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 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


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Time pressure

This is one of the fascinating surreal dreamscapes created by the young French photographer Julie de Waroquier. Photo art that is both imaginative and well executed. I recommend to click the link to sample more of her work. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

London Olympics stamps

At the occasion of the London Olympics, the British Mail has issued a series of commemorative stamps that are quite special - design courtesy of the Hat-trick agency. . They combine sports figures and London landmarks in one image to stunning effect. I especially like the one shown above, where the London Eye doubles up as the cyclist's front wheel.

web site

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vogue July 1930

With the Olympics underway, this sport-based Vogue cover of 1930 appears a timely subject for the blog. The beautiful design is by Eduardo Garcia Benito, with the grace of the female sport figure echoed in the dog's shape.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Olympic Games

Those of you who have been following my blog for a few years, may have wondered why I did not run a special theme on Olympic Summer Games posters, like I have done for the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Well, I considered it, but frankly the general level of the official posters was too uninspired to my taste (judge yourself). In fact, the best poster I found was an unofficial one for the 1952 Helsinki games, issued in the late forties. A beautiful piece of late Art Deco. Anyway, let the games begin!

Vintage Posters

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.

Beatles - never fade away

Sometimes you come across really great images on the web, but without information attached to them. I decided to start a subject for these, titled A is for anonymous. I will include the link where I found the shot, and anybody who can provide more information on these pictures, please leave a comment or mail me. I came across this beautiful rendition of the iconic Abbey Road Beatles picture on the 9gag site. Brilliant idea to turn John and George into ghost-like fading images - it hit me harder than I would have expected.


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.


Another edition of the Tour de France comes to a close today - and I must say, it was one of the most boring that I have watched since I started to follow them in 1968, when I saw Jan Janssen win, live on black and white TV. Congratulations nevertheless to the first British winner, Bradley Wiggins. For the occasion, a vintage poster of the bicycle company Alcyon, themselves sponsor of the professional Alcyon Cycling Team, which won the Tour de France six times. The poster was created by Louis Mancin in 1905.

Vintage Posters

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Unusual concertos [32]: Electric guitars

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The thirty-second concerto deals with the electric guitar, actually two guitars or the price of one (image source unknown). The electric guitar has not penetrated the classical market to a large extent, and the only concerto in my collection is the one by Terje Rypdal, which is actually for two of these instruments. It is played by Terje Rypdal and Ronni Le Tekro as solists and the Riga Festival Orchestra under Sne from an ECM CD.

Go here

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, taken from the article, shows Sol LeWitt wall drawings exhibition at Centre Pompidou de Metz (image sourced from looking4poetry).

web site

Thursday, July 19, 2012


This is a really fascinating idea for a web site: Bob Egan, the man behind PopSpots, looks for the exact location where iconic album covers of the past were shot, and then recreates the original with the cover inserted in a contemporary shot. Although the focus is on New York, other locations are included as well. As you can expect, this is a time consuming affair, and there are currently "just" 13 albums posted, but it is fun to browse. The picture above is of course Steely Dan's Pretzel logic.

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).


Eva Besnyö

Here is a photographer who deserves to be far better known than she is. Hungarian born Eva Besnyö (1910–2003), who later settled down in the Netherlands, excelled in street photography, more often than not in black and white. The image I selected is not only very representative for her art, but is a striking image by itself. She shot this Gypsy boy with the huge cello on his back in 1931 in Hungary. I could not find an entry on her in the international Wikipedia (here is one in the Dutch version), so I link to the extensive Hyperallergic article that drew my attention to her.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Rolling Stones - 50 years

The 50 years' anniversary of iconic rock band the Rolling Stones has quite rightly featured prominently in the news these days. I have picked the latest version of their logo for today's blog post. The Stones lips and tongue is probably the most instantaneously identified rock logo. It was created in the early seventies by John Pasche, a Royal College of Art student (though American artist Ernie Cefalu has claimed responsibility for the original concept). For the golden jubilee, the band's site features the above version where the S and O of the Stones are effectively replaced by 5 and 0.

web site

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quatorze Julliet

For the occasion of the French national holiday, a festive French poster, one of the best I have seen. It was created by Roger Broders in the twenties, a gorgeous piece of Art Deco.

Vintage Posters

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.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Christ the Redeemer

Photojournalism of a special type: waiting for just the right moment. The best picture I have ever seen of this landmark, against that awesome full moon. All rights retained by the photographer/agency (Felipe Dana/AP Photo).

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.