Hyperrealistic Picasso

Eugenio Merino, a Spanish sculptor from Picasso's birthplace of Malaga, has created the life-like statue of the artist for a new exhibition highlighting the problems of tourism for locals. Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881 he died in France in 1973 having helped create one of the 20th century's most important artistic movements in CubismEugenio Merino, a Spanish sculptor from Picasso’s birthplace of Malaga, has created the life-like statue of Pablo Picasso for a new exhibition highlighting the problems of tourism for locals. Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881 he died in France in 1973 having helped create one of the 20th century’s most important artistic movements in Cubism.The work is displayed inside a gift shop and viewers are allowed to take selfies with it, which Merino says will demonstrate how a complex artist and his work has been reduced to souvenir status. Picasso initially started out painting relatively life- like portraits influenced by impressionism, but soon incorporated surreal elements and motifs from African art, creating CubismThe work is displayed inside a gift shop and viewers are allowed to take selfies with it, which Merino says will demonstrate how a complex artist and his work has been reduced to souvenir status. Picasso initially started out painting relatively life- like portraits influenced by impressionism, but soon incorporated surreal elements and motifs from African art, creating Cubism.Merino is allowing tourists to take pictures with the statue, including with selfie sticks which have been banned from most museums, in a move which he hopes will help to prove his point. During his early years in Paris, Picasso was so poor that much of his early work was burned into order to heat his apartment. Today he holds the record for most expensive artwork ever sold, at $117millionThe work is constructed from fiberglass, resin and plastic and has been coated with silicone and embedded with real human hair. Merino matched the model to the artist’s real height, 5’3″ and based it on photographs of him. The artist was well-known in his later years for wearing a striped top, cloth trousers and rope-soled shoes, which he is dressed in for the show.

Merino is allowing tourists to take pictures with the statue, including with selfie sticks which have been banned from most museums, in a move which he hopes will help to prove his point. During his early years in Paris, Picasso was so poor that much of his early work was burned into order to heat his apartment. Today he holds the record for most expensive artwork ever sold, at $117million.Merino said tourism is often harmful to local communities, pushing people out of their homes as prices rise and drawing in huge crowds of people who put a strain on resources. While Picasso often takes all of the credit for having developed Cubism, in fact he created the artistic movement alongside collaborator Georges BraqueMerino said tourism is often harmful to local communities, pushing people out of their homes as prices rise and drawing in huge crowds of people who put a strain on resources. While Picasso often takes all of the credit for having developed Cubism, in fact he created the artistic movement alongside collaborator Georges Braque.Merino (pictured rear) is known for creating sculptures of dead people from history. He has previously made a mode of dictator Franco inside a Coca-Cola fridge, and of Osama bin Laden at a rave. Picasso set the mold for modern artists, and is often cited as the first painter to have achieved real fame while still aliveMerino (pictured rear) is known for creating sculptures of dead people from history. He has previously made a mode of dictator Franco inside a Coca-Cola fridge, and of Osama bin Laden at a rave. Picasso set the mold for modern artists, and is often cited as the first painter to have achieved real fame while still alive.

The “real” Pablo Picasso:Picasso was born in Malaga but left for France as a young boy and never returned. He died in France in 1973. As a nod to this, Merino has written the plaque for his sculpture in French, which reads: 'Here lies our beloved Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, we miss you.' Picasso did return to Spain several times in his life and drew on it for inspiration with his painting

The related Daily Mail article is here: That’s a good impression(ism): Hyperrealistic sculpture of Picasso complete with HUMAN HAIR goes on display in his birthplace of Malaga.

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Eat Your Kandinsky

Here they are, side by side, W. Kandinsky’s Painting Number 201 and its edible recreation for the sake of science. The edible Kandinsky is a proof that if it looks good, smells good and arranged artfully, it might even taste good. Or you’d choose to eat this rather than an artless pile of chopped veggies on your plate. Or, if you really into Kandinsky, then you’ll eat it anyway and cry with joy.

The article in Flavour states that after painstaking research (and, perhaps, eating a few celery stalks too many) the researchers came to a groundbreaking conclusion:

 These results support the idea that presenting food in an aesthetically pleasing manner can enhance the experience of a dish. In particular, the use of artistic (visual) influences can enhance a diner’s rating of the flavour of a dish.It’s hard to judge how well the challenge has been met, since we can only observe the images of the “artistic visual presentation of food”.

And here’s an excerpt from the article Make your mealtimes more tasteful by , BioMed Central Update:

We love a challenge, so when Flavour published a paper showing that arranging a salad in the shape of a Kandinsky painting improved its taste, we were keen to have a go at making our own artistic meals. The press release about the paper included these images, and the story was covered by the BBC and CBC. Several major UK newspapers covered the research, including The Independent and The Telegraph, and The Guardian covered it in a news piece as well as their food blog.

The taste of food is impossible to judge by the look of it, but the result of the challenge is worthy of a look:

 

Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of Dora Maar and edible Dora Maar.

Rene Magritt’s Decalcomania and its scrumptious version.

Edgar Degas’ Danseuse en robe rose and Degas-inspired edible dancer in pink dress.

Mark Rothko’s painting and its meal version.

Oh, my! I’m sure Mark Rothko would’ve chosen beluga caviar for that all-black area of his masterpiece, not a string of what looks like olives. Honestly, caviar or not, I’d prefer edible Rothko to any inedible No 13 any meal of a day.

What can I say, some artists — many artists, actually — depicted food items on their canvasses. You don’t need to be an artist to recreate some of them for your next meal. Mention what inspired you to impress your dinner companions.

Dali's Basket of Bread is easy on ingredients, props and artistry. Substitute white bread for whole grain to give a contemporary touch. Remember, in 1926 whole grain bread was an involuntary choice of lower classes.

Dali’s Basket of Bread is easy on ingredients, props and artistry. Substitute white bread for whole grain to give a contemporary touch. Remember, in 1926 whole grain bread was an involuntary choice of lower classes.

lobstertelephonesculpturebysalvadoredali

Get your inspiration from Salvador Dali and serve lobster on a top of an old-fashioned telephone. Make sure it’s not a working phone, in case it rings and you’d be compelled to pick up a receiver.

Recreation of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s (1526 or 1527 – 1593) masterpieces from authentic edible ingredients could easily feed a wedding reception of 300 and, while your guests are chomping on Winter Portrait’s nose, they can get a free lesson in the 16th century Italian art.

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Suggestions for creative serving of eggs, courtesy of the great Salvador:

Salvador Dali GEOPOLITICAL CHILD AND NEW HUMAN

Salvador Dali GEOPOLITICAL CHILD AND NEW HUMAN

stock-photo-public-outdoor-sculptures-of-dali-in-portlligat-village-at-girona-catalonia-spain-72133732

Dali. Public Outdoor Sculptures in Portlligat Village at Girona, Catalonia, Spain

As the Anna Perman’s article suggests, we all love a challenge. Here’s my take on artfully tasteful mealtime:

To the left, is Kazimir Malevich’s famous Black Suprematic Square (1915). To the right,  is my own highly imaginative Malevich-inspired recreation, Max Square Black Dinner Plate, entree. Serves up to 12 art lovers in one sitting (2014).

She, who’d dare to ask for something to eat, will be served yesterday’s borscht and forever deemed lacking in art appreciation. On the other hand, god knows, my yesterday borscht might as well be inspired by an artwork…

abstract-art

Abstract painting of unknown artist that inspires Ukrainian borscht.

Borscht  (also borsch, bortsch, borstch, borsh, borshch)

Borscht (also borsch, bortsch, borstch, borsh, borshch)

Freedom Not Genius

“Genius is easy. Genius means that everybody isn’t an artist. Freedom means that everybody is an artist. I believe in freedom. I don’t believe in genius. I don’t think that artists are special people. I think they’re normal people who have managed to harness somehow what is important for everybody. I don’t think they’re born special…” — Damien Hirst.

skullsFreedom Not Genius: Works from Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection completed its residency at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, where it was exhibited since November 2013.
 
In reference to this collection, Hirst’s website has this to say:

The exhibition reflects the artist’s life-long commitment to the process of collecting, something he describes as being: ‘like stuff washed up on a beach somewhere and that somewhere is you’. ‘Freedom not Genius’ also bears testament to Hirst’s absorption with those themes explored so iconically within his own work: the struggle involved in reconciling the concept of our mortality in life and a fascination with natural history.

Pablo Picasso. Nature morte au crâne et au pot. 1943. Oil on canvas. © Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2012. Photography credit: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Pablo Picasso. Nature morte au crâne et au pot. 1943. Oil on canvas. © Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2012. Photography credit: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Picasso’s ‘Nature morte au crâne et au pot’ (1943) is a starting point of the exhibition. Damien doesn’t believe in genius. I’m glad he thinks Picasso is no genius. Picasso’s ‘Nature morte…” is not work of genius, in my opinion. Freedom? Perhaps. Anyone is free to paint whatever he or she is damn well please.

Unknown. Untitled (Augsburg Skeleton). 17th century. Silver with ebony base. © DACS 2012 / RAO (Moscow) 2013

Unknown. Untitled (Augsburg Skeleton). 17th century. Silver with ebony base. © DACS 2012 / RAO (Moscow) 2013

Curated by Elena Geuna for the Pinacoteca Agnelli, Turin, it features over fifty artists and spans five centuries.

Some of the features artists are: Francis Bacon, Don Brown, John Currin, Frank Auerbach, David Bailey, Banksy, John Bellamy, Nick Bibby, Ashley Bickerton, Peter Blake, Mat Collishaw, Tracy Emin, Falle,  Hoyland, Gary Hume, Paul Insect, John Isaacs, Michael Joo, Jonathan Kingdom, Jeff Koons, Rodrigo Moynihan, Vik Muniz, Takashi Murakami, Bruce Nauman,  Andry Warhol, Rachel Whiteread, Cerith Wyn Evans.

thinker

“It’s great to be able to exhibit so many of my favorite artists together, and I think ‘Freedom not Genius’ reveals a lot about me in a way you wouldn’t normally see. Gathering these works in one space, when they’re from such different times and places, is amazing and definitely says something about what’s remained important for mankind, artists and for me.” — Damien Hirst.

Freedon Not Genius 1

In the early 90s, Hirst seemed like a breath of fresh air, a rave-era blast against the terrible, starchy politeness that characterized the British art scene. In a world of high theory and rigorously monochrome wardrobes, it was funny to say that you paid assistants to make your art “because I couldn’t be fucking arsed doing it”.

Within the following two decades, Hirst has become quite odious figure in the world of art, experimenting not only — and not as much — with paint, brushes, pickled cows and rotted animal flesh, but with the art market. But this is altogether different story.

Colin Lowe. You Will Never Forget Me. 2007. Stuffed cat, hair, wood, cotton thread. © DACS 2012 / RAO (Moscow) 2013

Colin Lowe. You Will Never Forget Me. 2007. Stuffed cat, hair, wood, cotton thread. © DACS 2012 / RAO (Moscow) 2013

Damien Hirst was a prolific collector. In early 90’s he began trading work with his contemporaries. His life-long commitment to the process of collecting he describes as: “like stuff washed up on a beach somewhere, and that somewhere is you.”

Koons

Jeff Koons. Elephant. 2003. High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating. © Jeff Koons / 2012 / RAO (Moscow) 2013

Freedom not Genius  collection is a testament of Hirst’s nearly obsessive absorption with themes of mortality, decay and death.

Freedon Not Genius 2
Freedon Not Genius 3
The Freedom Not Genius collection was welcomed with a mix of curiosity and fascinated anticipation in Turin, Milan and now Moscow.
Zal 

Lost In The Last List, Amused Not In The Least

No two people on earth would agree on the world’s Top 200 Artists (20th Century to Now) or, indeed, the order in which they are ranked.

I don’t believe there was newer poll like the one that was conducted by The Times in 2009.  I haven’t seen it then, otherwise I’d remember. The entire list from 1 to 200 can be seen here complete with the numbers, indicating how many ballots were cast for each artist in the list.

The list is as bewildering to me as it has been, according to many forums, for many who are familiar with it or participated in the poll. The number in parenthesis following the name means the artist’s ranking in the list of 200.

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When artist studies painting for many years and claims having been capable of re-creating Flemish masters and the greats of the Renaissance and then creates works like those in the slideshow above, then from the depth of my ignorance, confusion, lack of ability to discern the cut diamond in the mud, I say to myself this (or something similar to it):

Wouldn’t it be the same as if the brain surgeon who mastered the most delicate flesh-cutting implements suddenly approaches operating table wielding a sledge hammer and a carving knife? (quoting myself).

I test-drove this phenomenally bold phrase of mine, crashing it head-on onto several of my friends and got rebuffed as you wouldn’t believe. As an aftermath, I’m rethinking my public position in favor of using less inflammatory similes and metaphors. Still, I retain my right to keep some of my less radical opinions and express them freely.

All right. Enough with insincere apologies.

Granted, I’m no art historian, art theorist or even art therapist. But I’m art lover. With credentials of setting foot into the greatest repositories of arts such  as Hermitage (Saint Petersburg), Louvre (Paris), Museo Nacional del Prado, The Uffizi Gallery (Florence) to name a few.  I simply love “pretty pictures”, literary and metaphorically speaking.

If I were an art historian, perhaps I’d have looked at the paintings differently. My changed perspective would’ve changed my perception. Instead of the mess on the canvas below (Arshile Gorky, ranked 57th on the list) I’d be able to see how and why it is said that Arshile Gorky  “lit the way for two generations of American artists”.

Arshile Gorky (57). Agony

Arshile Gorky (57). Agony

Tragic life of an artist adds a nice touch to the marketing effort, I suppose. And — God Almighty! — Arshile’s lived a horrendously tragic life.  “…his works were often speculated to have been informed by the suffering and loss he experienced of the Armenian Genocide.

No kidding. It wasn’t for nothing that Vosdanig Manoug Atoian changed his last name to Gorky. In Russian gorkiy means bitter, relating both to taste and hardship. He was 16 in 1915 when his family escaped the Armenian Genocide into Yerevan, then Russian-controlled territory, where his mother died in 1919 of starvation. Years later, quite established artist working in the US, he hanged himself at the age of 44, following a colostomy for cancer, a broken neck  and his painting arm paralyzed in a car accident, his wife leaving him and taking their children with her, and his  studio barn burning down. What a goddamn fate! Of course “his works have been informed by the suffering…”

The Number One in the list is Pablo Picasso with 21,587 art lovers giving their loving votes of admiration to him. My personal favorite, Salvador Dalí (11,496 votes) is number 26.

Well, if I were an art theorist, I’d remember by heart this quote I cribbed from the Internet somewhere:

“Dalí challenged the imagination of his age by deconstructing classical imagery and reassembling it with the symbolic imagery of the subconscious. The modernists and later Picasso deconstructed traditional imagery and left nothing but chaos in its place.”

Dalí would’ve agreed, I’m sure. He wasn’t — just as I’m not — a great admirer of Picasso. Whatever Salvador might’ve thought of Pablo, this is how he depicted him in Portrait of Picasso, in the collection of the great Teatru-Museu Dali in Figueres, Spain. picasso dali self

In Portrait of Picasso, in the collection of the great Teatru-Museu Dali in Figueres, Spain, Dali respectfully places his hapless subject on a pedestal, though the carnation might be what one places on a tombstone! The ambivalence and paradox continue: the lute in the elongated spoon, which extends from Picasso’s brain, is said to be “the symbol of the lover,” according to one authority, yet the rock on Picasso’s head, his drooping tongue and chest, and the overall deformity of his facial characteristics seem anything but flattering.

It is undoubtedly one of the most sardonic yet amusing creations to come from the wildly imaginative, sometimes iconoclastic mind of the Master of Surrealism! (From Portrait of Picasso’ Shows Dali’s Sardonic Side )

And an anecdote to go with it: One day Pablo Picasso walked on a thief who was robbing his apartment. Spooked, the robber ran away.  The police wanted a sketch artist to create a facial composite of the perpetrator, but Picasso offered to draw it himself. Based on Picasso’s sketch, the following lookalikes were detained for questioning: fifteen people, two horses, four buses, one utility pole, a plate of fried fish and a chain saw. 

To be continued…