Art

The Giving Tree, Read by Shel Silverstein

I’ve always enjoyed this story, especially in the classroom because although students tend to pick up pretty quickly the sweet relationship between the tree and the boy, they also feel the pang of selfishness that the boy exudes. “This story is kinda sad,” they say. Or, “He only thinks of himself.” And they’re right. Which leads into the essential question, “What is life all about?”

The discussions that ensue are brilliant.

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The Impact of a Book : by Jorge Méndez Blake

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In his work, literature becomes a tool that articulates situations, places and objects where each piece is full of theoretical meanings related to one another.

“Jorge Méndez Blake is a Mexican born artist that draws connections between literature and the visual arts through assemblage, drawing, and environmental interventions” (via).

He is also a man who would rather quote another than create something new, which I find truly intriguing.

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Movies Inspired by Art

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Vugar Efendi has put together "three chapters" that explore the relationship between films that have been inspired by famous paintings.

Some of them are spot on perfect, others are beautiful adaptations, but all show a deep and strong respect for the craft, the artist, and the long held understanding that good artists borrow, but great artists steal.  

"An aspiring filmmaker with immense love for film, music and art in general," Vugar Efendi has  been acknowledged by the likes of: Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Elle, BBC, Canal +, and Indiewire.

You can see more of his inspiring work here, or follow his blog and catch Trailer Tuesday where he, you guessed it, posts trailers of different movie from all around the world. 

 

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Double King Explained!

I've posted some of Felix Colgrave's works before and probably will again. He's pretty fricken cool. 

However, I'm posting this more for my AP students who spent an entire class trying to dissect and interpret, but who, like myself, struggled to truly make sense of it. 

This guys interpretation my not be perfect, but it still helps quite a bit. 

Check out more of Felix Colgrave's works, click here. And if you have any further insights or opinions on this or any of his works, please, share your thoughts!

 

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Advice from Lord Birthday

Lord Birthday was created in the summer of 2015, on a train from Vancouver to Portland, but Chad, the man behind Lord Birthday, didn't want anyone to know it was him. Nobody. Not his colleagues at Oregon State University, not his parents, not his friends. 

Only his wife could know that Chad - super clean, extremely shy, sink-in-the-corner Chad - had another side to his otherwise boring personality.

It wasn't until this episode, True You, produced by Invisibilia, that Chad told the world who he truly was. 

And he was terrified. Because for him, Chad getting "too involved" with Lord Birthday would, sorta, kill Lord Birthday. Because, suddenly, Lord Birthday would be censored - there would be a double take. "What will my parents think?"

Chad/Lord Birthday has a book deal in the makings and can be followed on instagram and GoComics (if you just keep pressing the "random" button under each picture, you'll be entertained for hours). 

So far, Lord Birthday isn't dead.

 

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The Elephant's Garden is our Playground

I'm not sure which came first, the elephant or it's egg, but the video to this not-to-bad song is, like most of Felix Colgrave's work, confusing and entertaining and always unsatisfying - begging for more and more and more. And there is plenty more.

(listening to this while trying to get work done . . . brilliant!). 

 

"A creature is just an animal that’s wrong. Be wrong lots, and when you’re wrong in a way you like, try getting that wrong and repeat forever." - Colgrave

 

 

This guys imagination is a playground worth wasting time on.  

 

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The Great Wall Lovers reunite 22 years later . . . for one minute.

In 1988, after 12 years of love and collaboration, the notorious performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay decided to take a spiritual journey that would culminate in the ending of their relationship. The project was called “The Lovers: the Great Wall Walk.”  

Starting from the two opposite ends, each of them walked half the length of the Great Wall of China. After three months, they met in the middle, and ended their relationship.

(via).

The performance was recorded by Murray Grigor for the BBC (16mm film, transferred to video), which resulted in the documentary The Great Wall: Lovers at the Brink.

Twenty two years later, they reunited for one minute.

In 2010, as part of her MoMA retrospective, Abramović sat in a chair under bright spotlights opposite an empty chair, where members of the public could sit as long as they wanted, gazing into her eyes. A seemingly endless number of people lined up for the opportunity to sit with her, many sitting multiple times on different days, several for as long as ten hours, some even after waiting all night. 

Unannounced, Ulay showed up.

One of Marina's "most daring and notorious performances (named Rhythm 0) was to test the limits of the relationship between a performer and his/hers audience. Abramović placed on a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, olive oil, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions." At the end, she stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation (via).

In 2015, Marina Abramović, the world’s best-known performance artist, was sued by her former collaborator and romantic partner, the German artist Ulay, in a dispute over works they created jointly (via).

This frustrates the hell out of me, because it taints and smears the idea of Love. Two people, equally passionate about life and expression and beauty of humanity, and neither can get beyond their own skin and fully love another more than themselves. 

What's the point of it all? Of the walks and exhibits if, at the root of it all, is self? 

It seems empty, and fully unfulfilling. As is most things that begin and end with thy self. 

 

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Gorillaz : Damn fine artists

I first fell in love with Gorillaz, like millions of others did, when I heard the "Cling Eastwood" my junior year of high school. A few weeks later I saw the video and I remember sitting on my friends living room floor, completely absorbed.

They have a new song and video out, "Saturnz Barz" and just like the first time I heard 'em, over ten years ago, I'm all in, mainly because I love the community of artists they've been. The collaboration is instructive and inspiring of what Art should be.  

And they make some damn fine work. 

Gorillaz were created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. The band consists of four animated members: 2-D (lead vocals, keyboards), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar and vocals), Noodle (guitar, keyboards) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). These members are fictional and are not personas of any "real life" musicians involved in the project. Their fictional universe is explored through the band's website and music videos, as well as a number of other media, such as short cartoons. In reality, Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor, and the music is often a collaboration between various musicians (via).

Clint Eastwood

I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless but not for long
The future is coming on
I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless but not for long
The future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on

Yeah, ha-ha
Finally, someone let me out of my cage
Now time for me is nothing 'cause I'm counting no age
Now I couldn't be there
Now you shouldn't be scared
I'm good at repairs
And I'm under each snare
Intangible
Bet you didn't think so I command you to
Panoramic view
Look, I'll make it all manageable
Pick and choose
Sit and lose
All you different crews
Chicks and dudes
Who you think is really kickin' tunes?
Picture you gettin' down in a picture tube
Like you lit the fuse
You think it's fictional?
Mystical? Maybe
Spiritual
Hero who appears in you to clear your view when you're too crazy
Lifeless
To those the definition for what life is
Priceless
To you because I put you on the hype shit
You like it?
Gun smokin' righteous with one toke
You're psychic among those
Possess you with one go

I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless but not for long
The future is coming on
I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless but not for long
The future (that's right) is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on

The essence, the basics
Without, did you make it?
Allow me to make this
Child-like in nature
Rhythm
You have it or you don't, that's a fallacy
I'm in them
Every sprouting tree
Every child of peace
Every cloud and sea
You see with your eyes
I see destruction and demise (that's right)
Corruption in disguise
From this fuckin' enterprise
Now I'm sucked into your lies
Through Russel, not his muscles but percussion he provides
For me as a guide
Y'all can see me now 'cause you don't see with your eye
You perceive with your mind
That's the inner
So I'ma stick around with Russ' and be a mentor
Bust a few rhymes so motherfuckers remember where the thought is
I brought all this
So you can survive when law is lawless (right here)
Feelings, sensations that you thought was dead
No squealing, remember that it's all in your head

I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless but not for long
The future is coming on
I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless but not for long
My future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
My future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
My future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
My future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
My future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
My future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
My future

Saturnz Barz

Haha, woii yoii!
Done know how di ting go, a the Unruly boss
Don'?
Hahaha
Press the button to begin

Cho
All my life
Mi ever have mi gun so mi haffi move sharp like mi knife
All my life
Mi pray say when mi get wealthy a ma a mi wife
All my life
The system force mi
Fi be a killer just like Rodney Price
All my life
No, all my life

Wah happen to you Cobe, some bwoy doh know mi
To how me ruff dem cah believe a grandma grow mi
Know few Popcaan song doh, and feel dem know mi
Four mile mi used to walk guh school, dem know man story?
Ha! Now mi gain up all those glory
The world is mine, the whole a it mi taking slowly
Happy days mi call it now mi bun sad story
Anyway mi deh inna the world mi dawgs dem round mi
Hahaha mi laugh and collect those trophy
Because mi deserve everything weh music gives mi
Bwoy, unruly nuh light like Frisbee
The dream, family live that wid me
Oh, oh, oh, oh
All my life mi dream fi own house, land, cars, and bikes

All my life
I'm in the stakin' bar
I got debts, I'm a debaser
All my life
Saturnz about to make love
And I'm just a heartbreaker
All my life
And I won't get a take in
'Cause I'm out when I'm stakin'
And the rings I am breaking
Are making you a personal day

With the holograms beside me
I'll dance alone tonight
In a mirrored world, are you beside me
All my life?
Distortion

All my life
I'm in the stakin' bar
I got debts, I'm a debaser
All my life
Saturnz about to make love
And I'm just a heartbreaker
All my life
And I won't get a take in
'Cause I'm out when I'm stakin'
And the rings I am breaking
Are making you a personal day

 

An Open Letter To Trump. Signed by 65 Writers and Artists.

Photos by Gabriela Herman for The New York Times; Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency

Photos by Gabriela Herman for The New York Times; Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency

PARIS — Sixty-five writers and artists have joined with the advocacy organization PEN America to send an open letter to President Trump, criticizing his executive order banning citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States and urging against further measures that would impair “freedom of movement and the global exchange of arts and ideas.”
“Vibrant, open intercultural dialogue is indispensable in the fight against terror and oppression,” the letter reads. “Its restriction is inconsistent with the values of the United States and the freedoms for which it stands.”
“Preventing international artists from contributing to American cultural life will not make America safer, and will damage its international prestige and influence,” it adds.

The sentiment reminds me of another article by the NY Times entitled, "Diversity Makes us Brighter." In it SHEEN S. LEVINE and DAVID STARK found, "When surrounded by others of the same ethnicity or race, participants were more likely to copy others, in the wrong direction. Mistakes spread as participants seemingly put undue trust in others’ answers, mindlessly imitating them. In the diverse groups, across ethnicities and locales, participants were more likely to distinguish between wrong and accurate answers. Diversity brought cognitive friction that enhanced deliberation" (emphasis mine).

"Creativity is an antidote to isolationism, paranoia, misunderstanding, and violent intolerance," the letter to Trump adds. 

But first we must be willing to listen. Especially to those who bring cognitive friction. With respectful friction comes a refined truth and understanding. Silence and isolation exacerbates ignorance and hatred and fuels global conflict. 

The Chinese character for listening, or undivided attention, is this:

Listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart, while treating them like a king.

Here is the letter: 

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As writers and artists, we join PEN America in calling on you to rescind your Executive Order of January 27, 2017, and refrain from introducing any alternative measure that similarly impairs freedom of movement and the global exchange of arts and ideas.
In barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days, barring all refugees from entering the country for 120 days, and blocking migration from Syria indefinitely, your January Executive Order caused the chaos and hardship of families divided, lives disrupted, and law-abiding faced with handcuffs, detention, and deportation. In so doing, the Executive Order also hindered the free flow of artists and thinkers — and did so at a time when vibrant, open intercultural dialogue is indispensable in the fight against terror and oppression. Its restriction is inconsistent with the values of the United States and the freedoms for which it stands.
The negative impact of the original Executive Order was felt immediately, creating stress and uncertainty for artists of global renown and disrupting major U.S. cultural events. Oscar-nominated director Asghar Farhadi, who is from Iran, expecting to be unable to travel to the Academy Awards ceremony in late February, announced that he will not attend. Syrian singer Omar Souleyman, who performed at the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, may now be prevented from singing at Brooklyn’s World Music Institute in May 2017. The ability of Adonis, an 87-year-old globally celebrated poet who is a French national of Syrian extraction, to attend the May 2017 PEN World Voices Festival in New York remains in question.
Preventing international artists from contributing to American cultural life will not make America safer, and will damage its international prestige and influence. Not only will such a policy prevent great artists from performing, but it will constrict the interchange of important ideas, isolating the U.S. politically and culturally. Reciprocal actions against American citizens, such as those already taken by the governments of Iraq and Iran, will further limit the ability of American artists to move freely.
Arts and culture have the power to enable people to see beyond their differences. Creativity is an antidote to isolationism, paranoia, misunderstanding, and violent intolerance. In the countries most affected by the immigration ban, it is writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers who are often at the vanguard in the fights against oppression and terror. Should it interrupt the ability of artists to travel, perform, and collaborate, such an Executive Order will aid those who would silence essential voices and exacerbate the hatreds that fuel global conflict.
We strongly believe that the immediate and long-term consequences of your original Executive Order are entirely at odds with the national interests of the United States. As you contemplate any potential new measures we respectfully urge you to tailor them narrowly to address only legitimate and substantiated threats and to avoid imposing broad bans that affect millions of people, including the writers, artists and thinkers whose voices and presence help foster international understanding.
Sincerely,
Anne Tyler
Lev Grossman
Jhumpa Lahiri
Norman Rush
Chang-rae Lee
Jane Smiley
Janet Malcolm
John Green
Mary Karr
Claire Messud
Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket)
Siri Hustvedt
Paul Auster
Francine Prose
Paul Muldoon
David Henry Hwang
Jessica Hagedorn
Martin Amis
Sandra Cisneros
Dave Eggers
Stephen Sondheim
Jonathan Lethem
Philip Roth
Andrew Solomon
Tobias Wolff
Robert Pinsky
Jonathan Franzen
Jay McInerney
Margaret Atwood
Azar Nafisi
Alec Soth
Nicole Krauss
Colm Toibin
Patrick Stewart
Philip Gourevitch
Robert Caro
Rita Dove
J.M. Coetzee
Anish Kapoor
Rosanne Cash
Zadie Smith
George Packer
John Waters
Art Spiegelman
Susan Orlean
Elizabeth Strout
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Teju Cole
Alice Sebold
Esmeralda Santiago
Stacy Schiff
Jeffrey Eugenides
Khaled Hosseini
Rick Moody
Hanya Yanagihara
Chimamanda Adichie
John Lithgow
Simon Schama
Colum McCann
Sally Mann
Jules Feiffer
Luc Tuymans
Michael Chabon
Ayelet Waldman
Orhan Pamuk

 

(Excerpts from RACHEL DONADIO FEB. 21, 2017 - New York Times)

 

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