We live in a world where people daily take numerous pictures and selfies just about anywhere and of anything. It is an act that photography critic Jörg M. Colberg describes as “compulsive looking.” The act of photographing, the gesture, has become part of our interaction with the world. We view the world not directly through our eyes anymore, but through a lens. The phenomenon has created a unique set of challenges for art museums. While some museums, galleries and heritage sites have unrestricted photography policies for non-commercial use, many others continue to restrict visitors from taking photos of objects and artworks, often citing conservation and copyright arguments. But aren’t restricted photography policies outdated in this age of social media and mobile-phone cameras? Or do museums have a responsibility to protect intellectual property agreements by prohibiting all photography? Because of the overwhelming demand of the public to take pictures of artworks most museums allow it. People want to capsulate their visit and have a reminder of their favorite piece of art they saw. The positive side to this development for museums is an enormous amount of free publicity, for the pictures will spread across every social network available.
Some museums, like The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, had to restrict visitors from taking photos again after having received much criticism. It was nearly impossible to have an uninterupted moment with the iconic Sunflowers. The painting was completely taken over by people who wanted to take selfies. People couldn’t enjoy or experience the painting anymore. Tacking the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris as an example, people struggle to get to the front of the line, not to look at the painting, but to take a picture. Is this the way we want to enjoy a visit to our favorite museum? Should we go back to restrictions and learn to view a painting again with our eyes and not through a lens? Or do you think this is a sign of the times and selfies and camera’s in museums are here to stay?
We live in a world where an image, a selfie, a proof of “i was there” is more important than aknowledge all the art we are surrounded by (in museums, our cities, streets…). The problem is that we see but we don’t watch. We go to a museum and ptotograph it top to bottom but we don’t know what we have photographed.
In 2009 designer Gianluca Gimini started asking friends and strangers to draw a men’s bicycle from memory. While some got it right, most made technical errors, missing fundamental parts of the frame or chain.
The exercise is similar to psychological tests used to demonstrate how little we know compared to what we think we do. However, for Gimini this isn’t about proving how dumb we are but, rather, how extraordinary our imaginations can be! Having now amassed a collection of 376 drawings from participants ranging from 3 – 88 years of age, Gimini has started building realistic renderings of the bikes based on these sketches, in a 3D program.
A walleyed Zach Braff. An elongated Rihanna. A sharp, angular Lady Gaga. These are the kinds of aesthetically and anatomically dubious renderings that only truly devoted fans could create in misguided tribute to their pop-culture heroes. Examples of bad fan art have long been an internet obsession, and Imgur user shynodaluvor08 has curated a very amusing little gallery of them. Here, the fan-created works are juxtaposed with actual photos of the celebrities themselves to highlight the differences between them, should those differences not be intuitively obvious. Also included are nightmare-inducing, heavily Photoshopped pictures of those same celebrities, with their facial features rudely rearranged so as to better match the fan art.
After 11 successful years at the Royal College of Art, Ceramic Art London has found a new home in the impressive surroundings of UAL Central Saint Martins. The modern and dynamic redevelopment of Granary Square at Kings Cross is giving CAL a spectacular rebirth, with a dazzling ensemble of makers under the hundred metres long, three-storey atrium known as The Street, which brings a lot of natural lighting which was referred as very important by artists to showcase their work. From nearly 200 applications, 88 artists were selected from 12 countries, showcasing outstanding international contemporary ceramics at its most diverse.
I came quite early on the opening day so i could attend the lecture schedule for the day as last year I missed it. When I arrived at the facilities the courtyard was flooded with a massive crowd due to a fire alarm, so the lecture were all delayed. Was really impressed by the amount of people who were there and could spot a few known faces. As a welcome to CAL in its new venue CSM, Kathryn Hear and Rob Kessler had a lecture and reflected on the key moments and people in the Universities long history. The recently appointed Subject Leader, Anthony Quinn, introduced his vision and future opportunities for the course within an expanding international context. It’s really scary how dramatic ceramics as a subject studied in the UK has declined throughout the last decade. Its great having these small courses still running and maybe that’s something that drives me to perhaps become a ceramics teacher.
In addition we had an interesting talks by Christine Lalumia which reflected on curating, commissioning and commerce of ceramics as her new role as director at Contemporary Applied Arts. And Alex Harrison, a designer and material specialist with global engineering consultancy Arup, which has broad experience of building cladding system design with specialist knowledge of architectural ceramics and timber, working with leading architectural practices which he lectured us on the re-emergence of architectural ceramics.
Richard Deacon’s Cornice
Richard Deacon’s Cornice
Further, we had an excuite lecture by Shi Juntang, a senior curator at the Yixing Ceramic Museum. Potters have explooited the famous red clay of the Yixing province in China since the 10th century to make distinctive teapots. Mr. Shi went through the history of Yixing Ceramic, the modern processes and approaches that contemporary artists employ to engage with the special Yixing red clay. We were also lucky to be in the presence of a few certified Yixing ceramic masters.
Probably my favourite lecture was from the famous and talented (and such a lovely person) Walter Keeler. His lecture was basically a reflection on a lifetime of making and the ceramics that have inspired him. There are few studio potters who can draw inspiration from Staffordshire Creamware and saltglaze with such consummate skill, individuality and wit as Wally Keeler. Since establishing his first studio in 1965 he has pursued his passion for functional pots – mugs, jugs,teapots, the potters’s “stock in trade”, making work which exudes sensuality and versatility. Ranging from the simply functional to the playfully unexpected, his work is distinctly recognizable, a conversation in plastic form and colour subtle glazed surfaces.
The lectures consumed most of the day, so I had little time to explore the show, but manage to have a carefull look at it in which is always refreshing to see such diversity in ceramics and how artists develop from one year to another. I was so happy when Nathalie Domingo which I met last year instantly recognised me and we talked about her new work. Also met the two, Great Pottery Throw Down contestants Matthew and Sandra and the Kiln man, Richard which was also exhibiting.