Arte

La Patafísica no es ninguna broma como creen algunos de los gacetilleros de «fake news». Tampoco es una ciencia. ¡Es la ciencia!, la que rige las excepciones y explica el universo suplementario -como dijo Alfred Jarry-. Los hados atraviesan sin saludar a nadie. Los patafísicos (y mis amigos) no mueren. Se ocultan. ¡Era tan sencillo dar con la palabra! Precisamente hace unas semanas, se ocultó Thieri Foulc la esencia de la Patafísica. Como los tres seres que no ceso de añorar todos los días: André Breton, quien fue la esencia del surrealismo, Tristan Tzara, de Dadá, y Roland Topor, del pánico.…  Seguir leyendo »

Venga, acérquese y opine

Han abierto los museos. Cuando el director del Prado presentó la nueva forma de mostrar sus cuadros, dijo que la muestra significaba la destilación del perfume del Prado, su quintaesencia. Viejos conocidos en un orden nuevo. Eso tan simple y tan cierto no es sencillo. Implica una toma de postura, una concreta respuesta, a diversas preguntas que los cuidadores del tesoro, los narradores de la historia se han formulado antes de aplicar un nuevo método de exhibición. Quizá sea presuntuoso por mi parte intentar explicarlo: no soy técnica en estas materias. Pero ¿por qué no permitir a un simple espectador dar su opinión después de emocionarse con una visita increíble, provocadora de sentimientos desconocidos ante la belleza conocida, pero redescubierta?…  Seguir leyendo »

Arte y censura

Bajo uno de los retratos de Walter Scott en la Galería Nacional de Edimburgo cuelga desde hace poco un aviso: su visión de Escocia estaba nublada por tintes románticos y muy alejada de la realidad. Como si bajo el (supuesto) retrato de Cervantes pintado por Jáuregui se advirtiera que los gigantes que Don Quijote creyó ver en La Mancha eran simples molinos de viento. Julio Camba decía (en broma) que ciertos discos deberían llevar un cartel como el que aparece en las cajetillas de tabaco: “Peligro. Contiene música romántica”. Pero hoy (en serio), la HBO va a añadir una explicación a Lo que el viento se llevó, y Disney ya ha creado la etiqueta “este programa puede contener representaciones culturales obsoletas”: el tipo de mensaje que se inserta en las llamadas (reflexiónese un momento sobre la denominación) “películas para adultos”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pensar una ley de educación que deje en “decretos de desarrollo curricular” al arte es condenarlo al arbitrio y la contingencia. Solo teniendo una concepción limitada de las capacidades desarrolladas en el proceso creador —uniéndolas al ocio o al entretenimiento— se puede tomar tal decisión. Permítanme compartir algunas ideas sobre las funciones del arte en la educación, que han sido desarrolladas durante siglos, en momentos donde el futuro del ser humano se enfrentaba a grandes retos, incluso a su propia supervivencia.

El proceso creador permite la expresión organizada de los impulsos internos. Es curioso que la mayoría de las personas ajenas al arte piensen en la actividad creadora como una especie de catarsis que libera tensiones y permite la famosa función de “expresión sin reflexión”, cuando es exactamente lo contrario: el arte organiza y toma el control simbólico de una experiencia interna, ordenándola, exteriorizándola y reflexionando sobre ella.…  Seguir leyendo »

An artist spraying paint on a sculpture of the Hindu goddess Durga in Lalitpur, Nepal, last year. Credit Monika Deupala/Reuters

As an artist, I am a creator, though referring to myself that way makes me somewhat uncomfortable. For most of my life, the word “creator” has meant the Creator of all things, especially in the native tradition, and I would not by any means compare my meager efforts at creation to Creation.

But art is truly an act of creation. And creation is an act of art.

When we create art, it’s a product of three components: the mind, the heart and our past experiences. As an actor, sculptor and author, I have found that this interconnectedness is a large part of why art matters.…  Seguir leyendo »

Credit...Carrie Mae Weems, Scenes & Takes. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY

Art matters because artists matter.

For years I used to get up early and walk to the corner store to grab my weekend fix: a Sunday edition of The New York Times. (My Sundays today still include The Times, albeit the one on my iPad.) It’s the best newspaper in the nation, and I loved it even during those long stretches when I don’t remember seeing a single story on black or brown artists for weeks on end. There was nothing in the Arts section, nothing in dance, nothing in film, nothing in the Book Review and, astonishingly, very little in music.…  Seguir leyendo »

A scene from Opera Vlaanderen’s production of “Pelléas et Mélisande” in 2018 in Antwerp, Belgium. The opera was co-directed by Damien Jalet and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Iris van Herpen designed the costumes. Credit Annemie Augustijns

Iris van Herpen and Damien Jalet are known for pushing boundaries in their respective fields. Ms. van Herpen, a Dutch fashion designer, fuses traditional craftsmanship with modern technology to create sculptural forms. She has dressed Beyoncé, Björk and other performers, and has designed costumes for the Paris Opera and the New York City Ballet. Mr. Jalet, a Belgian-French choreographer, often experiments with perspectives and blends visual art into his presentations. He has collaborated with Thom Yorke, Madonna, Paul Thomas Anderson and many others.

In early May, we asked Ms. van Herpen and Mr. Jalet to discuss the creative process, the importance of originality and why art matters in our modern times.…  Seguir leyendo »

The painter Salman Toor in his Brooklyn studio. Credit Peter Fisher for The New York Times

The word “art” can seem pretentious: When people hear it, they worry someone will force them to read a novel, or go to a museum, or see a movie without any explosions in it.

To me, art simply refers to those aspects of our lives that can be suffused and transformed by creativity. And having creativity in our lives is important. Without it we’re just going through the motions, stuck in the past. With it we feel alive, even joyous.

But if I say that art is simply life imbued with creativity, isn’t that just a case of obscurum per obscurius — of explaining the murky with the even murkier?…  Seguir leyendo »

Soy una artista política que trabaja en medio de la crisis. He producido la mayor parte de mi trabajo en Colombia, un país que intenta finalizar una guerra de más de cincuenta años. En 2016, el gobierno y las guerrillas de las Farc firmaron un acuerdo de paz. Pero todavía tenemos que ponerle fin al brutal conflicto armado que ha cobrado más de nueve millones de víctimas, entre los asesinatos, las desapariciones, la violencia sexual y el desplazamiento forzado. En la actualidad, Colombia es aún uno de los muchos epicentros de catástrofe, uno de los muchos lugares donde la tragedia parece ser un evento continuo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ai-Da, a humanoid robot, and Aidan Meller, her inventor, present an oil painting in Oxford, England, created by artists based on a sketch by the robot. Credit Niklas Halle'n/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Many artists are turned off by artificial intelligence. They may be discouraged by fears that A.I., with its efficiency, will take away people’s jobs. They may question the ability of machines to be creative. Or they may have a desire to explore A.I.’s uses — but aren’t able to decrypt its terminology.

This all reminds me of when people were similarly skeptical of another technology: the camera. In the 19th century, with the advent of modern photography, cameras introduced both challenges and benefits. While some artists embraced the technology, others saw cameras as alien devices that required expertise to operate. Some felt this posed a threat to their jobs.…  Seguir leyendo »

A detail from Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” at the Brooklyn Museum. The installation is a symbolic history of women in Western civilization. Credit Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Since I wrote the first draft of this essay in early March, the world has turned upside down. I have revised the original text, guided by a single question: Does art matter when we are facing a global crisis such as the current Covid-19 pandemic?

Obviously, there is a great deal of art that doesn’t matter. This includes the work issuing from those university art programs that every year pump out thousands of graduates, taught only to speak in tongues about formal, conceptual and theoretical issues few people care about or can comprehend. Then there is the art created for a global market that has convinced too many people that a piece’s selling price is more important than the content it conveys.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the activist group Red Rebel Brigade inside the British Museum in London on Feb. 8, demonstrating against the institution’s sponsorship by the oil company BP. Credit Simon Dawson/Reuters

In February, a group of activists smuggled a 13-foot-tall wooden horse inside the British Museum in London. The morning after they were joined by around a thousand people, who gathered inside the building to protest the oil company BP’s sponsorship of an exhibition devoted to the ancient city of Troy. In New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the New Museum have all seen protests over their links to issues like the oil and arms trade, gentrification and colonialism. In some cases, trustees have had to leave museum boards in response to the public outrage.…  Seguir leyendo »

Doris Salcedo’s “Shibboleth,” a temporary installation in the form of a crack running through the floor of the Tate Modern museum in central London in 2007. It represented segregation and racial hatred directed at immigrants and migrants. Credit Edmond Terakopian/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I am a political artist who works in the midst of crisis. I have produced most of my work in Colombia, a country trying to end a 50-year war. In 2016, the government and the FARC guerrillas signed a peace accord. But we have yet to put an end to the brutal armed conflict, which has claimed more than nine million victims through death, disappearances, sexual violence and forceful displacement. Colombia continues to be one of many epicenters of catastrophe today — one of many places where tragedy seems to be a single continuous event.

I believe it is precisely in times of crisis that art achieves its most profound meaning.…  Seguir leyendo »

The streaming service Netflix erected signs around Los Angeles last year to promote “Roma,” which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture. Credit Hunter Kerhart for The New York Times

I never thought that a movie alone could prompt social awareness and change. But when the director Alfonso Cuarón released his film “Roma” in 2018, with me in the lead role, that’s exactly what happened. Suddenly people in my home country of Mexico were talking about issues that have long been taboo here — racism, discrimination toward Indigenous communities and especially the rights of domestic workers, a group that has been historically disenfranchised in Mexican society.

In fact, it was my involvement in this film that led me to better appreciate the importance of art.

Art sheds light on the urgent, necessary and at times painful issues that are not always easy to approach because we as a society have not been able to figure them out.…  Seguir leyendo »

The streaming service Netflix erected signs around Los Angeles last year to promote “Roma,” which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture. Credit Hunter Kerhart for The New York Times

Nunca creí que una película pudiera abrir un debate sobre temas que por mucho tiempo han sido un tabú en mi país, México. Pero cuando en 2018 se estrenó Roma, el filme que protagonicé con la dirección de Alfonso Cuarón, noté un cambio. De pronto comenzaron a escucharse conversaciones sobre el racismo, se empezó a hablar de la discriminación a nuestras comunidades indígenas y a discutir la labor de las trabajadoras del hogar, por demasiado tiempo desprotegidas y sin los derechos laborales más básicos.

Ser parte de esa película me ayudó a entender lo importante que es el arte.

¿Por qué importa el arte?…  Seguir leyendo »

Cate Blanchett appears in Julian Rosefeldt’s film installation “Manifesto” at the Park Avenue Armory in 2016 in New York City. Credit Michael Nagle for The New York Times

I was home schooling my 5-year-old daughter almost two weeks into our Covid-19-induced lockdown when our pug, Doug, suddenly began chasing his tail. “He’s bonkers,” I said.

“What does bonkers mean?” my daughter asked without looking up from her coloring. “Mad,” I said. “Mad,” she repeated to the half-finished mermaid in front of her.

Then she asked: “What does mad mean?” “Mad means you don’t make sense to anyone but yourself,” I replied. I had hurried past the word’s countless implications in the grown-up world, but she seemed to understand how it applied to our pug, locked in his own paranoid tail-chasing.…  Seguir leyendo »

A replica of the Chauvet Cave of southern France, which contains some of the earliest known figurative cave paintings in the world, at the Caverne du Pont-d'Arc in the French Rhône-Alpes region. Credit Jeff Pachoud/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The torrential rains at the summer resort in the Catskills, where my dad was a weekend bass player, entitling us to the use of a free if leaky bungalow, drove all us campers into the cavernous dance hall for an impromptu game of trivia. I was 5 years old, and the first up. “Where are you from?” the head counselor asked when I had climbed onto the stage.

I was so intently focused on my private, newfound passion that I hardly registered the question. “Math!” I answered, only to be baffled when everyone around me erupted in laughter.

Mathematics is a universal language of pattern.…  Seguir leyendo »

Despite the threat of Covid-19, nature lovers thronged Ueno Park in Tokyo on March 21 to take pictures of the cherry blossoms. Credit Charly Triballeau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By late March, Covid-19 had already unleashed havoc across the globe; the internet was flooded with terrifying images and videos. Yet somehow, things in Japan remained unbelievably normal. On March 21, when the Japanese government still thought the nation would be hosting the Olympics this summer, large crowds of people — many wearing face masks, but some not — headed outside to enjoy each other’s company under the cherry blossoms that filled the landscape.

After seeing photos from that day, some of which had captured significant international attention, an American friend of mine emailed me asking, “Is this real?”

All I could say was, “I know, I can’t believe it either, but it’s absolutely real.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Sonny Rollins performing at the Beacon Theatre in New York in 2010. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times

When people talk about art, they tend toward a specific type of question. Who was the first to play a tune? Who owns a specific style? Who can judge when borrowing crosses the line? Those are questions for a political, technological world. In my mind, debates about black versus white — whether a guy can make $100 a year or $1 million a year from his art — are just dead ends. And technology, as Aldous Huxley said, is just a faster way of doing ignorant things.

Technology is no savior. We can eat, sleep, look at screens, make money — all aspects of our physical existence — but that doesn’t mean anything.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hans Holbein el Joven: Los embajadores

El universo cabe en una habitación cerrada. Porque cada vida humana es el universo. Todo. Amalgama de recuerdos, presentes unos, olvidados los más, pero no menos vívidos. Todo está en la habitación del hombre recluido. Y es trágico ignorarlo. Conforme lo enseñaba Blaise Pascal: «Toda la desdicha de los hombres viene de una sola cosa, que es el no saber permanecer en reposo en una habitación». Al hoy enclaustrado, le han vuelto los recuerdos de un viaje a Londres. Sin más objeto que el de visitar la National Gallery. Y, en la National Gallery, un cuadro sólo. Cada gran cuadro es un Dios.…  Seguir leyendo »