Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Contemporary Art: Japanese Pop Art @ Mizuma Gallery New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Manhattan is not just the global center of finance. The island is also a mecca of art. Many ambitious art galleries are lured to come here because of the amassed wealth. Recently opened the Mizuma Gallery, which is at home in Singapore, a dependence on 324 Grand Street (between Lower East Side & Chinatown mizuma ). They start with work by the Japanese artist AMANO Yoshitaka. The exhibition is called “DEVA LOKA (through November 18, 2018  opening).

Yoshitaka started his career in an animation film studio. After setting up a studio in New York in the late 1990s, he decided to switch his primary pursuit to fine art. Today he is influenced by pop art &  Anime characters. Above you can see his "Candy Girl" followed by "When sleeping beauty wakes". Both 2018, automotive paint, acrylic, and aluminium panel.

Above "Daydream" (2018, automotive paint, acrylic, and aluminium panel).

Apparently this image is also called "Daydream"

Above another "Daydream" followed by "Madonna" & "Bonbon Girl"

You may already guess it, the vases above are called "Daydream". Both 2018, underglazed painted flower vases, ceramic, glaze, zaffer.

To be continued

Contemporary Art: The Worlds Of William McKearn @ Pierogi New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Contemporary arts often allows a glance into alternate universes. Gallery Pierogi on Manhattan`s Lower East Side (155 Suffolk St. New York   ) is showing the worlds of William McKearn (through November 18, 2018). I like his strange groups of sculptures.

According to the press release Labor, close calls, and accidents are inspirations for McKearn.

The press release also explains that McKearn`s sculptures are  inspired by the Hindu origin myth from the laborer’s viewpoint. On a visit to Angkor Wat, McKearn was impressed by the sprawling plan of the place and the labor that went into its construction"

Most of McKearn’s references 2could be classified as yarns, or stories embellished over time."

"McKearn`s figures are typically straining or contorted in panic, inspired by a lifetime in construction and attendant mishaps, or by the follies of youth."

To be continued

Monday, October 29, 2018

Economics: Why The Political Sea Change In Brazil Was Inevitable

(Drivebycuriosity) - Brazil has voted. Jair Bolsonaro beat his rival Fernando Haddad, who had represented the former corrupt socialist government. Bolsonaro´s victory ends the regime of the leftist Workers Party (PT) that ran Brazil for 13 of the last 15 years and caused country’s worst recession in spite of the recovery of the global economy.

Jair Bolsonaro is bedeviled by the liberal media in the US & Western Europe.  Journalists call him a fascist and describe the politician as the new Antichrist. I don´t think they give him a fair judgement.  The liberal media dislikes anybody who doesn`t share their biased view of the world.

I disagree with many of Bolsonaro`s  (real or alleged) political & socials ideas, like his refusal of same-sex marriage, abortion, & secularism. I would have preferred a moderate reformer, liberal in the sense of Adam Smith or Milton Friedman, like the German politician Ludwig Erhard, who fathered Germany´s economic miracle in the 1950s & 1960s, or Margaret Thatcher, who had saved her country from an economic downward spiral. But unfortunately for the Brazilians there is no such person available.

A sea change in Brazil was inevitable. The former left-leaning government had sent the country on the way of Cuba & Venezuela. I agree with  Bolsonaro`s pledge to fight crime and corruption, which have gagged the country. I appreciate the new president`s business friendly stance which could revive investment and lure international capital back. Brazil needs less bureaucracy & and less government intervention. I am encouraged by his choice of Paulo Guedes, a Chicago University-trained economist and investment banker, as his economic guru and future economic minister. Guedo is known as a supporter of free markets and is said to be keen on privatizing an array of state run enterprises, including units of oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and power utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (Eletrobras). Time will tell if Bolsonaro will become the Brazilian Ludwig Erhard or Margaret Thatcher.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Science Fiction: Bridging Infinity

(Drivebycuriosity) - I like science fiction. Unfortunately most science fiction novels disappoint. Often a writer has an interesting idea which carries a story about maybe 100 pages or less, but when she stretches the plot the story gets thinner and thinner and the text has too many fillers.  Just a minority of authors is capable to keep the tension over hundreds of pages. Therefore I usually skim collections of science fiction short stories in order to find some gems.

I just finished reading the anthology  "Bridging Infinity" edited & curated by Jonathan Strahan (amazon). The editor writes: "science fiction, or at least the sort of science fiction that was typical in American pulp magazines  from the 1930s to the 1950s, was founded on a belief that problems are solvable, and that those problems are solvable using technical or engineering solutions". He had asked his authors to deliver him stories which more or less follow this motto. The result are 15 stories by different authors covering a variety of ideas & styles (this is a spoiler free blog).

My favorite is "Mice among Elephants" by Gregory Benford & Larry Niven, two top stars of contemporary science fiction. The story is really for the lovers of very hard science fiction. It is soaked with science, especially astrophysics & evolution. And - what is rare in the usually prudish genre - there is also an explicit sex scene.

I also enjoyed:

 "Rager in Space" by Charlie Jane Anders about two cool girls who endeavor a hilarious space. It is a funny but also a dark & somewhat philosophical story about humans & artificial intelligence (AI).

"Ozymandias" by Karin Lowaches. A man takes a one man job on a small space station, a kind of beacon, which leads to some surprises. A cynical story about AIs, humans & criminals.

"Cold Comfort" by Pat Murphy & Paul Doherty about a scientist who developed a method to fight global warming in the Arctic.

The rest of the stories contains also interesting ideas and may cater different tastes. In the moment of writing the kindle version of the book costs just $5,38.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Culture: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Barclays Center New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Yesterday I had the pleasure to watch a performance by "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds". The Australian and his band played in the huge Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It was the first time that I saw this band live - two percussionists, 2 guitarists and a multi-instrument player (guitar, flute, keyboards) -  but I knew many of their songs of course.

Over about 2 hours they delivered a variety of songs & styles - referring to an oeuvre they had amassed in more than 3 decades - , but they stayed on the dark and goth side, which was amplified by Nick´s unique deep voice and singing style. Some of the softer songs where a bit too kitschy for my taste, but I was compensated by the violent parts. Some pieces were rough & industrial, mixing grunge & metal and escalating into fierce sound explosions - and the huge screen behind them showed palms battered by a Typhoon.

Nick is a charismatic entertainer, a kind of cult leader. Like a snake charmer - in a good sense - he enjoys orchestrating the crowd and almost creates a symbiotic relationship with his audience. In the middle of the concert he squeezed through the mass to a little extra stage and performed there in the center of the crowd. In the final part of the show a part of the audience was invited up on stage where they danced or just sat around him -  seemingly worshiping the master. 

Thank you Nick Cave & Bad Seeds for this fascinating show!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Contemporary Art: Daydream Believer @ Gallery Henoch New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - Do you like naturalist paintings? On my recent visit of Chelsea I discovered an exhibition with beautiful paintings. Gallery Henoch ( 555 W 25 Street New York galleryhenoch ) showed paintings by Gary Ruddell. The exhibition is called "Daydream Believer". I display here my favorites (all oil on panel), a very subjective selection as usual. This post starts with "Yellow Moon" and a detail shot.

Above you can see "Reaching for the Moon , 1st Study" followed by "Defying Gravity".

Above "A Reckless Dreamer" & "Arrival".

Above "Walking on Water" & "Then and Now".

Above "Transition" followed by Stand Alone" & "Correspondence".

Above "United We Stand" followed by "Unplugged" & "It's Just Weather".

The have more artists. Above Eric Zener`s "Boundless" (2018, oil on canvas) & Richard Combes`"Downtown Platform Franklin St. Subway" (2018, oil on canvas).

Isn`t she lovely? "Reflections With Ammonite" (Bronze, 24" x 6 1/2" x 13" (1/10)  by Don Gale.

To be continued