The ink-painter: a story

Narrator: Once upon a time in China there was a skilful painter in ink, especially famous for his depictions of flowers, which were sold for very high prices. He had a friend. One day the artist and his friend were talking. Painter: You’ve been a great friend to me for many years. I‘m going to […]

Continue reading

Space: a virtual exhibition

I just remembered an exhibition I created on the My Gallery section of the Christchurch Art Gallery website a few years back: Space Here’s the introduction: Artists use various techniques to describe, or give the illusion of, three-dimensional space. Artists also sometimes deliberately try to deny the illusion of space. This set of artworks gives […]

Continue reading

The importance of “emptiness” in art (and music)

I just listened to Lang Lang playing Robert Schumann, Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15: No. 7, Träumerei (Daydream) (listen to an excerpt, below) and I was amazed of the expressive power of the pauses in the score, extended beautifully and sensitively by Lang Lang. It made me think of the art of Vermeer. Why […]

Continue reading

Modern art lecture video (in Esperanto)

My lecture presented at the Universal Congress of Esperanto, Hanoi, Vietnam, June 2012 Part 1 Part 2 There is another, better lit version, viewable on Esperanto-TV. Read the lecture notes as an essay (in English) • (in Esperanto)

Continue reading

Art and the voodoo paradox

Someone looks at an abstract painting. What does he or she ask? Probably “What is it?” or “What does it mean?”. The answer, “It’s only a picture, only a surface covered with paint,” will in no way satisfy. It is impossible to eliminate the belief, even a hundred years after the birth of abstract art, […]

Continue reading

All art has purpose. Good art transcends its purpose.

In an article, How Christianity can help us recover the usefulness of art, Alain De Botton laments the ‘veneration of ambiguity’ in art today. According to him, the art world doesn’t like the idea that art could have a purpose outside of itself. ‘Christianity, by contrast,’ he claims, ‘never leaves us in any doubt about what art […]

Continue reading
A still from the AT&T ad

Does social media have a place in an art museum?

Dana Allen-Greil posted an article recently, “Everything that’s wrong with society”? Facebook Home in museums. The post was triggered by a TV ad from AT&T in the US, for a mobile phone running Facebook Home (an app that fills the home screen with a steady stream of Facebook posts). In the ad, a woman in an art museum is […]

Continue reading