August 28, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

Lady Gaga’s Ice Bucket

Lady Gaga’s Ice Bucket Challenge.

As reported on artnetnews by Cait Munro: Just in case you’ve somehow escaped the ubiquitous Ice Bucket Challenge, here’s the low down: The ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association launched a viral fundraising campaign in which a person is challenged via social media to dump a bucket of ice water on his or her head. The person has 24 hours to donate to the ALS Association, complete the challenge, or do both. Once they have done so, they challenge other people in their social network to do the deed, ensuring the thing spreads like wildfire, or at least a chain letter. At this point, the trend has both spiraled out of control and obfuscated the initial purpose of the campaign, but that hasn’t stopped countless celebrities from jumping on the bandwagon.

Eschewing the typical scream-and-run-around reaction to having ice water dumped upon one’s head, Lady Gaga opted to turn her Ice Bucket Challenge into a performance art piece worthy of her pal Marina Abramović, finally putting to rest the nagging question, “Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Art?” In a bondage suit and jet black lipstick, Gaga perches on a chair and stares into the camera with dead eyes. She holds a giant silver bowl above her head, gracefully dumps it on herself, and remains unfazed, despite he ice cubes falling off of her, before staring into the camera once again with the same expressionless gaze. Evidently, once you’ve worn a dress made of raw meat, you must be pretty impervious to discomfort.

Gaga posted the video to her Instagram earlier this week, nominating Adele, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, Streamline Records founder Vincent Herbert, and Live Nation Global Music Group chairman Arthur Fogel, in return.

Infinitely more moving than Lady Gaga’s staid ice dump, meet Pete Frates and learn about the origins of the challenge in this video:

August 26, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

Rooms By Color

If you’re in a mood to decorate a room by color, we applaud your bold design sensibilities. It’s an easy and chic way to have fun with a room and give it the oomph! it deserves. Whether you put every blue item you own into one room or accent an all blue room with an orange piece of art, you’ll need fabulous artwork on the walls. As you browse the following photos for ideas, look no further for your artwork. We’re you’re one stop shop!

Blue Wash A bright wall-hanging provides a burst of color on pale walls. from


All frames are finds in vintage and thrift stores. Lamp: Crate & Barrel; desk, Home Decorators Collection; mirror, thrift store and painted to match the desk.

A girl's bedroom in a San Francisco home is painted Benjamin Moore's Tickled Pink because it counteracts the gray and foggy light of the city. "Pink is warmer and more enveloping," designer Stephen Shubel says. photo: Jeremy Samuelson for House Beautiful

The mats on the Piranesi Grand Tour engravings and framed fabric behind the bed are the same silk blend as the curtains, Sophia, from Katillac's Couture Collection. The Greek key trim is custom-embroidered. photo: Bjorn Wallander for House Beautiful


August 21, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

An Artful Life

Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam, 1987

I’m not sure about you, but I still can’t quite believe the very sad news about Robin Williams announced ten days ago. His public life was definitely an art form, that’s for sure. In addition, Williams’ career occasionally collided in unexpected ways with paintings by famous artists.

Robin Williams in Patch Adams, 1989

Here’s more on that topic from Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1951. He studied at the Juilliard School in New York and first came to fame playing an extraterrestrial character in the 1970s TV show Mork and Mindy. He is now best-known for his roles in films such as Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), and the genie’s voice in Disney’s animated blockbuster movie Aladdin (1992).

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, 1989

Complications around this production considerably damaged his relationship with Disney, which led the studio to give Williams a painting by Pablo Picasso estimated at the time at $1 million. The comedian, who by then had three children, had agreed to play the genie on the understanding that his voice wouldn’t be used to sell merchandizing. His role in Aladdin was to be small, and he agreed to be paid $75,000 instead of his usual fee of around $8 million.

Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire, 1993

Once in the studio, he took to his role with so much gusto, improvising all the way, that Disney fleshed out the genie, which became a lynchpin of the entire movie. Aladdin went on to gross over $200 million. The comedian claimed that the studio also used his voice in advertising. “It wasn’t as if we hadn’t set it out,” Williams told New York magazine in 1993. “I don’t want to sell stuff … It’s one thing I don’t do … The voice, that’s me; I gave them my self. When it happened, I said: ‘You know I don’t do that.’ And they apologized; they said it was done by other people.”

Robin Williams in The Birdcage, 1996

Disney then sent the Picasso painting, a self-portrait of the artist as Vincent van Gogh. It didn’t go down well. According to New York magazine: “In the Williams living room, the painting has all the charm of a fright wig, clashing with the animal cages, the children’s furniture, and the mood of the owners.” Friend and fellow actor Eric Idle even suggested that Williams went on TV and burn the Picasso live as a form of protest.

Robin Williams and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, 1997

If the Picasso wasn’t to his liking, the actor was nonetheless a visual art champion. In 2006, he was part of a group of donors who helped secure from the Polish Ministry of Culture the permanent loan of an installation by artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, now displayed at Grant Park in Chicago.

Robin Williams in Mork & Mindy, 1978–82

“On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief,” said the actor’s wife, Susan Schneider, in a statement. “As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

August 19, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

The Impressionist Movement

Path to the Birdbath by Stephanie Berry on

Impressionism. Not to turn into an Art History Lesson, but it was created by Parisian artists in 1874 and continues to be a popular painting style. It’s easy to see why, with its prominent brush strokes and sweet pastel colors (or bold, bright hues). The obvious brush strokes portray an ambiance of spontaneity and romanticism within the artist, which in turn translates as passion to the viewer, and creates a bit of intimacy between the painting, the painter, and the viewer.

Steeping Brilliance by Kit Hevron Mahoney on

The focus of impressionism tends to be nature, but not reality, not nature as we see it; impressionism conveys the sublime side of nature. The potential beauty of every forest, sunset, flower, park, and river is dramatized, and the expressive, short strokes easily allow the artist to create variations of light. Some popular artists you might know from the era include Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro, all of whom also happened to be some of the founding members of Impressionism.

Wild Sweetness by Allan P. Friedlander on

“Impressionism” was given its name by seventeenth century art critic Louis Leroy, who claimed that the art displayed at an opening exhibit in 1874 were merely sketches, or “impressions”. But these paintings are far more than just impressions; they portray the beauty of nature, and what’s more, the beauty beyond nature. In the words of Claude Monet himself: “I am following Nature without being able to grasp her; I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

Mysterious Forest by Linda Yurgensen on This painting proves that the sublime side of nature isn’t just limited to just beauty, but also, mystery, and in turn, fear. This gorgeous painting invokes a sense of anxiety within the viewer, with the dark purple shadows cast by the trees, and the obvious vastness of the forest.

These Zatista artists not only create and celebrate the beauty that is Impressionism, but also pay tribute to the beauty of nature. Every artist creates his or her own reality, and though these paintings might not reflect what we see, they reflect what could be, what exists in the mind. And in some cases, the painting is meant to reflect the actual beauty of the scene, just in a more raw form: the brash brush strokes allow the viewer to experience the full effect of light and color within the landscape. Reality or not, these paintings convey the variations of beauty within nature and the emotions that it invokes within artists and viewers alike, something that few art forms are able to express.

Birthday Flowers by Inna Lazarev on

Lavender Fields Forever by Silvia Trujillo on

Texas Bluebonnets by Claudia Davis on

Blue Lagoon by June Johnson on

Corner Bouquet, White Table by Carol Steinberg on

Works Cited
Samu, Margaret. “Impressionism: Art and Modernity”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2004)


August 14, 2014 | Posted by | No Comments

Summer Reading

Hearts Courageous by Erin Alders on

Ah, summer! ‘Tis the season for cracking open a good book. Whether beachside, lake side, or swinging in your backyard hammock – hopefully the last few months have been filled with great reads for you and your family.

Still Life by Bernard Victor on

I hate to even think it, but let’s be honest – as summer quietly slips away, the last moments to savor quiet reading time under a shade tree are upon us. Until next summer, that is, when (hopefully) living gets a little more relaxed, a little more carefree, a little easier.

Empty Chair in a New England Bookstore by James Conley on

If you didn’t get around to reading much this summer, it’s never too late to compile a list of great reads which you can dig in to at any time of year. Chilly weather can inspire reading too!

Glasses and Books by Lee Kissinger on

In July 2013, reported: A new study by the World Culture Score Index compiled the responses of 1,600 individuals in 30 countries around the world and has determined the number of hours spent reading by individuals around the world. Based on the responses, India is the country where people are reading the most; the average Indian citizen reads 10:42 hours per week.

Grandmother-Granddaughter by Peter Laughton on

Korea fell at the opposite end of the spectrum just bellow Taiwan and Japan, indicating that the average person reads 3:06 hours per week. The United States, which fell toward the bottom of the pack, reported that the average person reads 5:42 hours per week. I don’t know about you, but that number makes me want to commit to reading more, just like those good old days of summer!



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