Friday, November 29, 2013

Body Language, Saatchi Gallery /The Male Nude: Eighteenth-century Drawings from the Paris Academy, Wallace Collection [excerpts]

Form and substance: Jean-Baptiste Isabey's
Seated man, leaning on his right arm, 1789,
the pose that of an antique Roman sculpture
© ENSBA, Paris
Brian Sewell [for the London Evening Standard]

Why would anyone prefer childish simplicity to a complex drawing that grapples with form, musculature, accumulated fat, the tension of the skin and the bones and joints beneath?

In his current exhibition, Body Language, [Charles] Saatchi again explores aspects of figurative art but with neither the aesthetic nor the visceral challenge of Sensation, and as the artists are not English we can draw no useful conclusions from it, as we did with the YBAs. It is the result, I fear, of perhaps too random a trawl in the United States and casual acquaintance in Japan, Budapest and Yekaterinburg. The only familiar artist is Chantal Joffe, an American working in London....

The spaces of the Saatchi Gallery are splendid, lofty, vast, the lighting brilliant, and of this the immediate consequence is that the paintings it houses are given false authority, and we stand before them in veneration as though before an altarpiece. But they are not spiritually thaumaturgical and they deserve no such response. We should discern at once that Makiko Kudo’s verdant landscapes have only the shallow charm of murals that the cheap restaurants of my youth employed to camouflage their shabbiness, that likening Helen Verhoeven’s supposedly mysterious gatherings to Picasso’s Guernica is as arrogant as it is absurd, and that Henry Taylor’s kinship with Martin Maloney, of whom, Californian born, bred and working, he can hardly be aware, is merely another example of the internationalism of bad painting. Why must the critic waste his time struggling to discern purpose in such feeble rubbish?....

The Wallace Collection exhibits 37 academies on loan from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where there is a cache of more than 600 by 220 artists between 1664 and 1793. They are probably the best but I have seen many that are as good or better, drawn over a far longer period as well as by other nationalities — even at the Slade, Royal Academy and South Kensington (the precursor of the Royal College) Schools they were part of the discipline well into the 20th century. They are not rare, nor are they expensive; instead, they are a genre of old master drawing that even the most modest collector may collect, and as observations of body language I would rather have one fine academy than all the slipshod bodies now on view in the Saatchi Gallery. Sorry, Charles.…

[read the whole review here]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Staten Island LGBT Center's exhibit up through Dec. 9

Ingrid Capozzoli Flinn’s "Nude on Pillow" is
part of the "Women Look at Women" exhibit
curated by Robert Bunkin at the Staten Island LGBT Center
in Tompkinsville. (Courtesy the artist)

"Women Look at Women"


By Rob Bailey / Staten Island Advance 

 TOMPKINSVILLE — "Women Look at Women," the late fall show at the Staten Island LGBT Community Center, has a complicated subtext about female artists looking at women and producing different results, unavailable to other genders.

It's easy to just assume there will be differences even if they're hard to see, no? What isn't debatable is that femaleness has obsessed artists for thousands of years, ever since that handy Neanderthal chipped a rock into a recognizably feminine form. (And who's to say, by the way, that this Neanderthal wasn't female...)...[more]

Friday, November 22, 2013

On the Lighter Side of Naked



Sweden got talent - Naked guys dancing!

Maybe I should write a serious cultural piece analyzing why this is funny, but I can't stop laughing.

Some may think this is off topic, but to me, it is vintage. It is exactly on topic for Body Language: Art, Biology and Culture. 

Enjoy! 




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nude Artworks Censored In Berlin Due To Religious Sensitivity

Huffpost Arts & Culture

A recent incident of art censorship in Berlin has sparked a debate about the difference between art and pornography, as well as the importance of artistic freedom versus religious sensitivity.

According to the American Foreign Press [AFP], an adult education center removed a series of six nude paintings in an attempt to acknowledge and respect Muslim religious beliefs.

The school's deputy head feared the works may shock Muslim students and prevent them from attending class. The school is located nearby a newly established refugee center, which draws immigrants and asylum-seekers to the once mostly German-born region.

by Berlin artist Susanne Schueffel
 The decision was immediately critiqued by some as an unnecessary precaution and an inhibitor to artistic freedom. District council member Juliane Witt aptly expressed how the decision could not only negatively affect the artists and German students, but the Muslim students as well. "If you do something to protect someone, then you are defining them," she told the AFP, "and that can be stigmatizing."  [more]

Friday, November 15, 2013

Snite exposes the French Academy - South Bend Tribune: Eventnews

Snite exposes the French Academy - South Bend Tribune: Eventnews


By EVAN GILLESPIE SBT Correspondent  

When we think about the French Academy, if we think about it at all, we tend to think of it as the great limiter of art, the oppressive institution that tried to stifle innovation and hold the fine arts in historical limbo for centuries.

Charles Gleyre’s “Study For ‘The Departure of the
Apostles’ ” is one of the works featured in the exhibit
“The Academy Exposed: French Figure Studies” through
Dec. 22 at the University of Notre Dame’s Snite
  Museum of Art.

That role, historically accurate or not, is essential for the standard narrative of Modern art history; how would we define the Realists and the Impressionists if not by the traditions they were acting against? We think less often about the Academy as a basic educator, a place where young artists learned the fundamentals of their craft. A small show currently up at the Snite Museum of Art helps us to see the French Academy in that simpler role.

[more]

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