‘We Were Blown Away’: How New A.I. Research Is Changing the Way Conservators and Collectors Think About Attribution

The 3D scan analysis developed by Ken Singer and his team.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning could have surprising implications for the future of art authentication, and provide a wider variety of applications than previously thought, a new study shows.

A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University exchanged older methods of optical analysis with a technique known as 3D imaging, which can detect forgeries with accuracy of up to 96 percent, according to their study, which was published late last year in the journal Heritage Science.

The method appears to lead to more accurate attribution of not only oil and acrylic paintings, but also, crucially, drawings, watercolors, and even sculpture, which have traditionally been difficult to authenticate using existing models of A.I., according to physicist Kenneth Singer, who led the study with a team of art historians and computer scientists.

Read the full article here…

Canning the Sunset: Hundreds of Jars of Dyed Sand Preserve the Swirling Colors of a Skyline Before Dusk

Image © Carly Glovinski

There’s a human impulse to preserve life’s blissful moments—a quick scroll through your camera roll will probably give you plenty of evidence—one Carly Glovinski gives into by bottling up the rich, swirling gradients the cloak the sky at day’s end. Her ongoing Canning the Sunset project, which the New Hampshire-born artist began in March of 2020, layers hand-colored sand in reused glass jars to capture the last hours of light before they descend into dusk.

Read the full article here…

Ask the Experts: Do I Have to Go to Art School to Become a Successful Artist?

Students at the School of Visual Arts, an art school in New York. Photo Sarah Trigg.

Education isn’t cheap. The increasing professionalization of the art world means getting a degree is an increasingly desirable path for many young artists, but the levels of debt that come with the pursuit of knowledge makes this option only viable for some. The question is: Can you become a successful artist without a degree from Yale or the Royal College of Art? 

There are very good examples of successful contemporary artists who have side-stepped the academic route. Carsten Höller and Yoko Ono did not attend art school, Jeremy Deller studied art history rather than fine art, and Tosh Basco—aka boychild—started out in the underground club scene before working with their partner Wu Tsang and friend Korakrit Arunaanondchai.

Read the full article here…

Tracking The Shadow: Jill Johnston On Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns: Racing Thoughts, 1983, encaustic and collage on canvas, 48⅛ by 75⅜ inches. WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK. ©2021 JASPER JOHNS/LICENSED BY VAGA AT ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK

In the recent show at Castelli of Jasper Johns’s latest work—four largish paintings titled “The Seasons,” with a number of drawings and prints related to them—one detail eventually caught my attention, occluding all others. The most obvious feature in these four paintings is Johns himself, represented by his shadow, cast life-size onto the canvases, worked from a tracing drawn by a friend. The same silhouette, painted in rich grays, appears in each Season—SpringSummerFallWinter—tilting left to the same degree.

This four-part work is as literal as anything Johns has done. Spring, for instance, is marked by diagonal streaks of white paint crossing the whole canvas and indicating rain; Winter is dotted all over with white snowflakes and even has a stick-figure snowman in it. In Spring, birth is clearly signified by the centered shadow-form of a child (inside a rectangle) directly underneath the looming, tilting shadow figure of Johns. The child’s head, cut off just above the ears, slashes across Johns’s body right below the crotch, sepa· rated only by its variant gray color and the top horizontal of the rectangle containing and cropping the child’s head.

Read the full article here…

The Drawing Cure

A participant wearing a mobile EEG cap equipped with electrodes that track brain wave activity while painting at the Your Brain on Art conference, Valencia, Spain.PHOTO LUKAS GEHRKE/COURTESY STEPHANIE SCOTT AND LUKAS GEHRKE

Like essential frontline workers, art therapists have been toiling nonstop during the pandemic. Having usually treated patients in psychiatric hospitals and mental health clinics, they shifted to practicing online, making art virtually with clients marooned at home. In August 2020, the American Art Therapy Association released a coronavirus impact report documenting how Covid-19 had disrupted mental health care at a time when it was desperately needed: 92 percent of the art therapists surveyed said their clients experienced anxiety due to isolation and the pandemic threat. Financial pressure and increased family responsibilities, like home schooling and safeguarding the health of loved ones, ranked highest among their patients’ causes of stress. Meanwhile, a new dynamic sprang up overnight, with clinicians and clients suddenly “in” each other’s homes—privy to personal space, accidentally meeting pets or family members—a situation that would normally constitute a flagrant breach of ethical boundaries. For art therapists, conducting sessions online presents additional roadblocks.

Read the full article here…

See the Highly Ambitious, Two-City Jasper Johns Retrospective at the Whitney and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

See the Highly Ambitious, Two-City Jasper Johns Retrospective at the Whitney and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Between its two parts at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror” has a staggering amount of work in it. The giant two-part career survey features all the hits by the 91-year-old icon of American art—the targets, the flags, the maps—plus enough obscure works and curatorial flourishes to make it feel like an event, despite the fact that Johns has not exactly lacked for major museum attention in recent years.

In the lead-up to the show, there was some gossip, aired in Deborah Solomon’s Johns profile in the Times, about the museum’s two curators—the Whitney’s Scott Rothkopf and the PMA’s Carlos Basualdo—not getting along. Whatever the case may be, the two shows don’t really feel like they offer dueling visions. They work together just fine.

Read the full article here…

What Causes a Creative Hot Streak? A New Study Found That It Often Involves These Two Habits

Jackson Pollock, Untitled (Green Silver) ca. 1949. Collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, gift, Sylvia and Joseph Slifka, 2004, ©2018 the Pollock-Krasner Foundation

Is there a magic formula that can lead an artist to a “hot steak” of creativity? There just might be, says a new study from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The secret involves experimenting with a wide range of subjects, styles, and techniques before perfecting a specific area of one’s craft—what the authors describe as a mix of exploration and exploitation.

“Although exploration is considered a risk because it might not lead anywhere, it increases the likelihood of stumbling upon a great idea,” the study’s lead author, Dashun Wang, said in a statement. “By contrast, exploitation is typically viewed as a conservative strategy. If you exploit the same type of work over and over for a long period of time, it might stifle creativity. But, interestingly, exploration followed by exploitation appears to show consistent associations with the onset of hot streaks.”

Read the full article here…

A Poet-Artist Looks to the Stars

Monica Ong, “Purple Forbidden Enclosure” (2019), gold and silver foil stamping, custom letterpress on Colorplan imperial blue cover, 12 x 18 inches; 16 x 22 inches framed. Produced in collaboration with Boxcar Press

NEW HAVEN, CT — Monica Ong is a 21st-century visual poet who extends the reader’s sense of what is possible. She is the author of Silent Anatomies (Kore Press, 2014), in which renowned poet Joy Harjo was selected for a First Book award in poetry. This book meshes together images, such as family photos, sonograms, and anatomical diagrams, with dictionary entries, texts and phrases she has altered, and her own writing. It begins with the author discovering that she had a “Mystery Uncle,” but, as with all family stories, larger forces are at play, and this is what Ong pursues.

One page pictures a bottle labeled “Fortune Babies.” The label includes a photograph of a man, woman, and child, and directions: “If you have difficulty conceiving, adopt a child […].” Another bottle is labeled “Chinaman” and has a family photo placed above dictionary definitions. By superimposing language and image on a bottle, Ong underscores how beliefs and ways of thinking and seeing become embedded in one’s culture, shaping the way we communicate.

Read the full article here…

“It Means Nothing To Me”: Picasso Unimpressed by Moon Landing

Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” (1904) is just as excited about the moon landing as the artist himself. (edit by Valentina Di Liscia for Hyperallergic)

Over 52 years ago, on July 20, 1969, the world came to a standstill as humans landed on the moon for the very first time. Hundreds of millions sat glued to their television sets, watching in awe as iconic images of Neil A. Armstrong descending Apollo 11 and stepping foot on the rocky lunar surface beamed back to Earth in one of the most widely viewed broadcasts in TV history. For many, it was a deeply poignant, indelible moment, the kind that happens only once or twice in one’s lifetime.

But others were unmoved by the spectacle, perhaps most famously artist Pablo Picasso, whose quote in a New York Times roundup of reactions to the landing the following day remains an impressive display of apathy even in today’s notoriously cynical, meh-centric culture: “It means nothing to me.

Read the full article here…