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Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

Trench Art: Creativity in an Unexpected Place

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing War and Peace.  I think you’ll find some really interesting articles on this topic, so take a look at the bottom of the page for them all.

French World War I trench art

The diverse collection of French World War I trench art at the Musee de Somme 1916 includes painted, cut, shaped, and hammered pieces.

Artists across cultures, time, and place have depicted war, from the vases of ancient Greece to the romanticized paintings of Napoleon’s campaigns.  However a common thread is that these images of battle were created by those not involved in fighting, or were done years after the fact for patriotic or sentimental reasons.  What we don’t often see is art created by soldiers in the midst of battle and experiencing the brutality of conflict.  When they do create, often as a means of distraction, these pieces constitute a tiny genre called Trench Art.

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How to Take Photos in a Museum

The ubiquity and quality of cameras today means that every travelers can take lots of photos. As more and more museums are now allowing photography*, there is the potential for crowding and distraction among visitors who are more interested in getting their shot than with enjoying the art.  I want people to visit cultural destinations like archaeological sites, religious buildings, museums, and historic homes, but your camera should be used in a way that adds to and does not distract from your experience.  If you want to take photos in a museums, it’s best to obey some general guidelines so that you and the other visitors have an enjoyable art experience.

Laocoon, vatican

We’re all impressed by the ancient Greek statue “Laocoon”, but do we all need to take a straight-on, full view picture of it?

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Temporary Art on the Streets of Padua

Germination by Marisa Merlin, Padova

A passerby admires “Germination” by Marisa Merlin, on the streets of Padua

While I love museums, I get excited when art breaks out of its proverbial frame and interacts with viewers in new ways.  Last October, I was fortunate enough to see an outdoor art exhibit sponsored by the city of Padua entitled, “Artisti al Muro,” or, Artists on the Walls.  These 21 temporary pieces were scattered around the old city – some blending in with and some in stark contrast with their surroundings.  These works included naturalistic wire sculptures of plants, fabric canopies, and ghostly figures.  My favorite piece was “Germination” by Marisa Merlin which reiterated for me how successful mixed media pieces can be and how critical public art installations are.

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Art & Travel Inspiration for a New Year

Happy 2015!

With the start of each new year, people generally reflect and reset priorities for the coming year.  I hope 2015 brings you some art and travel adventures!  Nothing enriches one’s life like experiencing beautiful, historical and culturally significant places, cities, and works of art.  To get you started thinking about your future plans, I put together some of my favorite quotes with beautiful pictures for a little bit of New Years inspiration.

Rauschenberg art quote Read more

Memory & Justice: Ai Weiwei’s “Straight”

Whether you follow contemporary art or international politics, you’ve probably heard of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.  Renowned for his “Birds Nest” stadium at the Beijing Olympics, it was his social activism and criticism of the Chinese government that earned him 81 days of detention, house arrest and the loss of his passport.  An intelligent artist and social commentator, his exhibit, Ai Weiwei: According to What? is currently touring the US.  I had the opportunity to see it at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC last year.  I’ve been blown away by the beauty of a painting before, but it wasn’t until Ai Weiwei’s piece “Straight” that I encountered a work of art so emotionally powerful that I am still thinking about it a year after seeing the show.

Ai Weiwei, "Straight", 2008–12. Collection of the artist. Installation view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2012. (Photo: Cathy Carver)

Ai Weiwei, “Straight”, 2008–12. Collection of the artist. Installation view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2012. (Photo: Cathy Carver, Hirshhorn Museum)

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