Land Art Robert Smithson

Robert Smithson (January 2, 1938 – July 20, 1973) was an American artist who used photography in relation to sculpture and land art.Smithson was born in Passaic, New Jersey and early on lived mostly in Rutherford. In Rutherford, William Carlos Williams was Smithson's pediatrician. When Smithson was nine his family moved to the Allwood section of Clifton. He studied painting and drawing in New York City at the Art Students League of New York from 1955 to 1956 and then briefly at the Brooklyn Museum School.
His early exhibited artworks were collage works influenced by "homoerotic drawings and clippings from beefcake magazines", science fiction, and early Pop Art. He primarily identified himself as a painter during this time, but after a three-year rest from the art world, Smithson emerged in 1964 as a proponent of the emerging minimalist movement. His new work abandoned the preoccupation with the body that had been common in his earlier work. Instead he began to use glass sheet and neon lighting tubes to explore visual refraction and mirroring, in particular the sculpture Enantiomorphic Chambers. Crystalline structures and the concept of entropy became of particular interest to him, and informed a number of sculptures completed during this period, including Alogon 2. In Smithson’s eyes entropy was the second law of thermodynamics, which exploits the range of energy by telling us that energy is easier lost than obtained. He said that in the ultimate future the universe will burn out into an all encompassing sameness. Smithson used the idea of entropy to explore ideas of decay and renewal, chaos and order, non-sites and earthworks, trying to find equilibrium between these opposites. His ideas on entropy also branched out into culture, “the urban sprawl and the infinite number of housing developments of the post war boom have contributed to the architect of entropy”. Smithson did not see entropy as a disadvantage; he saw it as a form of transformation of society and culture, which is shown in his artwork like his non-site pieces. Smithson became affiliated with artists who were identified with the minimalist or Primary Structures movement, such as Nancy Holt (whom he married), Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt. As a writer, Smithson was interested in applying mathematical impersonality to art that he outlined in essays and reviews for Arts Magazine and Artforum and for a period was better known as a critic than as an artist. Some of Smithson's later writings recovered 18th- and 19th-century conceptions of landscape architecture which influenced the pivotal earthwork explorations which characterized his later work. He eventually joined the Dwan Gallery, whose owner Virginia Dwan was an enthusiastic supporter of his work.






 As well as works of art, Smithson produced a good deal of theoretical and critical writing, including the 2D paper work A Heap of Language, which sought to show how writing might become an artwork. In his essay "Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan"  Smithson documents a series of temporary sculptures made with mirrors at particular locations around the Yucatan peninsula. Part travelogue, part critical rumination, the article highlights Smithson's concern with the temporal as a cornerstone of his work
Smithson's interest in the temporal is explored in his writings in part through the recovery of the ideas of the picturesque. His essay "Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape" was written in 1973 after Smithson had seen an exhibition curated by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers at the Whitney Museum entitled “Frederick Law Olmsted’s New York” as the cultural and temporal context for the creation of his late-19th-century design for Central Park. In examining the photographs of the land set aside to become Central Park, Smithson saw the barren landscape that had been degraded by humans before Olmsted constructed the complex ‘naturalistic’ landscape that was viscerally apparent to New Yorkers in the 1970s. Smithson was interested in challenging the prevalent conception of Central Park as an outdated 19th-century Picturesque aesthetic in landscape architecture that had a static relationship within the continuously evolving urban fabric of New York City. In studying the writings of 18th- and 19th-century Picturesque treatise writers Gilpin, Price, Knight and Whately, Smithson recovers issues of site specificity and human intervention as dialectic landscape layers, experiential multiplicity, and the value of deformations manifest in the Picturesque landscape.







 Smithson further implies in this essay that what distinguishes the Picturesque is that it is based on real land  For Smithson, a park exists as “a process of ongoing relationships existing in a physical region” Smithson was interested in Central Park as a landscape which by the 1970s had weathered and grown as Olmsted’s creation, but was layered with new evidence of human intervention.
    Now the Ramble has grown up into an urban jungle, and lurking in its thickets are “hoods, hobos, hustlers, and homosexuals,” and other estranged creatures of the city…. Walking east, I passed graffiti on boulders… On the base of the Obelisk along with the hieroglyphs there are also graffiti. …In the spillway that pours out of the Wollman Memorial Ice Rink, I noticed a metal grocery cart and a trash basket half-submerged in the water. Further down, the spillway becomes a brook choked with mud and tin cans. The mud then spews under the Gapstow Bridge to become a muddy slough that inundates a good part of The Pond, leaving the rest of The Pond aswirl with oil slicks, sludge, and Dixie cups”
While Smithson did not find “beauty” in the evidence of abuse and neglect, he did see the state of things as demonstrative of the continually transforming relationships between man and landscape. In his proposal to make process art out of the dredging of The Pond, Smithson sought to insert himself into the dynamic evolution of the park.Wikipedia






Fantastic art James Christensen

James C. Christensen (September 26, 1942 – January 8, 2017) was an American artist of religious and fantasy art and formerly an instructor at Brigham Young University. Christensen said his inspirations were myths, fables, fantasies, and tales of imagination.After college Christensen began his career as a free-lance illustrator. He was also a junior high school art instuctor in California for a time.
Christensen taught art at BYU from 1976 until 1997.
He has had numerous showings of his work throughout the US and has been commissioned by media companies to create artwork for their publications, such as Time-Life Books and Omni.
His artwork has been featured on the cover of Leading Edge issue #41, winning him the Chesley Award for cover artwork in 2002.Christensen's work has appeared in the American Illustration Annual and Japan's Outstanding American Illustrators. He also won all the professional art honors the World Science Fiction Convention offers, and multiple Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.







 Christensen appeared in an episode of ABC's show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2005. He created a picture featuring a member of the family as a fairy. The design team filmed a segment at his studio. The Greenwich Workshop donated a framed Court of the Faeries that Christensen presented to the family for the room as well.
Christensen has published more than three books, with many of his works appearing in many more. His first book, A Journey of the Imagination: The Art of James Christensen, was printed in 1994 to great acclaim.[citation needed] His second, Voyage of the Basset (October 1996), contains a frame story for a great deal of original work. His third book, Rhymes & Reasons, was published in May 1997. Christensen also illustrated A Shakespeare Sketchbook (May 2001) with text by Renwick St. James.
While not employed in all his paintings, his trademarks were flying or floating fish, often on a leash.








Christensen's book Voyage of the Basset was the source of controversy in 2006 when a resident of Bountiful, Utah, demanded that the book be removed from circulation from the young adult section at the Davis County Library in nearby Farmington, Utah. The book features fantasy artwork such as depictions of trolls, dragons and ogres. Two images of mermaids and one of a sphinx-like creature feature partially or fully exposed breasts.Though the images are not sexual in nature, and as drawn, the breasts feature no nipples, Rod Jeppsen of the Citizens for Decency group said: "What we normally don't consider pornography, a child may get sexually aroused by... The question to me is not whether the book has a good story line, but does it sexually stimulate young boys?" The Davis County Library Board voted to keep the book in circulation in the young adult section on August 22, 2006.Wikipedia






The World Bodypainting Festival

The World Bodypainting Festival (abbreviated WBF) is an annual bodypainting festival and competition used to be held in Pörtschach, Austria on lake Wörthersee. Now the WBF has changed its location and since 2017 the Festival is taking place in Klagenfurt, Austria. It attracts artists from 50 nations and attracts over 30,000 plus spectators
The WBF is held during the summer months of June/July. It attracts artists from 50 nations and attracts 30.000 plus spectators. It consists of a pre-week followed by 3 main days of the festival/competition. The pre-week consists of workshops and side events.
The workshops offer many educational programs and lessons by leading artists in brush & sponge, airbrush, special effects, beauty make-up, head dressing including colour theory and history. All workshops are run and handled under the WB Academy and are also scheduled throughout the year in various cities worldwide. Side events include parties such as the Surreal Costume Ball (Body Circus) and the newly added (Zombie Crawl) with international DJs and musical stage performances. Also included are exhibitions, gatherings, meeting points and industry discussions.








The three main days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday are open to the general public in a park also known as "Bodypaint City" where the World, Special and Amateur Awards are held. The festival is open to both adults and children and is considered a family-friendly environment. Spectators and visitors alike are able to step "into the surreal" filled with a unique world of art that excites the senses and the imagination. Visitors can also take part and express themselves in various activities throughout Bodypaint City. Artists compete on all three days with a given theme in the categories of brush & sponge, airbrush and special effects for the World Champion Award & title announced on Sunday with the special UV bodypainting World Champion Fluoro Award held and announced on Friday night. Also included is the World Facepainting Award, Armature Award, Installation Award, Special Effects Face Make-up, Make-up Battle Award and the Photo Award. All categories have separate prizes and trophies. Artists can use either male or female models. The festival is open for both adults and children, and many families come there together.The three main days of the festival also plays host to a VIP area, a bodypainting manufacture & suppliers' market, fashion & crafts market, food & beverage vendors, headline stage bands, performers and international DJs throughout various musical zones of Bodypaint City as well as the sun drenched pristine waters and beaches of lake Wörthersee. "There is something for everyone" including the closing Paint Party.Wikipedia









Remedios Varo

Remedios Varo Uranga (16 December 1908 – 8 October 1963) was a Spanish-Mexican para-surrealist painter and anarchist.
Born in Girona, Spain in 1908, she studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid. She is known as one of the world famous para-surrealist artists of the 20th Century.[During the Spanish Civil War she fled to Paris where she was greatly influenced by the surrealist movement. She met her second husband, the French surrealist poet Benjamin Péret, in Barcelona. She was forced into exile from Paris during the German occupation of France and moved to Mexico City at the end of 1941. She died in 1963, at the height of her career, from a heart attack, in Mexico City.






As a young woman Varo had no doubts that she was meant to be an artist. After spending a year in Paris, Varo moved to Barcelona and formed her first artistic circle of friends, which included Josep-Lluis Florit, Óscar Domínguez, and Esteban Francés. Varo soon separated from her husband and shared a studio with Francés, in a neighborhood filled with young avant-garde artists. The summer of 1935 marked Varo’s formal invitation into Surrealism when French surrealist Marcel Jean (fr) arrived in Barcelona. That same year, along with Jean and his artist friends, Dominguez and Francés, Varo created a surrealist game that was meant to explore the subconscious association of participants by pairing different images at random. These associations were called cadavres exquis, meaning exquisite corpses, and perfectly illustrated the principle André Breton wrote in his Surrealist manifestos. Varo soon joined a collective of artists and writers, called the Logicophobists, who had an interest in Surrealism and wanted to unite art together with metaphysics, while resisting logic and reason. Varo exhibited with this group in 1936 at the Galería Catalonia although she recognized they were not pure Surrealists.
When the Spanish Civil War began, the French Surrealist poet, Benjamin Peret, came to Barcelona to support the anti-Franco cause and met Varo. It was the beginning of an intensely romantic relationship that was recorded in the many letters declaring his love and publications dedicated to Varo. In 1937, Peret moved back to France, and Varo followed. It was in Paris where Varo was greatly influenced by the Surrealist Movement.
Only after her death was it discovered that Varo had never divorced her first husband Lizarraga.Due to her Republican ties, her 1937 move to Paris with Péret ensured that she would never be able to return to Franco's Spain.Before her move to Mexico in 1941, Varo was arrested in Paris due to Nazi occupation of France







Renaissance art inspired harmony, tonal nuances, unity, and narrative structure in Varo’s paintings. The allegorical nature of much of Varo's work especially recalls the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, and some critics, such as Dean Swinford, have described her art as "postmodern allegory," much in the tradition of Irrealism.
Varo was greatly influenced by her first and second husband, Gerardo Lizarraga and Benjamin Peret. Her first husband was a well-respected painter and her second husband was a surrealist poet.Varo was also influenced by styles as diverse as those of Francisco Goya, El Greco, Picasso, and Braque. While André Breton was a formative influence in her understanding of Surrealism, some of her paintings bear an uncanny resemblance to the Surrealist creations of the modern Greek-born Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico.While there is little overt influence of Mexican art on her work, Varo and the other surrealists were captivated by the seemingly porous borders between the marvelous and the real in Mexico.Varo's painting The Lovers served as inspiration for some of the images used by Madonna in the music video for her 1995 single "Bedtime Story"







She considered surrealism as an "expressive resting place within the limits of Cubism, and as a way of communicating the incommunicable".
Even though Varo was critical of her childhood religion, Catholicism, her work was influenced by religion. She differed from other Surrealists because of her constant use of religion in her work.She also turned to a wide range of mystic and hermetic traditions, both Western and non-Western for influence. She was influenced by her belief in magic and animistic faiths. She was very connected to nature and believed that there was strong relation between the plant, human, animal, and mechanical world. Her belief in mystical forces greatly influenced her paintings.Varo was aware of the importance of biology, chemistry, physics and botany, but thought it should blend together with other aspects of life.She turned with equal interest to the ideas of Carl Jung as to the theories of George Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Helena Blavatsky, Meister Eckhart and the Sufis, and was as fascinated with the legend of the Holy Grail as with sacred geometry, alchemy and the I Ching. In 1938 and 1939 Varo joined her closest companions Frances, Roberto Matta and Gordon Onslow Ford in exploring the fourth dimension, basing much of their studies off of Ouspensky's book Tertium Oganum. The books Illustrated Anthology of Sorcery, Magic and Alchemy by Grillot de Givry and The History of Magic and the Occult by Kurt Seligmann were highly valued in Breton's Surrealist circle. She saw in each of these an avenue to self-knowledge and the transformation of consciousness.






She was also greatly influenced by her childhood journeys. She often depicted out of the ordinary vehicles in mystifying lands. These works echo her family travels in her childhood.Also, the Surrealist movement tended to degrade women. Some of Varo's art elevated women, while still falling under Surrealism. But it was not necessarily her intention for her work to address problems in gender inequality. But, her art and actions challenged the traditional patriarchy, and it was mainly Wolfgang Paalen who encouraged her in this with his theories about the origins of civilization in matriarchal cultures and the analogies between pre-classic Europe and pre-Mayan Mexico.Wikipedia



Dorothea Tanning

"Dorothea Tanning was born in 1910 in Galesburg, Illinois and attended Knox College in her hometown before studying painting in Chicago (haunting the Art Institute where she learned what painting was.)   In 1941, now in New York, she met the art dealer, Julien Levy, and his surrealist friends, refugees from Nazi occupied France. Late in 1942 Max Ernst visited her studio, saw a painting, (Birthday), and stayed to play chess. They would have 34 years together, at first in Sedona, Arizona (a mere outpost at the time).  Here she would continue to paint her enigmatic versions of life on the inside, looking out: The Guest Room, The Truth About Comets, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Interior with Sudden Joy, Insomnias, Palaestra, Tamerlane, Far From. By 1956 Max and Dorothea had chosen to live and work thenceforth in France. Though Paris was headquarters, they preferred the country quiet lure in Touraine and Provence. These years included, for Dorothea Tanning, an intense five- year adventure in soft sculpture:  Cousins, Don Juan's Breakfast, Fetish, Rainy Day Canapé, Tragic Table, Verb, Xmas, Emma, Revelation or the End of the Month, Hôtel du Pavot Room 202.
Max Ernst died on April 1, 1976 and Dorothea faced a solitary future. “Go home,” said the paint tubes, the canvases, the brushes. Returning to the United States in the late 1970s, and still painting, Tango Lives, Woman Artist, On Avalon, Door 84, Still in the Studio, Blue Mom, Dionysos S.O.S., she gave full rein to her long felt compulsion to write.  Words, poetry.  Written, read, heard.  Would she join these voices even then?  Her poems have since appeared in a number of literary reviews and magazines, such as The Yale Review, Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Boston Review, The Southwest Review, Parnassus, and in Best Poems of 2002 and 2005. Her published works include two memoirs, Birthday and Between Lives, a collection of poems, A Table of Content, and a novel, Chasm.....Dorothea Tanning died at her home in New York City on January 31, 2012.  She was 101 years old, and had just published her second collection of poems."(dorotheatanning.org)






 "Now the doors are all open, the air is mother-of-pearl, and you know the way to tame a tiger. It will not elude you today for you have grabbed a brush, you have dipped it almost at random, so high is your rage, into the amalgam of color, formless on a docile palette.
As you drag lines like ropes across one brink of reality after another, annihilating the world you made yesterday and hated today, a new world heaves into sight. Again, the event progresses without the benefit of hours.
The application of color to a support, something to talk about when it’s all over, now holds you in thrall. The act is your accomplice. So are the tools, beakers, bottles, knives, glues, solubles, insolubles, tubes, plasters, cans; there is no end ..."Dorothea Tanning






 "Tanning’s early works – paintings such as Birthday and Eine kleine Nachtmusik (1943, Tate Modern, London) – were precise figurative renderings of dream-like situations. Like other Surrealist painters, she was meticulous in her attention to details and in building up surfaces with carefully muted brushstrokes. Through the late 1940s, she continued to paint depictions of unreal scenes, some of which combined erotic subjects with enigmatic symbols and desolate space. During this period she formed enduring friendships with, among others, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, and John Cage; designed sets and costumes for several of George Balanchine's ballets, including The Night Shadow (1945) at the Metropolitan Opera House; and appeared in two of Hans Richter's avant-garde films.
Over the next decade, Tanning's painting evolved, becoming less explicit and more suggestive. Now working in Paris and Huismes, France, she began to move away from Surrealism and develop her own style. During the mid-1950s, her work radically changed and her images became increasingly fragmented and prismatic, exemplified in works such as Insomnias (1957, Moderna Museet, Stockholm). 








 As she explains, "Around 1955 my canvases literally splintered... I broke the mirror, you might say.”By the late 1960s, Tanning’s paintings were almost completely abstract, yet always suggestive of the female form. From 1969 to 1973, Tanning concentrated on a body of three-dimensional work, soft, fabric sculptures, five of which comprise the installation Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre 202 (1970–73) that is now in the permanent collection of the Musée National d'Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. During her time in France in the 1950s-70s, Tanning also became an active printmaker, working in ateliers of Georges Visat and Pierre Chave and collaborating on a number of limited edition artists’ books with such poets as Alain Bosquet, Rene Crevel, Lena Leclerq, and André Pieyre de Mandiargues.After her husband's death in 1976, Tanning remained in France for several years with a renewed concentration on her painting. These years included, for Dorothea Tanning, an intense five- year adventure in soft sculpture. By 1980 she had relocated her home and studio to New York and embarked on an energetic creative period in which she produced paintings, drawings, collages, and prints."Wikipedia