Art

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A scientific guide to Western art

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>A unique collaboration between physicists, data scientists and art historians has provided a fresh look at 500 years of art history.</p> <p>The international team statistically analysed nearly 15,000 Western landscape paintings in an attempt to quantify their design principles. This revealed not only that composition patterns have evolved through history, but also that they characterise individual artists and artistic styles.</p> <p>“Understanding how artistic expressions and design principles have changed over time is a central question in art history, aesthetics, and cultural evolution,” the researchers explain in a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2011927117" target="_blank">paper</a> in <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em>.</p> <p>Art has long functioned as a significant channel for human creativity and communication. Throughout history, it has evolved in a complex interplay with the social, technological and scientific environments of the time.</p> <p>Studying art history, according to lead researcher Byunghwee Lee from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, therefore represents “an effort to understand the creative process of humans as one of the essential natures of human beings, which needs to be understood to understand ourselves”.</p> <p>Traditionally, the vast majority of art history research has employed qualitative methods, which tend to be interpretive and exploratory. The field has only recently been approached using numeric methods – made possible by the development of large-scale digital databases.</p> <p>This new study analysed digital scans of 14,912 paintings, covering the Western renaissance to contemporary art, using an image dissection methodology, informed by information theory, to divide paintings into vertical and horizontal segments from the most to least prominent compositional features.</p> <p>Horizontal segments included elements such as the sky, earth and atmospheric colour changes, while vertical segments included trees, plants, cliffs and buildings.</p> <p>Interestingly, the study found that the positioning of these segments evolved.</p> <p>Horizons, for example, have migrated upwards over the last few centuries. The skies in 17th century Baroque art frequently dominated the landscape, but during the Rococo and Romantic periods, the horizon moved up to around the midline of paintings. By the time the Realism and Impression periods rolled around, the horizon was positioned primarily in the upper third of the canvas.</p> <p>Dissecting paintings in this quantitative way, the researchers explain, can “capture the unique compositional characteristics and systematic evolution of individual artist bodies of work, creation date time spans, and conventional style periods”.</p> <p>But there is still plenty of scope to build on the study.</p> <p>“Although the dataset used in this study includes some Japanese and Chinese landscape paintings, our dataset mainly focuses on paintings by European artists,” the authors acknowledge – creating a bias both in terms of gender and geography.</p> <p>Their methods can act as a starting point to investigate the principles of artistic composition over a broader range of cultures and regions.</p> <p>This approach could also be applied to other art forms – such as photography, film, typography and architecture – to reveal patterns not readily discernible to the individual eye.</p> <p>Applying scientific knowledge to art or aesthetics may be viewed by many as reductionist – though scientists <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep07370" target="_blank">have argued</a> that such studies are “efforts to understand the beauty of painting art in their own languages”.</p> <p>According to Eleanor Gates-Stuart, artist and Professor of Creative Industries at Australia’s Charles Sturt University, there are also many aspects of the painting process – including emotive, gestural-driven actions by the artist – that cannot be extracted by scientific methods.</p> <p>But she says this new algorithmic analysis “reveals a knowledge structure and methodology that is indeed a valuable systematic model”.</p> <p>“Using statistical methods is certainly very useful expansion of integrating cross-disciplinary research, as shown here in this paper, especially in such a myriad of art history and aesthetics,” she adds.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/a-scientific-guide-to-western-art/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Lauren Fuge. </em></p> </div> </div>

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Is this the world’s oldest drawing?

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>A faint, red, cross-hatched design discovered in a cave in South Africa just might be the oldest known drawing in history, researchers say.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0514-3" target="_blank">In a paper</a> published in the journal Nature, a team led by Christopher Henshilwood from the University of Bergen in Norway reveals the discovery of a decorated piece of stone – of a type known as silcrete – excavated at an archaeological site called Blombos Cave, 300 kilometres east of Cape Town.</p> <p>The stone flake features a cross-hatched pattern, which the researchers say microscopic and chemical analysis confirms was applied deliberately with an ochre “crayon” fashioned into a tip between one and three millimetres wide.</p> <p>The design – which has been dubbed the world’s first hashtag – might originally have been part of a larger, more complex piece.</p> <p>The sediment layer in which the decorated stone was recovered has been reliably dated as 73,000 years old. The find is highly significant, because it pre-dates the earliest known abstract and figurative drawings discovered in Africa, Europe and southeast Asia by at least 30,000 years.</p> <p>Henshilwood and his colleagues note that the same sediment layer in the Blombos Cave has previously yielded other artefacts, including shell beads.</p> <p>The latest find, they write, “demonstrates the ability of early Homo sapiens in southern Africa to produce graphic designs on various media using different techniques”.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/history/archaeology/is-this-the-worlds-oldest-drawing/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Andrew Masterson. </em></p> </div> </div>

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Three questions not to ask about art – and four to ask instead

<p>Art raises a lot of questions. That’s what it does. If an art work in a gallery or a news story has made you ask “what the …?”, it has already started to do its job.</p> <p>But for many who are not familiar with art, some of the most often asked questions of art just lead to a dead end. So, is art just a global conspiracy of Emperor’s Robe-makers? Or are there some questions that will finally yield some answers?</p> <p>A couple of years ago, I visited the Tate Modern in London. Standing near <a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/carl-andre-648">a work</a>that consisted of two layers of bricks arranged in a rectangle on the floor, I overheard an irritated visitor asking his friend, “Why is that art?” Hands on hips, he was clearly annoyed by what must have seemed an assault on his intelligence. So, why is that art?</p> <p><strong>1. Why is that art?</strong></p> <p><span>Art isn’t a single type of thing, just as “movies” and “music” don’t just refer to Hollywood movies or pop songs. A movie can be a silent film, a home video, a documentary or a 3D Hollywood blockbuster. </span></p> <p><span>Music can be classical, pop, rap – the possibilities are almost endless. Art is the same.</span></p> <p>Some art belongs to <a href="http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/437124">longer traditions</a>, which are concerned with how things look, and so is easier to understand, such as a Claude Monet painting of Rouen Cathedral. Some more recent art is about other things.</p> <p>Expressionist art is about visualising internal psychological and emotional states in colours and gestures. Abstract art is about creating arrangements of colour that are deliberately not drawn from real objects in the world. Conceptual art is mostly about the idea and the art object isn’t that important. Minimalist art (of the kind that annoyed the Tate visitor) is mostly about the material itself.</p> <p>However, unlike mainstream movies and music, art often doesn’t provide much of its own context. What do I mean by this?</p> <p>Well, to understand anything, you need to know its context. If you watch any Hollywood movie, most of what you require to understand the plot line is contained within the movie, in recognisable characters, scenarios and plot devices. That’s great if you just want to eat popcorn and chill out; but also the meanings are very prescriptive and don’t allow much room for alternative interpretations.</p> <p>But think of a more “arty” movie, like <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166924/">Mulholland Drive</a> by David Lynch, and you’re given less context. The meaning is not so obvious. You have to do more of the interpretive work yourself with the fewer clues you can find.</p> <p>Art is similar in that you need context to understand it, but it also makes you do much more interpretive work. It doesn’t mean that you just make up your own meaning and everyone is right, regardless of how wacky their interpretation. It means that you have to think of what was happening in the world in which the work came about, and to the artist’s life, to find the clues.</p> <p>Yes, it makes you do a lot of work, in the same way a crossword or Sudoku only gives you clues that you have to work with. That’s really when it gets interesting.</p> <p><strong>2. What is it meant to be?</strong></p> <p>Just over 100 years ago, during the early years of the 20th century, the most experimental artists (those we think of as the avant-garde, the leading edge) were fascinated with the idea of creating a new type of visual language. The visual language that had dominated since the Renaissance was “representation” – that is, a painting was of something, like a landscape, or a vase of flowers, or a person. Good art was that which most realistically looked like the thing it represented.</p> <p>But after photography was invented in 1839, there seemed less point in spending hours trying to just copy what we see, especially when a camera could do it quicker and better.</p> <p>At that point, many avant-garde artists became preoccupied with depicting what couldn’t be seen: emotional and psychological states.</p> <p>In a painting like The Scream (1893), Edvard Munch is attempting to portray the horror of a panic attack through his stabbing brushstrokes, red sky and the vulnerable screaming figure. Other avant-garde artists, like Pablo Picasso or Wassily Kandinsky, also moved away from representation and towards abstraction.</p> <p>Abstract artists saw creating painting or sculpture as similar to creating music. Music doesn’t represent anything – its “forms” are all completely abstract. This was what abstract art was also trying to do, but with colour and line.</p> <p>Abstraction rose to dominate art by the middle of the 20th century and then fell by the wayside after the 1970s. But representational art didn’t just come back as though nothing had happened. Art remained more about ideas than just looking like something else.</p> <p>The sculpture that provoked the ire of my fellow visitor to the Tate Modern, <a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/andre-equivalent-viii-t01534">Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII, 1966</a>, is 120 bricks arranged in a rectangle on the floor. It’s not meant to be something else. It’s about the raw materiality of the bricks themselves. That’s what Andre was proposing by presenting those bricks in the context of a gallery.</p> <p><strong>3. A four-year-old could do that, couldn't they?</strong></p> <p><span>Picasso is often quoted as having said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” He’s saying that the conventions of painting that dominated art since the time of the Renaissance are, in a way, quite an easy tried and tested formula – think here of the </span><a href="http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/mona-lisa-%E2%80%93-portrait-lisa-gherardini-wife-francesco-del-giocondo">Mona Lisa</a><span>, painted between 1503-06.</span></p> <p>Using perspective, shading and other Renaissance rules and techniques, most artists are going to end up with similar results.</p> <p>400 years after the Renaissance, those rules and techniques got a bit stale and, about a century ago, avant-garde artists grew bored of just copying the world. But if you throw out those old tried and tested Renaissance rules, what do you replace them with?</p> <p>Picasso went digging in a variety of other sources, such as tribal marks from Africa (which often appear in his work). Other artists, such as Jean Dubuffet, searched for alternative techniques in images made by the mentally ill. And Paul Klee was fascinated with the rawness of children’s drawings. If a modern masterpiece looks like it was drawn by a four-year-old, that’s probably what the artist was aiming to do.</p> <p>Sure, there’s a particular kind of skill in drawing a dog that looks exactly like the furry thing that barks; but then, what other ways are there of depicting a dog, new and interesting ways that haven’t been done before? Now there’s a challenge, and one that takes a very different kind of creative imagination than the manual skill of drawing.</p> <p>Russian artist Oleg Kulik’s take on this in 1997 was to spend <a href="http://www.deitch.com/projects/sub.php?projId=79">two weeks in a New York gallery</a>, stripped naked, living in a dog house and being led around on a leash, barking and occasionally biting people.</p> <p>Okay, that seems a bit extreme, but it captures much more of what a dog is than a flat and still arrangement of graphite on a piece of paper.</p> <p><strong>Four (better) ways of looking at art</strong></p> <p>So, what are better questions to ask when confronted with a work of art that seems to make no sense? A few years ago, the Australian art academic Terry Smith suggested what he called “<a href="http://www.terryesmith.net/web/?p=18">Four Ways of Looking at Art</a>”. Smith’s four simple questions ask of art the “what”, “how”, “when” and “why”:</p> <blockquote> <ol> <li>What can I see just by looking at this art work?</li> <li>How was this art work actually made?</li> <li>When was it made, and what was happening in art and broader history at that time?</li> <li>Why did the artist create this work and what is its meaning to them, and to us now?</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>Each of these questions will reveal something more of the context, which will provide much of the meaning of the art work.</p> <p>So, next time you’re confronted by a neat arrangement of bricks on the gallery floor, a messed-up bed in a gallery, a painting that looks like it was done by a four-year-old, start by asking these four questions. You’ll prise open a can full of even more questions, and the meaning might well begin to unfurl from the Emperor’s Robes.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/three-questions-not-to-ask-about-art-and-four-to-ask-instead-29830" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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Studying wasp nests to put an age on art

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Scientists believe well-known pre-historic rock paintings in Western Australia are younger than previously thought after dating the remnants of mud wasp nests found over and beneath them.</p> <p>The study, which is described in a <a rel="noopener" href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/6/eaay3922" target="_blank">paper</a> in the journal Science Advances, is one of few in recent decades, they say, to successfully use the novel and challenging <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/how-mud-wasp-nests-help-delve-our-countrys-past" target="_blank">approach</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.kimberleyfoundation.org.au/kimberley-rock-art/rock-art-sequence/gwionbradshaw-period/" target="_blank">Gwion</a> paintings of the Kimberley region have been notoriously hard to date, but evidence has suggested they were painted as far back as 17,000 years ago and over the span of several thousand years, pointing to a remarkably long-lived artistic tradition. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Now a team led by Damien Finch from the University of Melbourne, with input from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, has presented its findings suggesting they were more likely painted during a narrow timeframe, about 12,400 years ago. </span></p> <p>To do this, they used radiocarbon dating, which can determine how long ago living material died.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Working with the traditional owners of the Aboriginal sites, they analysed the nests of wasps that build mud nests on rock walls, sometimes incorporating charcoal from regular local brushfires. </span></p> <p>By dating the charcoal in the nests, they estimated when the nests were built. By dating nests that had been painted over, they determined the maximum age of the artwork. By dating nests on top of paintings, they found minimum ages.</p> <p>The possible age ranges of 19 of the 21 paintings studied overlap during a brief period between 12,000 and 13,000 years ago.</p> <p>Two samples fall outside of that range. One, which was found under a painting but dated at only 6,900 years old, is thought to be unreliable and possibly contaminated.</p> <p>However, the second was found over a painting and more reliably estimated to be 16,600 years old, complicating the findings. Finch and colleagues suggest more nest samples need to be identified and dated to get a clearer picture.</p> <p>Nevertheless, the results “confirm that rock art was being produced in the Kimberley during the terminal Pleistocene”, they write in their paper.</p> <p>“Notably, as the Gwion paintings are not the oldest in the relative stylistic sequence for this area, earlier styles must have an even greater antiquity.”</p> <p>Originally referred to as Bradshaw paintings, the Gwions are feature finely painted human figures in elaborate ceremonial dress, including long headdresses, and accompanied by material culture including boomerangs and spears.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/history/studying-wasp-nests-to-put-an-age-on-art/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Nick Carne. </em></p> </div> </div>

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Christopher Walken destroys $20million Banksy artwork

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An original Banksy artwork has been painted over by Hollywood royalty Christopher Walken while filming his new TV show. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 78-year-old actor erased the artwork, which is estimated to be worth $20million, as part of a scene of the new comedy drama show </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Outlaws</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The elusive street artist Banksy had painted the images of a rat holding two spray cans specifically for the  upcoming BBC series, which is set in his home city. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, it’s claimed that the mysterious artist had collaborated with the show bosses for the stunt. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The six-part series follows a group of misfits who are tasked with renovating a derelict community centre in Bristol as part of a community service sentence. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A spokesperson for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Outlaws</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> confirmed, “We can confirm that the artwork at the end of <em>The Outlaws</em> was an original Banksy, and that Christopher Walken painted over that artwork during the filming of this scene, ultimately destroying it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The wrecking of the artwork was seemingly agreed upon by Bristol-native Banksy, who is reportedly a big fan of Christopher Walken, and admired the fact that Stephen Merchant, a fellow Bristonlian, was showcasing the city. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A source told </span><a href="https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/tv/4041091/banksy-artwork-destroyed-outlaws/">The Sun</a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, “The creative team came up with the dream scenario and got in touch with the artist’s representatives in the faint hope that he might help them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Then they discovered shortly afterwards that he’d been to the location where they were filming and left something behind. They couldn’t believe their luck as he’d painted a giant rat using his hallmark stencilling technique as well as his distinctive signature.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They added, “His only stipulation was that they really did paint over it — and it would be his hero Christopher holding the roller.”  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Check out the trailer for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Outlaws</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> below:</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k_-6-hYP7Dk" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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A new artistic call for us to recognise the connections of Country is a testament to the power of Aboriginal knowledge

<p>Wilam Biik (Home Country) is a multi-layered conversation between Country, people and ancestors that surges with the power of Aboriginal connectivity.</p> <p>The first major exhibition curated by Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung woman Stacie Piper in her role as Tarawarra’s <a href="https://artguide.com.au/stacie-piper-appointed-as-yalingwa-first-peoples-curator-at-tarrawarra-museum-of-art/">2019 Yalingwa Curator</a>, it is a generous offer to see Wurundjeri biik (Country) the way Wurundjeri see it — not as a “natural resource” to be exploited, but a life-sustaining force interconnected with all things.</p> <p>It is an important call to those who live on Wurundjeri biik to uphold Wurundjeri people’s principles of <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy3020023">relationality</a>: to live in reciprocity with all life, including land, animals, water, sky and people.</p> <p>The exhibition embodies the Wurundjeri concept of <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/awaye/features/word-up/mandy-nicholson/12116926">layers of biik</a>: country extends from below the ground to above in the sky, all interconnected through water country.</p> <p>Piper gathered artists by following the “waterlines” and “bushlines” which connect Wurundjeri to the 38 Aboriginal groups throughout south east Australia.</p> <p>These artists offer a different way to look at Country. Not by the roads we travel, but by the relationships embedded in it.</p> <h2>Care for Country</h2> <p>Piper developed her curatorial practice at <a href="https://museumsvictoria.com.au/bunjilaka/">Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre</a>after working for many years with her Elders at Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.</p> <p>The vision for Wilam Biik came from Piper’s sovereign responsibility to care for Country, and her despair at the unsustainable logging of old growth forest in the <a href="https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/logging-breaches-catalyst-new-indigenous-led-alliances">Warburton ranges</a> not far from Tarrawarra on Wurundjeri biik.</p> <p>Climate trauma and relationship to country was the starting point for Stacie’s curatorial vision. Wilam biik embodies the rich knowledge of Country that holds the answers to recovering from this trauma.</p> <p>The exhibition is grounded in land and ancestors. Audiences are welcomed by a wall-sized historical photograph of Wurundjeri biik and baluk (people) at Corranderrk.</p> <p>“Ancestor tools”, such as Barak’s carved parrying shield, a boomerang and basket – on loan from Melbourne Museum – are displayed in the way they would be held: close to the people.</p> <p><em>Eel trap</em> by Wurundjeri Elder Kim Wandin underlines the continuing connection between generations.</p> <p>In conversation with the sepia image of their ancestors, their living descendants — the Djirri Djirri dancers — are projected dancing on Wurundjeri country in the upper reaches of the Birrarung.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-the-importance-of-william-baraks-ceremony-60846">Ceremony</a> (c1895) by Wurundjeri painter <a href="https://www.wurundjeri.com.au/our-story/ancestors-past/">Ngurungaeta Wiliam Barak</a> has been brought to wilam biik by Wurundjeri people for the first time since they were made. The painting details ceremonial adornment, as referenced by the Djirri Djirris today.</p> <h2>Water, land, sky</h2> <p>Following the water sources that start in Country shared with Gunnai and Taungurung Peoples, Gunnai and Gunditjmara artist Arika Waulu’s matriarchal <em>Digging Sticks</em> are carved wood adorned in gold, set against a wallpaper showing layers of country and the cycle of plant life. In this, Waulu speaks of women’s interconnectivity with Country.</p> <p>Of the Earth, an installation by Taungurung artist Steven Rhall, places a photograph of a boulder on a sound platform, animating the image in a contemplation of the deep time written into Taungurung Country, or in what Alexis Wright has called <a href="https://sydneyreviewofbooks.com/essay/the-ancient-library-and-a-self-governing-literature">the ancient library</a>.</p> <p>The water connection flows through Dhunghula (Murray River) to Yorta Yorta, Waddi Waddi, Wemba Wemba, and all the way to Ngarrindjeri Country as well as into Kolety (Edwards River) and the Baaka (Darling River).</p> <p>In Drag Net, a woven net incorporating river mussel shell, Waddi Waddi, Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri artist Glenda Nicholls evokes this connection to the river and “water country”.</p> <p><span>In Wemba Wemba and Gunditjmara artist Paola Balla’s intergenerational work, Murrup Weaving in Rosie Kuka Lar with Rosie Tang, Balla builds a camp house made from cloth imbued with bush dyes in the landscape of her grandmother’s painting of country. Through these bush dyes, Balla brings the smell of “on ground country” directly into the gallery.</span></p> <p>Barkindji artist Kent Morris’ Barkindji Blue Sky – Ancestral Connections is a stunning photographic series, embodying water connections to the Baaka as well as “sky country”.</p> <h2>Many varied relationships</h2> <p>Waterlines like the Birrarung and the Werribee River, marking connections and boundaries with the Boonwurrrung, Wathaurong and Tyereelore, are mapped with kelp baskets by Nannette Shaw and paintings by Deanne Gilson.</p> <p>These artists reference the transition from freshwater to saltwater and the relationships that exist amongst the Kulin, across to Tasmania and all life forms within Country.</p> <p>Wilam Biik speaks of the powerful connections between artists, Peoples and Country. It is also a testament to the power of Aboriginal knowledge in Aboriginal hands, and the centring of south east artists and curators as the experts of their knowledges, practices and Country.</p> <p>Importantly, it is also a call to learn how to live in good relationship with Wurundjeri biik and baluk.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/a-new-artistic-call-for-us-to-recognise-the-connections-of-country-is-a-testament-to-the-power-of-aboriginal-knowledge-169102" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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Travel bans and event cancellations: how the art market is suffering from coronavirus

<p>The recently released <a href="https://www.artbasel.com/about/initiatives/the-art-market">The Art Market 2020</a> report provides a timely insight into how COVID-19-related disruptions are likely to impact growth and sales in the global art market.</p> <p>The report estimates global art market sales in 2019 were worth US$64.1 billion (A$97 billion), down 5% on 2018.</p> <p>This drop reflects the <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/world-economic-situation-and-prospects-september-2019-briefing-no-130/">decline in global economic growth</a> driven by increasing geopolitical tensions and the trend toward trade protectionism led by the United States.</p> <p>In 2020, measures to control the spread of coronavirus through government restrictions on travel and large social events are already having a dramatic impact on the international art market.</p> <p>In the last six weeks, multiple art fairs have announced either <a href="https://news.artnet.com/market/miart-2020-1795875">postponement or cancellation</a>, including Jingart Beijing, Art Basel Hong Kong, Miaart Milan, Art Paris, Art Berlin and Art Dubai.</p> <p>The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht went ahead, but reported <a href="https://news.artnet.com/market/tefaf-fair-quiet-coronavirus-fears-1795797">a 27% drop</a> in attendance of VIPs at the opening, when many major sales are traditionally made.</p> <h2>The growing art fair market</h2> <p>As in previous years, 2019 art market sales were highly concentrated in three major hubs. The United States, the United Kingdom and China collectively accounted for 82% of the total value of sales.</p> <p>The Art Market report identified a growing shift away from public auctions toward private sales. The overall auction sector (including public auctions and private sales by auction houses, online and offline) represented 42% of total market sales in 2019.</p> <p>The overall dealer sector (including dealer, gallery and online retail sales) represented 58% of total art market sales in 2019, with the value of sales increasing by 2%.</p> <p>Within this sector, dealers with turnover of more than US$1 million (A$1.5 million) experienced a much larger growth of 20%. These dealers are the fastest-growing sector and the most reliant on art fair sales.</p> <p>Almost half of all sales in the dealer sector were made at art fairs in 2019, amounting to US$16.5 billion (A$25 billion) – 26% of all sales made in the global art market.</p> <p>This concentration of sales at the top end of the dealer market is perhaps the art market’s Achilles heel when considering potential fallout from the impending COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>Dealers in this turnover bracket attended twice as many art fairs as smaller dealers, with international fairs (as opposed to local fairs) contributing to more than half their total art fair sales.</p> <p>For dealers with turnover of more than US$10 million (A$15.1 million), international art fairs represented a staggering 70% of their art fair sales.</p> <h2>An unwelcome ‘distraction’</h2> <p>Besides the sales generated at art fairs, dealers have become increasingly dependent on fairs for expanding client lists and developing their businesses.</p> <p>The unfolding COVID-19 pandemic represents an immediate threat to this business model. One dealer quoted in The Art Market report noted the undesirable impact disruptions from outside the art world can have on art market demand:</p> <p>"2020 will be a challenging year, but rather than major political dramas having a direct financial impact, their main danger for us is to distract people’s attention. Distractions and anxieties can take people away from buying art, even if the economy is booming and they’re still in a position to spend."</p> <p>While this dealer was more likely referring to topical political issues, such as Brexit or trade sanctions, the COVID-19 outbreak has the potential to provide a far greater “distraction” for art buyers.</p> <p>The impact of COVID-19 on the long-term health of the art market remains to be seen.</p> <p>Art fairs <a href="https://news.artnet.com/market/art-fair-saturation-1484986">had already been struggling</a> due to multiple economic headwinds in the latter part of 2019, with increasing numbers of retractions and cancellations worldwide.</p> <p>In 2019, Art Basel Hong Kong featured 242 galleries from 35 countries and was attended by 88,000 visitors over five days. This was a pivotal event on the regional calendar and its loss to the 2020 art market will be sorely felt.</p> <p>The global footprints and nimble business structures of international auction houses may help these businesses weather this storm, as <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/arts/christies-sothebys-auctions.html">they have done in the past</a>. But the picture is worrying for commercial galleries.</p> <p>Artists and galleries <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/culture/art-and-design/australian-galleries-count-cost-as-coronavirus-shutters-hk-art-fair-20200207-p53yts.html">prepare for months</a> in advance of fairs and exhibitions.</p> <p>In a survey of the <a href="https://www.theartnewspaper.com/analysis/behind-closed-doors-how-museums-in-china-are-coping-with-coronavirus">impact of the coronavirus</a> on the art market in China, 73.8% of respondents in the visual arts industry reported their businesses will not survive for longer than three months if the current containment situation continues.</p> <p><a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/coronavirus-hong-kong-online-gallery-platform-1794369">Creative initiatives</a> are emerging, such as Art Basel Hong Kong’s online viewing platform. But with uncertainty about how long it will be until this pandemic is under control, the future health of the global art industry is yet to be determined.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article was first published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/travel-bans-and-event-cancellations-how-the-art-market-is-suffering-from-coronavirus-133161" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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Hunter Biden’s art venture poses ethical headache for the White House

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hunter Biden has unveiled his first art collection in a New York gallery, which is an impressive feat for someone with no formal artistic training. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With his passion for art previously kept secret from the rest of the world, Hunter has burst onto the scene with his artworks that are attracting mildly favourable reviews, and are anticipated to sell for tens of thousands of dollars. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the early success of Hunter’s collection with the </span><a href="https://bergesgallery.com/our-artists/hunter-biden"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Georges Berg</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">ès Gallery</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, his venture into the art world has posed a series of quandaries for the lawyers of his father, President Joe Biden. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lawyers were first concerned when there appeared to be no recommended retail price for an original painting. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead, a buyer would make an offer and the dealer chooses whether to accept or decline. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, while President Biden would be unable to accept a briefcase full of a million dollars as a donation, someone would instead be able to offer the same sum for one of his son’s paintings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Walter Shaub, who headed the Office of Government Ethics under the Obama Administration, was outraged by the younger Biden's venture into art.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"There is no ethics program in the world that can be built around the head of state's staff working with a dealer to keep the public in the dark about the identities of individuals who pay vast sums to the leader's family member for subjectively priced items of no intrinsic value," he tweeted.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"If this were Trump, Xi or Putin, you'd have no doubt whatsoever that this creates a vehicle for funnelling cash to the first family in exchange for access or favours."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, thanks to the White House’s new ethics rules, if someone offers a suspiciously high figure for a painting, Hunter’s art dealer Georges Bergès will turn down the offer. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On top of this, Georges would keep the identity of any buyer secret from Hunter Biden or the White House. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Bergès told </span><a href="https://news.artnet.com/art-world/hunter-biden-gallery-show-1979790"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Artnet News</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that he expected some of Mr Biden's pieces to sell for as much as half a million dollars, and although Hunter has agreed to abide by the White House ethics rules, he is not legally bound to them.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Georges Berg</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">ès Gallery</span></em></p>

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Meet the man filling Twitter with dead artists

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When people think of Twitter, a lot of people tend to think of a black hole of baseless information that is portrayed in 140 characters or less. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Andrei Taraschuk saw the platform as a unique opportunity to showcase once forgotten artworks to a loyal following of art fans. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Russian software engineer developed a series of “art bots”, which can be found on his personal </span><a href="https://twitter.com/andreitr"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Twitter feed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, to help people become more acquainted with the lesser-known works of famous artists. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After completing his degree in art studies, Andrei went on to learn about software development and web design when he “felt like something was missing” in the social media market. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I thought it would be interesting if I could follow dead artists on Twitter and see their art in my timeline,” Taraschuk said. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrei was hit with the idea back in 2014 when he began seeing famous works by his favourite artist Wassily Kandinsky on his timeline and wished to see his less-known art and sketches as a means of education. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrei teamed up with his friend and fellow software developer Cody Braun to create the “art bots”, which are a collaborative effort between him and his followers to share breath-taking artworks that have previously flown under the radar. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first “art bots” made shared works by two of his favourite artists, Egon Schiele and Wassily Kandinsky, and have garnered tens of thousands of followers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrei has also created bots that are specific to galleries or museums rather than specific artists, as his followers can get a rolling commentary on collections from the Brooklyn Museum among other global galleries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrei believes that part of the fun of following his “art bots” is discovering art and artists you’ve never heard of before, all while educating others in the process. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Shutterstock / Twitter @andreitr</span></em></p>

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London’s National Gallery publishes historical slavery report

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a detailed research project, London’s National gallery has published a report on the role slavery has played in the 197-year history of the institution’s success. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Focusing on the period between 1824 and 1880, 67 individuals were named with </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">either direct, familial or more tangential connections to slavery.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the </span><a href="https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">National Gallery’s website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the project was intended to “find out about what links to slave-ownership can be traced within the museum, and to what extent the profits from plantation slavery impacted our early history.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The research project began in 2018 under the title “Legacies of British Slave-Ownership”, when it was discovered that the first artworks to come into the gallery when it was founded in 1824 belonged to financier and philanthropist John Julius Angerstein.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers concluded that these 38 paintings brought into the gallery by John Julius Angerstein had “an unknown proportion of this was in slave ships and vessels bringing to Britain produce cultivated in the Caribbean by enslaved people. Angerstein acted as a trustee of estates and enslaved people in Grenada and Antigua.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The report also recognised the late 18th century portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough, who has several works in the museum’s collection: three portraits of which depicted people with ties to slavery. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the museum, a second report is underway which will cover collectors, trustees and donors from 1880 to 1920.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A spokesperson from the gallery acknowledged that its collection “has a particular, historically rooted character” but stressed they “have not, and will not remove any picture from display because of its association with slavery”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She added, “If anything, we want to engender discussion and understanding about these questions. A great deal of work had been undertaken by the curatorial team in this area, and the picture labels in the gallery mark clearly where paintings are associated with slavery.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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Imaging reveals Picasso’s secret

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Pablo Picasso painted over another work done by an unknown Barcelona artist in order to create one of his most famous “blue period” works, new research reveals.</p> <p>In findings released at the <a rel="noopener" href="http://meetings.aaas.org/" target="_blank">American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting</a> in Austin, Texas, a team of Canadian researchers reveal that “La Miséreuse accroupie” (The Crouching Woman) is painted on top of a landscape done by another hand.</p> <p>Picasso rotated the original painting by 90 degrees and incorporated some of its elements into the background of his masterpiece.</p> <p>The discovery was first made by Sandra Webster-Cook, senior conservator at the <a rel="noopener" href="https://ago.ca/" target="_blank">Art Gallery of Ontario</a>, which owns the 1902 painting. Looking closely at the surface, she noted unusual textures and colours peeking through cracks in the painting’s surface.</p> <p>The piece was then subjected to a non-invasive technique called X-ray radiography to reveal the hidden landscape beneath.{%recommended 4985%}</p> <p>That, however, was not the only surprise that lurked under the crouching woman. John Delaney, senior imaging scientist at Canada’s National Gallery of Art, then subjected the painting to another non-invasive procedure, called infrared reflectance hyperspectral imaging, which detects the varying transparency of paint layers.</p> <p>Doing so, he found images of a disc and an arm hidden beneath the surface. The arm turned out to be particularly interesting – it was an exact replica of one Picasso painted in a 1902 watercolour called “Femme assise”.</p> <p>Which painting came first, however, the oil or the watercolour remains – like the creator of the buried landscape – unknown. But perhaps not for long.</p> <p>“We now are able to develop a chronology within the painting structure to tell a story about the artist’s developing style and possible influences,” says Webster-Cook.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images         <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=20077&amp;title=Imaging+reveals+Picasso%E2%80%99s+secret" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication -->          </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/imaging-reveals-picassos-secret/">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Andrew Masterson.</em></p> </div> </div>

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Austrian museums takes their art to OnlyFans

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After being censored on their official social media accounts, an art gallery in Austria has started an OnlyFans account. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Natural History Museum of Vienna has had the account set up by the city’s tourism board, where suggestive works from the Viennese institutions are now displayed to paying customers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">OnlyFans is an app where viewers can pay a subscription fee to access exclusive content, which is often of an erotic or sexual nature, that is not available anywhere else.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In July, the Albertina Museum’s TikTok account was suspended for displaying erotic artworks by Nobuyoshi Araki, before the Leopold Museum’s account was flagged for “potentially pornographic” content by Facebook’s algorithms. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Head of Media Relations at the Vienna Tourist Board Helena Hartlauer explained that Vienna’s museums move to OnlyFans was helping to “start a conversation” about the problems associated with social media. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While museums have expressed their frustration with social media, individual artists have also voiced their concerns about online guidelines, as they often use social media sites as promotional tools.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This kind of censorship does not exist in a digital vacuum,” Haynes wrote, describing the deletions as homophobic, racist, fatphobic and misogynistic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Viennese museums’ move to OnlyFans is not the first time galleries have tried to move to different platforms. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This past summer, Pornhub started a service called Classic Nudes, an app that allows users to find images of nudes in the world’s most renowned art institutions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Louvre in Paris and other European museums responded very poorly to this initiative, as they all tried to sue the service for their unauthorised recreations. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In contrast, Vienna’s tourism board said it was making no pretensions about the sexuality and nudity of artworks in its collection. “We also wanted to do this to show solidarity with artists who are censored,” Hartlauer said. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If you can’t show your artwork on social media this can really be an obstacle to your communications efforts, and even to your career.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images / OnlyFans</span></em></p>

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Culture vultures may live longer

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Those who think enjoying a good dose of culture is <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/arty-farty" target="_blank">arty-farty</a> could be missing out, with a new study linking arts appreciation to living longer.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Researchers at University College London, UK, found that people who regularly go to the theatre, concerts, the opera, museums or art galleries have a lower risk of dying than those who refrain.</span></p> <p>This adds to <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.euro.who.int/en/publications/abstracts/what-is-the-evidence-on-the-role-of-the-arts-in-improving-health-and-well-being-a-scoping-review-2019" target="_blank">evidence</a> linking art engagement with physical health and wellbeing.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The “universality of art and the strong emotional responses it induces”, leads some researchers to suggest it has evolutionary benefits, write Daisy Fancourt and Andrew Steptoe, although others question whether art is “an evolutionary parasite”.</span></p> <p>Fancourt and Steptoe argue that creativity and imagination have been linked to increased survival throughout human <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19900185" target="_blank">evolution</a> and that arts engagement enhances cognition, empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The arts could also give life a greater sense of meaning, reduce risk taking behaviours, get people out and reduce sedentary behaviour and loneliness – all of which are associated with better health outcomes.</span></p> <p>Titled “The art of life and death”, the study, <a rel="noopener" href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6377" target="_blank">published</a> in the journal BMJ, followed more than 6000 adults aged 50 and older for 14 years in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.elsa-project.ac.uk/" target="_blank">ELSA</a>).</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Participants self-reported arts engagement at the study’s inception, along with a comprehensive range of demographic, behavioural, socio-economic and health factors. Mortality data was sourced from National Health Service records.</span></p> <p>While cognition, mental health and physical activity were protective, arts involvement was independently linked to lower mortality after these variables were factored in, and this persisted through several analyses.</p> <p>Overall, people who engaged in the arts once or twice a year had a 14% lower chance of dying than those who never got involved, while enjoying culture more regularly was associated with a 31% lower risk.</p> <p>The study’s strengths include its size and scope, although the researchers acknowledge that it only recorded arts engagement at one time point and it was observational.</p> <p>In a related <a rel="noopener" href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6774" target="_blank">commentary</a>, Nicola Gill and co-authors from Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, note that people with lung disease, depression or loneliness, who could derive the most benefits, were least likely to engage in the arts.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“Work must now be done to ensure that the health benefits of these activities are accessible to those who would benefit most,” they write – including children.</span></p> <p>“The current study should add weight to growing concerns about the decline in arts subjects and music in schools and universities.”</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images    <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=34527&amp;title=Culture+vultures+may+live+longer" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication -->          </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/society/culture-vultures-may-live-longer/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Natalie Parletta. </em></p> </div> </div>

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With commercial galleries an endangered species, are art fairs a necessary evil?

<p>Although record numbers of people are flocking to exhibitions in the major public art galleries, foot traffic into commercial art galleries is dwindling at an alarming rate. Embarrassed gallery directors of well-established and well-known commercial art galleries will quietly confess that frequently they scarcely get more than a dozen visitors a day. Outside the flurry of activity on the day of the opening, very little happens for the duration of the show.</p> <p>This is not a peculiarity of the Australian art scene, I have heard similar accounts in London, Manhattan and Paris. The art public has largely ceased visiting commercial art galleries as a regular social activity and art collectors are frequently buying over the internet or through art fairs. In fact, many galleries admit that most of their sales occur via their websites, through commissions or at art fairs, with a shrinking proportion from exhibitions or their stockroom by actual walk-in customers.</p> <p>The commercial art galleries have become an endangered species and their numbers are shrinking before our eyes. Leaving aside China and its urban arts precincts, such as <a href="http://www.798district.com/">798 Art Zone in Beijing</a>, again this is a trend that can be noted in much of Europe, America and Australasia.</p> <p>At the same time, the art market is relatively buoyant, albeit somewhat differently configured from the traditional one. The art auction market in many quarters is thriving and, as persistent rumours have it, not infrequently auction houses leave their role as purely a secondary market and increasingly source work directly from artists’ studios. This seeps into their lavish catalogues.</p> <p>The other booming part of the art trade is the art fairs. Here I will pause on a case study of the <a href="http://www.artfair.co.nz/">Auckland Art Fair 2019</a>. Started by a charitable trust about a dozen years ago and run as a biennial, in 2016 the fair, with new sponsorship and a new management team of Stephanie Post and Hayley White, was reorientated. As of 2018, it has become an annual art fair with a focus on the Pacific Rim region. It remains the only major art fair in New Zealand.</p> <p>Situated in The Cloud, a scenic setting on Queens Wharf in central Auckland, this location also limits its size to create an intimate, friendly, human-scale fair, unlike the vast expanses of the <a href="http://www.expochicago.com/">Chicago Art Fair</a> or even <a href="http://www.sydneycontemporary.com.au/">Sydney Contemporary</a> in the Carriageworks.</p> <p>The nuts and bolts of the Auckland Art Fair is that galleries from the Pacific Rim region can apply to exhibit and a curatorial committee of four curators, two from public galleries and two from commercial ones, select about 40 galleries for participation. The event, which is held over five days, attracts about 10,000 visitors and generates between $6-7 million in art sales.</p> <p>The fair costs about $1 million to stage with 90% of this sum raised from sponsorship, ticket sales and gallery fees and the rest a grant from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development. The public pays an admission fee of between $25-30, depending on when they book.</p> <p>Art fairs are popular with local governments as they invariably attract people and businesses into the city. In Auckland Art Fair 2019, held in the first week in May, there were 41 galleries participating, almost 30 from various parts of NZ, the rest from Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Shanghai, Jakarta, Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and Santiago.</p> <p>According to Stephanie Post, a major purpose of the fair is to build a new art audience and, by extension, a new generation of art collectors. The fair is designed to fill the gap between the primary and secondary art markets. For this reason, there is a whole series of “projects” that generally promote new art, frequently by emerging artists, many currently without representation by a commercial art gallery. In 2019 there were ten of these non-commercial projects at the fair.</p> <p>These projects, for the past three art fairs, have been curated by Francis McWhannell, who now plans to step aside to be replaced by a new set of curatorial eyes. There are also various lectures, talks, panel discussions and related exhibitions. This year, most notably, there is “China Import Direct”, a curated cross-section of digital and video art from across China with some stunning and quite edgy material by Yuan Keru, Wang Newone and Lu Yang, amongst others.</p> <h2>A mixed bag</h2> <p>Predictably, art at the Auckland Art Fair 2019 is a mixed bag, but the stronger works do outnumber those that are best passed over in silence. In terms of sales, within the first couple of hours quite a number of the big-ticket items were sold, such as work by the Australians Patricia Piccinini and Dale Frank.</p> <p>Looking around this year’s fair, some of the highlights included Seraphine Pick at Michael Lett; Robert Ellis at Bowerbank Ninow; Max Gimblett at Gow Longsford Gallery; Anne Wallace and Juan Davila at Kalli Rolfe; Christine Webster at Trish Clark; Daniel Unverricht and Richard Lewer at Suite, Toss Woollaston at Page Blackie Gallery, Dame Robin White and Gretchen Albrecht at Two Rooms; Robyn Kahukiwa at Warwick Henderson Gallery; Geoff Thornley at Fox Jensen McCrory; Simon Kaan at Sanderson; James Ormsby at Paulnache and Kai Wasikowski at the Michael Bugelli Gallery.</p> <p>This selective list of names, to which many others can be added, indicates something of the spread and diversity of the artists being presented at the fair – not only in style and medium, but in the whole range of languages of visualisation and conceptualisation. Although there are a few deceased artists included, like Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori and Colin McCahon (neither represented by a particularly strong work), like most art fairs there is a predominance of well-established blue chip artists, a scattering of art market darlings plus a few unexpected newcomers.</p> <p>A criticism of art fairs is that they are an expensive market place with high overhead costs, which discourage too much experimentation with “untested” emerging artists. Despite the welcome initiatives of the “projects”, Auckland in this respect falls into line with the pattern of most fairs.</p> <p>The oft-repeated claim that they create a new art audience is also difficult to quantify. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that many who go to fairs may not have ever entered a commercial art gallery before, this does not appear to be followed up by a conversion of this audience into regular gallery goers.</p> <h2>A spectacle</h2> <p>Art fairs and blockbuster exhibitions in public art galleries have become popular people magnet events. They are a form of entertainment that is becoming more of a surrogate for consuming art than some sort of conduit for a return to more traditional patterns of art appreciation and acquisition. They are noisy, crowded and colourful spectacles – more like a party than a quiet arena for the contemplation of art.</p> <p>Is this such a bad thing? Observing the spectacle in Auckland, I was struck by the youthfulness of the thousands of visitors. For many, it seemed the idea that they could afford to purchase an original artwork came as a revelation. Perhaps this was not a $100,000 painting by a major artist, but something more modest and frequently more to their tastes. Nevertheless, new buyers are being introduced to original art and this in itself has to be a positive development.</p> <p>Art fairs globally are breeding a cult of dependency with some “commercial” art galleries increasingly divesting themselves of a physical existence and living from fair to fair. For a while, this was a complete no-no and fairs insisted that participant galleries had a bricks-and-mortar existence, but in many instances the borders are fudged and to be a gallery you need only be an established art trading entity.</p> <p>Art fairs are here to stay; the future of commercial art galleries is far more problematic.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/with-commercial-galleries-an-endangered-species-are-art-fairs-a-necessary-evil-116680" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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Origami and the laws of physics

<div class="copy"> <p>It’s rare that an art form has enforceable rules.</p> <p>A sculptor is free to choose which material to use as well as the size of the finished piece. Painters are not told what to paint or which technique to use on the canvas. Indeed, the choice to paint on canvas is entirely theirs. Other arts may have established patterns, categories and forms, but rules are uncommon.</p> <p>On the other hand, origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, is interesting because of its restrictions. Classic origami models should be created from a single sheet of paper – no cutting or gluing allowed.</p> <p>From this simple proposition a wonderful variety arises. Animals from antelope to zebra, human forms, musical instruments and even modern stealth aircraft have all been folded from one sheet. It is no wonder that origami has been called “an art of economy”.</p> <p>The precise origins of origami are lost to history. Although paper was folded into a variety of shapes for use during ceremonies for the nobility and wealthy as early as the Heian period (794–1185 AD), what we would today consider “recreational origami” doesn’t appear to have developed until the middle of the 17th century, or possibly a little earlier.</p> <p>It took about 200 more years for what is arguably the first book on origami to appear. <em>Sembazuru Orikata</em>, or <em>How to fold 1,000</em> cranes, was published in 1797. In the 20th century and now into the 21st, many modern origami masters emerged, but two deserve special mention.</p> <p>The first is Yoshizawa Akira. Yoshizawa is widely considered to have been the “grandmaster of origami”. He created tens of thousands of original models, and is also responsible for the rebirth of the art in the 1950s.</p> <p>In addition to his beautiful designs, Yoshizawa created the diagramming system of dotted lines and arrows to indicate fold directions. This symbolic notation allows origami creators and folders to follow instructions without having to read Japanese – or any other language for that matter.</p> <p>The Yoshizawa system, with only minor adjustments and additions, is still in use. In 1983 Emperor Hirohito awarded Yoshizawa the Order of the Rising Sun – one of Japan’s highest honours – for his promotion of Japanese culture.</p> <p>The second modern master is Robert Lang. Trained as a physicist and engineer, Lang was introduced to origami at the age of six. By his early teens he was creating original designs.</p> <p>He continued his study of origami while at Stanford University and Caltech where he was awarded his PhD in applied physics. The combination of his scientific background and his love of origami has enabled him to develop amazing designs and techniques.</p> <p>Just 40 years ago virtually all origami had the same stylised form it had at the turn of the century. No one would have confused an origami insect with the real thing. In fact, before the 1990s, few folders even attempted to create insects, as it was considered far too difficult to achieve any satisfactory realism with them. Lang certainly disproved that.</p> <p>With the advent of computer-aided designs and through the efforts of Lang and a few other artists, the traditional art form began to allow for hyper-realistic insects, crustaceans, and spiders to be folded, as well as hundreds of other designs formerly dismissed as impossible.</p> <p>Lang’s creation of a realistic cuckoo clock from a single sheet of paper in the late 1980s made him a sensation in the origami world. It was just one of many innovations and discoveries on his part.</p> <p>Leaving his job as a physicist at Silicon Valley communications company JDS Uniphase in 2001, Lang devoted himself full time to origami, but didn’t entirely remove himself from the world of science; he continues to be involved in engineering and science through his origami research.</p> <p>Lang has consulted with automobile safety equipment manufacturers on the optimal way to stow air bags, worked with members of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on the best way to fit a 30-metre optical telescope into a rocket body without creasing the fragile lens membrane, and designed a sterile medical instrument pouch that can be opened without being contaminated.</p> <p>With the confluence of maths and origami not yet 30 years old, Lang believes that continued research into the art will have even more to offer.</p> <p>As he puts it: “Problems that you solve for aesthetic value only… turn out to have an application in the real world. And as weird and surprising as it may sound, origami may some day even save a life.”</p> <em>Image credit: Shutterstock          <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=6269&amp;title=Origami+and+the+laws+of+physics" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication -->          </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/physics/origami-and-the-laws-of-physics/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Jason England. </em></p> </div>

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Artist robot Ai-Da detained in Egypt on suspicion of espionage

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A robot with a flair for the arts was detained at the Egyptian border for 10 days ahead of a major exhibition. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ai-Da was set to present her artworks at the foot of the pyramids of Giza: the first ever art exhibition held in the historic area. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The show, titled </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Forever is Now</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, is an annual event organised by </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Art D’Égypte to support the art and culture scene in Egypt. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ai-Da’s digitally created artworks, and her presence at the event, was set to be the highlight of the show. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Egyptian officials grew concerned when she arrived as her eyes feature cameras and an internet modem. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Because of Ai-Da’s technology, officials at the Egyptian border grew concerned that she had been sent to the country as part of an espionage conspiracy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/20/egypt-detains-artist-robot-ai-da-before-historic-pyramid-show"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Guardian</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, British officials had to work intensively to get Ai-Da out of detainment before the beginning of the art show, </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Egyptian officials offered to let Ai-Da free if she had some of her gadgetry removed, to which Aiden Meller, Ai-Da’s creator, refused. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They offered to remove her eyes as a security measure, but Aiden insisted that she uses her eyes to create her artwork. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She was eventually released, with her eyes intact, and the show went ahead as scheduled. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ai-Da is able to make unique art thanks to specially designed technology developed by researchers at Oxford and Leeds University. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ai-Da’s key algorithm converts images she captures with her camera-eyes and converts them to drawings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The robot can also paint portraits, as her creators allowed her technology to analyse colours and techniques used by successful human artists. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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AI-system promises better art reproductions – but not yet

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>A team from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US is developing a new, deep learning-assisted system to reproduce art with a 3D printer to make more accurate, convincing reproductions. </p> <p>The system combines a process known as halftoning, which uses little dots of ink, and a layering technique that has 10 different colours, rather than the usual cyan, magenta, yellow, and black of 2D printers. This keeps the ink from blotting, which happens when too much is deposited on the printing surface, and it allows the printer to produce a wider range of tones. </p> <p>The technique, combined with a “deep learning model to predict the optimal stack of different inks”, results in “unprecedented spectral accuracy”, the team writes in a new paper, being presented this month at a <a rel="noopener" href="https://sa2018.siggraph.org/en/" target="_blank">computer graphics conference in Tokyo</a>. </p> <p>“If you just reproduce the colour of a painting as it looks in the gallery, it might look different in your home,” says Changil Kim, one of the paper’s authors. “Our system works under any lighting condition, which shows a far greater colour reproduction capability than almost any other previous work.”{%recommended 6743%}</p> <p>The researchers they hope the project will eventually make art more available, since “our reliance on museums to exhibit original paintings and sculpture inherently limits access and leaves those precious originals vulnerable to deterioration and damage”.</p> <p>“The value of fine art has rapidly increased in recent years, so there’s an increased tendency for it to be locked up in warehouses away from the public eye,” notes mechanical engineer Mike Foshey. </p> <p>“We’re building the technology to reverse this trend, and to create inexpensive and accurate reproductions that can be enjoyed by all.”</p> <p>The developers concede that there is still work to be done on the system, which they named RePaint, to truly render a van Gogh simulacrum. For starters, images like Starry Night use a cobalt blue that the ink library isn’t able to “faithfully reproduce”. </p> <p>But paintings – particularly oil paintings – are three-dimensional works. The brush strokes leave ridges and bumps that can reflect light, throwing off the rendering. Right now, the printer reads glossy reflections as white highlights, but the team has plans to incorporate recognition of “the rich spatially-varying gloss and translucency found in many paintings”. The system will learn to use surface reflection, rather than less colour, to reproduce the gloss. </p> <p>One other issue? Those glorious Monet water lilies look more like postage stamps, since the system’s reproductions are only a few centimetres across. The engineers are hoping to bring down the costs and time printing to accommodate larger reproductions. </p> <em>Image credit: Shutterstock            <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=23508&amp;title=AI-system+promises+better+art+reproductions+%E2%80%93+but+not+yet" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication -->          </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/ai-system-promises-better-art-reproductions-but-not-yet/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Samantha Page. </em></p> </div> </div>

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Self-taught 14-year-old artist offered thousands for paintings

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During lockdown, it was not uncommon for most people to try a new hobby they had been putting off. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But for 14-year-old Makenzy, it was a starting point for incredible success. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During a period of self-isolation in Wales, Makenzy Beard found some old acrylic paints and an easel that once belonged to her mother, and decided to try her hand at painting. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Her first piece, an incredible portrait of her farming neighbour John Tucker, went viral on social media. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She told the </span><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-57670603"><span style="font-weight: 400;">BBC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that the portrait took about 20 hours to complete over a three-week period.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/COGXvlHH1Ax/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/COGXvlHH1Ax/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Makenzy Beard (@makenzy_beard)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I was very busy at the time I decided to do this one, so I was taking five minutes before school, an hour after school before sport. It was all broken down, I never spent one long extended period of time on it", she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Makezny said her subject John “is a wonderful person and has a really lovely, kind and friendly demeanour," and thought he would be the perfect person to paint. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The post racked up thousands of likes online, as she was encouraged by art fans around the world to keep up her extraordinary talent. </span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CSpfvXipcmU/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CSpfvXipcmU/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Makenzy Beard (@makenzy_beard)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After adding more works to her collection, Makenzy has had her works displayed in a gallery in Cardiff. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some pieces have captured the attention of international art dealers, with one of her paintings selling for $18,000AUD.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the pieces in her showcase is a portrait of her grandfather Bernard Davis, but Makenzy said she will be keeping the artwork due to its sentimental value.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CUid6kGo0n6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CUid6kGo0n6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Makenzy Beard (@makenzy_beard)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite having international offers on her artwork, Makenzy is still keeping her options open in regards to her future. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While she is passionate about art, the 14-year-old is happy just keeping her talents as a hobby as she focuses on school. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Director of Blackwater Gallery, Kimberley Lewis, said, "I think anyone can be a good portrait artist, but I think it takes a lot to show real personality and the soul of a person through their pieces and I think for someone so young, Makenzy does this brilliantly."</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Instagram @makenzy_beard</span></em></p>

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The science behind Jackson Pollock’s art

<div> <div class="copy"> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Whatever you think of Jackson Pollock’s abstract art, it seems there’s a bit of science to it. In fact, a Google Scholar search unearths nearly 19,000 papers on the subject.</span></p> <p>The latest research by Roberto Zenit, from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, and colleagues adds a detailed technical analysis from a fluid dynamics perspective.</p> <p>Their key discovery, <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223706" target="_blank">published</a> in the journal PLOS ONE, reveals that Pollock’s technique is carefully executed to avoid what is known as coiling instability.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“When a jet, or filament, oozes down into itself, it may coil,” Zenit explains. “The best example is honey dripping onto toast – the filament forms coils when it lands.</span></p> <p>“Coiling happens when the fluid is too viscous,” he adds. “Gravity pushes down, but the liquid doesn’t want to flow… so it coils to find a balance.”</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.jackson-pollock.org" target="_blank">Pollock</a>, who died in 1956, is considered one of America’s most influential artists of the Twentieth Century, with his radical works captivating art buffs, historians and scientists alike.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Films of him in action lend themselves to scientific analysis of his technique, which involved rhythmically pouring a continuous stream of paint onto a horizontal canvas, using a device such as a stick, knife or brush to regulate the flow.</span></p> <p>It eventually came to be known as <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444509444500128" target="_blank">fractal expressionism</a> – a representation of nature’s patterns, inspiring scientists to make comparisons with nature’s systems and to explore how he managed to achieve this.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Zenit, who was intrigued by the technicalities of the fluid method, saw the historical videos as an opportunity to gain insights into how Pollock painted.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">He and his team carefully observed the speed and height of the artist’s unique painting action, then recreated it so they could zone in on what he was doing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“We can vary one thing at a time so we can decipher the key elements of the technique,” he says. “For example, we could vary the height from which the paint is poured and keep the speed constant to see how that changes things.”</span></p> <p>Thus, the researchers made a connection between his technique and classical hydrodynamic instability (coiling instability), contradicting previous suggestions that the curved lines resulted from this instability.</p> <p>“What we found is that he moved his hand at a sufficiently high speed and a sufficiently short height such that this coiling would not occur,” says Zenit.</p> <p>They also showed that the paint filaments did not fragment into droplets – suggesting that descriptions of his painting style as a “dripping” technique are not accurate: dripping implies that a fluid breaks up into discrete droplets whereas Pollock’s fluid filaments tended to be continuous rather than fragmented.</p> <p>That analysis showed that another hydrodynamic instability was avoided, Zenit explains.</p> <p>It gets more technical. Like many painters, Pollock used solvents to alter the fluid properties of his paints, creating varying thicknesses. The researchers found that with more viscous paint he would reduce the height and increase the speed of his movements, and vice versa with thinner paint – in all instances carefully avoiding coiling instability.</p> <p>The results of this research could help authenticate the artist’s coveted paintings.</p> <p>“If you see a painting with filaments with too many coils or droplets, it is unlikely that Pollock painted it,” says Zenit.</p> <p>The study is also part of a new line of research aiming to understand painting from a fluid mechanics perspective, which the authors suggest could have practical applications for instances where coiling is undesirable, like inkjet printing or fabricating optic fibres.</p> <p>“Painters are experts in manipulating fluids, so are fluid mechanicians,” says Zenit. “This gives us an opportunity to learn from each other.”</p> <p>How – and how not – to do it</p> <p>In the first video below, paint is deposited on a moving canvas from distance low enough and at a speed high enough to avoid coiling.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">In the second, something is out, and the result is clear to see.</span></p> <div style="position: relative; display: block; max-width: 100%;"> <div style="padding-top: 56.25%;"><iframe style="position: absolute; top: 0px; right: 0px; bottom: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://players.brightcove.net/5483960636001/HJH3i8Guf_default/index.html?videoId=6098936274001" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> </div> <div style="position: relative; display: block; max-width: 100%;"> <div style="padding-top: 56.25%;"><iframe style="position: absolute; top: 0px; right: 0px; bottom: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://players.brightcove.net/5483960636001/HJH3i8Guf_default/index.html?videoId=6098938078001" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> </div> <p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 9.6px; text-transform: uppercase;">CREDIT: rOBERT zENIT</span></p> <em>Image credits: Shutterstock                         <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=27088&amp;title=The+science+behind+Jackson+Pollock%E2%80%99s+art" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication -->          </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/physics/the-science-behind-jackson-pollocks-art/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Natalie Parletta. </em></p> </div> </div>

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