Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘art’

Colorado Christians outraged by Jesus art

Posted by Richard on October 5, 2010

An exhibit at the Loveland Museum/Gallery in Loveland, CO, includes a twelve-panel lithograph by Enrique Chagoya. One of the panels apparently depicts Jesus engaged in oral sex with a man, and it's sparked outrage among Colorado's Christian community.

On Sunday, police used tear gas to disperse a violent mob of Christians attempting to storm the museum. One man was killed and seven injured, including three police officers. In nearby Boulder, roving gangs of Christian youths vandalized storefronts, defaced a mosque and a Buddhist ashram, blocked streets, and torched at least a dozen vehicles. Riots have broken out in several other Front Range cities with large Christian populations.

The Loveland City Council is expected to address the issue at its Tuesday meeting, and more violence is feared if the artwork isn't ordered removed. Museum employees, city council members, and their families are under 24-hour police protection due to numerous threats. 

… 

Of course, none of that's true (except the part about the lithograph). The outraged Christians are peacefully protesting with signs outside the museum — signs like "Would you portray Mohamad this way?"

I made up the part about rioting Christians. But you already knew that, didn't you? Because you know that Christians — at least modern Christians who come from a culture that, thanks to the Enlightenment, has largely embraced reason and tolerance — simply don't behave like that. Oh, maybe an isolated nut-case — but large, violent mobs of Christians? It just doesn't happen.  

Just as a reminder, here are the Mohammed cartoons that sparked massive riots throughout the world in which many people were killed. Not a sex act depicted among them.

Mohammed cartoons

BTW, I'm an atheist, so I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm just calling 'em as I see 'em.

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Hyper-realism

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2010

If your idea of modern realist paintings is Andy Warhol's Campbell's soup cans, check out these stunning examples of hyper-realism. I love this stuff, especially Eric Christensen's work. The way he portrays glassware and its reflections is simply amazing.

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Magic in the palm of your hand

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2010

It was only a couple of years ago that Polaroid stopped making film for the instant cameras it discontinued two years earlier. For some reason, I thought it was longer ago. In any case, there are people who are seriously nostalgic for the little prints that developed like magic in the palm of your hand.

Kevin Connolly of the BBC has written a nice look back at Polaroids, Dr. Edwin Land, the genius inventor who created the magical process more than 60 years ago, and the artists like Andy Warhol who embraced the process. And for those of you who share the nostalgia, he points out that Polaroids aren't dead yet:

The sheets of shiny card on which the instant photographs materialised were each in their own way tiny laboratories where 35 different components and chemicals combined to produce a minor miracle.

Consumers loved them and they sold in millions all over the world – bringing competitors like Fuji into the market too.

On the face of it, that should be that. The Polaroid camera ought to be remembered as a powerful tool for photographic artists and an iconic consumer product of the past – as outdated as the hand-mangle or the hula hoop.

In theory, digital photography has superseded the Polaroid camera as comprehensively as the CD eclipsed the wax cylinder.

Except that Polaroid photography just refuses to die.

If you still have a Polaroid 600 or SX-70 gathering dust in the basement and want to resurrect the magic — and don't mind paying a premium price (about $3 per picture) — you can order black and white film today from the Impossible Project. They say color film will be available soon. 

In this era of fauxtography, there is something appealing about a picture that you know hasn't been manipulated, that captures just what the photographer put in it. Maybe photojournalists covering the Middle East for Reuters, the AP, and AFP ought to be required to do so using Polaroid cameras and instant film.

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The legacy of Charlton Heston

Posted by Richard on April 8, 2008

Charlton Heston was a great actor and a great champion of freedom and individual rights, as Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation noted:

“Mr. Heston stood head and shoulders above other civil rights activists,” Gottlieb recalled, “because he recognized that the Bill of Rights was all-inclusive. He marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King long before it was fashionable for Hollywood stars to involve themselves in social issues. He was a firm believer in freedom of speech, and yet he was not afraid to hold this nation’s press corps and our institutions of higher learning accountable for their stifling political correctness.

“It is not often that a man of such international stature, and with such unquestionable dignity, steps forward to take a leadership role in a struggle of such importance as did Charlton Heston, in his ardent defense of the Second Amendment,” he continued. “Our prayers and most heartfelt thoughts are with Mr. Heston’s family.

“While we join our friends at the NRA in mourning the loss of this great American,” Gottlieb stated, “we should also celebrate the fact that he lived, and that he stood up when it counted. He was certainly an inspiration to those whose lives he touched, and to the millions of gun owners whose rights he unselfishly defended.

“Charlton Heston set an example by doing what he thought was right,” Gottlieb concluded, “and as a nation, we are the better for it.”

What I remember most about Heston is his aesthetic sense, sense of life, and profound understanding of the nature of art, as exemplified by two quotes that have stuck in my mind for many years. I can't seem to locate either one on the Web, so I'll simply paraphrase from memory. 

In an interview where he talked about the nature and role of art, in which he echoed some of Ayn Rand's ideas on the subject, Heston observed that Dustin Hoffman may be a great actor, but Michelangelo is so much more interesting than Ratso Rizzo.

And in response to the observation that many of the historical characters he played were "larger than life," Heston objected that they weren't larger than life, they were real people whom we could aspire to emulate. 

You young people out there could do a lot worse than aspire to emulate Charlton Heston. 

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Origami

Posted by Richard on March 15, 2008

You know what origami is, right? At some point in your education, you probably learned how to fold a piece of paper into a crude approximation of a bird or something. Well, Brian Chan takes paper-folding to a whole new level. A jaw-dropping level.

This is his fiddler crab. It's folded from an uncut square of paper (all the pieces I looked at were). It's nowhere near the most complex of his designs.

 Origami fiddler crab by Brian Chan

You really need to check this stuff out. Amazing.

(HT: John Hedtke)

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Science as art

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2008

The geeks at Gizmodo and nerds at io9 (or is it the other way around?) thought this first-place winner in the latest "Science as Art" competition was one cool picture:

Nano-Explosions

Nano-Explosions

Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of an overflowed electrodeposited magnetic nanowire array (CoFeB), where the template has been subsequently completely etched. It’s a reminder that nanoscale research can have unpredicted consequences at a high level.

Credit: Fanny Beron, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

It is definitely cool, although the title is misleading. Nothing exploded, it's just the result of a deposition process going out of control and creating broccoli-like nanostructures instead of nanowires. If it were colored with shades of green (scanning electron microscopes produce black and white images), it would look like broccoli florets — but it wouldn't be as cool.

In the spirit of the explosion theme, though, a commenter at Gizmodo had the best line: "All your nano-base are belong to us!"

Nanowerk has nice-sized images of all the winners from this year. You can download high-res versions of all the current and past winners (for use as desktop wallpaper or screensavers) from the Materials Research Society, which sponsors the competition. 

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