Tag 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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Last year.

A new year of school is around the corner. It may be boring to go back for some of you, but I’ve always loved school and learning new things. It’s even more exciting, and a little frightening, that it will be my last year. After a long time of not knowing what I want to do in life it looks like I’m finally in a great direction. I love writing, editing, being creative and be an organizer. Making my new online magazine Allop has allowed me to do just that, and it tasted good. I now know more than ever, that I want to be a writer, editor and hopefully someday an editor-in-chief.

But for know, big choices have to be made. I will be focusing more on my writing instead of styling practices. Although I love to do both, I think my writing will be the best thing focusing on for the future. I will be more professional with this blog, hopefully get the .wordpress out of the way and will be writing more pieces to really practice the art of writing. The subjects will be the same: pop cultural happenings from a more philosophical perspective. Looking at the big picture. My only problem: I don’t know if I should be writing in English or Dutch? Maybe both? Not sure yet!

For now, dream with me when looking at this still from the video for Woodkids single ‘I Love You’. It is truly a work of art.

Woodkid I love you still

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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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Photography: Escape in a romantic world

The ‘’new’’ medium photography comes, like painting and film, in many forms. Advertisements, instagram pictures, newspaper pictures and fashion photos; they’re all made with a certain purpose. The main element of photography when it became popular in the beginning of the 20th century was to capture the truth, that moment in time in the world. But like other forms of art, photography has its trends and feelings too.

Like my title reveals, I would like to place photography as a medium in our time. I can do that with quite a lot of material, but I will give three examples of romantic photography. They all are very different and are used in a different way, but are all important nonetheless. First up: Instagram.

Instagram is ruling the (digital) world at the moment. Profile pictures, feet in the sand, a Starbucks coffee: everything is getting instagramed. Photos look like they were taken in the ‘70s or when there was no color yet. With all the digital technology: why do we want a picture that is less clear and crisp? One word: escapism. Instagram gives us the opportunity to give our world a look we will never see in the real world. It’s a form of making the world more beautiful, more interesting and more romantic. The filters from Instagram are literally filters for our daily life. The real question, I think, is: for whom do we use Instagram? Do we just want to look interesting on Facebook or is it really an escape and an attempt to make your world more beautiful?

Another aspect of the world of photography is of course fashion photography. Every month the shoots in Vogue and other magazines bedazzle us. A lot of pictures are about selling clothes, but I see another quality that really problematizes the line between art and ‘’normal’’ photography. An example is the photographer Tim Walker. Tim Walker makes a lot of independent work but he also works with fashion magazines like Vogue. And what he creates are worlds we all can escape in. It’s not just about the beautiful clothes but also about the story. It sucks us in and it makes the world more beautiful. It is a romantic escape from reality, but also a romantic value you can make your own in daily life.

The last example I want to give has to do with both examples above. In our digital era it’s very easy to buy a camera and make pictures of the world exactly as it is. In that way, the goal of photography hasn’t changed at all! A growing group has turned their back on the technology and is doing it the old school way: Lomography. This phenomenon has become very popular and plays a big role in creating memories in a romantic way. Cameras like the Diana or Fish Eye camera are made to make the world look more beautiful and interesting. I’m the proud owner of both and take them on every holiday and sometimes just in daily life. The roll of film and the lens make a picture that is individual and personal. They romanticize the moment in the photo. With this romantic filter we can always look back at the pictures with a sentimental feeling and think: what a beautiful world I’ve seen.

The real question in this article is: why do we need all these help? Is the world really that ugly on it’s own? Some people might think it is, but the world has never been more beautiful. The problem is the eye of humanity. We can’t see clearly enough trough all the filters of worries, work and wrong. We have become incapable of seeing the world in all its glory. The trick is to stand still, to look out of your window instead of looking at your screen and just see, look, feel the world. Escapism is not necessary; looking through a romantic lens is something we all can learn again.

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– Gracia Visscher

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Caravaggio & Dolce: Drama in Fashion

Since the birth of the modern time people have had the urge to dress themselves with a personal style. Clothes became a form of liberation for mankind, especially for women who could dress without a tight corset or layers of fabric. Fashion has had many forms during the 20th century, but also many functions and trends. Now, as we’re moving further into the 21st century, fashion mirrors the feeling of nostalgia, romance and volume I find necessary to share: Drama.

For me, fashion always has been a way to escape the (sometimes) boring daily life and not only live in a dreamy and colourful world, but also brightening the world around me. Often I get funny looks about my daring combinations but it’s a way to bring colour to the often-grey urban life we function in. Fashion seems to agree with me on this subject. Vogue, aka heaven, produces the most romantic, glorious and dreamy photos and with that offer us ‘common’ people an escape. Although we love and need this escape to the perfect dressed world, I feel the time has come to bring this romantic world to live!

And it seems that the fashion world has picked up this need of romance. I’ve been following the multiple fashion weeks for some time now, with awws and oohws all over. Although I’m all about looking forward (already thinking about my spring look for 2013), I really like the aim of the fashion designers for the fall/winter feel, which is: Drama with a big letter D. I will give you an example and explain why fashion is such a big mirror to our society and how this relates to the past.

A trend I want to explain is the return to the baroque era. The famous baroque pattern with lots of curls has been spotted on dresses like you see below from Dolce and Gabbana. Also in more accessible stores like H&M is this trend represented. A lot of jewellery reflects the mind-set of drama. You want to and have to be noticed with this trend, it’s all about emotion, drama and beauty. The baroque era was not different from this fall jewellery. Buildings, paintings and even music were dripping in effects, curls and patterns. To explain the resemblance of our fashion today and the baroque era I want to compare the dress from Dolce & Gabbana with the famous painting from baroque painter Caravaggio, The Calling of St. Matthew.

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This may look like a weird comparison but it actually makes a lot of sense! When we take a good look at the dress we see a deep black covered with gold discs, pearls and little gold stones. The important aspect of this dress is the way the gold looks on the black fabric. Caravaggio did the same thing with his paintings in a brilliant way. The dramatic contrast between dark and light make his paintings theatrical and mysterious. Like The Calling of St. Matthew is the Dolce & Gabbana dress dramatic, mysterious and at the same time just enough revealing. This is exactly what our society needs from fashion and other art forms: Drama and mystery. In our hard times where we get overloaded with bills, budget cuts and many worries we need a world to escape to. Fashion has made it possible for us to dress like royalty and just be that prince or princess this winter like we all loved dreaming about in the early years. So people: get dressed and bring that drama!

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– Gracia Visscher

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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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