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December 7, 2021

'Axe Majeur' (Major Axis)

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From Atlas Obscura:

This piece of public art stretches over 1.9 miles long and stands just outside of Paris.

Construction began on the immense work of art in 1980 and was not finished until the early 2000s.

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Axe Majeur (Major Axis) was created by Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan.

Working with Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, Karavan designed a piece of art that combined large-scale sculpture and urban planning.

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The piece is divided into 12 stations, which include the 118-foot tall Belvedere Tower, an orchard, a garden, and an amphitheater.

Perhaps its most striking feature is the long footbridge, painted bright red.

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Karavan — who died May 29, 2021 at 90 — was known for his large sculptural works.

December 7, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Townscaper

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Fair warning: there goes the day.

December 7, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Sunny Day at the South Pole

Robert Schwarz shot this five-day time-lapse video at the South Pole from March 8-13, 2017, showing the movement of the sun as it rotates around — but never dips below — the horizon.

December 7, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google Reader

1:2

Above, a random internet homepage on Chrome.

Below,

2:2

the same page on Chrome + Google Reader.

One more thing: the cluttered page up top isn't inert: ads pop up and disappear, others scroll, making it even more difficult to find and read the content you came for.

nuf sed

Zzz

Free, the way we like it.

December 7, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

'Balloon Dog (Blue): Porcelain Edition' — Jeff Koons

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[Jeff Koons with a porcelain edition of "Balloon Dog (Blue)."]

Koons' Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for $58.4 million at Christie's in November 2013.

Now comes the artist (rather, his fabricators) with this far more affordable version for hoi polloi*.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Working in porcelain is not new for the artist Jeff Koons, who famously created his Banality series in the late 1980s out of the translucent ceramic material. 
 
By Koons' account, the attraction to porcelain was sparked by an ashtray in his grandparents’ television room that he remembers seeing when he was about four years old. The object was in the shape of a woman lying on a couch.
 
"Her legs were raised up, and she had a little fan," Koons says. "The heat of the cigarette and the smoke were supposed to make these porcelain legs move back and forth. I was so captivated by this as a child."
 
When he created Michael Jackson and Bubbles, Pink Panther, and Amore, and the other works in the Banality series that the Tate museum in the U.K. describes as "a celebration of popular culture and the banal," Koons used ceramics, porcelain, and painted wood. 
 
"I was referencing these types of knick knacks, these objects we have and have grown up with that can give us tremendous joy and insight into the things we like, the pleasures we have with the world," Koons says.
 
There's also little difference in meaning to him, he says, between the little ashtray his grandparents had and a revered sculpture such as Michelangelo's David. Both can trigger stimulation about the world, he argues. "That's what art is."
 
Porcelain was on the artist's mind as he talked last month about his work at Bernardaud on Park Avenue in New York, a shop by the family-run porcelain company from Limoges, France, which happened to be filled with sparkling, rainbow-colored limited edition sculptures of Koons' work, and a table laid out with plates from the Banality series.
 
The featured piece was a gleaming porcelain limited edition of Balloon Dog (Blue), 1994-2000, originally a 10-foot-tall mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture that's on view at The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles.
 
Koons collaborated with Michel Bernardaud, whose family has run the eponymous porcelain company in Limoges for 160 years, to create 799, 15¾-inch high sculptures of Balloon Dog (Blue) in porcelain.
 
The sculptures are exquisitely shiny and proportioned exactly to the dimensions of Koons' towering steel version of the childlike creation.
 
They are fashioned as a clown might make one from a single balloon, with the tied end serving as a nose.
 
Each took three-to-four weeks to make with up to 45 people involved in the production process.
 
Koons was inspired to make the porcelain editions as he saw the quality of his original Balloon Dog works deteriorate in copies that have proliferated.
 
The iconic steel dogs were also created in red, magenta, orange, and yellow.
 
"The proportions, the angles, the ears would not even be connected — it would describe something different than what my original intention was," he says. "I wanted to make an official Balloon Dog that was a work by myself, a work of art, and that it represents all the concerns, the details, the proportions, the angles, everything that the original Balloon Dog in stainless steel [has]."
 
The big difference is scale — the porcelain dogs are more than seven-times smaller, a size Koons says was challenging. "But it's at a scale that I believe communicates  the intentions of the bigger one," he says. 
 
One of those intentions is about biology, and how the things humans make are drawn from human physiology, such as balloon nozzles that look like belly buttons.
 
"The work really symbolizes that this is something that is profound, that comes from our human history, and not only from our physiological history, but our communal, cultural history," Koons says.
 
Another motivation was to create a more accessible, transportable sculpture in a number that can exist more widely in the world, and in people's homes.
 
Although it's still expensive — $36,000 at Bernardaud — it's not near the price of the stainless steel dogs.
 
Koons' Balloon Dog (Orange), for instance, sold for $58.4 million at Christie's in November 2013, a world auction record for the artist at the time that was exceeded in May 2019 with the sale of Koons' Rabbit (1986), also at Christie's. 
 
Although the porcelain Balloon Dog (Blue) sculptures are smaller in scale, Koons aimed to not only replicate the detail, color, and proportions of the original, but the reflective quality that allows a viewer of the work to see themselves in it. 
 
"It's about the opportunity to communicate to the viewer that it's all about them, about celebrating them, and showing respect to them," he says. "It's about caring about them, not about the object."
 
Fulfilling the artist’s vision in porcelain was a familiar task for Bernardaud, although not an easy one.
 
Koons has worked with Bernardaud for nearly 10 years since they created a "works on whatever" Acrobats plate to raise money for the nonprofit Art Production Fund. 
 
Since then the porcelain company has made plates, sculptures, and vases, all to Koons' exacting standards.
 
That meant changing the formula of the clay used, and the number and cycle of firings, and for Balloon Dog (Blue), developing a treatment to create the stainless-steel-like surface.
 
It had to be "absolutely perfect," Bernaudaud says. 
 
The porcelain maker recalls in detail how he brought examples of Koons' Rabbit works to the artist's studio that they had been working on for two years only to be told by Koons that they were one-millimeter too big. (And he was right).
 
Koons' fully scaled work is being exhibited currently at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy, through the end of January, and at the Qatar Museums in Doha (which will be showing Balloon Dog (Orange)), through the end of March.
 
In January, Pace, which began representing the artist this year, will present Koons' Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels (Magenta), 2013-2019, which the gallery said is one of his largest works from the Antiquity series.
 
The work is being presented publicly for the first time.
 
The artist, who has long relied on digital technology to conceive his creations and who even uses CAT-scans to understand all the objective "subtleties of a balloon" — inside and out — says he also "will be creating at some point in the future" a nonfungible token. 
 
NFTs, to Koons, are simply a new medium for expressing art, but art itself, he says, "comes from an ancient source."
 
If he does create an NFT, the artist intends to contribute "something to a dialog," he says. "What I would like to do is make something that has meaning."

$36,000.

*hoi polloi literally means "the people"; thus, "the hoi polloi" is redundant

December 7, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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