Art – Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary

2500Working with a close group of academics and editors, DK Publishing has put together a brief overview of the history of art. Here, in 2,500 color images, readers will find well-known works and details of pieces that have claimed fame in the art historical time-line. It is the sort of book that is suited towards those with an interest for the subject, but who lack time to devote to meticulous hours of study in the area. Not every appreciator of art has years to devote to the study of Art History. DK Publishing has reduced the academic world of the subject into 2,500 images.

From Altamira On

The earliest of cave paintings where uncovered at the turn of the last century in Altamira, Spain where an amateur archaeologist and his young daughter had been exploring. The discovery is often credited more towards the child than the parent. It is here that many introductions to art and its history have begun. Utilizing beautifully rendered pictures of the caves, Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary begun a time-line that draws interested readers in to the world of Art History.

The Major Periods

The books goes on to create reproductions of works that have only begun to greatly influence the contemporary movements. DK Publishing reproduces works that were originally created by more than 700 artists, adding to the time-line that they had begun with the introduction to cave painting. It’s weakness, may fall in its glossing over the more precise periods of art, but for those who peruse the subject more as a fun past time will not be bothered by this as general knowledge and pictorial evidence abounds in these sections.

Where it Differentiates

While the book does gloss over many of Art History’s integral parts, it does go in depth with regards to artist biographies and time-lines. The backgrounds that the book covers as well as its organizational methods are what make it overall. It is here that the book shines in its rendition to the history of art. Along with its simplistic approach to the subject, it is also concise in what it lends to the reader making it a strong source in the arsenal of anyone who wishes to even briefly be associated with art and its history.

What is Most Striking

Outside of the explanations that the book offers are the more in-depth explanations of how these reproductions play into the time-line that so many academics have attributed to the study of art as a history. Overall, Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary is a gem for anyone who wishes to learn more about Art History as a subject as opposed to a simple time-line that is largely overlooked by more contemporary historians that are quick to forget it as a scholarly endeavor.

Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary is available through DK Publishing with ISBN 0756639727.

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About Vernon Hyde Minor’s Art History’s History

art historyBudding art historians and those with only a slight interest in the subject should pick up a copy of Art History’s History by Vernon Hyde Minor. It not only creates a brief introduction into the rich and lavish world of Art History, but it also relates to the reader in such a way that it can be considered a book based on the introductory level of Art History. Vernon Hyde Minor simplifies the practice of art and its history to appeal even to the casual reader of the subject.

Vernon has done something that most art historians would view as the impossible – he has taken the entire history of art and condensed into 200 pages. He has done so in such a way that readers are not missing out on any sort of basic introductory information. If anything, such a concise compilation will draw more people into the history of art and help to foster an appreciation for the subject that might have otherwise gone overlooked.

Terminology

In Art History, much of the terminology used can be considered to be a language all its own, if it is not in another language to begin with. The subject is steeped heavily in French and German and those who are not trained in either language may have a hard time adjusting to Art History as a subject. However in his book, Vernon avoids this sort of confusion thereby allowing the history of art to be understood by those who are not classically trained in the subject.

Why is Art History Taught?

Through methodologies and the evolution thereof, Vernon Hyde Minor attempts to explain to his readers not only the importance of Art History, but also why it is being taught, specifically in American classrooms. Unlike its European counterparts, the American people often times overlook the importance of the subject and are quick to dismiss it when their children return home from their first semester of college, announcing their major as Art History. Vernon Hyde Minor tries to debunk that ideal, but displays its importance through his methodology.

Focus on the Famous

Many of the works discussed and highlighted in Vernon’s book are famous works that the general public would be aware of. By doing so, Vernon’s concise and condensed history of art has the potential to draw people in to the subject matter. By the time a reader has completed this book, it is sufficient to say that they would be willing and open to the idea of learning and reading more about the mini-course they just took on the subject.

Vernon Hyde Minor’s Art History’s History is available for purchase through Prentice Hall with ISBN 0130851337.

Anton Gill’s Art Lover – A Review

peggyPeggy Guggenheim is known for many things – the death of her father on the RMS Titanic, her sexual escapades and most importantly, her hand in the founding of Modern Art.

Anton Gill paints a colorful portrait of the late Peggy Guggenheim in his biography entitled, Art Lover. It begins where Peggy began, being the young daughter of a Jewish family in New York’s elite inner circle at the turn of the last century. From there, the book unfolds into Peggy’s illustrious life abroad.

Donna Seaman explains it best in Booklist, “Gill patiently records every battle in her two violently contentious marriages, her compulsive promiscuity, miserable failure at motherhood, and peripatetic lifestyle, then, with a sigh of relief, concentrates on her vision and generosity in supporting avant-garde writers and artists and her influential role as gallery owner and pioneering modern art collector. In spite of much chaos and unhappiness, Guggenheim–flamboyant and audacious, a magnet for gossip and a champion of artistic freedom–did move culture forward in the face of fascism, virulent anti-Semitism, and pervasive sexism.”

Guggenheim was Neither

Guggenheim was not one of her richer relatives, nor was she known to be a great beauty, however Gill focuses on not only how this would later form her life, but also how it would change it. Peggy preferred Europe to America and often used her sexuality to claim the things that she wanted- whether they be an artist or a painting.

Private Life

Gill outlines Peggy’s early life in a series of re-tellings about Peggy’s early marriage to the Dad sculptor, Laurance Veil. Together they would have two children and a very tumultuous relationship that would inevitably end in divorce. Gill depicts her life in New York with Veil, their move to Europe which seemed to only strengthen the intensity of Peggy and Laurance’s arguments, culminating in the destruction of furniture and prized possessions more often than not. Laurance’s affair with Kate Boyle would ultimately destroy the marriage and Peggy would go on to marry Max Ernst for a brief time.

Her Gift to Modern Art

According to Gill, Peggy lived out the remainder of her life in Venice where her collections still remains. In recent years, her home has opened as a museum, inviting guests from all over the world to see what was once only privy to Guggenheim and a select few of her artistic circle.

Death

Following her death, Peggy Guggenheim was laid to rest in Italy. Her marker lays next to a plaque remembering all of the dogs that she had owned during her life.

Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim by Anton Gill can be purchased online through ISBN 006095681X from Harper Perennial.

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art – A Review

stuffedIn contemporary art, there are many questions to be raised as to why works sell and more strangely, how much they sell for. With each new movement, there are a series of new questions brought to the table – is this art? What will people pay to own it? Is there a place for it?

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art takes an in depth approach to such questions that are raised daily within the art world. Drawing on psychology and the economics of the contemporary art world, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark brings to light the flat out insane prices and lengths that people will go to to own the next “big deal.”

Pollock

When Jackson Pollock, for example, was emerging as the face of abstract expressionism, he was doing so at a time where form and training defined art. Had it not been for the help of Peggy Guggenheim and his wife, Lee Krasner, Pollock’s work would have continued to be overlooked. So, why, under what circumstance does his work now sell for a cool $140 million? Answer – A major contemporary art world figure head deemed it worthy. It is just one side of the psychology of the art world and how it feeds the art market’s economic makeup.

Damien Hirst

Following the same sort of mindset, Hirst paid to have the shark caught and then had the two ton carcus taxidermied and mounted, titled it The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living and set a $12 million dollar price tag. It didn’t sell, largely in part because of the weight of the piece, but also because unlike Pollock, no art world big-wig proclaimed it as the next big movement. It was eventually purchased by a wealthy investor after much controversy.

A Question Raised

By covering these types of controversial pieces and their buyers, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art makes the reader focus on questions that have plagued the art world, society and the individual ever since the Venus of Willendorf and those questions often have only personal answers. After all, what is art? What defines a creation as a work of art? Who needs to say it is art before it can seriously be considered as such?

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson is available for purchase through Palgrave Macmillan with ISBN 0230610226.

 

Victorian New Jersey – Book Review

keanWhen you think of New Jersey today it is easy for your mind to drift to Snooki, Italian-Americans, lots of hair spray, fist pumping and any other stereotype that New Jersey has been blasted with over the course of the past few years with programing like The Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. However, what has been forgotten and pushed aside is that New Jersey is rich in history that pre-dates the spray tans and hair-poofs.

New Jersey and its History

New Jersey is full of stories, legends and history that go back to the early days of the colonization of America. We are a state that has seen a lot of big changes and life happen here. New Jersey has seen Revolutionary war battles, visits from presidents, natural disasters, grand estates, big inventions and famous people.

Frank J. Esposito and Donald Lokuta explore the early days of New Jersey, specifically the Victorian time period, in their book Victorian New Jersey: Photographs by Guillermo Thorn from the Kean University Collection. They open their catalog with the biggest part of New Jersey lifestyle– the Jersey shore. Here, they share Thorn’s photographs of Asbury Park and Cape May, the beaches that dominated before Seaside Heights became the huge attraction.

From there, they break the photographs into other categories that include:

  • Picturesque Plainfield
  • Churches and Schools
  • Neighboring Communities
  • The Fairgrounds
  • Popular Attractions
  • Estates, Hotels and Parks

Guillermo Thorn

Esposito and Lokutachoice of focusing on Thorn for this collection is most interesting. Thorn was born in 1837, before the invention of photography. He grew up in the time where photography was new, fascinating and quickly becoming a popular art form. Thorn is best known for his sentimental personality and deep appreciation for the past, which are evident in many of his photographs.

Overall, Esposito and Lokuta’s Victorian New Jersey: Photographs by Guillermo Thorn from the Kean University Collection is an interesting and well-researched catalog that is an asset to those who appreciate and wish to learn more about New Jersey’s rich and vibrant past.

The exhibition originally ran at the Kean University gallery in Union, New Jersey from fall to spring in 2005.

Victorian New Jersey: Photographs by Guillermo Thorn from the Kean University Collection by Frank J. Esposito and Donald Lokuta was originally published by Kean University in 2005. It is available for purchase through the Kean University bookstore with ISBN 0-9765907.

My First Summer in the Sierra (Illustrated Edition) – Book Review

sierraPicture getting to see some of the most breath-taking parts of Yosemite National Park before it ever was Yosemite National Park. Think of sweeping mountains, fresh, gushing water and abundant plant life. 19th century romanticism only touched on how beautiful these landscapes were and in some cases still are. Now, combining that 19th century writing with beautifully rendered 21st century photographs, this illustrated edition of a classic is not something that is easily put down.

The Power of Descriptive Narration

John Muir’s adventure into the Sierra is wonderfully documented, pairing stunning nature photography with an in-depth personal narrative that makes you feel as though you are along side him, taking in the scenery and experiencing everything that untamed nature has to offer.

“Before noon,” Muir writes, “we passed Bower Cave, a delightful marble palace, not dark and dripping, but filled with sunshine, which pours into it through its wide-open mouth facing the south. It has a fine, deep, clear little lake with mossy banks embowered with broad-leaved maples, all underground, wholly unlike anything I have seen in the cave line even in Kentucky, where a large part of the State is honeycombed with caves.”

Muir creates pictures, not only with the included photographs by Scot Miller, but also with his keen sense of detail and explanation which evident throughout his narrative. Combined with the equally as detailed photographs, Muir delivers with My First Summer in the Sierra.

My First Summer in the Sierra and John Muir

Originally published in 1911, My First Summer in the Sierra enticed many people to visit the Yosemite area. John Muir was a young Scottish immigrant who had not yet become the famed naturalist that he would be later in life. Later dubbed, “John o’ the Mountains,” Muir first trekked into the Sierra shortly after the end of the Civil War.

After falling in love with the area, Muir later returned in 1869 to work with a group of shepherds as they herded a flock of 2,500 sheep toward the headwaters of the Merced River. My First Summer in the Sierra captures much of this adventure, including vivid descriptions of what Muir under-went during his time in the unspoiled area of Yosemite.

Other books that document and explore the American landscape include Joseph Sohm’s Visions of America: Photographing Democracy.

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir with forward by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns with photography by Scot Miller is available for purchase on April 12, 2011 with ISBN 9780618988518 through Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Sponsored: Soniclear Petite from Michael Todd Beauty

I am in LOVE with my Soniclear Petite from Michael Todd Beauty. I have had similar ones before and they work great, always left my skin feeling clean and soft. The petite is my new favorite because of its size. When I travel for work it’s hard to get everything into a carry on bag since I HATE checking baggage. This little baby saves me time (and a checked bag). You can snag yours by clicking the image above.

Your Baby Is Speaking to You – Book Review

babyA baby book is not something that readers will typically associate with art books. However, the photography included in Your Baby Is Speaking to You is heart-warming and makes the book a great one to leaf through, even for those of us who do not have children and for those of us who are not usually captivated by other people’s off-spring.

Photography and Parenting Advice

Nugent’s advice for new parents is accompanied by photographs that demonstrate the different communication techniques that babies innately demonstrate when interacting with their parents. The photographs are up close and personal, capturing heart-felt moments and sweet glimpses into the simple gestures that are exchanged between baby and parent. Moreover, if you are reading the book for the advice on how your baby is communicating, Kevin Nugent is more than a solid enough authority to do so. Dr. Nugent is a well-known authority on parent-infant communication.

Dr. Nugent worked with acclaimed photographer Abelardo Morell to truly capture what he discusses in each chapter. Morell’s body of work shows a clear understanding of intimate moments and how to get them just right. The photographs that are included in Your Baby Is Speaking to You are innocent and heart-felt.

Infant-Parent Communication

Nugent illustrates a wide-array of various communications that occur between infant and parent. He included everything from early smiling to startling, listening to your voice and recognizing your face to feeding and sleeping. He also highlights:

  • Yawning
  • Various cries and their meanings
  • The different sleep states and the body language that accompanies them

Overall, Your Baby Is Speaking to You is hybrid in that it gives new parents an accessible way to read and understand more about their infant while including heart-warming photography that can be enjoyed by those of us who are not trying to understand how our non-existent infants are not communicating with us.

Dr. Kevin Nugent studied infants through hands-on experiences through intimate access to the infants and their families. Compiled with his education and experience in the field, Nugent’s book presents an informative and well-researched look into infant-parent communication. Readers have commented that Nugent’s book is one of the more informative and easier to understand books about infant-parent communication, further explaining that it was a quick read that gave them a lot more insight into their children, their lives and their roles as parents.

Your Baby Is Speaking to You by Dr. Kevin Nugent with photography by Abelardo Morell was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 13, 2011 with ISBN 0547242956.

Trenton Makes, the World Takes: Leadership & Teaching in the Capital City

There is a saying in Trenton which states: Trenton makes, the world takes. It is a bold statement made by a city as vibrant as its diversity. It’s also something you wouldn’t know about Trenton unless you lived and worked in the area. While the statement comes from a time where Trenton was a huge manufacturing hub for Roebling Steel, the adage has taken on new meaning in more recent time.

bridge

From nj.com via google images

For me, personally, I can say that Trenton made me the educator that I became. I grew up in East Brunswick, NJ about an hour north of our Capital City. I lived in a suburb of New York City and on 9/11 we were lived close enough that we were able to see the dust cloud from the top of my street. I attended Rutgers University and graduated with a dual degree in Art History and Journalism and Media Studies. I lived abroad in Paris and thought my life was going to take me to places very far from here. Trenton was not on my radar other than it being a place that you didn’t go. Where I lived, Trenton was the hood and we were often told that if you stepped foot in Trenton you would be shot. That is all I knew about our capital.

Fast forward some years to my mid-20’s when I was a teacher that was tired of my original school district making me a French teacher each chance they had instead of hiring me for tenure track English positions. I sent resumes out to everywhere I could and had several offers that summer. Trenton was one of them and Trenton was the one that I chose.

Yes, I chose to come to Trenton.

I chose Trenton because for a couple of summers I wrote and facilitated programming for the CYO in Ewing and I found that I loved the kids and the families. While Trenton is rough and raw and yes, you can get shot and killed in Trenton, our capital city also makes some of the best families and kids I have ever had the privilege to work with.

In my six years in the capital city, I have lost a student to gang violence (she was one of my favorites too), watched several of my students become mothers before their time, coached sports and facilitated clubs, run home instruction for sick kids that are often forgotten in the system, met my husband and gotten married, bought a house, finished my master’s degree and am in the final chapter of writing my doctoral dissertation. I have had kids write essays about being smuggled into our country, sat and listened to them as they cried about their losses—no matter how big or small, and have sat with kids in police stations after they were arrested and waited with them until their parents came.

And in each of these experiences and relationships I have made with students and their families, I became the educator I couldn’t have been able to become had I stayed in my original district. Trenton taught me the importance of relationships and the importance of rising up to meet the needs of your students. However, those needs aren’t always academic and sometimes a student just needs someone who would listen.

I think that is true of most people, not just kids. I moved into teaching college at a campus within our capital city and I teach foundation courses for students who do not test into regular classes. I teach reading and so often, my students are products of Trenton who are trying to better themselves. Foundation classes have a high dropout rate because they are hard and work heavy. And so often with nontraditional students, you have nontraditional problems. I have students who are under 30 and already have five or six kids. Some women are pregnant and others are part of a parole program with the state that are coming to school to better their lives out of poverty and out of the system.

And that’s the tricky piece: poverty. When you live in poverty all you know is survival. If you’re lucky enough to get to the mind frame of betterment, then you need people who are going to lead you to accomplishing something better for your life and more often than not, the key to bettering your life is through getting some form of an education whether it is completing a college degree, certificate or learning a trade is up to the person, but regardless of their choice, they need people who will help lead them out of poverty.

For me, on a teaching level, that means I allow my college students to bring their kids to class if they can’t find a baby sitter. I allow my students makeup blocks to fix any grade they don’t like. I offer embedded extra credit opportunities that they often don’t even realize is extra work because it’s quick and often, they take ownership of the task because it lends to their interest or their point that they are trying to assert on any given topic.

Now, as an emerging school leader, I see helping students living in poverty not only needing everything I provide them on a teaching level, but on a leadership level we need to be offering students consistency. We need to stop implementing new program every other year, we need leaders who are going to stay in our schools and not push to privatize and outsource teachers and staff to save money. We need to put money into our infrastructure and fix the buildings we have been teaching in (and neglecting) since the 1920’s. Our kids and our families deserve better.

They deserve a light that leads them out of poverty and into a comfortable life where day to day survival isn’t at the heart of their existence. We need leaders who care and who are going to stay and fight for our kids instead of creating situations where we’re just fighting each other.

Intimations of Paradise – Book Review

paradiseChristopher Burkett is a landscape photographer with over 25 years of experience. He has worked in print and was also briefly, a Brother in a religious order, before he turned to his passion of photography. All of his exhibition prints are personally printed by him. His ability to capture light and color in his work make for breathtaking photographs that give the viewer a more intense view of nature, as seen through our ever-changing landscape.

According to the artist’s website, “Christopher Burkett crafted this retrospective volume with the same care and precision expressed in his photographs. The book’s 180 pages include 73 plates and four essays. Each book ordered directly from Christopher Burkett will be hand signed.” Each plate that Burkett included is a solid, bold representation of the artist’s large body of work. It is a fabulous gift for Burkett fans or nature enthusiasts as a whole.

The Photography of Christopher Burkett

In Imitations of Paradise, Burkett includes many photographs that span his impressive 25 year career. The reprints of his work are bold and vibrant, giving the viewer a clear impression of what it is like to stand before a gallery print of Burkett’s work.

Burkett is known for the color seen in his work. He has been called one of the best color photographers of his time– something that is not easy to attain. Photographing in color is much harder than in black and white because light changes color and thus, photographers must learn different angles, maneuvers and techniques in order to capture the photograph and the color just right.

Buying a Burkett

Christopher Burkett’s work is available for purchase all over the United States, including New York, California and Colorado. A list of galleries that sell Burkett’s work is available on his website. Depending on what print and the size of it, prices for Christopher Burkett’s work range from $1,000 to over $10,000 USD.

For fans of Burkett who do not have a spare grand laying around, Burkett also sells posters and books of his work like Imitations of Paradise. Posters are about $30 USD and his books range in price, but are usually under $100 USD.

Overall, Christopher Burkett’s Imitations of Paradise lives up to the high standards that he holds for his work. As he states on his site, [he and his wife] “self published this book to ensure the highest quality reproduction possible.The separations are scanned from original prints, and after two years of work, are ‘as close as you can get with ink and paper’ to the original photographs.”

Imitations of Paradise by Christopher Burkett was first published by West Winds Art, Inc. on June 1, 1999 with ISBN 978-0967021607. It is available for purchase on the artist’s website.