Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Minimal still lifes

September 25, 2020

Two still lifes from the work of Dutch photographer Krista van der Niet (born in 1978); her website is here, and she has an Instagram page.


The unbearable lightness of food and drink

September 24, 2020

One more eccentric vein of modern still lifes, on the Production Paradise site: from the Spotlight Nov. 2018 magazine: “Piotr Gregorcyk Photography – Food & Drink Photography & Motion”: still photographs of food and drink floating, disassembled, in zero gravity. Frozen moments captured from floating motion in time and space.


Vase of Flowers with Donuts

September 24, 2020

… in the style of Jan Brueghel / Breughel the Elder. Another wonderful digital still life composed by Stephanie Shih:

(#1) On Facebook yesterday from Stephanie: “Continuing on the still life obsession, I did a collab with a friend’s donut shop. Inspiration: Brueghel the Elder … Donuts: DK’s Donuts & Bakery and Mayly Tao; styling/production assist Andi Terada”

Stephanie continued:

On a related note, there are nearly 50 donuts in the house. We just made a croissant-donut kimchi grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Please send help.

Donut madness!


Still life grotesques

September 22, 2020

Thanks to my posting about a Stephanie Shih still life (on 9/13/20 in “Mid-autumn memento mori for the times”), Pinterest has been providing me with links to other modern still lifes (one posted about on 9/15/20 in “Modern still lifes: Darren Jones”). It turns out that there’s an incredibly rich vein of work along these lines, only a bit of which I can sample here. Today, it’s photographer Tara Sellios and her still life grotesques, in the tradition of Western vanitas paintings: reminders that in life, we are in death.


Caillebotte’s garden

September 17, 2020

From Joelle Stepien Bailard on Facebook, this wonderful 1878 painting by Gustave Caillebotte, The Orange Trees, or The Artist’s Brother in His Garden:


It’s like a snapshot photo — people caught in the midst of going about their day — while being carefully composed formally (the dog lying on the path is an important feature in the composition) and combining highly realistic elements (the metal chairs, in particular) with some impressionist elements (the flowers, in particular). Complex and satisfying.

Then an exchange with Joelle:

Arnold Zwicky: Caillebotte is underappreciated, I think.

Joelle Stepien Bailard > Arnold Zwicky: I agree. I often feel he was too sophisticated to be properly appreciated in his own time.

As it turns out, his time eventually came, but that was in the 1960s, long after he died, young, in 1894.


Modern still lifes: Darren Jones

September 15, 2020

(Some very plain talk about sex between men, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Thanks to my 9/13 posting on Stephanie Shih’s West/East digital still life in “Mid-autumn memento mori for the times”, Pinterest has been sending me modern still lifes. Among which is a way gay photo composition by Darren Jones:


The image is dominated by the pump bottle of Gun Oil lube (more below).


Mid-autumn memento mori for the times

September 13, 2020

Stephanie Shih’s characterization of a digital still life she recently posted (reproduced here with permission), combining elements from Western and Eastern (especially Chinese) painting traditions and located both in mid-autumn times and in a time when we are surrounded by death in the pandemic:



New Yorker 8/24/20

August 21, 2020

Two cartoons from the latest issue of the magazine. One has the winning caption for an absurdist Lonnie Millsap drawing, from the New Yorker‘s captioning contest; the other is a Karl Stevens bit of gender comedy. Both artists appear with some regularity in the magazine, but haven’t been featured on this blog before; their styles are strikingly different, in both form and content. But they gave me pleasure on a very difficult morning (after the afflictions reported in my last posting, breathing became terribly painful for me; eventually I slept it off and now at 11am it’s just an ache, one among a great many.)


Hard-cruisin’ Daddy

August 20, 2020

(Totally steeped in queerness, with some really steamy male photography, but it’s mostly about culture and art, and only incidentally about men’s genitals or mansex — so caution advised for kids and the sexually modest.)

It started with a blow-in card that fell out of the most recent issue of Out magazine:

(#1) Hard-cruisin’ Daddy: an abstastic  Daddy type, displaying a Cruise of Death face, with narrowed eyes and intense gaze — Boys faint on the street from the sheer intensity of his combined sexual desire (for them) and sexual desirability (by them) — while modeling a remarkable suit from a high-fashion designer

It then turns out that there is even more here than meets the eye, because the model is in fact presented as knowing — not actually just  a very hot guy (if this is your taste) caught cruising for (gay) sex on the street, but a model engaged in a performance for his viewers, deliberately projecting a specific sexual persona. (Male photography is full of photos of men presented as captured in fleeting moments of inadvertently displaying their bodies or engaging in various kinds of intimacy with one another, but there’s also a huge genre of self-conscious posing, and #1 is solidly in the latter genre.)


Double scoop in the heat of summer

August 10, 2020

The cover of the 8/17 New Yorker (not yet on the stands), “Double Scoop” by Wayne Thiebaud. Ice cream for the hot summer days.

Not about language, but another tribute to the pleasures of Thiebaud’s art.