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Andy Warhol Really, Really Loved Christmas

Christie's
Christie's

Andy Warhol’s fondness for Campbell’s Soup cans is well documented. Less well known but equally ardent was his love of the holiday season. Yes, from poinsettias to Santa hats, the enigmatic artist who promised we’d all have our 15 minutes of fame spent much of the 1950s working as a commercial illustrator specializing in blotted line drawings, creating everything from shoe advertisements to greeting cards.

This holiday season, Christie’s—that world-famous purveyor of fine art for nearly 250 years—is spreading Warhol’s Christmas spirit with two unique events, including “Warholiday,” a pop-up event at the San Francisco Mulberry Store, which ran through December 19th. The yuletide showcase featured 36 works by the late, great artist, some of them never-before-seen and all of them for sale (if you had between $2000 and $30,000 to shell out on Polaroids of Cabbage Patch Kid dolls).

“Warholiday” follows hot on the heels of “A Christmas Thing,” an online-only auction from Christie’s that just concluded and featured 100 original photos, prints, and drawings from the master of Pop Art. Proceeds from the auction benefitted The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, an organization dedicated to “the advancement of the visual arts” (as stipulated in Warhol’s will) and kind enough to share a few of Warhol’s Christmas pieces for your art-gazing pleasure.

WREATH: Andy Warhol, Wreath, ink and watercolor on paper, Drawn circa 1956 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

SANTA CLAUS: Andy Warhol, Santa Claus, unique polaroid print, Executed in 1981 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

CHRISTMAS TREE: Andy Warhol, Christmas Tree, ink, tempera and collage on paper, Drawn circa 1958 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

POINSETTIAS: Poinsettias, screenprint in colors on paper, from an edition of unknown size, executed in 1983 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT: Christmas Ornament, ink and Dr. Martin's Aniline Dye on paper, drawn circa 1957 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

CHRISTMAS TREE 2: Christmas Tree, offset lithograph with gold leaf on folded paper, from an edition of unknown size, executed circa 1957 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

GEE: Gee, Merrie Shoes, offset lithograph with hand-coloring, on laid paper, from an edition of unknown size, executed in 1956 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

CHRISTMAS FAIRY: Christmas Fairy "Merry Christmas to You," ink on paper, drawn circa 1954. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

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The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself
iStock
iStock

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Tessa Angus
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Surprising Sculptures Made From Fallen Feathers
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire is a British sculptor with an unusual medium: feathers. Her surreal, undulating works often take the form of installations—the feathers spilling out of a drain, a stove, a crypt wall—or stand-alone sculptures in which antique bell jars, cabinets, or trunks contain otherworldly shapes.

MccGwire developed her obsession with feathers after moving to a studio barge on the Thames in 2006, as she explains in a video from Crane.tv recently spotlighted by Boing Boing. The barge was near a large shed full of feral pigeons, whose feathers she would spot on her way to work. "I started picking them up and laying them out, collecting them," she remembers. "And after about two weeks I had like 300 feathers." At the time, concerns about bird flu were rife, which made the feathers seem "dangerous as well as beautiful."

When not supplied by her own next-door menagerie, the feathers for her artwork come from a network of racing pigeon societies all over the UK, who send her envelopes full every time the birds molt. Farmers and gamekeepers also send her fallen feathers from birds such as magpies, pheasants, and roosters.

The cultural associations around birds are a big part of what inspires MccGwire. “The dove is the symbol of peace, purity, and fertility," she told ArtNews in 2013, "but it’s exactly the same species as a pigeon—which everyone regards as being dirty, foul, a pest.”

The same duality is present in her own work, which she frequently shares on her Instagram account. “I want to seduce by what I do—but revolt in equal measure. It’s really important to me that you’ve got that rejection of things you think you know for sure.”

You can see some pictures of MccGwire's work, and watch the video from Crane.tv, below.

Kate MccGwire's installation "Evacuate"
Evacuate, 2010
J Wilde

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Convolous"
Convolous, 2015
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's installation "Gyre"
Gyre, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Gag"
Gag, 2009
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Writhe"
Writhe, 2010
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Quell"
Quell, 2011
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Taunt"
Taunt, 2012
Tessa Angus

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