0:57 - Digital artist Robness discusses his journey through the world of crypto art. Robness is a Los Angeles-based crypto artist who has been part of the movement from the beginning. He was part of the group that brought us the Rare Pepes and was the founder of what has become known as trash art.
30:08 - A look at some of the week’s top art headlines.
Craig: [00:00:10] This is Art Sense, a podcast focused on educating and informing listeners about the past, present and future of art. I'm Craig Gould. On today's episode, I speak with digital artist ROBNESS about his journey through the world of crypto art. Robbins is a Los Angeles based crypto artist who has been part of the movement from the very beginning. He was a part of the group that brought us rare peps and was the founder of what has become known as trash art at the end of the episode. I'll be taking a look at some of the week's top art headlines. But first up, a discussion about the past, present and future of crypto art with ROBNESS. Craig: [00:00:55] So ROBNESS, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to to talk to us about you and your art. You know, a lot of times when when I talk to artists, I like to start with the same question, which is if if you find yourself at a dinner party next to somebody that you have never met before and they have no idea what you do. How do you describe your work to them?Show More >
ROBNESS: [00:01:19] Well, first of all, I mean, I usually just say I do digital art, and it's funny you say that the dinner conversation, because it's actually kind of funny that I have actually had that, you know, situation. And it's actually kind of funny because you say that. And at first it's they kind of give you a weird look, you know, like, OK, you do digital art so you don't sell anything, right? And then and then and then then I throw the crypto thing in there, and that's still relatively a new concept. So. But you throw kind of buzzwords in there and then all of a sudden, you know that the person you're talking to kind of looks like, what does that mean? And then, you know, you go to the whole spiel of like saying, Oh, you know, I do cryptocurrency, I make art that's on top of that. And then like. And you know, they get more inquisitive. And so from that point on, I kind of lean into it and say, you know, I've been selling this stuff and and they're like, Well, you know, I mean, how many pieces have you sold? And then like, you know, I tell them, you know, I tell them the numbers and then I'd say, Oh, you know, I was selling to collectors around the world. And then then that's when, you know, the conversation gets a little bit more interesting, of course. But but yeah, like initially, it's, you know, I'll say digital art, and usually I'll get a weird look and then then move into the crypto side of things. Craig: [00:02:29] You know, I'm sure it's not unique to artists, but I'm sure there are folks in all walks of life that strangers size you up. And then the more you talk, the more their demeanor changes, because all of a sudden they see you in a different light. So how did how did it start for you? Rodney's where it sounds like you were there at the very infancy of all this. So tell me about your history in the NFT space or crypto art or whatever we want to call it. ROBNESS: [00:02:54] Yeah, yeah. I mean, my history has started. I mean, I got into just cryptocurrency in general in bitcoin around 2014. So, you know, that's when I believe, you know, like late 2013 was when, you know, the price went to a thousand and then all of a sudden, like all the inner circles were kind of talking about this new type of currency that's floating around. And I had a couple of friends that were using it. And, you know, at first I was, you know, skeptical and, you know, fell down the rabbit hole and so forth. And you know, for the first, let's say, two years, it was more so just me researching the technology, what I can do. And at the time, it's more so in the altcoin phase. So. So a lot of experiments were going down with, you know, alternative blockchains and so forth. And so from that point on, you know, for me, it was just sleuthing around and seeing what new projects or experiments were going on. And you know, I found the counterparty protocol, which is built on top of bitcoin and you can tokenized things and give them names and so forth. And that's when I fell into the like the rare Pepe, the meme trading kind of deal. And at the time I was, I was beta testing two games, beta testing spells of Genesis and Sara Tobi. And those are technically the first two games really on the blockchain. ROBNESS: [00:04:06] So I was getting used to like the concept of itemization. You know, here's here's here's an image and it's attached to a token, but more so it was in-game. But when I saw the the Pepe meme is getting made, I had to. I had to do a little research and then I, you know, I found a little telegram that had like twenty people and we all got to get got together and said, You know, we're going to we're going to issue these these things outside of the because that was the first time where anybody can make stuff on their own. You know, it was like, you know, explosive genesis was like it was a company and they're making their own assets and stuff, and we're just kind of testing it. But this is the first time that we could actually like, you know, we can make an asset, we can name it, and then we can make our artwork and then submit it to the to the community and have it minted. And so that was the first time I got introduced to the concept of like tokenized art and so forth. Sure. And yeah, and so that's really kind of the beginnings of that. And then from that point on, I mean, that was 2016. And until now, I mean, it's just been insane to watch the growth. Craig: [00:05:00] So back before that was your background in graphic design or fine art game development. Like what sort of background do you have? ROBNESS: [00:05:10] I'm all self-taught, you know, I'm a musician as well. So I mean, I've, you know, self-taught self-taught guitar player, self-taught audio engineer, you know, as far as artwork, I was doing the same, you know, basically, I was playing in the various bands and stuff like that and in between, you know, band practices and stuff, you know, in the studios. I'd always be, you know, working on canvases and stuff and. And that's really kind of just like its very simple beginnings, you know? And then during that time, you know, I was I was doing crypto on the side and none of my friends knew what the hell I was doing. I just had a laptop and everybody knew I was the the guy, you know, doing the mixing and recordings and stuff and then doing all the weird, you know, crypto stuff and and all of that was kind of a convergence. And so almost. Now that I think about it, it's almost like a perfect timing of sorts, you know, I got got the crypto stuff in the artwork at the same time. And yeah, so basically, you know, all self-taught, pretty much. Craig: [00:06:05] You know, when you were talking about that hypothetical conversation with stranger. One of the things you said is, Well, how many pieces are we talking about? How many NFTs do you think you've dropped at this point? ROBNESS: [00:06:15] Yeah, I think now I think I've sold possibly like over 800 individual pieces, I think. Craig: [00:06:22] Wow. ROBNESS: [00:06:23] In the span of two years. So, yeah, yeah, I mean, that doesn't mean that that includes individual style pieces not like, you know, I mean, I could I probably. I probably sold like, you know, over 1000 or maybe 1200 of like maybe addition edition pieces as well. You know, I can't really I don't know the full count, but as far as like individual like artworks, you know, I'd say probably 800 plus. And yeah, I mean, it was just just the last two years have been really cool because it's just the energy of all the other crypto artists, friends that I have. It's just we're all kind of like a family. So during those two years, we just were just, I don't know if there's a certain type of energy that was coming out. But but we all just were making so much material. And yeah, I know it was great to see. Yeah, I'm definitely proud of it. Craig: [00:07:13] So, you know, when I look through your work on OpenSea, it ranges from work that is probably more closely related to memes to stuff that's like, really sophisticated. What do you think is the thread that ties all your work together? ROBNESS: [00:07:26] Well, for me personally, like I try, I try my my hardest to try to push new visual ground. I mean, it's, you know, everybody tries to do that. But for me personally, it's just like always trying to, trying to, trying to really crack the barrier and just and just try to like, try to do something really new. And and another thing too for me, for me is like, people know me as constantly switching styles, too. So I mean, I have a lot of material, but then, you know, sometimes the collectors kind of get annoyed, possibly that, you know, I'm always switching styles every two months or so. Craig: [00:08:01] Mm hmm. ROBNESS: [00:08:02] But for me, it's more of just being kind of mercurial and that in that in that sense, where, you know, I'll try to develop a certain style, I'll start researching it or or go full into it. And then and then after, after a while, I feel like I'm just I'm done, I'm done with what I've had to say, and then I'll make a jump. And usually, you know, I'll have a couple of weeks or maybe months and just trying to figure out what I want to do next. And if I find out if I find a new technique or approach, I'll go through it. But as far as the common thread, I mean, for me, it's it's definitely I try to be with the crypto culture in a sense, as far as like speaking to it. And so and for me, it's it's hard to describe that, but it's like it's it's the way you move, it's the way you move in the community and the way you express yourself in that community. So I mean, there's a couple of pieces I've done that have been like, quote unquote performance art, but it's it's it's in the context of crypto, the culture in a sense. And so I try to keep that, you know, in the mix as well. Craig: [00:09:03] One of the veins of work that I really admire of yours are these ones that are really based on glitches. And I think they're just, I mean, I think they're stunning. What is driving that change? Is it your access to new tools or kind of opening yourself up and seeing what bubbles to the surface? ROBNESS: [00:09:22] As far as the glitch material, I mean, I've always been a fan of like glitch culture and just the taking beauty in something that shouldn't necessarily be beauty, you know, and and with with the glitch stuff, usually, you know, you'll find it could be, you know, an app that you're using and you find something that's usually a mistake and, you know, in the app itself. And and that turns out to be like the cool feature, you know? So for me, I always try to find whatever I'm using. If there's some weird thing about it that, you know, it might be taboo, and in some respects, I might want to like, capitalize on that and see where I can take it. You know, actually, for for some of the glitch stuff, I found a couple good like, you know, painting apps that were like in the glitch style. But it's funny because, you know, some of these apps are on the phone, you know, so I'll make some of these pieces on the phone. But the funny thing is, is that like some of these apps, they have some certain characteristics, if you like, really? Look, it might be a real simple app, you know? But if you if you if you put certain types of material into it, it might act differently depending on what you're putting into it. So like, for example, like there's one app I'm using and like I, I take pictures of like TV screens like really up close. So I get the photons and stuff and and I don't know how it works, but the texture that I get out of that because because the phone, the the way I take the picture, it comes out like really, really nice. And and when I start using the Glitch app, actually it. Accentuates the photo itself, and even though it's all digital, like there's no other way I could, I could have done that, you know? So for me, that's like ROBNESS: [00:11:03] Almost as like as pure as like using paint in a sense, you know, so. So some of these like glitch paintings that I've done, they really look good on screens, which I think is perfect because, you know, that was the medium I was using to begin with. You know, I was using a phone, taking a picture of a phone screen that I'm using to make on a glitch app to to kind of remix it in a sense. But the way like gets repurposed and put back on the screen, it's almost like it's it's just like was made for it and in the backlighting and everything. So all these like things I kind of like take into context and yeah. Oh, like for me. Yeah, totally totally love college culture. I mean, everything about it used to be a big vapor way of fan and and there's some elements to that that have a little bit of that element as well, you know, inside of it. Craig: [00:11:48] What about video versus static? Like, how do you how do you choose? Is it, again, a matter of like, you know what the tool of the day is capable of? Or do you do you have a preference one way or the other ROBNESS: [00:12:00] As far as like motion and still, Craig: [00:12:01] Yeah, motion versus still ROBNESS: [00:12:03] Yeah, yeah, I you know, I it's weird. I really don't think too much about whether a piece I'm going to make is going to be motion. Or still, usually if I if I start working on something, the piece will kind of tell me it like needs to move or something. It's it's really weird. I mean, I'm known to do a lot of still work and like, I have a couple of other crypto art friends that do still work there, mostly known for that as well. But you know, if I feel like it needs to be animated, I'll definitely do it. I've noticed, you know, if I work in blender or something, if I do something in 3D, I don't know if for some reason I'm inclined to to do a movement or something like that. But yeah, it's just it depends on the piece and depends on what I want to say with it. And if if it does need some type of movement, then you know, I'll go for it. But for some reason, I like doing stills, though, and it's kind of weird. It's kind of natural for me to just, you know, make a still, you know, like, I'm done. ROBNESS: [00:13:03] But but I've noticed, you know, most crypto art now is moving. So it's like, like, Oh, I might be the only still piece in the whole gallery show or something you don't even know. So, yeah, because that's like the natural gravitation. Because because when we first started, like in SuperRare and and like, no, no origin and stuff like all of us were making, you know, GIF art, you know, like we were just that was just the the flavor of the day. And we just we just had to make everything like moving and constant. And so but yeah, I mean, now it's like, I can imagine all these people coming in that are new, you know, like maybe they were making still work before and now they were just they're doing crypto art now and like, Oh, we've got to make everything move, you know? So maybe personally, I got tired of it, and maybe I'm like stepping back and just, you know, keeping it cool. I don't know. But yeah, Craig: [00:13:49] Do you think it's always going to be split? You know, I think a predominance, like you said, tends to be motion at this point. What do you think? Is it do you think it's going to be 50 50 motion still or what do you. What do you think? ROBNESS: [00:14:04] Actually, I was I was making a joke a couple of days ago. You know, the whole trend with the profile picking up the CryptoPunks board apes, you know, that whole. That's like it's almost like another industry for me, like it's an industry within an industry in a sense. And you know, most of that stuff's like, still work, you know, which I think is kind of funny. It's like the still has become the most popular now. Now that I think about it, because the CryptoPunks, you know, they're all static images and and truth be told, is the only reason why is because, you know, the algorithm is a lot easier to do with with, you know, section or like, you know, layered images and so forth, layered stills. I mean, probably in the future, they're going to get to the point where they can, you know, start layering video or something like that and so forth. But for now, I mean that the easiest way to do it is that way. So. So in a sense, like still, work has really just taken off as far as volume and sales and stuff. So. But but then you have like, you know, there's a crypto artist segment that's like, Oh, this is the DFP. This is just profile pictures. I'm not saying it's not art, but you know what I mean? The people there's there are some people that are like, No, that's a different sector. And so I think I think it is kind of 50-50 right now, to be honest. You know, because you're going to in crypto art gallery, they you know, most of the stuff you're seeing is this 3D work or really, you know, really refined stuff. But yeah, I think right now, definitely 50 50, for sure. Craig: [00:15:32] So you were talking earlier about the Rare Pepe Trading Collective. What year was that? ROBNESS: [00:15:38] Oh, yeah, yeah, that was 2016. Craig: [00:15:39] That's ancient history in this space, right? ROBNESS: [00:15:43] Yeah an eternity almost. Yeah. Craig: [00:15:43] Yeah. And so I think that something you kind of hang your hat on. But tell me about 64 Gallon Toter. Yes. Explain to people. What that is and what kind of happened there? ROBNESS: [00:15:57] Yeah, yeah, so the 64 gallon total, it's it's a piece I'm definitely known for. It spawned the like trash art phenomenon movement, whatever you want to call it. It was a piece that I made in reaction to a friend of mine getting removed off the SuperRare platform in regards to copyright and community disputes and so forth. But basically, like they removed him. Maxwell Cyrus is another artist. He's a friend of mine, like a kindred spirit in a sense. And and yeah, I mean, they removed him. And for me personally, it was like seeing a brother kind of get tossed off the train. And so I started to make some making some reactionary art to it. But at the time I was, I was making some artwork using this app called Photo Mosh, and it's like, it's like a glitch app. It's like a web app that you use, and a lot of like people in the glitch community would use it as well. To be honest, truth be told, I was using that app like two years before I even got into SuperRare. So it's kind of funny. But but yeah, like there was some community members, like some artists that were that were talking, you know, they did not like the the GIF art that I was making. They said it was trash or some of the collectors said it was trash. And so basically for me, I kind of took that. I took that as a badge and I said, You know what, if they're going to call it trash, I'm just going to own it. And so I started making like trash can GIF art on SuperRare and and kind of just cranked it to 11. And I made a couple of like obscure like trash pieces like hold one like I made one called Brood Trash Can, but it just looks like it's like a like a white background and like a like a cut in the center. ROBNESS: [00:17:36] And it's just like a glitch like animation. And basically it's like an obscure trash can, you know, like, I actually use the trash can, but I really affected it so you couldn't see it. And I don't think anybody got the joke. And then I kept making. I made one more ROBNESS: [00:17:49] And then and then I made the 64 gallon toter, and that's when I got removed. And so the reasons why I got removed or because of copyright term, I basically violated the terms regulations and and basically they thought, you know, I had, you know, I took a Home Depot picture of a trashcan. And because of that, it was copyright infringement or whatever. And they basically I got removed and the image got removed. And so from that point on, other artists heard about that and they kind of thought it was silly and they started making trash art. They started making trash remixes and this and that. And and I told everybody I said, it's open source, so go ahead and do it. And then from from that point on, I think we have probably thousands of trash art pieces from like, you know, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds ROBNESS: [00:18:38] Of artists around the globe that have made pieces. Yeah, yeah. It's truly, I mean, I'm truly humbled by it. To be honest, like, I'm still kind of like in shock. I mean, it's like it's like a meme in a sense, you know, and and it keeps permeating. So, so yeah, that's the Genesis story of that. And you know, the piece, you can still see it on the SuperRare contract. You go to OpenSea and type sixty four gallon total, you can still see it. It's there. It's just not on their platform, their web free platforms. Craig: [00:19:09] Yeah man, it's a really interesting story because I mean, you violated their their user agreement. But I mean, like in in the nature of the art world, image appropriation happens all the time. You know, most of those cases you're kind of within your First Amendment right of expression as long as you're making an original and there are plenty of stories, you can just start with somebody like Richard Prince, right? You know, just appropriating all sorts of imagery. You've been here from from the very beginning. Where do you feel this space is headed? Where where do you think we're going? ROBNESS: [00:19:43] Yeah. Well, I mean, the Coinbase News the last two days, I mean that they're going to they're going to make a go for a Coinbase NFT marketplace. So we'll see how that goes. Now, I mean, there's there's you know, there's there's obviously like two two views on on that. But we'll see. We'll see. We'll see how they do. But it seems to me that I think the NFT space is going to start maybe forming its own like like social social media aspect. I think, you know, a lot of a lot of the action happens on Twitter, you know, because it's just the only way most crypto people can can communicate. And it's it's crypto native. I mean, I remember seeing, you know, Twitter like around 2014, you know, when like, you know, Vitalik Buterin, like, started his account and stuff. And, you know, all these people were unknowns, you know, and they all grew up. They basically just made names for themselves off of that platform, so everything's native there, so that's why I mean, for me, it was natural for crypto art to go straight to Twitter and and DeFi and everything because everything is there, you know? So but now that I think about it, you know, you're seeing, you know, OpenSea, you know, OpenSea technically with if they had a messaging system, it technically is a social media and it's in its own way, you know, we just don't have a way to communicate on that platform. So I think like seeing Coinbase try to do their thing. I think they want to try to bridge that gap. It seems like they want to kind of do like a I don't want to say Facebook NFT because I really don't want it to turn. I turn into that, you know what I mean? I want something. I want something cool. Other than that I don't I don't want to like, have, you know, an old model used for something new? But definitely, I think I see a convergence of like, you know, the people that are doing NFT stuff and then finding a way to communicate on certain platforms. Craig: [00:21:32] So I think when you when you first responded about Coinbase, you said there like two sides to the coin. What in your mind? What are those two sides? ROBNESS: [00:21:42] Well, one side which is like, you know, the artist purist, you know, they're going to say, Oh, it's going to get to corporate, you know, everything is going to get watered down. I mean, you know, have an influx of people just making a bunch of, you know, quote unquote crap NFTs. And you know, I mean, it's just it's just inevitable with anything, you know, everything gets super big and there's things that get washed out and stuff. So there's that one side and then there's like, you know, the positive side is, bring it on, bring on the new million sign ups of, you know, people interested in NFT, which I think is just a, you know, it's just a natural thing. And so for me, I'm just going to just watch it to be honest. And I don't know, maybe, maybe, maybe it'll be cool. We'll see. Craig: [00:22:22] So what hurdles do you think stand in the way of this space going to the next level? ROBNESS: [00:22:28] I think the like the influencers in the NFT space are kind of getting a little, I don't know, there's a lot of flexing going on and I understand that. But I just think it's, you know, I mean, it's just just a little a little humbleness will be good for the entire space. You know, there's a lot of people like really doing really well, you know, and in some colors are starting to be shown and it doesn't look good. And so that's the only thing I fear is just a little bit of like ego tripping, you know? And and for me, to be honest, like, you know, I've had a pretty nice run with this thing, and I just try to keep myself, you know, on the ground and say, Look, you know, I couldn't even sell a piece before crypto showed up, you know, I couldn't even sell one canvas piece, you know, and and for me, to be honest, like I always tell people like the one time I knew that my artwork might have been valued or might have been worth something because I used to put my paintings in the hallways of my, you know, rehearsal lockout spaces. ROBNESS: [00:23:27] You know, I had like three paintings like stolen, you know that someone took it off and ran off with it. And that was one that was, you know, I was cracking a joke. Like, if it's good enough to be stolen, it might be worth something, you know, so. So for me, like that was my first inspiration. But to like, sell canvas pieces is like a whole nother step. So. So I just think a lot of people just need to kind of just remember where they came from in this space. And a lot of us came from nowhere, you know, which I think is beautiful, actually, because, you know, I think a lot of us are very grateful for what we've got. You know, and I think I think that's good for the space because for me, I try to find other artists that are struggling to and you know, I'll, you know, if I, if I see they're making great work, I'll buy their work like immediately. So yeah, so I say just, you know, keep the good, good community vibes going for sure. Craig: [00:24:16] Sure. Well, it sounds like you have tons of relationships in this space, and I'd hate for you to leave anybody out. But if if I were to ask you, who are the top two or three artists whose work you really respect, admire, try to collect? Do you feel at liberty of saying whose work, you know really does something for you? ROBNESS: [00:24:41] Yeah. Top three. Ok. I will say one like obviously like my buddy Max Osiris like I. I think his work is utterly phenomenal. Secret talent still to this day. He does like this type of it's like it's like gangsta trans dimensional art, like he's able to like, take the whole, you know? For me, like the trans dimensional art. Like, like, you know, psychedelic art, it kind of gets into like some like cheesy area, you know, like like, it's not fine art. He has that trans dimensional element, but the way he repurposes like, you know, old classical work, he'll remix that stuff and put some new stuff in there. He'll mix artificial intelligence. You know, tools with old classical paintings and all that stuff, it's just a it's just a really good mix and you know, it's just, you know, we became friends because we both respect to each other's artwork. That's how we kind of got together and stuff. But yeah, Max Osiris, I'm going to say ex copy because X has been consistent ever since I saw him in the early days, you know, super rare. And he's got a knack for for like mythology in a sense. You know, a lot of his work has almost how would I say it's it's it's almost documented the movements of like the memes in crypto culture. You know, like there's a there's a piece called, you know, ngai that he made for Bonhams, which is not going to make it. And that's normal vernacular now in the crypto space, like it's it's said almost every single day now, you know, and that's that's the title of one of his pieces. Speaker3: [00:26:37] And yeah, if you look at his work, there's always something in there that has made some type of commentary on certain crypto phases during the time that he was in it. So. So for me, like his visual work is great. Visually, it's fun to look at. It's like total, like punk. You know, it's not nice to the eyes, but it is in a sense, you know, it's a little bit abrasive. But but he but he has other things like underneath it know it's like, you know, just good commentary on the culture. And as far as a third, oof, I'm trying to think I'm trying to think here real quick, real quick. I'm going to say LuluXXX, OK? And you know, I became friends with her. She's based in France, but I became friends with her through Rarible in the early days. So like, there was a time when, like when Max and I were both kicked off SuperRare, we didn't know where to release her new material. You know, we're like, Well, did we just like, ruin our career or what? You know, what are we going to do? And so we started using Rarible, and at the time Rarible was considered like, You know, don't go mint over there. It's cheap, you know, cheap enough teas like, never put your art there. ROBNESS: [00:27:53] And like Max and I were just going, You know what? Let's just do it anyways. And we had we started having a lot of fun. We started selling a lot of pieces and then more artists came from SuperRare and like slowly released pieces there. But Lulu came in and and some new artists that had no place to go to release stuff. And so I came across her there. She bought a couple of one my pieces and but her work is like, she's been making some stuff recently. It's like totally cyberpunk. Like, it's like I. It's it's it's it's different the way she does it, but it's like, I still can imagine some of that artwork actually in Blade Runner, which is a trip, because usually like Blade Runner, you're already like, you're used to seeing, you know, the Japanese, the Gisha woman on the side of the building, you know, with the, you know, the LED kind of light. But the way she does it, there's a piece she made. There's an Elvis piece and a David Bowie piece that she did. I collected both of them. But you know, she's I think she's a coder, but she repurposes like film and stuff and and she breaks it down and then repurposes it and like the way you see it, like, it's super cool, man. I'll give you a link to it so you can check it out. Awesome. But yeah, those three, for sure. Like visually, just I love them. Craig: [00:29:07] Hey, ROBNESS, I really appreciate your time today, and I appreciate you being willing to sit down and talk to us about this space in your big chunk of history in it and your success and your art. And I just want to say thanks for your time and willingness to share it all, man. ROBNESS: [00:29:28] Oh no, thank you so much. I mean, I love I love doing this, and so anytime I can maybe share some, some new material, I'm definitely definitely down. And yeah, thanks for having me on. And yeah, I mean, we're still like, we're still in the beginning of this. Oh, I know. Yeah. Anybody listening? You're not late. Like, Let's go. Craig: [00:29:47] Absolutely. All right. Well, hey, man, I sincerely. I appreciate it. Craig: [00:30:03] And now the news. Craig: [00:30:07] It seems there's always news about Vincent van Gogh in that holds true for this week. A compelling collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings of olive groves has come together for the first time as part of an exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. Bingo painted 15 plan paintings of olive groves in the time he was a patient at the mental asylum just outside of San Remo Provence. Of the 15 that we know he painted during this time, 12 are included in the exhibit. The other three are held at institutions where the donor specify that the works were to never travel, bringing the paintings together as provided researchers and opportunity to closely examine the works individually and as a group, which has resulted in some surprises. Painting Flint Air was such thick impasto was an invitation for things to find their way onto the paintings. One of the paintings revealed a blade of grass among the impasto. Another revealed a two inch long trail of footprints from an insect. But most surprising was the difference in colors between two images that should be practically identical. Both olive groves match. The skies are identical. One has a pair of harvesters that the other doesn't. But the big difference is that one has rich, warm reds on the ground throughout the composition, while the other is rather gray. The difference is tied to what is called color fastness, which is a measure of how sensitive a particular pigment is to fading. It appears that the pigments used were likely from cochineal insects and subject to fading. Craig: [00:31:48] This is not uncommon with red pigments, and it's possible that the painting had been exposed to direct sunlight at some point, which would have exacerbated the problem. Van Gogh and the olive groves runs at the Dallas Museum of Art until February 6th of next year. In my recent conversation with artist Sarah Zucker, we discussed the benefits of being a prolific artist in particular, if a masterpiece is a one and a thousand work of art. Maybe you need to make a thousand pieces of art. That conversation came to mind this week as I read about the new Munk Museum in Oslo, Norway, which will house his life's work, which was donated to the nation upon his death in nineteen forty four. Edvard Munch is, of course, known for the iconic painting The Scream, but I think many casual art fans would be hard pressed to name another painting by Monk. So was the Scream a one in one thousand? Well, try one in twenty eight thousand. The massive twenty eight thousand pieces that he left to the nation of Norway has moved into a new 13 storey museum and research space overlooking the harbor in Oslo. After almost a dozen years of starts and delays, the New Museum provides a safe new home for the paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints by the iconic Norwegian artist. The country moved to finance the massive project after a high profile theft of one of his versions of the Scream at the former Monk Museum in two thousand eight. Craig: [00:33:22] The piece was recovered, but it was obvious the collection needed a new home that provided adequate space and security. Have you ever forgotten about that $4 million Warhol that your ex-girlfriend gave you? No, me neither. But not Alice Cooper. Turns out the rock legend had a swim through New York on his way to superstardom and became friends with Warhol back in the studio fifty four era. It sounds like Andy liked the surreal nature of Cooper's shows. Cooper's girlfriend in those days was Cindy Lang, and it turned out she was connected with the large circle of friends, employees and hangers ons that surrounded Warhol. It was in those days that Lang had one time given Cooper a Warhol disaster print of an electric chair. But those days can be a little hazy to recollect for Cooper, if you know what I mean. So the print stayed out of sight for decades, as Cooper tells the story quote. One day I was talking to Dennis Hopper when he was still alive, and he said he was selling a couple of Warhols, and I remembered mine and said, You know, I think I still have a Warhol somewhere. So I went digging around looking for it. Well, it turned out the print was in his garage, in the tube that it came in. If you go 40 years without opening a gift, you can probably handle parting with it. So the print is going to auction later this month in Arizona and is expected to bring in two and a half to four and a half million dollars. So is there anything interesting in your garage? Craig: [00:35:07] That's all the time we have for this week. You've been listening to art since you can find the show on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. If you've enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe. And while you're there, please rate the show and leave a quick review. Your feedback is the key to other folks finding us. If you'd like to see images related to the conversation, read a transcript and find other bonus features. You can go to Canvia Art. And click on the Podcast tab. If you'd like to reach out to me, you can email me at Craig at Canvia. Art, thanks for listening.
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