Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The value of Rauschenberg's Canyon

The linked article is one of the most bizarre art stories I have read so far. It deals with the value of a piece that can never be sold - because Rauschenberg's sculptural combine Canyon (image from Wikipedia, public domain) contains a stuffed bald eagle, a bird under federal protection. The discussion started when the owner died and her inheritance had to be valued. Zero was the not unreasonable choice by the heirs, given that it can't be sold anyway. The US tax office decided otherwise and is charging the heirs a sum corresponding to an estimated value of 65 million dollars... Read the full story on the New York Times site.

web site

Monday, July 30, 2012

Deventer patterns

Surprised to see that I did not blog this shot from March yet - it is one of my favourites of 2012. I got triggered by a surge of views of this shot on my Flickr site, which resulted in the find that this has become a bit of a hit on Tumblr. It is a close-up, through the display window, of a wedding dress, rotated 90 degrees for a more abstract feeling.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.02 sec (1/50)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 154 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stolpersteine by Gunter Demnig

A different type of miscellaneous art compared to what I usually blog. History is very important for the people of Kampen, not just their golden age (around the 13th century), but also more recent. Kampen is one of the participants in the Stolpersteine project of German artist Gunter Demnig, a commemoration of the victims of the holocaust. Stolpersteine are small, cobblestone-sized memorials for an individual victim of Nazism. They commemorate persons by name – both those who died and survivors – who were consigned by the Nazis to prisons, euthanasia facilities, sterilization clinics, concentration camps, and extermination camps, as well as those who responded to persecution by emigrating or committing suicide. The list of places that have Stolpersteine now extends to six countries, hundreds of cities and towns, and over 30000 individual stones. The picture above is by myself. More about the project in the linked Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lyapunov, a Russian romantic

How many Russian romantic composers are in your collection? Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov obviously, most likely Mussorgsky, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov, but beyond that? And yet, there is a wealth of inspiring composers in the so-called second tier (Arensky, Taneev, Gliere, and so on). Even less known, but definitely worth checking out, is Sergei Mikhailovich Lyapunov (1859-1924). Mainly known (if at all) for his piano works, his real strength for me is in his concertos. His violin concerto (also available on Naxos) is simply beautiful, and his two piano concertos are among the best in the neglected romantic catalogue for this instrument - quite rightly, Hyperion have included them in their still expanding 50+ CD series of romantic piano concertos. This Naxos CD contains these two interesting concertos, with the worthwhile Rhapsody on Ukrainian Themes thrown in as bonus. Shorena Tsintsabadze is the excellent soloists, with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, under Dmitry Yablonsky. Outstanding performances in great sound, this is a must for lovers of romantic concertos.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pelican destination

She has been absent from this blog for a few months, also because she took a break from Flickr. But here is the welcome return of my Flickr friend sannesu. A beautiful minimalist image of pelicans in flight - and I'm glad that she made this second version after some suggestions of mine on the first. It looks even better on the white Flickr background. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Der Hund von Baskerville (RIP Bert)

Cindy und Bert were a German Schlager couple who featured regularly in the Dutch top40 during my teenage years. Bert (Norbert Berger) passed away last weekend at the age of 66. I always thought that the song I selected for this post was a stunning choice in their repertoire - instead of middle-of-the-road Schlagers, here we have a rocking German version of Black Sabbath's Paranoid, set to lyrics inspired by the famous hound story of Sherlock Holmes. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I would put it on my MP3 player).


How to discuss conceptual art

The link leads you to a wonderful Hyperallergic article about how to bluff your way through highbrow discussions about conceptual art. I particularly like their suggestion to throw into the discussion that the artist "has created a very interesting visual lexicon" - sounds amazingly clever and does not mean a thing of course. The image above is by myself.

web site

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mouth piece

A shot of mine that appeals to me far more than to most viewers on Flickr. It is one of my favourites of the year so far. Two months ago, we took a jazz boat tour on the river IJssel. Especially the Kampen based saxophone quartet Saxozie was a delight to listen to. The lighting conditions were sub-optimal, but I like what I got here in a close-up of one of their instruments. Extreme use of dof, and placement of the mouth piece on a golden ratio point, for those interested in composition.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Brunch time jazz

Several years ago we bought an 8CD box entitled The Jazz Collection. The music is great, but the cover design of the separate CD's is even better - I have posted one before here. These covers all are based on the excellent art work of Katsumi Aoyama.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Child in time (RIP Jon Lord)

And so the rock world loses another one of its brightest stars. Jon Lord, keyboard wizard of Deep Purple, succumbed today to pancreatic cancer at the age of only 71. I am not quite convinced yet of the quality of his classical music compositions of recent decades, but his rock work of the seventies still stands out as one of the best of that glorious decade. In his memory, a live version of their magnum opus, Child in time. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I would put it on my MP3 player).


Friday, July 13, 2012

The lock

You may have seen this painting on art news sites recently - it was auctioned earlier this month for 35 million dollars. John Constable (1776 – 1837) is, together with Turner, my favourite British painter, even though in general I prefer expressionism and impressionism over his romantic style. The lock, dating back to 1824, is one of his best, showing the beautiful side of the rural English landscape.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer silhouettes

It has been far too long since I last featured my Flickr friend Adrian in this blog. I have selected this wonderful minimalist silhouette shot, not just because it is such a fantastic creation, but also because it is totally different from his other work. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Where have you been

Barbados' major export Rihanna is one of those pop singers where I could not care less about the music, but can appreciate the covers, especially if they go beyond the obvious pretty woman qualities. I quite like this design for her latest single, both the mystery it evokes, and the reduction of her name to a peculiar stylized R. More about Rihanna on the linked wikipedia page.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Past or present

Although painting is the primary art form for my wife, it is fascinating to see her apply her artistic views to other art disciplines. This recent effort shows what she can do with a camera and some judicious post-processing. This is a scene in Kampen near our home, made to look absolutely timeless. I may be biased but I find this mind-blowingly beautiful.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


For the occasion of the fourth of July. America from 1968 remains one of the most impressive Simon and Garfunkel songs. The lyrics vividly describe an imaginary trip through the USA of Paul and his girlfriend Kathy. We get both the personal viewpoints ("laughing on the bus, playing games with the faces", "Kathy, I'm lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping - I'm empty and aching and I don't know why"), and the more general soul-searching of a nation for which this trip is symbolic ("Counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike, they've all gone to look for America"). The melody is simple but memorable and the instrumentation, though more heavy than in most of their songs from that vintage period, is quite effective. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time).


Monday, July 02, 2012

Harbor wall abstraction

This is my favourite shot of the year so far, and one of the best I have ever created in my opinion. It makes me happy for two quite different reasons. The first one is that I shot it right here in Kampen, showing that my inspiration is coming back. Secondly, it received very high praise in the composition blog of Rick Yagodich (my Flickr friend word artist). A short summary of his comments (for the full analysis click here): "Hennie’s abstractions of shape are becoming ever more refined, compositionally. Here, as well as the obvious combination of lines and curves, we have the interplay of light and shadow, and some excellent use of (secondary and tertiary) golden ratios. A perfect balance of forms and contrasts, sitting on all the right intersections." It is actually not what many people think: there is no shadow play at work here at all. The shape I captured and cropped like this is the decoration of the Kampen harbor...

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/5.9
Focal Length: 20 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Sunday, July 01, 2012

In the rye

High time to feature my Flickr friend jenny downing once more: I recently faved two shots of hers that will have to be posted in this blog. Here is the first, a stunning variation on her ever popular poppy theme. The contrast between the red poppy and the silver dew-dropped rye is simply amazing. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.