Everyone has their own favorites when it comes to art. Today, we take a good[…]Read more
Everyone has their own favorites when it comes to art. Today, we take a good look at one of the older American artists: Paul Thek. In one of the earlier incarnations of our website, we always had a page dedicated to the pieces of Paul Thek.
Who is Paul Thek?
If you don’t know who he is, you’re missing out. Paul Thek, born on the 2nd of November in 1933 is one of the earlier artists to show that it is fully possible to transition from one particular medium to another. Thek has started his career as a painter and slowly evolved to try other mediums. He went on to try his hand at sculptures later on in his life.
Thek went to Art Students League of New York and Pratt Institute for art training. He also attended the Cooper Union School of the Arts. It was not until he moved to Miami and was introduced to other artists that he had started to create his initial drawings. These drawings would become well-known as stellar examples on how to use charcoal. Later on he tried his hand at graphite, watercolors, and even monochromatic oil paintings.
He is probably most well-known for the series of wax sculpts which was fashioned making use of his own body. The series was called Technological Reliquaries. These wax sculpts were all presented to his audiences within glass cases. Before he released the wax sculpts, he was making quite a name for himself using meat encased within Warhol boxes under some Plexiglas. Yes, someone was making use of meat for art way before Lady Gaga came about. It is believed that Thek had abruptly ended his meat series out of the fear of being labeled as “The Meat Man”.
While such a title would have been fine with anyone who wanted to be in Ripley’s Believe it or Not, it wasn’t something that an artist like Thek would have wanted to overshadow his career. Particularly since information wasn’t easily shared back then. Unlike now when information is so easily disbursed that it is even taken for granted, a moniker like “meat man” would have killed any chance of having an open mind in any of his future shows.
Thek wanted his work to be able to express its message, not the “message” to encompass the piece itself. As such, he went on to the wax sculpts of different parts of his own body. It was the art that he worked on after the wax sculpts that really got everyone’s attention.
It was his piece entitled The Tomb that captured the interest of many. Thek had made a life-sized representation of his self and made it seem like it was decomposing. It was said that this was Thek’s commentary on the decomposing state of affairs back then. It was also touted as a critique regarding the forces which subject people to any sort of surveillances that reduces individuals to a bare state. While the pieces were not hyper realistic, it was still life-like enough that some people were scandalized. It provoked discourse regarding the concept of line that art should not cross.
As a piece of art, it did its job tremendously. It was able to provoke thought and engagement in people who had not even fully digested the piece and thought it through. Art has always been made to evoke emotion in their audience.
After much time in New York, Thek moved to Italy where her created several pieces. He eventually returned to NY—however it seemed that the fascination with him had cooled. Before passing because of AIDS/HIV, he spent majority of his time as grocery store bagger. This time in his life would serve as a wake-up call for many artists that studied Thek’s life and his work.
While you may be the toast of the town, in a few years, you may be struggling to make ends meet. While this is true for everyone no matter what your profession is, there was something a bit more terrifying to the concept for artists. Art is all about breaking free of the mold of society’s rules and expectations. To find who you are and having to cater to established routines is often scary to most artists.
For those that were utterly scared that their budding artists would live such a life, this fortified that idea that art does not pay and should only be pursued as a hobby and not as a full-time profession. It is thankful then that times have severely changed. Art has changed and will continue to change. Even the art of Thek which was one thought to be appalling is now seen in a different light.
Much like how van Gogh was not appreciated or celebrated during his time, Thek’s pieces—particularly Tomb are now being viewed as thoughtful commentaries in a way that they were not previously thought of before.
For us at Rove TV, Thek’s untitled pieces remain some of our utmost favorites. Like the one he had made in 1974 which depicted grapes hanging on the vine. Something so simple was married into newspaper. He was able to cover up line after line of current events with a peaceful and fruitful setting. It was very much like him to take the ordinary and give it a new twist. He turned something that would usually be used and tossed aside into something that was worth considering a little bit longer. It also made it quite hard to throw away (if the dastardly thought even crossed your mind).
The following year of 1975 saw another untitled piece which is more popularly referred to as “Figures by Rock”. He made use of oil on canvas and it was full testament to the fact that an artist can stray from their first medium but an always comfortably return. This, to us, gives so much hope for those who ever lose their way. All you have to is take a moment to be alone and realize that home is something that you take with you no matter where you go.
Today, we look back upon one of the past shows that Kenny Schachter has curated. We’re talking about the fun times at Full Serve. This was a celebration of ten years of shows that were curated by the man himself. It was held for quite a significant period of time which spanned October 25th to around December 3rd of the year 2000. This event was partnered with Mixed Greens.
Mixed Greens is an organization that is committed to the discovery and promotion of the new. New artists, new filmmakers, new everything! They do not shy away from championing those that practice with newer forms of artistic media. This means that if your art falls under the more “modern” precepts like digital art or print, they would be happy to boost you. They believe that a lot of great talent goes unnoticed and often gets buried under a thick layer of wrongful stigma and unrealistic expectations.
Mixed Greens helps to represent budding artists through website creation—providing a clear space for visual artists to fully express their personalities, influences, and art processes. It is something that a lot of local talent needs. Here are some of the artists that were featured:
- Sanford Biggers
- Lucky de Bellevue
- Dan Asher
- Andrea Zittel
- Janine Antoni,
- Christian Schumann
- Willie Cole
- Fred Tomaselli
- Rachel Harrison
- Ricci Albenda
- Spencer Finch
- Cecily Brown
- Nicola Tyson
- Lisa Ruyter
- Lawrence Seward
- Graham Gillmore
- Devon Dikeou
- Brendan Cass
- John Lekay
- Hiroshi Sunairi
- Richard Kern
- Amy Globus
- Craig Kalpakjian
- Jonathan Horowitz
- Rob Pruitt
- Chantal Joffe
Here are the others:
Marco Brambilla, Richard Woods, John Kelsey, Alfredo Martinez, James Brown, Lonnie van Brummelen, Zoe Pettijohn, Daniela Rossell, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Joao Onfre, Ruth Root, Nina Bovasso, Ilona Rich, Curtis Cuffie, Ian Dawson, Simon Bill, Karen Yasinsky, LC Armstrong, Alix Lambert, Vito Acconci, Paul Thek, Bonnie Seeman, Fairfield Porter.
What was particularly pleasant about this event was that it was starting to espouse the belief of Schachter that art and art markets need to have transparency in its dealings. As such, all the prices for the pieces shown were clearly marked and were even shown on the website of the event itself. There were art installations and exhibits that showcased a variety of art. There were utilitarian art pieces and some fine art pieces. There were over 50 artists in total that were able to show their pieces in the 10,000 sq. ft. garage that was the venue for Full Serve.
At this point in time, Schachter had over 274 unaffiliated artist showcases under his belt. He was never the type of person to cull controversy for the sake of publicity or a chance to boost sales. Instead, he has always made it a point to make the art speak for itself. He lets the artists fully show their capabilities with choice pieces that can truly set them apart.
When everything was said and done, there was a positive air and a lot of hope for the future. To this day, Schachter continues to embody these values. Lately, Schachter’s focus has been on local art fairs. He has expressed his belief that art fairs while a great way to establish networking, don’t exactly produce a truly steady business practice for those involved.
One reason why art galleries and museums have massive profit margins is in part due to established locations and massive publicity. Local art fairs don’t exactly put much emphasis on who is showcasing their pieces. Schachter is aiming to provide a healthier market for local artists to secure better sales and garner more reach in terms of their reputation.
Much like Full Serve, the goal is to promote local talent and let art flow. It does not particularly matter as to whether something could be written off as “good” or “bad” art. The concept of art has always been primarily subjective. Schachter does not act as judge or jury toward those that peddle their wares in art fares. Instead, he helps to garner organic and healthy interest for the art pieces and for the artists themselves.
The concept of artist fatigue is uncommon in art fairs as there is no overboard demand for their pieces. Instead, they get to produce their pieces at their own pace and at their own discretion. Most commercialized art that is sought after by celebrities and those with nefarious purposes can come off as disingenuous. The true bearer of the title of “art for art’s sake” which later on devolves into “art for the wallet’s sake”—it is a truly awful cycle that needs a breath of fresh air.
This is why Schachter has taken it upon himself to jumpstart the public’s otherwise flimsy interest in art fairs. He is quite vocal on tips on how newbies to the world of art fairs can survive. He tells people to come with an open mind. Most people already have their noses turned up at the concept of modern art. It seems that after the likes of da Vinci, the rest fall flat. However, what Schachter tries to get everyone to remember is that Art changes.
Art evolves to fit the era, not the other way around. As the time of the Impressionists and other have passed, it is truly time to embrace our time’s form of art. More modern takes of art make use of the technological advances that the likes of Monet would have killed for. Schachter also warns newbies to pace their selves when it comes to perusing art fairs. Art can always be quite disorienting to those who are not usually exposed to it.
There is always quite a selection available in art fairs and in events much like Full Serve. It is important to go at your own pace, feel free to take a break, and to keep criticism at low volumes. Just as no one would appreciate strangers come to their houses only to point out flaws, no artist wants to overhear unjust criticism. They have their own sets of critics for that.
The world of Art has always seemed like a bright and sparkly place. To be honest, it kind of is. However, this doesn’t mean it does not come without its pitfalls. Today, we discuss Kenny Schachter and his take on the world of art.
Kenny Schachter has had quite a hand at bringing art to the forefront. He has worked with the likes of Zaha Hadid in her 2008 exhibition. His resume can probably fill the length of this website. However, there is more to the man that what he has accomplished in the world of art. This talented art curator and art collector has spent a lot of his time discussing art and its many facets.
We’re not just talking about the many exhibitions or interviews he’s hand championing art and artists. Schachter has also spoken out about how the art world is rather fierce hotbed of corruption. One of the main reasons as to why the highly expensive art market continues to thrive is because it continues to go unregulated. There is no governing body that standardizes the prices or worth of art pieces. As such, galleries can dictate their own prices at their own convenience. Mostly, galleries do not list the actual prices of the pieces in the hopes that when a famous person was to bid, they can successfully raise the prices of all other pieces. However, this does not mean to say that they let just any famous person buy art.
In the past, even “famous clients” like Daniel Radcliffe was turned down from purchasing a particular piece of art. The explanation was that they were waiting for someone more prestigious to make a bid. Schachter has gone on to say that corruption has long been embedded in the art world. This was borne out of the sheer astronomical amounts of money involved.
It does not help that there is now a rather popular notion of laundering money through art collections. Many have discovered that with banks keeping a rather close eye on purchases, withdrawals, and deposits—it is ultimately easier to move money around with art.
Schachter alleged that museum trustees were part of the corruption as they made use of their insider understanding of future shows in order to give tipoffs regarding who would be big. This allows people to process their bids for a lower price—hold it until the price goes up—then sell it for the inflated worth. It is very much like a stock market where you set yourself up for success every time.
The way that it works is that those who hold all the keys only let those that they can gain from in through the door. It is something that can be pretty much likened to insider trading. If this was a formal business like a corporation, the feds would be on you so fast your head will spin. However, as the art world has no single governing body and continues to be unregulated, there is actually no one that can truly catch these perpetrators. Because, as the letter of the law sees it, there is no crime.
Schachter has even said that dealers could very much utilize the auctioning system to boost the prices, even planting accomplices to in the hopes of driving up bids of people interested in the piece. It does not help that it has been an often standard practice for certain pieces of art to be sold at a lower price than what was publicized.
Such practice allows publicity for both the artist and the gallery. Schachter has also voiced criticism for the massive uptick in the interest of celebrities, musicians, and even actors who all rabidly invest in contemporary artwork without really researching its value or what it does to the market. What happens is that they invest in art solely with the belief that the value of the piece will naturally inflate over time. However, that is not always the case. There are many reasons as to why that sort of mentality can fail.
It also does not help that a sort of “Oprah effect” takes place when fans finds out that someone they admire is into a particular art or artist. Instead of actually generating positive and organic growth for the artist, there is now a bubble that is created. There is now more pressure for artists to come up with more and more things. As such, they end up being commercialized and a sort of disconnect with their art happens.
Artist fatigue is real and this only damages the overall organic worth of the pieces that they create. When the artist’s ambition goes beyond the scope of their talent, that occurrence is never a good thing. This perspective is something that Schachter shares with everyone. As someone who has been a fixture in the art scene all over the world, he knows what he is talking about. He has gone on to discuss that there must be an attempt to build transparency in the world of art.
Far too long has artificial manipulation or false bids been at play. In more recent years, Schachter has taken up an interest with art fairs. He has gone on to explain that corruption is fairly endemic to humankind. He continues to speak out in order to offer a bit of transparency and he hopes that will draw people in instead of driving them away. Schachter emphasizes that there is still much to learn. Art, those that curate it and the artists must meet halfway.
Rove TV continues to support Schachter and his frankness regarding the gray area in the world of art. While we view the issue with both eyes wide open, we are all hopeful that the disingenuous practices will eventually taper out. After all, everyone would be better off if art and the artists were given fair chance. Art brings so much to lives of many.
We are thankful that the like of Schachter continue to keep a weathered eye upon the horizon.
The world of art seems to go on forever and yet for some, it all seems to pass in a blink of an eye. Today, we take a look at one of the better artists to have shared her talent with the world: Zaha Hadid.
Just who was Zaha Hadid?
She was born on the 31st of October in Baghdad. Her father was a wealthy industrialist and had a hand in co-founding one of the more significant political parties in the 30s and 40s. Zaha Hadid attended boarding schools in her youth.
She went on to study math at the American University of Beirut. She later on moved to the Architectural Association school of Architecture. One of her professors had described her as one of his most outstanding students. Hadid was touted as a true visionary who had the ability to see beyond the traditional angles. Although it is said that she wasn’t as attuned to small details—she focused mostly on the larger picture. The smaller details followed shortly after.
After graduation, she went on to work for one of her former professors. While her projects were largely unbuilt, she was steadily earning her reputation with her pretty visionary ways. One of her works in the Vitra Fire Station in Germany. It has large angles which pushed boundaries of the lot which is indicative of the design style that she’ll carry for the length of her career.
She also designed the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. It was no small deal. Her being able to design the arts center meant that she was the first woman to ever design an art museum in the US.
What a career it has been, indeed! This amazing lady has a very special place in the heart of Rove TV. She had allowed Kenny Schachter to organize her exhibition at Sonnabend.
The entire exhibition aimed to reinvent the connection between art and architecture. Hadid built a series of large scale art installations which made use of the precepts of architecture as the core of sculptures, design, and even paintings. What was amazing was that Hadid was able to challenge and evoke discourse about the processes, machinations, and forms of the pieces. She developed spatial representation through the notions of warping the space, pulling it, and she even pushed the boundaries of the gallery itself.
What she built for her 2008 exhibit was breathtaking and effectively created a new and unfamiliar interior perspective. In one of her pieces, she transformed a full wall. From something plain and steadfast, she brought to life a large relief which turns into an elegant and rather futuristic desk. We got to experience the perfect unison of architecture, art, and design. While her pieces could be functional—which is the utilitarian aspect of architecture—she made sure that was not the point of it at all.
Her exhibit showcased Hadid’sperception into the new 21st century urbanism. This is a culmination of over thirty years in the field. After this exhibit she went on to build more masterpieces. She even went on to earn more accolades to her name and prowess. It was also in the year 2008 that she was named among “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes. One of her more recent projects was the Port Authority in Belgium.
Other than her buildings, she also was a valuable source of information. She was a professor at University of Illinois. She was even a guest professor at HFBK Hamburg.
All of these barely scratch the surface of who she was as a person, an architect, and an artist. This is why it was so hard for everyone to hear that it was March of 2016 that the world had lost a truly great visionary. Hadid was in a Miami hospital undergoing treatment for Bronchitis when she suffered a heart attack.
Following her passing, there was a massive outpour of commiseration and remembrance. All the people she had helped in the course of her career came out to speak. They spoke on how she had touched their lives and how large of an inspiration she was to them and their particular fields. The Port Authority in Belgium had named the square at the front of the building in her honor.
Even after Hadid had passed, she continues to gift the world with her genius. The Salerno Maritime Terminal was one of her last projects and had its soft opening. What was wonderful about Hadid was that she didn’t particularly put any emphasis on herself as a female architect. She had never wanted nor needed any particular treatment simply because she was female.
Even the pieces that she built were not indicative of her gender. Instead, she created features that were devoid of gender but were all clearly her. Hadid and her many successes inspired many a generation of female artists and architects. She did not let her gender or her race color her art and work. She merely completed everything as she saw them in her own unique vision.
She pushed the envelope when it came to her designs and visions. Her creations have never been easily categorized. They always seemed to shift from project to project. Much like the person herself, the art spoke for itself. It captured attention. It always demanded the question “is that the same space as it was before?”
Hadid had a magical way of transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary ones. She heightened the awareness of the space by molding them in ways that weren’t thought to be possible or functional. Yet, it always somehow just worked. She was the kind of artist that made you wonder why her style was not thought of before—they were functional, yet they emphasized the space around the piece or the building. Spatial awareness was her true forte.
While it is regretful that the world lost a unique and strong visionary, we all hope that the seeds of inspiration she has left will bloom beautifully.
Is it really all that important to go to art school? This is a question that has often plagued budding artists. Today, we shall be digging into this thought a bit further. Since the concept art school came about, it has always been a sort of divisive topic. There are those that believe that you can go without it. There are also those that believe that any serious artist should go and get formal artistic education.
For a budding artist, a common issue with the topic of art school is the cost and WHO is going to pay for it. Most of the time, these are artists that are still living with their parents. While parents generally want what’s best for their kids would normally not be able to see the point of going to a formal art institution.
You see, it is always been sort of a stigma attached to art that it is something that you are either born with or not at all. It is something that you need to have inside you and not taught. After all, they argue that the likes of Leonardo da Vinci did not have any form of formal training. He only knew basic things like reading or writing. Yet, to this day he is hailed as one of the artistic masters of the world.
In order to really get into the thick of the argument, we should establish what art school is.
Let’s talk about Art School
Typically, this is an educational institution or a place where formal education regarding visual arts, fine arts, or performance arts are given. Courses vary in duration. However, it usually is as long as tertiary education which can reach up to two or four years. So in a sense, it is actually a college education that is tailored to fit those who are aiming to pursue arts as their profession.
A common discussion regarding art school is about whether or not it is truly necessary. However, that question is best answered by the person who IS actually going to undergo the formal education. The problem about this is that budding artists are often surrounded by people who do not understand the need for formal art training. They argument is always art is organic.
However, much like the discussion about food, there is now more options whether or not art is something that can be grown organically or something that can be taught. While we do believe that those who have an interest in art should pursue formal training only if they wish to do so. Art training isn’t easy. It’s something that you need to work up every day knowing that that is where you want to be. Here are some things to consider about art school:
Materials are expensive
If you’re an artist that makes use of visual arts, then you will know this in your bones. It is not cheap to come across suitable mediums for your art. Painters need easels, paints, brushes, and a space to do their work. Sculptors need to bring in their material, their tools, and also a space to work.
We emphasize space because there is often not that much freedom at where you can do your thing. Even young artists that have a rented apartment are often subject to the preferences of their landlord. No matter how carefully you try to create a space where you can work, it is often difficult to do so. This is why one of the first things that established artists do is to build their work studio.
Art school often provides their students with access to equipment that they would normally not be able to hold. This is particularly helpful for those who wish to sculpt or for those who wish to undertake applied arts.
The knowledge you get here is worth its weight in gold
Just how some people wish they were taught how to do taxes in school, the information that you learn in art school is something that you do not pick in “real world”. What a lot of people may not realize is that art majors are taught how to conduct business as well. They are taught how to budget, how to price their art, and do accounting.
They are also taught how to effectively market their art. Connections are borne from knowing people. In art school, the same person you might be working next to can be the next big thing and can help you with your own.
Art school also provides their students with critical instruction from those that have been established in their own art fields. While learning from your own mistakes is good, learning from the mistakes that have gone on ahead of you is even better. You get to enjoy the lesson without having to go through the hardship.
Artists are made to grow past their comfort zone.
You can always trust media to put a negative connotation on artists. They’re “moody” or “too sensitive” or “stubborn”. However, if you take away the artist from the picture, the three descriptions above can be used on anyone.
Those that go to art school will tell you that if they ever held thought that they could just sit in a corner and create it would be gone in the first few weeks. Art school is a community. Budding artists are taught to talk about their work and take criticism. Art school isn’t for the faint of heart.
One constant concern that is held by family members and even the artists themselves is getting employed after going to art school. There are actually a lot of jobs in the art world—people just don’t realize it. Digital artists are one of the highly paid jobs in the world right now. A lot of businesses are starting to learn the value of graphic artists.
What’s great about technology today is that it’s not that hard to transition from being a painter to someone who’s working on a digital art. Like all things, it just needs a bit of instruction and practice
There has always been a bit of a disagreement over the concept of art. Today, we delve a little deeper into the topic of art and its many little facets.
What is Art?
A common definition of art is anything that depicts beauty. Over the years, this definition has shifted, expanded, and even been contested endlessly. The creation of art generally requires masterful skill that produces a particular aesthetic outcome. There has always been a somewhat unclear standardized definition of art.
Art isn’t just a single avenue. Anything that humans use to express their creativity is considered art: visual, liberal, design, crafts, or performance, and so many other things. As time goes on, newer and newer forms of art has emerged.
Depending on the era, the art that is most common varies. For example, classical art or renaissance saw a lot of painters and sculptors. The likes of Da Vinci and Michelangelo were all very prolific during this era. The post-renaissance happened around middle of the 18th century. It was during that time wherein the sickness of “art snobbery” came to be. It was then that the concept of making art for art’s sake was established. However, critics have argued that even the likes of the great masters made art simply for the act of making art. It just so happened that they were commissioned to place their art in locations that were of great significant importance.
Art is generally categorized into different groups. However, there still isn’t a clear or standardized composition to the groups. However, these are the ones that are generally acceptable ones:
Fine Arts the topic that is often something that is heatedly debated. It is actually this that was under fire about “making art for art’s sake”. A common complaint was that fine art was often made without the concepts of functionality were not prioritized. Instead, it was more of a culmination of the artistic sense of the artist. These are the usual mediums of Fine Art:
The various forms of painting fall under this category. What’s funny is that a large number of traditional and universally hailed pieces of art are paintings. So while it’s odd that a lot of criticisms about Fine Art include a discussion about functionality, it is also something that is hailed as THE pinnacle of art.
Sculptures are one of the other more established forms of art. It is also one of the earliest forms of art.
Visual arts are one of the more modern forms of art. This is an art form that we get to enjoy because of technological advances. Some of the forms include photography, videography, and even environmental land art—which include topiaries and the like.
Ornamental art forms usually include glass, metal, and other textiles. If you’ve have a rug in your home, that counts as decorative arts. Other forms of decorative arts are tapestry, jewelry, and pottery. Since glass is considered to be decorative art, the massive stained glass designs you’ve seen in France fall under this category. Decorative arts are normally one of the more expensive forms of art.
While most people consider performance art as a ‘modern’ type of art, it is actually got quite a history on it. Theater is actually considered a performance art. As you may know, theater has quite deep roots in the history of countries like France or England. Other forms of performance art would be dance. As you may know, Ballet is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of humanity. There have the establishments that are wholly dedicated to studying traditional or classical ballet. At the same vein, there are those that try to branch off and try their own take at dance.
Either way, it is something that people makes use of to convey emotions or stories.
Applied arts take on a more utilitarian approach to art. They try to take function and form and unify it. You’ve probably seen couches or sofas that are considered works of art. Homes are now even considered art. Architecture is filed under applied arts.
Art definitely has a lot of different aspects to it and it will continue to evolve. This is one of the best things about art. Just as artists evolve and find their own mediums or avenues to express themselves, art itself will continue to change as well.
A lot of concern regarding the topic of art is that “who tells us what is art and what isn’t?”To help readers about this, we’ve narrowed down some pointers that can help you build your own definition of art:
Art, regardless of form, should evoke emotion in you. Art makes you feel something in the depths of your being. While it doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking or life-changing (sometimes it is), it just needs to be something that you feel. If you do not feel anything, then that isn’t the art for you.
What everyone should remember is that art is subjective. While it may not make you feel anything—thatdoes not invalidate the art piece itself. Instead, it would be best to try again with another piece. Don’t give up.
Art makes you think. It doesn’t just make you feel. Even if it’s something as silly as “that color is interesting”, it should at least provoke thought. What’s even better is if it can make you parlay those observations into thoughts regarding other aspects of your life.
What comes after is what is normally best. One you’ve looked at or experienced art, it would be important to determine if there have been any changes. You can either truly hate art or decide to take a break from it, or you could even feel like you want to experience more.
Art is a pretty good catalyst for massive introspection and decision making. Whether it is positive or negative, art has done its job.
Art has always been in the lives of man. While most people would outright dismiss the idea of it, our earliest known ancestors had a hand in building our appreciation for art. That said,we believe that is it important to look back upon these in order to see our journey as a culture and as a people. Today, we’ll be looking closer at the earliest art works known to man.
Venus of Galgenberg
This statue is also called the “Stratzing Figurine”. This stone art piece was discovered in late 1988. It was located during an excavation of a shelter that was believed to be used by the earlier form of humans during the Paleolithic era. At the site, there was charcoal among the flint tools and no cave art. Cave art was something that most archeologists expected to find at shelters use during the Ice Age.
However, what they experts found were not drawings but carvings. The stone sculpture was carved as indicative of the significant number of fragmentation on the ground. It was the same type of rock used on the Venus and the source material was found near the vicinity of the camp site.
The Venus herself is about three inches in height. It is believed that the source material is called Serpentine—a type of stone that was later used for axes in the Stone Age. While there were those that argued that the Venus could have just been easily been a man, further study of the figurine silenced critics.
Much like other mobiliary art found later one, the figure was clearly female. Specifically, it was a nude female as depicted by special attention given to carving the breasts and genitalia. Historians then started to hypothesize that the Venus statuettes were some form of fertility symbol. The Venus of Galgenberg is dated to around 30,000 BCE.
Abri Castanet Engravings
These engravings are one of the more recent discoveries—only being found in 2007. This was found while an inspection of the Abri Castanet as its shelter had collapsed. Experts then discovered an otherwise unobserved cache of rock engravings on the ochre-stained limestone. While the shelter itself was first found in the early 1900s it wasn’t until much later that other parts of it were found.
There were several pictographs on the ceilings. While most believed that they were put there by the uses of charcoal, like other cave art, it was later determined that these wall and ceiling pieces were put in by engraving them into the stone. There was some confusion on whether or not the “art” was part of the original shelter or was something that had formed after the shelter had collapsed.
It is lucky then that further study went on to establish that the carvings and engravings WERE part of the original shelter. The other forms of Abri Castanet art were considered to be more primitive that the art that had a later dating.
The engravings found in Abri Castanet were dated to around 35,000 BCE.
This art is generally considered to be the oldest known art from the prehistoric world. It was discovered in the 1900s in India. It was here that the concept of Cupules was discovered in relation to prehistoric art. Cupules are hemispherical cup-shaped depressions that are thought to have been hammered out of the surface of the material that’s chosen (typically rock).
The excavations in India started around the early 1970s, there were several sites that were investigated and located. However, it is the Bhimbeka Petroglyphs that were dated to be at least 290,000 to around 700,000 BCE. What made this found so interesting is that the tools that were used for the petroglyphs were all found in the area as well. “Hammerstones” were used and the archeologists also found a whopping number of cupules in the area. This automatically established that the petroglyphs were not naturally occurring fixtures.
El Castillo Cave Paintings
In English, this is referred to as the “Cave of the Castle”. This discovery is located in Spain; specifically in the “Gallery of the Hands”. These paintings were found in 1903 within a 330M long cave which was used as a shelter for prehistoric humans. Most of the cave paintings seem to be figurative in nature. There are a significant number of depictions of horses, mammoths, and even dogs. This was quite special in nature as the existence of dogs wasn’t as established. They were believed to an evolution that occurred latter on.
The paintings were dated to be at around 39,000 BCE. This set up the expectation for future archeologists that most artistic projects of prehistoric individuals would be crude wall paintings.
Xianrendong Cave Pottery
Prehistoric art was always believed to be cave paintings. Later on, the idea shifted to allow cave petroglyphs, engravings, and carvings. Most archeologists pretty much figured that was it until the excavations in China found ceramics!
The Xianrendong Cave which was also called the Immortal’s Cave in Southeast China—the cave measures at around 23ft in height and about 36ft in width. The depth registered at around 46ft. deep and into the caves were shelters which were believed to be used by prehistoric humans. They found round-bottomed and bag-shaped jars. Experts believed that these jars were used for cooking.
This meant a grand leap in the utilization of tools for survival and the way that early humans handled their food. No longer was the focus on mere gathering of food—they also now tried to coax textures and flavors out of their meals.
An also important discovery about this is that there were jugs that did not seem to be used for cooking. Instead, there were some that seemed to have not been utilized at all after it was made. It was then the experts postulated that some of the pottery discovered for made for the sake of creation. This went on to support the further mounting evidence of art in correlation to humanity. Wherever the humans went, art was sure to follow next.