Metamorphosis: A Deliciously Tasty Vengeful Feast

Titian: Diana and Callisto (1556-59)

Titian: Diana and Actaeon (1556-59)

Titian: The Death of Actaeon (1556-59)

Metamorphosis: A Deliciously Tasty Vengeful Feast

The National Gallery in London has acquired three of Titian’s paintings based on Ovid’s myth of Diana and Actaeon: Diana and Actaeon, Diana and Callisto and The Death of Actaeon. As recounted by Ovid in Metamorphoses, the hunter Actaeon, chancing upon the chaste Diana bathing naked with her nymphs, is transformed by the vengeful moon goddess into a stag, who is then killed by his own hounds.

One of the works commissioned to celebrate this exhibition, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, is a beautiful and mystical short film that provides a contemporary retelling of Titian’s Diana and Actaeon. Metamorphosis was directed by the talented writer-director duo, Tell No One, also known as Luke White and Remi Weekes. Instead of the bath scene that Titian depicts, the story unfolds at a countryside estate. The film does a tremendous interpretation of the original myth and painting; at times the film’s visual effects are so stunning they could be paintings themselves.

Metamorphosis: A Deliciously Tasty Vengeful Feast

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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Paul Simon Takes Us Back: Under African Skies

Paul Simon Takes Us Back: Under African Skies

Under African Skies is a brilliant, must-see documentary by the renowned filmmaker Joe Berlinger, which was created on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of Paul Simon’s seminal album Graceland. The documentary won the 2012 SXSW Audience Award in the 24 Beats per Second Category and is the only music film to win an Audience Award. Berlinger intertwines both sides of a complex story as Simon returns to South Africa for a reunion concert with the original Graceland musicians, which unearths the turbulent birth of the album.

Paul Simon’s historic Graceland album sold millions of copies and united cultures, yet it also ended up dividing world opinion on the boundaries of art, politics and business. Despite its huge success as a popular fusion of American and African musical styles, Graceland spawned intense political debate. Simon was accused of breaking the United Nations’ cultural boycott of South Africa, which was designed to end apartheid.

While the album went on to be widely celebrated for its revolutionary mix of musical styles and for bringing the extraordinary gifts of under-exposed South African musicians to the forefront, many of the questions Graceland raised in 1986 remain. What is the role of the artist when society is in upheaval? Who does music belong to? Whose rules, if any, should artists play by? Do cultural collaborations matter? And what will be the legacy of Graceland’s indelible songs in a world that has since been politically, and musically, transformed?

Read more about Under African Skies in The New York Times here.

Paul Simon Takes Us Back: Under African Skies

Paul Simon: The Story of Graceland

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Another Freak-Show Big-Money Art Auction: Warhol’s “Double Elvis” Brings $37 Million

Another Freak-Show Big-Money Art Auction: Warhol’s “Double Elvis” Brings

An iconic portrait of Elvis Presley by pop artist Andy Warhol went for $37 Million when it hit the auction block tonight at Sotheby’s. The life-size 1963 silkscreen ink and spray paint piece, Double Elvis (Ferus Type), epitomizes Warhol’s obsessions with fame, stardom and the public image, according to Sotheby’s. Previously estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million, it was included in the auction house’s May 9th sale of post-war and contemporary art. Art auctions have turned into freak-show casinos, spectacles where the uber-rich can act out as much in public as possible, trying to buy immortality, become a part of art history, make headlines and create big profits. They are despicable for what they do to art, for the bad magic of making mysteriously powerful things turn into numbers.

The silver background of Double Elvis (Ferus Type), along with the subtle variations in tone is said to give the serial imagery a sense of rhythmic variation that recalls the artist’s masterpiece, 200 One Dollar Bills, completed the previous year. That work soared to nearly $44 million or four times its estimate in 2009 and achieved the highest price of any work at the fall auctions. But it was a work from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series that set the artist’s record, which still stands. Green Car Crash (Green Car Burning), also from 1963, more than doubled its estimate and sold for $71.7 million in 2007, at the height of the art market boom.

In the Double Elvis work, Presley is dressed as a cowboy, shooting a gun. Sotheby’s describes him in the work as “a Hollywood icon of the sixties rather than the rebellious singer who shook the world of music in the sixties.” The double in the title refers to a shadowy image of Presley in the same pose that appears next to him in the work.

Bob Dylan Holding “Double Elvis” at The Factory, NYC, 1965

On an eagerly-awaited visit to The Factory in 1965 for one of Warhol’s “Screen Test” sessions, Bob Dylan and his crew, along with their host Andy Warhol, were photographed on the set. At the session, Andy gave Dylan a great double image of Elvis. Dylan departed, having tied the Elvis image to the top of his station wagon, like a deer poached out of season. Much later, Dylan said that he’d traded the “Double Elvis” (now worth millions) to his manager for a couch!

Bob Dylan’s Screen Test, The Factory, NYC, 1965

Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” at May 9th Sotheby’s Auction

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a leading figure in the visual pop art movement. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. He worked in a range of media, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, film and music. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio in New York City, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons.

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

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Never Before Seen Photographs of the Young Andy Warhol

Warhol Behind His Marilyn Print

Warhol Editing Film at The Factory in NYC

Warhol Filming at The Factory with His Assistant, Gerard Malanga

Warhol With All-American Faces

Never Before Seen Photographs of the Young Andy Warhol

Before They Were Famous: Behind The Lens of William John Kennedy is an extraordinary collection of images by the photographer William John Kennedy, which is currently on exhibition at the new gallery Site/109 in New York City. The collection presents a number of never-before-seen photographs of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, among them Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe and Indiana’s LOVE, taken by Mr. Kennedy in the mid-60’s when they were both just emerging American artists.

The fact that these early images of the two iconic American artists happened isn’t necessarily the exciting part. It’s that the amazingly early, naïve portraits of the artists with their own works were created before they were famous. These early images sat untouched for over 50 years, until Kennedy uncovered them within his archives and decided it was time to finally print this project.

Full Circle: Before They Were Famous

William John Kennedy’s Photographs of Andy Warhol

Photo-Gallery: Before He Was Famous: Andy Warhol

(Please Click Image to View Photo-Gallery)

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Andy Warhol’s Cowboy “Double Elvis” Could Bring $50 Million at Auction

Andy Warhol’s Cowboy “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” Could Bring $50 Million at Auction

An iconic portrait of Elvis Presley by pop artist Andy Warhol is poised to go for as much as $50 million when it hits the auction block in May at Sotheby’s. The life-size 1963 painting, Double Elvis (Ferus Type), epitomizes Warhol’s obsessions with fame, stardom and the public image, according to Sotheby’s. Estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million, it will be included in the auction house’s May 9th sale of post-war and contemporary art.

The silver background of Double Elvis (Ferus Type), along with the subtle variations in tone give the serial imagery a sense of rhythmic variation that recalls the artist’s masterpiece, 200 One Dollar Bills, completed the previous year. That work soared to nearly $44 million or four times its estimate in 2009 and achieved the highest price of any work at the fall auctions. But it was a work from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series that set the artist’s record, which still stands. Green Car Crash (Green Car Burning), also from 1963, more than doubled its estimate and sold for $71.7 million in 2007, at the height of the art market boom.

In the Double Elvis work, Presley is dressed as a cowboy, shooting a gun. Sotheby’s describes him in the work as “a Hollywood icon of the sixties rather than the rebellious singer who shook the world of music in the sixties.” The double in the title refers to a shadowy image of Presley in the same pose that appears next to him in the work.

Bob Dylan Holding “Double Elvis” at The Factory, NYC, 1965

On an eagerly-awaited visit to The Factory in 1965 for one of Warhol’s “Screen Test” sessions, Bob Dylan and his crew, along with their host Andy Warhol, were photographed on the set. At the session, Andy gave Dylan a great double image of Elvis. Dylan departed, having tied the Elvis image to the top of his station wagon, like a deer poached out of season. Much later, Dylan said that he’d traded the “Double Elvis” (now worth millions) to his manager for a couch!

Bob Dylan’s Screen Test, The Factory, NYC, 1965

Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” at May 9th Sotheby’s Auction

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a leading figure in the visual pop art movement. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. He worked in a range of media, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, film and music. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio in New York City, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons.

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

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The Early Works of Keith Haring: 1978-1982

The Early Works of Keith Haring: 1978-1982

The public has a right to art. Art is for everybody.
-Keith Haring

Keith Haring ranks among the most iconic, influential and popular artists in the world. Opening twenty years after his death, Keith Haring: 1978–1982 is a rare and in-depth look at the prolific early years that established Haring’s language as an artist, his politics and social conscience, and his open homosexuality. The historic exhibition opened on March 16th at the Brooklyn Museum and chronicles the early career of Keith Haring in New York City, through the years when he opened his studio and took his art to the streets.

Organized by the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and the Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, the exhibition traces the development of Haring’s extraordinary visual vocabulary. Keith Haring: 1978–1982 includes 155 works on paper, numerous experimental videos and over 150 archival objects, including rarely seen sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings and documentary photographs.

The Universe of Keith Haring

Photo-Gallery: The Early Works of Keith Haring: 1978-1982

(Please Click Image to View Photo-Gallery)

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Sexy Screen Tests: A Big Cock and Hot Chicks

Sexy Screen Tests: A Big Cock and Hot Chicks

In film director Aaron Rose’s Warhol-inspired and farmyard-centric Chicken Screen Tests, a collection of exquisite California chicks and a charismatic duck mug for the camera, all the while posing for their portraits to the music of Dean and Britta’s cover of Bob Dylan’s I’ll Keep It With Mine. Rose’s bewildering chicken screen tests were shot with 16mm film in line with the standard formula of Andy Warhol’s 1960s Factory Screen Tests, with the finely feathered thespians obtained from a farm in San Pedro.

Aaron Rose: Chicken Screen Tests

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