How Subversive Artists Made Thrift Shopping Cool

Customers shop during at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Out of the Closet thrift store in Columbus, Ohio. Jay LaPrete/AP By Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte / 08.15.2017 Assistant Professor of Material Culture and History University of North Carolina Wilmington National Thrift Shop Day (August 17) exists alongside other quirky holidays like Play Your Ukulele Day (February 2)[…]

Chris Killip as Photographer and Teacher

Angelic Upstarts at a Miners’ Benefit Dance at the Barbary Coast Club, Sunderland, Wearside (detail), 1984, Chris Killip. Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, purchased in part with funds provided by Alison Bryan Crowell, Trish and Jan de Bont, Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, Manfred Heiting, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, and Lyle and[…]

West African Ashanti Kente Cloth Art

Asante kente cloth, 20th century, silk and cotton (Vatican Museums) By Dr. Courtnay Micots / 07.17.2017 Assistant Professor of Art History Florida A&M University Inspired by a spider’s web Among the Asante (or Ashanti) people of Ghana, West Africa, a popular legend relates how two young men—Ota Karaban and his friend Kwaku Ameyaw—learned the art[…]

Three Buildings, Two Architects, Common Spaces

Installation view of Berlin/LA: Space for Music at the Getty Research Institute. Photo: John Kiffe An architect finds commonalities in spaces for music in Berlin and LA—both highbrow and low. By Peter Greuneisen / 07.11.2017 Founder nonzero\architecture, studio bau:ton There are surprising parallels between the sister cities of Berlin and Los Angeles, as is convincingly shown in[…]

Leonardo, Rapunzel, and the Mathematics of Hair

Lecture by Dr. Raymond E. Goldstein at the Museum of London / 11.09.2016 Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems University of Cambridge Introduction How do physicists and mathematicians think about hair?  Everyone, especially those with their own hair, has surely been fascinated since their youth with the magical properties of bundles of hair: its “body”[…]

Joseph Cornell’s Mail Art

Card collaged by Joseph Cornell, enclosed with his letter to Susanna De Maria Wilson dated February 17, 1963. The Getty Research Institute, 2014.M.30 A look inside newly catalogued letters and collages by the American pioneer of collage and assemblage art. By Isabella Zuralski-Yeager / 06.27.2017 Special Collections Cataloger Getty Research Institute Joseph Cornell (1903–1972) is[…]

The Eccentric, Democratic Architecture of Hans Scharoun

Philharmonie exterior. Photo by Chris Edwards The German architect created unique designs blending Expressionism and the International Style. By Dr. Kathleen James-Chakraborty / 05.09.2017 Professor of Art History University College Dublin The exhibition Berlin/Los Angeles: Space for Music (April 25–July 30, 2017, at the Getty Research Institute) explores two iconic buildings, Hans Scharoun’s Berlin Philharmonic[…]

Does Technological Analysis Destroy the Romance of Art History?

Detail from Extracting the Stone of Madness by Hieronymus Bosch / Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid By Dr. Noah Charney / 08.09.2016 Adjunct Professor of Art History, American University of Rome Founder, Association for Research into Crimes Against Art In 2012, a linguist at the University of Southern California decoded a famous medieval manuscript written in a[…]

Feel-Good Fractals: From Ocean Waves to Jackson Pollock’s Art

Photo by NCinDC/Flickr By Florence Williams / 01.26.2017 Visiting Scholar George Washington University When Richard Taylor was 10 years old in the early 1970s in England, he chanced upon a catalogue of Jackson Pollock paintings. He was mesmerised, or perhaps a better word is Pollockised. Franz Mesmer, the crackpot 18th-century physician, posited the existence of[…]

The History of Art and Literature in Urban Contexts

The Roman Forum, by Giovanni Paolo Pannini, 1755 / The Louvre Museum, Paris   By Dr. Markian Prokopovych and Dr. Roey Sweet / 05.13.2015 Prokopovych: Leverhulme Research Fellow, University of Birgmingham Sweet: Professor of Urban History, University of Leicester Abstract Artistic and literary production are not inherently urban processes in themselves but they have always[…]

‘América Tropical’s’ Powerful Message

Chris Espinosa, standing in front of América Tropical. Photo: Evan Guston © J. Paul Getty Trust. Mural: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico City Among the treasures of El Pueblo Historical Monument is this masterpiece by David Alfaro Siqueiros. Since its re-unveiling in 2012, thousand of visitors have viewed the conserved mural.[…]

How Google Street View Became Fertile Ground for Artists

A scene in the Bronx curated from Google Street View. Nick Lehr/The Conversation via Google    By Dr. Allison L. Rowland and Dr. Chris Ingraham / 05.24.2017 Rowland: Assistant Professor of Performance and Communication Arts, St. Lawrence University Ingraham: Assistant Professor of Communication, North Carolina State University On May 25, Google Street View celebrates its 10th birthday.[…]

Fixing the Ephemeral: An Ongoing Conversation with Artist Donald Blumberg

Untitled from the series Television Political Mosaics 1968–1969, 1968–69, Donald Blumberg. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Donald R. and Grace Blumberg. © Donald Blumberg The Los Angeles-based artist speaks about photography, time, and the desire to remember. By Laura Hubber / 04.28.2017 Content Producer, Interpretive Media Department J. Paul Getty Museum For more than five[…]

Did Artists Lead the Way in Mathematics?

Is there a geometry lesson hidden in ‘The Last Supper’? Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Henry Adams / 04.27.2017 Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History Case Western Reserve University Mathematics and art are generally viewed as very different disciplines – one devoted to abstract thought, the other to feeling. But sometimes the parallels between the[…]

The Borderless Wordplay of Concrete Poetry

Beba Coca Cola (Drink Coca Cola), 1957, Décio Pignatari. Screen print from Poesia concreta in Brasile (Milan: Archivio della Grazia di Nuova Scrittura, 1991). The Getty Research Institute, 45-13. Courtesy of the Estate of Décio Pignatari   By Dr. Lauren Graber (left) and Dr. Henar Rivière (right) / 04.05.2017 Graber: Research Assistant Rivière: Curatorial Department[…]

Are Fractal Patterns in Nature and Art Aesthetically Pleasing and Stress-Reducing?

A fern repeats its pattern at various scales. Michael, CC BY-NC By Dr. Richard Taylor / 03.30.2017 Professor of Physics Director of the Material Science Institute University of Oregon Humans are visual creatures. Objects we call “beautiful” or “aesthetic” are a crucial part of our humanity. Even the oldest known examples of rock and cave[…]

The Great Relief at Mamallapuram

Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Penance, 7th-8th century, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India (photo: Nireekshit, Wikimedia Commons) By Dr. Edward Fosmire / 04.06.2017 Professor of Art Santa Ana College Introduction A cat stands on one leg in imitation of a holy man while plump mice gather around. A family of elephants, with several calves in tow, approaches[…]

Pioneers of Posters in the United States

By Guity Novin / 03.23.2014 Graphic Designer, Artist Introduction The US history of posters is intimately connected with advertisement for commerce, politics, and war. Early settlers in the American colonies produced most of what they consumed at home, but a few precious goods were bought in stores. Newspapers were scarce — the first in America[…]

With New Technology, Mathematicians Turn Numbers into Art

Mathematical visualization techniques led the author to create this virtual scene, showing shapes from the realm of mathematics bursting into the physical world. Frank Farris, CC BY By Dr. Frank A. Farris / 04.04.2017 Associate Professor of Mathematics Santa Clara University Once upon a time, mathematicians imagined their job was to discover new mathematics and[…]

What is Concrete Poetry?

Augusto de Campos’s Lygia Fingers, a poem from 1953 for his wife-to-be, Lygia Azeredo, highlights the international tendencies of concrete poetry; it appeared in a portfolio of concrete poems by European and Brazilian artists issued by the German printer and publisher Hansjörg Mayer in 1964. From 13 visuelle Texte (Stuttgart: Edition H. Mayer, 1964). The[…]