Posts Tagged ‘art’

exploring art

One of my goals in 2015 & going forward is to diversify my interests from just the IT industry. One of those categories that I think I’m quite interested in, is art

Lately I’ve been taking meetings with folk, typically on a day, and since November 2014 to now, I’ve done 3 of these (so an average of one a month). Just this week, I met with a Malaysian art appraiser and it garnered very interesting conversation. For me, I think art must be affordable. The art world seems stuffy, and in Malaysia, gallery owners are artifically inflating prices. I expect more people to want to collect art like they may collect a watch or aspire to buy a car — you start with a Swatch, graduate to a Timex and then buy your Tag Heuer (or you start driving a Myvi, graduate to a Vios, then buy yourself a Civic, and then a Camry, and then a C Class Mercedes).

Anyway, to think about it, last year I picked up a Thierry Noir, caught Ai Weiwei in Berlin, went around Siem Reap looking at art and purchasing a piece from a local artist, and I made my first purchase from a Malaysian photographer, Keng Leong. I myself took part in an exhibition called Web To Wall, back in 2006, when I was a much more active photographer. It’s only taking a decade to come together ;-)

In December 2014, it didn’t help that there were some really interesting stories I read about two very fascinating characters. The New Yorker had a profile of Hans Ulrich Obrist — The Art of Conversation. The other was the New York Times doing a profile of Stefan Simchowitz — The Art World’s Patron Saint.

This made me want to read and dig deeper about these two very interesting characters. And the multitude of articles are truly inspiring. 

So here’s looking forward to seeing what I do to achieve this goal this year and in the future.

Art in Siem Reap

I enjoy looking at art, and occasionally purchasing art and our visit to Siem Reap was no exception. There’s an old blog post about the art scene in Siem Reap on Travelfish (the Hotel de la Paix they refer to is now the Park Hyatt Siem Reap). I find that a lot of the art scene is foreigner influenced, and there’s very little offering from Cambodian artists – I wish this would change going forward.

The Park Hyatt Siem Reap offered quite a few interesting pieces, in-room even. Robert Powell numbered pieces exist.

In-room art, Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Northwest Tower of Ta Keo, Angkor, Robert Powell

In-room art, Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Preah Palilay, Angkor, Robert Powell

Managed to pickup a local piece from Sopheng, who is the proprietor of Sopheng Art Gallery, near the Old Market.

Sopheng Art Gallery, Siem Reap

Who’s popular? John McDermott and his collection of McDermott Galleries. He makes use of B&W infrared photography, something I noticed quite quickly. Pickup up a print made sense. I also quite liked the items in the WA Gallery Concept Store (they have a couple of outlets near the FCC Angkor) — started by some French expats.

If you’re into the art’s scene, the Park Hyatt is a great starting point. To finish off, a quick pic from the Park Hyatt Siem Reap:

In-room art, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

Ai Weiwei – Evidence

I was fortunate enough to have some free time earlier today evening, and headed over to the Martin-Gropius-Bau to catch the Ai Weiwei (@aiww)exhibition titled Evidence. This is the first time I’ve seen Ai Weiwei’s work as I missed it at the Tate Modern in London a while back.

He is a modern artists. Playing around with a lot of different materials to come up with his artwork. And he makes use of the Web. I guess his claim to fame is that he’s all for freedom of speech & expression (something that’s hard to do in China – a dissident he is, if you must), and the fact that he’s a documenter of modern happenings (everyone is interested at the amazing pace of growth in China – he shows that by video recordings of highways, or driving around and recording his journey as an example).

For me, I was really moved by Zodiac Heads (Circle of Animals). I would so grab the rat, tiger and dog as examples! 

China in ten years (I first went to Beijing in 2004 – it has changed a lot in a decade) has become a lot more materialistic. The car of choice used to be the Audi; it still is, but you find a lot of other luxury vehicles on the roads nowadays in Beijing. So the Han Dynasty vases painted with metallic paint from BMW & Mercedes was great for cultural insight. Culturally, the want of antiques is also high and the Table & Chest with stripped chairs was also interesting – remove 1mm sheen from Ming Dynasty furniture and they look like new. What is the purpose of antiques again?

I enjoyed his Study of Perspectives (a selection at moma) as well. He goes to famous landmarks and takes a photo with his left middle finger.

He portrays the disputed islands (between China & Japan). I loved the stools because they each tell a story (6,000 of them). I enjoyed his re-enactment of how he was held captive by the Chinese authorities for some time. It’s shocking to see how you would sleep with a light on, always be watched by security guards and have everything covered up – where you have to do your own laundry and the only thing you get are 6 hangers. Its sad to see that his studio in Shanghai was demolished at a moment’s notice – but he made artwork out of it. He showed the evidence that was confiscated (lots of laptops/video recorders/PCs).

A protest pre-demolition involved river crabs (he xie). Guess that’s the beauty of the Chinese language :)

If you get the chance to check Ai Weiwei’s work out, its well worth it and will take you a good 2 hours (read a review in The Economist). You can’t take photos inside, but you will leave with a lot of memories. If you can’t see this one in Berlin, check out a video: Ai Weiwei – Dumbass. At five minutes long, it makes my video of the week.

An encounter with Thierry Noir

Artist Thierry Noir with his first exhibition after a 30-year careerWhile looking for a coffee, at about 7.50pm, we popped into the Howard Griffin Gallery in Shoreditch. Looked at a lot of amazing work from Thierry Noir. Headed downstairs and saw some more interesting work, and then an unassuming man asked me if I liked the work. I said I did. He said thank you. I then asked him if he was the artist itself — he said yes! 

Here I was talking to Thierry Noir! I had seen his work years ago when I visited Berlin with my family (his paintings are still on the Berlin Wall, at the East Side Gallery). We chatted, he was very down to earth, and we talked about his favourite works. This is his first solo exhibition in this thirty year career! I picked up a book, he graciously autographed it in a way only he can.

He lives in Berlin normally, and funnily enough my next stop was to be Berlin :) Many useful resources are listed below, but if you happen to be in London, check out the Howard Griffin Gallery, 04 April – 5 May 2014.

Gallery closes at 8pm, we left shortly thereafter. Still amazed how chance sometimes just works out.

In other news, Richard Howard-Griffin, director of the gallery, is immensely young, probably discovered street artist John Dolan (wiki), had an exhibition earlier for George the dog John the artist (John is always seen with his dog George; now has a book deal, life’s changed tremendously for him), and now hooks up artists to do collaborations (John Dolan x Thierry Noir coming up soon). Wish I picked up some of Dolan’s works and it is amazing what Howard-Griffin has achieved.

Tab sweep

PickupPal
PickupPal is an interesting concept. Its a web tool to connect drivers and passengers, to help carpool, in various towns, all around the world. This is something I wish I’d known about had I been in Melbourne. I of course only found out about it, thanks to the city of Ontario being silly, and fining them for unregulated transportation. I say fair game for all – this is like hitchhiking 2.0? Good way to make new friends, and I’m guessing it’ll work well, if you already enjoy things like CouchSurfing, for example.

Ordering pizza from Facebook?
Ordering Pizza Hut From Your Facebook Page? It’s on the Way is an interesting read. To know that Pizza Hut crossed $1 billion in online sales in the last 18 months is valuable – to know that now you’re going to do it from your possibly favourite website, with a viral widget, is even more valuable.

Imagine you ordering a pizza, it updating your Facebook status, and another bored friend isn’t sure what to eat in another timezone, and decides to order a pizza. Highly plausible.

Ordering via text/phone[web] (they seem to focus on the iPhone), also makes a lot of sense. Cuts out the need to speak to a human. Cuts out the waiting time.

Artist scatters a thousand of his paintings around London
A great social experiment? Adam Neate left a thousand of his paintings around London, for anyone to pick up. Some people are finding them and placing them on eBay, raking in up to £1,000. And Adam is happy about it – it’ll help people during the upcoming Christmas season.

Radar and Apple
Apple’s bug tracking system is called Radar. Its been notoriously kept closed, unlike most open source projects have. Read more about Open Radar, check out the Google App.

As technology enables people to do more, and more, companies previously setting up virtual roadblocks, will face competition from the community. A lesson to learn.


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