Listen to what is likely the only voice recording of Frida Kahlo

The National Sound Library of Mexico has found an audio recording of what is most likely painter Frida Kahlo reading her essay "Portrait of Diego" in the early 1950s. It was recorded for the pilot episode of radio show El Bachiller. From The Guardian:

The episode featured a profile of Kahlo’s artist husband Diego Rivera. In it, she reads from her essay Portrait of Diego, which was taken from the catalogue of a 1949 exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts, celebrating 50 years of Rivera’s work...

In the press release, Mexico’s secretary of culture, Alejandra Frausto, said if it is indeed Kahlo’s voice – a claim which authorities continue to investigate – it could be the only audio recording of the artist that exists...

“Frida’s voice has always been a great enigma, a never-ending search,” (library national director Pável) Granados told a press conference. “Until now, there had never been a recording of Frida Kahlo.”

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Carolee Schneemann, pioneering performance artist, RIP

Carolee Schneemann -- a performance art pioneer whose deeply provocative and thoughtful work focused on gender, sex, the body, and power -- died yesterday at age 79. My first exposure to Schneemann's work was in the mid-1980s on a grainy VHS dub of avant-garde art films that also included pieces by Karen Finley and Annie Sprinkle. That videocassette, along with the RE/Search book Angry Women and a few other underground tapes and texts, opened my eyes and mind to a multitude of new genres in feminist art and radical thought. From an obituary by Andrew Russeth in Art News:

Schneemann’s corpus of work is so gloriously diverse that it is impossible to summarize with a single defining piece, but among her most famous (and infamous) works is Meat Joy, a 1964 film of a performance featuring eight scantily clad dancers who writhe together, with animals parts soon joining the melee. It’s a bacchanalian display—unapologetic and exploding with pleasure—and an utterly indelible work of art.

“Meat Joy has the character of an erotic rite: excessive, indulgent; a celebration of flesh as material: raw fish, chickens, sausages, wet paint, transparent plastic, rope, brushes, paper scrap,” Schneemann wrote. “Its propulsion is toward the ecstatic, shifting and turning between tenderness, wildness, precision, abandon—qualities that could at any moment be sensual, comic, joyous, repellent.”

Describing the work on another occasion, in terms that could very well serve as a manifesto for her entire career, she said, “The culture was starved in terms of sensuousness because sensuality was always confused with pornography.

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Behind the scenes with Hollywood's creature making wizards

Immortal Masks make a lot of masks, prosthetics and horrific creatures we see in films that later end up haunting our dreams. This video shows exactly how they do it. Read the rest

Nigerian artist, age 11, creates incredible hyperreal portraits

Kareem Waris Olamilekan is a Nigerian artist who paints astounding hyperreal portraits. He's 11. From his Instagram @waspa_art:

I am waspa the bitty artist Art is my calling It's in me I draw, paint and design.

All Africa interview: "My Legs Shook As I Drew the Portrait of French President"

(Thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

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New smartphone app lets museum visitors point at art, then see artists discuss the work

The Hirshhorn Eye (nicknamed "hi") is a new smartphone application that lets visitors to Smithsonian's Hishhorn Museum of Art point their phones at art and hear messages from the artists themselves. Read the rest

Watch a great interview with Björk and collaborator Jesse Kanda

This promising new series explores artistic collaboration, and the first episode features Björk and collaborator Jesse Kanda. Read the rest

Watch how kids and pro artists draw differently based on eye tracking

While wearing eye tracking glasses, seven young people and three professional artists each donned eye tracking glasses and drew the same scene, and some interesting patterns emerged. Read the rest

How to make hikaru dorodango, shiny mud balls

Over the years, Bruce Gardner has mastered the Japanese craft of hikaru dorodango, polished mud balls that literally mean "shiny dumplings." Read the rest

How badly do streaming services rip off musicians? A chart, updated

Information is Beautiful has updated their comparison of artist payments on streaming services, estimating that 2.4 million plays on YouTube will net a whopping $1,472 for an unsigned artist. That's $0.0006 per play! Read the rest

Video: Jeff Koons, steel balloon animals, the Pink Panther, and Scarlett Johansson

This year, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles gala honored sculptor Jeff Koons who for decades has created incredibly monuments to popular culture, from steel balloon animals to a bronze "Hulk Elvis" to Michael Jackson and Bubbles the chimp in porcelain.

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Biopic of "little old lady" folk artist a hit in theaters

Canadian artist Maud Lewis lived in a tiny house covered in her paintings, which she sold door to door in Nova Scotia. A biopic of her life, Maudie, is a surprise hit in theaters, reports the BBC.

The film's success has also been spurred by a rather serendipitous find: an unknown Maud Lewis painting found in a thrift shop is being auctioned off for charity, with bids topping C$125,000 ($91,500, £70,685). The work was authenticated by Mr Deacon, a retired school teacher who is now somewhat of a Maud Lewis sleuth. ...

Typically characterised as a "folk artist", Lewis was self-taught and lived her whole life in poverty. Unable to afford things like canvas, she'd paint on anything from scraps of wood and plywood to thick card stock. Her subjects were the things she saw in her everyday life - fishermen, wildlife, flowers and trees. "Maud was not a person who travelled to other galleries or saw other art, so there's a kind of naivete to it," Noble told the BBC.

Here's the trailer:

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Watch MC Escher make art in this short documentary

M.C. Escher: Adventures in Perception (1971) is a 20-minute Dutch documentary about the artist and includes scenes of him working in his studio. From Open Culture:

Obsessed with perspective, geometry, and pattern (Escher described tessellation as “a real mania to which I have become addicted”), his images have, by the count of mathematician and Escher scholar Doris Schattschneider, led so far to eleven separate strands of mathematical and scientific research.

The twenty-minute Adventures in Perception, originally commissioned by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offers in its first half a meditation on the mesmerizing, often impossible world Escher had created with his art to date. Its second half captures Escher in the last years of his life, still at work in his Laren, North Holland studio. It even shows him printing one of the three titular serpents, threaded through a set of elaborately interlocking circles, of his very last print Snakes. He never actually finished Snakes, whose patterns would have continued on to the effect of infinity, and even says here of his officially complete works that none succeed, “because it’s the dream I tried for that can’t be realized.”

(via Neatorama)

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RIP J.S.G. Boggs (1955-2017) - an artist who drew his own money

Artist J.S.G. Boggs died on January 22. He drew money and convinced people to accept it in exchange for products. He sold the receipts as his works of art. He didn't sell the bills themselves.

James Stephen George Boggs (born 1955) is an American artist, best known for his hand-drawn, one-sided depictions of U.S. banknotes (known as "Boggs notes") and his various "Boggs bills" he draws for use in his performances.

He spends his "Boggs notes" only for their face value. If he draws a $100 bill, he exchanges it for $100 worth of goods. He then sells any change he gets, the receipt, and sometimes the goods he purchased as his "artwork". If an art collector wants a Boggs note, he must track it down himself. Boggs will tell a collector where he spent the note, but he does not sell them directly.

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Oakland Ghost Ship benefit concert 12/14 with Primus, Rogue Wave, Dan Deacon, Tycho, more

Our friends at Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment are co-hosting a benefit concert headlined by Primus on December 14 to support the Oakland Fire Relief Fund raising money for victims of the devastating Ghost Ship warehouse fire. The artist community tragically burned during an electronic music party earlier this month, killing 36 people and destroying the lives of so many more in the Bay Area creative community.

The concert, taking place at Oakland's Fox Theater and will also feature Dan Deacon, Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Jay Som, Rogue Wave, Sidecar Tommy, Thao Nguyen, The Coup, tUnE-yArDs, and Tycho.

Buy tickets here.

More info in this Billboard article. Read the rest

Search of Oakland's burned Ghost Ship warehouse ends: 36 people died

Firefighters and police have announced that they completed their search of Oakland's smoldering Ghost Ship warehouse, the artist community that burned during an electronic music party Friday night. A total of 36 people died. Our deepest sympathy goes out to those who lost friends and family in this heartbreaking tragedy for the Bay Area's creative community and beyond. What a loss.

The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts organized a Fire Relief Fund for victims.

(via SFGATE) Read the rest

Slumps: adorable art of your favorite characters all slumped over

Matt Ritchie makes "slumps" — whimsical artwork of popular characters slumped over as if falling asleep or theatrically dejected by their latest mishap.

Up top are the heroes of Star Wars, who have perhaps just learned that Disney has no plans to remaster the original theatrical release. Here's the Justice League, reading reviews of the movies they appear in. Read the rest

Graphic biographies about famous Western artists

This past spring, the This is… series of graphic biographies about famous Western artists kicked off with a trio of handsome, modestly scaled books on Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Jackson Pollock, thereby covering its pop, surrealism, and abstract-expressionism bases in one swift stroke. This fall, This is… ventured into somewhat less predictable terrain with a pair of titles devoted to Paul Gauguin and Francis Bacon. Read the rest

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