Ellsworth Kelly

To construct and to refrain from destruction


Astrophysicists think they know how to destroy a black hole. The puzzle is what such destruction would leave behind.

The idea of a body so massive that its escape velocity exceeds the speed of light dates back to the English geologist John Michell who first considered it in 1783. In his scenario, a beam of light would travel away from the massive body until it reached a certain height and then returned to the surface.

Modern thinking about black holes is somewhat different, not least because special relativity tells us that the speed of light is a universal constant. The critical concept that physicists focus on today is the event horizon: a theoretical boundary in space through which light and other objects can pass in one direction but not in the other. Since light cannot escape, the event horizon is what makes a black hole black.

The event horizon is somewhat of a disappointment to many astrophysicists because the interesting physics, the stuff beyond the known laws of the universe, all occurs inside it and is therefore hidden from us.

What physicists would like, therefore, is way to get rid of the event horizon and expose the inner workings to proper scrutiny. Doing this would destroy the black hole but reveal something far more bizarre and exotic.

Today, Ted Jacobson at the University of Maryland and Thomas Sotiriou and the University of Cambridge explain how this might be done in an entertaining and remarkably accessible account of the challenge.

{ The Physics arXiv Blog | Continue reading }

artwork { Ellsworth Kelly, Black Forms, 1955 | ink, graphite and collage on paper }

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue


What makes a fruit “super?”

First of all, we have to define what characteristics a fruit has to have to be labeled “super.” The superfruit craze seems to have hit a tipping point in 2004, however there appear to be no clear standards as to how a fruit attains a “super” status. Marketing and exotic appeal rather than science have given select fruits a more salubrious appeal. As most health claims however, these are based on perception rather than evidence.

One thing that superfuits do have in common, however, is a high ORAC value.

The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) assay was developed to directly test the antioxidant capacity of biological samples. There are however many different tests of antioxidant capacity that have been developed and utilized, each with various shortcomings.

{ Nutritional Blogma | Continue reading }

drawing { Ellsworth Kelly, Tangerine, 1964-65 }

Philosophers give ideas away for free, if you think about it


MOMA’s founding director and “intellectual creator” viewed Johns’ first solo show at Leo Castelli and telephoned MOMA curator Dorothy Miller to come right over so they could select works. They purchased Johns’ 1954 Flag, Green Target, Target with Four Faces and White Numbers (thus anointing the 28-year-old into the modernist pantheon).

{ Art Net | Continue reading }

Rauschenberg opened up the possibilities that are now being mined by contemporary con-artists such as Damien Hirst, Mike Kelley, and Jeff Koons. Rauschenberg didn’t poeticize the ordinary. He aggrandized the ordinary, he put a high-art style price tag on the ordinary.

{ The New Republic | Continue reading }

$12 million, that’s how much Damien Hirst’s famous shark sold for in 2005. …. It’s not just about the work of art; rather, the value placed on a particular work derives from how it feels to own that art. Most art dealers know that art buying is all about what tier of buyers you aspire to join, about establishing a self-identity and, yes, getting some publicity. The network of galleries and auction houses spends a lot of its time, money, and energy giving artworks just the right image. Remarkably, buyers support the process in the interest of coming out on top, rather than fighting it and trying to get the lower prices. ….

art critics don’t matter much anymore. If the magazine Art in America pays $200 for a review article, why listen to that writer? We have a much richer and generally more accessible guide to the value of art — namely the market itself. ….

Damien Hirst is now worth more than Dali, Picasso, and Warhol were at the same age, put together. The point isn’t whether, in aesthetic terms, he deserves that compensation. The question is whether this way of organizing the art market makes overall sense.

{ NY Sun | Continue reading }

Earlier this year, hedge-fund millionaire Daniel Loeb made a sweet trade. The 43-year-old partner at Third Point LLC had purchased a rare asset in 2003. He found a buyer in January and sold it for a 500% profit, making a quick $1 million. …

Hedge-fund managers are reinventing the art of the art deal. With their sudden riches, quest for status and big houses in need of adornment, fund managers have become some of the most active buyers and sellers in the art world.

They have been buying up hundreds of millions of dollars of paintings, sculptures and pop-art installations. They have helped turn middling artists into media stars. … where others see art, many fund managers see another market ripe for trading, buying, selling and flipping. Many invest heavily in one or two artists, to build up a “position.” They promote the value of the artists, help boost their prices and sometimes later unload pieces through a tax-favorable gift or sale.

{ WSJ | Continue reading }

“Who makes that kind of money in the stock market?” said Sender, 38, as he swiveled round the 21 screens at his desk in New York. “In the hedge-fund business these days, you’re having a great year if you make 20 percent.”

Sender revamped his hedge fund Exis Capital Management Inc. last year, returning some investors’ money after losses in 2004 and 2006. Meanwhile, the value of his art, with works by Richard Prince, Mike Kelley and Andreas Gursky, has continued to rise, quadrupling in 10 years.

Art is now his biggest single asset — 800 works that Sender values at more than $100 million. He said he recouped most of the $25 million he spent in the past 10 years on art with the sale of about 40 pieces.

Sender is a new type of financier collector, with Steven Cohen and Daniel Loeb. Their gains on works by Prince and Martin Kippenberger aren’t just dumb luck in a boom. They apply rules for buying art, as well as stocks.

Sender tries to buy the best works of artists he admires, whose pieces also are being acquired by museums and other collectors.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

When a big-name artist has a gallery show at a big-name gallery like White Cube or Gagosian, his best paintings aren’t even on public view: “The new buyer has little chance of even seeing the hot paintings, which will be kept in a small private room. What is hung in public areas is available for purchase but of lesser significance.” ….

One of the things which fascinates me about the recent run-up in contemporary art prices is that it’s meant a huge change in the way that many artists work: it’s commonplace nowadays for artists to have dozens of assistants, something which was a decidedly unusual and controversial practice back in the days of Warhol. With prices for new works regularly breaking into seven figures, art has become bigger and more polished; it often uses much more expensive materials and can draw on resources which would have been unthinkable 15 years ago.

{ Portfolio | Continue reading }

To Mr. Galenson markets are what make the 20th century completely different from other eras for art. In earlier periods artists created works for rich patrons generally in the court or the church, which functioned as a monopoly. Only in the 20th century did art enter the marketplace and become a commodity, like a stick of butter or an Hermès bag. In this system, he said, breaking the rules became the most valued attribute. The greatest rewards went to conceptual innovators who frequently changed styles and invented genres. For the first time the idea behind the work of art became more important than the physical object itself.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

artwork { Ellsworth Kelly }

It’s just we’re putting new coversheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that’d be great.


The genome, as we all know, largely determines what we look like, our traits, and, significantly, our susceptibility to disease and other disorders. Ahituv is one of tens of thousands of well-funded researchers around the world trying to determine which segments of the genome contribute to which disorders. It is one of the biggest scientific endeavors in history, premised on the notion that the results can be used to prevent or fix many things, or possibly everything, that ails the human body — from allergies to cancer to aging itself. Dozens of biotech companies have sprung up in the past decade to commercialize this work, and one might assume that a stream of miracle pills will soon be on its way to our pharmacies.

You bet — just as soon as we work through a couple of hitches in this grand genomic enterprise. Scientists have indeed been superb at finding connections between disorders and various strips of DNA. But it turns out that in the vast majority of cases, these connections happen to be hideously convoluted, with any one disorder related to many genes and any one gene affecting many things in the body. Even when researchers are able to highlight a clear relationship between a single gene and a single disorder, they generally have little or no idea how those chunks of DNA are causing problems. (…)

It turns out that many dozens or even hundreds of genes each contribute to any given human attribute, and any one gene might contribute to several. Genes, in other words, turn out to work not as simple disease switches, but in impossibly complex networks.

{ The Gene Bubble: Why We Still Aren’t Disease-Free | Fast Company | Continue reading }

color lines { Ellsworth Kelly | Reifenhäuser }

Two years ago she was trying to get her life together, and now she’s so clear





{ Ellsworth Kelly, Sculpture for a Large Wall, 1957 | 104 anodixed aluminum panels | MoMA }

In 1956, when he was 34 years old, Ellsworth Kelly was invited to create a sculpture for the lobby of Philadelphia’s Transportation Building which housed the old Greyhound Bus Terminal. The piece he made, Sculpture for a Large Wall, was the largest work of his career to that point.

{ ArtSeenSoho | Continue reading }

The Ellsworth Kelly “Sculpture for a Large Wall” was sold by Ronald Rubin for about $100,000. Then Matthew Marks turned around and sold it to the Lauder’s for about $1,000,000. The piece was later donated to MoMA by Carole and Ronald Lauder.

It was Kelly’s first sculpture, first commission and one of the first uses of anodized aluminum in fine art in America. The fact that no one complained when this unique masterpiece left Philadelphia while they raised $200,000 to retain Isiah Zagar’s kitschery makes Sid Sachs (director of the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at the University of the Arts) a very sad man. And the quality of the work and its importance is attested by the fact that MOMA used it every chance it could in ads and bus stop kiosks.

{ Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof | Continue reading }

When Jeremy Wolfe of Harvard Medical School (…) wanted to illustrate how the brain sees the world and how often it fumbles the job, he flashed a slide of Ellsworth Kelly’s “Study for Colors for a Large Wall” on the screen, and the audience couldn’t help but perk to attention.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Now that I can release my tensions



• Museum of Modern Art - Free 4 to 8 p.m. (normally $20)

• Whitney Museum of American Art - Pay-what-you-wish 6 to 9 p.m. (normally $18)



• Guggenheim - Pay-what-you-wish 5:45 to 7:45 p.m. (normally $18)

{ Museum free hours in NYC for fall/winter 2009/10 | Newyorkology | Continue reading }

artwork { Ellsworth Kelly, Horizontal Line, 1951 }