Archive for July 9, 2013

Artist of the moment…..Musician and visual artist John Cage

John Cage first was both an internationally renown musician, visual artist, and composer born in 1912 in Los Angeles, California. Cage also helped to bring innovations to modern dance. Cage’s most famous work is titled Composition 4 33. It does include musicians, but the sound the person hears from the musicians is silence. They don’t play at all. The sound one hears is the reaction to the work.  We can only imagine what people must say…..What a unique idea.

Cage developed this famous number in 1952.

price range information:  His prints can be found starting at $2,000. Original paintings can reach $26,000.

He was very modern in his approach to both visual arts and composing using mathematical theory and adding in the variable of chance, Cage was able to come about with some remarkable and unique approaches to visual art and to the composition of music.

For his visual art he incorporated chance events such as using fire in his prints in this clip below. This clip is from 1986, when the artist was working on his fire series. His chance involved was how much time each print was left on the press, how long would it be exposed to the fire.

For his visual artworks his well received works include Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel. Cage uses prints and plexiglass in expressing thoughts about his friend Marcel Duchamp.

Also a well acclaimed was a watercolor series titled River Rocks and Smoke.

John Cage was also the author of multiple books.

Taught at Chicago School of Design.

Awarded the Kyoto Prize from Japan in 1989.

Here we visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain for a show. See some of his musical instrument adaptations including the prepared piano.

John Cage passed away in 1992 at the age of 79 years of age.


Artist of the moment…..Niviaksiak

Niviaksiak was among the greatest Inuit artists of all time. Born in the Cape Dorset, Nunavet Territory, Canada in 1908 the artist was renown for his work with both sculpture and as a printmaker.

His wife was named Kunu and was a renown artist.

One of the most popular Inuit prints of all time is seen at auction below.

From our friends at Waddington’s of Canada we visit a sculpture named SEDNA at auction:

My post on James Houston, the urban city dweller who became tired of city life and went to live with the Inuit peoples and wrote books and a movie about his experience, brought the Inuit some international recognition in 1957.  Niviaksiak was among the first printmakers of the region.

One thing that fascinates me about the Inuit peoples is the hardships of living the nomadic lifestyle such as poor health care and spectacular deaths. I am reminded of Karoo Ashevak who died in a housefire in his thirties. Niviaksiak also had a legendary death. He and a friend went hunting for polar bear. They found a polar bear and Niviaksiak got his rifle ready to fire. He then said ” its dark and I’m falling.” His body was found the next day untouched by the bear.

Niviaksiak passed away in 1959, just two years after Houston started to bring the Inuit art to the world.

price range information:  Niviaksiak was a prolific printmaker and sculptor with works ranging from $2,000 to $36,000.

And lastly we see another popular print by Niviaksiak at auction.

Another variation of the artist’s name is Niviaxie.

Niviaxie was such a spectacular artist that worked in many mediums. Though he died in his fifties and just as the art scene was beginning to blossom for the Inuit people, he provided us with many examples of his skill to enjoy!


Artist of the moment……..Masuo Ikeda

Masuo Ikeda was a fantastic Japanese artist born in 1934 not in Japan but in Mukden, China. Ikeda was a very accomplished artist not only painting, but also a printmaker, illustrator, ceramist, and writer.  Ikeda was also known for his fantastic work with calligraphy.

Attended the Nagano School of Art.

What I love most about the artist was when he was coming up and making his name as an up and coming artist and people would ask his profession, he would say I am Masuo Ikeda! What a great answer and it reminded me of some of Andy’s Warhol’s old interviews.

Whilst in his mid twenties he met a German artist who told him to become a printmaker to increase his earnings. Ikeda then decided to study working with copperplate. In the clip below we hear from Masuo Ikeda directly as he talks about developing a print.

Ikeda broke the mold as he was so much more than just a visual artist. He tried everything much in the same way Andy Warhol did in the states or Takasha Murikami is doing now in Japan.

A museum named after the artist is located in Nagano, Japan.

Ikeda also worked as a film director.

Ikeda came onto the international art scene in the 1960s.

First Japanese artist to have a one man show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

As a writer he published some novels and even had some works turned into movies that he directed. Some even included porn stars.

His wife was a famous violinist named Yoko Sato. Both he and his wife loved to drink alcohol and enjoy sake.

The artist passed away in 1997 at the age of 63 years old.