From an idyllic childhood in imperial Russia to his final days in New York City, former Museum of Natural History director Andrey Avinoff explored the worlds of science and art with equal vigor, all in the pursuit of beauty. A new exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Art is the first to reveal the true depth and breadth of his artistic vision.
Legend has it that Andrey Avinoff (pronounced a-VEE-nov), born in 1884 to wealth and privilege, captured his first butterfly as a 5-year-old, at the request of a relative who wished to paint a certain species. The next day, the family artist sent the youngster off to fetch another of the winged beauties. Upon trapping his delicate prey, he noticed subtle differences between the two. His curiosity piqued, Avinoff took the first step in a lifelong journey of seeking knowledge and appreciating the exquisite elegance, diversity, and beauty of nature that would one day lead him to Carnegie Museum of Natural History, where he served as director for nearly two decades.
What prompted you to do this film As a model in the industry for so many years I have access to fashion and beauty industry insiders. I wanted to explore the truth about the pursuit of beauty. To show that the model you see is not always the person as they are. Almost every photo is photo-shopped to produce a look to market a brand. It is a really unrealistic view of beauty. I wanted to take an honest look at the beauty industry, this crazy world, and how physical beauty can be quantified.
- Title: Chasing beauty - Medium: Mixed Media, marble dust paste, natural sand, ceramic stuco and ink. - Support: Stretched Canvas. Staple-free edges.- Size: 36\" x 48\" x 1.5\"- Two coats of protective gloss varnish are applied to protect the painting from UV rays and dust. The sides of the canvas are painted black and it's wired and ready to hang.- Painting is signed and dated by the artist as well as accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.
The characterization of a person as beautiful, whether it is a personal opinion or the common judgment of society, is often based on a combination of \"inner beauty\" such as personality, intelligence, elegance and charm and \"outer beauty\" such as health, youth, relevance to the average and prevalence, and of course, skin.
The exhibition celebrates the pivotal, and transitional culture of Rome in the seventeenth century, assessing the influence of the scholar and historian Bellori. In his publication 'L'Idea del Pittore, della Sculture, e dell'Architetto', Belloni developed his central thesis that the springs of creativity were derived from cerebral supremacy, as the mark of intelligence, enhanced wherever possibly by imagination, rather than by divine intervention or a sense of nature. Bellori marked a sea change that culminated in the Baroque. He recognised that such artists as Caravaggio and Rubens were moreso the precursors of this new mid-seventeenth century surge of exuberant creativity in painting, sculpture and architecture than ever the representatives of a receding Renaissance. Poussin, too, was to become Bellori's championed figure, a Poussin who had reconciled order and nature together against the backdrop of Rome and the Campagna. Bellori promoted Poussin as representing a new order, based on the intelligent reconciliation of history and antiquity as bulwark against any return to darkness. Poussin could both circumscribe and infinitely extend the idea of beauty, as in his preface (L'Idea), but as the exhibition reveals, neither Caravaggio, nor Van Dyck, let alone Rubens, could tame passion or obsession within such intellectual constraints.
It seems Bellori was not exactly himself the real catalyst for change that his position might suggest was possible: yet he is substantiated nonetheless in the way that scholars and archivists are enabled, offering interpretation and clarification about the real tides of cultural change, where beauty in itself was to become less rather than more attainable ever after.
Coincidentally with the figuration of the Baroque in the Bellori exhibition, the French Academy in Rome has made possible the exhibition Le Jardin 2000: beauty as an idea is inseparable from these manifestations around the Villa Medici, standing amongst ancient trees and amidst cooling breezes on the Pincian hill, such as Poussin would have admired. While the sculpture collection of Ferdinand de Medici now stands in the Uffizi in Florence, the Villa has been a centre of French creativity through the last century. Curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist recognises that the garden has always had a universal potential for art, never less so than today. Daniel Buren has devised a square of mirrored planes containing one each side of a doorway leading to a large entrapped or enshrined fountain. Bertrand Zavier has embellished and reactivated an existing fountain in the Villa garden by means of coloured tubes curved and coiled. Dan Graham has used architectural metaphor to emphasise time; in glass and steel he establishes a reductivist contrast against the unrestored interior walls of the ancient villa, enshrining the idea of perfectibility with decay. Zaha Hadid has woven red-wired elements architectonically to make her point, contrasting an image of dynamic flow against the rectangularity and axiallity of the Villa garden.
In Avignon, that alternative seat of the Papacy, the curators have employed the quest for Beauty in modern times, as a theming device. But here the definitions of beauty defy categorisation or philosophical exactitude - since manifestly this pursuit is not fulfilled in a number of the exhibits or installations; or should one say not consummated -- since sexuality is acknowledged to be a physical attribute to beauty. La Beaute seems here to be simply a pretext rather than the materialisation of an actual 'idea'. So, no Buren, who is after all already defying rather than defining beauty at the Villa Medici (see above); but Anish Kapoor's casually leaning polished lozenge also implies a stand-off from formalised beauty, consummating the object as such in the loggia. Annette Messager deploys soft toy objects alongside knightly armour, rather as a flower stem disarms a gun.
In the Grande Chappelle, curator Jean de Loisy has cunningly installed Bill Viola's video masterwork from 1996. 'The Crossing', which dramatically activates the historic setting. And in the Jardin-des-Doms, nature re-emerges with hyper-realism, as fish specimens jostle with fossils, insects in cases, and other creatures in the section entitled La Nature a L'oeuvre'. (Nature at Work). Joeff Koon's 'split-Rocker' parodies kitsch with a grotesque animal head created out of thousands of flowers, somehow transforming the crudity of the toy animal figure through the beauty of natural covering.
This Avignon Programme spreads other installations and sculptures out around the city itself, both within the walls and in the housing areas built beyond. This is well conceived (entitled \"La Belle Ville\"). What this arrangement seems to demonstrate is the indivisibility of art and architecture. Modest and unassuming urban spaces become thus transformed. The artists too responds to the specifics of urban siting. In the concrete arena, of the Quartier Champfleury, Thomas Hirschhorn from Switzerland decided \"to displace the notion of beauty as an aesthetic concept toward thought, ideas and projects\" to behold the medieval ramparts of the city, in creating a kind of domain of house of philosophy\" where one can relax and be imbued with such ideas of universal (and racial) harmony.
Perhaps it is Deleuze, too, who comes closest to the idea of a beauty enhanced by the intellect of man, rather than purely through nostalgia or sentimentality. Bellori would surely endorse such ambitions.
It is precisely the emotion and romanticism rejected by Bellori and Deleuze, in recognising beauty, that bedevils this curatorial essay in Oxford. This is an attempt to entrap the essence of the romantic garden as perceived and presented by artists over the centuries. An ambitious programme is vindicated by such contemporary essays as that of Diana Thater in video, \"Oo Fifi: Five days in Claude Monet's Garden\" (1992). there is much concern with the garden as 'Idea' here: and this is where beauty is only realised through actual creation and physical execution.
\"I'm in constant search of chasing beauty, chasing hope-I'm not interested in the dark.\"The celebrated photographer Richard Phibbs, known for his celebrity portraits and iconic ad campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and more, has an unwavering eye for beauty. Many theorists argue that beauty is subjective, a product of individual preference, but the images from Phibbs' archive of work from 1997-2009, edited, sequenced, and collected in Chasing Beauty, may put that argument to rest.The book is a deeply personal labor of love, affirming Phibbs' belief that photographs can change, inspire, and motivate. Alfredo Paredes, one of the creative minds behind Polo Ralph Lauren, approached Phibbs with the idea of making a monograph-with one caveat: Phibbs was to step back and relinquish control. Paredes had a vision in mind of taking Phibbs' aesthetic and selecting images that would realize his unique eye for beauty. The result is a fascinating juxtaposition of photographs that excite, tantalize, shock, and surprise. A delicate and gorgeous rose is followed by the rawness of a dirty rugby player; a pair of horses is set beside a female nude. These combinations highlight undeniable beauty of both natural and human origin, and show us that if you only look beauty can be found anywhere.\"Sometimes things cannot be expressed in words-that's what is so expressive, emotional, or revealing about a photograph. Just look and enjoy it. It reveals that exact fleeting moment in time-that's all. When I lose my breath a bit, I know that's the picture.\"-Richard Phibbs 153554b96e