Tag Archives: art

London and art

Trafalgar Square

Yesterday we took the train to London and settled into a really super modern hi-tech hotel dubbed “The Hub by Premier Inns.” It is also the crummiest hotel I have ever stayed at. I picked it because it was well recommended and was located less than a block from Trafalgar Square, shown on the right. And yes, it is new and fancy, with motion-controlled LED lights and fancy touch buttons and aps to control everything. It is also tiny, cramped, the controls are too limited and too difficult to decipher, even for a science journalist like myself. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, as it was reasonable in price considering the location. I still dislike the hi-tech nature of the room that only ended up limiting our convenience and comfort.

And the hotel didn’t even have an ice machine!

National Gallery in London

Today we wandered about the square, watching the street performers (buskers in British lingo) and admiring the statues and sights. Then we went into the National Gallery to enjoy some of humanity’s greatest art, as were a class of elementary school children as shown in the picture on the right.

The museum was packed with people from everywhere. I saw Japanese, Chinese, and Israeli tour groups. I saw people of all types clearly from London, including several school groups like the one to the right.

Interestingly, these crowds were all found in the permanent exhibits. One temporary exhibit we wandered through, art by an modern abstract artist by the name of Sean Scully, was practically empty.
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The greatest electronic music of the fifties and sixties

Link here. Many of these could easily be an evening pause, other than the fact that they don’t have visuals. If you want to get a feel for the beginnings of electronic music, check them out. The styles range from space music to jazzy. The sampling even includes the electronic music from Forbidden Planet (1956), one of the best science fiction films ever made. I have put one as an example below the fold.
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The artist who sculpted a secret message in code — in plain view in the courtyard of CIA headquarters and unsolved now for twenty years — has now provided codebreakers a tiny clue to its solution.

The artist who sculpted a secret message in code — in plain view in the courtyard of CIA headquarters and unsolved now for twenty years — has now provided codebreakers a tiny clue to its solution.

The final mystery of Kryptos – it means “hidden” in Greek – is known as the “Everest of codes” among the thousands of cryptographers who are obsessed with deciphering it. … Three passages were unravelled in 1999. But the fourth and toughest remains defiantly obscure, to the surprise of nobody more than Jim Sanborn, the sculptor who created the enduring puzzle.

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If you own that art, it’s not yours. The IRS owns it instead.

If you own that art, it’s not yours. The IRS owns it instead.

The object under discussion is “Canyon,” a masterwork of 20th-century art created by Robert Rauschenberg that Mrs. Sonnabend’s children inherited when she died in 2007. Because the work, a sculptural combine, includes a stuffed bald eagle, a bird under federal protection, the heirs would be committing a felony if they ever tried to sell it. So their appraisers have valued the work at zero.

But the Internal Revenue Service takes a different view. It has appraised “Canyon” at $65 million and is demanding that the owners pay $29.2 million in taxes.

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Have researchers found Leonardo da Vinci’s lost “The Battle of Anghiari” fresco, hidden for the past six centuries behind a wall?

Have researchers found Leonardo da Vinca’s lost “The Battle of Anghiari” fresco, hidden for the past six centuries behind a wall?

The painting, considered a masterpiece by contemporaries, had never been finished by da Vinci because he had used an experimental technique to paint it, and that technique had failed. Thus, the painting was painted over fifty years later. The only reason we have a good idea of what the painting looked like is that several artists were so impressed by it that they produced copies while it was still visible.

The research suggests the painting was not painted over, but that a false wall was built in front of it. If so, this would be truly exciting discovery. The painting would probably not be in very good shape, but to actually see it would be wonderful.

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The Hudson River School

An evening pause: Four minutes of paintings by artists from the Hudson River School.

Anyone who has ever hiked along or sailed on the Hudson River knows it to be one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, a quiet wide river winding south nestled between lush green hills. In the 19th century American artists Thomas Cole, Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt among others were inspired by this beauty to paint some of the world’s greatest landscapes. If you can find the time, go to a museum that has some of these paintings and see them in person. They show us the majesty of the universe.

Update: Unfortunately, the video that I had originally embedded here disappeared from youtube last night. Here is the work of Alfred Bierstadt, set to the Connie Dover’s “Who will comfort me?”

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