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Oldest Human Art – 73,000 Years Ago. World’s Oldest Art – 430,000 Years Ago. What Does This Mean For Art and What Does IT Mean For “US”?

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What is Art?

This question, “What is Art,” is a fundamental question not only about art, but the  creative capacity to create art. In the first part of this post, we discuss the recently published article in Nature  on September 12, 2018, which reports on the phenomenal discovery of art made by humans dating to 73, 000 years ago, some 40,000 years earlier than was previously believed.

In the second part of this post, we discuss an article published in Nature on December 3, 2014 ,which reported the discovery of an engraving made some 430,000  year ago, some 357,000 years before the discovery reported above.

Why is there this vast distance between the creation of the two objects, and what does it mean for us?

Human Art 73,000 Years Ago

As reported by National Geographic on  September 12, 2018,

“Seventy-three thousand years ago, an early human in what is now South Africa picked up a piece of ocher and used it to scratch a hashtag-like mark onto a piece of stone.

Now, that stone has been discovered by an international team of archaeologists who are calling it the earliest known drawing in history.


According to their report, published today in the journal Nature, the stone predates the previous earliest known cave art—found in Indonesia and Spain—by 30,000 years. That would significantly push back the emergence of “behaviorally modern” activities among ancient Homo sapiens.”

Art 430,000 Years Ago

However, an earlier article published in Nature indicates that Art was created some 430,000 years ago.


The report of the discovery was published in Nature under the title, ”

“An abstract drawing from the 73,000-year-old levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa”

According to the article,

“Abstract and depictive representations produced by drawing—known from Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia after 40,000 years ago—are a prime indicator of modern cognition and behaviour.

Here we report a cross-hatched pattern drawn with an ochre crayon on a ground silcrete flake recovered from approximately 73,000-year-old Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Our microscopic and chemical analyses of the pattern confirm that red ochre pigment was intentionally applied to the flake with an ochre crayon. .

This notable discovery pre-dates the earliest previously known abstract and figurative drawings by at least 30,000 years. This drawing demonstrates the ability of early Homo sapiens in southern Africa to produce graphic designs on various media using different techniques.”

Art from 430,000 Years Ago




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How Marcel Marceau Used His Mime Skills to Save Children’s Lives During the Holocaust

Marcel Marceau

Marcel Marceau has become legendary as one of the greatest mimes of all time. But, before he cemented his place in performance history, Marceau’s knack for performing made him a unique asset to French resistance against Nazi forces during World War II. As the story goes, Marceau helped a group of children escape Nazi-occupied France by using his skills of mimicry to safely lead them into Switzerland. YouTube.

“He later said that he used his pantomime skills to keep the children silent during the most dangerous moments,” writes David B. Green for Haaretz.

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“In 1947, [he] created his most iconic character, Bip. “Destiny permitted me to live,” he said in his 2001 speech. “This is why I have to bring hope to people who struggle in the world.”

He also alluded to his character’s dark origins, saying on another occasion that ‘“the people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it… My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”’

In ‘“Bip Remembers,”’ Marcel explained that he returns to his childhood memories and home and shows life and death in war.  One of the people he alluded to in that sketch was his father, Charles Mangel, who was murdered at Auschwitz.

“Marceau changed his name because he needed to hide during the war, choosing ‘“Marceau”’ to honor a historic French general, along with his brother Alain.”

“Marceau’s performances as Bip were a bright spot in the appreciation of mime outside of France, writes novelist Mave Fellowes for The Paris Review. After his death in 2015, nobody stepped forward to take his place.” Smithsonian.


H/T Dad, OpenCulture

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What Does a Music Conductor Do, Actually? Then, Watch Stravinsky and Bernstein Conduct.

September 5, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

“When we imagine a symphony orchestra, even those of us otherwise unfamiliar with classical music imagine a conductor standing up front. We know the conductor leads the orchestra, but how exactly does he/she do it?

“What the public needs to understand about conducting is that it’s an anticipatory art,” says conductor James Gaffigan in the short Vox explainer video above.'”What we do takes place before the music happens,” all of it meant ‘”to do justice to the composer.”

He then breaks down the function of the main tools available to the conductor to do that: the right hand, which holds the baton, and the left hand, which ‘”has a much more complicated, strange role in our physical world.”‘ Open Culture.

Stravinsky Conducts Firebird

Leonard Bernstein Conducts Stravinsky – Le Sacre du printemps – The Rite of Spring – Rehearsal *

*The Bernstein video is long, but you need only watch to 11:55 / 56:14 to get the full effect.

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Early Picasso, Very Early, Ages 8 to 15


August 29, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

Picasso "Picador"

Pablo Picasso, Age 8, “Picador” (1889)

The early work of an artist is often cherished, first by parents, then by collectors. Shown in the post are works created by Picasso from age 8 to 15. Children are back to school, drawing, painting, sketching, and scribbling. We should also cherish the early works by our own young “Picassos.”

Picasso "Pigeons"

Pablo Picasso, Age 8, “Pigeons” (1890).

Picasso Study for Torso

Pablo Picasso, Age 11, “Study for Torso” (1892).


Picasso Self Portrait

Pablo Picasso, Age 15, Self-Portrait (1896)

More: http://www.pablo-ruiz-picasso.net

h/t OpenCulture

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A Portrait Created Solely by AI Will be Offered by Christie’s. Sacred and Profane- A Tale of Two Pictures.

August 22, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

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Portrait of Edmond de Belamy (Detail)

Fine Art in the New Media

This blog reports on the subject of Fine Art in the New Media. The portrait above “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy” was created by AI, praised, and will be offered by Christie’s. The portrait below, “Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”) was ridiculed throughout the world. A comparison is shown below. Our comment is at the end of this Post.


In October, Christie’s will become the first major auction house to offer a work of art created by an algorithm.

“The portrait  of Edmond de Belmy depicts a gentleman, possibly French and — to judge by his dark frock coat and plain white collar — a man of the church. The work appears unfinished: the facial features are somewhat indistinct and there are blank areas of canvas. The portrait, however, is not the product of a human mind.” Art Daily.

The Significance

“Richard Lloyd, International Head of Prints & Multiples, [at Christie’s] comments: “Christie’s continually stays attuned to changes in the art market and how technology can impact the creation and consumption of art. AI has already been incorporated as a tool by contemporary artists…. we are offering a public platform to exhibit an artwork that has entirely been realized by an algorithm.” Art Daily.

AI: The Creative Process

Hugo Caselles-Dupré, representative of Obvious, [Studio] describes the process: “This new technology allows us to experiment on the notion of creativity for a machine, and the parallel with the role of the artist in the creation process. The approach invites the observer to consider and evaluate the similarities and distinctions between the mechanics within the human brain, such as the creative process, and the ones of an algorithm. ” *


“Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”) (Detail)


“Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”)

“In 2012, an 83  year old woman Cecilia Giménez, amateur painter tried to restore an old fresco in her local church (Borja), but failed utterly.” The painting, called “Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”) was ridiculed throughout the world. 42spain.com.

The Process

“The result was a botched repair where the intricate brush strokes of Martinez {the original artist]  were replaced with a haphazard splattering of the octogenarian’s paint. Years of carefully calculated depth of expression simply washed out by copious amounts of red and brown.” telegraph.co.uk.

The Significance

“News of the pensioner’s improvised restoration started spreading like wildfire across Spain and as soon as the international press and social media platforms got hold of the story, Gimenez’s “monkey Jesus” became a global phenomenon.”

“France’s Le Monde newspaper ran the story with the title ‘HOLY SHIT – the restoration of a painting of Christ turns into a massacre’ and The Daily Telegraph with ‘Elderly woman destroys 19th-century fresco with DIY restoration’.”

“Faced with a barrage of international media attention, Spanish newspapers reported that Cecilia Gimenez suffered an anxiety attack. I couldn’t understand why everyone was talking about me,” she later told Spanish daily ABC. “All I wanted to do was save the fresco.” thelocal.es.”

Side by Side Comparison

“No comment.” whitherthebook.


*Further to the AI Process

“Created by an algorithm composed of two parts, The Generator and the Discriminator, the system was fed a data set of 15,000 portraits. The Generator made new images based on the set and the Discriminator reviewed all outputs until it deemed the result imperceptible whether done from a human-hand or attributed to the algorithm. The work included in the October sale is Edmond de Belamy, the ‘youngest’ documented member of the family or the ‘newest’ born creation of the algorithm.”

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David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf Mononage Virtual Reality Museum Tour

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Moonage Virtual Reality – There is Life a the Phoenix Art Museum

“For the first time ever at  Phoenix Art Museum  guests have the opportunity to experience photography and video in a whole new dimension. Using an ordinary smartphone inserted into a virtual-reality headset, guests will be able to explore the simulated environments of Moonage Virtual Reality simply by moving their heads.”

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The Films

“The suite of films in the cutting-edge exhibition celebrates the music, fashion, and style of three legendary figures: Andy Warhol, who helped define the Pop Art movement of the late 1960s; David Bowie, whose glam-rock music transformed pop culture in the early ’70s; and Kenny Scharf, whose psychedelic art influenced the ‘80s underground New York art scene.”

The Tour

“Moonage takes viewers on a simulated journey through rock-and-roll fashion and culture, as well as Pop Art, thanks to three virtual-reality films by filmmaker Travis Hutchison: Billy Name’s The Warhol Silver Factory, Mick Rock’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Kenny Scharf’s Cosmic Cavern.”

Mick Rock’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars 

“A dreamlike, 360° glam-rock kaleidoscope  of David Bowie’s 1972 Ziggy Stardust tour through Mick Rock’s stunning catalog of photographs and videos of the Starman’s live performances, and outrageous costumes.”

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Billy Name’s The Warhol Silver Factory

“Andy Warhol’s studio, otherwise known as the Silver Factory, through iconic images by famed Warhol photographer Billy Name, and see the glamour of the Warhol sixties and its Superstars come to life in this stereoscopic film.”

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Kenny Scharf’s Cosmic Cavern

“The day-glo, Pop-Surrealist universe of visual artist Kenny Scharf. Scharf’s characteristic cartoon imagery, graffiti tags, and dreamy futuristic environments come to life under the fluorescent black lights of New York night clubs in this party environment-turned-art installation-turned virtual, psychedelic experience.”

The Technology

“Filmmaker Travis Hutchison used special 360-degree programs that layered photographs and videos in an infinite stereoscopic universe to create the exhibition’s three virtual reality films.”

“For instance, In Billy Name’s The Warhol Silver Factory , guests explore Andy Warhol’s studio, The Factory, through the visually stunning images by famed Warhol photographer Billy Name, who lived at The Factory and was responsible for “silverizing” every surface. Name’s images of Warhol’s filmmaking, silk screening and superstars Edie Sedgwick, Brigid Berlin, Gerard Malanga, Lou Reed and Nico are presented in high-definition black & white.”

Fine Art in the New Media

Phoenix Art Museum uses the New Media to bring cutting edge virtual reality into the museum. Sure, museums have objects from The Middle Ages, The Renaissance, Impressionism, and Modern Art, often devoting whole floors to each collection. This is nothing new.

What is new  and invigorating is the Phoenix Art Museum’s initiative to bring the latest in technology to the art museum, as it is happening now.. Virtual Reality is happening now, and the effort of the Museum not only brings New Media Technology into the Museum, but also new visitors who may never have gone there before.

August 15, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

All Quotes: Phoenix Art Museum


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Book Publishing and the New Media -This Is Not An E-book – The Getty’s “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography”

August 8, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

Book Publishing and the New Media – This is not an E-book

E-book sales have been in a steady decline because of high prices and lack of added value. Consumers have now come to realize that the e-book is merely a static copy of a paperback, without any additional content to add value. A pressing question, then, is “How Can Book Publishers Use the New Media to Enhance Readership and Increase Sales?” The Getty’s new publication, Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, is an excellent example of how it is done.

The Book

Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography  is a beautifully “illustrated survey of one hundred years of fashion photography. It includes more than three hundred photographs by the genre’s most famous practitioners as well as important but lesser-known figures, alongside a selection of costumes, fashion illustrations, magazine covers, and advertisements.” The cover itself is arresting, and immediately conveys the impression that the subject matter is Photography as Fine Art.

Icons of Style Getty Fashion Photography

The Website

The Getty’s website for the book is an excellent model for into the use of the New Media to market a print book in the digital age.  The Getty uses but a single page to present the book. This book is a model of some of the most important principles of digital design.

1. The page has a clean design, and a simple user interface.

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2. The page is designed specifically for the digital media. It is an impressive, but simple display of the depth of the book.

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3. Each of the selected 9 pages, can be enlarged to show the stunning detail and quality of the images in the book.

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4. The copy is well-written, and presents the importance of the book in a single paragraph.

“In the 1930s the photographer Martin Munkácsi pioneered a gritty, photojournalistic style. In the 1960s Richard Avedon encouraged his models to express their personalities by smiling and laughing, which had often been discouraged previously. Helmut Newton brought an explosion of sexuality into fashion images and turned the tables on traditional gender stereotypes in the 1970s, and in the 1980s Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts made male sexuality an important part of fashion photography. Today, following the integration of digital technology, teams like Inez & Vinoodh and Mert & Marcus are reshaping our notion of what is acceptable—not just aesthetically but also technically and conceptually—in a fashion photograph.”

5. The book lives!

By the incorporation of the video above, which also features pages turned by a human hand  so that both the book and its pages come alive.

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6. The provenance of the book and the credentials of the author are presented by live links to other publications of the author, enhancing the book’s credibility and importance.

“In 1911 the French publisher Lucien Vogel challenged Edward Steichen to create the first artistic, rather than merely documentary, fashion photographs, a moment that is now considered to be a turning point in the history of fashion photography.”


“Paul Martineau has curated numerous exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and is the author or coauthor of Herb Ritts: L.A. Style (Getty Publications, 2012), Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs (Getty Publications, 2016), and The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Publications, 2016). ”

H/T ArtDaily




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