The Easel

12th December 2017

Building the Boat While Painting

A huge controversy ensued when the Whitney exhibited a painting by a white artist of the murdered Emmett Till. Now that things are a bit calmer, what can be said about the artist and that painting? “It’s not a work of assuagement [but it] encompasses contradictions … enough ugliness to register the horror of what happened to Till, while paying tribute to him as a human being .”

6th December 2017

More Light!

Hockney’s very first show was a sellout and helped establish his reputation for bright colours and “debonair playfulness”.  As art world tastes shifted to the conceptual he has remained stylistically constant. His youthful work carried a quotient of “homosexual propaganda”, making a point to conservative Britain Now in his 80’s, he is “an apostle of niceness and kindness”. A promo video (2 min) is here.

Thinking Machines

Computers can be used as art-making tools and artists have been exploring this use for decades, in film, music and graphics as well as traditional image-making. The story of how art was influenced by computer capabilities is interesting. Perhaps more interesting is the way some artists, for example Vera Molnár, have experimented with computer-like logic independently of any hardware.

Show captures splendor of Viennese designers

Fin de siècle Vienna could boast not only Freud and Klimt but also illustrious designers. The Wiener Werkstätte produced exquisite objects but only in tiny qualities. Profitability was not its strong point. Its experiment with an artist collective was more promising and led to an even more illustrious name in twentieth century design – Bauhaus.  Some images are here.