Tag Archives: art

Kawanabe Kyōsai

Kawanabe Kyōsai, (May 18, 1831–April 26, 1889) was a Japanese artist, in the words of a critic, “an individualist and an independent, perhaps the last virtuoso in traditional Japanese painting”. (from Wikipedia)

Image from arcaneimages tumblr (link)

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Pinball Machine

Canadian Artist Howie Tsui, was asked to create works to commemorate the bicentennial of the war of 1812.  One of his works called “Musketball”, rethemes a pinball machine to evoke what happens when a musketball enters the body.  “Since a musket (ball) isn’t aerodynamic, when it enters your body it doesn’t come clean out, like a modern bullet, it just kind of rattles around in your torso,” he said.  The exhibit was entitled: Friendly Fire (link).

Musketball, by Howie Tsui, 2012. (link)

“Friendly Fire marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Strikingly crude in today’s terms, the Grasett field-surgery kit provided a jumping off point for Howie Tsui’s exploration of the medical, ethical and ethno-political dimensions of the conflict. Through a series of irreverent sculptures and drawings-including a functional re-themed pinball machine entitled Musketball!-the resulting exhibition illuminates the brutal conditions of the body in war and the medical techniques of the period, and touches on suppressed aspects of the war including the prevalence of self-injury and manipulation of aboriginal allies.” From the Museum of Health Care at Kingston

link to YouTube video with Howie Tsui discussing his work for this exhibit (here)

An interview with the artist in Vimeo (here)

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Gabriel von Max

Gabriel von Max (1840-1915) is an odd case: a world-famous artist in his day who for decades was dismissed and almost forgotten; a self-described scientist who built up his own sizable natural-history and anthropological museum, yet had an abiding interest in occult phenomena as well.

 His most powerful works dive deep into psychosexual turmoil, with a particular focus on the limbo between life and death. His pale, sometimes peculiarly discolored female beauties often seem to have risen from the grave — or at least conducted their modeling careers in the morgue. (from Seattle Times –  link)


Image from wikipedia (link) 1100 x 820 pixel

“The Anatomist” (1869),is an atmospheric and unnerving piece: a morbid symphony of shadow and light. Behind the palely lit corpse of a young woman, the anatomist of the title sits almost consumed in darkness. With one hand he lifts her shroud, about to expose her naked flesh. His other hand is positioned under his chin, in a pensive pose.

Forty years after painting this oil on canvas, von Max told an interviewer that the male figure “is studying in perplexity the question — the spirit, whence came it, whither has it gone?”

Now in the collection of the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, the masterpiece was auctioned off from Oberlin College’s collection in 1953 for just $40.  (adapted from Seattle Times)

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Boris Kustodiev

Caricatures of Death Personified.  From a pre-Revolutionary magazine, first published in Russia in 1906. Illustrations by Boris Kustodiev (1878 – 1927).


Image from wikimedia commons (link)

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