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WHO IS…DAMIEN HIRST?

Posted 13 January 2016 by Kat

Damien Hirst has said ‘art’s about life, and it can’t really be anything else’. What do you think? Do you agree? Let’s have a look into the world of Damien Hirst….

Have you seen this sculpture before? It is by Damien Hirst and it is called Mother and Child (Divided) and was first made in 1993.

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child (Divided) exhibition copy 2007 (original 1993) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child (Divided) exhibition copy 2007 (original 1993) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

For this artwork Damien Hirst cut dead cows in half and preserved them in the blue liquid, formaldehyde. Visitors to the gallery can walk round the animals and see something quite familiar in a new way. It’s kind of disgusting but very curious!

Damien says that he see beauty in science and likes it when things are repulsive and attractive at the same time. What can you think of that is both those things? Maybe think about your body and what’s inside it. It’s both beautiful and unique and weird all at the same time!

Hirst was part of a group of artists known as the YBAs (Young British Artists). Most of the YBAs had studied together at Goldsmiths College of art in London. In 1988 they put on a show called Freeze and invited lots of people to come and see it.

Damien likes putting animals in tanks. He even put this sheep in a tank.

Damien Hirst, Away from the Flock 1994, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2016. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Damien Hirst, Away from the Flock, 1994, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2016. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Hirst thinks a lot about death, and a lot of his work is about death. He wonders what it would be like to be dead, and he wonders if there is a God and if there is, what kind of God it is.

He also thinks about all the things that keep us alive. Like medicine that stops us dying from terrible diseases. He wonders if maybe people believe in science and medicine more than they believe in art. ‘Pharmacy’, 1992 is an installation of lots and lots of medicines on shelves.

Damien Hirst, Pharmacy 1992, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst, Pharmacy 1992, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

It looks a bit like a laboratory, or perhaps a hospital. It is very clean and white. He has arranged the medicines in the order of where they help the body. On the top shelf are drugs for the head, then in the middle are drugs for the stomach and the ones at the bottom are for the feet.

On the counter are four glass bottles filled with coloured liquids. They represent the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. In ancient times, people would use these elements to heal the sick. Hirst is reminding us how people used to treat the body before modern medicine.

Damien Hirst, Liberty 2002, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst, Liberty, 2002, © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst also makes Spin paintings. To make them he stands on a ladder and pours paint onto large circular canvases as they are rotated at high speed by a spin machine in his studio. The circles spin around a central point, like a disc on a record player. Each work is kind of like an optical illusion experiment. Fancy having a go at making your own Spin painting? Check out our Spin game and let us know what you think of Damien’s work in the comments.

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TOP 5 SPACE INVADERS

Posted 15 December 2015 by Kat

Today Tim Peake will become the first British astronaut to live and work on the International Space Station! It’s a really exciting moment and we wanted to celebrate it on Tate Kids with our Top 5 artworks relating to all thing space!

We think art and science go really well together! They both need creativity, innovation and curiosity! We hope you are inspired by the artworks below to make your own space creations!

1. VALENTINA TERESHKOVA

Evelyne Axell with her work Valentine in 1967 Estate of Evelyne Axell © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Evelyne Axell with her work Valentine in 1967
Estate of Evelyne Axell
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Artists have been inspired by space travel since the 1960s when the first astronauts went to space!

Here is the artist Evelyne Axell in the helmet on her portrait of Valentina Tereshkova. Valentina was the first woman to go in to space (and also the first civilian)! Evelyne’s artwork is political and challenges ideas of power and equality.

She uses a technique called Assemblage, which means she used different materials and objects on her canvas. Here she uses a space helmet and a zip. What else can you make art out of?

2. YURI GAGARIN

Joe Tilson, Transparency I: Yuri Gagarin 12 April 1961, 1968 © Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Joe Tilson, Transparency I: Yuri Gagarin 12 April 1961, 1968 © Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Yuri Gagarin was the first human to journey into outer space, when his spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth in 1961.

The artist, Joe Tilson, was a British Pop artist. He was once a carpenter and made wooden and plastic constructions as well as prints and paintings. He often used children’s toys, bold colours and popular imagery to make his artworks.

3. ROCKETS

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Bash 1971, © The Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Bash, 1971, © The Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation

To get to space you need a rather large rocket!  The Soyuz spacecraft, which Tim Peake will be on, weighs seven tonnes and sits on a 50 metre high rocket! Can you find the rocket in the artwork above?

Eduardo Paolozzi made this screen print. He has collaged lots of different imagery relating to space travel, new technology and the future. Have you made a collage before? What would this artwork look like if it were made today? What imagery would you use to make something about the future?

4. SPACE DUST

James Rosenquist, Space Dust 1989, © James Rosenquist/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2015

James Rosenquist, Space Dust, 1989, © James Rosenquist/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2015

What exactly is space dust?! What does it look like? James Rosenquist has had a go at what he thinks it looks like above.

Rosenquist is a painter and one of the leading American Pop artists. He places bizarre or weird imagery together to make his artworks. Like other pop artists, he mainly finds his imagery in adverts. He also uses materials like plastic sheets, mirrors, and neon lights. What kind of art would you make if it was meant to look like space dust?

5. MONUMENTS

Naum Gabo, Model for ‘Monument to the Astronauts’ c.1966–8 The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2014

Naum Gabo, Model for ‘Monument to the Astronauts’ c.1966–8 The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2014

This is a model made by Naum Gabo. As a sculpture, it was made to move and the neon tube would glow at night so it would look like a floating wave-like form. It would be a great sculpture to celebrate space travel! What monument would you make for astronauts? Maybe you could design it on one of the Tate Kids games!

3, 2, 1…blast off!

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WHO IS…FRANK BOWLING?

Posted 9 December 2015 by Kat

What a mess! Or is it? Take a look at this busy painting by artist Frank Bowling. What do you see?

Frank Bowling, Spreadout Ron Kitaj, 1984–6, © Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling, Spreadout Ron Kitaj, 1984–6, © Frank Bowling

What if you knew this work of art wasn’t just made with paint, but with Christmas glitter, jewellery, foam, and oyster shells? And even toys! There’s even a drawing by the artist’s young son hidden underneath. Frank Bowling took all of these things, arranged them on a canvas, and then got to work smothering them in colourful paint, layer after layer.

It’s okay if you can’t see all of those things, because the artist wanted to hide them under all of that paint.

Frank Bowling did this because he was friends with the Abstract Expressionists, who thought that paint, colours, and patterns were just as important as people and other stuff we can recognise in paintings.

But he didn’t start that way. Bowling started painting in the 1960s in London, where he was friends with Pop artists like David Hockney.

Frank Bowling, Mirror, 1966, © Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling, Mirror, 1966, © Frank Bowling

Can you find the chair, the staircase, and the bright yellow tap? What about people – how many do you see? This painting was made when Bowling still thought people (or figures) were an important part of his paintings.

He even painted himself in it! Once at the top and once at the bottom of the stairs. At the top he’s drawn himself with lines, and at the bottom he’s messy and smudged, almost like he’s turning into paint!

The more paintings Bowling made, the more they were about colours and smudges. After moving to New York City in 1966, he became more and more interested in splashing, dripping, and spilling paint on a canvas to create all kinds of effects.

Frank Bowling Who’s Afraid of Barney Newman 1968 © Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling
Who’s Afraid of Barney Newman,  1968 c. Frank Bowling

He also thought colours could tell stories on their own.

What do the green, yellow, and red in this painting make you feel? Do they mean anything to you?

These colours had special meaning to Bowling, because they make up the flag of Guyana. That’s the country in South America where he was born.

But what are those fuzzy outlines in the middle of the painting? If you know your geography, you might be able to recognise them as maps! The one in the middle is of South America, and the one at the top is Guyana.

Why do you think the artist included these maps in his painting? Maps aren’t just lines we put on the globe. They can be symbols of who we are, and where we come from.

So when Frank Bowling made this painting, he wanted us to think about the power of colours. But he also wanted to share his identity with us, through symbols in a painting. “This is who I am!” it says.

What do you think of Bowling’s artwork? What does it say to you? Let us know in the comments below.

You could even have a go at making your own Abstract Expressionist artworks in one of the Tate Kids games!

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Calder Christmas Competition!

Posted 2 December 2015 by Kat

Ho ho ho!

Christmas is less than a month away and Tate Kids is running a very special Christmas competition this year! Be a detective and win a mega Alexander Calder themed Christmas hamper!

This hamper includes an A5 sketchbook, colouring pencils, an acrylic paint set, a Calder Gold Fish Bowl tote bag, a Calder cushion cover, Meet the Circus book AND an Alexander Calder mug (to hold that all-important hot chocolate!)

Christmas at Tate Shop!

It’s Christmas at Tate Shop!

This competition comes to you in 2 parts.

Part 1 – Zoom!

Below is a zoomed in bit of artwork and you have to guess which painting, out of the 3 below, it comes from.

Hand drawn Christmas card by Phyllis Maureen Gotch 1882-1963

A.

Julian Trevelyan, Christmas Card 1935, © The estate of Julian Trevelyan

Julian Trevelyan, Christmas Card 1935, © The estate of Julian Trevelyan

B.

Handmade Christmas card from Kenneth Armitage to Joan Moore inscribed ‘HAPPY CHRISTMAS’ 22 December 1951. © The Kenneth Armitage Foundation

Handmade Christmas card from Kenneth Armitage to Joan Moore inscribed ‘HAPPY CHRISTMAS’ 22 December 1951. © The Kenneth Armitage Foundation

C.

Hand drawn Christmas card date not known. © The estate of Phyllis Maureen Gotch

Hand drawn Christmas card, date not known. © The estate of Phyllis Maureen Gotch

Part 2 – Multiple choice!

Which one is the correct answer?

Alexander Calder was also known as what to his friends?

A. Pandy

B. Sandy

C. Santa

To get involved leave your 2 answers in the comments below with your first name, a contact email and home address.
We won’t publish anything but your first name and answers. We will use your email address to contact you on if you win and your address to send the prizes too.

Make sure you ask permission from your adults before entering. Please enter only once. The deadline is Sunday 13 December at 9pm. All the correct answers will be put into a random draw to pick a winner! All the other Terms and Conditions are here.

Good luck!

Don’t forget, you can visit the Alexander Calder exhibition over the holidays and, as always, its free for under 12s!

Happy Holidays!

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GIRL TALK: CORNELIA PARKER

Posted 25 November 2015 by Kat
Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991 © Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991 © Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker, the artist, talks about her work:

“This piece came out of a series of works I was doing about cartoon deaths – things like, things falling off cliffs, things being run over by a steam roller, things being blown up, shot full of bullets, like Roadrunner or Tom and Jerry.”

Lisa LeFeuvre, writer and curator, interviewing Parker on her artistic style:

“There seems to be such an importance in your work…. not just on the experience of what we see, but also in terms of the ‘how’ of it…How did this piece of work get made?”

Anna, school girl aged 11 from London, reacts to Parker’s work:

“Wow! That’s crazy! There are so many bits! Where is the light coming from? I would love to be in it!”

There is loads more stuff to read and watch about Cornelia Parker’s work, so check that out! You can even find out how the exploded shed was made!

What do you think about Cornelia Parker’s work? Let us know in the comments below.

GIRL TALK looks at female artists through artworks and quotes from themselves, their friends, other people in the art world and kids just like you!

Quotes are from the  Audio transcript  of Cornelia Parker ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’ and Talking Art: Cornelia Parker, 2008 at Tate.

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