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The latest news on Art from Business Insider
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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


    I've lived in my current apartment for six months, and I still have yet to find wall art my partner and I both like enough to hang in it.

    We're picky about what we should hang on our walls. Neither of us wants to decorate our space with Van Gogh reproductions and movie posters. Like a lot of people, we want to decorate it with wall art and photos that mean something to us.

    Recently, I stumbled across an answer to our problem in the form of a website called Grafomap that lets you design map posters of any place in the world.

    You can make one of your hometown, your college town, your favorite travel destination, or the place where you got engaged or married — you're only limited by your imagination.

    Once you enter your desired location, Grafomap takes you to its poster editor where you can further customize your location down the exact address or coordinates. After that, you can continue personalizing your map by adjusting, panning, and zooming the map exactly to your liking, adding or removing text, and selecting the size, frame, and orientation. Additionally, Grafomap has a variety of unique color themes to choose from (including Noir, Popart, Minimal, and Modern) that transform your map from just an ordinary map into a work of art you'll love displaying in your home.

    My custom map poster of Sint Maarten took all of five minutes to create, and the finished product is undeniably cool. It's also very affordable. An 18"x24" print sets you back $49. If you want to get something a little bigger and that's ready to hang right out of the box it's shipped in, you can get a 24"x36" framed print for $168. (Full disclosure: I got to try the service for free.)

    Learn more about how Grafomap's custom poster editor works below. And try it out for yourself here.

    SEE ALSO: The 10 best purchases I've made to save space in my small apartment

    Start by selecting a location for your map poster. I chose Sint Maarten since my partner and I have been vacationing there together for years.

    Once you enter your desired location, Grafomap takes you to its poster editor where you can continue personalizing your map by adjusting, panning, and zooming the map to your liking, adding or removing text, and selecting the size, frame, and orientation.

    Grafomap's uses OpenStreetMap (OSM) open source geodata database to generate maps and Mapbox design filters to add a design on top of OSM data. This Mapbox service was developed for companies like AirBnB and Uber, but Grafomap is the first company to repurpose this tool for art.

    I most enjoyed toggling between color themes. My favorites were Wheatpaste, Modern, and Popart.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Amanda Oleander Couple Art Star Gazing Romantic

    Los Angeles-based fine artist Amanda Oleander captures the intimate moments of everyday life in her drawings — from the ordinary to the embarrassing to the truly special.

    Oleander, who has been drawing and painting since she was about four or five years old, rose to fame in 2015 as Periscope's first real star. That year, she racked up over 200,000 followers on the live streaming platform. Today, she has over 581,000 and counting, not to mention the 249,000 who follow her on Instagram.

     The 28-year-old artist told INSIDER that she is drawn to the moments "we never get to see," the moments that "can't really be documented because if they were, it would alter" how we act. "I'm enthralled by the way people behave behind closed doors," she said.

    Take a closer look at some of Oleander's drawings below.

    Sometimes, the most romantic milestones in a relationship come when you let your guard down around your partner.

    These are the instances that stand out to Oleander, who frequently draws inspiration from her own relationship with her boyfriend, Joey Rudman.

    Her artwork captures all the intimate moments that bring a couple closer together, like when you take care of a sick partner, even if you'll get sick, too.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    blue yellow color blindness photography project 7

    Color blindness is most commonly an inherited condition that limits people's ability to perceive differences in color, or, more rarely, see certain colors at all.

    In simplest terms, those of us without color blindness can observe all the wavelengths of light that exist in the universe, which our brains then perceive as color. Our eyes have all three types of cones: long, medium, and short — each of which is sensitive to a different part of the visible spectrum (red, green, and blue, respectively).

    Photographer Davide Sasso has created a series that explores the way people with Tritanopia, or blue-yellow color blindness, may possibly see the world. Tritanopia is an extremely rare condition in which people lack blue cone cells in their eyes. As a result, blues appear greenish; yellow and oranges appear violet, pinkish, or light gray; and purples appear dark red.

    As Rafi Letzer previously wrote, it's difficult for people with color blindness, himself included, to demonstrate their objective perception of colors in the world. But tools online, such as this color blindness simulator by Colblindor, and projects like Sasso's may help give us some insight.

    Below, take a closer look at Sasso's stunning project.

    Here is how a person without color blindness may see a forest floor covered in fall foliage.

    Here is a photo Sasso edited to show how a person with blue-yellow color blindness may see the same photo of a forest floor. The bright green of the leaf in the middle is much more muted, and the yellows and oranges take on deep pink and gray tones.

    Here is another example of how someone with blue-yellow color blindness may see a forest during the fall.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • London has just opened a new light-themed art festival.
    • It's called Lumiere London.
    • Entry is completely free. 
    • It takes place from the 18th to the 21st of January.


    London's dark winter nights will shine a little brighter starting Thursday (January 18), as a nighttime art exhibition featuring a range of publicly displayed works that use light as a medium gets underway.

    Lumiere London features over 50 works by British and overseas artists, located in public spaces, buildings and on the streets. The artists who have created works include Tracey Emin, Alaa Minawi, Julian Opie and Miguel Chevalier.

    The works themselves comprise range of installations, including a giant desk lamp in King's Cross, a triangular tunnel of light on the South Bank and one of London's iconic telephone boxes turned into an illuminated fish tank in Seven Dials.

    Lumiere London runs Jan. 18-21, and is free to view.

    Produced by Jasper Pickering

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    cafe terrace at night

    • Many of the most famous paintings in the world are hundreds of years old.
    • Even after all of this time, modern technology is helping us discover previously unknown "hidden" images concealed in the art.
    • Using art restoration techniques, imaging technology, and even microscopes, art historians have been able to uncover some shocking secrets.

    People love finding hidden symbols and secret codes in all sorts of objects — including art.

    It might be common knowledge that Da Vinci was an accomplished musician, but not many people know about the song he painted into "The Last Supper," using rolls and hands in the place of music notes. And you've probably seen the "Mona Lisa," but not with a microscope — she has a miniscule code hidden in her eyes.

    Here are 14 famous works of art that have hidden symbols.

    "The Ambassadors" by Hans Holbein the Younger has a hard-to-find reference to mortality.

    This entire painting has a very realistic look to it, until you notice the blob (for lack of a better word) in the bottom-middle between the the two men.

    Apparently, the "blob" is actually a skull that's been distorted. If you look at the painting from the right, it turns into a human skull.

    Some believe that the skull is a reference to the Latin phrase"memento mori," which means "remember you shall die." Memento mori was allegedly the motto of the man who commissioned the painting, Jean de Dinteville (the man on the left).

    "Madonna with Saint Giovannino" by Domenico Ghirlandaio has found itself at the center of UFO conspiracy theories.

    Yes, that blurry circle next to the Madonna's head has been at the center of a controversy for years. Many UFO conspiracy theorists are convinced that it's a depiction of an alien aircraft.

    While it doesn't look like much here, when zoomed in, the circle definitely has a UFO-esque look to it.

    The section of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, called "Creation of Adam," has an easily-missed reference to the human body.

    The shape of the red cloak surrounding God is an astoundingly anatomically correct rendering of the human brain. Does this mean that Michelangelo believed that God was the creation of the human brain? That will never be known, but could be an interesting look into the brain of one of the most iconic artists in history.

    This idea is so widespread it was even referenced by hit HBO show "Westworld."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Botnik Studios Coachella 2018

    • A fake Coachella poster that went viral after its publication Tuesday was generated by artificial intelligence.
    • The neural network and poster came out of Botnik Studios, an Amazon Alexa Accelerator graduate which uses computer systems to make art. 
    • The neural network generated the list after being fed a bunch of real band names, including the names of every band ever written about on Pitchfork. 
    • The fake band names are hilarious, but it wasn't all the AI's doing. Humans at Botnik handpicked the best phrases out of a collection of generated band names ranging from realistic to gibberish. 

    A sense of humor may be one of the last things that distinguishes humans from robots, but that doesn't mean that artificial intelligence can't come up with a good joke.

    Botnik Studios, an art collective that uses computers "to make cool stuff," brought those capabilities to light Tuesday with the release of its AI generated Coachella poster.

    The poster features made up band names such as headliners Fanch, One of Pig, and Lil Hack — names which have no association with real musical acts but which all are eerily familiar enough to give a sense that they could be real.

    That eerie familiarity is by design, said Jamie Brew, a former writer for parody sites The Onion and Clickhole, who now works as CEO of Botnik Studios. 

    "Some people seem to have the same experience that I had when I first saw the finished thing," Brew told Business Insider. "The feeling of looking at a lineup for a festival and not recognizing any of the bands, and feeling out of touch because you must not be cool anymore."

    Incubated by Amazon

    Botnik Studios is a Seattle-based company that uses artificial intelligence and bots to create art. Though the company gives off the air of anarchy, it's one of the first companies to come out of the Amazon Alexa Accelerator — a startup incubator that focuses on building companies that work on bot-based voice technology. 

    The company itself employees just five people, but Brew said that there are around 30 to 40 writers, editors, programmers and artists that are part of the larger Botnik community, and who use its technology for their own creations.

    To create the Coachella post, Brew said that members of Botnik taught an artificial neutral network to guess what letter is most likely to follow another letter. The bot lives on the AWS cloud, and is a variant of a public AI model designed by Andrej Karpathy, who now runs AI for Tesla. 

    To generate the poster, the network was fed thousands of band names, including a complete list of every band written about on Pitchfork, which trained it to come up with words that follow similar letter patterns. 

    While AI came up with the names, Brew said it was ultimately humans that curated the final list out of a lot of unworthy candidates. 

    "We think of it like farming," Brew said. "There are acres and acres of mostly total gibberish."

    The Coachella poster is the second project Botnik has created using the neural network. The first was a "Hashtag Forecast" that generated a list of the "hottest upcoming web trends," such as #figfam and #tanglife. 

    The group also made a name for itself with fake Seinfeld and Harry Potter scripts generated by a predictive keyboard app, which gives word suggestions based on the source text you feed it. 

    Here's the full poster: 

    Botnik Studios Coachella 2018

    SEE ALSO: A startup from Phil Libin's 'studio' thinks its artificial intelligence will make employees happier at work

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    gold toilet Maurizio Cattelan

    • Donald and Melania Trump wanted to borrow a Van Gogh painting from a museum for their private living quarters.
    • The museum's curator, a vocal critic of Trump, countered their request with an offer to let them borrow a used, gold toilet.

    NEW YORK (AP) — Donald and Melania Trump wanted to borrow a Van Gogh painting from a New York museum for their White House private quarters. Instead, The Washington Post reports, the Guggenheim Museum’s curator came up with a pointedly satirical counter-offer: a working solid-gold toilet made by an Italian artist.

    The first couple asked for Van Gogh’s “Landscape With Snow,” featuring a man and his dog.

    Museum curator Nancy Spector has been openly critical of Trump in social media. She emailed the White House in September to say that the Trumps could borrow the toilet installation used by visitors in a museum restroom until August. The toilet , titled “America,” is Maurizio Cattelan’s jab at the nation’s greedier instincts. It has an estimated value topping $1 million.

    The Post said the White House has stayed silent on the offer.

    SEE ALSO: Trump announced his 'fake news awards' and the site he linked to went down almost immediately

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    guggenheim toilet

    • The Trumps requested to borrow a Vincent Van Gogh painting from the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum. The president and First Lady hoped to display it in the Oval Office.
    • The Guggenheim's chief curator declined the request.
    • Instead, she offered a fully functional, 18-karat gold toilet called "America."

    It's tradition for US presidents to borrow famous artwork from museums in order to decorate the White House. The Smithsonian loaned the Kennedys "The Smoker," a Eugène Delacroix painting. The Obamas picked abstract works by Mark Rothko and Jasper Johns.

    In September 2017, the Trumps requested Vincent Van Gogh's "Landscape With Snow" from the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The 1888 painting depicts a man in a black hat and his dog walking along a path in Arles, France.

    In an email, Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector declined. Instead, she offered an 18-karat solid gold toilet by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, the Washington Post reports.

    The toilet was available "should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House," Spector wrote in an email obtained by The Post.

    The artist "would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan," she continued. "It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care."

    Called "America," the modern sculpture was on display at the museum for a year starting in September 2016. It's meant to comment on the American dream, as well as criticize the excess of wealth and exclusivity in the art world in the US, according to the museum. It was open to anyone who paid admission.

    Cattelan has referred to the work as "1% art for the 99%," since it makes an extravagant luxury product available to the public. He also hopes people will draw their own conclusions from the piece, which is expected to have cost over $1 million.

    For the installation, Cattelan replaced a regular toilet in one of the museum's bathroom stalls with the fully functional, gold toilet. A security guard stood at the restroom's entrance as people waited to use it, and explained to visitors that it's a piece of artwork before they entered. (The guard also protected the installation from those who hoped to walk away with a highly valuable souvenir.)

    Once visitors made it into the stall, they could have a nice sit and contemplate the meaning of "America." In a 2017 Guggenheim blog post, Spector wrote that more than 100,000 people "waited patiently in line for the opportunity to commune with art and with nature." In September 2017, the sculpture went to the Guggenheim’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, and then later came back to New York.

    It's now in storage indefinitely at the museum — that is, unless the White House wants it.

    SEE ALSO: These stunning glass pipes and bongs for the 1% cost up to $300,000

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    teenage mutant ninja turtle michaelangelo met

    • The Metropolitan Museum of Art is having a Michelangelo exhibit.
    • They invited Michelangelo the Teenage Mutant Turtle to check it out.
    • The photos are hilarious and people are having fun with them.


    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently hosting a big exhibition about the Renaissance-era painter Michelangelo Buonarroti, known for painting "The Sistine Chapel Ceiling" and "The Creation of Adam," as well as the sculpture "David." And who better to invite than Michelangelo himself?

    And so that's what they did: As a public relations stunt, the Met brought a guy dressed up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and posted pictures on Twitter.

    It instantly turned into a meme.

    People actually liked it, even though it's marketing.

    But one question lingers: Did Michelangelo have to pay a fee, or is he an in-state resident?

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    • Manchester Art Gallery in England has removed a 19th century painting from its walls.
    • "Hylas and the Nymphs," by John William Waterhouse, shows a classical scene featuring mild nudity.
    • The gallery said it removed the painting "to prompt a conversation."
    • Gallery curator said the #MeToo and Time's Up movements were part of the thought process.

    A prominent art gallery has removed a Victorian painting from its walls because of its depiction of the female form.

    Manchester Art Gallery, in northern England, took down "Hylas and the Nymphs" by John William Waterhouse last week, partly in light of the cultural #MeToo movement, which aims to highlight the mistreatment of women.

    In a blog post about the removal, the gallery said: "We have left a temporary space in Gallery 10 in place of 'Hylas and the Nymphs' by JW Waterhouse to prompt conversation about how we display and interpret artworks in Manchester’s public collection."

    The oil painting, completed in 1896, shows the mythological figure of Hylas, one of the Argonauts who joined Jason on a quest to retrieve a magical golden fleece.

    At one point in the voyage, Hylas strayed from the group and met a group of nymphs, magical woman-like creatures with a reputation for being beautiful, naked, and treacherous. He was abducted and never seen again, the moment depicted in the painting.

    Manchester Art Gallery

    According to The Guardian, gallery curator Clare Gannaway said the Time's Up and #MeToo cultural movements "fed into the decision" to take the picture down.

    The report suggested that the painting could be put back later, depending on the public response.

    Nudity in works of art has presented problems before, online as well as in physical galleries.

    Facebook has been criticised for removing imagery of a nude statue of the god Neptune which has stood in a public square in Bologna, Italy, for centuries. It said the work was "sexually explicit."

    Likewise, imagery of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, was taken down for showing "too much bare skin."

    While in 2016, officials in Florence, Italy, covered up Michelangelo's "David" during a visit by the president of Iran, reportedly to respect the country's cultural norms.

    SEE ALSO: Facebook blocked a photo of an Italian renaissance statue because it was 'sexually explicit'

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    Gustave Courbet's 1866

    • Frederic Durand-Baissas, a 59-year-old Parisian teacher and art lover, is suing Facebook for alleged censorship.
    • He claims his Facebook account was suspended after he posted a photo of Gustave Courbet's 1866 painting, "The Origin of the World," which depicts female genitalia.
    • He wants his account reactivated and is asking for $23,500 in damages.
    • A Paris civil court is set to hear the case on Thursday.

    A French teacher is suing Facebook for alleged censorship because his account got suspended in 2011 after he posted a photo of a famous 19th-century nude painting.

    After years of legal battle by Facebook to escape a trial in France, a Paris civil court is set to hear the case Thursday.

    The account was suspended hours after Frederic Durand-Baissas, a 59-year-old Parisian teacher and art lover, posted a photo of Gustave Courbet's 1866 painting "The Origin of the World," which depicts female genitalia.

    Durand-Baissas wants his account reactivated and is asking for 20,000 euros ($23,500) in damages. He also wants Facebook to explain why his account was closed.

    Facebook has since changed its standards policy to now allow photographs of nude figures in art.

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    barack obama presidential portrait smithsonian national portrait gallery

    • Barack Obama's painting for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery was unveiled.
    • It looks a bit different.
    • The painting shows him sitting in a wooden chair in front of a lot of foliage.
    • Twitter turned it into some funny memes.

    On Monday, Barack Obama had his presidential portrait unveiled. It will hang in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. But something about it looks different.

    Instead of the usual conservative image of a guy in a suit standing next to a wooden desk (with a few exceptions), the artist drew him in front of foliage.

    Obama selected Kehinde Wiley, a painter famous for depicting black figures in dignified yet colorful poses, to paint his portrait. Michelle Obama, too, has an unusual painting, made by the Baltimore artist Amy Sherald.

    Wiley explained that the foliage behind Obama was a way of "charting his path on Earth," since it includes flowers from Kenya, Hawaii, and Chicago — all significant places in the former president's life.

    But users on Twitter immediately drew pop culture comparisons. The portrait recalls, for example, a famous scene from "The Simpsons" where Homer Simpson recedes into the bushes.

    It also looks a bit like the poster for "mother!"

    And the time President Trump's former White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, apparently hid among the bushes to avoid questions from reporters.

    Also, remember the time Obama appeared on "Between Two Ferns?"

    The painting is a perfectly meme-able image. It's easy to put into different contexts and have fun with.

    Obama himself, though, was hoping it'd look a little different.

    "I tried to negotiate less gray hair, and Kehinde's artistic integrity would not allow him to do what I asked," Obama said at the portrait's unveiling ceremony. "I tried to negotiate smaller ears, struck out on that as well."

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    • Jessika Jacob creates paintings with thousands of tiny dots.
    • The technique she uses is similar to pointillism.
    • She has sold her paintings to customers in more than 15 countries.


    Artist Jessika Jacob makes paintings with lots of little dots, using a technique that is similar to pointillism.

    She only uses one brush to paint the droplets.

    Jessika started the paintings as part of her yoga training. Her first designs had only a few drops, but now they are more complex.

    She uses painting as a form of meditation. She says it takes an immense amount of patience. In fact, some paintings can take over 100 hours to make.

    Jessika has sold prints to people in more than 15 countries.

    Prices start at £720 for a 12”x12” painting.

    She shares her work on her Instagram page.

    Produced by Claudia Romeo


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