Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chuck Close: ‘It Was Dumb to Paint’

Still from ‘Chuck Close: Why Portraits?’ 2010. (Courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
Of all of the tributes to Chuck Close that we’ve seen today, in honor of his 72nd birthday, which included this image of Mr. Close finger painting a portrait of his grandmother-in-law on The Pace Gallery’s Facebook page, we also found amusing a short video of Mr. Close, posted by the San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, discussing why he chose to take up portraiture.
“It was dumb to paint, dumber to paint figuratively,” he says in the 2010 video, “and the dumbest, most moribund possible convention to deal with was the portrait.” Nonetheless, he decided to take up portraiture in a very big way. What inspired him? The words of “reigning critic” Clement Greenberg who said, according to Mr. Close, “There’s only one thing that can’t be done in art today, and that’s paint a portrait.”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Art: Nobody likes a show off, but Kang, Kang-hoon's paintings are unnervingly accurate

Hmm. That’s odd. I thought these were real people living inside my disgustingly large screen. Oh wait, these are PAINTINGS created by artist Kang, Kang-hoon. What I don’t get about this sort of thing (apart from why hasn’t Kang, Kang-hoon been awarded some sort of lifetime achievement award) is why haven’t camera manufacturers just given up? You can imagine the big dogs at Leica seeing this and doing that thing when you brush everything off a desk in one swoop and storming out yelling “That’s it!” in rage. Because Kang, Kang-hoon is obviously some sort of human camera and we should be afraid, very afraid.
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    Kang, Kang-hoon: Modern day collage, unable to cry
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    Kang, Kang-hoon: Modern collage, custom made breath

Friday, September 20, 2013

Banksy Arrested In London, Identity Revealed

Banksy arrested and identity revealed
London Police Chief Wayne Leppard speaking to reporters about the arrest of Banksy.
London, England — The England-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter that for years has gone by the pseudonymous name of Banksy, was arrested early this morning by police in London. After hours of questioning and a raid of his London art studio, his true name and identity have finally been revealed.
The City of London Police say Banksy’s real name is Paul William Horner, a 39-year old male born in Bristol, England. The BBC has also confirmed this information with his PR agent Jo Brooks and the website that acts as a handling service on behalf of the artist, Pest Control.
London Police Chief Wayne Leppard held a press conference to answer questions about how Banksy was finally apprehended. “We had a 24-hour Anti-Graffiti Task Force monitoring different groups known to have associated with Banksy. We received word that around 2am a group of individuals left a flat speculated to be one of Banky’s art studios. This group was followed by agents and once vandalism had occurred, we then arrested the group, 5 men total. These individuals all had ID on them except for one, and that is the one we believed to be Banksy,” Leppard said. “We then raided the studio where this group was last seen leaving from. Inside we found thousands of dollars of counterfeit money along with future projects of vandalism. We also found a passport and ID of a Paul William Horner who matched the description of the man that we are currently holding.” Leppard continued, “Horner is currently being held without bail on charges of vandalism, conspiracy, racketeering and counterfeiting. We are also holding the other four individuals whose names we are not releasing at this time.”
After today’s arrest it is unclear who else will be sought in connection with Banksy’s arrest. CNN spoke with Kyle Brock who is a project manager for Banksy says he is now worried that charges could be brought against him also. “If they spent this many man-hours and brought this many charges against Banksy, I can’t imagine that he’ll be the only one to go down in all of this,” Brock said. “All the beauty Paul Horner brought to this world, and the London Police can only see it as vandalism. It’s such a shame.”
The graffiti artist that goes by the name Space Invader told reporters he does not agree with the arrest or outing of Banksy’s identity. “He’s just doing art. That’s what he was doing and that’s what he’ll continue to do,” Invader said. “For the London Police to setup some 24-hour task force just to catch Banksy is ridiculous. I hope we hear plenty of noise from the good tax-paying citizens of London about this.”
Banksy’s identity was long speculated to be Robin Gunningham, a man born in Bristol, England in 1973. Known for his contempt for the government in labeling graffiti as vandalism, Banksy displays his art on public walls and even going as far as to build physical prop pieces. He does not sell his work directly; however, art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder.
As soon as news of the arrest was made, the City of London Police say they began receiving dozens of phone calls from people either claiming to be Banksy, or claiming to be with him. As of 6 PM London time, hundreds of people were gathered outside the London Police Department chanting “I’m Banksy!” and holding signs demanding his release. Various local news stations have reported witnessing the crowd parting for a blind woman who attempted to turn herself into authorities claiming that she was in fact the real Banksy.
London Police say they are not releasing any pictures of Horner or any further information at this time.

What entrepreneurs can learn from artists

Like artists, startup founders must cultivate creative habits to see the world afresh and create something new.

By Tim Leberecht
(TheMIX) -- Andy Warhol knew it all along: "Good business is the best art." And lately, a number of business thinkers and leaders have begun to embrace the arts, not as an escapist notion, a parallel world after office hours, or a creative asset, but as an integral part of business -- from the management team to operations to customer service.
John Maeda, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and author of the book Redesigning Leadership, predicts that artists will emerge as the new business leaders and cites RISD graduates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, co-founders of Airbnb, as prominent examples. The author William Deresiewicz heralds reading as the most important task of any leader. John Coleman makes a compelling case for the role of poetry in business. Intel (INTC) named pop musician as director of creative innovation. The World Economic Forum has been inviting arts and cultural leaders to its events for several years and this year added the 'Role of the Arts' to its Network of Global Agenda Councils.
Indeed, the "art" of business has become more important as the "science" grows ubiquitous. As Big Data and sophisticated analytical tools allow us to make our processes more efficient, intuition and creativity are fast becoming the only differentiating factors among competitors. Like any "soft asset," these qualities cannot be exploited, only explored. And like artists, innovators must cultivate creative habits to see the world afresh and create something new.
How do artists think and behave? Here are 12 traits that any individual who aspires to make his or her mark on the world should emulate:
1. Artists are "neophiles." They are in love with novelty and have an insatiable appetite for finding and creating new connections, for inventing and reinventing, even themselves. Art means changing the meaning of things or creating new meanings. That's exactly what innovation is all about.
2. Artists are humanists. They are experts of the "human condition" and observe human desires, needs, emotions, and behavior with a sharp, discerning eye and a high degree of empathy. They can feel with and for others, which should be every innovator's distinct strength as well.
3. Artists are craftspeople. They "think by making" and unite the "hand and the head," as sociologist Richard Sennett describes it. It has both a physical dimension (exhibiting mastery in craftsmanship) and a meta-physical dimension (connecting a new product, service, or business model with the broader zeitgeist and cultural climate). Nike's (NKE) Fuelband, for example, integrates software and hardware, and is an expression of our society's growing demand for self-managed, preventive healthcare.
4. Artists are like children. "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up," Pablo Picasso famously said. Artists retain a child's unique sense of possibility and wonder. Innovators should, too. It may sound paradoxical, but innovations are always nostalgic.The most meaningful of them, although seemingly all about novelty and the future, reconnect us with a basic human quest or even our childhood dreams (think of the iPhone and our desire to touch, or sharing sites such as Facebook (FB) or Pinterest, which cater to our innate urge to share).
5. Artists rely on their intuition. It may seem counter-intuitive, but intuition is ever more important in the age of Big Data, because it is the only feature that is faster and deeper than the massive flow of real-time information. Nothing comes close to intuition as innovators seek to anticipate trends and make decisions swiftly.
6. Artists are comfortable with ambiguity. By design, they often deal with things that are not measurable and can't be easily quantified. Innovators, too, should value what may not be easily captured in quantitative terms. In stark contrast to more mechanistic models of management, they must be able to tolerate uncertainty and open-ended questions.
7. Artists are holistic, interdisciplinary thinkers. Artists can connect dots and take things out of their original context. Likewise, innovators contextualize and re-contextualize, mash up and remix, and embrace new insights and ideas that lead to unexpected, unlikely, and often serendipitous conclusions (among the most famous examples of such "accidental innovations" are the pacemaker or 3M's (MMM) post-it notes).
8. Artists thrive under constraints. They often have to work within very structured formats and meet scarce resources with ingenuity. In fact, these constraints might even stimulate their creativity. Inspired by the phenomenon of Jugaad in India, innovation gurus like Navi Radjou have popularized and globalized the concept of "frugal innovation" (e.g. the mobile SMS disaster response platform Ushahidi or the portable "roll-on" hospital hand-sanitizers SwipeSense). Frugal innovation has become the new hallmark for the art of creating maximum value with minimal resources.
9. Artists are great storytellers. They tell a story with their art but also often tell the story of their art. The same holds true for meaningful innovations. Great innovators design experiences that spark conversation. Just look at ideas funded on Kickstarter: The product is also the story of the product.
10. Artists are conduits and not "masters of the universe." Most artists – painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers, or musicians – will admit that they derive their inspiration from a spiritual sphere that goes beyond their individual creativity and skills. This applies to innovators, too. Whether they're spiritual or not, humility suits them well as the social web and its wave of crowd-based collaborations have rendered the myth of the lone genius obsolete.
11. Artists are passionate about their work. In fact, their work and life are impossible to separate. That doesn't mean that innovators need to be workaholics, but they should base their ideas on deep beliefs. Innovation is a leap of faith, and innovators need to be believers. Like artists, they will often face rejection, but if an idea is not worth fighting for, it might not have been the right one in the first place.
12. Artists are contrarians. Artists can see the "cracks through which the light gets in," as the old adage goes. Likewise, great innovators come up with solutions to problems because they see what is missing. They are eccentric, which means they literally view things from the fringes. Both artists and innovators see the world as it could be. They look upon our world, as Proust would say, with "fresh eyes." You might also call that vision. They are always "initially wrong" to be "ultimately right" as Kathryn Schultz wrote in her book, Being Wrong.
Like art, true innovation has the potential to make our lives better. It connects and reconnects us with deeply held truths and fundamental human desires; meets complexity with simple, elegant solutions; and rewards risk-taking and vulnerability.
However, businesses must refrain from designing innovation as a mere process. That is perhaps the golden rule that artists and innovators have in common: new ideas of worth will only come to those who allow ample space and time for those new ideas to develop in the first place.