Fractal Analysis: Famous Works by Artists Like Dali Showed Early Signs of Disease

f-alzpaint-a-20161231-870x1269

Brushstrokes in paintings could help early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study published on Thursday of works by famous sufferers such as Salvador Dali and Willem De Kooning.

The analysis was carried out on 2,092 paintings, including those of two artists with Parkinson’s disease, Dali and Norval Morrisseau, and two with Alzheimer’s disease, De Kooning and James Brooks.

Works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet, who were not know to suffer from any such disease, were also included for comparison.

“Knowing that you have a problem sooner rather than later is always going to be an important medical breakthrough,” said Alex Forsythe from the University of Liverpool, one of the authors of the study.

Fractal analysis — a way to study patterns that is already used to spot fake paintings — was used to gauge the relative complexity of the works.

Fractals are often described as “fingerprints of nature.”

For De Kooning and Brooks, the study showed a sharp decrease in the complexity starting around the age of 40 — long before their Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

De Kooning received an official diagnosis in 1989 — the year he turned 85 — and Brooks when he turned 79. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Involved in a Sexual Act with a Dog on a Bed of SS Helmets’: MACBA Barcelona Show Canceled Over Pornographic Artwork Ridiculing Spanish King Juan Carlos

Haute-Couture-04-Transport

“It’s a work of art inscribed in the great tradition of works about art and power.”

— Valentín Roma, one of the curators of the exhibition

MACBA director Bartomeu Marí proposed that the sculpture be removed. When the artist and the curators declined, he canceled the exhibition. 

Lorena Muñoz-Alonso and Brian Boucher report: An artwork depicting the former Spanish king Juan Carlos and Bolivian Labor leader Domitila Chúngara involved in a sexual act with a dog on a bed of SS helmets has led the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) to cancel the exhibition “La Bestia y el soberano” (The Beast and the Sovereign) on the day it was meant to open (see After 20 Years, Portrait of Spain’s Royal Family Is (Nearly) Finished). The offending artwork, Not Dressed for Conquering, is a sculpture by Austrian artist Ines Doujak.

“I don’t want to spend time describing the piece, which I consider inappropriate and contradictory to the museum’s line.”

“It’s a work of art inscribed in the great tradition of works about art and power,” Valentín Roma, one of the curators of the exhibition told El País.

[Read the full text here, at Artnet News]

“Art has been caricaturing the archetypes of power for centuries, which is what Doujak’s work is doing” (see Why Self-Censorship of Controversial Artwork is Wrong).

Mari-Bartomeu-MACBA-2013-590x315

“I have always fought to defend contemporary art and its role in the reality that surrounds us, but in this case, I completely disagree with the inclusion of this work in an exhibition that reflects on the concept of sovereignty in all its aspects.”

— MACBA director Bartomeu Marí

The exhibition was to include more than two dozen artists and artist duos or teams, including Juan DowneyLeón FerrariGenesis Breyer P-Orridge, Mary Reid Kelley, and Wu Tsang. In an open letter, the curators assert that the museum management was fully informed of the show’s theme and contents:

The curators never hid any information about the exhibition to the director of the museum: he was informed by Paul B. Preciado and Valentín Roma of the concept and the full list of works of the exhibition. The director had validated the project and not only its text and description but also the list of artists were already published in the MACBA’s internet page months ago.

MACBA director Bartomeu Marí claims he had not seen the artwork until Monday.

“I don’t want to spend time describing the piece, which I consider inappropriate and contradictory to the museum’s line,” Marí told El País. “I have always fought to defend contemporary art and its role in the reality that surrounds us, but in this case, I completely disagree with the inclusion of this work in an exhibition that reflects on the concept of sovereignty in all its aspects.”

The show was curated by Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler, co-directors of Stuttgart’s Württemberg Kunstverein, along with writer Paul B. Preciado and Valentin Rome. Read the rest of this entry »


Art Auction Records Shattered in London

bacondone_1795327i

London, United Kingdom – It took a breathtaking span of 26 hours in London for more records to fall in the thriving global art market.

Works by Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, and Cy Twombly were among those that set the pace at the post-war and contemporary art sales hosted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

The highest priced lot took place on Tuesday when Richter’s Abstraktes Bild surprised the packed auction room on Bond Street with aggressive phone bids coming in at 2 million British pound increments ($3.1m).

The final sale price of 30.4 million pounds ($46.8m) established a new auction record by a living European artist.

Gallery technicians hanging a picture by Gerhard Richter at Sotheby's

The anonymous bidder, reported to be an American, was represented by Sotheby’s worldwide co-head of contemporary art, Cheyenne Westphal.

“I think I can genuinely say it went to someone who truly wanted this painting, and he was set on buying it tonight,” Westphal said, noting Richter also happened to be her favourite artist.

A sister painting of the large abstract work was sold by

Eric Clapton in 2012 for a then-record of 21 million pounds ($32m).

The artwork, which measures 3 x 2.5 metres draped with jagged lines of reds and greens, was last sold on auction at Sotheby’s in 1999 for $607,500, generating a return of 32.4 percent annually.

“Richter is not hot all of a sudden, he has always been sought after,” said Arianne Levene Piper, founder of the New Art World consultancy

“There are plenty of ultra-high net worth collectors who are willing to pay for top works.

This explains why a great painting by a great artist will sell for high prices at auction.”

Works by another European artist, Francis Bacon, failed to make headlines this auction season, despite drumming up a buzz prior to the sales. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! Big Ass Sex Toy Masquerading as ‘Art Installation’ Provokes Outrage in Paris

paris-buttplug-art

Place Vendôme Hosts Giant Inflatable Buttplug

Ruth Bender reports: Not everyone in Paris appears to like contemporary art.

A massive, green, inflatable installation by U.S. artist Paul McCarthy was vandalized in central Paris in the night from Friday to Saturday, according to a police official, after the piece of art entitled “Tree” sparked outrage.

The artwork, set up last week on the famous Place Vendôme, ignited a wave of comments on social media for its resemblance to a sex toy. It attracted even more attention after the Los Angeles artist—known for his sometimes controversial and provocative work—was attacked by a person in the street Thursday as “Tree” was being set up on the square.

French Mayor Anne Hidalgo Meets Young French Designers In Paris

 “Art has all its place on the streets of Paris and no one can hunt it away,”

—  Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, in a tweet condemning the attack

According to French daily Le Monde, a man approached Mr. McCarthy as he was watching “Tree” being blown up and hit him in the face three times. According to the paper, which was interviewing the artist during the incident, the man shouted at Mr. McCarthy that “he wasn’t French” and that his artwork had “nothing to do in this square.”

6a92toy

A spokeswoman for Mr. McCarthy didn’t respond to requests for comment. The police official said no complaint had been filed on such an incident.

In the night from Friday to Saturday, a group of individuals cut through the cords that were holding up the artwork, the police official said. A person in charge of overseeing “Tree” then deflated it to limit any damage, the official said. Read the rest of this entry »