William Kentridge wins the Kyoto Prize

South American visual artist William Kentridge will receive the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy from the Inamori Foundation of Japan. The prize honors individuals who have made "significant contributions to the progress of science, the advancement of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit".

Mr. Kentridge is best known for his animated films about the history and social circumstances of postcolonial South Africa. The Foundation is most impressed with "his originality as an artist... His deep insights and profound reflections on the nature of human existences provide opportunities to consider fundamental issues that could face any individual in the world".

Mr. Kentridge's works are well represented in William Kentridge : five themes - the catalog published in conjunction with an exhibition held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and currently touring to 6 museums worldwide until fall 2011; and William Kentridge (2001).

Louise Bourgeois, Influential Sculptor, Dies at 98

This week, the art world remembers Louise Bourgeois (see the articles in The San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times ).

"Petite in size, gruff of voice and manner", Louise Bourgeois, a French-born American artist who gained fame only late in a long career, is known for her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints that had a galvanizing effect on the work of younger artists, particularly women.

"Ms. Bourgeois’s sculptures in wood, steel, stone and cast rubber, often organic in form and sexually explicit, emotionally aggressive yet witty, covered many stylistic bases. But from first to last they shared a set of repeated themes centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world."

Perhaps the most provocative was “Fillette” (1968), a large, detached latex phallus. Ms. Bourgeois can be seen carrying this object, nonchalantly tucked under one arm, in a portrait by the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe taken for the catalog of her 1982 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (In the catalog, the Mapplethorpe picture is cropped to show only the artist’s smiling face.)

In 1993 she represented the United States in the Venice Biennale. In an art world where women had been treated as second-class citizens and were discouraged from dealing with overtly sexual subject matter, she quickly assumed an emblematic presence.

Her 1994 exhibition entitled “Louise Bourgeois: Locus of Memory, Works 1982-1993,” in which the central image was a spider, is based on a creature she associated with her mother, a woman of ever-changing moods. (More books and videos on Louise Bourgeois in our collection).

Ms. Bourgeois was named Officer of The Order of Arts and Letter by the French minister of culture in 1983. The National Medal of Arts was presented to her by President Bill Clinton in 1997.

Take Part in Art -- Marvelous Mosaic

MosaicEyeMosaicEye
Mosaic -- the art of making images from little pieces of stone, glass or tile -- is an amazing art form. Debuting in Ancient Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC, Mosaic is still going strong around the world, adorning palaces, churches and sculptures, as well as private homes and gardens.

You can check out the latest Art Table on mosaic at the Downtown Youth department, or participate at home!

Read all about it -- For the historical perspective, read Piece by Piece! by Michael Avi-Yonah, which describes the mosaics of ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium. To learn more about one modern mosaic artist, try Niki's World by Ulrich Krempel. This book focuses on Niki de Saint Phalle, the creator of the magnificent, mosaic-covered Tarot Garden. Adults who want a quick introduction to mosaic can explore JoAnn Locktov's The Art of Mosaic Design, which is full of beautiful color photographs of the best modern mosaic art.

Make Mosaics at Home -- To start making your own mosaics out of materials you probably already have around your house, try Anna Freixenet's Creating With Mosaics. If you grown-ups want to make your own mosaics too, try The Mosaic Idea Book by Rosalind Wates, Mosaic Techniques and Traditions by Sonia King, or The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook by Maggy Howarth. The FamilyFun website also provides an awesome list of creative mosaic activities.

Field Trip! -- Mosaic is all about building something new from the pieces of something old. The upcoming Detroit Maker Faire is a great opportunity to do just that. We at the AADL will be celebrating the Maker Faire by hosting Wreck and Make Labs in July, where you can pull apart all sorts of gadgets and make awesome new stuff from them. Pick up the latest copy of AXIS for more information! The city of Ann Arbor will share in the action, with the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire in June.

Stolen Art!

The Pigeon with PeasThe Pigeon with Peas

According to an article from CNN, five paintings were stolen last night at the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris in Paris, France.

CNN also said that officials did not name the paintings stolen, but the press put out their own listing:

"'Le Pigeon aux Petits Pois' (Pigeon with peas) by Picasso
'La Pastorale' (The Pastoral) by Matisse
'L'Olivier pres de l'Estaque' (Olive Tree near the Estaque) by Braque
'La femme a l'eventail' (Woman with Fan) by Modigliani
'Nature morte aux chandeliers' (Still Life with Candlesticks) by Leger."

We have many books here at the library on art theft, including The Rescue Artist : A True Story Of Art, Thieves, And The Hunt For A Missing Masterpiece, which discusses the 1994 theft of "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, The Gardner Heist : The True Story Of The World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft, which examines the 1990 heist of $600 million worth of paintings from Boston's Gardner Museum, and Museum Of The Missing : A History Of Art Theft, which discusses art theft throughout history. Though, perhaps the most interesting is the true story of the theft of the "Mona Lisa" in 1911, which you can read about in Vanished Smile : The Mysterious Theft Of Mona Lisa

Perhaps this is a good time to do some brushing up on your art and art thievery knowledge. Who knows, you may find the missing paintings with a little help from some reading.

Ann Arbor Art Center

winefestwinefest How many other cities can boast a 100-year-old local arts organization? I don't have an answer, but I do know that Ann Arbor is pretty lucky. The Ann Arbor Art Center celebrates its centennial this year; join in the celebration by attending one of the many upcoming art exhibits or WineFest, coming up May 6-8.

Take Part in Art -- Petroglyphs and Cave Painting

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Humanity has been engaged in making art for a long, long time. Some of the oldest surviving art in the world can be found carved or painted onto the rocks near where our ancestors once lived. This month's Art Center display focuses on this ancient and long-lived art form.

Of course, you can come to the downtown library and enjoy our display in person, but there are lots of ways to join in at home:

1. Read all about it -- The library has some great books about rock art. For children, we have Painters of the Caves by Patricia Lauber, describing the Chauvet Cave paintings; Native American Rock Art: Messages From the Past by Yvette LaPierre; and Stories in Stone: Rock Art Pictures by Early Americans by Caroline Arnold. Adults can read up on rock art in African Rock Art: Paintings and Engravings on Stone by David Coulson and World Rock Art by Jean Clottes.

2. Take a hike -- Michigan has its own Native American rock art -- the Sanilac Petroglyphs. This site will be open to the public starting May 20th, but you can get in early by purchasing a Use Permit, if you desire. Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park also includes a one-mile hiking trail, open year round.

3. Make your own -- These days, not many people live next to dramatic cliffs and caves they can paint and carve on, but there are ways for the modern, urban human to get that cave art experience. Scholastic, Incredible Art, HotChalk, Education World and Education.com all provide wonderful mini-lessons and activities that you can do at home with some paper, crayons, chalk, sandpaper and -- the most affordable time machine on the market -- imagination.

Let's get foolish!

FestiFools is an organization that aims to make art accessible and fun for everyone. On April 11 from 4-5pm there will be a FestiFools parade down Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor. In honor of April Fool's Day, this is a chance to have fun, get silly, and let your inner fool come out and play! Come see stunning papier-mâché puppet floats, beautiful costumes, and dance to the beat of GROOVE (a UM percussion group). For those who want to volunteer, enter their own float, or if you just want more information, visit their web site.

Hope to see you there! (Check out last year's podcast with Festifools' creative director, Mark Tucker].FoolishFoolish

Take Part in Art -- Constructed Sculpture

Constructed Head -- Naum GaboConstructed Head -- Naum Gabo

This month's Art Center display focuses on constructed sculpture -- sculpture assembled from pieces of wood, metal, cardboard, or other materials.This form of sculpture is believed to have originated with Pablo Picasso in the early 1900's, and has since become a popular sculptural technique.

You can come to the Downtown Youth Department to check out this display in person, or you can participate in this month's Art Center project at home! Here are some great ways to learn more about constructed sculpture:

1. Look up some of the featured artists -- Alexander Calder, credited with inventing the mobile as an art form; Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi; Uruguayan artist Joaquin Torres-Garcia; found-object sculptor Louise Nevelson; and Chicago native Richard Hunt are only a few of the many artists featured at the Art Table this month.

2. Take a field trip -- Famous sculptor Mark di Suvero's "Orion" is conveniently located outside of the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Why not drop by?

3. Read all about it -- Bob Raczka's 3-D ABC is great place to start, with examples of many amazing sculptures. Sculpture by Don Nardo provides a detailed historical overview of sculpture, while Jan Greenberg's The Sculptor's Eye examines modern sculpture. Finally, in Sculpture: Behind the Scenes, Andrew Pekarik discusses how artists create sculptures.

4. Make your own! -- No need to buy fancy supplies -- paper plates and cups, egg cartons, cereal boxes, paper towel tubes and popsicle sticks will work just fine. What can you make? The only limit is your imagination! For some cool sculpting projects, check out Irene Luxbacher's 1 2 3 I Can Sculpt!.

Visit the UMMA!

Are you looking for something fun and free to do this weekend? Would you like to expand your cultural horizons and learn about the many forms of art the UMMA has to offer? Take a docent-led tour of the University of Michigan Museum of Art! Every Sunday at 1pm the museum offers a free docent-led tour of the museum, offering education and insight into the exhibits. Last March the UMMA underwent an extensive $41.9 million transformation and doubled in size, creating room for permanent and temporary exhibits and wonderful museum programs. In fact, 70,000 people came to see what it was all about in two months following the opening! Want to explore on your own? The UMMA is open 7 days a week.

Call (734) 764-0395 or visit UMMA's website for more information.UMMAUMMA

What makes an interesting work of art?

brook harris stevensbrook harris stevens

Fiber artist and EMU art professor Brooks Harris Stevens will tell you what, in her estimation, constitutes an interesting work of art as she leads a guided tour of the Art of the 2010 Ann Arbor Women Artists' Exhibit on Monday, March 1, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room. Stevens, juror for the AAWA's 2010 exhibition (which will be on display at AADL from the time of this event through April 14), will also announce the winners of this year's show.

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