United States art for birds

This video from the USA says about itself:

Carving Memories of Ezra, the Red-tailed Hawk

29 September 2017

Sculptor David Cohen created a beautiful carving of Ezra the Red-tailed Hawk of Cornell Lab Bird Cams fame. When Ezra died in early 2017, Cohen’s work became a tribute not only to the hawk but to the Bird Cams community who had learned and shared so much while watching. “For-Ever Ezra,” the carving featured in this video, is available for sale until October 31, 2017. The artist will donate the proceeds to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To make an offer, visit here.

A Perfect Day for an Albatross

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

A Perfect Day for an Albatross

Author & Illustrator: Caren Loebel-Fried
Target: 6-13 years
Format: Hard Cover
Pages: 40
Dimensions: 9″ x 11″

First in a new Cornell Lab Publishing Group children’s series that focuses on a fascinating bird species, this story uses native folk art and authentic style, evoking the culture and habitats where the bird lives.

A Perfect Day for an Albatross, by Caren Loebel-Fried, an award-winning author and artist from Hawai’i, sweeps you into an albatross’s world of wind, rolling seas, boisterous dancing, and their intense commitment to one another and their nestlings.


Set on Midway Atoll, where 72 percent of the world’s Laysan Albatrosses make their nests, Mālie, an albatross, must protect her egg until her mate returns. Join Mālie as she dances, hunts, and soars over the ocean swells. Block print art with flowing watercolors makes this title a glorious treat for the eyes, as well as the heart.

A Perfect Day for an Albatross is compatible with Bird QR for streaming sounds, video, and other content. Back matter includes a Bird QR link to watch live albatrosses on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology HD cam in Hawai’i.


A Perfect Day for an Albatross is a perfect book for any child you love, a book of generous, inspired vision. It’s a beautiful story about these legendary birds in their ocean paradise.”

Carl Safina, author of Eye of the Albatross, and Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel.

“A wonderful introduction to a magnificent sea bird, this vibrantly illustrated story belongs on every shelf.”



German pro-peace artist Käthe Kollwitz

This video from South Korea says about itself:

From the ashes of war, German artist Kathe Kollwitz uncovers humanity

18 March 2015

Works by a famous German artist who is known for her emotionally powerful artwork are on display here in Seoul.

Our Yim Yoonhee joins us with more about this very moving exhibition.

Käthe Kollwitz created strong images that touched millions of lives around the world for their depictions of people struggling with the poverty and devastation in the aftermath of war.

This is a rare opportunity to see these works.

Have a look.

A mother, desperate to feed and fend for her children in a country ravaged by war.

The image is one of over 50 original works by the 20th century German painter, printmaker and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz that are being shown at the Seoul Museum of Art.

But inside these charcoal sketches, inside the shadows, are hungry children, traumatized mothers,… the victims of poverty and World War I,… people that artist Kollwitz just couldn′t ignore.

“After the war, the remaining families had a very hard time. There was no relief in sight, no counseling and no one to defend them. This artist chose to bring attention to them.”

The exhibition is divided into two parts one dedicted to the squalid lives of members of the working class prior to 1914, while the latter part shows works that illustrate the living hell experienced by people in Germany in the aftermath of World War I.
Kollwitz was a well-recognized and respected artist in the art community, but she went beyond being an artist and contributed to humanity, bringing awareness to those left in the shadows of this world.

What was the artist′s relationship to the war?

Kollwitz was married to a doctor who often tended to the poor, and that greatly affected her career.

In terms of the war, she lost her youngest son to World War I, which you can imagine had a great influence on her works.

Many of her works have names such as “Grieving Parent”, “The Widow” and “The Sacrifice”, so it′s clear that art really became her outlet.

And what legacy does the artist leave behind, other than her works?

There are over 40 German schools named after the artist, but many books, movies and even modern dance pieces have featured characters inspired by Kollwitz.

There are also many statues, some made by Kollwitz herself and some created after her works that are housed at many locations throughout Germany… to commemorate the war and especially its victims.

The artist really brought much-needed attention to all of the unseen suffering during wartime.

By Jenny Farrell in Britain:

An artist of peace and the people

Saturday 7th October 2017

Jenny Farrell pays tribute to the great German artist and sculptor KÄTHE KOLLWITZ

Käthe Kollwitz’s work reflects the events of the first half of the 20th century yet she continues to stand tall among anti-war artists and champions of the dispossessed of the present time.

Kollwitz broke completely with bourgeois aesthetics and made the subjugated and humiliated working class her sole artistic subject. Her work eloquently expresses the force, resistance and humanity of this class. Very often, she focuses on individuals or small groups who exemplify the fate of thousands, balancing their misery with dignity and human kindness.

This year marks the 150th year since her birth in Kaliningrad. The daughter of a bricklayer who recognised his daughter’s artistic talent early on, she was barred from studying art as a woman in her hometown and moved to Berlin and Munich to pursue her education.

There, she met radical artists of her time and married the socialist Karl Kollwitz, a medical doctor who lived among, and treated, the poor of Berlin. Together they dwelled in the then impoverished working-class — now gentrified — Prenzlauerberg district for most of their lives. Here, she gave birth to two sons and created her substantial oeuvre.

Kollwitz’s breakthrough work, which defined her artistic signature, was the cycle The Weavers, inspired by witnessing in 1894 the premiere of Gerhart Hauptmann’s drama of the same name about the uprising of Silesian weavers a half century before.

Over and above connecting present misery with that of the past, Kollwitz focused on resistance against social injustice. Reflecting on this early experience, she noted in her autobiography that the play, research and work on the weavers’ rising was a key event in her artistic development.

The cycle consists of three lithographs — Poverty, Death, and Conspiracy — and three etchings — March of the Weavers, Riot, and The End — with The March of the Weavers becoming Kollwitz’s best-known work.

Käthe Kollwitz, The march of the weavers, 1897

Stirred by her working-class surroundings and involvement, Kollwitz’s second cycle The Peasant War, going back to the German uprising of the 1520s, also centres on the rebellion of the exploited and suppressed against social injustice.

Peasant War is worked in a variety of techniques — etchings, aquatint and soft ground and the cycle is counted among Kollwitz’s greatest achievements.

In one of the images, After the Battle, a mother searches through the dead at night, looking for her son; and the sense of loss and grieving became a central theme in Kollwitz’s work after the death of her son Peter in the early days of WWI.

Käthe Kollwitz, After the battle, 1907

From then on, mothers protecting their children, fighting for their survival and grieving their death became an ever-present motif in Kollwitz’s work. She conveys a profound sense of unspeakable tragedy and of human responsibility to fight against death-spawning militarism and war. The people, the victims, are also those where humanity is found and the only source of resistance.

In 1919, Kollwitz began work on the woodcut cycle War, responding to the tragedies of WWI. Seven images reflect her unspeakable pain. Stark, large-format woodcuts feature the anguish of war. In The Sacrifice, a mother sacrifices her infant, while in The Volunteers Kollwitz depicts her son Peter beside Death, who leads a group of young men to war in a frenzied procession.

Once again eliminating specific references to time or place, Kollwitz created a universal condemnation of such slaughter.

The January 1919 assassination of Karl Liebknecht — sole German parliamentarian to vote against further war loans in the summer of 1914 — by right-wing militias, occasioned her famous woodcut In Memoriam Karl Liebknecht. It is a moving tribute to this communist leader, mourned by the people he represented, who pay their final respects in a shocked, yet gentle fashion.

Kollwitz, Germany's children are starving, 1924

In 1924, Kollwitz created her three most famous posters, Germany’s Children Starving, Bread and Never Again War. After the nazi rise to power, in the mid-1930s, Kollwitz completed Death, her last great cycle of eight lithographs.

More heartbreak was wrought on her in 1942, when her grandson Peter fell victim to Hitler’s war. This death came after that of her husband Karl, who had died of illness in 1940.

Kollwitz died just a few days before WWII ended, on April 22, 1945. She has left us with unforgettable images of the horrific events and epic struggles of her lifetime. Her images remain profound indictments of a system that perpetuates such social injustice and crimes against humanity.

The free exhibition Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz runs at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham until November 26, details: here.

British artist David Hockney, new film

This video says about itself:


21 June 2017

A Bigger Picture 2012 & 82 Portraits and One Still Life 2016

David Hockney is Britain’s most popular artist and arguably equally popular around the globe. Now entering his 9th decade, he shows absolutely no evidence of slowing down or losing any of his enthusiasm and verve. This intimate, revealing film focuses on this later work – essentially two major (and hugely successful) shows held in 2012 and 2016 at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Director Phil Grabsky secured privileged access to the shows and has crafted a film that, while simple in structure, is multi-layered in offering a wonderful exploration of this master of creativity.

On 7 October 2017, I went to see this new documentary film.

David Hockney was born in 1937 in Yorkshire, England, but lived much of his life in the USA.

He was active in the Pop Art movement.

In the early twenty-first century, he returned to Yorkshire. Based in a studio in Bridlington, he painted landscapes of Yorkshire, what he had never really done before. He used iPad technology for some of the paintings. This work was exhibited in the 2012 A Bigger Picture exhibition in London; the subject of the first part of the film.

Hockney returned to Los Angeles in the USA. There, he painted the ’82 Portraits and One Still Life’ of the 2016 London exhibition; the subject of the second part of the film.

David Hockney, Fruit on a bench

Fruit on a bench is the one still life of the 2016 exhibition.

Hockney made the portraits during three-day sessions. All people sat on the same chair with the same background; but they decided what clothes they wore, how to sit on the chair, etc. So, the portraits show both what they had in common and in what ways they differed as individuals. Portraits are often of rich people paying for them. But in this, more ‘democratic’ case, the people posing, rich or poor, all paid nothing and Hockney spent the same three days on all of them.

In interviews, part of the film, Hockney speaks, eg, on artists like Rembrandt who have influenced him.

Painting, birds, sea and buildings in Katwijk

Jan Toorop, 17 September 2017

As I blogged before, on 17 September 2017 we arrived at the North Sea in Katwijk town in the Netherlands. As this photo shows, there, on a sand dune, is a reproduction of a painting by artist Jan Toorop (1858–1928). Of Dutch-Indonesian ancestry, he lived some of his life in Katwijk.

Jan Toorop, bomschuit ship, 17 September 2017

This 1890 painting shows a ‘bomschuit‘ type ship on the beach of Katwijk. Fishermen and horses had to drag the ship out of the sea, or back into the sea; as Katwijk has no seaport.

A bit further was more art reminding people of fishing, traditionally the main industry in Katwijk aan Zee village.

Katwijk aan Zee, monument, 17 September 2017

A metal sculpture commemorates the over a hundred Katwijk fishermen who died at sea from 1919-2000, mentioning their names and ages.

Katwijk aan Zee, monument poem, 17 September 2017

The poem on the monument says (translated): Went to sea to have daily bread/Not knowing about the ends of their lives/This death did not grant farewells to loved ones/Only the names and memories stayed.

So, after the 1900 theatre play Op Hoop van Zegen by Herman Heijermans, which exposed unscrupulous shipowners and workplace deaths, and increased pressure for improvements, fishing was still a dangerous job. And it still is in this 21st century: in front of the metal monument were four stones commemorating four Katwijk fishermen casualties from 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Katwijk aan Zee, lamppost, 17 September 2017

A lamppost which used to be a ship’s mast.

Katwijk aan Zee, bird migration counting point, 17 September 2017

We arrived at the bird migration counting point, with pictures of various bird species which pass here. Meanwhile, barn swallows flying south on their autumn migration. So did meadow pipits.

A jackdaw and two migrating northern wheatears on the ground close to us. Unfortunately, no people counting birds present.

Sea holly growing. The flowers are gone already.

We continue to the mouth of the Old Rhine river. A carrion crow. A ringed plover on a rock.

Katwijk aan Zee, on 17 September 2017

Then, we walk south along the beach.

Katwijk aan Zee, church, 17 September 2017

We pass the old Saint Andrew’s church and its tower.

Katwijk aan Zee, church, on 17 September 2017

Finally, we are on the part of the beach south of Katwijk, and go inland to the sand dunes. Stay tuned!

London exhibition against Trump’s misogyny

This 2016 video from the USA is called 10 minutes of Donald Trump demeaning, objectifying, and insulting women | The Briefing.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Artists rally against misogyny in east London

Monday 25th September 2017

ARTISTS rallied against misogyny and celebrated women in the arts at an exhibition in east London over the weekend.

Exhibition organiser Nasty Women UK is part of a global project sparked in response to the abuse spouted by US President Donald Trump against his rival candidate Hillary Clinton during the US presidential elections.

Over 40 exhibitions have taken place around the globe since the project’s inception earlier this year to protest against the “threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights and abortion rights.”

Last weekend’s event in Hackney Wick’s Stour Space saw artists, poets and speakers celebrate women, and promote equality and acceptance, co-organiser Antonia Kimbell told the Star.

She described Nasty Women as a response to “what’s not working in the world, and what would make a difference.”

Ms Kimbell said that although people are despondent and unsettled by the current political climate, “transformation can happen. So much support for the event says a lot.”

Artists from the US and Syria submitted works for the exhibition, with donations going to the charity End Violence Against Women.

So far, the event has raised around £2,000.

One of the artworks was submitted by Louisa Johnson, the great-great-granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. The piece represents the discrimination Pankhurst faced after leaving prison when she was blocked from continuing her studies.

As well as rallying against misogyny, Nasty Women also gives women in the arts a platform to show their work. Organiser Viv Ellis pointed out that although 60 per cent of arts graduates are women, only half that number are represented in galleries.

Further Nasty Women events are planned in Stroud and Newcastle.

Rubens painting rediscovered after centuries

The newly rediscovered portrait of the Duke of Buckingham by Rubens dates from around 1625

From the BBC in Britain today:

Rubens’ Duke of Buckingham ‘found’ after 400 years

A ‘lost’ portrait by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens has been rediscovered after almost 400 years.

The 17th century Flemish artist‘s “head study” of the Duke of Buckingham was identified by Dr Bendor Grosvenor from BBC Four’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces.

It was in Glasgow Museums’ collection and on public display at the city’s Pollok House stately home.

But overpainting and centuries of dirt meant it was thought to be a later copy by another artist.

The restored portrait of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham, was authenticated as a Rubens by Ben van Beneden, director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp.

He said it was a “rare addition to Rubens‘s portrait oeuvre, showing how he approached the genre”.

Dr Grosvenor said: “The chance to discover a portrait of such a pivotal figure in British history by one of the greatest artists who ever lived has been thrillingly exciting.”

The portrait of the duke in a doublet with an elaborate lace collar and a sash dates from around 1625.

He was a controversial figure in the Jacobean era who rose from minor nobility to become one of the favourites of James I, who was James VI in Scotland.

The nature of their relationship has been the source of much debate. Some experts claim they were lovers, while others believe it was a close platonic friendship.

Renovation work carried out by English Heritage at Apethorpe Palace in Northamptonshire, one of the king’s favourite residences, revealed a secret passage linking the two men’s bedchambers.

The Duke was assassinated in 1628 at the age of just 35, three years after James died.

Overpainting of the background and other areas by a later artist, along with hundreds of years of dust and dirt, had obscured Rubens’ work.

But scientific analysis of the wood it was painted on dated it to the 1620s, and found it had been prepared in a way done by Rubens’ studio.

Additional cleaning and x-rays of the hair showed it was not a copy but was by the artist himself.

The painting underwent conservation work by restorer Simon Gillespie to return it to its original appearance.

It will return to display at Pollok House.

The painting will feature in the first programme of the new series of Britain’s Lost Masterpieces at 21:00 BST on BBC Four on 27 September.

German extreme right against ‘degenerate’ art

This video from Gerrmany says about itself:

documenta 14 artist Olu Oguibe and The Obelisk

1 September 2017

By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:

Documenta 14 exhibition in Kassel, Germany: The censorship and defaming of art

6 September 2017

Two works of art dealing with the fate of refugees and exiles have become the focus for fierce attacks at this year’s documenta art exhibition in Kassel, in central Germany. …

The second controversy concerned an obelisk by the Nigerian artist Olu Oguibe, which was denounced as “degenerate art” by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. “Degenerate art” was the term used by the Nazis in the 1930s to justify banning and suppressing all progressive art. The obelisk evokes the tragedy of the Nigerian civil war. Its pedestal bears the biblical quotation: “I was a stranger and you cared for me” in four languages.

documenta 14 is one of Europe’s leading exhibitions of contemporary art and takes place every five years in the city of Kassel. This year’s exhibition stood out for the many artists addressing burning social problems such as war, immigration, oppression, the consequences of new walls and borders, and the destruction of nature and culture. The exhibition met with a mixed reaction, with many media outlets denouncing its political nature.

An additional source of controversy was the fact that this year’s documenta chose Athens as a second venue—recalling the country’s historic role as the cradle of democracy, now threatened by vicious European Union (EU)-International Monetary Fund (IMF) austerity diktats.

In contrast to the often hostile attitude of much of the media, the public has turned out in record numbers for documenta 14. The artists’ concerns have received a positive resonance, despite the individual weaknesses of their representations. A very diverse public appeared much more willing to engage with the questions and perspectives raised by the artists on culture and society than the media representatives. …

“Degenerate art”

Toward the end of the discussion, the curator of documenta 14, Hendrik Folkerts, drew attention to the other Kassel controversy: “In connection with Olu Oguibe’s obelisk, the AfD has used the concept of degenerate art,” he said. …

Kassel’s culture committee had discussed purchasing Oguibe’s obelisks, which had been erected in the city centre. One city councillor Thomas Materner, a member of the AfD, rejected any plans that the city retain the work of art and threatened to organise protests in front of the obelisk “every time a refugee commits an act of terror.”

Materner then denounced the obelisk in the jargon of the Nazis as “ideologically polarizing degenerate art,” claiming there was much public anger directed against the art work. In the style of the Nazis the term “degenerate” is used to conjure up imagery of sickness, abnormality—something unnatural.

To their credit, other factions on the council were in favour of purchasing the documenta art work. The final location is still unclear and the money required remains to be budgeted. Mayor Christian Geselle said there were no legal or technical reasons to prevent the art work from remaining in the city centre. A survey of over Kassel 5,000 citizens revealed that more than 60 percent favoured retaining the obelisk on the city’s Königsplatz.

The stance taken by the AfD against the obelisk has been criticized in the media, but the party’s open embrace of Nazi-style ideology and language indicates the most reactionary elements of society have been encouraged by the incessant and brutal policy of deportations of refugees combined with the attacks on freedom of expression.