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Quantifying Reputation and Success in Art

Early access to prestigious central institutions offered life-long access to high-prestige venues and reduced dropout rate. By contrast, starting at the network periphery resulted in a high dropout rate, limiting access to central institutions. A Markov model predicts the career trajectory of individual artists and documents the strong path and history dependence of valuation in art.

Yale against Western Art - Quillette

The “diversity of today’s student body” guides the art history department’s curricular thinking, department leaders explained in a statement on the cancelled survey courses. But the ephemera of students’ race and sex have no bearing on the significance of the past. The sublimity of Chartres Cathedral, a focal point of Scully’s fall semester course, transcends the skin color of the latest round of freshmen. If the University of Lagos suddenly received a large influx of students from Idaho, that would not change how Yoruba bronzes would be taught or interpreted. It is only in the West where scholarship and pedagogy are held hostage to some students’ demographic profile.

Surveys and Undergraduate Art History at Yale | Department of the History of Art

Beginning this past Fall 2019, the Department committed to offering four different introductory courses each year. All of these courses, current or future, are designed to introduce the undergraduate with no prior experience of the History of Art to art historical looking and thinking. They also range broadly in terms of geography and chronology. Essential to this decision is the Department’s belief that no one survey course taught in the space of a semester could ever be comprehensive, and that no one survey course can be taken as the definitive survey of our discipline. As we continue to renew our curriculum while preserving our commitment to introductory teaching of the broadest scope, new courses will replace HSAR112 and 115. Some will engage with the monuments and masterpieces of European and American art, some will introduce other world traditions, and some will be organized thematically offering comparative perspectives. As always, our introductory classes will bring Yale students face to face with works of art and material objects of great beauty and cultural value from across time and place.

The Art of Dying | The New Yorker

To limber your sensibility, stalk the aesthetic everywhere: cracks in a sidewalk, people’s ways of walking. The aesthetic isn’t bounded by art, which merely concentrates it for efficient consumption. If you can’t put a mental frame around, and relish, the accidental aspect of a street or a person, or really of anything, you will respond to art only sluggishly.

The Art of Dying | The New Yorker

One drunken night, a superb painter let me take a brush to a canvas that she said she was abandoning. I tried to continue a simple black stroke that she had started. The contrast between the controlled pressure of her touch and my flaccid smear shocked me, physically. It was like shaking hands with a small person who flips you across a room.

The Art of Dying | The New Yorker

Closeness is impossible between an artist and a critic. Each wants from the other something—the artist’s mojo, the critic’s sagacity—that belongs strictly to the audiences for their respective work. It’s like two vacuum cleaners sucking at each other.

Auction bids decline with intensity of competition: Study reveals downside to having more bidders in an auction -- ScienceDaily

The study suggested that the more bidders there are in an auction, the lower each individual bidder perceives their probability of winning, which has demotivating effect on their desire to win the auction. "This is a counterintuitive finding because usually auctioneers would assume that the more bidders there are in an auction, the more money they will make -- the logic being that that the more bidders there are, the more likely it is that there is a bidder with a high willingness to pay for the good," said co-author Associate Professor Agnieszka Tymula from the University of Sydney's School of Economics. "However, it turns out that there is also a downside to having more bidders -- most people bid less."

Artists Become Famous through Their Friends, Not the Originality of Their Work - Artsy

While past studies have suggested that there is a link between creativity and fame, Ingram and Banerjee found, in contrast, that there was no such correlation for these artists. Rather, artists with a large and diverse network of contacts were most likely to be famous, regardless of how creative their art was. Specifically, the greatest predictor of fame for an artist was having a network of contacts from various countries. Ingram believes this indicates that the artist was cosmopolitan and had the capacity to reach different markets or develop ideas inspired by foreign cultures. The “linchpin of the network,” he added, was Kandinsky. They also found that famous artists tended to be older, likely because they were already famous as abstraction was emerging, Ingram explained.

Lenin On Linen: An Artist Remembers Her Soviet Childhood

“We believed in something that didn’t exist, because no-one had been to the West,” Cherkassky-Nnadi said.

A tilt of the head facilitates social engagement: New findings of potential value for people with autism -- ScienceDaily

Scientists have known for decades that when we look at a face, we tend to focus on the left side of the face we're viewing, from the viewer's perspective. Called the "left-gaze bias," this phenomenon is thought to be rooted in the brain, the right hemisphere of which dominates the face-processing task. Researchers also know that we have a terrible time "reading" a face that's upside down. It's as if our neural circuits become scrambled, and we are challenged to grasp the most basic information. Much less is known about the middle ground, how we take in faces that are rotated or slightly tilted¬. "We take in faces holistically, all at once -- not feature by feature," said Davidenko. "But no one had studied where we look on rotated faces." Davidenko used eye-tracking technology to get the answers, and what he found surprised him: The left-gaze bias completely vanished and an "upper eye bias" emerged, even with a tilt as minor as 11 degrees off center. "People tend to look first at whichever eye is higher," he said. "A slight tilt kills the left-gaze bias that has been known for so long. That's what's so interesting. I was surprised how strong it was." Perhaps more importantly for people with autism, Davidenko found that the tilt leads people to look more at the eyes, perhaps because it makes them more approachable and less threatening. "Across species, direct eye contact can be threatening," he said. "When the head is tilted, we look at the upper eye more than either or both eyes when the head is upright. I think this finding could be used therapeutically." Davidenko is eager to explore two aspects of these findings: whether people with autism are more comfortable engaging with images of rotated faces, and whether tilts help facilitate comprehension during conversation. The findings may also be of value for people with amblyopia, or "lazy eye," which can be disconcerting to others. "In conversation, they may want to tilt their head so their dominant eye is up," he said. "That taps into our natural tendency to fix our gaze on that eye." The effect is strongest when the rotation is 45 degrees. The upper-eye bias is much weaker at a 90-degree rotation. "Ninety degrees is too weird," said Davidenko. "People don't know where to look, and it changes their behavior totally." Davidenko's findings appear in the latest edition of the journal Perception, in an article titled "The Upper Eye Bias: Rotated Faces Draw Fixations to the Upper." His coauthors are Hema Kopalle, a graduate student in the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego who was an undergraduate researcher on the project, and the late Bruce Bridgeman, professor emeritus of psychology at UCSC.

There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever | History | Smithsonian

The Dutch learned that tulips could be grown from seeds or buds that grew on the mother bulb; a bulb that grows from seed would take 7 to 12 years before flowering, but a bulb itself could flower the very next year. Of particular interest to Clusius and other tulip traders were “broken bulbs”—tulips whose petals showed a striped, multicolor pattern rather than a single solid color. The effect was unpredictable, but the growing demand for these rare, “broken bulb” tulips led naturalists to study ways to reproduce them. (The pattern was later discovered to be the result of a mosaic virus that actually makes the bulbs sickly and less likely to reproduce.) “The high market price for tulips to which the current version of tulipmania refers were prices for particularly beautiful broken bulbs,” writes economist Peter Garber. “Since breaking was unpredictable, some have characterized tulipmania among growers as a gamble, with growers vying to produce better and more bizarre variegations and feathering.” After all the money Dutch speculators spent on the bulbs, they only produced flowers for about a week—but for tulip lovers, that week was a glorious one. “As luxury objects, tulips fit well into a culture of both abundant capital and new cosmopolitanism,” Goldgar writes. Tulips required expertise, an appreciation of beauty and the exotic, and, of course, an abundance of money.

Why do people in medieval art look bored or indifferent when being killed? (cross-post from /r/Art) : AskHistorians

I've been amused by this trait in pre-1600's european paintings all my life; people going through the most horrific injuries imaginable look as if they were bored with life anyway and their killer did them a service. It would have been easier to draw open, panicked eyes and flailing arms than just laconic, Eeyore-like pawns that die on command and without fuss.

When Pixels Collide

Each pixel you see was placed by hand. Each icon, each flag, each meme created painstakingly by millions of people who had nothing in common except an Internet connection. Somehow, someway, what happened in Reddit over those 72 hours was the birth of Art.

Fractal edges shown to be key to imagery seen in Rorschach inkblots -- ScienceDaily

"As you increase the D value, which makes for more visual complexity, the number of visual perceptions fall off," he said. "People see a lot more patterns in the simple ones." Inkblots with D values of 1.1 generate the highest numbers of perceived images, the team found. The team then put their findings to a human test, generating computerized fractal patterns with varying D values. When seen for 10 seconds by psychology undergraduate psychology students at the University of New South Wales in Australia, the same trend between D values and imagery surfaced. Fractal patterns are also found in the artwork of Jackson Pollock, whose abstract expressionist paintings captured Taylor's lifelong interest in childhood. Pollock's paintings from 1943 to 1952, Taylor has found, are composed of fractals with D values that increased from 1.1 to 1.7. That change was deliberate, Taylor said, as Pollock sought ways to reduce imagery figures seen in his earlier work.

38,000-year-old carving includes enigmatic “punctuation” pattern | Ars Technica

There are punctuations, which form a clear pattern behind and beneath the animal. There are also "short, parallel marks" in front of the aurochs' chest. And there is a deep line that cuts straight through the center of the stone and the aurochs' body, as well as a "tunnel-like depression" right in the abdomen. Indeed this line was cut so deeply that the researchers believe it eventually caused the slab to split in two. Interestingly, analysis revealed that this deep cut was carved first, then the punctuations, followed by the aurochs. So the animal's body was drawn on top of these abstract dots and lines, and some of the dots were even joined to create the aurochs' legs, hindquarters, and abdomen. "The animal figure, executed after the creation of the deep depression, was constructed so as to integrate this feature, which seems to have an important role in the overall graphic construct," the research team wrote. Further Reading First discovery of 50,000-year-old human settlements in Australian interior Early archaeologists believed these punctuations, which are found throughout the region, were a way of tracking phases of the moon.

Your Brain on Beauty: A Neurological Defense of Aestheticism | Cody Delistraty

The anxiety of living without purpose inspires so much of what we do in life: from finally writing that novel to following a religion. But a problem arises when we entirely ignore beauty for beauty’s sake. Life is short, yes, and meaning is important, also yes, but it has been proven that beauty really does give us pleasure. Aestheticism is a call back to our biological roots, and when we push aside utility and thematic meaning and simply pay attention the beauty around us, the way we experience life can paradigmatically change for the better.

Working the system

I think when people know the system too well they can only make the system. You think you’re playing the system but the system is playing you. And what they end up making has been something called “zombie formalism.” That’s empire art. It’s real easy. Everybody in art, every art history and art criticism department, every curator can understand it even before they see the show. It has what’s called “all-over composition,” which means that every part of the surface is more or less equal to every other part. It’s often restricted in color or subjected to certain processes that had quote, unquote “political purposes,” like, “I put this canvas in the Dead Sea” or “this canvas was allowed to dry in Ferguson, Missouri.”

The cult of the academy: jargon, insularity and status

I think we lost a few generations of art critics to academia. They all learned to write in a similar style, which I find very jargon-filled and impenetrable; and I also feel that their taste flattened and everybody liked the same fifty-five artists, and they would quote the same twenty writers over and over. I thought, “The art world is not this boring; how can this be?” Now, I’m seeing more and more younger writers starting to write online, making sense, speaking in ways that you can understand and, most importantly, putting out opinions. The juice of criticism is opinion. I really admire Artforum; I’ve never written for it for good reason: I’m not smart enough, but I look in the second-to-the-last paragraph and I see a phrase like “this problemetized the show.” Is that positive or negative? There is no judgment in it. Everybody is smart. So I can’t fit in that art world because I never went to school; I have no degrees; I am not schooled in the language of the empire.

Why abstract art is exciting

When we look at abstract art it requires more of our imagination. It leaves many details unspecified, and we have to supply those details. That—for people who can do it—is very pleasurable. Some people don’t like it all, but for people who can enjoy their own creativity, it’s very satisfying.

Why Abstract Art Stirs Creativity in Our Brains - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus

“Creativity is for amateurs. We go out there and we solve problems. We set tasks for ourselves and we solve them.” I think the similarities are really becoming quite obvious. Certainly in the abstract expressionists—the New York group—they all ended up doing very different things when they started doing it, and they did it step-by-step as they moved from figuration to abstraction, becoming progressively more abstract in distinctively different ways.

Art and pricing

Very low prices made participants like art less, very high prices made them like art more.

Portraits: filling in what's missing

Writing and painting, descriptive undertakings both, rise and fall on the same ground. The basic mistake of either is to orchestrate too much. If the great insight of Close’s work has been to make portraiture vivid by removing detail, forcing viewers to contribute their own perception to the process, what I have noticed as a reader and writer is that a similar principle applies. The best you can do is provide a constellation of individual points, just enough to let the reader form an opinion of her own. This can be challenging when the writer has something certain in mind to say, but it becomes all the more difficult when there is nothing certain to say at all. A written portrait of a portrait painter is recursive from the start, but when you’re trying to get a fix on the identity of an identity fixer whose own identity is coming unfixed, the whole thing goes uroboric.

The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close - The New York Times

It seems to me now, with greater reflection, that the value of experiencing another person’s art is not merely the work itself, but the opportunity it presents to connect with the interior impulse of another. The arts occupy a vanishing space in modern life: They offer one of the last lingering places to seek out empathy for its own sake, and to the extent that an artist’s work is frustrating or difficult or awful, you could say this allows greater opportunity to try to meet it. I am not saying there is no room for discriminating taste and judgment, just that there is also, I think, this other portal through which to experience creative work and to access a different kind of beauty, which might be called communion.

On the surface of subjectivity

Looking at a painting like “Lyle,” you see minute shades of detail: a gentle furrow in the brow, a wrinkle of amusement at the corner of the eye. This impression of detail, where no actual detail can be found on the canvas, is mesmerizing and confounding. What you are seeing isn’t really there. You are no longer looking at the actual surface of the painting, but some apparition hovering above it, a numinous specter that arises in part from the engagement of your own imagination. Through the painting, Close has accessed the perceptual center of your mind, exploiting the way we process human identity: the gaps of knowledge and the unknown spaces we fill with our own presumptions, the expectations and delusions we layer upon everyone we meet.

boring cars for boring people

according to Kelley Blue Book, silver remains the color of choice for luxury vehicles. A full third of all luxury vehicles are silver; another 30 percent of them are diamond, crystal, snow, powder, cream, or some other version of white.

Archeologist Beheaded by ISIS After Refusing to Lead Them to Valuable Artifacts