Category Archives: Art Museum

Museum Curator Elevates Prestige of Paint by Number Art

The argument about what does and does not qualify as art has created tension in the art world for centuries. Some people think only fine art should be considered “real” art. Others believe that primitive, rustic, rugged pieces crafted by the unschooled are indeed genuine works of art. This is just the type of debate that has surrounded paint by number paintings, which were created from mass-produced paint by number kits, for the past several decades.

While many art elitists do not believe paint by number paintings are true works of art, William L. Bird, Jr., believes they are. Bird should know – he is not only the curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, he is also highly educated on the subject of paint by number.

Bird raised the prestige of paint by number art in his book, Paint by Number: The How-To Craze that Swept the Nation. In his book, Bird gives an explanation of how paint by number was born, who marketed it, and why it was such a success. Also, the author explains the level of artistic skill it took to create paint by number kits. Understanding these facets of this technique and brand is helping the public see paint by number paintings for what they truly are – a form of art.

William L. Bird, Jr., further championed paint by number paintings when he displayed them in an art exhibition in 2001 at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

An individual who visited Bird’s exhibition commented to Bird that several paint by number paintings from “identical kits” had variations painted in them. (These were variations that the artists themselves had “painted outside the lines” to add.) This individual wondered if such artistic inconsistencies helped these particular paintings qualify as art. Bird affirmed, “By expressing preferences and making choices, these painters are taking the first steps toward art. I think you can charitably argue that in these cases it was art.”

Do you love paint by number and Segmation? Whether you like being a perfect painter or great digital artist, or simply have fond childhood memories of coloring inside the lines, your experience is valuable. We want to hear your story in the comment section below. What does paint by number mean to you?

Sources:

http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/15/paintbynumbers.php

http://www.amazon.com/Paint-Number-How-To-Craze-Nation/dp/1568982828

Note: The top photo used in this post does not belong to Segmation; it was found at http://mocoloco.com/art/archives/020982.php.

Coming soon: Read Segmation’s heartwarming article about various individuals’ much-loved childhood memories of paint by number.

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Plexiglass + Light = Awe Inspiring Art

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Think back to when you were a child, easily fascinated by the tiniest things. Maybe you remember the excitement of finding a rainbow on the wall and the joy of discovering the crystal figurine that seemed to magically create this kaleidoscope of color. Perhaps you even spent the afternoon moving that figurine around the house waiting to see where the rainbow would appear next.

Do you remember the first time you saw a rainbow through the hazy drizzle after a storm? Your first sunset on a beach? Can you recall that first stained glass window that caught your eye and captured your attention?

More importantly, can you call back that simple childlike joy; the pure awe of bearing witness to something so fantastical? It’s hard to do as adults when we are able to wrap our minds around the scientific reasons behind rainbows and light.

Currently on display at the De Pury Gallery in London is a unique style of artwork which calls to the surface that simple, childlike wonder. The image above is part of the “Fly to Baku” Contemporary Art Exhibition.

The effect is achieved by shining light through Plexiglass airplanes. The arrangement of these airplanes creates the image on the wall. If the mobile of hanging airplanes doesn’t stop you in your tracks, then the picture it creates is sure to amaze.

Light has an important relationship with color and with art. Painters go to great lengths to achieve a specific light or a hint of a shadow in their paintings. Those who make stained glass pieces consider how the glass will react to light shining behind it. Sculptures can’t escape light either and seem to constantly change as light rotates around them. Even interior decorators factor in the way light filters through a space when they choose colors and designs.

In the case of “Fly to Baku,” light harnessed in little Plexiglass airplanes is actually creating pieces of art. Take a moment to really look at the image above. You may just find yourself entranced by childlike awe.

Image courtesy of http://www.imgur.com/gallery/86upn

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“Morbid Curiosity”–A Chicago Cultural Center Exhibit

The Chicago Cultural Center opened a very unique and intense art exhibit in January called “Morbid Curiosity.” The exhibit is truly unique because it showcases the work not of a singular artist, but of a collector. The art exhibit is extremely intense because its theme is death.

Richard Harris has spent twelve years collecting pieces of art that convey the many themes of death. The Chicago Cultural Center has over 1,000 of Harris’s pieces on display–they include artifacts, photographs, and decorative objects.

Surprisingly, this is only a portion of the pieces that Harris has collected over the years. His entire collection of death-related art totals more than 1,500 pieces. The museum’s curators, alongside Harris, created a replica of the Cultural Center in order to choose which pieces should be included and how they should be exhibited. Several practice runs led to the many-roomed “Morbid Curiosity” exhibit.

The goal of the exhibit is to address the many facets of death. One entire section of the Chicago Cultural Center is devoted to Mexico’s Day of the Dead. This portion of the exhibit contains a funeral procession of death-related artwork including altar paintings, drawings, and photography.

Another room offers a religious perspective on death. Christian and Catholic artwork provides a foundation on which to examine the common fate we all share in our relationship with death. Artistic images are used to relate the concept of death to the individual.

One room in the Chicago Cultural Center has been affectionately dubbed “the war room” and contains pieces of art that reflect the toll that human action, particularly war, can have on human life.

The exhibit also includes a 13 foot chandelier made of 3,000 plaster bones, 50 photographs, dozens of skulls, real and artistic representations, and Japanese pieces of art made from bone.

Be warned–this exhibit is not for the squeamish. However, “Morbid Curiosity” is perhaps the most suitable name for this exhibit. After all, death may very well be the single thing we all have in common. Richard Harris, along with the Chicago Cultural Center, has afforded us the opportunity to examine how different cultures, religions, and individual actions relate to death. The exhibit ends in July.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-0126-museums-morbid-20120125,0,7002015.story

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Art Alive

If you’ve never been to the San Diego Museum of Art for their yearly event, Art Alive, this is the year you should participate. The San Diego Museum of Art challenges floral designers to make the artistic masterpieces housed in their museum come alive through their floral interpretations. This four day event, beginning April 12 and ending on April 15, will fill the museum with thousands of flowers and, hopefully, thousands of visitors. The pictures in this blog post are examples of what you can expect to see at Art Alive.

Floral designers of all levels, from amateur to professional, gather at the museum to create floral sculptures that mimic famous pieces of art. The sculptures of flower arrangements depict images painted on canvas, from portraits to landscapes. Throughout the four day-long festivities, these living floral arrangements will be placed beside the famous pieces of art they are interpreting.

The museum’s masterpieces truly come alive as they are interpreted by these creative floral designers. You will be surprised and delighted to see how imagination comes alive when flowers meet with paint. The floral designers make use of light, color, and structural ingenuity to make these canvas paintings take on a new dimension. Art Alive celebrates artistic masterpieces of all types.

The four day-long event will be packed with activities. The event begins with an opening celebration on April 12 and includes a dinner for guests and a sneak peek at the Art Alive floral designs with their painted counterparts. The exhibition is open to the public beginning April 13. The Art Alive exhibition will also included fun events for children and families. These events will be geared towards the idea that art is alive.

Flowers After Hours is another nighttime event in which guests can peruse the floral art exhibit while sampling tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Behind the scenes, these floral designers are competing hard to create their own artistic masterpieces inspired by the famous works located at the San Diego Museum of Art.

If you plan on visiting the Art Alive exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art, be prepared to pay an entry fee. Rest assured that this fee is going to a good cause–Art Alive is one of the museum’s greatest fundraising events. The proceeds will go towards special exhibitions, educational outreach programs, and art conservation projects.

Can you imagine a more perfect way to usher in Spring?

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The Louvre Museum in Paris

Did you know the Louvre Museum in Paris is the largest art museum in the world? It was also the residency to kings prior to the Palace of Versailles and is, to this day, a historic monument that represents most nations. Aside from numerous pieces of famous artwork and exhibits, it even houses a McDonalds! (Talk about an experience that crosses cultural divides.)

File:Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouched.jpgIt is said that the museum is so large an individual who spends 4 seconds looking at each work of art would take 3 months to get through the entire institute. However, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could take only a glance at the famous masterpieces available in this setting — some of which include Leonardo da Vinci’s, “Mona Lisa” and Michelangelo’s Italian Renaissance sculpture, “The Rebellious Slave.”

Open to the public in 1793, the museum has spent the past 2 centuries securing its title as the “Museum among museums.” At the time, it was a home to France’s nobility, and throughout the ages has played a critical role in art history and world politics. Founded during the French Revolution the infamous infrastructure, like the country, was made to evolve, influence, and remain aware of all things new in Europe and throughout the world.

As kings took royal oaths and war raged, the Louvre never wavered under poor leadership or political stresses. She always remained a fortress. In fact, during World War I and II, the museum slowed acquisitions and removed most of the work, hiding them so they would not be taken by opposition forces. Such protective measures allowed the museum to remain the beacon of art history well into the 21st century.

To this day the Louvre advances itself as a “barrier-free” museum. It desires to attract all people within the nation of France as well as those outside the borders. Henry Loyrette, the current president and CEO of the Louvre notes how the museum continues to “play a major role in cultural diplomacy.” This is done through the intrinsic ability art has to dull the divides of contingencies and tensions. It also inspires dialogue between people of different cultures. Ultimately, art promotes respect and forges a common bond for all.

At the present time, the Louvre  houses upwards of 380,000 pieces of art work and has 35,000 of these on display in eight different departments (Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings). The Louvre also exhibits archaeological finds as well. It is the most visited museum in the world and averages 15,000 visitors per day. Aside from being a setting of many movies, the museum was a point of interest in best selling book, The DaVinci Code and the 2006 film. From this filming alone the museum collected $2.5 million and got to showcase its most prominent galleries.

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, Segmation would love to hear about your experience. Please share your highlights in the comment box below.

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4 Reminders Why Art is Important

Art is important. It is of the highest value to our individual selves and an intrinsic part of culture. However, in the 21st century, we often find ourselves taking art for granted. This is why it is important to be reminded about just how important art is to us.

After exploring the history of art and opening ourselves to the reality of its importance, we’ll take a look at 4 reasons why art benefits everyone.

Why do we take art for granted?

Think back to the first time you walked into an art museum. Remember how magnificent everything appeared, with the halls full of paintings, photographs, sculptures, mosaics, and so on? Large spaces set up with exhibits allowed art to tell a story, highlighted an artist or explain a segment of history.

But when was the last time you entered an art museum and experienced breathtaking art up close?

In the past century, the introduction of technology has brought fine-art into our homes. This only advanced with the evolution of technology, computers and the internet. It also allowed another branch of art to form — digital art.

However, the only way to advance art from the point we are currently at, is to look back at the history of art and acknowledge what it has always done for us humans.

4 reminders why art is important

Art is individual

Art appeals to the senses

Art is collective

Art is ritualistic

Individual— Art has the ability to evoke special feelings inside of an individual.  The fact that art makes people feel special is undeniable and relates directly to every human’s need “to embellish, decorate and personalize,” writes Cathy Malchiodi. In her recent blog post, What is Art For? The Restoring Power of Imagination, she explains how important art is to an individual because of our unique taste for aesthetically pleasing design and appealing imagery.

Sensory

The reason why people have different tastes in art is because art has the ability to stimulate our senses. It is believed that art practices, in general, came about as a health-giving behavior. This means that art makes people feel good; it encourages them to be lively and brings playful qualities to difficult circumstances. Before visual art, humans used other forms of art to stimulate their senses like rhythm, story telling, order, pattern, natural color, and body movement. Nevertheless, all art forms, with an emphasis on visual art, give humans a sensory experience that can lift the spirits of any individual.

Collective— While art does wonders for an individual in the sense of growth and sensual stimulation, art is actually a community experience. After all, it is most often created to be enjoyed by others — not just the artist. It speaks to a time and place, and engages all who relate to it’s message. Even though reactions to art differ, coming together for the purpose of art has been, and always will be, a center point of human community. It is where we can gather to celebrate or grieve life’s most important events and issues. Not to mention, in the 21st century as all times before, it gives people reason to come together.

Ritualistic— People who gather together to create and critique art have more unifying interactions and ceremonies than groups who don’t. A evolutionary ethologist, Ellen Dissanayake, makes the point that historically, people who came together for the purpose of art “…were able to survive longer than those who did not engage in using art.” Art rituals have been part the human experience since its beginnings. In fact, much of history reflects that people have always come together for the purpose of art. Do you remember studying Tibetan sand paintings? Or Native American totem-polls? These were sacred rituals for cultural groups at certain times throughout history. Malchiodi points out how these rituals were founded in human survival-instinct because “they help us make meaning of life as well as reduce life’s inevitable stresses.”

Hopefully, these 4 reminders refresh your memory as to why art is important. It is likely that you have personal reasons why you appreciate art. Segmation wants to hear about those moment. Comment below and share with us about why art is important to you.

Top image made available by Torley on Flickr through Creative Common License

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Discover the Artist in You

When did you discover the artist in you? Was it the first time you held a paint brush? Or the time you received praise for an art project?

Whenever it was, Segmation wants to know because Segmation allows artists of all kinds to reach their fullest potential.

Discovering the artist in you and encouraging art in others is important because art is an integral part of culture. As an individual, it showcases who you are, where you’ve come from and what you represent. Not to mention, your creativity spurs creativity in other people, allowing all forms of art to expand.

Here are some tips to discover the artist in you and encourage art in others:

(1) Practice Art
(c) See-ming Lee: Flickr

No matter what area of art you excel in, if you follow the motto, “Practice makes perfect,” your art will thrive. Set aside time to practice art every day or a couple of times per week. Whether you paint, draw, photograph or practice other types of art, make sure to do so on a regular basis. In addition to practicing your preferred art, incorporate fun, leisure artistic activities into your routine. Noticeable improvement will ensue.

(2) Study Art

(c) Michael Caven: Flickr

What are the famous works of art that influence your style and culture? Are artists like Chagall, Monet, and Da Vinci on your list of inspirational artists? When is the last time you visited an art museum? Thanks to Google Search, you don’t need to go far to acquire information about your favorite artists. Set aside time every week to discover more about important artist who influence you and those around you.

(3) Look for Art

(c) Mike Baird: Flickr

Art is all around us. In fact, it is in everyday objects. When taking a moment to observe art in nature, architecture and even table-leg carvings, you gain perspective. This infuses your art with unique qualities! So look for subtle, and often times unintentional art that surrounds you and use it for inspiration.

Another way to discover the artist in you is to be active in artist communities. These communities are available in person and online. Segmation is an online community that encourages artists to reach their fullest potential. Share your art experience with us, and as a result, share and inspire a community of artists.

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