Friday, April 19, 2013

Brilliant Banksy!

Like Koons, Banksy is also one of my favorite artists. This is because of all of the messages  that his art sends and how provocative his works are.
The name of this piece is Love Cheat. Here, Banksy is commenting on the condition that most marriages in America now are in. Cheating has become something most people almost expect. It's become rare that marriages actually last forever like they were originally meant to. As we can see in this piece of art, the wife looks to be the one cheating in this relationship and is almost caught by her husband who is looking just to high to see his wife's partner who she is having an affair with.
“Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent, leave the house before you find something worth staying in for. ” This is a quote by Banksy himself regarding this particular work of his. I believe the name of this piece is Follow Your Dreams. Here there is a man who perhaps had many dreams of becoming rich or just successful, but people in today's world and economic system are far too preoccupied making money and just trying to stay out of debt and out of jail to follow their dreams that they had when they were young or while they were growing up. They often are suppressed by the desire and pressure to conform to society's standards and what it says is the right way to live and to make money that people no longer are encouraged to just follow their dreams and make something out of themselves by doing what they love and what makes them feel fulfilled.
Banksy Jesus on the cross - Crucifixion
I believe that the name of this is Graffiti Jesus. Banksy is commenting on how materialistic Christmas has become, how shopping and money have become more important than the celebration of Christ, which was the original reason for the recognition of the holiday. We now worry much too much about getting the right present and spending money and getting money. We think too much about receiving and much too little about giving everything we can, not only around this holiday, but everyday. This painting looks ridiculous to anyone who has knowledge of Christ and His death and resurrection. Of course He didn't die so we could worry about shopping and receiving gifts. There is no cross in this picture, Jesus is black and white with the color on the presents emphasizing their importance over Him in this piece. This, to me, is an extremely strong and provocative this is, or should be.
This is Banksy's Telephone Booth. It is commenting on the technological advances happening all around the world. Now most people around the globe have and carry cell phones with them everywhere they go and have no trouble getting in contact with people even on the other side of the globe. It, too is saying how telephone booths, once a much needed and used to be a staple in many places, are now pretty much obsolete, thus the "murdering" action by the axe of the phonebooth.
These are just a few that I find humorous or moving.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hysolar Research Institute

          The Hysolar Research Institute is part of the University of Stuttgart campus in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, southern Germany. The building was completed under the leadership of Gunter Behnisch, who, at the time, was the director of Behnisch & Partner, as well as teaching at Stuttgart. The building is considered to be an important example of deconstructivist architecture – an opposition to the ordered rationality of modernism and postmodernism. Influenced by the theory of deconstruction, deconstructivism is characterized by fragmentation and the use of non-rectilinear shapes to create images of unpredictability and controlled-chaos; seeking to disorient observers. In his design of The Hysolar Research building, Behnisch intended to deny the possibility of spatial enclosure altogether.
The building makes use of factory-made containers as laboratory rooms due to a tight schedule and budget. Behnisch took this opportunity to explore the use of prefabricated elements in an unorthodox manner, creating a collage of seemingly free-floating elements that exist in spatial equilibrium. The roof, walls, and windows all seem to explode outward avoiding any suggestion of clear, stable masses. The most notable feature of the building is the red tube which starts from the ground north of the building, traverses the hallway, and projects from the south end. Behnisch aggresively played with the entire concept of architecture and the viewer's relationship to it in his concept for the Hysolar building. The disordered architectural elements seem precarious and visually threaten to collapse, shattering any preconceived notion of what buildings should look like – a main tenant of deconstructivism.

              In 2006, under the architectural leadership of Stefan Behnisch, Gunter Behnisch's son, the building was restored and extended in collaboration with Harder III StumpflSome. The renovations were carried out so that the building's characteristic appearance and its main features remained intact, while the building systems were updated to meet modern standards.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For The Love of God by Damien Hirst (2007)

For the first time ever, I was exposed to his kind of bizarre art, and I must be honest; I was intrigued. There was a clear feeling of disruption and confusing in the auditorium this morning when a couple of dozen students were outraged by such creation. Nevertheless, everybody started to interpret the piece with elegant dedication, and there was a feel of both comfort and discomfort to be perceived. Ultimately, I have my own opinion regarding this work, but I will start out by describing our artist at hand, and also the context of his work before projecting my opinion.

From childhood, Mr. Hirst was bound to be different, and with a extremely uncontrollable relationship with his mother. The only thing his mother appreciated was his talent for drawing. Later on that developed a curtain characteristic of how he came around his art, and it is like as soon as he broke through the wall to the other side; meaning being a famous artist, he could pretty much put out whatever his mind took him to. It makes him untouchable to the critics and he will differ from other artists.

A main theme for Hirst has been death, immortality vs mortality. It is  a repetitive theme throughout his career that talks to the observers, and definitely talks to the critics and buyers. Very controversial the artist remains to be till the day today, but now to the emphasis of this particular work.

I developed a little theory of my own through all that I read about Hirst, and I see a clear pattern in his work. In February 2006, he opened a art exhibit in Mexico, and Mexico has a special holiday called "Dia de Los Muertos" which means the day of the dead. On such a day, many different things happens, where people that celebrate it goes an visit the dead, but among all the different traditions is the candy skull with flamboyant colors, shinny elements, and deep appreciation. Going beyond these lines, I believe that Hirst got his inspiration through that media. Nevertheless that could be a irrelevant relation according to John LeKay whom claims much of his work was plagiarized by Hirst. The question at hand would be if Hirst is reviving an image for better or worse means?

At hand, we are dealing with 17th century skull, remade with help of 32 platinum plates, and the original skulls teeth. 8601 clear cut diamonds are used which contextualizes 11106,18 carats. The big diamond on the forehead is inspired by a comic that Hirst used to read as a child called '2000 AD' where it is drawn to relations with the third eye being the watcher. In my opinion, Hirst has literally magnified the meaning of death and also literally tried to put a price on it.

According the public outrage, both in the auditorium this morning and in general; I must say I have to take a counter perspective. I believe that people has different ways to find their medium of what they want to produce and what they do not want to produce. I can draw so many connections to this way of producing art that has been very socially acceptable without any debate at hand. It is seen in Mexico, in the Pharaon's Egypt, the Easter Island, West-African masks, and the list goes on. I think it is a brilliant idea of conspicuous consumption, and the fact that he diffused his mother's saying into his work is a perfect message to any artist, or just in general any person that has been scared of doing something due to unrelated oppression.


Jeff Koons

Koons has long been one of my favorite artists and has done some of my favorite pieces of art, one which we discussed in class today.
This is Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog. This, like other works of Koons is iconic of how he is able to take such low-class things like a child's balloon animal that not a whole lot of grown and educated people would want and making it into something that high-class, well educated, and wealthy people would long for.
This work is entitled Tulips. This picture shows the true magnitude of the size of these works. They would be completely overwhelming to see in person because of the vibrant colors and size and reflections off of this shiny stainless steel that Koons uses on these pieces.
This is an art car that Koons was given permission to design by BMW. He had been wanting to design his own art car for a while and was finally given the ok to go ahead on it around 2010 and completed it in about two months. He unveiled it in the same place that Lichtenstein unveiled his own art car in 1977, pictured below.
Roy Lichtenstein BMW art car
This is a BMW car designed by Roy Lichtenstein in 1977 that is part of a line of BMW art cars that Koons is a part of along with many other artists like A. R. Penck, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.
This is another sculpture by Jeff Koons entitled Balloon Flower (Magenta). This Koons piece was sold in 2008 for over $25,000,000.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Matthew Barney: Sculptor, filmmaker, and artist

       Matthew Barney is an interesting artist. When I say "interesting," I mean that many of his works are very ambiguous and thought-provoking, inspiring viewers to analyze the work beyond what they see. Barney has taken both positive and negative criticism for his works, but he is considered by many to be among the best artists in avant-garde filmmaking. I will give a brief biography on Barney's life before discussing his two major exhibition series, Cremaster Cycle and Drawing Restraint.

              Birth, Early Life, and Start of Career

       Barney was born March 25, 1967 in San Francisco, California. His parents divorced when he was 12, and he lived in Boise, Idaho at the time. In high school, he was on the football team and wrestling team. Barney's artistic career began when he was picked up for a modelling career that helped him pay for college. His time as a model influenced many of his later works.
       When Barney left Boise to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, his original plan was to go through premed school to become a plastic surgeon. Two semesters in, however, Barney decided to go through the art department. His creativity and originality were quickly recognized, and he was allowed to participate in the graduate portion of the art department as an undergraduate.
         Barney's first production was titled Field Dressing, which appears to be footage of him swinging on chains hanging from the ceiling. Like his time as a model, the film would inspire his most popular works.

             Cremaster Cycle

       The cremaster muscle is a muscle around the testes that contracts or relaxes in order to raise or lower them to regulate temperature. I myself am unable to draw any conclusion as to why Barney would give his five feature-length films that title. The films, each of which can be viewed on YouTube, each feature a variety of barely describable imaginative scenes that are incapable of being explained. One has to watch the films to understand what I mean. All I could find on the meaning of the Cremaster Cycle films was this: Barney created five films to represent the descension of the cremaster muscle to its lowest state (when it is hot), with Cremaster Cycle #5 being the lowest in this case. A parallel to the descension that I read about was the development of an idea, and Cremaster #5 is the final resolution of that idea. Interestingly, however, I read that Barney filmed each Cremaster Cycle based on where he had lived previously: Cremaster #1 was filmed in Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Cremaster #2 was filmed elsewhere in Idaho where Barney visited often as a child. Cremaster #3 was filmed in New York, where Barney currently resides. In that sense, one could argue that the Cremaster series as a whole is at least partially an autobiography of sorts for Barney. 

       The only other relevant piece of meaning I could find was a symbol that Barney called the "Field Emblem." Said symbol appears throughout the Cremaster Cycle. Apparently, the Field Emblem's simple symmetry is supposed to represent a state of equilibrium, while the Half Field Emblem is supposed to represent when one side has dominated the other. I suppose that it could refer to the male and female opposites of sexuality when I put it together with the ascension and descension of the cremaster muscle, because the cremaster muscle also ascends during arousal and intercourse, to prevent injury to the testes. Interpret that as you will. Nevertheless, Barney invested quite a bit of time in the Cremaster project, taking nine years (1994-2002) to film and publish all five films. 

            Drawing Restraint 

        The prevailing idea behind athletic training is that training with resistance will force the body to build itself up into something stronger. Barney took this idea and ran with it throughout his works in the Drawing Restraint Series, of which he has made nineteen so far. After enough digging around, I found an interesting set of ideas that appear to drive Drawing Restraint: Situation, Condition, and Production. Situation is represented as the initial unconditioned energy, Condition works to give that unconditioned energy a form, and Production is the final piece created by a combination of the energy and the conditioning that gives it direction. Barney goes as far as to compare this cycle to the human digestive system, with the mouth, stomach, and anus respectively. Much like the Cremaster Cycle, the Drawing Restraint series has to be seen to understand it better. Right now, unfortunately, only Drawing Restraint 9 can be found on YouTube, and even then it is only in fragmented form.

            Matthew Barney Today

          Barney's works have been featured in several exhibits throughout Europe and America, including the Guggenheim and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, just to name two. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York, with his wife Bjork and daughter Isadora. Bjork has a career as a singer of similar prominence, and collaborated with Barney in Drawing Restraint 9. Barney's latest work is Drawing Restraint 19, which involved him putting a piece of graphite on the bottom of a skateboard and skating it around a small skate park.

Matthew Barney (right), and Bjork (left).
         For more information and videos on Drawing Restraint 19, visit

         For a more detailed biography of Matthew Barney's life, visit

         For a synopsis of the Cremaster Cycle series with links to the individual films, visit

         For a synopsis of the Drawing Restraint series, visit

         For a biography on Bjork, visit 

         As always, feel free to do your own research, and watch the Cremaster Cycle films on YouTube, as well.

Chrysler Building by William Van Alen

Chrysler Building by William Van Alen

This building is monumental in New York City, and it always has been. New York being one of my favorite cities I love this building. It is one of the tallest buildings in New York City and it is an icon for it. When architecture goes from just another building to an icon and a trademark is when I think it has really reached another level. It then becomes legend and important to all people, not just architects or artists. Buildings are true art.
 Chrysler Building by David Shankbone Retouched.jpg
I think this piece should be presented with other skyscrapers that were influenced by it. The skyscraper, One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, was directly influenced by the Chrysler and I think for this architecture in particular it would be fantastic to present with something that came from it. That was influenced by it.  Instead of something that influenced the Chrysler, present it with something that it influenced, that would be a cool concept. The One Liberty Place would be amazing next to the Chrysler to see the shape and detail that noth buldings make and how it was inspired by our one and only Chrysler Building.
One and Two Liberty Place

Duane Hanson, Tourists (1970)

Duane Hanson, Tourists (1970)
I love this section on realism. Sometimes people do things to get away from reality and not accept life as what it really is, they try to run and hide from it. But realism really shows us reality and you can’t get away from it, you see life as it really is and I love that. The quote form this piece that I love is, “My most successful pieces are naturalistic or illusionistic, which results in an element of shock, surprise or psychological impact for the viewer. The subject matter I like best deals with the familiar lower and middle-class types of today. To me, the resignation, emptiness and loneliness of their existence captures the true reality of life for these people.... I want to achieve a certain tough realism which speaks of the fascinating idiosyncrasies of our time.” This quote alone shows exactly what I love about this picture. I love that he can have that element of surprise and shock, because then it will actually impact the viewer not just be another piece they see. Impact is a big thing for me in art. It has to have a reason. I also like how he captures the life of the people like he said, he really does show through his work what their lives look like, he doesn’t cover anything up, he just tells it how it is.  That is so important to me.
A good song to play with this piece might be Funkadelic-“One Nation Under a Groove’ by George Clinton. It was a way to take reality by storm and as they said “dance” their way through. To me music is just like this artwork, real. It took reality and walked right to it and looked it in the face. But music helps ease the pain more. You can have fun in reality even if it is scary and shocking, just dance your way through.

Tourists by Duane Hanson (1970)

When looking at Hanson work of art, there are some specific elements of interest that arises. First thought that hit my mind from this kind of sculpture was wax figures of famous people. I looked into some different artists that produce art incorporating wax, and there is a clear distinguishing line between the two different sculptures.

Hanson’s sculptures projects a contextual message of some sort that has a specific conveying message with relation to time. As of just regular wax sculptures in a wax museum you see emperor, pop stars, top athletes, dictators, great scientist and the list goes on, but never has it been seen that sculptures were created as a provocative message with very realistic means.

Polyester resin and cast fiberglass are the products used for constructing so powerful replicas of humans, and then adding thrift store clothing to the sculptures to make them look natural. This sculpture in specific, and the sculptures that resembles the same social norm or social class is a way for the artist to express where American consumption has taken the society to. He directed his art criticism against the American consumer society. All the sculptures from there started arising feelings of human isolation and boredom of the American middle and lower class.

Personally, I have been and seen wax figures in different cities in Europe, and I must say that it was quite fascinating, but through readings online and the whole art world’s comments on Duane Hanson; I can only sit and imagine how precisely detailed it must be. I tried getting a little closer, and thankfully YouTube has been helpful.

It is done to superb perfection, which is why our artist here is grouped under hyper realistic artists, but quite frankly I am sure it would at least 50% more realistic if these magnificent sculptures were studying with closer real life proximity.

I highly encourage you to watch Duane Hanson’s work throughout his years as an artist, and compare them to wax figures to see the difference. A sequel to the ‘Tourists’ sculpture was made by the name sculptures II (1988)


Nora by David Em (1979) 'TAMU HVS EMPHASIS'

INPUT 1 (April 15, 2013)

Very interesting digital artist that has pioneered as one of the first computer-conceptual art, and his name stays relevant today. This specific artist virtually introduced the world to one of the first 3D imaging surfaces ever produced. 

Today, his art is specified in 4 subgroups, worlds, spirits, artifacts, and metamorphoses.
David Em is an artist I was not quite familiar with until today, but for his time and through his development, I see a very respectful and hard-determined field of art that involves many different aspects with regards to the spiritual, the scientific, the virtual, the unbelievable, the admirable, and the fascinating.

Virtually this art is represented in several ways to interpret, but I will first try to give my interpretation on it. As seen the colors used in this “computer imaging” that Mr. Em calls it himself is toned with dark colors which rises comfort, but the different panels in irregular directions creates a sense of loss protectiveness.

Moreover, I feel like there is a strong use of somewhat common geometrical figures that creates a sense of belonging.  I must say that it is rather hard to imagine how this imaging would have been perceived by me if seen in 1979 rather than 2013 where such art can be done much easier than it was done at the time.

At last, there is a poem written about the artist from famous science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury that depicts what sort of panels of thoughts professionals thought of when seeing David Em’s work.

See source 3 if text is too small


INPUT 2 (April 17, 2013)

Today, I contacted the people behind David Em's official website to get more insight on how the production of 'Nora' was made. It has not been the easiest task to extract information about this specific work of David Em. Hopefully, I will hear back from them so that I can share information with the public.

Nevertheless, I will not leave my readers without something to get intrigued about for the day. I am doing some research on some books that hopefully will involve a part where the work of David Em was described, for today, I discovered a different side of the artist, and his love for Graffiti. Please take time to see the video that will direct your understanding of Los Angeles street artists.


INPUT 3 (April 22, 2013)

Not more than two days of wait! The humble people behind David Em's website sent me a reply on my questions regarding Nora, and here it is!

I am currently researching this equipment of use, and hopefully I will have more insight on it, soon. Nevertheless, I found the book I was looking for, and within the next couple of days, I will share some insight with you regarding David Em and specifically the work 'Nora'.

The Book
The Art of David Em: 100 Computer Paintings
Texts by David A. Ross and David Em
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York
ISBN 0-8109-1044-6

Sneak-peak LEFT: Action (1979) RIGHT: Nora (1979) pages 34-35 of book

INPUT 4 (May 3, 2013)

Reading and analyzing the book has given me quite the insight on how David Em went around and approached the technological art. In the beginning of the book is a message from David A. Ross (CV: describing the revolution of technology intact with art.

Mr. Ross mentions: "It was the Korean-born video art pioneer Nam June Paik who first predicted the future for this medium in discussion of the potential of the Paik-Abe video synthesizer, an early analog computer that was capable of distorting, reshaping, and recoloring (or colorizing) video."

Moreover, the frame buffer described in INPUT 3 e-mail is something "Em worked with a group of engineers to devise a relatively sophisticated frame-buffer, and electronic device that stores and displays a single frame of video information (the contents of one full video screen). It functions as the video counterpart to a blank canvas upon which an electronic painting can be created from scratch.

David Em pioneered in his work by trying to create his own paint, but he came to understand that what he had envisioned was impossible without mechanical media, so with time, other artists, and engineers; they developed a working frame buffer that could duplicate the capabilities of Xerox system in low resolution.

It is overall a good book where David Em himself talks about the pleasure of creating art without natural light like the impressionists, but rather with electronic light.

Moreover, the plates includes in his book are:

1. MAR. 1985
2. DESEOS. 1983
3. NAVAJO. 1978
4. HILLS. 1985
5. MIX 3. 1979
6. BILL. 1981
7. SAMUEL. 1979
8. EL NOTRE. 1986
9. HATTIE ROSE. 1979
10. FLARE. 1981
11. AMOR. 1980
12. VOLKAN. 1982
13. REDBAL. 1980
14. ACTION. 1979
15. NORA. 1979
17. MING. 1979
18. BAGHDAD. 1979
19. GANDHI. 1979
20. APAINT 3. 1987
21. TMI. 1985
22. AT 20 WE  WENT THERE. 1985
23. THE FAR AWAY. 1986
24. ZOTZ'. 1985
25. BARBERA. 1986
26. MOUNTAIN 2. 1979
27. PURPTWIS. 1983
28. LLANOS. 1985
29. EDUARDO. 1985
31. CHIN LI. 1985
32. -| (DASH SLASH). 1983 Acrylic on paper
33. AKU 1978
34. EGG 2. 1979
35. KAOS. 1980
36. PATRICIA. 1980
37. ZWIRLZ. 1987
39. EL SALTO. 1985 Acrylic on paper
40. CARIBOU 1. 1979
41. TWIST 1. 1980
42. JOSÉ. 1985
43. HEAVEN. 1986
44. TERRYL. 1986
45. WHERE 3. 1979
46. APPROACH. 1979
47. DRESDEN. 1979
48. LIZA 2. 1979
49. CALIGARI. 1978
50. SOUTH TEMPLE. 1981
51. KOLUMN.  1982
52. BRAXIS. 1979
53. STYX. 1979
54. APARTHEID. 1981
55. SUMA. 1980
56. JASPER. 1980
57. MAYA. 1982
58. PERSEPOL. 1980
59. RAGNAROK. 1980
60. AFTERMATH. 1980
61.CHANG. 1979
62. KIRBY 1. 1979
63. GALAXY. 1974 Mixed media on sheetrock
64. GUSTAF. 1985
65. BLANC. 1985 Oil on canvas
66. KO. 1981
67. SPERM. 1980
68. JELLY. 1979
69. CENTER 4B. 1979
70. PERZIA. 1980
72. ADONDE 2. 1981
73. SUBTER 4. 1980
74. GABRIEL. 1980
75. VISION 10. 1980
76. ESCHER. 1979
77. DREAM. 1979
78. VOLANDO. 1979
79. WAVE. 1979
80. ELLEN. 1986
81. SELF A. 1982-1983
82. INVIERNO. 1984 Oil on canvas
83. TURNER. 1985
84. SALVADOR. 1982 Oil on board
85. PILLARS. 1986
86. ART 3. 1987
87. CARIBOU 2. 1986
88. DAGGER. 1987
89. NUBES. 1985
90. SUNRISE. 1985
91. THE FIVE OF US. 1983
92. KLEE. 1986
93. SPARK. 1986
94. MICHELE. 1986
95. TOLTEC. 1985
96. STRETCH. 1986
97. PAINTING 6. 1986
98. XIBALBA. 1986
99. TEEC NOS POS. 1985
100. VOL. 1986

This is a list of the works included in the book. Unfortunately, I can not upload any of these pictures due to copyrights, but I strongly encourage the purchase of the book or to find it in a local library to explore the phenomena created through scientific machinery.

INPUT 5 (May 3, 2013)

In the technical note of the book, I found the system that Nora was made with in nature with the e mail I received.

"the heart of the system I worked with consisted of a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP 11/55 minicomputer with an Evans and Sutherland 8-bit frame buffer and Picture System 2 (an interactive vector display system) hooked up to it and Conrac RGB monitor. The system allowed be to select from palette of over 16 million colors, although I could display only 256 of them on the screen at any one time."