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Google reacts to Japanese tsunami with a Person Finder tool

Google has put together a Person Finder tool where people worried about the plight of their loved ones can look them up by name. There are only a few thousand records up on the site at the moment, but it should still be a useful repository for missing person data, particularly since mobile networks were taken down by the tsunami’s damage. Information should also start piling up as recovery efforts continue. Let’s just hope this Person Finder won’t have to be used for too long and things can be brought back to normal soon.
Via: engadget

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March 13, 2011 Posted by | News, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Five Best VoIP or Voice Chat Apps

Whether you use them for business communication, talking to family over long distances, or just fragging your friends over the latest FPS, communication has been revolutionized by voice calling apps. Here’s a look at the five most popular options for having voice conversations over the internet.

The applications below may do more than just allow you to voice chat—many also allow you to call telephone numbers or video chat. We are evaluating these apps based on their user friendliness and quality of audio.

And the contenders are: Fring, Google Voice, Mumble, Skype, and Ventrilo.

Keep on reading at (via) LifeHacker.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Technology | Leave a comment

Damien Hirst shark back to Tate

A Damien Hirst retrospective featuring his infamous shark is one of the highlights at Tate Modern in 2012.

The exhibition, which will include works by the British artist spanning two decades, will run from 5 April to 9 September at the London gallery.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, Museum, News, olympics | , , | Leave a comment

Museum of Liverpool Opening

The Museum of Liverpool will launch 100 years to the very day that its iconic neighbour the Royal Liver Building opened its doors.

The largest newly-built national museum in Britain for more than a century, the new Museum of Liverpool, will open to the public for the first time on Tuesday 19 July.

One of the world’s leading history museums and a stunning new addition to the city’s famous waterfront, the Museum of Liverpool is the first national museum anywhere in the world that is devoted to the history of a regional city.

Demonstrating Liverpool’s extraordinary contribution to the world, it will showcase popular culture and tackle the social, historical and contemporary issues of the city.

Professor Phil Redmond CBE, chairman of National Museums Liverpool said: “Liverpool’s waterfront is known the world over, and we are pleased that we will soon be welcoming visitors to what is undoubtedly a stunning addition to that World Heritage Site.

“Liverpool’s role in history is also known the world over, as is its iconic symbol, the Liver Bird. It is fitting then that the first purpose-built museum to examine a city’s role in world history, is opening its doors 100 years to the day that the Liver Building itself opened for business.”

Until now, people have found it difficult to grasp the sheer size of the birds that perch on top of what was once the tallest building in Britain. Now visitors to the new Museum in July will be able see for themselves the magnificence of an 18ft life-size Liver Bird, overlooking the Three Graces.

Both the Liver Building and Museum of Liverpool are considered cutting edge architectural designs in their own right. The Museum is the newest symbol of Liverpool’s confidence as a great 21st century city.

Housing more than 6,000 objects, many which have never been on public display before, visitors can unearth an array of stories spanning the Ice Age to the present day.

People will be able to see the stage where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met, witness the city’s growth into the world’s greatest port, see first hand the last remaining carriage from the famous Liverpool Overhead Railway, and immerse themselves in the city’s rich sporting and creative history.

David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool said: “The Museum of Liverpool is all about telling the stories of the city and its people. This includes the times of struggle such as the Toxteth riots, the triumphs of our musical exports including The Beatles, and the dramatic histories of our football teams.

“Every single event has helped shape this city’s personality. The Museum of Liverpool is here to tell the tale, and like the Liver Building, will be around for many years to come.”

The £72m project is continuing apace, and internal fit-out of the major galleries is taking shape to such an extent that the three-phased opening of the Museum has been reduced to just two, with the second phase opening later this year. Discussions regarding plans for the launch day are currently taking place, and will be announced nearer the date.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Architecture, Art Exhibitions, Artists, Design, Museum, News, photography, raw art gallery | Leave a comment

30 Amazing “Ketubbot” Jewish Marriage Contracts at the Jewish Museum in New York

One of the world’s foremost collections of decorated Jewish marriage contracts (ketubbot) is held by The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Thirty of the finest are on display at The Jewish Museum in The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library from March 11 through June 26, 2011. From one of the earliest known decorated pieces (twelfth century) to recent creations, these exquisite marriage contracts provide a wealth of information on the artistic creativity, cultural interactions, and social history of the communities in which they were created. Ketubbot, which typically record the bridegroom’s obligations to his bride in case of death or divorce, have been integral to Jewish marriage for millennia. They were kept in the homes of married Jews living in the West under Christian governance or in the East under Muslim rule.

The ketubbah collection of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, consisting of more than 600 works, is one of the world’s greatest, with superb examples of virtually every extant type. The largest number of ketubbot in the exhibition are from Italy, where the art of the decorated ketubbah found its most beautiful expression during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries under the influence of Renaissance and Baroque art. Magnificent marriage contracts from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Persia, Syria, and Turkey, each absorbing the visual language of the surrounding culture, are also included. In addition, visitors can see examples from Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and the United States. The marriage contracts in this exhibition represent the great diversity and range of Jewish settlement throughout history. They offer a fascinating look at the lives of individual couples, varied marriage customs, and the spread of artistic styles through commerce and trade.

Included in the exhibition is a fragment of a rare twelfth century marriage contract from Egypt. A 1764 ketubbah, the earliest known decorated marriage contract from Baghdad, features elaborate designs on decorative paper from Augsburg, Germany, indicative of the commercial ties that bound far-flung Jewish communities together. An 1885 contract from Damascus includes vivid colors and lush floral imagery echoing the blessing bestowed on a couple as they stand under the bridal canopy: “Grant perfect joy to these loving companions, just as You made your creations joyful in the Garden of Eden.”

Also on view is a distinctive 1749 ketubbah from Venice featuring the twelve signs of the zodiac and an intricate love knot that has no beginning or end, a design element borrowed from Italian folk culture. In unusually romantic engagement articles, the bride and groom “agree to conduct their mutual life with love and affection, without hiding or concealing anything from each other; furthermore, they will control their possessions equally.“

Hand-decorated ketubbot began to go out of fashion in the late nineteenth century, but were revived in the 1960s with highly individualized texts and ornamentation, perhaps as part of the renewed interest in exploring Jewish identity. An example of this trend is papercut artist Archie Granot’s 1999 work, which shows his personal style and technique for Jewish ritual works, distinguished by multiple layers of cut paper.

The exhibition also includes a 1961 ketubbah from the collection of The Jewish Museum by artist Ben Shahn, created more as a work of art than a usable contract. Its design shows his fascination with Hebrew calligraphy, including a red stamp, containing all the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, that came to be Shahn’s personal emblem.

Before a wedding, the families of Jewish brides and grooms traditionally negotiate a marriage contract (ketubbah). This document sets forth the husband’s obligations to his wife and specifies the monies due her in the event of a divorce or his death. While other types of Jewish marriage contracts date back to the mid-fifth century BCE, the text of the ketubbah as we know it today was codified some time between the first and fifth centuries CE.

Kettubot were not merely legal documents but became splendid works of art. Beginning with the first simply decorated examples from medieval Egypt, they were frequently embellished with decorative borders and fine calligraphy. Over time the ornamentation became increasingly elaborate, and by the seventeenth century, they were richly decorated with figurative, floral, architectural, and geometric designs. Regional stylistic traditions developed, emanating from the two major centers of ketubbah ornamentation, Italy and the Middle East.

The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library was curated by Sharon Liberman Mintz, Curator of Jewish Art, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The exhibition coordinator is Susan L. Braunstein, Curator of Archaeology and Judaica, The Jewish Museum.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, Design, Museum, News, raw art gallery, Tel Aviv - Israel | Leave a comment

Annie Leibovitz Exhibition Breaks Museum of Contemporary Art Attendance Records

Annie Leibovitz (American, b. 1949), Patti Smith with her Children, Jackson and Jesse, St. Clair Shores, Michigan 1996. Photograph © Annie Leibovitz.The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) announce that its exhibition of works by internationally renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz is now the most popular ticketed exhibition ever presented at the MCA. Just twelve weeks since its opening on 19 November 2010 and only half-way through its run, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 has attracted 95,118 visitors. During the summer period, attendances have peaked at nearly 2,300 people per day. The previous MCA record for a ticketed exhibition was set by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson whose works attracted 63,080 visitors in 2010. MCA also announced that the MCA is extending the exhibition by another month. It will now close on Tuesday 26 April 2011, providing more opportunity for Sydney-siders and interstate visitors to enjoy this moving and inspiring exhibition.

MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor was delighted to make this announcement in light of the visit to Sydney by Annie Leibovitz. The artist is this week attending a series of media events and a special reception to celebrate the exhibition. 

“We are delighted but not at all surprised by the success of the Annie Leiboivitz exhibition. It has been popular from New York to London, Paris to Berlin and now in Sydney also. She is one of the most celebrated artists of our time and certainly the most influential photographer working today. We are thrilled to have her here with us in Sydney to see the exhibition and celebrate its success,” says Ms. Macgregor.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 brings together almost 200 images of famous public figures together with personal photographs of her family and close friends over a fifteen-year period. The images project a unified narrative of the artist’s private life against the backdrop of her public image. “I don’t have two lives,” Leibovitz says. “This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.”

Born in Westbury, Connecticut, Annie Leibovitz is the third of six children. She is a third-generation American whose great-grandparents were Russian Jews. Her father’s parents had emigrated from Romania. Her mother, Marilyn Leibovitz, was a modern dance instructor; her father, Sam Leibovitz, was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved frequently with her father’s duty assignments, and she took her first pictures when he was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. In high school, she became interested in various artistic endeavours, and began to write and play music. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while working various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Amir, Israel, for several months in 1969. Throughout her life on the Kibbutz, she learned to take Jewish concepts and apply them to her photographs.

Leibovitz had a close romantic relationship with noted writer and essayist Susan Sontag. They met in 1989, when both had already established notability in their careers. Leibovitz has suggested that Sontag mentored her and constructively criticized her work. After Sontag’s death in 2004, published an article about Leibovitz that made reference to her decade-plus relationship with Sontag, stating that “The two first met in the late ’80s, when Leibovitz photographed her for a book jacket. They never lived together, though they each had an apartment within view of the other’s. Neither Leibovitz nor Sontag had ever previously publicly disclosed whether the relationship was familial, a friendship, or sexual in nature. However, when Leibovitz was interviewed for her 2006 book A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, she said the book told a number of stories, and that “with Susan, it was a love story.

A major retrospective of Leibovitz’s work was held at the Brooklyn Museum, Oct. 2006 – The retrospective was based on her book, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005, and included many of her professional (celebrity) photographs as well as numerous personal photographs of her family, children, and partner Susan Sontag. This show, which was expanded to include three of the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, then went on the road for seven stops. It was on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., from October 2007 to January 2008, and at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco from March 2008 to May 2008. In February 2009 the exhibition was moved to Berlin, Germany.

In 2007, the Walt Disney Company hired her to do a series of photographs with celebrities in various roles and scenes for Disney Parks “Year of a Million Dreams” campaign.

At the heart of the exhibition, Leibovitz’s personal photography documents scenes from her life, including the birth and childhood of her three daughters, and vacations, reunions, and rites of passage with her parents, her extended family and close friends. The exhibition also features Leibovitz’s portraits of well-known figures, including actors such as Jamie Foxx, Daniel Day-Lewis, Demi Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Al Pacino, Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt as well as artists and architects such as Richard Avedon, Brice Marden, Philip Johnson, Chuck Close and Cindy Sherman.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Art Exhibitions, Artists, Museum, News, photography, raw art gallery | 3 Comments