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Post #965 • March 2, 2007, 10:08 AM • 45 Comments

Ocean Drive profiles Brook Dorsch; yours truly brought in for color commentary.

Go forth and read Modern Kicks.

Another colleague just returned from the CAA confab and said exactly what Franklin said. Other artist friends have said the exact same things years ago.

Cultregrrl has been all over Boston lately: ICA, Harvard, Harvard, Harvard.

A possible solution to the Parthenon Marbles dispute between the British Museum and the Greek government has come from a most unlikely source—a gathering in Greenland.

Have we captured OBL yet?

Tyler, in the course of protesting too much about Kirk Varnedoe's Pictures of Nothing, does an appreciation of David Park. I second a retrospective.

This just in: pink doesn't exist. I think that the writer may be confusing additive and subtractive color theories, but there may be some real science in there. (Reddit fills the gaps.)

My friend Edmund Sullivan sends in a video of the carving of his pieta last year.

A new study shows that the Islamic pattern-making process, far more intricate than the laying of one's bathroom floor, appears to have involved an advanced math of quasi crystals, which was not understood by modern scientists until three decades ago. (AJ)

To Me You Are a Work of Art.

Dyske Suematsu makes some interesting observations about art, albeit mixed in with some fallacious ones: Why Americans Don't Like Jazz and Beyond Upper Art. See also: The Works of George W. Bush. In November of 1994, he became simulated Governor of Texas by actually being elected Governor of Texas. Thereafter, his artistic career has flourished.

Department of Skills: My friend Dave Bricker sends in his redesign for the website of Michael Dunn, luthier.




March 2, 2007, 5:29 PM

tap...tap...tap....."Is this thing on?"



March 2, 2007, 10:21 PM

"Pink doesn't exist" is an interesting concept. Pink is what happens when you decrease the saturation of red by making it brighter. Of course, Liz Elliot is making a Big Mistake confusing pink and magenta (which is a primary color in process printing). But by mentioning additive and subtractive color theories, you've brought up my favorite color brain twister of all time, guaranteed to bring a conversation between artists, graphic designers, and photographers to blows.

The basics: In additive color theory, the primary colors are red, green, and blue. Think of your TV set or old-school monitor, and those are the three guns in the back. Fire all three at a pixel and it turns white. In subtractive color theory the primary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. Now you're thinking of the printing press that pints magazines and such. You get white by shutting all the color off, as you increase their intensity you get darker colors (contrasted with additive, where increasing intensity gets you lighter colors).

Now check this: under either system, adding 100% of TWO of the colors leads you to a primary color in the OTHER system. For example, red+green=yellow (additive). Cyan+magenta=blue (subtractive). There used to be a website that illustrated this perfectly, but alas it's gone. But if you play, you'll realize that it's true, and that these two systems play with each other beautifully.

So then, WHY do they teach us in elementary school that the three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue? Note that two of those colors are primary in the additive system, the third is primary in the subtractive system. It's a mess, and while I'm not sure, the best explanation I've gotten is that this system best approximates what happens when mixing paints (different from process printing), and while it may not correspond to physics as neatly as the other two systems, it's not a construct, either.

Getting back to pink. Under the additive system, pink is 100% red with equal amounts of green and blue added to make it lighter. Under the subtractive system, pink is 50% magenta and 25% yellow. Nothing special. Apply the same percentages to different combination of primary subtractive colors, and you get other recognizable colors... BUT they're sort of considered sub-colors: 50% cyan + 25% yellow = sea-foam green. 50% magenta + 25% cyan = mauve, etc.

So the question isn't so much whether pink exists, but why it's on par with our secondary colors such as purple and orange. I think the answer is phisiological, or maybe even cultural -- we have a much stronger emotional reaction to red then we do to other colors. And so, while brightness-desaturated versions of green and blue read as light green and light blue, we are so attached to red that the concept of a light-red doesn't work, and we gave that particular color another name: pink.



March 2, 2007, 10:31 PM

DIFIABA is pink . . . also in Ocean Drive this month.



March 2, 2007, 10:33 PM

and speaking of pink...



March 3, 2007, 1:51 AM

[This comment used to be spam. - F.]



March 3, 2007, 4:30 AM

Thanks my friends, well done !



March 3, 2007, 5:17 AM

Wow, I'll call you manana...



March 3, 2007, 10:39 AM

George the NY?


alecia beth moore

March 3, 2007, 10:43 AM

What u talkin' 'bout Alesh?



March 3, 2007, 10:45 AM

This is an excellent anecdotal accoujnt of the nature of the current art market. If you want to get a feeling of the power of branding and why prices are out of control read it.



March 3, 2007, 11:08 AM

It may go even further than that, Alesh. Speaking for myself, pink simply doesn't look like a light version of red. Add white to blue, and you get light blue. Add white to red, and you get something that's not red anymore. I even had a problem when the article opened by saying that the official name for pink is magenta. No, magenta is a different color that relates to purple in a way that pink doesn't. Something very strange is going on with pink.

Yellow too. Add black to blue and you get dark blue. Add black to red and you get dark red. Add black to yellow and you get green.

And have you noticed that very few colors are orange? You work on the web, which is where I first saw this - you have this massive choice of greens, tilting blue, tilting yellow, low intensity, high intensity. Try the equivalent things with orange and you immediately pop off into red or brown.

Maybe I should write a book on this.



March 3, 2007, 11:33 AM

The wide range range of green may have something to do with the fact that organisms with eyes have looked at a wide range of greens for millions of years. Orange is very rare in nature.



March 3, 2007, 12:04 PM

Before you write anything about color or the psychology of color check out what has been written. There's a lot!

Also, check this out:



March 3, 2007, 12:06 PM

There is a lot of research on color perception, for example color naming:

Focal colors are universal after all by Terry Regier, Paul Kay, and Richard S. Cook

Abstract: "It is widely held that named color categories in the world's languages are organized around universal focal colors and that these focal colors tend to be chosen as the best examples of color terms across languages. However, this notion has been supported primarily by data from languages of industrialized societies. In contrast, recent research on a language from a nonindustrialized society has called this idea into question. We examine color-naming data from languages of 110 nonindustrialized societies and show that (i) best-example choices for color terms in these languages cluster near the prototypes for English white, black, red, green, yellow, and blue, and (ii) best-example choices cluster more tightly across languages than do the centers of category extensions, suggesting that universal best examples (foci) may be the source of universal tendencies in color naming"

Link to PDF is in the right column.

Regarding Yellow to Black:

If you are talking about mixing paint:
a. What color of black are you using?
b. What color of yellow?

If you are talking about the computer screen:
a. What color space are you using RGB, CMYK?



March 3, 2007, 12:19 PM

A follow up on my pervious comment:

The best model I have come across in terms of color perception suggests that 'seeing' a color is an active experience which is caused by the sensory input from sequential stimuli which are compared to each other in order to 'see' the color.

Among other things, the brain makes adjustments for the ambient light.

Also, the receptors in the eye itself, the cones and rods, are not uniformly distributed, this means that a slight movement in the eye could percieve the same stimulus (color patch) as a slightly different color, depending on which receptors are activated.

I read several papers on this, maybe from UC Irvine but I can't find the PDF links at the moment.



March 3, 2007, 12:37 PM

More on yellow to black going greenish as it gets darker.

Part of this problem is the same as trying to mix a neutral gray from two colors.
First off you need a dead neutral background to make the comparison, any color in the background will affect the perception of the gray, for example a red background will make it look greener than it is.

So when you mix black and yellow, the color will tend to drift between the two adjacent hues, green yellow red. If it veers towards red, the color will will appear warm (reddish) brownish, if the other way cool (green) brownish. To keep it in the middle is a trick because it depends on the colors you start with and whatever the adjacent colors are.

Regarding blacks, Mars black (iron oxide) is quite reddish, Ivory black is bluish, lamp black (I think) is warmish. As I'm sure everyone knows, certain colors which may appear the same directly out of the tube, for example Hansa yellows vs. Cadimum yellows may produce different results when mixed with other colors. In one case (the synthetic pigments) the base color is more transparent and the mass tone and undertone may differ from a similar color made using a Cadimum pigment which among other things has a larger particle size.

It's almost rocket science, alchemy at least.


Manola Blablablanik

March 3, 2007, 12:46 PM

OK, I was kidding in my earlier comment. Sorry ... :-)

I once read in my orchid book that black does not exist in plants and yet some orchids appear "black" to the human eye, though probably not so to the insect or bird it is trying to attract as a pollinator. It is obvious, but when I started dabbling in web design I pondered about RGB setting being 000000 as the total absence of color.

Orchids exhibit every color in the world but for very practical reasons. They are botanical masters of adaptation, somewhat like animals that use mimicry for defense. How they know how to "paint" themselves is extremely fascinating.



March 3, 2007, 12:47 PM

George, take any tube pf yellow and any tube of black and mix the colors and you get e bilious green. There's nothing subtle about it. It is one of the first things you tell students, after telling them not to use black from a tube anyway but mix their own.



March 3, 2007, 12:51 PM

Orange makes a good base for non virtual painting. It can also be purely material and sensuous. Our virtual screens do not require orange. Hansa orange is dull as it has been toned. Cadmium orange middle is prefered for undercoating landscapes. One must be carefull not to think that the car in "Dukes of Hazrad" is cadmium red light - it is hansa orange deep as it has some black and some white in it and not red. Transparent earth orange is the best as a base. It is also a good underpaing color.



March 3, 2007, 1:00 PM

The article referenced in #10 is indeed telling. It's less distasteful than the comparable Newsweek piece published during Miami Basel and also discussed here, because the featured collector comes off better as a person, but that's not saying too much. The basic underlying problems are essentially the same.

This woman is perfectly entitled to do what she's doing. It's heady and exciting, glamorous and chic. She evidently enjoys it, so much that it's become the main thing in her life, and she obviously gets various kinds of secondary gain from it--particularly of a social nature. She can afford to play the game as a big leaguer, and it seems to have improved her quality of life, so naturally she's hooked.

But of course, there are bells going off all over the place. Here are some of the louder ones, which pretty much speak for themselves:

"I was never interested in art, I never took a course in art history, but I always liked to decorate my apartments,” Ms. Hancock recalled. Her interior decorator took her to a fund-raiser for the Orlando Museum of Art in 1999, and she ended up joining the museum’s collecting committee. “That’s when I realized what collectible art was.”

She has also hired a series of art consultants — often people who are curators and collectors themselves — to whom she pays a commission based on what she buys.

Ms. Hancock doubled back to buy a third piece. It was a painting of a man falling off a bicycle, by a young artist she’d never heard of, Edgar Bryan. It cost $40,000. This was at the urging of one of her consultants.

The fourth piece Ms. Hancock bought was a painting by a Chinese artist, Ya Pei-Ming, that a director of the Milanese gallery Massimo De Carlo was holding for her in a back room. It cost $60,000 and depicted a red skull. “It just really moved me when I saw it,” Ms. Hancock said. “It’s hard to describe, but it fit my sensibility. It’s not political, it’s not outdoor sculpture. And the artist had a huge book published about him, and I’d looked up his auction prices.”

Ms. Hancock rode down to Christie’s with Eric Shiner, the consultant with whom she works closest these days...“Sue and I talk on the phone several times a day and I know her collection intimately,” Mr. Shiner said. “I’m here for emotional support, but she can decide what she wants without any help, and she often does.”

Nevertheless, the Whitney in NY has asked her to join its acquisition group. Imagine that.



March 3, 2007, 1:11 PM

any tube of black and mix the colors and you get e bilious green."

True, and a good thing for a student to know.

My point is that one can make a dark yellow, depending on the surrounding colors, by adjusting out the green tint.

Or if you use Cad Yellow medium (or deep) instead of Cad Yellow Light (or Hansa), and Mars black it doesn't turn green. At least with oil paint, I just tested it.



March 3, 2007, 1:17 PM

The newsweek story is here:

It is frightening.



March 3, 2007, 1:42 PM

Referring to Jacks comment and the NY Times article:

I’m sure part of the current collecting craze is about achieving membership in an exclusive club, the entry price is fairly stiff. But, so what?
"We see each other on the circuit, we talk about what we’re buying and what sold where," she says. "In my old life, it was all about work."

she bought herself 12 drawings by Amy Sillman and hung them in her stairway in Florida. "They made my heart flip-flop," she said.
Now, I have no idea why they made her heart "flip-flop" but isn’t this what all of us would hope the viewers response would be? Do we ever know what it is that causes this? Is it the same for every viewer? I don’t think so.

re:It is frightening.
I suppose, unless they are chasing after your (our) work.


Marc Country

March 3, 2007, 2:13 PM

I don't know, George... I think it'd still be spooky to have one of these people 'after' your own work, especially considering they'd have next to no idea why they were after it, only that they were told it was worth getting. I mean, you might not want to turn the money down, but you couldn't really respect the buyer, or the sale, all that much.

The fourth piece Ms. Hancock bought was a painting by a Chinese artist, Ya Pei-Ming, that a director of the Milanese gallery Massimo De Carlo was holding for her in a back room. It cost $60,000 and depicted a red skull. “It just really moved me when I saw it,” Ms. Hancock said. “It’s hard to describe, but it fit my sensibility. It’s not political, it’s not outdoor sculpture. And the artist had a huge book published about him, and I’d looked up his auction prices.”

Well, at least she has figured out how to tell a painting from an outdoor sculpture... baby steps...


Marc Country

March 3, 2007, 2:16 PM

In other news...

MIAMI - A prominent Miami developer was arrested Friday for allegedly skimming official funds to buy himself a $150,000 US sculpture of a giant watermelon slice..."



March 3, 2007, 2:33 PM

"If a painting does not make human contact, it is nothing. But the audience is also responsible. I adore the old French lady because among my works she chooses those that specifically move her. Through pictures, our passions touch. Pictures are vehicles of passion, of all the kinds and orders, not pretty luxuries like sports cars. In our society, the capacity to give and receive passion is limited. For this reason, the act of painting is a deep human necessity, not the production of a hand made commodity. I respect a collector who returned one of my "abstract" pictures to the gallery, saying it was too tragic in feeling for her to be able to look at every day. But somewhere there is a man with a tragic sense of life who loves the same picture. These are real human contacts, and I love painting that it can be a vehicle for human intercourse. In this solitary and apathetic society, the rituals are so often obsolete and corrupt, out of accord with what we really know and feel . . . True painting is a lot more than picture-making." A man is neither a decoration nor an anecdote"

Robert Motherwell, May 1955
Take from The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell, UC Cal Press. p109.



March 3, 2007, 2:58 PM

George, no doubt some people get the "flip-flop" over Britto or Thomas Kinkade. They're entitled to get it from whatever does it for them, and they're entitled to buy and enjoy that, but this lady is now a certified, card-carrying serious collector--at least according to Jeffrey Dietch, not to mention her consultants. She's not only being wooed by some backwater Orlando museum, but by the Whitney--and she is nothing if not representative of the current scene. I trust you get my point.



March 3, 2007, 3:23 PM

In todays society, the Art Country Club, like any counry club has strict entrance requirements and stiff dues.

To be a serious collector" the dues are probably around a 1/2 million.

An interest in Britto and Kinkade doesn't pass the entrance requirements.



March 3, 2007, 3:33 PM

Another little gem:

Many dealers sell new works to longtime clients before they are shown to the public; a system of waiting lists and pecking orders has developed. Ms. Hancock has worked to establish herself as someone who is serious about collecting.

“When I first started out, none of the galleries would sell to me because they’d never heard of me and I lived in Orlando,” Ms. Hancock says. “They won’t sell to you if they think you’re just trying to flip the pieces to make money.”

I hate to break it to her, but those galleries would do the same thing to the reincarnation of Duncan Phillips if they'd never heard of him and he lived in the provinces.



March 3, 2007, 3:35 PM

One could fruitfully ponder how much real difference there is between customers of Dietch and Britto. I'm not saying there's none, but I wonder if there's as much of a gap as one might assume. Frankly, I'd like to better fathom the mystery of buying art. I promise I would use my powers for good.



March 3, 2007, 3:52 PM

Motherwell was on the right track, George.

As for "flip-flops", all these people talk the "passionate intensity" talk all the time. Thats their game. But all their flip-flops come from looking at garbage, and all the garbage is the same garbage as all the rest of them get flip-flops from. I don't buy it.

You know George, many years ago they were actually chasing after everything I painted. I would deliver paintings to the gallery and 5 or 6 guys were lined up, like take-a -number in the Deli. It was nice, but it was also frightening, unreal. I really never believed it would last. It didn't.

Marc: "baby steps" - LOL. That "arrested developer" also built himself a multi-million dollar house and all the other crap that comes and goes with this kind of personality. They all seem to be connected to our civic governmental structure somehow and several of them are indicted every week, so it seems. I suspect most of them are never caught. Miami rules are not the good old American smalltown variety.



March 3, 2007, 5:33 PM

Well, OP, if that was happening many years ago, what's happening now is exponentially worse. It's not just the Art Country Club; it's the ACC on steroids, hallucinogens and mood elevating drugs. And we're not just talking about the actual junkies who cough up the money--the entire system is in on it, not just dealers (who'd obviously be in on it as a matter of course).

Since so many players have completely swallowed the official party line and may actually believe it, they feel totally "validated" by the fact that the system uniformly condones and at least tacitly encourages all the insanity. They feel like part of something bigger and important (certainly self-important); the parties, openings, auctions and fairs never stop, and as long as their money holds up, it's like a continuous rush.

I suppose Warhol was the prototype of all this; the whole sorry mess is entirely worthy of him.


SOur GRapes

March 3, 2007, 9:24 PM

I've seen alot of things written about in the times article.
This woman has walls to cover so she buys art instead of wallpaper.
Curating and art consulting are just other words for interior decorating.
She drops a quarter million dollars on art before eating lunch.
I doubt the Whitney has her making any decisions about WHAT to buy, but they will gladly butter her up and blow lots of smoke up her ass in order to get acquistion funds. She's an easy mark.
As for Mr. Deitch, he is a living breathing cartoon character of a NY Hot Shot Art Dealer.
All of the artists out there, are just chomping at the bit, wishing and praying that they could be courted by these assholes with too much money.
Edgar Bryans painting are very good. He works hard at what he does and he is fortunate to be making an honest living. I know dozens of excellent painters who slave away working in museums, art galleries and art suply stores.


SouR GrpaES

March 3, 2007, 9:27 PM

By the way....where is this story?
MIAMI - A prominent Miami developer was arrested Friday for allegedly skimming official funds to buy himself a $150,000 US sculpture of a giant watermelon slice..."


Marc Country

March 3, 2007, 10:30 PM

Google News Search:

Raul "Watermelon" Masvidal



March 3, 2007, 10:39 PM

What is the consensus on this blog as well as the art world about Norman Rockwell?



March 4, 2007, 12:04 AM

it was in the Miami Herald today or yesterday, sourgrapes

BMD72, a Rockwell sold last year for $15.4 million,, so I gues somebody thinks he is pretty good.

I think he is a good painter too, better than Currin and some of our recent highly touted "art" realists.



March 4, 2007, 12:06 AM

Rockwell was the first Post modernist.



March 4, 2007, 7:48 AM

That's good George, but I suspect most of the bloggers won't get it.



March 4, 2007, 7:59 AM

There was a Rockwell in the Painting Summer in New England show at the Peabody Essex last year and it was one of the low points of the exhibition - campy, anemic, and superficial. He deserves a lot of respect as an illustrator but many of works are not meant to hold up in person, and they don't.



March 4, 2007, 7:26 PM

At least with Rockwell there was no pretense or ludicrous claims to "Old Master" talent, as is most certainly the case with Currin.

This reminds me, tangentially, that Winslow Homer did a great deal of work as a magazine illustrator, notably during the Civil War. In his case, however, what appeared in the magazine was a wood engraving by someone else after his drawing or design.



March 5, 2007, 1:36 AM

[No, really, go away. - F.]



March 5, 2007, 9:53 AM

Out of the box - A painter's call for 'a practical avant-garde.

The avant-garde isn't what it used to be. In the 20th century, artists thought incessantly about the future, but so far the 21st century seems more invested in the relatively recent past. Emerging artists are described as the love child of so-and-so and so-and-so, and everybody gets called "neo" this or "neo" that. So modernism's major movements are reborn -- as neo-expressionism, neo-Dada, neo-minimalism -- but what that tricky prefix actually refers to is a lack of innovation. Not that we need a new "ism" exactly. It's just that looking back has gotten old. etc...

Dushko Petrovich,
March 4, 2007



March 5, 2007, 10:12 AM

Thanks George. He writes well. A couple of quotes:

"A strange cycle has set in, whereby the most valuable attribute an artist can have is 'promise.''"

"A practical avant-garde is post-careerist. It seeks out low rent and private time, and it concentrates on powerful objects."



March 6, 2007, 1:08 AM

I think Petrovich's essay is excellent. It affirms the current trajectory of my career as an artist, which many people have advised me against. Thanks for the link.



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