Articles about art

Using sight and sound to communicate the human condition.

How To Make Mistakes On Purpose – Laurie Rosenwald

This title pretty much says it all: sometimes making mistakes can be just what you need. This book is fun to read, with a somewhat chaotic layout and style. The overall message is of course that you shouldn’t just always do what you know will work. Try the unexpected sometimes, throw a spanner in your works, and see what happens. Move out of your comfort zone. Try something new. Etc. It’s kind of a hackneyed idea but still a good idea, and good to be reminded of it.

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The Imaginary Museum — Ben Eastham

This is an essential essay on contemporary art. The author takes us on a tour through a fictional contemporary art museum containing real artworks. He talks a bit about the works, offering insights that allow us to appreciate them more. It’s like wandering through a good art gallery, having a wide-ranging discussion with a hugely knowledgeable but somewhat cynical friend.

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Woman’s World — Graham Rawle

This is a hilarious and intriguing book, painstakingly written by assembling thousands of fragments from several decades’ worth of women’s magazines. The tone of the sentences is unmistakable. I love the way that some of the word combinations lead to odd turns of phrase and overextended metaphors that you wouldn’t see in any normal book, such as Continue reading
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Smilebow T-shirt

Rainbows make me smile. Joanne has designed the beautiful “Smilebow” T-shirt, and if enough people vote for it at threadless.com then they just might pick it up and manufacture a print run. Then we’ll be able to wear a Smilebow every day!

Smilebow - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Just click the Smilebow picture to go to the website. Register, vote, and be associated with the birth of a T-shirting legend. Also you can look at a lot af very fun shirt designs, and even buy some shirts if you want to buy some shirts.

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Reclaiming Felix the Cat

Felix the cat! The wonderful, wonderful cat. You’ll laugh so much your sides will ache, your heart will go pit-a-pat, watching Felix the wonderful cat!

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Amazing checker shadow illusion

The Checker Shadow Illusion is the most mysterious optical illusion I have ever seen. No matter how long I stare at it, I can’t convince my eyes to believe it.

Checker shadow illusion

The two areas marked A and B are the same shade of grey in the picture. Print it out and fold the two parts together if you don’t believe it!

The illusion was created by Edward H. Adelson, Professor of Vision Science at MIT. His website has some more interesting illusions as well as a lot of theory to explain them.

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Over My Dead Body — Mona Hatoum

I went to see the Mona Hatoum exhibition “Over My Dead Body” at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art on the weekend. I had seen some of her work before, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art several years ago. This new exhibition includes a lot of material from her performance art pieces — videos and preparatory notes — as well as some of her sculptures and installations. Very interesting stuff, though a lot of her work has an unsettling underlying violence. Particularly the performance where she cuts out her own entrails and serves them up on dinner plates.

The exhibition included the preparatory notes for a piece called “Live Work for the Black Room”, which consisted of the artist, dressed in black in a completely black room, repeatedly falling on the floor, chalking the outline of her body on the floor, and then getting up and lighting a candle in the outline. Much as I like the idea of this piece, the thing that really stuck in my mind from the whole exhibition was this sentence from the notes.

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Art in the Gardens — Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is a beautiful and friendly public garden. It’s currently hosting an interesting exhibition. I haven’t really have time to investigate, but the theme seems to be integrating technology with nature in innovative ways. The exhibitions include a vertical garden, a set of planters made from car tires, and this car.

Car under turf

It may appear to be a novel design for a carport, but I think it’s actually just a sculpture representing the exhibition’s philosophy.

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Postage Stamps

The current Hong Kong local postage stamp is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. For just $1.40 (20 US cents) you can have a tiny work of art, suitable for framing. The great thing is that if you send it to somebody as a present, it pays for its own postage. It’s the gift that sends itself.

Hong Kong postage stamp

It’s also one of the biggest stamps I’ve seen – you’d be hard-pressed to fit it on a small postcard. While I was poking around in my files, I also found this fun stamp.

Round NZ postage stamp

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Cow Parade in Tokyo

Cow parades have been going on for a few years, in various parts of the world. I was excited to discover decorated cows in Marunouchi, downtown Tokyo, where I worked. So excited that I decided I would try to shoot all 60-odd of them (with my camera).

This was the first cow parade in the Far East, featuring lots of Japan-themed cows, and one or two impressive technology-enabled cows. It was fun hunting them all down – I even found some interesting parts of town that I had never been to before.

In the end, I ran out of time – I only managed to find 61 of the 64 cows. Some of them were sneakily positioned inside buildings, and one was way over on the other side of Tokyo station. Some of the cows also moved around over the course of the parade… Anyway, I had to steal other people’s photos to complete the three missing spots in my photo album.

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