Ai Weiwei, born May 18, 1957

The Divine Comedy - Elevator

artist, curator, architectural designer, cultural and social commentator and activist

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Cube Light (2008)

 

#aiflowers

#aiflowers
#aiflowers is a project by Ai Weiwei inviting everyone to create a flower in memory of the child victims of the devastating Sichuan earthquake on May 12, 2008.

I've never planned any part of my career-- except being an artist. And I was pushed into that corner because I thought being an artist was the only way to have a little freedom.

Only with the Internet can a peasant I have never met hear my voice and I can learn what's on his mind. A fairy tale has come true.
I’m not sure I’m good at art, but I find an escape in it. (2008)

Living in a system under the Communist ideology, an artist cannot avoid fighting for freedom of expression. You always have to be aware that art is not only a self-expression but a demonstration of human rights and dignity. To express yourself freely, a right as personal as it is, has always been difficult, given the political situation. (2008)

Your own acts tell the world who you are and what kind of society you think it should be. (2010)

I also have to speak out for people around me who are afraid, who think it is not worth it or who have totally given up hope. So I want to set an example: you can do it and this is okay, to speak out. (2010)

I often ask myself if I am afraid of being detained again. I love freedom as much as anybody else, maybe more than most. But it is a tragedy to live your life in fear. It is worse than actually losing your freedom. (2012)
We should leave behind discrimination, because it is narrow-minded and ignorant, denies contact and warmth, and corrodes mankind’s belief that we can better ourselves. The only way to avoid misunderstanding, war, and bloodshed is to defend freedom of expression and to communicate with sincerity, concern, and good intentions. 
“Why I’ll Stay Away from the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.” Guardian, August 7, 2008.

John Ferren (Oct. 17,1905 – July 1,1970)

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(John Ferren was Mel Tanner’s favorite art instructor at the Brooklyn Museum Art School circa 1950)

John Ferren (1905–1970) was an American artist. In his 20s, he apprenticed as a stonecutter in San Francisco, California. He is Bran Ferren‘s father. He is noted for his success in France as an American artist. Writer Gertrude Stein said of him “Ferren ought be a man who is interesting, he is the only American painter foreign painters in Paris consider as a painter and whose paintings interest them. He is young yet and might do  that thing called abstract painting.”

For a short time, Ferren was an art school student in San Francisco. By the mid-1920s, Ferren was producing portrait busts. It was also around this time that he became interested in Buddhist and Eastern philosophy. By the early 1930s, he was attending the Académie Ranson, and the Sorbonne.

In the 1950s, Ferren collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock. In the movie The Trouble With Harry, the artworks of main character Sam Marlowe were painted by Ferren. In Vertigo, Ferren created the Jimmy Stewart nightmare sequence as well as the haunting Portrait of Carlotta.
(John Ferren on Wikipedia)

 

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John Ferren, "Dance" (1962), oil on canvas, 22 x 22 inches

John Ferren, “Dance” (1962), oil on canvas, 22 x 22 inches

 

Installation view of 'John Ferren (1905–1970)' at David Findlay Jr. Gallery (photo by Jeffrey Sturges, all images courtesy David Findlay Jr. Gallery)

Installation view of 'John Ferren (1905–1970)' at David Findlay Jr. Gallery (photo by Jeffrey Sturges)Installation view of ‘John Ferren (1905–1970) at David Findlay Jr. Gallery (photos by Jeffrey Sturges) 
2015

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Outdoors

Born in Pendleton, Oregon, in 1905, as a young man, John Ferren apprenticed to an Italian stonecutter in San Francisco and briefly attended the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute) in 1925. In 1929, Ferren traveled to New York and Paris, where he was exposed to the work of Hans HofmannHenri Matisse, and the holdings of Albert Eugene Gallatin, an influential collector of abstract and nonobjective art. While in Europe, Ferren attended informal classes at the Sorbonne, Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and Académie Ranson. However, according to the artist, he was most influenced by socializing with other artists working in Paris at the time, including Alberto GiacomettiJoan MiróPiet MondrianPablo Picasso (whom Ferren would later help to sketch Guernica [1937]), and Joaquín Torres-García.

Ferren returned to the United States in 1930 but was quickly drawn back to Paris, where he lived and worked for the next eight years. While there, Ferren was linked to the group Abstraction-Création, an association of artists formed in Paris in 1931 to promote abstraction and counteract the trend toward Surrealism and figuration. He also met Pierre Matisse, son of the French painter Henri Matisse, who gave the artist his first solo show in New York, in 1936. While working at Stanley William Hayter’s prominent workshop Atelier 17 in Paris, Ferren discovered a nineteenth-century printing technique whereby an engraved and inked plate is imprinted in wet plaster, which, once dry, is then carved and painted. Two such engraved plasters by Ferren were among the first examples by an American artist to be acquired by Solomon R. Guggenheim, in 1938.

On returning to the United States, Ferren became acquainted with Taoism and Zen Buddhism through his friendship with Chinese American avant-garde artist Yun Gee, who explored Taoist themes through his work. This exposure propelled Ferren toward an increased focus on evoking movement and unity through his abstract compositions (though he still occasionally painted figuratively and drew inspiration from the nature and landscape of the American West). Later in his career, he combined a number of different artistic ideologies, mixing, on the same canvas, strong architectural forms with expressionistic, painterly acts of spontaneity. In 1963, Ferren spent a year in Lebanon, which raised his awareness of Islamic art, returning his eye and practice to geometric forms.

Ferren taught at Queens College, the Brooklyn Museum Art School, and Cooper Union, all New York. In 1955, he served as the president of the Club, an Abstract Expressionist organization. In the late 1950s, Alfred Hitchcock enlisted Ferren as an artistic consultant on the films The Trouble with Harry (1955) and Vertigo (1958). During his lifetime, Ferren’s work was exhibited in solo and group presentations throughout the United States, including the groundbreaking Ninth Street Show of works by sixty-one New York–based artists held in 1951 in a vacated storefront on the eponymous street. Ferren remained active as an artist until his death in Southampton, New York, in 1970. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1979.
coutesy of www.guggenheim.org

 

Jane Jacobs (May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006)

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“There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.”
Jane Jacobs

 

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“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
www.janejacobswalk.org

Jane Jacobs Walk

 

Jane Jacobs was an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist best known for her influence on urban studies. Her influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) argued that urban renewal did not respect the needs of most city-dwellers. The book also introduced sociological concepts such as “eyes on the street” and “social capital“.[1][2]

Jacobs was well known for organizing grassroots efforts to protect existing neighborhoods from “slum clearance” – and particularly for her opposition to Robert Moses in his plans to overhaul her neighborhood, Greenwich Village. She was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have passed directly through SoHo and Little Italy, and was arrested in 1968 for inciting a crowd at a public hearing on the project. After moving to Toronto in 1968, she joined the opposition to the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of expressways in Toronto planned and under construction.

As a mother and a writer who criticized experts in the male-dominated field of urban planning, Jacobs endured scorn from established figures. She did not have a college degree or any formal training in urban planning, and was criticized for lacking such credentials.
(Wikipedia)

“You can’t rely on bringing people downtown, you have to put them there.”

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974)

A problem is a chance for you to do your best.

 I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.

By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with.

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 The wise musicians are those who play what they can master. 

Image result for duke ellington bandDuke Ellington, Louis Armstrong & Diahann Carroll, Paris, France, 1960
 Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.

Image result for duke ellington bandDuke and Louis
 Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one.

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 Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be too famous too young.

My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never.

Image may contain: 3 people, hat, night and indoorDuke, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus

John Muir (April 21, 1838 – Dec 24, 1914)

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.

When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

The mountains are calling and I must go.


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