Archive for the ‘Art and artists’ Category

Six to Eight Black Men – Merry Christmas from David Sedaris

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth”, in conversation with Bill Moyers is free on souncloud

Friday, March 29th, 2013
The role of the artist I now understood as that of revealing through the world-surfaces the implicit forms of the soul, and the great agent to assist the artist was the myth.
-Joseph Campbell

I worked as an artist for George Lucas and I am very familiar with “The Ranch” in Northern California, where Lucas held 4th of July parties every year. The following conversations between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell took place at  George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, right before Campbell’s death in 1987.

Everyone is a hero in his birth. He’s undergone a tremendous transformation, from a little water creature living in the realm of the amniotic fluid and so forth, then coming out and becoming an air breathing mammal that ultimately will be self-standing. This is an enormous transformation and a heroic act, Joseph Campbell said. He wrote “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, a seminal work of comparative mythology.

Apologies – the links on soundcloud no longer work – someone took good care to take them down but it was good while it lasted.

Bill Moyers released Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth” in 6 episodes on soundcloud. It includes Chief Seattle’s letter to the US Government:

Ep. 1: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – The Hero’s Adventure

Ep. 2: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – The Message of the Myth

Ep. 3: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – The First Storytellers

Ep. 4: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – Sacrifice and Bliss

Ep. 5: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – Love and the Goddess

Ep. 6: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth — ‘Masks of Eternity’

Durer is at the National Gallery in Washington, DC

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Albrecht Dürer

“What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things… We must gather it together from far and wide”  Albrecht Durer. This quote was inscribed in one of my favorite galleries in New York – The Morgan Library and Museum.

The exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC runs until June 9th, 2013 -

Art Basel Miami

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Extinguished a bit of a thirst for art at Art Basel Miami this past weekend. Visited the very same galleries I have seen dozens of shows of in New York, but felt as if meeting someone from church … at a Maskenball.

What happened to the beautiful red ceiling of XQUISITE CORPSE ? I decided to wear it..

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I wanted to swim in it all along.. that’s why I scouted the Garment District in Manhattan for 50 yards of the most beautiful red ( as soon as I find the card of the store on 38th st – I will publish it. The most amazing place, swimming in beautiful fabrics and amazing people. I owe our red to them )

The red ceiling..

Come out and play XQUISITE CORPSE Open Studio

Monday, February 27th, 2012

XQUISITE CORPSE Open Studio ( and party )
Saturday, March 10, 12-6 pm and party 6-11 pm
526 West 26th street, studio 723, New York, NY 10001

A Collaborative art project.. with a twist.
Please be cautious,
this will not be a usual art party,
you may need to wear art on your sleeve.
The XQUISITE CORPSE will drink the new wine and art will be made by all and not by one!
Paint, painting surfaces and booze will be FREE, make sure to wear comfortable clothes, if anything.

XQUISITE CORPSE is part of High LIne Open Studios – Chelsea – 2012 and Armory Arts week New York.

With the generous support of Ian Mack.

A few great things – Damien Hirst’s Spot paintings, The Happenings at Pace

Friday, February 10th, 2012

I had heard so much criticism about Damien’s Spot paintings before going to the three New York shows, that I had the sneaky suspicion I am going to love them. They gave me pleasure – pleasure is hardly an argument – you either like having it or not. The flavor colored paintings made me want to lick every single dot, were named after various chemical substances and defied Jerry Saltz’s argument “You see one, and you really have seen them all.” In fact, they all tasted different.

When I think of Damien – I also can’t help but think of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Hey, if that artist’s intent is to make a lot of money – that is not a reason to reject the work – although this is not my intent but can’t speak against that being someone else’s. The spots aren’t things by themselves and they do not create a traditional artistic value (via the artist’s hand ). We all know from math that a dot cannot be defined as having a substance, it’s a destination. Each room of the three Gagosian galleries was brilliantly hung – thus all the paintings in a room worked together with scale to triangulate space and create a giant, Three-dimensional musical piano ( you know, the toy ones – i had one when i was a kid ).

It was a pure pleasure to indulge in the simple language of color, to occupy the space within the dots and just listen to the music.

When I think of Damien – I also can’t help but think of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Hey
Damien Hurst Spot paintings at Gagosian gallery on  24th St, New York
Damien Hirst Spot paintings at Gagosian Gallery on Madison ave in New York

The exhibition Opening at Pace gallery’s Happenings: New York, 1958-1963 was packed with the Who’s Who in the art world today. Although the crowds for the most parts obscured the actual show – I think it was more or less the point. The exhibition opening was, all over again, a Happening on its own.

Works by Jim Dine, Simone Forti, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, Carolee Schneemann, and Robert Whitman.

Ai Weiwei at Mary Boone, questions, answers.. and the pigments of imagination

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower seeds at Mary Boone gallery in Chelsea.

One thing I learned – when art asks questions – please, do not answer. Asking is fun. Answering, on the other hand, is not.

Christopher Russell’s strange, beautiful grey obelisks at Julie Saul gallery. Grey is a pigment of your imagination..

The New Matrix of Artist’s Emotional States

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The Indian Painter’s palette – the most seductive colors..

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

..I have seen to have survived many centuries and hold their power, on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted a lavish Indian painting exhibit and I managed to catch the last day and take notes, photography was not allowed.

The ultimate geek list of pigments used in Indian Painting:

White pigments:
1. Lead White ( basic Lead carbonate )
2. Zinc White ( zinc oxide )
3. Chalk ( calcium carbonate )

4. Cinnabar ( Mercury sulfide )
5. Vermillion ( Synthetic Mercuric Sulfide )
6. Lac ( primary colorant Laccaic Acid )
7. Red Lead ( Lead tetroxide/orange red )
8. Realgar ( Arsenic disulfide/bright orange red mineral )
9. Saffron ( Crocetin and Crocin )

10. Opriment ( Arsenic trisulfide/soft yellow )
11. Indian Yellow ( Magnesium euxanthate/ originally from the urine of cows fed mango leaves )
12. Gamboge ( yellowish orange )

13. Verdigris ( Basic Copper Acetate/dark bluish green pigment )
14. Malachite ( Basic Copper Carbonate )
Mixtures to make green – Indigo and Indian yellow

15. Ultramarine ( Natural Ultramarine is the ground, separated blue particles – lazurite – from the gemstone Lapis Lazuli )
16. Azurite ( basic Copper Carbonate/frequently found adjacent to Malachite )
17. Indigo ( Indigotin )

Earth Pigments:
18. Iron Oxides

19. Carbon
20. Gold Ink ( Gold particles with gum ), similar with Silver and Tin ink

21. Beetle wings ( to represent Emeralds )

22. Carbon inks ( Lamb black )
23. Metallo-gallic ink
24. Indian ink ( naturally )
25. Willow Charcoal
26. Lamp Black ( soot from fat, oil, tar )
27. Ivory Black

28. Ghatti gum
29. Suresh
30. Gum arabic

Were-Rabbit on the wall.. a Bulgarian style feast, with a twist..

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

As part of an Action Art project over the holidays, I invited my artists friends over for a Bulgarian style feast, with a twist.. As Bulgarian tradition dictates, you have to paint on the walls for food:)

The twist was that my friends and participants didn’t know that all the walls were tarped for painting.., I advertised the event as a sit down dinner with all the trimmings of a family event. I wanted to completely detach the action from a specific result and let things unfold.

..and here are the results

\\ Ink, brushes, charcoal, sharpies, pastels on butcher paper, red lights

The next day, I took photographs of all the walls in natural lighting..

In addition to drawings, there Were-Rabbits, poems and cryptic messages..

even a Were-Man..

Occupy Wall Street and Magritte also showed up.. with parts of a Christmas tree

100 percent Ultra Violet

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

I went to Ultra Violet’s studio this past weekend to take photographs of her and her work. Ultra Violet said the first person she met off the boat ( arriving from France in the 60’s ) was Salvador Dali.  She became his muse, and later on, became a muse to Andy Warhol and a superstar in his Factory.

Ultra Violet with her piece 99 percent, in her studios in Chelsea

Ultra Violet with her piece 99 percent

Ultra Violets piece IX XI in memory of the 9/11 attacks

Ultra Violet's piece IX XI in memory of the 9/11 attacks

tiny versions of the IX XI pieces

tiny versions of the IX XI pieces

What do Ultra Violet, Quantum tunnelling and Bhagavad Gita have in common?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Surmounting Uncertainty.

Ultra Violet

says 99 percent certainty is 100 percent certainty.

Quantum Tunneling

Quantum Mechanics says a particle has a definite probability of being anywhere in the entire universe. Although any real distance from the particle’s expected classical path is infinitesimally small, since Quantum Mechanics is a statistical theory those small probabilities must be counted! Quantum Tunneling is a fascinating effect that arises out of these small probabilities. ( I certainly, 100 percent didn’t write this )

Bhagavad Gita

Philip Glass’ Satyagraha is based on Bhagavad Gita and sung entirely in Sanskrit, without titles for the audience. Bhagavad Gita says the world is not for the doubting man.

Math for Artists: Exponents and Radicals

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

A friend of mine I used to work with at Lucasfilm recently shared this.. He is a brilliant technical mind, the guy behind the most advanced technology of special effects simulations created by Pixelux Entertainment. Naturally, artists and engineers at Lucasfilm were locked in eternal friendly battle of the minds, where engineers of course always had the upper hand since  entertainment industry today is essentially a high-tech industry. So we had many inside jokes regarding the math abilities of artists.

Math is a language, and choosing Peet Mondrian’s colors is no accident, for Math is not only an abstract language but also a visual language. Visualization in mathematics, or mathematical notation, was invented in the 16th century and it immensely liberated mathematical discovery. Like musical notation, modern mathematical notation is strict and a few symbols could convey very complex ideas.





I went to mathematical high school and participated in a few Mathematical Olympiads, although I am the worst student of math as I relied mostly on my pattern recognition ability rather than study. When I moved to the States I did some of the  comprehensive IQ tests and scored pretty high; but my pattern recognition was the highest at 147. I have my own definition of pattern recognition and it’s the ability to predict an outcome based on two or three reference points. As in life and math, trouble is if you think you have two or three reference points but in fact only one is a solid ground and the rest.. simply conjectures.

Some of the Mensa tests I take for fun do involve little math but sometimes they do refer to elephants, some with pink and green stripes, some all pink and some all blue..

Some of the Mensa tests I take for fun do involve little math but sometimes they do refer to elephants, some with pink and green stripes, some all pink and some all blue..

A rare book of nothing

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of  Yale University published the Voynich manuscript online, which scientists assert (with 95% confidence) was made in the 15th century. It has about 240 pages of text and illustrations that have never been deciphered as to their meaning. The writing looks like a language, the illustrations look like plants, biological or cosmological diagrams but with no …meaning. In the context of the 21st century this clearly is a work of art.

Voynich manuscript

Voynich manuscript