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January 28, 2012

Who wants a signed Damien Hirst — free?


Caught your eye, did that?

Well, it's all true.

You just have to read not the fine print but the following item from the January 7 Wall Street Journal:

"The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011" of Damien Hirst will be presented simultaneously at all 11 Gagosian galleries in 8 cities on 3 continents beginning January 12. (Mr. Hirst first gained international fame with his shark in formaldehyde.) Included will be his most recent painting in the series, which includes 25,781 one-millimeter-diameter spots, each one a different color. 

You say there's nothing about a free Hirst in there?

Good eye.

That's why we pay you the big bucks to come here.

You say you're still waiting for your first check?

Have you checked your mailbox today?

nuf sed.

Now where was I... oh, yeah, wurst — types of wurst.

That's not where I was?

Never mind.

Try this: "The gallery said people who visit all 11 locations during the exhibition will receive a signed spot print by Hirst."

The show comes down Friday, February 10.

From Roberta Smith's in-depth January 13 New York Times review:

Thanks to the Gagosian art empire, a ludicrous number of paintings by Damien Hirst are on display right now.

In New York, where 115 of the 331 are on view in the three Gagosian galleries in the city, the quality of the art — and the experience of it — varies tremendously. Parts of Hirst New York are both visually exhilarating and accessible; you can take the kids, take friends who have never looked at art or acquaintances curious about the formal principles of abstraction. Then there are parts so redundant and oppressive as to appeal to only hard-core Hirst devotees. The New York allotment, at least, is a sideshow but one with redeeming qualities, a spectacle with benefits, which is a lot more than can be said of Mr. Hirst's previous attention-getting shenanigans, like the all-Hirst auctions or the bejeweled skull.

Am I grading on a curve? Probably. Undoubtedly the usual knickers will be twisted by Mr. Hirst’s latest grandstanding: He's so unimaginative, so crassly commercial, not a real artist and so forth. You can find precedents for just about all of his actions in previous generations. Multiple-city gallery shows have been around since the 1980s; many artists have overproduced, and most are publicity minded. But he has rolled all this, and more, into one big, messy contradictory ball of wax and pushed it to extremes in ways that regularly drive people nuts.

[At] the Gagosian Madison Avenue flagship [is] the very first spot painting Mr. Hirst made, in 1986, when he was a student at Goldsmiths College in London and had not yet figured out his formula; its mass of dripping, blobby spots painted on board suggests a kind of graffiti art abstraction.

It took just eight days for the first two winners of free Hirsts to touch all 11 bases.

Here are excerpts from Carol Vogel's January 20 New York Times story with details about how the winners accomplished their feats.

A blogger and a magazine editor are the first two adventurers to complete Damien Hirst's wacky spot challenge.

Before the much publicized retrospective of the British artist's spot paintings opened..., Mr. Hirst announced that anyone who visited every location before the show closes on February 18 would win a Spot print personalized by the artist. So far, officials at the gallery said, 726 people had registered to take the challenge, a requirement to be a winner.

Valentine Uhovski finished first at the Davies Street gallery in London around 3:00 p.m. this afternoon there (10:00 a.m. in New York). Co-founder of the blog Art Ruby, Mr. Uhovski said he embarked on the challenge because Mr. Hirst is one of his favorite artists. He was hesitant to say how much the journey cost, other than to explain he used many air miles and to say that "the trip was not just about the spots."

"I saw lots of other exhibitions which was great, including a 19th-century Russian art show in Athens.’"

The other winner, Jeffrey Chu, an editor at Fast Company, finished at 10:30 this morning at Gagosian's Madison Avenue gallery. It took him eight days and "not as much money as you think." The experience, he said, "got people like me who wouldn't normally set foot in a Gagosian Gallery to see his work."

Bonus: Not only will you receive a signed Hirst, but he'll also dedicate it personally to you.

Register here to get started.

Better get on the stick: You've got 21 days to make the rounds.

Fair warning.

January 28, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pancake Plates


What took so long?


From the website:


In his quest to create the perfect plate for pancakes, designer Jon Wye broke down the elements of what makes a pillowy stack so comforting.

After a lifelong love affair with breakfast, Wye pinpointed the crux of satisfaction: syrup.

This plate, designed with a raised edge that gently slopes the plate toward the diner and an ingenious reservoir for pooling loose syrup, was made for slicing, dipping and delighting in each bite of pancake goodness.

Enhances any saucy dish — not just pancakes — down to the last drop.





White or Buttercream.


Set of two: $45.

January 28, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: How To Find That 1 Thing You Lost Online


I can't speak for you but they had me at "... thing you lost online."

Who hasn't driven themself insane trying to locate something seen somewhere yesterday and for whatever reason not bookmarked?

You haven't had that experience?

You've come to the wrong place, friend.

But I digress.

Excerpts from the estimable ReadWriteWeb's January 26 post by Jon Mitchell follow. 

Argh! What was that video called? Was that on Twitter or Facebook? Where did I save that article? Who was it who made that joke about the Edsel? Do you find yourself asking these questions often? As we get wrapped up in more and more Web services, things tend to get disorganized.

Greplin is the way I find that one online thing I'm looking for. It's a fast search engine that can index a whole bunch of common cloud services many of us use. Once it's done crawling for the first time, you don't have to wait for a second. You type in your search query, and Greplin brings back an organized list  of everything in your cloud-life that matches.

It can search Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Reader and  Google Contacts (as well as the professional Google Apps versions). It searches Dropbox, of course. It searches Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and  LinkedIn. It's got Delicious and Pinboard. It has Yahoo Mail. It even searches Reddit. And these are all free. Premium users can search Evernote, Yammer, Salesforce, Basecamp, Highrise and Campfire. All of these services in one search.

Greplin's premium service is $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. But basically every consumer service, and even the Google Apps service, is available for free. Evernote is in premium, and that's a very tempting hook for power users. But it's amazing what the free version of Greplin can do. In addition to the Web version (which works on mobile), there's a free iPhone app, and it's killer.

[via Seattle's own Peggy Dolane, grand panjandrum (panjandra?)/majordomo of Provient Marketing, among a number of other things. Graphic up top by Sacha Maxim.]

January 28, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

January 28, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Floral Paintings by Fong Qi Wei


Many of you liked Singapore-based artist Fong Qi Wei's "Exploded Flowers," featured here on January 3.

Now he returns with a series of floral paintings.

He wrote, "Whilst doing my Exploded Flowers series, it occurred to me that petals and individual components of flowers are literally individual brush-strokes of nature."

"So I decided to take that idea and expand it to create a floral painting, so to speak. I was also partly inspired by the excellent website Everything Is A Remix."

The artist sells prints; contact him here: headhoncho@fqwimages.com.

January 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AirTurn — "Music reading made easy"

I learned of this system in Katherine Boyle's January 20 Washington Post article.

Long story short: It eliminates the need for a human score page turner, allowing a musician to use her/his foot to wireless to the next page as displayed on an iPad.

From the website: "Read documents and control your computer or tablet hands-free. The AirTurn BT-105 is a versitile, wireless page turner for reading sheet music or any other compatible digital document on your Bluetooth-equipped computer hands-free. The BT-105 can connect to one or two footswitches for forwards and backwards page turns. The BT-105 is available with the ATFS-2 pedals, featuring proprietary 'mechanism-free' switching technology and designed to be the most silent foot switches in the consumer market."

Pretty cool.

January 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is that a cat in a canoe in George Caleb Bingham's 1845 painting "Fur Traders Descending the Missouri?"


Sure looks like it to me.

Screen Shot 2012-01-26 at 2.18.25 PM

I've seen photos of this painting — in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, hanging in Gallery 758 — before, but only Thursday, when it accompanied Eric Gibson's Wall Street Journal story about the museum's expanded and renovated galleries of American painting, did I notice the cat.

I attribute this to the cat lobe of my brain having been fully activated by the constant close presence of my beloved Gray Cat. 

Part of the museum's description of the painting reads, "The scene is impenetrable and bewitched, marked by mist and silence."

January 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

My wonderful new task lamp


It's from IKEA via Amazon and cost me $20.59 (black is $19.95).


For the first time in history, going back decades into the previous century, I was able to assemble an IKEA product without 1) Hurting myself or 2) Becoming frustrated because I couldn't figure out the directions.

You might point out that assembly isn't exactly rocket surgery: it requires screwing two Phillips screws into predrilled holes and slapping on a rubber base.

But why be negative?

Rejoice in my success along with me.

Bonus: The lamp actually looks quite good and works perfectly.

It's slim, adjustable, has an on/off switch about a foot from the base on the cord, uses LEDs, stands 24 inches high fully extended, has a heavy base five inches in diameter and a 79-inch-long cord.

Nice touch: the cord is a super-slim wire that plugs into a piece with the plug.

January 28, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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