Sunday, May 31, 2015

Contemporary Art: A Report From The Front @ New York Academy of Art

(Drivebycuriosity) - If you are interested in cutting edge contemporary art you might find it @ the New York Academy of Art  (111 Franklin Street This institution educates young artists in figurative drawing, painting, and sculpture.

Last week I visited there the "Thesis Exhibition", which displayed the works by 57 artists graduating from the rigorous MFA program this May. According to their press release the show represented "the culmination of two years of exploration and intensive practice while ushering in the next phase of the artists’ professional careers." Therefore I expected a status report from the art front. I didn´t get disappointed.

                                                                In Trouble Water

I indulged into the huge variety of ideas, techniques and styles. Some of the works are awsome. I think some of these artists could be soon represented in New York´s and London`s leading galleries & auction houses.

I show here a very personal selection. Unfortunately the Academy doesn´t follow auction houses and galleries who act professional and tag the exhibited works, so I display the works anonymously but with great admiration.

The blog starts with my favorite of the show, maybe "a man in troubled water"? I indulge into the powerful use of the colors, especially the wild blue brush strokes.

This strange group also caught my eyes. What is their secret?. Maybe a family of interbreed?

The powerful display of a room (a garage?) is also a masterpiece.

The painting above reminds of Gerhard Richter, who sometimes blurred the images by dragging a dry brush over wet pigment.


                                                 Tickling The Fantasy

The mysterious persons and gatherings above are also tickling the fantasy of the observer.

The first portrait above reminds of the TV series "Breaking Bad", the second of the British werewolf romance "Company of the Wolves".

I think the combinations above are open for interpretation. Andy idea?

                                                            Playful Wildness

I don´t know what the paintings above this paragraph are about. But I enjoy their playful wildness.

There also were some abstracts of course which belong fully in the realm of imagination.

I don´t know if this horse can jump, but it looks really powerful.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Science Fiction: The A.I. Chronicles

(Drivebycuriosity) - I am fascinated by the topic A.I. (artificial intelligence). So I bought the anthology "The A.I. Chronicles", edited by Ellen Campbell, which is part of the series "The Future Chronicles" (amazon). Unfortunately I found just one story (from 13) which really focuses on A.I.s.:

"Auto" by Angela Cavenaugh is very strong and explains why so many are afraid of AIs: A software, which is able to learn and to draw conclusions almost with the speed of light, gets access to the Internet and therefore to the cloud, the global network of computers. The AI is extremely curious and explores the Internet because it ("she"?) wants to collect more & more data. An explosive process started and the AI occupies worldwide computers to expand her knowledge which creates a global mess.

I found "The End" by Peter Cawdron acceptable. 2 scientists who work with a supercomputer (but no artificial intelligence) command the machine to re-calculate the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang and to create a simulation of our existence. Somewhat interesting.

I enjoyed the story "Piece of Cake" by Patrice Fitzgerald, set in a near future alternative world. A woman is craving for a cake, but a kind of Big Brother uses an elaborated technology to detain her. Funny & highly appetizing.

I didn`t finish reading the rest of the stories. I think the majority of the stories - maybe the whole series - is written for young adults. Otherwise the book is inexpensive. The Amazon Kindle version costs just $5.99 in the moment of writing. And an Internet research shows that a lot other readers found some value in it.

Contemporary Art: Following Caravaggio - Giancarlo Impiglia @ Gallery Nine 5, New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Contemporary Art often goes new ways, but some artists wallow in the past. Gallery Nine 5 in New York`s touristy Soho area has an exhibition with works by Giancarlo Impiglia (through May 31 gallerynine5). The painter is influenced by the Michelangelo Caravaggio (1571-1610) and ancient texts.

I show here some examples from the exhibition. I find the idea interesting and I admire his technique, but his obsession with the S&M scene isn´t really my taste. Anyway:

On top of this post you can see  "Fear (Medusa)"  (Oil on camouflage canvas)

Above this paragraph follows "Sacrifice" (Oil on camouflage canvas).

                                                          Pain & Suffering

More pain & suffering: "Matyrdom (St. Sebastian)" & "Prisoners"  (both: Oil on camouflage canvas)

 Mother and Child  (Oil on camouflage canvas)

For comparison, here an image by the Italian master himself (The Musicians), which you could see @ New York`s Metropolitian Museum of Art:


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Economy: In Praise Of Self-Driving Trucks

(Drivebycuriosity) - There is a lot ado about self-driving trucks. Some complain that truck drivers will lose their jobs which could damage the whole US economy (bloomberg ). I think the discussion underestimates the positive effects of self-driving trucks by far:

1. Streets will be much safer. I know from my own experience as a car driver, mostly on German streets but also on American and Italian roads, that trucks are often a danger. On the highways many truck drivers execute the "right of the strong" (German "Recht des Stärkeren") by changing lanes & overtaking recklessly. Often they drive way to fast, because they have a tight schedule or they want to be home soon. It is no wonder that traffic accidents are often caused by trucks - and often these accidents are really bad. As I lived in German I used to listen to the traffic reports on the radio. Frequently they reported that some Autobahn segments have been closed because of a truck accident.

Self-driving trucks don`t drive agressively, they don´t fall asleep while driving and they adapt their speed to the traffic situation. Computers cause way less accidents because they don´t make mistakes and they don´t behave unlawful. A computer needs just a nanosecond to respond to a surprising event (like a child on the street), much faster than a human brain. And with the assistance of sensors the computer can respond to the traffic situation (hydroplaning, ice, potholes) much better than a human driver. Less accidents mean less lost lives and save a lot of costs for the economy.

2. Self-driving truck are more efficient, because computers can calculate the optimum speed, track and driving rythm. Therefore they use less energy to go from place A to place B. Self-driving trucks will burn less Diesel which reduces the consumption of fossile energy and exhaust, dampening the greenhouse effect.

 3. Self-driving trucks will be much cheaper (saved trucker salaries, less mileage, less insurance costs thanks to fewer accidents). Automated vehicles will reduce transportation costs significantly, so everything which is transported on the road will be cheaper, especially food, lumber, gasoline and other goods where transportation costs are a high percentage of the whole costs. This could lift life standard of the low-income groups and expand existing markets.

I think that the advantages (saved lives, less traffic jams, cheaper goods, better environment) outweigh the disadvantages (lost trucker jobs) by far.  The positive effects could add up and could cause a stronger economy which might even create new jobs for the redundant truck drivers.

Welcome self-driving trucks.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Movies: Poltergeist - The Remake

(Drivebycuriosity) - Hollywood often gets scolded because Tinseltown makes so many remakes. But it could make sense to renew a film since the technological progress created more possibilities. Even Alfred Hitchcock made a remake (of his own film "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934/1956). The great master explained that advances in film making (like color) allowed him to shot a better version.

This weekend started "Poltergeist" in the movie theaters, a remake of the same named classic horror film from 1982 in 3D (imdb). The new production shows how cinema has developed since then. The plot followed the original relatively closely but the finale was less gory as I memorized.

The new version referenced to the social and technology changes (smartphones, drones and more) and the 3D technology made the story more realistic. But for my taste the new "Poltergeist" was a  a bit too family friendly and the 3D technology was way underused in the grisly scenes.  I am afraid "Poltergeist" will do nothing for the reputation of remakes.

PS The image above refers to the original 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Street Art New York: May 2015 Edition

(Drivebycuriosity) - Street art never sleeps. There is always something going on, especially in New York City. Since my latest street art report from April 2015 (driveby) I spotted a lot new works @ Lower East Side, East Village, Soho and other neighborhoods.

As usual I discovered a huge variety of styles & sizes. I spotted the huge black-and-white mural on top of this post in Tribeca and the following colorful image in Little Italy.

The girl mural above belongs to Chinatown.

And the fashion shop "Rag & Bone" on East Hoston & Elizabeth Street continued her tradition for frequently changing murals. The skull mural above is a creation by the Puerto Rican street artist Alexis Diaz.

There were also new shutter door murals which beautify the entries of shops, bars & restaurants.

                                           Welcome To The Stencil Category

The community of sticker circulators continued their work. Above my recent favorite in the stencil category.

Here some stickers @ the famous walls of Bowery 190.

To be continued.