Some People Never Had Experience with…

Air is an art project by Marina Vitaglione and written about by the BBC. The project seeks to raise awareness of the air pollution in and around London. She used cyanotypes to capture the pollution in the area. She collected evidence of the pollution in circular areas on paper and then exposed them as cyanotypes.

Cyanotypes work by exposing a piece of paper coated in a substance that, when exposed to sunlight, turns blue. The parts protected from sunlight, in this case the pollution, stay their original colour and you are left with what here is air pollution.

Where is that protection that I needed?

This screenshot from the article compares the air pollution in Lewisham on the left to Wembley on the right. As the author explained in the article the “aesthetic, the cyan-blue tone of cyanotypes remind me of pure, cloudless skies, contrasting with the vision of grey clouds we have when we think of air pollution”.

If you want to read more about the process or see more examples of her artwork, I recommend reading through the BBC article. Or, for my London readers, you can see the artwork in person as part of the Koppel Project Exchange’s show What on Earth.

Credit for the piece goes to Marina Vitaglione.

The Evolution of Art

I work in the field of graphic design—or visual communications design for those of you younger whippersnappers. Regardless of what you call it, the field itself generally did not become a discipline until the early parts of the 20th century. Obviously, painters and illustrators were performing many of the tasks in the 19th century and before then. But design comes from art, from painting and drawing. How old are those?

Well recent discoveries have just pointed to some really old paintings in Indonesia that rival the ages of what we already know in the cave paintings in France. The significance is that this means art likely did not spread from Europe to Asia as once thought. It either developed independently or stems from an earlier African ancestry. For the purposes of this blog, the writeup I found included an illustration of how these dates were determined.

Indonesian cave paintings
Indonesian cave paintings

Credit for the piece goes to the original authors of the Nature report.

Loaning Art

Two weekends ago I visited the Magritte exhibit currently showing here in Chicago. While I would love to share photographs of some of my favourite works, I cannot. The museum staff was clear that part of the rules for exhibiting loaned work was the prohibition of photography. So that prompted me to wonder how often is artwork loaned?

Thankfully, the Boston Globe (sort of) answered my question this past weekend with a graphic detailing some of the major loans from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Three paintings on loan
Three paintings on loan

Credit for the piece goes to Cecilia Reyes.