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The MFA Boston: Fine Art in the New Media – Gustav Klimt, and Egon Schiele

March 21, 2018, by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

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Fine Art in the New Media

How well does a museum use New Media Technology to fulfill its mission to make Art accessible to everyone, everywhere. In a number of prior posts, we focused on the theme “Can You See It From Here?” to see how much of an exhibition a museum would put online so that it may be seen by everyone. The range has been from a few examples of the work to a full display on-line of all of the works in that exhibition.

The Exhibition

“To mark the centenary of the deaths of Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) and Egon Schiele (1890–1918), the MFA [Boston] presents an exhibition of rarely seen drawings by the Austrian artists on loan from the Albertina Museum in Vienna.” The exhibition consists of a curated selection of 60 drawings by Kilmt and Schiele.

What Can You See From Here?

Instead of displaying the drawings and counting how many you may see online, we’ve chosen to present one drawing by each artist.

However, we want to focus not only on these two drawings, but to examine what the MFA says about the artists, and their styles to see whether these two elements are meaningful, that is meaningful for someone in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, Russia,  China, Europe, and someone in Boston itself who, for whatever reason, cannot attend the exhibition.

Klimt Schiele – One Drawing Each

First, examine each drawing above and below for yourself, for however long you want, to form a visual, emotional, and intellectual sense of the works.  Actually, its how you see the work which is the most important aspect of looking at art.

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Then, read the brief test excerpts from the MFA’s website, and determine whether they add to or hinder your view of these two works. Note: These are not the lengthy wall tags that often distract the viewer from the art.

The MFA: Why These Two Artists?

“To mark the centenary of the deaths of Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) and Egon Schiele (1890–1918), the MFA presents an exhibition of rarely seen drawings by the Austrian artists on loan from the Albertina Museum in Vienna. “Klimt and Schiele: Drawn” examines both the divergences and compelling parallels between the two artists—particularly in their provocative depictions of the human body. Nearly 30 years apart in age, Klimt and Schiele shared a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s talent.” (All quotes: MFA.org.)

Their Work – the MFA:


“Their work is decidedly different in appearance and effect: Klimt’s drawings are often delicate, while Schiele’s are frequently bold. Klimt often used these sheets as preparatory designs for paintings, while Schiele considered his drawings to be independent pictures and routinely sold them. Both deployed frank naturalism, unsettling emotional resonances, and disorienting omissions to challenge conventions and expectations in portraits, nudes, and allegories. ”

Their Work – Your Conclusion:

What do you think of the method of this post, showing one work from each artist, along with brief quotes from the MFA?

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The grit and the glory: French ballet star Marie-Agnès Gillot looks back on stunning career – via twitter

March 14, 2018, by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.



                                                              Marie-Agnès Gillot
 “Growing up in the northern French town of Caen,Marie-Agnès, Gillot  never even heard of the Paris Opera Ballet. She was far more interested in animals and the countryside. But her ballet teacher was quick to spot her potential and at the age of 9 she joined the Paris Opera Ballet school as a boarder.

But at the age of 12, she grew 12 centimetres in a year and was diagnosed with double scoliosis. Fearing an operation would leave her handicapped, she chose to wear a neck-to-hip corset for six years instead – only removing it to dance, and hiding the corset from her fellow ballerinas.

“There were other tall dancers,” she says with a flash of steely resolve. (Gillot stands at 5 foot 9 inches, or 175 centimetres in her bare feet.) “They just liked to give the tall dancers a hard time. In any case I was always the best. If you’re tall and you’re rubbish that’s one thing, but if you’re tall and you’re good that’s OK, no?”

She continued to prove her detractors wrong, joining the ballet company at the precocious age of 15, the youngest-ever dancer to do so. She was made a prima ballerina at the relatively late age of 28. “I’d been waiting for it for so long,” she says of the honour, but it was “special” to be given it for a contemporary ballet – “Signes,” by the American choreographer Carolyn Carlson.

Indeed, it was only after dancing the contemporary ballets that Gillot began to land the great classical roles.

She is now retiring at age 42.

Fine Art in the New Media

Since this blog covers Fine Art in the New Media, this post will examine how the Paris Opera Ballet used twitter to announce the retirement of one of its greatest princilal dancers.

Twitter is usually seen as the platform for news, presidents, celebrities, politics, and more. Twitter is usually breaks a story first,  almost instantly, and is then picked up and then covered by the rest of the media.

A simple tweet links to and article in in France 24, which has the full story, and embedded videos of  key moments in Marie-Agnès Gillot’s career. From there to the full access to the internet to study her career, see stunning images, videos of some of her major roles, and her choreography, all beginning with a tweet.  Twitter is an excellent use of the New Media to make Fine Art accessible to everyone, everywhere with a few simple clicks, and no complicated user interface.

And now, some of her work.

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“At the age of 36, she became the first in-house prima ballerina to choreograph a ballet at the Opera Garnier.  I was always being chosen by the choreographers – by all the geniuses,” she says.  She worked with choreographers such as Pina Bausch, who was “extremely precise, thorough and demanding”, as well as Carlson, Maurice Béjart, William Forsythe and Wayne McGregor. “But I wanted to create ballets myself.”’

Below is a clip of her well-received “Sous Apparence,” all the women, and men, dance on point for the entire piece.” ( All quotes:  France 24.)

“Her official farewell ceremony takes place on March 31 – she won’t be resting on her laurels anytime soon. She plans to work with McGregor again and is looking forward to playing the part of a “madwoman” in a forthcoming ballet of “Titicut Follies” adapted from Wiseman’s documentary on the patient-inmates of an asylum for the criminally insane.”




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“The E-Book is a Stupid Product,” says Hachette Group CEO.

March 8, 2018, by Jack Dziamba

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Whither the e-Book?

The e-book was introduced about 10 years ago. As sales took off, it was claimed that the e-book would soon eclipse the print book.  Indeed it was true for most of ten years.  According to the Association of American Publishers, in 2012 sales revenue from ebooks in the U.S. surpassed hardbound books,  However, in the U.S. in the first nine month of 2016  “e-book sales declined 18.7% , according to the Association of American Publishers. Paperback sales were up 7.5% over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1%. In the U.K., in 2016, sales of consumer e-books plunged 17%.   Sales of physical books and journals went up by 7% during the same period. CNN Media. Where is the e-book headed?

“The E-Book is a Stupid Product”

Arnaud Nourry is the CEO of  the Hachette Livre Group, one of the word’s largest publishers with over 17,000 new titles each year and sales of $2,826 million in 2016,  In an interview with Scroll.in, published on February 17, 2018,Nourry was quoted as saying,

The e-book is a stupid product. It’s exactly the same as print, except it is electronic. There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience.”

Lack of Talent

Nourry went on to explain,

“I reached the conclusion that we don’t really have the skills and talents in our companies because publishers and editors are accustomed to picking a manuscript and creating a design on a flat page. They don’t really know the full potential of 3-D and digital.”

While the e-book was portrayed as eliminating the print book, British Design Critic, Alice Rawsthorn stated in the New York Times of November 28, 2010 that,

“These devices offer thrilling possibilities for us to do much more than read words on a screen, and it is deeply disappointing that so few designers and publishers are embracing them.”

Thus, from 2010 to 2018, the e-book has been plagued with the lack of creativity and talent to seize the potential of the New Media in the digital age. Alice Rawsthorn  and Arnaud Nourray stated this clearly above. , In essence, the e-book was seen as merely a paper back page with a light behind it – static and linear.

What Is To Be Done?

Many solutions have been proposed and some executed with excellent technology, design and scholarship. See, for the book, Great Impressionist and Post Impressionist Paintings The Musée d’Orsay, and  “Is the E-Book Dead or Just Asleep?”

The problem is that during the 10 years of the ebook, publishers have wrung the profit out of the static e-book, with many e-books costing as much as print books. The e-book, however, requires physical paper, no printing, no warehousing and distribution systems, as does the print book.

Until e- book publishers add value by content which enhances an e-book, the digital book will be regarded simply as reading a paperback with a light behind each page. It is not worth the price.

The End?

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World’s Oldest Cave Art Discovered to Have Been Made By Neanderthals …

February 28, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.


Why write  hundreds and hundreds of words about the discovery, that Neanderthals had the capacity to create art when we can use tools of the New Media to explain this art and the science used in the discovery?

Art is visual. Writing about art is writing about art. Here ,we will attempt to present the phenomenal discovery of art created by Neanderthals, thousands of years before the cave art created by “modern” humans with few words, three pictures, and a video.
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The Story

As reported in National Geographic published on February 22, 2018, in an article written by

“Ancient artists in what is now Spain were making creative works of their own, mixing pigments, crafting beads out of seashells, and painting murals on cave walls. The twist? These artistic innovators were probably Neanderthals.

Dated to 65,000 years ago, the cave paintings and shell beads are the first works of art dated to the time of Neanderthals, and they include the oldest cave art ever found. In two new studies, published Thursday in Science and Science Advances, researchers lay out the case that these works of art predate the arrival of modern Homo sapiens to Europe…”

The Video


The Conclusion:  “I Am You and You Are Me, Together…”

As written in the same National Geographic article,

“Genetic evidence also shows that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred: About two percent of modern European and Asian DNA traces back to Neanderthals.”

H/T Mark Dziamba

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Research Team Uncovers Hidden Details in Picasso’s ‘La Miséreuse accroupie’ (The Crouching Woman).

February 21, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.
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X-ray radiography of La Miséreuse accroupie reveals a landscape hidden beneath the visible surface. © Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

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“La Miséreuse accroupie,” 1902, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spain). Oil on canvas, 101.3 x 66 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Anonymous gift, 1963. (Courtesy of the artist’s estate and Art Gallery of Ontario)

Artists Painting Over an Existing Painting

Frequently, new scientific techniques have revealed one painting painted over another painting by the same artist. The painting of a woman has been discovered under Van Gogh’s painting “Patch of Grass, ” as detailed in (Photon Science, “Visualizing a Lost Painting by Vincent van Gogh using X-ray Fluorescence Mapping.”

Picasso: Two Paintings, Two Artists, and a Repositioned Arm

As reported by Art Daily,

“With knowledge of an underlying landscape revealed long ago by X-ray radiography at the AGO, researchers used non-invasive portable imaging techniques, including infrared reflectance hyperspectral imaging adapted by the National Gallery of Art and then an X-ray fluorescence imaging instrument developed at Northwestern, to detect the presence of a landscape likely by another Barcelona painter underneath “La Miséreuse accroupie.”

Major Findings

“The researchers used non-invasive methods they adapted to the study of paintings. The state-of-the-art tools enabled the scientists to analyze the painting relatively quickly inside the museum. The key findings of the multidisciplinary international study include these:

• Picasso painted over another painter’s work after rotating it 90 degrees to the right, using some of the landscape forms in his own final composition of “La Miséreuse accroupie.” Picasso incorporated the lines of the cliff edges into the woman’s back, for example.

• Picasso also made a major compositional change, the researchers report. The artist initially painted the woman with a right arm and hand holding a disk but then covered them with her cloak in the final work. ” (Art Daily).

Close Observation

By closely observing “La Miséreuse accroupie,” AGO’s conservation department, now led in this project by senior conservator of paintings Sandra Webster-Cook, had observed distinct textures and contrasting underlying color that peaked through the crack lines and did not match the visible composition.

Fine Art in the New Media

The new scientific tools used to analyze Picasso’s “La Miséreuse accroupie,” and the discoveries made comprise an excellent case study of “fine art in the new media.”The steps in analyzing Picasso’s painting through New Media technology:


X-ray radiography was the first non-invasive tool used to uncover hidden information in “La Miséreuse accroupie”; it revealed a horizontal landscape by a different Barcelona painter, whose identity remains unknown, under the visible surface of Picasso’s painting.     Infrared Reflectance Hyperspectral Imaging

John Delaney, senior imaging scientist at the National Gallery of Art, then studied the painting with infrared reflectance hyperspectral imaging, which records underlying images depending on their relative transparency of the paint layers.

He found an arm and a disk under the surface of the painting. Delaney’s imaging method provides improved visibility of earlier compositional painted elements.

    The X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Scanner

For a more detailed understanding of the painting, scientists next investigated the painting using images generated by their X-ray fluorescence (XRF) scanner. The NU-ACCESS team traveled twice to the AGO in Canada with their portable tools for the study.

This system produces grayscale images showing the distribution of elements associated with various pigments of the painting. The scientists were able to analyze 70 percent of the painting in 24 hours. Together with micro-samples extracted from strategic locations, the XRF results, along with further images generated by Delaney from the hyperspectral reflectance … allowed Kenneth Brummel, assistant curator of modern art, to better understand Picasso’s style, influences and process.

    The Elemental Maps of Cadmium and Prussian Blue

The iron and chromium-based pigments of the surface layer correlated with the painting’s current structure and its palette of mostly blues (painted with the iron-based Prussian blue and with ultramarine, Picasso’s Blue Period blue of choice) and yellow-greens (painted with chromium-based yellows). The elemental maps of cadmium and lead-based pigments, however, revealed the presence of the woman’s right arm and hand beneath the visible surface.

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“When we saw the rendering of the lead elemental map, it became clear to me that the arm hidden under the visible surface of ‘La Miséreuse accroupie’ is the same as the proper right arm of a crouching woman in a Picasso watercolor recently sold at auction.” The watercolor is titled “Femme assise” (1902) (below).

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Picasso – Technical Research Going Forward

“Further details about the collaboration’s research findings and the implications on Picasso’s developing style and influences will be revealed June 1 at the American Institute of Conservation annual meeting in Houston.

Questions raised by this research on Picasso’s influence and style during his Blue Period will be further explored in a Picasso Blue Period exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario and The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in 2020 through 2021.” (Art Daily).




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“Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction,” MoMA (2017). Can You See it From Here?

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“In 2017, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) present[ed] a major exhibition surveying the abstract practices of women artists between the end of World War II (1939-1945) and the onset of [this] Feminist movement in the late 1960s.  ‘Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction’ feature[d] approximately 100 works in a diverse range of mediums by more than 50 international artists … the exhibition s[howed] the stunning achievements of women artists during a pivotal period in art history.” (ArtNova.org). The exhibition was on  view from April 15 through August 13, 2017.

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“Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction,” MoMA (2017). Can You See it From Here?

In the interest of Fine Art in the New Media, we will explore what remains today for anyone, anywhere to see this exhibition. This is important because,

“In the decades after World War II, societal shifts made it possible for larger numbers of women than ever before to pursue careers as artists. Abstraction dominated artistic practice internationally between 1945 and the late 1960s, as many artists sought a formal language that might transcend national and regional narratives – and for women artists, additionally, those relating to gender. But despite new opportunities, women often found their work dismissed in the male-dominated art world.”

On the MoMA site you can still see  a video, that shows a large part of the exhibition with great commentary by one of its curators.

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The MoMA site originally featured 19 audio recordings. While the audios do not seem to be presently available on on the site, there art transcripts. Here is a segment from the interview with , Lee Krasner about her work, Gaea (1966).

“Starr Figura: This is Gaea by Lee Krasner, a monumental painting from 1966. Krasner was one of a number of women involved with the abstract expressionist movement from the ’40s all the way through the ’60s. And she was famously the wife of Jackson Pollock. Here’s Lee Krasner:

“Lee Krasner: I think my initial contact with the canvas—because some gesture occurs—some sweep across the canvas before I take off, so to speak. And in that initial contact may be a suggestion which dictates then—color.”

The MoMA site has a Master List of the works, (excerpt below),

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and also retains 26 images hi-res images from the exhibition. Click here for a spectacular view of these images.


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Where to From Here, “Women Artists” or “Artists?”

As written by Abigail Cain, “MoMA Show Unearths Female Abstractionists That Have Languished in Storage,”

“In 2010 … the museum published Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art. The book, which documents the history of women at MoMA, alerted readers to the fact that only 102 of the 2,052 exhibitions held at MoMA since 1929 focused specifically on women artists—95 solo shows and seven group shows.”

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Could Scribd Be the Netflix of Books?

February 7, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday

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Will Digital  Subscriptions For Access to Hundreds of Thousands  Books Ever Fly?

In our post of October 9, 2013, titled E- BOOKS: COULD THIS BE “BOOKFLIX”?, we wrote,

  in an article in the New York Times  published on October 1, 2013 titled,  “‘HarperCollins Joins Scribd in E-Book Subscription Plan,’”   quotes the CEO of Scribd, Trip Adler, as saying: “’The main thing publishers of all kinds want is more readers, more distribution and more revenue. We’re building more of a destination site for readers. “A lot of startups want to be the Netflix (or Spotify, Pandora, whatever) for ebooks. That is, they want to provide unlimited access to ebooks for a flat monthly fee.”’

Is There a Need?

In the same October 9, 2013 post we observed that,

“E-Book publishers have lagged miserably in adapting to the new media. The e-reader is not much different from the Palm Pilot. There is customer resistance to the price of e-books approaching that of a hard cover print edition of the same work. The price of an e-book does not seem justified when the traditional costs of producing a print book are eliminated. Moreover ebook publishers have taken the position that even if you “buy” an e-book, you cannot not resell it. The image of ebook publishers is one of limiting access and closely guarding profits.”

Is There a Market in 2018?

In 2013, the e-book seemed poised to produce a paradigm change in the way people read books. Since then, however, e-book sales have declined, and print bookstores have experienced a resurgance. Does this mean that there is a market in 2018 for e-book rentals on a subscription basis? Scribd believes that there is. According to its website,

“On Scribd you have access to the world’s largest collection of e-books, articles, sheet music and other written works. In our subscription membership [$9 per month] collection, you’ll have access to over 400,000 books from over 900 publishers, including New York Times bestsellers, literary classics, groundbreaking non-fiction, and more in every genre!” (Scribd)

Is Paywall a Barrier?

Some foresee that the rise of paywall may cause media publishers to question the need for a middleman such as Scribd. FastCompany in its article of February 6, 2018 observed,

“As more [on line] publications erect paywalls, this part of a Scribd subscription could look more valuable, but the math is tricky … Magazines and newspapers are even more in flux than digital books. After decades of giving content away, ever more publications are finding that readers will pay. It started with must-read sites like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Then The Atlantic …  Now a broader swath of magazines, such as Wired is also jumping on.”

Will Scribd Face A Rise in Licensing Fees?

As FastCompany observes,

“If Scribd follows the path of Netflix, it could face much higher licensing fees … Netflix can no longer sign deals with the same attractive terms it negotiated in its early days, when it was small and Hollywood saw streaming as incremental revenue. Netflix’s strategy has been to cut back on what it licenses and produce its own shows and movies.” What could Scribd do in terms of producing its own original content remains a question and concern.

Where To From Here?

The future of subscriptions for e-books depends on the future of the e-book itself.  According to the February 7th edition of JustPuvlishingAdvice,”What Is The Future Of Ebooks,”

“Currently, ebooks are boring as they are almost exclusively, except for the cover image, black text on a white background.

With the capacity of devices such as the iPad, Kindle Fire, smartphones, phablets and a whole range of other devices, all capable of delivering rich, colourful interactive displays, the ebook starts to look a little drab, old-fashioned and decidedly dull.

The future of ebooks will depend on moving away from the concept that an ebook is just a copy of a book in electronic form, and therefore must look as much like a book as possible.

Paper pages wrapped in a cardboard cover is not technology; it’s tradition and history.”

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