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Check out these marbles: Photographer captures the sculptured testicles of antiquity
07:48 am



Gaze upon the balls of the ancients! Observe their delicate rend’ring from such an indelicate medium! Note the attention to detail! The texture! The asymmetry! The… weightiness?

These photos are from Ingrid Berthon-Moine’s cleverly titled series, “Marbles,” which compiles shots of testicles from classical Greek sculpture—only marble marbles will do. Berthon-Moine did a lot of research on Greek sexuality for the project, and actually answered one of my long-standing questions on ancient art—were the models for these sculptures… really cold? Oddly enough, some counterintuitive idealization of the human form may be the culprit.  Berthon-Moine says:

This interest in ancient classical Greek statuary was prompted by the accuracy of its anatomy, the realism of its stance and the influence it still has on the shape of the male body.

Ancient Greece was a highly masculinist culture. They favoured ‘small and taut’ genitals, as opposed to big sex organs, to show male self-control in matters of sexuality. Today, the modern users as in commerce, cinema, and advertising converted it into a mass commodity telling us about domination and desirability, size matters and the bigger, the better.

Small junk was “in”—how about that? You’ll notice no real shaft in any of the pictures (a few you can even see were even broken off), but you’d like to err on the side of NSFW (or if testes make you testy), I respect that—but if you’re working at a place that would punish you for looking at crops of ancient Greek statues, I suggest you do your damndest to make a career change—someplace that won’t bust your balls, you know?








Via Hyperallergic

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
More, more, Moore: How much is a Henry Moore sculpture REALLY worth???
09:19 am


Henry Moore

So, how much is a Henry Moore sculpture really worth?

Well, if we were to judge this by the money some criminals have made from the theft of a few of Moore’s best known works, then we may be surprised to find that a giant bronze statue can be bought for as little as a few thousand dollars.

This was how much thieves made on one of Moore’s most revered sculptures “Reclining Figure” (1969-70) after it was stolen from the 72-acre Henry Moore Foundation estate in Much Hadham, England in 2005. Weighing over 3-tons and standing six feet in height and ten feet in length, this elegant bronze statue was valued at $5 million. The theft baffled police, who originally suspected the statue had been stolen to order, but on investigation discovered it had in fact been taken by “a group of travellers from Essex” who sold the giant bronze to a scrap metal dealer for $2,500. A bargain considering the value of the art work and the Henry Moore Foundation’s offer of $18,000 reward for the statue’s safe return.
‘Reclining Figure’ (1969-70).
Over the past decade, Moore’s beautiful sculptures have been the unfortunate focus of thieves across England and Scotland who hope to make quick buck selling these giant art works for scrap metal. In 2012, two men were jailed after stealing Moore’s piece “Sundial” once again from the Much Hadham estate. The dastardly duo sold the sculpture for a mere $75. While “Standing Figure” (1950) was stolen from the Glenkiln Sculpture Park, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, and is also believed to have been melted down and sold for scrap.

So, it’s true—crime doesn’t (always) pay and thieves, it would seem, have no idea of the value of art.
Moore by Allan Warren.
Henry Moore was one of the twentieth century’s greatest sculptors. Born in July 30th, 1898, the seventh of eight children, Moore was encouraged by his father and mother to be self-reliant and to value hard work:

She [his mother] had tremendous physical stamina. She used to work from morning till night until she was over seventy. To be a sculptor, you have to have that sort of energy and that sort of stamina. Sculpture is of all the fine arts the one which you have to have an absolute physical fitness. You can’t—in the early stages at least—be tired or ill if you want to be a sculptor.

Moore later described his childhood as “a very good time” filled with “the warmth and friendship of a large family.” This was when he made his first tentative steps towards a career as a sculptor, playing games with friends at a local quarry where they made small wooden carvings and built clay ovens (“little square boxes with chimneys and a hole at the side, and we’d fill these with rotten wood and light it and blow on the fire to warm our hands in winter”) .

Moore was encouraged in his artistic ambitions by his father, on the condition that he had an alternative career to fall back on. In 1915, Moore became a teacher at his elementary school until he was called up to fight in the First World War, which he later described with characteristic understatement:

For me, the war passed in a romantic haze of hoping to be a hero. Sometimes in France there were three or four days of great danger when you thought there wasn’t a chance of getting through, and then all one felt was sadness at having taken so much trouble to no purpose; but on the whole I enjoyed the Army…After I was gassed at Cambrai I was in hospital for three months and it still affects my voice at times, but as they made me a PT instructor afterwards I suppose I must have got pretty fit again.

After the war, Moore attended the Leeds School of Art in 1919, where he considered himself “very lucky not to have gone to art school until I knew better than to believe what the teachers said.” At college he was influenced by such artists as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Picasso, Epstein, and Eric Gill, and in his sculpture he intended to get rid of the:

..complete domination of later, decadent Greek art as the only standard of excellence.

Moore won a Royal Exhibition Scholarship in sculpture to attend the Royal College of Art, London, in September 1921. Here he fell under the influence of RCA Principal, Sir William Rothenstein, who encouraged creativity, originality and the belief that his students should not be held back by England’s class structures as “a man was what he made himself.” Rothenstein also introduced his students to established artists, writers and politicians. This was how Moore found himself one evening talking to the Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald:

Rothenstein gave the sense that there need be no barrier and no limit to what one can embark upon, and that is very important to a young student. Here was I, a student straight from Yorkshire, and it seemed perfectly natural for me to be standing in front of the fire and talking to the Prime Minister.

This new environment offered Moore the opportunity to try out different ideas in his work:

When I first came to London I was aware of Brancusi, Gaudier-Brzeska, Modigliani and the early Epstein, and of all that that direction in sculpture stood for. I couldn’t help—nobody can, after all—being a part of my own time. But then I began to find my own direction, and one thing that helped, I think, was the fact that Mexican sculpture had more excitement for me than negro sculpture. As most of the other sculptors had been moved by negro sculpture this gave me a feeling that I was striking out on my own.

Animal Head.
Much more Moore after the jump, including The Art of Henry Moore documentary

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Get your luxurious goth on with the skeleton sculptures of Rome
06:34 am



Sant’Agostino, memorial to Cardinal Giuseppe Ranato Imperiali, by Paolo Posi (design) and Pietro Bracci (statuary), 1741
There’s a romance to Catholicism that I envied growing up—services attended with Protestant grandparents provided none of the splashy aesthetics Catholicism is so famous for. We certainly weren’t graced with sculptures of super-vigorous skeletons—specifically, skeletons that aren’t letting their lack of skin and organs prevent them from leading active, productive afterlives. Skeletons with joie de décès, if you will.

These Roman skeleton sculptures (documented by Catholic death ritual hobbyist, Elizabeth Harper) exhibit an expressiveness not expected from bones of stone. Harper’s subjects hoist the doors to their own tombs, brandish banners and portraits, and even genuflect before the dead. Congregants are reminded of their own mortality, but the morbid stigma of the skeleton is eclipsed by the dynamic, lush beauty of the sculptures.

Gesù e Maria, memorial to Camillo del Corno by Domenico Guidi, 1682

San Francesco d’Assisi a Ripa Grande, memorial to Maria Camilla and Giovanni Battista Rospigliosi, skeleton by Michele Garofolino, 1713

San Pietro in Montorio: Detail of the relief carved on the tomb of Girolamo Raimondi by Niccolo Sale, chapel designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1640

San Pietro in Vincoli, memorial to Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini by Carlo Bizzaccheri, died 1610

San Pietro in Vincoli, memorial to Cardinal Mariano Pietro Vecchiarelli, died 1639

Sant’Eustachio, memorial to Silvio Cavallieri, 1717

Santa Maria del Popolo, tomb of Giovanni Battista Gisleni, made for himself prior to his death in 1672

Santa Maria del Popolo, tomb of Princess Maria Eleonora Boncompagni Ludovisi, died 1745

Detail of the façade of Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte, designed by Ferdinando Fuga, 1738. The inscription on the scroll reads, “Today me, tomorrow you.”

Façade of Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte, designed by Ferdinando Fuga, 1738

Santa Maria sopra Minerva, memorial to Carlo Emanuele Vizzani, by Domenico Guidi, 1661
Via Atlas Obscura

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Sculptor creates ‘animal skins’ from metal chainmail
08:25 am



When I first heard of Beijing-based sculptor Shi Jin Song, it was for his 2006 exhibit, Na Zha Baby Boutique. The tongue-in-cheek collection of was a series of deadly-looking steel baby accessories intended for Na Zha, the toddler deity of pranks and tantrums who Song says, “cuts his own flesh and commits suicide to save his father, fights the dragon king, and overturns the universe.” The work was interesting, but a little too precious for my tastes.

Song’s Take Off The Armor’s Mountain has a more surreal feel, and I’d argue makes a far more interesting use of stainless steel. The installation is a series of chainmail “pelts” hung from the rafters of the gallery, as if in a tannery. Despite the metal materials, the “skins” maintain a kind of organic quality with their imperfect geometry and varying sizes (say from squirrel to mountain lion). Before the exhibit opened, the skins were glossed with oil for maximum sheen. Bowls were placed below to collect the drippings and the sculptures appeared to “bleed.”

The effect is gorgeous, otherworldly and perhaps a little tragic, implying both a species of shimmering metallic creatures, and their slaughter and skinning.









Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Swedish artist is trying to crowd-source $15 million to put a shack on the moon because art
07:17 am



Swedish artist Mikael Genberg has a vision—a very small, very expensive shack on the surface of the moon. The sculpture (a building you can’t use is just a sculpture) would be in the style of a Swedish country cottage, famous for their striking “falun red” paint jobs. It would be part of Genberg’s larger canon of work, which includes a similar cottage 13 meters up a tree and another, three meters below the surface of a lake. Both of those cottages can actually be visited.

The Moon House however, is not only totally unreachable, it’s completely dependent on crowd-sourcing for its pricey construction. Of the $15,360,000 he needs, Genberg has received $1,816, and he only has 185 days left to raise the cash. For the record, I’m generally in favor of large, ambitious, and yes, sometimes totally expensive, public art. Here’s the thing—this is not public art, and its very nature runs completely counterintuitive to Genberg’s manifesto.

From the Moon House website:

It all began nearly 15 years ago when the artist Mikael Genberg heard about the Swedish space industry plans to build a satellite that would orbit the moon. Four years and one phone call later, had the impossible idea become a reality. The first art project on the moon - a red house with white trim that evokes life in the barren dead moonscape had begun their journey.

The financial crisis affected many. An art project on the moon was no exception. But a new tomorrow dawns in and with the digital revolution and the breakthrough of crowd-funding. Thanks to Falun Red, which in 2014 celebrates its mark on the Swedish province for 250 years, made possible now one of the world’s most ambitious crowd-funding initiative. For the first time in history it is not only the states that make it to the moon. Moon House goal - to put a red house with white trim on the moon - is possible only if the people in the world do it together.

Månhuset is so much more than the first art project on the Moon. Månhuset want to inspire people to break their mental limits and change the face of what is possible. A democratic project in space, where everyone is welcome to participate in creating a unique symbol of what humans can achieve together. Månhuset make space more accessible to all in order to bring space closer to people and people closer to space.

No, space, much less the fucking moon, will not be made more accessible by this project. (Seeing to our woefully underfunded space program would certainly help, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.)

More importantly though, the point of public art is that it can be experienced in some way by the public, so that even if you hate it, it gives the community a collective sense of aesthetic identity—i.e. you can talk with complete strangers about how much you hate it, because you feel some ownership or connection to the work. So no, I will not be donating to Moon House. I would literally rather watch a video of some one setting $15 million on fire—the comment section of YouTube may not be the most sophisticated of communities, but at least that would actually be public.

In the video pitch below, Genberg coos, “everything is possible, as long as we set our minds to it.” While I admire his optimism and don’t doubt the scientific viability of such a project, the question for me is not one of possibility, but one of public worth.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Morbid menagerie: The opulent death displays of Frederik Ruysch
06:34 am


Frederik Ruysch

The drawings you see are here are from Frederik Ruysch’s Thesaurus Animalium Primus, a ten-volume collection published between 1701 and 1716. Ruysch was a Dutch botanist and anatomist who was appointed chief instructor to all the midwives in Amsterdam in 1668. His position had never existed before, but if a woman wanted to continue her work as a midwife, she now had to be evaluated by Ruysch. Having formerly suffered a dearth of cadavers to study and preserve, he suddenly found himself with access to a profusion of dead babies.

Part scientist, part artist, and part absolute eccentric, Ruysch became famous for his beautiful and morbid displays of embalming and remains, arranging human and animal parts together in the sorts of elaborate scenes you see here. Though he was a respected scientist, these presentations were barely medical, and hardly scientific. The sculptures often positioned the bones of babies in impossible stagings—you’ll notice one weeps genteelly, with a handkerchief. And with the help of his daughter Rachel, a famous still-life painter in her own right, he adorned his works with hair, flowers, fish, plants, seashells, and lace.

Ruysch showed his creations in a private museum (entry free to doctors, paid to layman), and they quickly became world-famous. The museum wasn’t quite a sober affair either—Ruysch would arrange tongue-in-cheek exhibits, like the bones of a three-year-old-boy next to that of a parrot, with the insinuated joke of “time flies.” In 1697, Czar Peter the Great took a tour of Ruysch’s work and became so enamored with one of the specimens that kissed it. He eventually purchased the entirety of the museum. I’m unsure of Dutch cultural norms regarding death around the turn of the 18th century, but the fact that midwives had to answer to a man with a side business in death sculptures suggests, at the very least, a conflict on interest. Still the strange beauty of Ruysch’s work cannot be denied, nor can his scientific brilliance.

His pioneering embalming techniques are what made his work possible, and Peter the Great also paid quite handsomely for the secret recipe to his preservation fluid, an alcohol of clotted pig’s blood, Berlin blue and mercury oxide. A (false) rumor circulated that the sailors transporting Ruysch’s collection to Russia drank all his embalming fluid, but it actually arrived in whole, and some of Ruysch’s specimens are still in perfect condition today—a testament to his brilliance in preservation.

Jan van Neck’s “Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Frederick Ruysch,” where he appears to perform an autopsy for posterity. (1683)







Via The Public Domain Review

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Sigmund Freud’s ‘thinking cap’

Hand-sculpted illustration by artist Jessica Fortner.

Freud Puts On His Thinking Cap

(via EPICponyz)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Kate Clark’s Humanimal Sculptures
08:49 pm


Kate Clark

Really insane and/or terrifying humanimal sculptures by artist Kate Clark. This sorta reminds me of a post I did a while back on Alex Kovas: Freaky Manimal Model.

From Kate’s website:

Offering a heavy hand of irreverent wit striped with compassion, Kate Clark’s sculptures ask viewers to disregard pretense and to apprehend the idea of emotional uncertainty. Although the artist embarks on a journey towards shocking and repelling viewers as they recognize and reject the thing?

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Intricate Sculptures From Recycled Wood
09:55 am


Michael Ferris Jr.

Here are some absolutely amazing sculptures made from recycled materials by artist Michael Ferris Jr.

Artist’s statement for sculptures:

My intent is to render an accurate likeness of my subject however what I find more compelling is communicating the sitter?

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment