Tag Archives | painting

The $120 Million Scream

Photo: Sotheby's

Photo: Sotheby's

Is any painting worth $120,000,000? If you believe that auctions set the fair value of art, then the answer would appear to be yes, as reported below by AP via San Jose Mercury News. (As an aside, there’s an interesting piece at VICE UK entitled ‘I’m Sick Of Pretending: I Don’t “Get” Art’.)

It’s a scream that’s still reverberating around the world.

One of the most iconic images in art history—Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”—has become the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

During an intense 12 minutes, the 1895 artwork—a modern symbol of human anxiety—was sold at Sotheby’s in New York City on Wednesday for a record $119,922,500. Neither the buyer’s name nor any details about the buyer was released.

The previous record for an artwork sold at auction was $106.5 million for Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust,” sold by Christie’s in 2010.

Munch’s image of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked, blood-red sky is one of four versions by the Norwegian expressionist painter.

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Bob Dylan, Plagiarist

It’s hard to believe that Dylan would so naively copy other people’s work and pass it off as his own, but that appears to be exactly what he’s done. From ARTINFO:

Time and time again folk rock legend Bob Dylan has blatantly borrowed for his lyrics. Christie’s auction house acknowledged in 2009 that a handwritten Dylan poem that was up for sale really consisted of words from a song by country crooner Hank Snow. Director Martin Scorsese showed in his 2005 documentary, “No Direction Home,” how Dylan stole the line “Go away from my window…” — the immortal opener of his 1964 song “It Ain’t Me, Babe” — from singer John Jacob Niles. Dylan also purloined text from Japanese writer Junichi Saga‘s novel “Confessions of a Yakuza” for his 2001 album “Love and Theft.” And that’s not the only thing Dylan lifted from Asia.

Dylan painting

Bob Dylan's "Opium," (2009) next to a photograph by Léon Busy, taken in Vietnam in 1915.

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Chewing Gum Art Found Sticking To England’s Streets

Photo: DisillusionedBitterandKnackered (CC)

Photo: DisillusionedBitterandKnackered (CC)

One man’s flavorless gum becomes another man’s art, thanks to Ben Wilson. You can view some of his chewing gum art here. The New York Times reports:

When first exposed to the art of Ben Wilson, or to Mr. Wilson in the act of creating it, people tend to respond with some degree of puzzlement.

“When I first saw one, I thought it was a fruit sticker,” said Matt Brasier, who was walking through this north London suburb the other day.

A woman named Vassiliki, who was passing by, said that when she came upon Mr. Wilson, prone and seemingly inert on the sidewalk, “I thought he wasn’t very well.” She added: “I was like, ‘What is he doing?’ And they told me: ‘He’s painting the chewing gum.’ ”

That is exactly what he was doing. Mr. Wilson, 47, one of Britain’s best-known outsider artists, has for the last six years or so immersed himself in a peculiar passion all his own: he paints tiny pictures on flattened blobs of discarded chewing gum on the sidewalks of London.

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Could Children And Chimps Really Do Modern Art?

Psychology Today discusses a smart-alecky study in which art-majors were shown unlabeled paintings — some by great abstract artists and some by toddlers, primates, and elephants — and asked to pick the superior pieces. The professional works were preferred about two-thirds of the time, suggesting that chimpanzee and infant painters can at least hold their own in the realm of world-class contemporary painting. To me, the lesson is not that modern art is worthless — just that artistic expression is both highly subjective and can be found everywhere.

Below: works by a 4-year-old and by abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann.
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