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Saturday 30th October 2010Photography is Top this Season

Everywhere you look at the moment, there is something great to talk about in relation to photography. There are some terrific exhibitions showing right now which feature the best photographers and photography that art history has to offer.
A new exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) is no exception. From today, and running until 30th January next year, SFMoMA is hosting a large scale retrospective of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson.  Entitled, Henri Cartier- Bresson: The Modern Century, the exhibition features around 300 prints from Cartier-Bresson's professional career from 1929 through to 1989. 
Interestingly, around a fifth of the works that are on display have never been presented to the public, making this a key exhibitions for fans of the photographers work. The exhibition  was organised by the chief curator of the photography department at MoMA, NY, Peter Galassi, with the staging of the exhibition at SFMoMA being overseen by  Corey Keller, associate curator of photography at SFMoMA.
Cartier-Bresson is a key figure in the history of photography, possessing an extraordinary ability to capture modern life on the move. Rarely can Cartier-Bresson's oeuvre be mentioned without making reference to the "decisive moment", a term used to remark upon this ability to perfectly capture a time and place. 
If you can't make it over to San Francisco to catch the exhibition, make sure you pick up a copy of the exhibition catalogue, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century. Essential reading for any Cartier-Bresson fan, or anyone interested in the development of photography. 

Posted on October 30th 2010 on 11:16pm

Thursday 28th October 2010Free iPhone App Released by Tate to Celebrate Muybridge Exhibition

Photographers, iPhones at the ready! Tate has announced the release of its new app, The Muybridgizer. Created to celebrate the Eadweard Muybridge exhibition at Tate Britain, which will run until 16th January 2011. 
Muybridge was an early pioneer in photography, becoming famous for his work in capturing animal and human subjects in motion. The story goes that in 1872 Leland Stanford, a former Governor of California and race horse owner, hired Muybridge to settle a question about the movement of a horse in gallop. The question was whether all four of a horses hooves are off the ground at the same time during a gallop. The question has been fiercely debated for a great length of time, and it's even clear from old paintings of horses and the like that people just weren't sure.
Muybridge took to photographing Stanfords horse in quick succession while it was moving to reveal that a horse does in fact have all four hooves off the ground at points during a gallop, but not in the same way that painters and illustrators had previously depicted them. 
Photographing people and animals in motion became a matter of study for Muybridge, and his work was amongst the first instances of videography. 
The Tate now invites you to make your own version of a Muybridge, using the new Muybridgizer app which is available from iTunes, and is free for the duration of the exhibition. Once you have made your Muybridge, you can then upload it to Flickr and perhaps see you image displayed on the dedicated Tate website.

Posted on October 28th 2010 on 03:59pm

Wednesday 27th October 2010New Website Template for Artists & Photographers

Over the past few months, Gallereo has been working on a series of new website templates specifically suited to the needs of artists and photographers. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing these new website templates for use with the Gallereo system. If you see a new template come up that you like, you can easily switch from the template you are currently using, directly to one of these new ones without having to start building again from scratch.
The Newman Template
The Newman template is the latest template design to be added to Gallereo. Suitable for both artists and photographers, this template makes use of bold typefaces and a strong, contrasting monotone design. 
This template has a powerful, contemporary and striking design, offering a solid graphical appeal. Clean lines and a simple layout means that there is nothing to distract from the artwork or photographs on show.
Fully customisable, from the items and names on the menu to the presence of introductory text on the homepage. From whether the ecommerce functionality of the template is switched on or whether it becomes solely a showcase for your work. The template also comes in five colour variations as standard, meaning you can stay chic and opt for a classic black template, or go more contemporary with a white, gallery style template, or even go a little crazy and have a pink design to show off your artwork and photographs.
If you want to find out more about the templates on offer at Gallereo and find out just how flexible they really are, get in touch, or try our 30 day free trial, with no obligation to pay at the end.

Posted on October 27th 2010 on 07:55pm

Tuesday 26th October 2010Art Magazines - Looking for Something New to Read?

There is a lot of great information out there for anyone that is interested in art and photography. There are endless amounts of blogs, news websites, gallery websites, museum websites, newspapers, magazines and periodicals that help us all to stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and stories from the arts. 
While we are unquestionably fans of the internet and the proliferation of news and information via a technical means, we also enjoy a good magazine. Big glossy images and that new magazine smell can't quite be replicated online. 
Below we have presented a selection of art magazines that might be of interest to anyone looking to get their hands on some new reading material.
Art + Auction
While primarily aimed to collectors of fine art and antiques, this magazine is actually a greatly informative source about the arts for all audiences. As well as offering insights into the art market and key trends in the industry, the magazine also pulls together articles on some of the greatest artists and photographers to have graced the planet. 
The team of writers and researches at Art + Auction are at the top of their game, consistently producing quality material, bundled up into a world class production.
Apollo is a notoriously glamorous, and well respected, magazine devoted to painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, interior design and the decorative arts. Containing a heavy dose of images to sit along side some very well written content, Apollo is often a firm favourite for fans of the arts.
Founded in 1952, Apollo offers its readers a great deal of diversity in terms of content, covering everything from antiques, right through to contemporary art. The magazine is also truly international offering insights into art happenings and events world wide.
Creative Review
Creative Review offers perhaps the most diversity on this list, covering everything from design and film to advertising and typography. The magazine makes a sterling effort to cover as much ground as possible in the creative industries without seeming to be stretched or without doing justice to worthy topics. 
The magazine launched in London in 1980 and has since grown to have a following  in over 80 different countries. The aim of their game has always been to stimulate society into debate about the creative industries and to keep a steady stream of inspirational creativity on the shelves of our newsagents and bookstores. 
Is a thoroughly modern magazine that engages with contemporary art and culture in order to educate, evaluate and celebrate the role that contemporary art and its exponents play within the larger contextual framework of contemporary life and society. 
Aesthetica was founded in 2002 by Cherie Federico who, at the time, was studying for her Masters Degree in the Arts. While based in the UK, Aesthetica looks to the international art scene for material that is both compelling and relevant. 
Artists & Illustrators
Artists & Illustrators is a practical guide for all professional and amateur artists. Providing inspiration and advice for the practical types amongst us, the magazine offers a wealth of information and imagery that anybody who has a passion for art can enjoy.
Aside from being a straightforward how-to publication, Artists & Illustrators offers interviews with established and up-coming artists as well as news on the latest exhibitions, materials, events and books. 
If you have a favourite magazine or publication that you think would interest art lovers everywhere, let us know in the comments below!

Posted on October 26th 2010 on 04:44pm

Sunday 24th October 2010The Independent Names the 50 Best Museums & Galleries in the UK

With the UK culture industry looking at how to cope with 30% budget cuts, The Independent has listed the 50 best museums and galleries that can be found on the British Isles. Taking a look at the 10 galleries and museums that were selected to sit at the head of the list is enough to see some of the great institutions that represent the British art market and its heritage. While the top ten can be said to be mostly predictable (and London-based), there are a couple of great regional underdogs listed in there.
The run down looks something like this:
1) The British Museum
A true gem in the crown of the UK culture scene, the British Museum is a great venue that has a smart blend of important historical displays and interesting art exhibitions, all housed in a building that sees a mesh of classic and contemporary architecture. 
2) The Victoria and Albert Museum
The V&A is another brilliant museum that brings some great art and design exhibitions to the British public. Located in South Kensington in London, the V&A claims that its purpose is "to enable everyone to enjoy its collections, explore the cultures that created them and to inspire those who shape contemporary design." 
3) Whitechapel Gallery
Founded in 1901 in East London, the Whitechapel Gallery is one of the leading establishments in the UK offering top class international exhibitions in both contemporary and 20th century art. The gallery seamlessly pulls together some of the greats like  Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo, right up to contemporary stars like Jake and Dinos Chapman and Elizabeth Peyton. More than just a gallery, Whitechapel stands out as a centre of a vibrant art community offering artist commissions, a stunning collection, historical archives, art courses and a great resource for anyone interested in the arts.
4) White Cube
Another typical superstar in the roster of top UK galleries, the White Cube was set up in 1993 by Jay Jopling as a project room for contemporary art. When it was founded it was said to be one of the smallest exhibition spaces in Europe, but that hasn't stopped it from becoming a genuine leader in the contemporary art world.
5) Tate Modern
Of all of the Tates, Tate Modern was selected for the 5th position on the list. Granted that the whole franchise has a great deal to offer, Tate Modern has a brilliant mix of terrific gallery spaces, amongst which we can include the famous Turbine Hall, and a consistently great exhibition programme. On the South Banks of the Thames, Tate Modern is certainly one of best galleries in the UK, if not the world.
6) National Museum of Scotland
Stepping away from London for just a second, and heading up to Scotland. Often overlooked as a great arts destination, Scotland powers into the top 10 with the National Museum of Scotland. Offering an inspiring rota of cultural exhibitions that take visitors far beyond the reaches of the Scottish borders. 
7) Serpentine Gallery
To complete the line up of top London galleries that deal in contemporary art, the Serpentine Gallery is yet another instance of a venue that has a top class programme of exhibitions. Located in Kensington Gardens and attracting up to 800,000 visitors a year, the gallery is a must-see on any art tour of London or the UK. Currently on view is an exhibition of work by Anish Kapoor.  
8) Science Museum, London
Fun and educational for all of the family, the Science Museum was founded in 1857 as part of the South Kensington Museum before gaining its independence in 1909. Now the museum is world renowned for its historic collections, stunning building and terrific exhibitions. 
9) Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts has a great collection of fine and decorative arts and is home to the UEA collection of Abstract and Constructivist art and design. The collection is built up from a donation of art the University of East Anglia in 1973 by Sir Robert and Lady Lisa Sainsbury. The Sainsbury Centre then opened to the public in 1978 and remains one of the hundred or so university museums around the UK that are open for public view. 
10) BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Heading out of London again, BALTIC is a leading establishment for contemporary art in the North of England. Located in Gateshead on the banks of the River Tyne, BALTIC has spent the last 10 years building a name for itself as a leader on the  contemporary art scene, providing an ever changing calendar of events and exhibitions to provoke discussion and add to the current discourse.
For a full list of the 50 museums and galleries selected by The Independent to represent the UKs offerings, visit the article on The Independent website.

Posted on October 24th 2010 on 06:54pm
Labels: galleries

Saturday 23rd October 2010Stunning Artist Website for Monet Exhibition at the Grand Palais

The Grand Palais in Paris is current host to what has been described as an outstanding exhibition of the work of Claude Monet. The exhibition opened on the 22nd September and is set to run through until the 24th January 2011 in the National Galleries at the Palais. 
The exhibition seeks to be a full survey of Monets development as an artist, and what makes the exhibition particularly interesting is that a full focused artist website has been built to cover all aspects of the works shown and the exhibition. What's more, the website is truly stunning in the way that it operates. Using examples of Monet's work as backdrops and using Flash to have them  turn from subdued black and white scenes, to full colour masterpieces. 
As well as being graphically stunning the website has got some great content that lets you get to know Monet a little bit better, which is a credit to RMN (Reunion des Musees Nationaux) who work on exhibiting, publishing, disseminating, promoting, developing and acquiring in the arts. The website is certainly a success for them and drawing attention to one of their arguably top projects.
Of all of the sections of the website, I would recommend following the Journey, which is one of the main links on the homepage. This lets you explore Monets work through a series of interactive scenes that follow through a sequence of moving imagery. In saying that, there isn't really a section of website that hasn't had the same level of care and attention. Even the practical information about visiting has a great example of a Monet self portrait. 
My only personal criticisms of the website are that you really do have to be patient to get from one place to the next (something which the loading screen does ask of you), which is a consequence of everything being Flash based, and the link to turn the music off could perhaps have been more prominent 
To view the website visit, and enjoy.
Screen shots courtesy of RMN

Posted on October 23rd 2010 on 11:56am
Labels: exhibitions

Friday 22nd October 2010There's Nothing Like a Nail in the Foot to Shake Up a Show

VOLTA NY is an art fair that was developed to follow in the footsteps of its parent fair (also called VOLTA) which was founded in Basel in 2005. VOLTA is the American version of the Swiss show which offers the opportunity to get a good, close up look at contemporary art and modern day practices. Unique in the sense that the only art fair to insist on each artist having an individual booth to themselves, VOLTA NY seeks to bring new ideas, new media and new ways of looking at contemporary art to the table.
The 2010 VOLTA NY show earlier this year, which was aptly titled "No Guts No Glory" is suitably representative of the attitude of the show as a whole and the types of artist and artwork that they show. The Art Newspaper visited the show this year and Jean Wainwright conducted an interview with an artist that perhaps best demonstrates the relevance of the shows title. 
Todd Pavlisko is a contemporary artist who caused a stir at this years VOLTA NY event by displaying a video performance of himself hammering a nail through his own foot, nailing it to the wooden floor beneath. The video of the interview with Pavlisko can be viewed on The Art Newspaper website, along with the footage of the nail performance. I will take this opportunity to warn you that the performance is real, so don't watch the video if you are adverse to images of a graphic nature. 
Pavlisko describes the performance as a challenge to his own body and a challenge of his endurance. A lot of research has gone into the approach to this so that he was able to avoid serious injury, however there is still a long process of recovery required for the artist after doing this. 
However much of a stir Pavlisko caused, he has yet to reach the truly gruesome heights of past performance artists that have used their own bodies in torturous ways to create their art. Chris Burden is perhaps the most famed artist to have produced controversial artworks in which personal pain and danger were key elements. 
Shoot (1971) and Trans-Fixed (1974) are amongst Burdens most quoted works. In Shoot Burden was shot in the left arm by an assistant, from a distance of about five meters and in Trans-Fixed, Burden was nailed by his hands, as if being crucified, to the back of a Volkswagen Beetle. The car was taken out of the garage and displayed for two minutes before being put back into the garage again. 
Since the dawn of time humans have been pushing the boundaries of what the body can do. Interestingly, when it takes place in the setting of a gallery, museum or art fair, people really do sit up and take notice. 
The next installment of VOLTA NY will take place in March 2011. Watch this space.

Posted on October 22nd 2010 on 04:04pm

Thursday 21st October 2010Top Ten Photography Books - Practical and Inspirational

Whenever I go on Amazon I'm always amazed at just how much time I can lose by clicking through the never ending threads of recommendations and books that people also bought if they bought the book that you're looking at. Don't get me wrong, these are happy minutes (or hours), but it can still be difficult to pin point the best books to buy, no matter what subject you are searching for. 
Some of the most interesting books that I own, or have seen or been told about, come from the genre of photography books. No matter what you're interested in, there's always a great photography booked that can be linked up to it. There are also some truly astounding art photographers out there that produce, or have produced, great work that I'm sure even a hardback monograph can't do justice too.
Below I have complied a list of photography books, both of the variety that provide practical advice about photography, but also books that display the work of some of the great photographers and photography organisations from around the world.
1) Magnum Stories
This book comes highly rated to anyone who is interested in journalistic photography. The book takes a look at how photographs can be used to tell stories through a series of 60 classes by some of the greatest photographers of all time, who also, coincidentally were involved with Magnum. Each class brings together tales of the individual approaches that photographers have applied to the field of journalism. Amongst the photographers that feature in the book are Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Martin Parr, Inge Morath, Eugene Richards and Leonard Freed. 
2) Ray K. Metzker: Light Lines
Light lines is a book that presents a more experimental approach to photography and really takes a deep look at the art of producing black and white photographs. Metzker is a highly celebrated American photographer who is not afraid to challenge the boundaries of photography and take those challenges to the viewer. This book offers a full retrospective presentation of Metzkers work, using 200 high quality reproductions to cover the various aspects of what has been an extremely prolific career. 
3) Robert Frank: The Americans
Robert Frank's The Americans is one of the most iconic photography books that you can buy. In 1955, Frank received a Guggenheim Fellowship to travel around the United States of America. He used that time to create a documentary record of American culture, producing what has become a universally credited book about the state of the US in the 1950's. A great book for anyone interested in American culture or documentary photographic practices.
4) Ansel Adams: The Negative
Ansel Adams is often recognised as one of the great photographers, but this book is no catalogue of his works. This is an innovative book about the processes that Adams went through when developing his photographs. While not very useful for digital photographers, this is a solid book for the collection of any photographers who still hold true to the darkroom. The book takes a look at the factors of light,  film type and exposures along with a detailed discussion on the Zone System. There is even an extensive chapter on the darkroom and its equipment for anyone who is just getting started.
5) The Moment it Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World's Top Shooters
The Moment it Clicks is a book for any budding digital photographers out there. Author Joe McNally is one of the worlds top digital photographers who has worked for some of the biggest magazines in the world. With everything from National Geographic to Sports Illustrated on his resume he is well positioned to write this book which has all of the elegance and presence of a coffee-table book, while also taking a teacher-like position over the more practical aspects of being a digital photographer.
6) The Family of Man
The Family of Man was an exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955; an exhibition that was put together by Edward Steichens. The exhibition can easily hailed as one of the most successful photography exhibitions of the latter part of the 20th century, The Family of Man charted images of humankind from all around the world. Aimed to show how similar we all are by covering universal themes such as love and marriage, child-birth and death. The book can be ranked amongst the classics of the photography genre.
7) The Genius of Photography
Written by Gerry Badger, The Genius of Photography is a book that charts the key events and key images that bring home the magnificence of the development of photography. Primarily a narrative history of photography, the book delves into the social, economic, political, technical and artistic aspects of the development of photography, asking questions about what makes one photograph a work of art while another isn't and looking at what makes an image by Nan Goldin or Henri Cartier-Bresson special. The book charts the contributions of some of the most distinguished photographers to date making this an essential book for anyone with an interest in photography. 
8) On Photography
Written by one of Americas most respected writers, Susan Sontag, and first published in 1973, this book takes a solidly academic approach to discovering the true force of photographic imagery with a strong focus on discussions of experience and reality. Whether you deal in darkroom photography or digital photography, the six essays that make up this book are worth the read. We deal with images every day of our lives without really thinking about what we're looking at, or what we're really seeing. This book helps us to grab on and take a little more notice.
9) Beneath the Roses
A personal favourite, Beneath the Roses is a book containing the complete series of Gregory Crewdsons photographs made between 2003 and 2007. Crewdson is an  extremely successful international photographer who also teaches at the Yale University School of Art. His photographs are particularly unique in their set up and the fact that he photographs anything but the 'moment'. His scenes are elaborately choreographed and built like a film set. Lighting, composition and developing the frame within which he will capture a scene are all part of the lengthy process that Crewdson goes through. This particular book also includes lighting charts, production photographs, sketches and architectural plans to help the viewer understand what it took for these photographs to come into being. A coffee-table volume for sure. 
10) Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (Aperture Monograph)
Nan Goldin is one of those photographers who managed to stir up a great deal of controversy around her work but battling with taboo subjects, while making very personal documents about her life and the life of those around here. This book charts a particular series of image by Goldin that take a look at the struggle for intimacy, understanding and relationship pressures of friends and lovers of Goldin. A review of the book in the New  York Times, by Andy Grundberg, said. "Goldin, at the age of 33, has created an artistic masterwork that tells us not only about the attitudes of her generation, but also about the times in which we live."
If that isn't enough to get you started on a truly amazing photography book collection, I don't know what is! If you do know, please drop us your recommendations in the comments below. 

Posted on October 21st 2010 on 06:12pm
Labels: photography

Tuesday 19th October 2010Mad Men get a Stanley Chow Illustration Make-Over

I recently came across some great illustrations by Stanley Chow while browsing on the From up North design inspiration and news blog. "From up North" appears to have started out as a personal endeavour, and no doubt a marketing tool, for Swedish designer Daniel Nelson. Moving from his personal blog space to its own website, "From up North" is a fantastic amalgamation of 3D design, advertising, painting, logos, photography, print, typography and web design, all under one roof. 
The article that grabbed my attention was, as I say, abut Stanley Chow. Illustrator, designer and cartoon extraordinaire, Stanley Chow, was born, raised and now works in Manchester in the UK. Typically associated with fashion illustration and storyboarding, Chow has made quite a name for himself by working flexibly across a wide range of platforms from advertising right through to packaging and game animation. 
The "From up North" article pointed out that Chows work has recently been focused on cartoons and caricatures, of which there are plenty of great examples to see. Anybody who is a fan of the series Mad Men and enjoys a bit of 1950's fashion and design will probably enjoy the series of prints that Chow has created, including caricatures of Donald Draper, Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson.  
If you head on over to Chows own personal website you will see lots of other great examples of his work which include caricatures of super heros like Superman, Wolverine and Wonder Woman, along with movie characters like Morgot Tenenbaum in her tell-tale LaCoste t-shirt. All of the art prints are for sale on the website.
I think "From up North" were spot on to do a focused article on this creative illustrator and to highlight some of the great work that he has done over the past few years. 

Posted on October 19th 2010 on 04:31pm
Labels: illustration

Monday 18th October 2010Charlotte's Web Illustration Beats Auction Expectations 5 Times Over

AP Photo/Heritage Auctions.
The time and effort that goes into the creation of book covers is often overlooked, but some of the original artwork for the cover of childrens book Charlotte's Web, created in 1952, has just sold in New York for $155,000 (£97,000). Sold at auction by Heritage Auctions, the artwork for EB White's books was drawn by Garth Williams and brought in more than five times what was expected at the auction, making this a record for the artists work. 
Charlotte's Web is a book about a friendship between a spider and a pig, and the particular artwork was one of 42 original drawings for the book which were put up for auction by the late artist's family. All together the 42 illustrations brought in a total of $780,245 (£487,927).
The cover illustration is said to have been bought by a New York collector whose name has not been released, but shows that there is a firm collector base for these sorts of drawings and a fondness for the illustrations of classic tales in particular. 

Posted on October 18th 2010 on 08:22pm
Labels: illustration
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