The Dutch Know How to Do It

I know how ridiculous this sounds, but before I went to Europe I would never have expected to dig the museum scene over there as much as I did. I've been to plenty of American museums in my tenure as an artist and art teacher, but naturally there is a distinctly American flavor to what's happening over here. It's the flavor of newness, of a wink-wink nudge-nudge self reflexiveness, of an endlessly creative populace with no distinct past and an overwhelming urge to reinvent the present while hurrying toward the future. And then you have Europe -- a continent teeming with centuries old, continuously operating cultures. Old art was never my thing (so dark! so fussy!) but to see it in person is to experience an almost religious revelation. I thought my head might explode from the amazingness of it all.

This is all my roundabout way of saying I really wish I could go to Holland and see this show:

Let's see -- incredible architecture: check. Color and light like only the Dutch can do: check. Old art that will make you doubt the dubious talents of any contemporary painter: check. Add in a few sly contemporary feints and tricks and I'm altogether annoyed that I haven't already booked a plane ticket. Stupid money.

Rineke Dijskstra? Hot double damn.

The Portrait Pavilion at the ancient Duivevoorde Castle in the Netherlands is simply stunning. The castle is almost 1000 years old, the paintings are hundreds of years old, and the idea is so right now. It's like looking at time in a three way mirror.

via Design Upcomers

Books I Want: Karen Knorr

I really should have added books to my list of acceptable holiday gifts, mostly because I am a greedy hoarder of all things glossy and gorgeous. Just cracking open a new monograph by a favorite artist is enough to give me a eyegasm, but don't worry -- I like to keep my peeping on the down low (insert lecherous laugh here). Feast your eyeballs on the Fables series by Karen Knorr and try to restrain yourself. Stunningly staged rooms + Animals = Perfection in print. Enjoy.

Photographed in large format at museums based largely in France, Knorr's images combine analog craftsmanship with a bit of digital trickery to highlight the chasm between the natural and civilized worlds. The results range from sweetly playful to shockingly menacing.

Buy the book here. This kind of eye candy never gets old.

Found via the very excellent Bertha Mag.