Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fleeting Stillness of Rachna Shukla’s Hindu Photography

By Shraddha N.V. Sharma
Rachna Shukla's photo.
INDIA---At a point when photography is a most familiar form of art, when every captured image can be given a face lift and perfected, how can one do things differently? Rachna Shukla, in her recent series, has tried this by capturing what she calls fleeting stillness in black and white photographs. There is something that black and white does to movement, releasing the motion and holding on to the calm too. A sky is made satin and a mundane shack sets off a hundred moving images.  [link]

ArtNet Auction's Takashi Murakami's "Flowers Blossoming in this World and the Land of Nirvana"

Takashi Murakami (Japanese, b.1962) LOT ID: 104513 Flowers Blossoming in this World and the Land of Nirvana, 2013
The present lot by Takashi Murakami, renowned for his super-charged mix of Pop, animé, and otaku within a highly-stylized picture-plane, layers a range of Japanese cultural and religious influences. Murakami is the founder of the postmodern art movement, “Superflat,” which combines elements of Japanese culture with the flattening of the image, which recalls earlier Japanese printmaking from the 19th century. [Bid]

Hinduism's Diwali, Once Hidden, Now Lit Large

By Swati Khurana
Mithai from Usha Foods surround the
Hindu god Ganesha.

When my 3-year-old daughter told me that she needed something special for Share Day at camp — a sari and a candle dish used for Diwali, the Hindu New Year — I felt surprised and thrilled, and maybe even a little envious. Her pleasure in wearing Indian clothes and celebrating holidays as a young child is very different from what I experienced in my own childhood. Now, this Diwali, I am heartened by how my daughter embraces her Indian-American heritage and by how different my daughter’s America is from mine. In her preschool, there is room for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid and Diwali — which sounds like an America where there is room for us. [link]

Museum of the Bible Aims For Timeless Name, Imagery

By Cathy Lynn Grossman
The new Museum of the Bible logo. Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible
WASHINGTON, DC---Museum of the Bible. That’s it. The name of the museum under construction in Washington, D.C., is official. “We don’t need more to tell people who and what we are,” the museum’s founder and funder, Steve Green, told Religion News Service. But, as always with the Bible, nothing is ever simple. The high-tech museum, set to open in fall 2017, is four blocks from the U.S. Capitol and three blocks from a global tourism mecca, the Air and Space Museum. The new museum will feature standing exhibits on the history and impact of the Bible as well as interactive features to bring viewers into Bible stories and characters. [link]

Former Churches Blessed With New Lives in Pittsburgh

By Dan Eldridge
The Altar Bar, a Catholic chapel turned concert hall. Courtesy of Flickr
PENNSYLVANIA---Like most American Rust Belt towns settled by European immigrant laborers, Pittsburgh in the early 20th century was a deeply religious place, where ornate Romanesque and Gothic chapels, churches and cathedrals rose in nearly every corner of the city. But partly as a result of the steel industry’s collapse, Pittsburgh’s population (now just over 300,000) has been in decline for decades, and congregations have been abandoning their grand old churches in search of smaller, more affordable spaces. Along the way, some of the Steel City’s savviest entrepreneurs have been purchasing many of Pittsburgh’s disused churches and adapting them into clubs, restaurants, theaters and concert venues. [link]

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Poland's New Museum of the History of Polish Jews Will Intensify Debate About Identity

There used to be thousands of these
POLAND---From the 1600s until 1939 Poland was the global centre of the Jewish people, home to the world’s largest Jewish population and its greatest nexus of religious, cultural and political activity. Yet for many more recent visitors, such as the thousands of Israeli schoolchildren who tour the sites of Nazi death camps each year, the telling of Polish Jews’ history has been overwhelmed by the story of their extermination. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, whose permanent exhibition opens this month, attempts to restore some balance. If it seems increasingly clear that an exhibition on Polish Jewry should not overemphasise its disappearance, that is partly, and unexpectedly, because it seems to be coming back. [link]

The Quiet, Quiet Signs of Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas

By Leah Binkovitz
Interior of the chapel in Houston, Texas
TEXAS---The Sign: Eighteen inches. That's the distance from which one should view a Rothko painting, according to Mark Rothko. One might have to get closer to read the signs outside the Rothko Chapel though. The placards placed around the tan brick structure are minimal, not much more than museum labels. If the chapel were in a museum, say the Menil Collection next door, it would take little to adapt the muted signage: Rothko Chapel. 1971. Mark Rothko, Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry. Commissioned by Dominique and John de Menil. As they are today, the signs offer some fairly vague guidance for visitors who might be unsure how to proceed: stand-squint-sigh or count rosary beads. "All are welcome," one reads. Another, "Guests are invited to experience the silence."[link]