of work, beautifully executed. I’m envious of those who might stumble upon it without previously knowing of its existence.
via This is Colossal
Raphael Hefti is a Swiss artist and photographer who uses a wide range of technical and scientific techniques to create unique and fascinating art works.
via The Guardian Artist of the Week
I like the humour and originality of Dutch artist Scarlett Hooft Graafland especially her works in Bolivia and in the Arctic (including the igloo below made from blocks of frozen orange lemonade).
Japanese artist Akiko Ikeuchi creates beautiful silk sculptures which hang in galleries like huge spider’s webs.
via This Is Colossal