Law and Conversation

May 25, 2011

Cool animated art!

Filed under: Art,Film — Helen Gunnarsson @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the great results of blogging is that you meet interesting people who call your attention to cool stuff. The other day Kerry Dennehy, a New Jersey artist with a neat website of his own who shares my appreciation of the work of artist Lynda J. Barry, commented on a post of mine and provided a link to still another cool website that belongs to artist Alyssa Sherwood. Among other things, Sherwood has posted several short and beautiful animations that are well worth viewing. The movement, colors, shapes, and intricate symmetries, as well as the spoken poetry, of the one Kerry highlighted, “Migrations,” reminds me of artist Sue Symons’s amazing Bath Abbey Diptychs, a project using embroidery and calligraphy to illustrate the story of Jesus’s life, which I recently noted and linked to.

Those interested in legal issues relating to art may wish to check out Clancco:  Art & Law, by New York attorney Sergio Munoz Sarmiento.

Have you come across any neat art that’s made you think about someone’s life story?

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November 10, 2010

The! Greatest! Of! Lynda! J.! Barry!

Monday’s Read This! post urged everyone to read Lynda J. Barry’s amazing comics and graphic novels.  All of her books enthrall me, but today I’m choosing three to highlight.  (On Wednesdays from now on, I’ll be posting reading recommendations around a particular theme.  For brevity’s sake, I’m limiting myself to three books or stories in other media in these posts.)

1)  Girls And Boys.  Seattle:  The Real Comet Press, 1981.  Very early Barry.  Tragically out of print, along with other collections such as The Fun House (New York:  Harper and Row, 1988), Big Ideas (Seattle:  The Real Comet Press, 1983), and Everything In The World (New York:  Harper and Row, 1986).

2)  The! Greatest! of! Marlys!  Seattle:  Sasquatch Books, 2000.   Middle, mature Barry, exploring feelings from and about childhood on the wrong side of the tracks.

3)  What It Is:  Do You Wish You Could Write?  Montreal:  Drawn and Quarterly, 2008.  Barry today, using cartoons, water colors, collages, and text to explore creativity.  The colors and movement of her art remind me of William Blake’s illustrations of his poems, “Songs of Innocence and Experience.”

I love Barry’s work so much that I’ve already fudged my self-imposed limit of three books to recommend on Wednesdays by sneaking a few extras in under #1.  

I highly recommend listening to and/or reading interviews with Barry, in which she speaks eloquently and articulately about art.  I’ve listed a few in my Monday post, including one from November 4 on CBC’s Q.  In that interview, Barry said she believes art serves a biological function:  it helps us make difficult or unbearable situations bearable.   “[Stories] can’t transform your actual situation, but they can transform your experience of it.”  (“What It Is,” p. 40.)  Unfortunately, she continued, around the age of 9 or 10 children start thinking they’re not good enough to continue drawing, and they stop.  In “What It Is,” and now in “Picture This,” Barry provides exercises that she uses in her workshops for renewing the creative impulses that we all retain.

There’s lots of room for divergence on Barry’s greatest works.  Barry fans, which of her books are your favorites?

August 27, 2010

Thieves, plunderers, and musicians

The Chicago Tribune reports on a happy ending, with the aid of the newspaper’s Problem Solver column, for a violist whose prized instrument was stolen more than ten years ago.  As columnist Jon Yates wrote, Northwestern University law professor Robert Bennett recited blackletter law that a thief cannot convey good title to stolen property.

The old saw, “Possession is nine tenths of ownership,” can trump the law when it comes to repatriation of property stolen decades or centuries ago, as Colin Woodard shows in his article, “The War Over Plunder: Who Owns Art Stolen in War?” from The Quarterly Journal of Military History.  Many treasures are simply of unknown provenance, including many artifacts held by museums:  their origins and creators may be undisputed, but what happened after their creation and the paths they took to get to the museums where they now reside are often murky, if not impossible to ascertain.  One famous example of museum property whose rightful ownership is bitterly disputed is the Elgin Marbles, in the possession of the British Museum since the early 19th century.  You can read more about that controversy here, here, and here.

The stolen viola’s rightful owner spoke movingly in Yates’s article about what her instrument meant to her.  Two other books that illustrate why, to a musician, just any instrument won’t do are Vikram Seth’s “An Equal Music” and Perri Knize’s “Grand Obsession.”

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