Art Sold through Vending Machine in Brighton

Brighton (England)- A group of artists in the southern English coastal town of Brighton are taking their works off the gallery wall and offering them to the public via an unusual channel, through a vending machine.

The machine, located in a club in the center of the city, offers prospective buyers prints from emerging artists for prices ranging from 20 pounds ($25.75) to 50 pounds.

Much like the cans of drinks that normally inhabit such machines, the prints are delivered to buyers rolled up in a tin. Buyers can select their choice after browsing a menu of the pictures inside affixed to the machine.

Helen Heitt, one of the artists whose works is for sale in the machine, said sometimes art can feel like a bit pretentious or a bit unattainable. But if it’s in a vending machine it kind of strips that all away, she added.

‘Museums Night’ Highlights Lebanon’s Historic, Modern Faces


Beirut – The Ministry of culture is organizing the 4th edition of “Museums Night” which will kick off on Friday.

This year, the anticipated event will embrace 13 cultural sites in many Lebanese regions offering everyone free entries from 05:00 pm until midnight.

The Ministry of Culture promoted the event on its official Facebook page in an announcement that highlighted names of the 13 museums taking part in this cultural evening, in addition to a map featuring the different regions of these sites including Beirut, Balamand, Koura, and Byblos. The ministry has also announced providing free transport means (buses) for people willing to participate.

Participating Museums

Beirut National Museum , Minerals Museum, AUB Museum, Banque Du Liban Museum, Saint Joseph University Prehistory Museum in Huvelin Street, Villa Audi, Nicolas Ibrahim Sursok Museum – all located in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Among other participating museums: The Cilicia Museum in Antelias embracing the Armenian people’s memory and telling stages of their arrival in Lebanon. The museum includes many religious treasures reflecting the history of the Armenian Church Catholicosate of Cilicia and the tragedy of its people.

Alita’s Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MACAM) in Byblos, which will participate in the event for the first time exhibiting a rich collection of artworks from the past six decades; this museum was built by an initiative launched by the Lebanese Artist Cesar Nammour and the German researcher Gabriele Schwab, in correspondence with the foundation of Alita’s Foundation of Modern Art. The museum comprises two sections, one dedicated for the Lebanese modern sculpture, while the other features modern artworks.

Other museums held in Balamand and Sidon will also participate in this cultural event and offer people the chance to visit many historical sites.

Noteworthy, artistic and musical activities will also be held in this cultural evening in some museums – one will be held at the Ethnology Museum in Balamand and the other at the MACAM Museum in Byblos.

Kirchner Painting Seized by Nazis to Stay at Germany’s Ludwigshafen Museum

A 1913 painting by Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner that was seized by the Nazis as “degenerate art” will remain in a Ludwigshafen museum after the German government and others paid 1.2 million euros to the heir of the painting’s original owner.

“The Judgment of Paris,” which shows three nude women and a clothed man posing in Kirchner’s studio, was looted from Jewish art collector Hans Hess during the Nazi era, but has been on display at the Wilhelm-Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen since 1979.

Hess’s heir agreed to allow the painting to stay on display at the museum after various donors, including the German federal and state governments and the Ernst von Siemens Foundation, raised money to compensate her, the German government said on Friday.

The agreement was made in accordance with the so-called Washington Declaration of 1998 that covers restitution of art confiscated by the Nazis before and during World War Two.
Culture state secretary Monika Gruetters described the purchase as “a great example of a public museum living up to its responsibilities for dealing with Nazi looted art.”

Gruetters said the agreement was made possible by the generosity of the heir of the painting’s original owner, and the extraordinary help of public and private donors.

The painting’s title refers to the Greek myth about a contest between the three most beautiful goddesses of Olympus – Aphrodite, Hera and Athena – vying for the prize of a golden apple addressed “To the Fairest.”

Decades after World War Two, German museums continue to address claims by those who had artwork stolen by the Nazi regime, although some museums are now facing lawsuits because they refused to surrender paintings.

Sharjah Biennial 13…Black Barriers, Colorful Opera


Sharjah – In the Sharjah Biennial the streets of the calm city speaks of art that extends through the city where a bunch of old houses have turned into ateliers featuring many masterpieces partaking in the Biennial. Away from the city’s center, Hamriyah studios located on the beach show artworks, while movies are screened in the open area, which offers myriads of comfortable seats.

Accompanying the Sharjah Biennial, the house of Serkal has been transformed into a platform for arts and events.

Inside of the historic house old architecture compete with contemporary artworks that occupy many of its rooms and surfaces.

Palestine’s Museum

In one of the galleries, visitors read “The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind” – an exhibition by the Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah composed of two pavilions: the earth and the solar system, and geology and botany.

In the introduction of the exhibition’s brochure, Rabah says that The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind presents a scene featuring occupation and feelings of exile in the motherland.

The Palestinian artist delivered a brief speech in which he explained how the museum covers different phases in the Palestinian cause, mainly those of 1948 and 1967, when many Palestinian lands were stolen.

Banknotes made of shells

Among art pieces that attract visitors at Al Marijah Art Atelier was a totally new idea called “shell banknotes” signed by an Australian artist; these pieces are a number of banknotes made of a special kind of shells found in the New Guinea.

The artist said that making these pieces takes a lot of time because it passes through many phases: collecting shells, mashing them, and then transforming them into banknotes.

Behind the black shields

Facing the Sharjah Museum and near Al-Serkal House, visitors find themselves in front of a barrier of black shields similar those used by police forces to face riots; the shields are stacked to form a wall extending on a small area surrounding a small garden.

This inspirational work was made by two Taiwanese artists, Yin Woo and Erik Chin, who said the inspiration behind their work came from the popular protests that took place in their country five years ago. These black shields can be seen from negative and positive perspectives, depending on the sight of each individual, said the two artists.

Colorful opera

On the facade of the Sharjah Art Museum, visitors see colored fabric hung like a huge curtain, tailored from different fabric pieces with gold fringes. This masterpiece made by Joe Nehme brings visitors a state of happiness and positivity. Nehme said that the inspiration behind this artwork came from the experience he acquired in the world of opera.

170 Children Showcase Skills in ‘Awalemna’

Riyadh- Twenty seven children have introduced creative scenes on the “Awalemna” theatre, organized by Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz’s “MISK Foundation” at King Fahad Cultural Centre in Riyadh.

Scenes featured varied activities including educational and technical innovations, which showcased genuine achievements in acting and visual production along with paintings, and competitive sports performances on stage.
In an interactive scene attended by more than 2,500 children and their parents, around 200 children who partook in “Awalemna” joined their hands in a circle around the stage.

Around 170 children volunteered to organize this entertaining event which sought to motivate children on creativity and developing their skills by showing their experiences to their friends and families.

Children volunteering to participate in this event emphasized many perspectives, including their training on team spirit, shouldering responsibilities and showing their powers, growing a generation of volunteering youths, and spreading the volunteering culture in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.

By organizing “Awalem”, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz’s Organization aims to discover hidden talents and promote them by developing the children’s personal and performing skills, training them on self-learning tools and improving their potentials, enriching their imagination and qualifying them to develop their ideas.

The three-hour event focused on two main topics; the first was dedicated for wise and senior academics who spoke to inspire children with their innovated knowledge; and the second was dedicated for talent shows, which featured children who showcased their talents, innovations, artistic and scientific skills, aiming to encourage and support their peers.

Three children introduced a scene on the 19th century nobles, by dueling with swords, while children Abdullah al-Zahrani and Anas al-Ansari spoke about invention and technology. Another section of the event featured the child Jury al-Turki who spoke about her experience in painting.

Other children also showcased their talents in mental calculation and discussed the positive role of reading and positivity.

“Awalem” also featured kids with talents in acting and visual production; child Mohammad al-Fantoukh showcased his experience in shooting and producing movies, while others showed their creative drawings.

Hunched Over a Microscope, He Sketched the Secrets of How the Brain Works


Some microscopes today are so powerful that they can create a picture of the gap between brain cells, which is thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair. They can even reveal the tiny sacs carrying even tinier nuggets of information to cross over that gap to form memories. And in colorful snapshots made possible by a giant magnet, we can see the activity of close to 100 billion brain cells talking.

Decades before these technologies existed, a man hunched over a microscope in Spain at the turn of the 20th century was making prescient hypotheses about how the brain works. At the time, William James was still developing psychology as a science and Sir Charles Scott Sherrington was defining our integrated nervous system.

Meet Santiago Ramón y Cajal, an artist, photographer, doctor, bodybuilder, scientist, chess player and publisher. He was also the father of modern neuroscience.

“He’s one of these guys who was really every bit as influential as Pasteur and Darwin in the 19th century,” said Larry Swanson, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California who contributed a biographical section to the new book “The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal.” “He’s harder to explain to the general public, which is probably why he’s not as famous.”

Last month, the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis opened a traveling exhibit that is the first dedicated solely to Ramón y Cajal’s work. It will make stops in Minneapolis; Vancouver, British Columbia; New York City; Cambridge, Mass.; and Chapel Hill, N.C., through April 2019.

Ramón y Cajal started out with an interest in the visual arts and photography — he even invented a method for making color photos. But his father pushed him into medical school. Without his artistic background, his work might not have had as much impact, Dr. Swanson said.

“It’s fairly rare for a scientist to be a really good artist at the same time, and to illustrate all of their own work, brilliantly,” Dr. Swanson said. “There seems to be a real resurgence of interest between the interaction between science and art, and I think Cajal will be an icon in that field.”

The images in “The Beautiful Brain” illustrate what Ramón y Cajal helped discover about the brain and the nervous system, and why his research had such an effect on the field of neuroscience.

Ramón y Cajal wanted to know something no one really understood: How did a neural impulse travel through the brain? But he had to lean on his own observations and reasoning to answer this question.

Ramón y Cajal’s life changed in Madrid in 1887, when another Spanish scientist showed him the Golgi stain, a chemical reaction that colored random brain cells. This method, developed by the Italian scientist Camillo Golgi, made it possible to see the details of a whole neuron without the interference of its neighbors. Ramón y Cajal refined the Golgi stain, and with the details gleaned from even crisper images, revolutionized neuroscience.

In 1906 he and Golgi shared a Nobel Prize. And in the time in between, he wrote his neuron doctrine — the theory that neurons were individual brain cells, leading to his realization of how individual brain cells send and receive information, which became the basis of modern neuroscience.

Ramón y Cajal’s theory described how information flowed through the brain. Neurons were individual units that talked to one another directionally, sending information from long appendages called axons to branchlike dendrites, over the gaps between them.

He couldn’t see these gaps in his microscope, but he called them synapses, and said that if we think, learn and form memories in the brain then that itty-bitty space was most likely the location where we do it. This challenged the belief at the time that information diffused in all directions over a meshwork of neurons.

The theory’s acceptance was made possible by Ramón y Cajal’s refinement of the Golgi stain and his persistence in sharing his ideas with others. In 1889, Ramón y Cajal took his slides to a scientific meeting in Germany. “He sets up a microscope and slide, and pulls over the big scientists of the day, and said, ‘Look here, look what I can see,’” said Janet Dubinsky, a neuroscientist at the University of Minnesota. “‘Now do you believe that what I’m saying about neurons being individual cells is true?’”

Albert von Kölliker, an influential German scientist, was amazed and began translating Ramón y Cajal’s work, which was mainly in Spanish, into German. From there the neuron doctrine spread, replacing the prevailing reticular theory. But Ramón y Cajal died before anyone proved it.

Perhaps one of Ramón y Cajal’s most iconic images is this pyramidal neuron in the cerebral cortex, the outside part of the brain that processes our senses, commands motor activity and helps us perform higher brain functions like making decisions. Some of these neurons are so large that you don’t need a microscope to see them, unlike most other brain cells.

Ramón y Cajal studied Purkinje neurons with fervor, illustrating their treelike structure in great detail, like this one from the cerebellum. Axons, such as the one indicated by an “a” in the picture, can travel long distances in the body, some from the spinal cord all the way down to your little toe, said Dr. Dubinsky, who wrote a chapter in “The Beautiful Brain” about contemporary extensions of his work. Ramón y Cajal traced axons as far as he could, she said.

A few of his drawings had features that resembled the work of other artists. In some, Vincent van Gogh appeared influential. In this drawing of the glial cells in the cerebral cortex of a man who suffered from paralysis, the three nuclei (or nucleoli) in the upper left corner resemble Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

In addition to showing how information flowed through the brain, Ramón y Cajal showed how it moved through the whole body, allowing humans to do things like vomit and cough. When we vomit, a signal is sent from the irritated stomach to the vagus nerve in the brain and then to the spinal cord, which excites neurons that make us contract our stomach and heave. Similarly, a tickle in the back of your throat can make you cough: The larynx sends a signal to the vagus nerve, then the brainstem and the spinal cord, where neurons signal the muscles in our chest and abdomen to contract. Ahem.

This image is a reconstruction of a dendrite (red) and its axons (multicolored) in the outer part of a mouse’s brain. The dendrite has little knobby spines that stick out and receive chemical messages passed from another neuron’s axon across the synapse, or gap between them, via the tiny white sacs called vesicles. Today we know that synapses are plastic, meaning they can get stronger or weaker with use or neglect. This enables us to think and learn.

This is what Ramón y Cajal described in his neuron doctrine.

“People regularly begin seminars with pictures of the drawings that Cajal made because what they’ve added fits right in with where Cajal thought it should be,” Dr. Dubinsky said. “What he did is still relevant today.”

The New York Times

Fernando Botero Introduces New Concepts of Art, Creativity

Bogota- To reach the museum of the Artist Fernando Botero in Bogota, people have to walk in the historical heart of the city, which is considered the most beautiful part of the Columbian capital.

The area is characterized with massive buildings and narrow streets, which reflect an architectural style inspired from the colonial phase, when the country was under the control of Spain and gained a special significance for its richness in gold.

Botero’s museum is located at an old buildings belonging to the colonial phase back to 1724. The building is composed of two floors, includes huge rooms and internal gardens with trees and fountains. Since 2000, the walls of the building included valuable fortune, which is Botero’s paintings; Botero is considered one of the greatest Colombian painters who dedicated the majority of his work and some of his most valuable possessions of gold to his motherland.

The museum takes its visitors on an amazing tour through experiences Botero lived, the history of his country, and some of the paintings he possesses for renowned artists like Picasso Dali. The museum includes 208 artistic works – 123 of them drawn by Botero himself and 85 others that belong to other artists. This great collection made the museum one of the best in the South American Continent.

Botero has been known with his preferences to draw gigantic volumes of people, animals, and others. The museum offers the perfect chance to understand the complicated works of Botero, who drew special creatures which added a distinguished touch on its paintings and sculptures.

His works include a new version of Mona Liza, which he drew in 1977; this painting has been considered the most popular masterpiece in the museum, as it resembles Da Vinci’s Mona Liza but with more colors and greater volumes. However, it is worth noting that in this painting, Botero insisted on maintaining Da Vinci’s same background.

Remarkably, Botero’s workpieces reflect the Latin identity through the power of colors.

Botero was born in Medellín, Columbia in 1932, and has been considered among the continent’s best artists.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Sigrid Castaneda, head of the special artistic collection of the Bank of the Republic said that many have sought to underestimate the importance of Botero’s works, considering they just feature fat bodies; however, she noted that the masterpieces of the Colombian artists depend on important research of renowned painters and many concepts linked to the classic beauty of art.

Botero donated a big number of paintings to the Bank of the Republic; yet, he requested the bank to offer people the museum’s entry for free and to maintain all the paintings of the collection. The museum annually receives more than 400,000 local and foreign visitors.

It is worth noting that Botero also donated many of his works to the museum located in his home town in 2002.

The Movement that Changed Europe, the World


London – Hindawi Publishing Corporation issued a new book “Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction” by Christopher Butler, a critic and a former professor at Oxford University. The book – translated by Shaima Taha al-Ridi – is composed of four chapters supported with references and additional readings.

It is worth noting that in his book, Butler focused on postmodernism in literature, art, and music – far from the economic, social, and intellectual aspects of life. He also wrote about the 20th century, although modernism has started way before this era, with the invention of printers in 1447 and many other world-changing revolutions in Europe and USA.

The postmodernism movement tackled by Butler has artistic and cultural basis that focuses on the distinction between ego and object.

The first chapter talks about the Ulysses novel written by James Joyce, “The City” painting for Fernand Léger, and “the Threepenny Opera” by Bertolt Brecht – these works broke all ties with the past and focused on modernism by discussing innovation, modern techniques, urban life, and the regular human being who is far from royalties.

The second chapter discusses modernism movements which introduced new creative concepts for literature, art, and intellects. These concepts mainly relied on freedom and the use of mind.

In his book, Butler sees that modern artists didn’t highlight their ideas and explain their intentions, unlike writers, who used implicit indices to emphasize the balance between past and present.

The third chapter focuses on modern art and focused on three renowned figures as examples.

Finally, the fourth chapter tackled “modernism and politics” – it shed lights on figures like Hitler and the Nazis who attacked the modern art and considered it as an abject topic. Hitler considered that symbols of this type of art lacked morals and promised people to get rid of it.

This book has provided a brief summary on the conflict between the modern and realistic art. No one can doubt Butler’s capacity in tracking modernism in literature and art, however, the critic needs to shed lights on some intellects who paved the road of modernism like Hegel, Descartes, and Immanuel Kant.

Paris Fair Crosses the Road, Giving Art Room to Breathe

Paris-The Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, both built for the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris, have long been separated by a wide and busy street that links this city’s Right and Left Banks.

This week, during the International Contemporary Art Fair, the Avenue Winston Churchill will be shut to ordinary traffic, and these two monuments to the Belle Époque will be joined again, giving visitors a chance to stroll along what was once an elegant esplanade.

The recoupling resulted from long negotiations that have now officially brought the Petit Palais, a municipal fine-arts museum, into the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, or FIAC, which runs from Thursday through Sunday and has been held at the Grand Palais every year since 2006.

In negotiating the agreement, Jennifer Flay, director of the FIAC, was mindful of crossing a red line that rings France’s public cultural institutions. “The French are very sensitive to any intersection between patrimony and commerce,” said Ms. Flay, a New Zealand-born Parisian, now in her sixth year as the FIAC director.

“We are a public museum,” said Christophe Leribault, director of the Petit Palais. “We didn’t want stands operated by the galleries,” which are the bread-and-butter of FIAC and other art fairs. Instead, he said, the museum’s curators selected mostly big works offered by the galleries, which, while for sale, fit into the museum’s own concept.

In previous years, several sculptures were placed in the Petit Palais’s interior garden as part of the fair’s “off-site” program. This year, some 30 works will be placed inside the museum’s majestic galleries, as well as in its garden and in front of the building. These include sculptures and installations like “A Box in a Suitcase” by Marcel Duchamp, “Anatomy of an Angel” by Damien Hirst, and “Empty Lot” by Abraham Cruzvillegas.

“I was watchful that the choice be varied, with some young artists,” Mr. Leribault said, adding that skirting the red line was easier for the Petit Palais, a 116-year-old museum with a wide ranging collection.

He added that the Petit Palais, as a city museum, had an interest in opening itself to FIAC visitors. “It is about the dynamism of the art market,” he said. “When there is something that works well in Paris, it is good for a municipal museum to participate.”

FIAC, which this year is hosting 186 galleries from around the world, needed to find more space for art works. It has added a new room in the Grand Palais, the Salon Jean Perrin, which is hosting nine solo shows of late-20th-century artists whose work are now being re-examined, including William S. Burroughs, the American novelist, artist and member of the Beat Generation.

The rest of the stands will be on display in the magnificent Nave, with its 45-meter (150-foot) ceiling, the Salon d’Honneur, and the upper galleries that focus on emerging art galleries, of which 10 have been selected for the Lafayette Sector.

In recent years, FIAC pushed its presence to the farther reaches of Paris with a sister fair, Officielle, which showcased a younger generation of galleries at the Cité de la Mode et du Design in eastern Paris, and also held a series of events at the Maison de la Radio in western Paris.

Both sites, on the Seine, were accessible last year by riverboats, which were free to FIAC ticket holders. Boat rides will still be offered this year, but the Cité de la Mode and the Maison de la Radio venues have been dropped from the art fair’s roster because they were too far away from the center of the action at the Grand Palais, Ms. Flay said.

This year’s FIAC is still sponsoring exhibits of outdoor works at the Tuileries Gardens and the Place Vendôme, but the galleries are more tightly centered around the Grand Palais. Besides the “on site” exhibit at the Petit Palais, FIAC has also included the Palais de la Découverte, the Paris science museum on the other side of the Grand Palais building.

After 6:30 each evening during the fair, a series of events and performances of dance, music and poetry will be held in and around laboratories, the planetarium and the building’s basement. The “Parades for FIAC” program, which also includes events held in the Louvre, the national museum, will use the empty science museum as an evocative backdrop for such works as a poetry reading by Alex Cecchetti on the theme of heaven and hell.

Of all the new spaces made available to FIAC this year, however, Ms. Flay said she was most proud of Avenue Winston Churchill, which will also become a showcase for flat art works by the American sculptor Lawrence Weiner and the French poster artist Jacques Villeglé.

Getting permission to close the street, while allowing access to emergency vehicles, was an ambitious feat. Final negotiations took place in July, just after the terrorist attack in Nice. “I thought it was going to be challenged on security grounds,” Ms. Flay said.

In the end, she got the approval of the city, the police and the French government, allowing FIAC to restore the unity of the historic ensemble.

“It was our dream to recreate this big space that allows the architecture to breathe,” Mr. Leribault said.

The New York Times

“Painting in every House”..a Place to Satisfy Art Lovers


Dammam – For the ninth year in row, Jeddah Atelier for Fine Arts organizes its annual exhibition “Painting in every House” with participation of many Saudi Arabian and Arab artists; the exhibition will kick off on the 25th of October and will embrace many artistic and cultural symposiums over a month.

From his part, Hisham Qandeel, manager of the Atelier praised the recent art exhibition which was held in Cairo organized by the National Association of Contemporary Egyptian Graphic Arts under the same title.

Qandeel considered that the main target of this exhibition is to emphasize the social role that can be played by graphic art especially that a serious intellectual gap exists between the society and the artist.

He added that Jeddah Atelier has been keen to control prices rates of the paintings, which are expected to range between SAR300 and SAR2000 so they can be affordable by everyone in the society.

The exhibition’s manager has also stressed on the importance of this event’s continuance, following the exceptional success achieved by the eight previous editions, which witnessed heavy attendance and purchases, in addition to the large media coverage from the Kingdom and abroad.

The exhibition will be in the participation of many Saudi Arabian artists like Abdullah Al-Shalti, Abdullah Hamas, and Riyad Hamdoun, along with a number of Arabia artists like Dr. Ahmad Nawar, Dr. Mohammad Orabi, and Amina Al Nasser.