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How Burning Man Has Evolved Over Three Decades

A dust storm overwhelmed the road to Burning Man this week. Clouds of billowing white dust obscured the caravan of cars snaking through the barren Nevada desert, according to recent news reports. Travelers parked in ditches and covered their faces with kerchiefs until the squall passed.The drive is an August ritual for more than 70,000 attendees who have descended upon Black Rock City for nearly three decades and are gathered this week to build colossal art installations and dance nude in the scorching summer heat. (You can watch it live here.) First came the artist hippies in the 1990s. Insanely rich tech moguls arrived on their private…

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These Cultural Treasures Are Made of Plastic. Now They’re Falling Apart.

LOS ANGELES — The custodians of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit at the National Air and Space Museum saw it coming. A marvel of human engineering, the suit is made of 21 layers of various plastics: nylon, neoprene, Mylar, Dacron, Kapton and Teflon. The rubbery neoprene layer would pose the biggest problem. Although invisible, buried deep between the other layers, the suit’s caretakers knew the neoprene would harden and become brittle with age, eventually making the suit stiff as a board. In January 2006, the Armstrong suit, a national treasure, was taken off display and stored to slow the degradation. Of an estimated 8,300 million metric tons of plastic…

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An Artist Warns of a Robot-Ruled Future. Or Is It Our Present? Let’s Discuss.

No young artist has a sharper view of the future than Cao Fei. Her dreamlike visions of China’s full-tilt economic development, and the social dislocation and environmental abasement that have come with it, were the most beguiling and unnerving parts of her acclaimed midcareer retrospective at MoMA PS1 in 2016.Ms. Cao, 40 (her full name is pronounced TSOW fay), revisits those themes with her new video work, “Asia One,” a mournfully beautiful hybrid of economic forecast and tragic love story, now on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of the group exhibition “One Hand Clapping.”“Asia One” transports viewers to a high-tech warehouse near Shanghai,…

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Strong Women on the March at Seattle Art Fair

SEATTLE — The woman in the painting by the French artist Jean-Pierre Cassigneul that greeted visitors as they entered the Seattle Art Fair last week looked confident, rich and perhaps a bit bored, accustomed to getting her way without needing to try very hard. She sat, staring straight into the viewer’s eyes, languid hand to her chin, eye shadow matching the emerald green of the sea behind her. The cut of her clothing, and her elaborate hat, said that in her world it was cocktail hour, around 1927.The prominent placement was no coincidence.“Images of strong females sell easily,” said William Rau, the president of M.S. Rau Antiques,…

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How Financial Products Drive Today’s Art World

LONDON — How does one invest in art without going through the complications of buying and owning an actual artwork?That is the question behind financial products for investors attracted by soaring art prices but intimidated by the complexity and opacity of the market. It is why art funds were all the rage in the early 2000s, and why new variations continue to emerge.At the same time, entrepreneurs are trying to iron out the archaic inefficiencies of the art world with new types of financial products, particularly the secure ledgers of blockchain. While the technology is best known as the basis of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, its promise of…

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Art Review: This Artist Foresaw Our Digital Future in a Meadow of Dandelions

In the digital fever dream of Thomas Bayrle’s work, pixelated pictures twist and bend and resolve into fuzzily warped images. Abstract films and videos pulse with psychedelic patterns. But if Mr. Bayrle’s art seems like the ultimate in early computer design, most of the 115 works in his first major New York retrospective, “Playtime,” at the New Museum, are actually handcrafted. Made over nearly 60 years, Mr. Bayrle’s work instead offers a window into digital thinking or, it could be said, how we got to where we are now.Consider this anecdote. Rather than taking the usual path through art school, Mr. Bayrle, now 80, started his career…

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Tech We’re Using: How Technology Transforms the World of Comic Books

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? George Gene Gustines, a senior editor in graphics and video who also writes about comic books, discussed the tech he’s using.You’ve been writing about the comic books industry for nearly two decades. How has technology transformed the comics industry?At a recent New York Comic Con, as I was strolling down the aisle and seeing comic book creators from Italy, Spain and France, I was struck by how global the creative community has become, which was definitely driven by advances in technology. I have images in my head of the early days…

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While You Were Gawking at Snapchat Posts, One Artist Was Listening to Them

“The thinking process behind the engineers and an artist is quite similar,” Mr. Marclay said. “You have to get out of your comfort zone and try to push the limit and see what can be done with what’s available.”This isn’t the first time Snap has delved into the art world. Last fall, it collaborated with Jeff Koons on an augmented reality project to show his work superimposed on landmarks around the world. Around the same time, Betsy Kenny Lack, Snapchat’s head of global brand strategy, expressed interest in what might be Mr. Marclay’s best-known work, “The Clock” (2011), which meticulously edited together thousands of film clips referencing…

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When Crypto Meets Conceptual Art, Things Get Weird

“I think that it’s such a weird field at the moment, so art is evolving really quickly in response to it,” Mr. Connor said.Mr. Abosch, meanwhile, is tokenizing Manhattan. For a soon-to-be-unveiled project, he has created 10,000 blockchain tokens for every street in Manhattan, then printed the contract addresses on a 6-foot-tall map. This month, collectors will be able to buy the tokens, or virtual artworks, for a few dollars each. More projects are on the way.“Whatever this is,” Mr. Abosch said, “I’m right in the middle of it.”

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Tech We’re Using: How Technology Is Changing Visual Art

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Minh Uong, a visual editor for The Times’s business section, discussed the tech he’s using.Can you explain your creative process for making and planning illustrations for The Times?Being the visual editor for the business section, I’m responsible for providing artwork that illuminates stories that are hard to photograph. It’s a challenging task at times, since our section features articles with topics that are difficult to visualize. Try to think of images that relate to private equity, net neutrality or the trade deficit.Recently, I had to art a story about fake Mark…

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