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WHO IS…MARTA MINUJÍN?

Posted 20 April 2016 by Kat

Marta Minujín started off as a painter, but from the early 1960s she began to use materials that weren’t really thought of as ‘proper’ art materials, like mattresses and cardboard boxes.

Marta Minujín in Paris with her work Mattress before destruction Courtesy the artist

Marta Minujín in Paris with her work Mattress before destruction.  Courtesy the artist

She was a pop artist and like other pop artists was inspired by popular and commercial culture such as advertising, Hollywood movies and pop music. She liked the printed surfaces of the boxes she used with their logos, adverts and texts and these surfaces became part of her art.

But it wasn’t just the surfaces of the boxes that she liked. Inspired by the ideas of an artist friend called Alberto Greco, she began to manipulate the boxes, and other found objects, into shapes and structures so that they became something people could interact with. She made assemblages (like 3D collages) and environments that could be crawled into, or rolled on top of or laid upon.

And that was where the artwork, Mayhem started. Mayhem (which is La Menesunda in Spanish) gives us some clues about the work and also about what the artist is like – playful, fun and not always doing things she should…

Marta Minujín, LA MENESUNDA (1965) c. Marta Minujin

Marta Minujín, LA MENESUNDA (1965) c. Marta Minujin

Minujín was invited to make a work in 1965 for the Torcuato Di Tella Institute (an art museum) in Buenos Aires. But rather than making something to be shown in the space which visitors could look AT from a polite distance, she made the space INTO an artwork that people had to go into in order to experience it.

La Menesunda was a labyrinth of 16 environments, (an environment is an artwork that people can go into). Each one provided a completely different experience for the visitors, so they weren’t quite sure what they were going to get next. And if you think visiting the dentist in an art gallery isn’t confusing enough, she also created a walk-in freezer complete with hanging meat (made from cloth, luckily); and a mirrored room with black lights, falling confetti and the smell of frying food.

It is also important to her that her art is for everybody (not just for people who like art). Do you think you would enjoy visiting Mayhem? Lots of people did. Although the Torcuato Di Tella Institute was a serious art museum, lots of people came to see Mayhem who had never set foot inside a gallery before. In fact there were queues right down the street to get in and 30,000 people visited the exhibition.

 

Marta Minujín La destrucción (The Destruction) 1963 Courtesy of the artist and Henrique Faria Fine Art New York

Marta Minujín, La destrucción (The Destruction), 1963
Courtesy of the artist and Henrique Faria Fine Art New York

 

So what’s it all about?

Minujín’s work is all about participation – or joining in. She makes art that people don’t just look at – but actively encounter. She wants people to be surprised and shocked, to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, and to become curious. She sees her role as intensifying people’s lives by getting them to experience things and feelings they normally wouldn’t.

Do you like the idea of art that you can interact with – or play in or on? Have you ever visited a museum or gallery and explored interactive art? Do you think it changes how you think about art?

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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…PATRICK CAULFIELD?

Posted 8 July 2015 by Kat

Let’s meet Patrick Caulfield!

Are you hungry? This painting is called ‘After Lunch’, 1975.

Patrick Caulfield, After Lunch 1975, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield

Patrick Caulfield, After Lunch 1975, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield

It is a picture of a restaurant. Do you think the artist might have been on holiday when he painted it? Can you see the man leaning in the doorway? Do you think he is waiting for the artist to leave?

Patrick Caulfield has painted the picture blue and in a cartoon style. But then he has done something strange. He has painted a realistic landscape scene on the wall. This is different to what you find in most paintings. The artist is playing with our ideas of what is real and what is not.

Patrick Caulfield is called a Pop artist because he painted everyday objects, like an empty wine glass or a bottle. He liked making paintings that were very flat, they look a bit like they have been printed rather than painted. To begin with he used household paints, the glossy kind that are sometimes used to paint walls or doors.

Here is a painting of a lampshade. It is very simple isn’t it?

Patrick Caulfield, Lampshade 1969, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Patrick Caulfield, Lampshade 1969, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

But is it also a little bit mysterious. Can you see that the light from the lamp is not illuminating the darkness?

That is because Caulfield was interested in the Surrealist artists. They liked to put everyday objects together to make something playful and disturbing at the same time. Like this painting of some bananas by the surrealist artist Giorgio de Chirico. He mixes a traditional Greek sculpture of a body with some bananas! Strange eh? But it makes you think about something that is new and something that is old! Do you think that Patrick Caulfield was inspired by this painting to make his painting below? What are the similarities and differences in the paintings?

Giorgio de Chirico, The Uncertainty of the Poet 1913, © DACS, 2015

Giorgio de Chirico, The Uncertainty of the Poet 1913, © DACS, 2015

Patrick Caulfield, Bananas and Leaves 1977, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Patrick Caulfield, Bananas and Leaves 1977, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Caulfield studied art at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s. He met other Pop artists there like Peter Blake and David Hockney. He was part of a movement that celebrated ordinary life, and painted scenes about it, and he inspired many other artists to do the same.

What would you draw or paint to show every day life? Is there something around you right now that might look a bit boring but actually could be a start of a very interesting story….?

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TOP 5 RAINBOWS

Posted 3 June 2014 by Becs

Rainbows. They seem to be one of your favourite things to draw on our games like Street Art and Tate Paint. Maybe you’ve seen a rainbow outside recently that has inspired you! Or maybe you just like to carefully combine colours. So to inspire you rainbow makers, here is a selection of works that show how artists have worked with the colours found in the rainbow and the spectrum.

5. Can a rainbow even exist in moonlight? In this beautiful print it certainly can:

Over the Moon 1978 Patrick Hughes born 1939 Presented by Christie's Contemporary Art 1979 © Patrick Hughes

Over the Moon 1978 Patrick Hughes © Patrick Hughes

4. The colours here don’t follow the usual order of the spectrum, but we still think this qualifies the perfect rainbow wall!

Wall Drawing #1136 2004 Sol LeWitt 1928-2007 ARTIST ROOMS  Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 © The estate of Sol LeWitt

Wall Drawing #1136 2004 Sol LeWitt 1928-2007 © The estate of Sol LeWitt

3. This paler rainbow was made almost 200 years ago using watercolour. Notice the reflection of the rainbow in the water.

Arundel Castle on the River Arun, with a Rainbow circa 1824-5 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Arundel Castle on the River Arun, with a Rainbow circa 1824-5 Joseph Mallord William Turner

2. This colourful piece on paper was made using a technique called screenprinting.

Map No. II Paradise 1969 Jens Lausen born 1937 Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 © Jens Lausen

Map No. II Paradise 1969 Jens Lausen © Jens Lausen

1. The artist who made this piece, Norman Adams, was very interested in the rainbow, making at least 15 paintings featuring them.

Rainbow Painting (I) 1966 Norman Adams 1927-2005 Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1969 © The estate of Norman Adams

Rainbow Painting (I) 1966 Norman Adams © The estate of Norman Adams

Which is you favourite rainbow? The next time you draw your rainbows, be inspired by the paintings and prints you have seen here!

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