Saturday, November 21, 2015

John Murray classes week of November 23, 2015

Too many damn holidays this term!

Next week let's reverse the usual picture-making process and do a piece where
the ground is stronger or as strong as the figure.
Let the figure/ground tension come to fruition for the eyes and mind of artist and viewer.
The painting above I did last Friday from the excellent model, Thea, at my Postmodern Figure class 
Fuck Thanksgiving!!!
See you next week...john. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

John Murray classes week of November 9, 2015

Work with an image that you find in a newspaper... 
For instance a war scene (always in the media historically) see above Manet's "Execution of Maximillian"
Winslow Homer was a newspaper illustrator during the Civil War
Any picture that interests you as a thinking artist
A transfer is fine also but use a painting approach as part of your canvas surface
See Rauschenburg for reference on this his "Combines" incorporated transfers from the newspapers
Don't forget the method and plasticity of your approach... get beyond content and into art-making
See you next week john

Thursday, October 29, 2015

John Murray classes week of November 2, 2015

Catrinas 2.jpg

HAPPY Day of the Dead (SpanishDía de Muertos [sometimes called, incorrectly, Día de los Muertos]) is a Mexicanholiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and acknowledged around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008 the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.[1]

It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. It was moved to October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with theRoman Catholic triduum festival ofAllhallowtideAll Saints' EveAll Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day.[2][3] Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skullsmarigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed within other deep traditions for honoring the dead. It happens to be a holiday that has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation's schools, but there are families who are more inclined to celebrate a traditional "All Saints Day" associated with the Catholic Church.
Originally, the Day of the Dead as such was not celebrated in northern Mexico, where it was even unknown until the 20th century; before that the people and the church rejected it in northeastern Mexico because they perceived the day was a result of syncretizing pagan elements with Catholicism. They held the traditional 'All Saints Day' in the same way as other Catholics in the world. This is due to the limited or nonexistent Mesoamerican influence in this region, and the relatively few indigenous inhabitants from the regions of Southern Mexico. In the early 21st century in northern Mexico, Día de Muertos is observed because the Mexican government made it a national holiday by its educational policies from the 1960s and has tried to use it as a unifying national tradition in the north of the country.[4][5][6]
In BrazilDia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. InSpain, festivals and parades are frequently held and people often gather at cemeteries and pray for their deceased loved ones at the end of the day. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in manyAsian and African cultures.
In France and some other European countries, All Souls Day was observed by visits of families to the graves of loved ones, where they left chrysanthemums.[7] Writer Marguerite Yourcenar observed that
"autumnal rites are among the oldest celebrated on earth. It appears that in every country the Day of the Dead occurs at the year's end, after the last harvests, when the barren earth is though to give passage to the souls lying beneath it."[8]
She also notes exceptions to the autumn season, such as the BuddhistBon festival which is held in summer.[9]But similarly themed celebrations of honoring the dead have been practiced since prehistoric times in many Countries.
Make some art in to celebrate the vast majority of the specie!!!!
see you next week john

Friday, October 23, 2015

John Murray classes week of October 26, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

john Murray classes week of October 19, 2015

Artist's Shit is a 1961 artwork by the Italian artist Piero Manzoni. The work consists of 90 tin cans, each filled with 30 grams of faeces, and measuring 4.8 by 6.5 centimetres, with a label in Italian, 

Arte Povera - "poor art" or "impoverished art" - was the most significant and influential avant-garde movement to emerge in Europe in the 1960s. It grouped the work of around a dozen Italian artists whose most distinctly recognizable trait was their use of commonplace materials that might evoke a pre-industrial age, such as earth, rocks, clothing, paper and rope. Their work marked a reaction against the modernist abstract painting that had dominated European art in the 1950s, hence much of the group's work is sculptural. But the group also rejected American Minimalism, in particular what they perceived as its enthusiasm for technology. In this respect Arte Povera echoes Post-Minimalist tendencies in American art of the 1960s. But in its opposition to modernism and technology, and its evocations of the past, locality and memory, the movement is distinctly Italian.
Although Arte Povera is most notable for its use of simple, artisanal materials, it did not use these to the exclusion of all else. Some of the group's most memorable work comes from the contrast of unprocessed materials with references to the most recent consumer culture. Believing that modernity threatened to erase our sense of memory along with all signs of the past, the Arte Povera group sought to contrast the new and the old in order to complicate our sense of the effects of passing time.
In addition to opposing the technological design of American Minimalism, artists associated with Arte Povera also rejected what they perceived as its scientific rationalism. By contrast, they conjured a world of myth whose mysteries couldn't be easily explained. Or they presented absurd, jarring and comical juxtapositions, often of the new and the old, or the highly processed and the pre-industrial. By doing so, the Italian artists evoked some of the effects of modernization, how it tended to destroy experiences of locality and memory as it pushed ever forwards into the future.
Arte Povera's interest in "poor" materials can be seen as related to Assemblage, an international trend of the 1950s and 1960s that used similar materials. Both movements marked a reaction against much of the abstract painting that dominated art in the period. They viewed it as too narrowly concerned with emotion and individual expression, and too confined by the traditions of painting. Instead, they proposed an art that was much more interested in materiality and physicality, and borrowed forms and materials from everyday life. Arte Povera might be distinguished from Assemblage by its interest in modes such as performance and installation, approaches that had more in common with pre-war avant-gardes such as SurrealismDada and Constructivism
What do you make of this?
See you next week... john

Monday, October 12, 2015

John Murray classes week of October 12, 2015

Cobra works by Asger Jorn and Constant.Credit2015 Silkeborg/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York,; 2015 Constant/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam; Asger Jorn/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY,; 2015 Silkeborg/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York,, Genevieve Hanson, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo
Cobra, one of the least-known of postwar Europe’s avant-garde movements, came together in Denmark in 1948 and disbanded by 1951. Its prime movers included Asger Jorn, a brilliant, restless Dane; Pierre Alechinsky of Belgium; and three Dutch artists: Karel Appel, Corneille and Constant. They named themselves using the first letters of the cities where most members resided: Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. But Cobra also fits the vehemence and flexibility of the style, which, during its brief life, breathed fire and shape-shifted like crazy.
You sense this volatility in “The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy,” a remarkable exhibition at Blum & Poe, organized by the independent curator Alison M. Gingeras. It’s stylishly installed in five rooms painted in saturated hues perfectly keyed to the group’s wildness. (Designers of museum exhibitions should visit for the wall colors alone.)
But, mainly, there are the freedom and irreverence of the art itself — the bright, thickly painted surfaces; the often slurry hybrid creatures inhabiting them; as well as the masklike sculptures. Neither exactly human nor animal, these beings speak of the devastation of World War ll but also of the determination, fueled by acidic humor and joy, to survive it.
Carl-Henning Pedersen’s Flimerede Lanskab (Glittering Landscape) from 1949Credit2015 Carl-Henning Pedersen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, via
The exhibition reflects new research, but as the largest Cobra show in New York City in several decades, it is automatically a jolting re-evaluation. Its cache of around 80 works — painting, sculpture, drawing and photography — represents nearly 20 artists, many of them unknown in the United States. Despite the movement’s official brevity, Cobra’s reverberations continued in its members’ work. Note Alechinsky’s terrific painting on paper of a kissing couple on the diagonal, from 1959-62.
It’s easy to see why Cobra has been neglected. Unlike more studied postwar art movements here and abroad — Group Zero, Gutai, Art Informel — Cobra does not point ineluctably toward Minimal and Conceptual Art. It’s an outlier: painting-centered, expressionistic and Northern European, in addition to being rather theory-averse. It looked to outsider, children’s and non-Western art for inspiration, as had the German Expressionists, Picasso and Paul Klee. Today, it reaffirms the connection of psyche, hand and eye that a lot of today’s artists — from Brian Belott to Josh Smith to Nicole Eisenman — seem to be searching out.
Paralleling the rise of American Abstract Expressionism, Cobra also offered a less austere version of action painting and allovercomposition, while melding figuration and abstraction, as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning did in the early 1950s.
The show even nods to Cobra’s Danish precursor: the country’s underground resistance artists, known as Helhesten or Hell-Horse, formed during the dark days of the war in opposition to the social realism imposed by the Nazis. Several Helhesten members segued into Cobra — not only Jorn, but also Henry Heerup, Egill Jacobsen, Else Alfelt and Carl-Henning Pedersen. Their efforts, ranging from 1936 to 1949, start the show with a bang, against red walls. Pedersen’s “Glittering Landscape,” from around 1949, is an allover slab of white and yellow paint incised with faces that seems to have been painted atop van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
One of the lesser-known names is Eugene Brands, a Dutch artist whose exceptional masks are familiar only from handsome photographs, taken by Frits Lemaire, that sometimes show the artist wearing them (cue the Cindy Sherman reference). They are shown on a wall with small bronze heads by Sonja Ferlov Mancoba. Their robotic boxiness presages digital presences, starting with the video arcade phenomenon Pac-Man. Her husband, the South African artist Ernest Mancoba, who died in 2002 at the age of 96, contributes a delicate, allover work from 1963.
Jorn is ubiquitous, portraying the punch-like wanderer Melmoth in oil in 1955 and collaborating with other artists. He would go on to help found the conceptually inclined Situationist International and then his own Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism. Also here is his well-known example of such high jinks, from 1962: a found 19th-century thrift store painting of a little girl, accented with mustache and goatee, à la Duchamp’s Mona Lisa, and seemingly defaced with the rallying cry that is this show’s title.
It’s a lot to absorb, and there’s a second installment, opening at Blum & Poe’s Los Angeles flagship on Nov. 5. It will emphasize Cobra’s legacy, which would seem to begin with so-called Neo-Expressionism in the 1980s. It’s also time for a thorough Jorn retrospective in New York. The last was in 1982 at the Guggenheim.