Category Archives: Art

ARTPOP

It was an incredibly exciting year for pop music lovers. Several huge pop queens released a new album and were in and out of the news. Some were exhaustingly boring (Prism by Katy Perry), some queens were just super annoying (Rihanna) and some were fabulous, poppy, entertaining and awesome. And one came new on the scene (Lorde)! The dynamics and differences in style between the ladies is very interesting, so I will be writing about that. But for now, let’s discuss what will become the album of the year: ARTPOP by Lady Gaga.

The world really needed some Gaga inspiration, weirdness and artiness. The Fame and Fame Monster were absolutely mind-blowing in terms of pop aesthetics. Gaga changed the pop music scene into a continuous wow extravaganza and exited the industry with a great voice, well-thought-out visuals and an ideology behind everything she was and is doing. The Born This Way album was amazing but it didn’t work for me, and I think for others, as well as it could have. The performances were a little to much ”Love yourself” stuff, which is a great message, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the message was so overwhelming the music, it became to distracting. Let’s just say: enough is enough, we can also just enjoy the music. And I think that’s what Gaga’s giving us with ARTPOP.

The single Applause and a few other snippets and singles were released prior to the album. Most recently, we could listen to Dope and Do What You Want (ft. R. Kelly) and finally had an idea what the album would sound like. The amazing artwork was released and showed Gaga as a Jeff Koons sculpture with classical paintings like the Venus by Botticelli in the background. ARTPOP is thus a collaboration between what we understand as high art and pop music. In that way, Gaga was spot on by explaining the work to be a reversed Warholian experience. Not taking pop culture and making it art, but taking the art and integrating it in pop culture. But I could write on and on about visuals, let’s just focus on the music right now!

The first 6 songs are not that appealing to me as the songs 7 through 15. The opening song Aura, for me, is just too loud and noisy. Venus is cool but you really have to get used to it. I still have to listen more to G.U.Y, Sexxx Dreams and Jewels N’ Drugs but I really get exited when we get to Do What You Want. R. Kelly was a surprise and I’m not supporting him or his reputation at all. I don’t really think he contributes in a positive way to the song, but it has a great beat and rhythm. Gaga also used some weird slow and flowy tunes, for example in the title song. ”We could, we could, belong together (ARTPOP)”, the ARTPOP is really flowy like it moves with the wind. This is a nice contrast with the slamming beats and electronic energy.

My absolute favorites are Swine, Donatella, Dope, Gypsy and Applause. Swine is just the ultimate club song and I hope I can go crazy soon in one of the clubs in my town. The way Donatella is put together is just so funny and awesome, you can scream along perfectly with the DO-NE-TELL-A! Awesome. For me, the best surprise and much needed loaded peace was the song Dope. I think this song symbolizes a huge turning point in pop music where the club song meets a dark brother in the corner. Dope could be just another love song but it is very loaded and almost disturbing because Gaga uses her voice in a very different and present way. It is the obsession/addiction love song. ARTPOP closes with the happy song Gypsy (it reminds me a lot of the eighties influences on the Born This Way album) and finally, Applause. I think it was a very smart move to choose the last song on the album as a first single because it really summarizes the ARTPOP feeling.

I think Gaga was the much needed some what adult presence in pop music and is therefore the perfect balance to the YOLO lifestyle Miley Cyrus portrays with her style and album. These two ladies are the it girls of 2013 in the way they use marketing, style, visuals and their voice to win the crowd over. LOVE!

ARTPOP

– Gracia Visscher

 

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Art can change the world

There’s not a lot of room for art in the Dutch society. Budget cuts are destroying the cultural field and that leaves very little space for the purpose of practicing art: make a change in peoples lives. As a student of cultural studies I’m obligated to be angry about these developments. But I have to admit that these cuts are the wake-up call we needed! I blame postmodernism for everything. It seems to me that art stopped being a part of society and found a little room all to itself. No interaction; the idea of the artist mattered the most. Most of the times we just looked at the work anddidn’t understand it without a long explanation. Art shouldn’t need a long explanation but be right in the center of society. Here are a couple of my favorite artworks: colorful, playful and understandable. Fun art for everyone!

The Weather Project Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson

Simone Decker

Simone Decker

Sequin Theresa Himmer

 

Theresa Himmer

Hense

Hense

Leonid Tishkov

 

Leonid Tishkov

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Jean Paul Gaultier Heaven

For once I’m very happy to live in the Netherlands! The first exhibition that shows the work of thirty years Jean Paul Gaultier is in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, and of course, I was there!

I have written a review on the exhibition for the site 8weekly.nl, but it is in Dutch. I just wanted to share with you here that is was amazing. The exhibition shows a lot of personal stuff from the fashion designer like sketches, polaroid photos of him and Madonna and videos of the many many fashion shows. Multi media was smartly worked with by projecting moving faces on the mannequins. They looked at you, blinked with their eyes and even sung. It was awesome! If you are by any change near or in the Netherlands, this exhibition is certainly worth the trip! I might go again, want to experience the wonderland of Gaultier one more time! The exhibition can be visited until the 12th of May!

Naamloos 2

Gracia Visscher

http://www.kunsthal.nl

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Nature in art: The Sublime

I just came back from a very long seminar about the sublime. It’s a course I’m doing the next 6 months and already I have been enlightened. Sometimes different art forms, but also happenings in real life, can have a strange impact on you. You are amazed, but also maybe a little thrown, scared and intrigued. In this blog, I want to find out what things or events cause this complex emotional feeling. How sublime strikes us..

The example we talked about during the seminar was an art piece by the painter Caspar David Friedrich. I was always amazed by the work of this brilliant man, but today I understood (a little bit more) why. The particular piece I want to talk about is Mönch am Meer. The piece mainly shows nature. Nature with the capital N. The sublime is often shown (doesn’t always have to be) in nature and the way it cannot be tamed by humanity. We feel small and fragile when facing this type of aggressiveness that can be shown by nature. The monk is so small he almost fades in the black and rough sea.

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Der_Mönch_am_Meer_-_Google_Art_Project

Now, place yourself in his position. Feel the wind blowing and see the sky grow darker and darker, closing in on you. Hear the rough see almost roar, so close you feel spatters of water on your head. What do you feel? Scared, intimidated? Of course! But the sublime is more then that. You also feel kind of strong. It gives you power, it inspires you! I think that the sublime shows itself in the combination of these emotions. It’s like when you see a thunderstorm. You’re actually kind of afraid, but it also puts a spell on you, it fascinates you. We are all in some way drawn to the huge and destructive character of nature.

In some kind of way I think a sublime experience happened to Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump. Religious connotations are often made with events in nature; it would be a reflection of the power of God. Lieutenant Dan challenges God when the boat Forrest and the lieutenant use for catching shrimp finds itself in a big storm at sea. He calls it a duel between the almighty and himself as a tiny human being. Ultimately he finds peace in the storm, it changes him completely. Lieutenant Dan got rid of his anger (and in some way his fear) by surviving the storm and becomes a humble man. He finds some inner peace that maybe we all feel when facing this type of nature violence. A feeling of zen, like you absorbed the power and made it your own.

LT Dan

I’m very curious if any of you who read my articles ever had a sublime feeling. Maybe through a painting, maybe you survived a tornado of some sort?! I’m very intrigued by the subject of the sublime and how it really affects someone’s life.

– Gracia Visscher

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New kid in town

taylormariemccormickproject521-560x560

19 year old photographer Taylor Marie McCormick. I’m a fan!

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Filippo Minelli

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Nature meets Culture, the neoromantic age

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Tattooing: The Romantic Era

Art history is a beautiful and big subject to talk about. All the different ways of expression, artists and developments the arts go trough; it’s a reflection on the daily life of a particular time. New media like film and photography made their way up the art historical story and are now ‘known members of the club’. One visual and probably most ‘human’ form of art has yet to be acknowledged by the art world. Me first: Tattoos!

Tattoos are, as now many people think, a very personal form of art. It doesn’t hang in a museum, it’s a part of someone’s life. As the owner of 6 tattoos I can say that the pictures on my body are a part of my life and me. It is a microform of art: reflection of the daily life of one person. Like sculptures and paintings, tattoos have been around for while. It goes back about 5000 years, mostly developing in old tribes and Japan. The popularity of tattooing in the west and modern world, I think, with the Sailor Jerry designs. The big pirate ships, naked pin up models in black and grey with accents of red: it doesn’t get more classic then that. From this point the tattooing world has experienced some trends with the ultimate down low: the ‘90s tribal.

Tattoo artists of the new age are not just hiding behind a tattoo machine or a big portfolio. They consider their work ‘art’ and want to show it off like painters have been doing for years. It’s less about the customer’s wish (The Tasmanian devil is kind of old fashion maybe?) and more about the artwork and freedom of the artist. Having the honor to get that work on your body. It’s a very romantic and subjective idea to trust an artist with your body and be a canvas. But another romantic trend in the tattooing world is the concept of the tattoo, which comes with the artist element of tattoo artists. A lot of tattoos from the past are mostly from a very standard design, a stencil that has been printed out many times. Examples are the butterfly, all the Sailor Jerry designs (although these are classic), the tribal form and many others. Maybe they have been done in a slightly different way; the subject is often the same.

An example for this new generation of tattoo artists is Peter Aurisch. Working in Berlin, the Internet fills up with the most amazing unique and fascinating tattoos. One thing that he does, and some other tattoo artists like Xoïl, is using color in a very watercolory way. It’s not about keeping the color between the lines but making it slightly less ‘’perfect’’. This gives the tattoo something romantic in a way it is almost drawn on you, like it’s always been a part of you. Another technique that’s very interesting, but also done by other artists, is the abstract lining in the tattoos. It doesn’t look clean and crisp, but it looks that much more interesting. And: all the lines matter.

The most romantic element of the new generation of tattooing is, I think, the special band between artist and customer. Because of the uniqueness of the tattoo and the work that has put in to it, the artist and canvas create a special band. It is a piece of his art in your body and there is nothing like it on the planet. We all should be a canvas for these great new artists and maybe make an art history for ourselves.

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