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[…]

Allan Sekula’s Papers Reveal His Art, Writing, and Thought Process

Dear Bill Gates, 1999, Allan Sekula. Photograph. The Getty Research Institute, 2016.M.22. © Allan Sekula Studio LLC. A partial gift from Sally Stein, in memory of her husband Allan Sekula Allan Sekula’s papers, newly acquired by the Getty Research Institute, document the visionary artist and critic’s meticulous process and socially engaged practice. By Sarah Zabrodski[…]

The History of Art in Judaism

Judaism: An Introduction   By Dr. Jessica Hammerman (left) and Dr. Shaina Hammerman (right) / 08.08.2015 Jessica Hammerman: Professor of History, Central Oregon Community College Shaina Hammerman: Professor of Jewish History and Culture, Lehrhaus Judaica Judaism is a monotheistic religion that emerged with the Israelites in the Eastern Mediterranean (Southern Levant) within the context of the[…]

The Metamorphoses of Danaë: From Venal to Virtuous to Voluptuous Woman

Danaë, 1621–23, Orazio Gentileschi. Oil on canvas, 63 5/8 x 89 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016.6 The mythological princess Danaë was one of the most divisive, ever-changing mythological figures in Western art By Davide Gasparotto / 03.01.2016 Senior Curator of Paintings J. Paul Getty Museum One of the most accomplished Italian artists[…]

African Art, Ancient to Modern

The Songhai (also Songhay or Sonrai) people of West Africa / Photo by Maria Magdalena Ruiz O’Farrill By Guity Novin / 03.23.2014 Graphic Designer, Artist Introduction The motives which guide the hands of the sculptors and architects of Black Africa, the strait jacket of ritual and symbolism in which the work of art is confined,[…]