Archives for category: Art

Artist Yayoi Kusama's “The Obileration Room” is on display through March 12 at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia. Photo Credit

This “domestic installation” would have caused me so much anxiety as a child – WHERE DO I PUT THE STICKER!? (is what I would have been thinking as I frantically looked for a place to stick my colorful, circle stickers. WHERE!?!?) Stickers are just so permanent…

Luckily, Australian children didn’t have as much trouble as I would have. Artist Yayoi Kusama let a bunch of kids in Brisbane at the Gallery of Modern Art do an extreme home makeover on her entirely white space. Kids were given colorful circle stickers and allowed to run wild.

The space is called “The Obileration Room” and is on display through March 12. at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia.

I love the way this space looks. Would it be weird to re-create this look in my own kitchen???

Artist Yayoi Kusama's “The Obileration Room” is on display through March 12 at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia. Photo Credit

Artist Yayoi Kusama's “The Obileration Room” is on display through March 12 at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia. Photo Credit

– Ann Erling Gofus


Mona Lisa at Madrid's Museo del Prado. Photo Credit Javier Soriano/Getty Images

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa might be one of the most copied pieces of art in history, and certainly one of the best known. But recently, curators at  Madrid’s Museo del Prado are claiming to a certified, genuine copy of Mona – a copy that had Leonardo’s seal of approval.

While comparing these two paintings (using infrared technology), one can see that various layers and steps the artists completed – both paintings have almost identical layers and both artists appear to have made the exact same changes at the same time.

“The changes mirrored the changes which Leonardo made on the original,” Martin Bailey, correspondent with The Art Newspaper in London, tells NPR’s Melissa Block. “[Conservators] concluded that the two pictures had been done side by side in the studio, and it was probably on easels which were two or three yards away from each other.”

Bailey went on to suggest that the artist who painted Mona Lisa‘s twin is likely to have been one of Leonardo’s main assistants: Melzi or Salai (who was rumored to have been da Vinci’s lover). Scandalous!!

The Original Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci at the Musee du Louvre in Paris. Image Credit Jean-Pierre Muller/Getty Images

While the two paintings are very similar, the newly discovered copy is noticeably brighter and much more colorful. Layers of varnish that has darkened and cracked over the decades, obscures the face of the original Mona Lisa. The copy brings a whole new life to Mona, and more vibrant detail to a world famous painting.

What do you think of the copy?

Do you think it’ll ever be as popular at The Louvre’s original copy of The Mona Lisa?

– Ann Erling Gofus

Photo Credit Jason de Caires Taylor/

It’s a magical thing when doing something you love can make such a large impact on the environment – all while also being stunningly beautiful (although a little eerie).

Coral reefs are huge, beautiful and very fragile underwater eco-systems, as well as popular destinations for tourism diving. But, unfortunately, the more attention we pay coral reefs, the more damage is done.

This is where Jason deCaires Taylor comes in. Taylor created statues out of pH-neutral cement designed to host host sponges, tunicates and underwater life – some statues even have holes for lobsters.

Photo Credit Jason de Caires Taylor/

The idea was two fold:

1. Anchor the statues to the ocean floor near a natural coral reef in the hopes of drawing the diving crowds away from the fragile reef and toward the underwater statue garden.


2. Create a NEW coral reef. The ocean is teeming with microscopic organisms just looking for a solid places to latch on. Only 10 or 15 percent of the ocean floor is solid enough for reefs to form naturally. Therefore, these statues are a great place for coral reefs to get a head start.

Jason deCaires Taylor’s art is breathtaking. So eerie, so awesome and so eco-friendly.

La Evolucion Silencia by Jason de Caires Taylor. Photo Credit Jason de Caires Taylor/

A majority of the photos I have posted here are from Taylor’s Granada installment. But Taylor also recently anchored a crowd of 400 statues to the ocean floor off the coast of Mexico. Check out his website for more incredible photos.

I LOVE snorkeling. So, excuse me as I go and try to convince my husband to vacation at one of these diving spots. SO AMAZING!!

– Ann Erling Gofus

Have you seen the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC?

The quote was carved into the side of the statue — "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness" — was truncated to accommodate space limitations.

The quote was carved into the side of the statue — "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness" — was truncated to accommodate space limitations. Image Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

In October 2011 the MLK Memorial was unveiled alongside the Tidal Basin and just blocks from the National Mall. DC was buzzing with excitement over the dedication of the newest memorial to grace the National Mall – but the buzz quickly changed from excited to dubious.

Since its unveiling, the MLK Memorial has received some harsh criticism. The most criticized aspect of the memorial is an abridged quote chiseled into the side of MLK’s likeness. The quote reads: “”I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness”. The quote was pulled from a sermon that King gave at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1968.

During this sermon, King said, “There is deep down within all of us an instinct.”. He continued, “It’s a kind of drum major instinct — a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first.”

Towards the end of the sermon King explained how he’d like to be remembered: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

While it sounds perfectly appropriate in its entirety, not too many people were happy with the abbreviated quote.

In August, The Washington Post ran a piece arguing that the paraphrased quote made King sound boastful, and Maya Angelou said the abbreviated quote made King sound like “an arrogant twit.”

Visitors at the new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in August 2011. Image Credit Amy Ta/NPR

After a lot of opinions were heard,  and the King family agreed the quote should be changed, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently instructed the National Park Service to fix the quote.

And now the question of the hour: HOW does one fix something literally set in stone?

Andy Uhl, a stone carver at the National Cathedral, “I think their options are: To reduce the surface back and recarve, or maybe take out the whole section and install it with matching material and then carve that installed panel.” (via

Keep in mind – this was a multi-million dollar project which was years in the making. You’d think a quote set to be chiseled into stone (more permanent than a tattoo, it would seem) would be checked and double checked BEFORE putting chisel to stone.

What do you think about the quote?
Have you seen the MLK memorial?

– Ann Erling Gofus

When Ryan and I first started dating we went on a weekend trip to Paris. Oh, I know, oh la la is right. Ryan had never been to Paris before, so we hit up all the typical Parisian sites, but I insisted on one stop: I wanted to see Oscar Wilde’s tomb at the Père Lachaise cemetery.

Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus

Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus

The place is huge: winding paths, soooo many graves and although it’s a cemetery, it was really interesting to wander through. I gave Ryan the map to navigate. In the 3 years since meeting, I have learned that Ryan has a terrible sense of direction. Looking back, I realize now how hard he was trying to find the place – and after an hour of searching, we found it.

Ryan looking at a map in front of Wilde's tomb in Paris. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus

Wilde’s tomb stone was designed by Jacob Epstein – it depicts an angel who appears to be in flight, his wings trailing behind him. The angel originally had male genitalia, but has since been vandalized. I think it looks a bit Art Deco-esque, and Wikipedia informs me that Epstein’s style was considered avant-garde at the time.

Oscar Wilde's tomb stone in Paris, France. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus.

Since the ‘90s, it’s been a bit of a… tradition…? to kiss Wilde’s grave marker, leaving behind a lipstick mark. Wilde’s tomb is covered with kisses of all different colors and sizes. A sweet, cult tradition? A strange tourist attraction? A form of affection? Either way, the kisses are starting to damage the stone.

Kisses on Wilde's tomb in Paris, France. Photo Credit Ann Erling Gofus

Merlin Holland, Wilde’s grandson, said the lipstick had become a “serious problem” because the grease sinks into the stone. “Every cleaning was causing a bit more stone to wear away,” he said.

After its most recent cleaning, the tomb will reopen with a glass barrier protecting it from greasy lips. I’m sure people will continue to kiss the glass, but will it ever be the same?

As a pro-historic-preservationist, I totally support the glass barrier. It’s someone’s grave, for goodness sakes! Show some respect!

What do you think?
And while we’re answering questions, what other bizarre, cultish and awesome “tourist traditions” can you think of? We’re talking Old Wive’s Tales/Myths/Ritualistic things that we read about in travel books. Like, kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland for the gift of eloquence. Or throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain to return to Rome someday.

Any ideas?

It’s not often that you see books that look like this:

Next to the 'poetree' sat a paper egg lined with gold and a scatter of words which, when put together, make "A Trace of Wings" by Edwin Morgan. Photo Credit

Someone has been leaving beautifully intricate sculptures at Edinburgh, Scotland libraries and museums. The first popped up at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, and since then The National Library of Scotland, and so on and so on, until most recently The Writer’s Museum found their own little sculpture.

The tag on this reads: To @edbookfest 'A gift' This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas...... & festivals xx. Photo Credit

All are crafted from books – depicting everything from a tree to a bird to a dinosaur. Cards left with the sculptures refer to the pieces or art as “gift” to “In support of libraries, books, words, ideas and those places that house our treasures……” And no one has yet to come forward to claim the art as their own.

The pieces are mysterious and very clever.

The sculpture left at the National Library of Scotland depicted a gramophone seated above a coffin – it was all carved into a copy of Ian Rankin’s “Exit Music”. Get it? Get it?

A gramophone and a coffin, sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin's Exit Music, and again deposited anonymously. The tag in this case read: For @natlibscot - A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas..... (& against their exit). Photo Credit

In a note, the artist reveals that she’s a woman, that after ten sculptures she’s completed this project, and that the pieces are gifts to “special places”. I’m curious if the libraries and museums lucky enough to get a book sculpture will keep theirs on display or auction them off.

These pieces are BEAUTIFUL – I’d love to own one. And this mystery project combines so many things I adore:

1. creativity
2. supporting wonderful institutions
3. beautiful art
4. books!

Check out to see some really amazing photos of the pieces.

I know, I know, this is old news, like 3 years old news, but I recently re-watched this video and just HAD to share.

Photograph of Jesus by Laurie Hill in association with the Getty Images Short & Sweet Film Challenge from Hulton Archive on Vimeo.

I found this video a couple years ago, and forwarded it to my old colleagues at the North Dakota State Archives and Research Library. In places like that, an important aspect of your job is assisting researchers. Some researchers know what they’re doing – they are experienced genealogists or college professors – but many are just curious, college students or first-time researchers. Many of the research requests we got at the ND State Archives were amusing – at best.
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The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum goes live on December 5. Photo Credit

On December 5th, The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum goes live. This virtual museum combines many of my great loves: fashion, museums, technology and awesomeness. Hi-Tech AND Fashionable? Too good to be true!

Valentino’s virtual museum will include 300 iconic dresses from over 50 years of Valentino’s career. The pieces will be showcased in 3-D, animated galleries alongside sketches and design notes. The museum will also include an extensive media library of Valentino’s illustrations, ad campaigns, editorials, red carpet images and 95 fashion show videos.

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Whole Foods was playing Christmas music last Sunday. This is a warning: the holiday season is upon us. And that means shopping (and, of course, all the other reasons for the season).

Looking for an ideal gift for the art lover/dreamer/world traveler in your life? Well, I have the perfect idea, and it only weighs 18 pounds.
No, it’s not a dog. No, it’s not a baby.
It’s a book. Yes, a book that weighs 18 pounds, measures 16 1/2 by 12 5/8 inches and runs nearly 1000 pages. But it’s gotta be that big to fit all the world’s greatest works of art in one tome.

Phaidon Press has created The Art Museum – the largest imaginary art museum in the world. It houses over 2,700 of the greatest works by artists across the globe and through time.

Two pages from The Art Museum

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