Author Archive: John Wiles

The Effects of Music on Body, Mind and Soul

Music is power; people have had this awareness since ancient times. Even though the prevailing view at the time was that music affected people so much that it had to be reined in politically, there was still a recognition that music was powerful because, as a universal language, it evoked emotions and could therefore used in a targeted manner. Society today uses this phenomenon as a remedy in many fields: for example, in the field of education, or in various fields of therapeutic medicine.

The effect of music on the body

Music has an effect on many physical processes in the body: it changes the heartbeat, affects breathing rate and blood pressure, affects muscle tension and hormonal balance. Music can inspire, make you happy, calm, relax, recall, and even relieve pain. The reason for this lies in the natural response to the sound of music, which works with the right harmony on the limbic system – precisely where emotions arise. This is also where the perception of pain develops, suppressed by the release of pain-controlling beta-endorphins; such as soft, calm or happy sounds. These promote the release of norepinephrine, which in turn counteracts the stress hormone cortisol.

Music as a therapy: music in medicine

Therefore, music is now used exclusively in medicine. Especially in therapeutic measures in psychiatry or pain treatment, but also in the rehabilitation of stroke or Alzheimer’s patients. Especially in the treatment of psychosomatic symptoms, considerable success can be achieved with the help of the emotional effects of music. The effect of music on the ability to communicate can be helpful in this regard because music allows us to express our thoughts and feelings without words. For this reason, some universities now offer music therapy as part of a master’s degree. It examines, among other things, the extent to which music helps connect with patients who face particularly difficult challenges. This is the case, for example, in autism,

Music memory: music and making music promote synaptic networks

It has been shown that new networks of nerve cells in the brain are formed through music, especially by making music yourself. These stay with people for life. For professional musicians, playing music intensively has an effect on the structure of their brains: the horizontal bar, the so-called corpus callosum, which connects the two halves of the brain and causes coordination and interaction, is more stable in their bodies. Scientific studies have shown that in our memories, the areas that store music remain intact longer than those responsible for autobiographical memories, for example. It is this ability that music therapists use, for example, to treat Alzheimer’s patients,

Does music increase intelligence?

Despite the proven positive effects of music on mental state, mood, and health, the effect of music on human intelligence remains controversial. An experiment in the 1990s by American psychologist Frances Rauscher known as the “Mozart Effect” showed that students who listened to Mozart’s sonatas for two pianos for ten minutes performed significantly better on subsequent intelligence tests than those who Students who have not heard this piece before. However, this effect has been refuted or led to different results in other studies. Because not only the type of music has a decisive influence on our mood and performance; Mozart’s symphonies, in which sequences of players’ voices alternate in orchestral harmonies, are quite different from, for example, heavy metal songs with strong rhythms and electric guitar rock Effect. Furthermore, as experience in therapeutic medicine has shown, not all people are equally open and receptive to music. Cognitive scientist Stephen Pinker once described music as “acoustic cheesecake,” not a necessity but a deeply enjoyable add-on. However, it turns out that a lot can be achieved with the right music used in the right way. So let’s continue to enjoy the beautiful side of music – letting its different genres affect us, whether it’s pop, hard rock or classical. As experience in therapeutic medicine shows. Cognitive scientist Stephen Pinker once described music as “acoustic cheesecake,” not a necessity but a deeply enjoyable add-on. However, it turns out that a lot can be achieved with the right music used in the right way. So let’s continue to enjoy the beautiful side of music – letting its different genres affect us, whether it’s pop, hard rock or classical. As experience in therapeutic medicine shows. Cognitive scientist Stephen Pinker once described music as “acoustic cheesecake,” not a necessity but a deeply enjoyable add-on. However, it turns out that a lot can be achieved with the right music used in the right way. So let’s continue to enjoy the beautiful side of music – letting its different genres affect us, whether it’s pop, hard rock or classical.

Spring Cleaning in the Garden

Spring has begun. Despite the current mandatory disruption of public social life all over the world for health reasons, new life is beginning to unfold unhindered in nature. After early spring blooms and early-flowering shrubs die off, many locations enter breeding planting season, a sign that nesting feathered animals and critters are protected. For all garden lovers or balcony owners, this is the ideal time to prepare their favorite outdoor space for the new season. We explain what gardening jobs are currently pending.

Go Outside

Once the sun’s rays are longer and warmer, nighttime temperatures are no longer sub-zero, and the clocks switch to daylight saving time again, it’s time for all the loving gardeners among us: get outside and spruce up your garden! Those who do not have their own garden but have a balcony or small terrace are also encouraged to start working.

Planting Beets

Once the soil is frost-free, add compost or topsoil to the beds and replenish them with fresh, well-drained soil. It is now possible to grow plants that can tolerate lower temperatures, such as crops such as lettuce, cabbage or radishes. But it is also possible to grow ornamental plants that require nutrients, such as daffodils, tulips or hyacinths. They usually need additional mineral fertilizers, which should be applied by April or May at the latest, but only in small amounts. The first herbs, such as mint or basil, can now be planted in the herb garden.

Planting Vegetables

Some vegetables, including cucumbers and tomatoes, should definitely be pre-planted indoors in a sunny, warm spot before acclimating to outside temperatures until mid-May, traditionally after Ice Saints. Cucumber and tomato plants are so-called heavy feeders, meaning they draw a lot of nutrients from the soil. Therefore, they need to be fertilized regularly, for example with organic vegetable fertilizers or homemade plant fertilizers. Especially important for tomato plants: it must be protected from rain and wind. If you want to grow vegetables in the same bed for several years in a row, you should definitely have a planting plan in place, as it is important to respect the stress of the crop rotation on the soil. This means that useful plants are divided into four groups according to their different nutrient requirements, in which a distinction is made between heavy consumers, moderate consumers, weak consumers and green manures. Plants from the same group can be planted in one bed, but in different areas. These should be changed every year to emphasize the floor differently.

Pruning or Planting Pome Fruit Trees

Fruit trees such as apple, pear or quince trees tolerate pruning well in cooler temperatures down to around minus 5°C. If the temperature drops more sharply, caution is advised, as the wood is sensitive and can easily become brittle and brittle, which increases the risk of harming new shoots. These pome fruit varieties are pruned before sprouting, whereas stone fruit trees can only be pruned after the summer harvest; the wood is often more susceptible to disease. If you want to plant new pome fruit, you’ve also found the right time with moderate temperatures now. It should be noted that pome fruits always require a second pollinator of the same variety for good yields. For this purpose, the industry offers so-called duo espaliers, two fruit trees of the same variety planted opposite each other. Alternatively, make sure there is a second suitable pollinator within a radius of about 800 meters – this is the radius in which bees move as pollinators.

Maintaining and Mowing Lawns

If you have a garden with a lawn, you should start tending the lawn in April. To do this, start by removing weeds, moss, and leaves from your dry lawn. It must then be mowed before the soil is loosened and aerated with a scarifier or rake. Opinions differ when it comes to loosening the soil: While some hobby gardeners believe that regular fertilization alone is perfectly sufficient, others believe the process is necessary to allow a manicured lawn to shine in lush greenery. It is important to know that loosening soil is not the only maintenance measure. Because of moss infestation, for example, it can also be due to low soil pH. Corresponding calcium-based fertilizers can help, but only if it is clearly clarified beforehand that the moss infestation is actually due to acidic soil. Moss growth may also be due to crusting on the soil surface if pH measurements indicate that the soil is not acidic. In this case, slightly roughening the soil and tilling it in rock dust can help, which provides mineral trace elements to the soil and makes it more resistant to pests. The barren grassland should be replanted and topdressed with organic fertilizer to make the lawn fully green. It provides mineral trace elements to the soil, making it more resistant to pests. The barren grassland should be replanted and topdressed with organic fertilizer to make the lawn fully green. It provides mineral trace elements to the soil, making it more resistant to pests. The barren grassland should be replanted and topdressed with organic fertilizer to make the lawn fully green.

While the tasks of amateur gardeners and nature lovers may be varied in the spring, the garden will thank you throughout the year. Because well-prepared plants will thrive and bring a lot of joy. We hope you enjoy gardening while enjoying your oasis of well-being, and even more!

Carnival: Fun or Accident Day?

It begins with Women’s Carnival on the Thursday before Shrove Monday and ends with Ash Wednesday. Thousands of party-goers will celebrate the carnival again this year. For days there is singing, dancing – and above all drinking. But is carnival just a harmless cause for celebration? Or does this “fifth season” – especially due to the high alcohol consumption – involve an increased risk of accidents?

The origin of carnival

Since the 12th century, Christians have celebrated Carnival to enjoy the carnal and gluttonous time before Lent. The word “Carnival” comes from the Latin “carne vale”, which means “meat, farewell”. On this occasion, people dress up and roam the streets to drive away winter, demons and witches. Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia is known as the home of Carnival in Germany. Since 1823, a large procession has been held on Shrove Monday every year. The main dates for Carnival run from Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday before Shrove Monday) to Violet Tuesday (the Tuesday after Shrove Monday). It all ends on Ash Wednesday and Lent begins. Officially, however, the country’s so-called fifth season will begin on April 11.

At Carnival, we celebrate, sing, laugh…

In many cities, Carnival culminates in Shrove Monday parades. Crowds of people in disguise pour into the city – to watch the parade or take part in it in person. During the parade, sweets – originally caramel candies, so-called “llamas” – chocolates and sometimes individual flowers. Last year’s Shrove Monday parade in Cologne distributed some 300 tons of sweets to more than one million visitors. Afterwards, the festivities continue in bars or tents with lots of dancing. If you show up unabashedly, you will be noticed unhappily, at least at the risk of askew looks and comments. Because carnival people take their costumes very seriously: on average around 300 million euros are invested in self-sewing and buying costumes in Germany every year.

…and drink by the gallon.

Like the big parties, there is a lot of alcohol flowing at Mardi Gras. In Weiberfastnacht alone, more than 40,000 Alt beers are brewed by Düsseldorf’s major breweries. Unfortunately, the effects of alcohol are often underestimated. The line between “everything is fun” and a complete breakdown is often very thin. At carnivals in many places, you can already see daytime drunks stumbling through the streets. Especially notable is the fact that many young people get extremely drunk at the carnival. On the one hand, alcohol lowers the threshold of inhibition, so there is more dancing and flirting—a desirable outcome. On the other hand, however, alcohol significantly reduces risk perception – a very adverse effect. As a result, drunk driving accidents are up 25% compared to the rest of the year. There was also a significant increase in the number of bar fights and serious falls, such as when falling from a moving van or while dancing on a bench or counter. In addition, there were 529 evictions, 202 detentions and 437 reports of physical injury during Cologne Carnival 2018. There were also 106 drug abuse cases. In addition, the police received 35 reports of sexual crimes. But alcohol isn’t the only cause of anxiety. In a classic carnival parade, horse-drawn carriages also pose a risk. When a horse gallops in a parade, usually nothing happens. But don’t forget that horses are game, and although they are calm and well trained, they may be startled by something and run away at any time. In 2018, five people were seriously injured when a carriage ran away during the Rose Monday parade in Cologne.

A sober carnival as the solution?

Especially anti-Carnival opponents will certainly welcome a sober holiday, since in Cologne it has already been described as “the only wine”. But sober binge periods are not the same as accident-free periods. Even sober people are still at risk of being thrown or falling. Also, most carnival attendees see sharing a gin or beer as part of the carnival, which is why a total ban on alcohol during carnival week is likely to meet a lot of resistance.

So what help? Alcoholic beverages of one kind or another are fine as long as they are kept in moderation. However, to reduce the risk of accidents, well-known tips should be followed: create a good base for food, such as the popular carnival pastry Berliners, and sometimes skip a round and drink water in between. Also heed the adage “beer to wine, let’s be” so don’t overdo it. Not only will this prevent accidents, it will greatly reduce the chances of a hangover the next day. Let’s be honest: no one really wants to do this. Additionally, glass bans have been introduced in many places. The streets used to be littered with debris and empty glass bottles where passers-by could hurt themselves. The glass ban was met with a positive response and also kept Mardi Gras free of broken glass and cut rugs.

Valentine’s Day dos and don’ts

On February 14th it’s that time again: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While some people are against the “token of love by appointment”, which is often expressed through standardized consumption, Valentine’s Day has a high priority for others. For a successful day, optimal preparation is the be-all and end-all. However, despite perfect planning, things sometimes go completely differently than desired – and then get out of hand. So that this doesn’t happen to you, we explain the dos and don’ts on Valentine’s Day.

The preparations are ongoing

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, masses of roses are bought and given away – more than 50 million worldwide. On average, Germans spend €50 on gifts, flowers and that cliched romantic dinner. In the USA, on the other hand, as the country of origin of Valentine’s Day, things can definitely be unromantic; The date sometimes takes place at McDonalds. Because many fast-food chains offer special menus for couples there for Valentine’s Day. And if there is no partner to give presents to, you can simply give your pet a present. At least 3 percent of all pet owners do this.

But how is Valentine’s Day a complete success? And what should be avoided?

Things to do

1. Clear agreements prevent disappointment

It’s clear: Your partner doesn’t take Valentine’s Day half as seriously as you do — so no plans. An annoying pitfall you could have easily avoided. It’s best to plan ahead so you won’t be disappointed if the day doesn’t go as planned.

2. Small gifts keep love

Instead of buying a potentially expensive gift, consider a DIY gift that can also come in the form of a small gift. This shows your partner that you’ve gotten to know him and his interests in depth and that you’ve invested time in personal gifts. A great option, because the personal alternative to almost having to go to a restaurant is co-cooking nights – eating within the four walls of your home.

3. Time instead of things

Anyone can buy material gifts for themselves. What cannot be bought, however, is time. Give your partner the gift of spending time together. There are many ideas for spending time together: Whether it’s a visit to the opera house and a romantic couples massage, or a treasure hunt and a high-ropes course for the adventurer: the gift of time is a unique and valuable option.

4. Attention is an expression of love

Small surprises and loving attention show your partner: You mean a lot to me. The creativity is limitless: small gifts like handwritten messages you stash in your car or jacket pocket so your partner can easily find them, a spontaneous call or visit, even an invitation to dinner. But consider point 1: the greater the surprise planned, the greater the disappointment if the partner expects something else.

Do not do

1. Ignore your lover

If your partner is looking forward to Valentine’s Day and simply forgets about the occasion, or worse, ignores it, it could lead to a nasty argument. It’s best to keep reminders on your smartphone or calendar. Reminders should be sent as early as possible so you don’t get a last-minute gift.

2. The Day of Love Separation

Valentine’s Day is considered a day of love. Even if you know couples who happened to be separated that day, you shouldn’t take this opportunity to separate. If you see no other way out, then do an exit interview beforehand – in person anyway, not via text (no, not even a WhatsApp voice message counts as a personal interview).

3. Excessive drinking

Especially on Valentine’s Day and the day before: if alcohol is consumed, only as tolerated. Under no circumstances should you expect your partner to hangover in bed or even be carried home by him because you can no longer be on your own. According to the individual’s physique and tolerance, drinking alcohol is allowed on Valentine’s Day, but in moderation.

Valentine’s Day is single – what to do?

Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to give up Valentine’s Day.

First, you can give yourself a gift. For example, treat yourself with something you’ve longed for, or pamper yourself with a bouquet of flowers, or enjoy a long sauna session.

Also consider: If you live alone, you won’t be disappointed in your partner. Enjoy your own time and follow your own preferences. Do you love cozy movie nights within your own four walls? Then go to the couch! Do you like to meet up with friends and spend an evening over good food and interesting conversations? Then pick up the phone and make an appointment! Whatever your preference: Valentine’s Day is a great time for singles to enjoy their independence.

Dangers in Winter

It is dark. It is smooth. It is dangerous. Some people don’t want to go out at all in the dreary winter weather and would rather stay safe at home. But does the cold season really hold so many dangers? How can the risks be prevented in winter? And what does a comparison of the four seasons reveal?

What dangers does winter hold?

The cold season usually brings darkness, snow and ice with it. What belongs to a real winter wonderland for one person cannot be over quickly enough for another. And not without good reason. At home, for example, the water pipes in unheated rooms can freeze and be damaged. Something similar can also happen with water connections in the garden if the supply is not shut off in good time before the cold onset. Snow avalanches falling from roofs are a rarity in our region, but we can encounter them during heavy or prolonged snowfalls at the latest on ski holidays. Apart from that, there is a risk that large icicles that have formed on the gutter will come loose and endanger passers-by.

During leisure time, large areas of ice, e.g. B. for ice skating, a popular destination. But even if these appear stable on the banks and are carrying a person, they can be unstable and collapse a few meters away. Flowing waters and waters with fluctuating water levels are even more unpredictable.

With regard to the means of transport, rail traffic can be impaired in winter due to icing on the overhead lines. On the other hand, the locks on bicycles and cars can freeze up or the battery can underperform. An area of ​​ice can also be hidden under a blanket of snow, which can become a dangerous trap not only for motorists: cyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk can also accidentally overlook it and slip. This danger can also exist on cleared roads, since the road salt effect can then be impaired.

Most Common Cause of Weather-Related Accidents: Rain Before Snow and Ice

According to accident statistics from the Federal Statistical Office, the proportion of weather-related accidents is significantly higher in winter than in summer. However, there are fewer traffic accidents in winter than in summer. How did this happen?

  • Winter: fog. snowfall. hail. Without a doubt, winter road conditions are by far the most unpredictable. But that’s why people are more careful and drive slower. Many people prefer not to drive in the first place before there is a risk of an accident on slippery roads. The low number of bicycles or motorized two-wheelers is one of the reasons why winter is not an accident-prone season. However, it should be noted that the risk of pedestrian accidents increases during the darker months.
  • Spring: The days are getting longer and the temperatures are getting hotter. It was still dark in the morning and the road was slippery. Out of habit, you are still cautious in traffic. The further spring goes, the more people will be attracted. People bike to work instead of driving, and many take long trips on weekends. Therefore, as the spring progresses, so does the number of accidents.
  • Summer: more and more people are actively involved in road traffic and spend time outdoors. Everyone feels energized – and they do. Because a good mood also increases the willingness to take risks. This is reflected in accident statistics, too: more road fatalities occur in the U.S. during warm summer months than during cold winter months. In addition to direct weather influences, there are so-called biological influences, ie the effects of weather on the human organism, its performance and mental state. In particular, the heat load has a great influence on the occurrence of accidents. According to a study by the Meteorological Institute of the Free University of Berlin,
  • Autumn: The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting less comfortable. People are staying at home more, and those who used to cycle in the summer are now increasingly switching to buses and trains or taking cars.

What measures can be taken to prevent accidents in winter?

As beautiful as winter is, it also brings many dangers. Accidents can happen quickly, and the consequences are sometimes painful and long-lasting. Therefore, it is very important to adapt to the changing conditions in winter in time. Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  • Properly heat the room and check heating operation regularly
  • cover sensitive plants
  • Insulate water pipes in areas prone to freezing or draining
  • park the car in the garage or cover the windows
  • Alert homeowners to large icicles on roof
  • Get the latest weather forecast and traffic information when you wake up in the morning
  • Wear light-coloured, high-visibility clothing, with reflective surfaces if possible
  • wear sturdy non-slip shoes
  • Always use the railing when walking on exterior stairs
  • Take the shortest route to cross the road, use zebra crossings and traffic lights, and avoid unlit paths
  • Check that the bike is roadworthy (e.g. headlights, reflectors, brakes, tread and air pressure)
  • For your own safety, use the bike lanes and wear a bike helmet
  • Drive carefully, arrange more route time, no time pressure
  • Be especially careful on forest and forest roads and bridges as this is where black ice forms fastest
  • Only enter officially approved bodies of frozen water with ice thickness of 12 cm or more. The ice rink in your area is still the safest place to skate

Digital legacy: The most important things at a glance

Our life is becoming more and more digital. We post on Facebook, Instagram & Co., save e-mails on Google and other providers, send and receive Whatsapp and other messenger messages, have user accounts with retailers, insurance companies and more. There are also digital subscriptions, such as Spotify or Amazon Prime, data from fitness trackers and countless others. But what actually happens when we are no more? And how can I ensure during my lifetime that dealing with this data is as easy as possible for my relatives – and that they know exactly what to do in my interest if the worst comes to the worst? We clarify about “digital provision”.

What is digital heritage?

Over 90 percent of Americans over the age of ten are online – and the trend is rising. Each of them leaves digital traces. Partly on their own devices such as the computer at home, the mobile phone or the digital camera. More and more ends up in the cloud and with digital providers: contract data as well as pictures, social media accounts, Netflix subscriptions, e-mail accounts and much more information. All of this exists beyond your own life. Those who regulate their digital estate early and cleverly ensure that the heirs have it as easy as possible after their own death to also manage this estate in the interests of the testator.

The heirs are required

All rights and obligations of the testator pass to the heir or heirs. So also subscriptions and contracts concluded online. After the death of the testator, the heirs must either comply with all contracts once they have been concluded or terminate them as soon as possible. Because even digitally concluded contracts usually do not just end with death. The same applies to all user and email accounts. Unfortunately, this is often more complicated than you think. If the heirs do not have the passwords, the path to deletion can be long. If you want to get access to it, you have to get it with the certificate of inheritance and some time and effort from each individual provider and service. In the end it works – but who wants to expect that from their loved ones in these difficult days of mourning? Those who take precautions in good time make it easier for their loved ones.

Appoint a confidant

The easiest way is to appoint a person of trust who will take care of the digital estate in the event of death. To do this, issue a handwritten power of attorney with date and signature in which you name your digital estate administrator. It is also important to have a list in which you list your accounts with user names and passwords. Deposit them on a password-protected USB stick or another safe place. Now all you have to do is tell your trusted person where he or she can find the stick or list and you have already achieved a lot. If you like, you can regulate your digital estate in a legally secure manner by means of a will. The same applies here: It must be handwritten, clearly formulated and signed. By the way: Google, Facebook and some others offer to specify the person of trust in the settings – for example as a legacy contact on Facebook or via the account inactivity manager on Google.

Commercial Vendors

Wenn Sie keine Vertrauensperson haben oder benennen wollen, finden Sie im Netz auch eine große Auswahl an Anbietern, die versprechen, sich für Sie um den digitalen Nachlass zu kümmern. Wie gut, wie sicher und wie teuer diese auf die Dauer sind, ist leider nicht so einfach zu sagen. Achten Sie vor Abschluss mindestens auf die Kosten und übergeben Sie besser keine Kennwörter. Die Gefahr, dass der Anbieter gehackt und die Daten anderweitig genutzt werden, ist leider real.

Delete and update

Anyone who wants to make things easier for their relatives should view and check their estate from time to time. Are the passwords and accounts still up to date? It is also very important to regularly delete content that you might not want to burden your heirs with after your death. Some photos, chat histories, and email conversations you might want to keep with you. Anyone who deletes regularly is on the safe side here – even after their lifetime.

From the hot spot MeToo, reflecting on the development of feminist art

The recent spate of women’s marches and MeToo movements have shaken up the art and culture industries, and with the frequent revelations of sexual assault, we are once again focusing our attention on the subject of feminist art. Art institutions around the world are increasingly focusing on women artists, and major solo and group exhibitions of women artists are coming up. Join us today for a look at the development of feminist art!

The Emergence and Development of Feminist Art

Feminist art is an important artistic trend that has emerged in the Western art world, reflecting the demand of some female theorists and artists to change the previous spheres of social life and male-dominated cultural phenomena in order to reconceptualize women themselves and the relationship between gender and culture.

Women’s Affirmative Action Movement

We usually divide feminism into two phases: the first wave of feminism, which took place between the 19th and early 20th centuries, centered on the struggle for women’s voting and civil rights, while the second wave of feminism, the feminist movement that emerged in the 1960s, was more broadly concerned with women’s access to more jobs and education, while emphasizing women’s sexual and family rights. Driven by the latter, awakened “new women” took to the streets to protest society’s unfair employment policies and oppressed family status and sexual freedom. This led to the emergence of women’s art as part of the second-wave feminist movement, in which women artists formed groups and held exhibitions with the intention of subverting the male-dominated discourse of art history.

Strictly feminist artists did not emerge until the 1970s. Female artists represented by Anna Mantilta, Eleanor Antin, Carolee Schneemann and Judy Chicago created impressive feminist works. Among them, American female artist Judy Chicago’s installation “The Dinner Party” can be said to be very representative. 1979 “The Dinner Party” was first exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and this installation, which records 1,038 ancient goddesses or prominent women in Western history, mainly consists of a large equilateral triangular banquet table with each side 48 feet long, the triangle symbolizing women and the equilateral sides symbolizing equality. The triangle symbolizes women and the equilateral sides symbolize equality. Each side of the equilateral triangle is divided into 13 units, each equipped with a tablecloth embroidered with a woman’s name and a graphic related to her contribution, a napkin, a dinnerware set, a wine glass and a 14-inch diameter round painted ceramic plate. The 39 plates represent 39 prominent women in various fields from ancient Greece to the present, corresponding to the embroidered names. 39 plates are directly painted with female genitalia, like butterflies or flowers, and gradually change from flat to high relief in order from ancient to modern times, symbolizing the elevated status of women. The 13 women in each group who share the meal correspond to the 13 male saints of the Last Supper, elevating women to the same status as men, a heroic hymn to women. The names of another 999 prominent women are inscribed on the white ceramic floor of the equilateral triangular table known in Chicago as the “Heritage Floor” to show how many women stand behind the 39 famous women. Clearly, the work demonstrates the outstanding contributions that women have made to society from ancient times to the present, and by celebrating women, it is hoped that women will be given equal status with men and that the desire for equal rights for humanity will be realized. Politically, this work undoubtedly challenges the oppression of women under male domination in a radical way, and works to preserve the spiritual heritage created by women throughout history. At the same time, in the social context of the time, the message of this work itself is evidence of the rise of contemporary women’s art.

Judy Chicago, installation “Dinner

Today, feminist art has become an important branch of contemporary art. Feminist art represents, to a certain extent, the voice of a vulnerable and repressed group, and is an attempt to deconstruct a male-centered society. Following the second wave of feminism feminism began to take a new turn, it no longer places special emphasis on a confrontational nature, but shows women’s own joyful experiences and feelings, and feminist art has received a new interpretation.

Feminist Art Expressions

With the development of society, the topic of “feminism” has gradually been taken seriously and has become a focus of constant attention and debate. For example, on February 22nd of this year, an international symposium on “Contemporary Chinese Women’s Art” was held at the Tate Modern in London, England, co-organized by the Tate Center for Asian Studies and the Art Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, as part of the exhibition “Emergence: Women’s Voices in Chinese Contemporary Art. This international symposium on “Chinese Contemporary Women’s Art” was held at Tate Modern in London as part of the exhibition “Emergence: Women’s Voices in Chinese Contemporary Art. The exhibition, which spanned the entire United Kingdom, opened up more possibilities for understanding women’s art. At a time when men dominate the discourse of society, women’s voices are often ignored and drowned out. Instead, female artists have created many artworks with distinctive characteristics of the times through their perceptions of the changes of the times and their reflections on society and themselves. These works are undoubtedly representative and epoch-making in themselves, and they can arouse people’s spiritual resonance and shock.

Andrea Powers, “Marianne is a Trans-Feminist (originally from a poster for the French National War Loan, painted by Georges Scott, 1917),” 2018, price: $55,000

The 1970s was the heyday of contemporary art, and feminism found its place and avenues of appeal in the pluralistic structure of post-structuralism. It was also the most glorious time for feminist art, and many famous feminist artists emerged, emphasizing a female perspective, and their works were full of resistance and rebellion against the patriarchal center. For example, Yoko Ono’s “Slice” is one of the representative works: she sits on the floor and invites the audience to cut off her clothes piece by piece with scissors, and finally she appears naked and trembling in front of people’s eyes. There is also a female artist, Oran, who kept doing plastic surgery until her originally beautiful face became very scary. And each cosmetic procedure was filmed and toured the world. These are all excellent works of feminist art, and what they have in common is that they are fighting against a history of women being watched. Feminist art of this period is critical and in some ways can be used as a way of visual criticism of feminist theory.

Yoko Ono “Slice

Each time, people see a different Oran because the stage she performs on is the operating room and the show she performs is silicone surgery.

When it comes to the expression of feminist art, the connection with “sex” is inevitable. The emphasis on sexuality in early Western feminist art had its own special historical background. 19th century Europe was influenced by the severe religious sexual confinement of Victorian England, which imposed harsh requirements on virginity and chastity and discriminated against women; strict monogamy for life and divorce was not allowed even for couples with completely broken relationships; masturbation was considered a blasphemous sin; talking about sex was not allowed, and scientific research and artistic creation related to sex was not allowed. The sexuality-related scientific research and artistic creation were not allowed. For this reason, people were generally subjected to heavy sexual repression. This situation did not fundamentally change until the 1950s and 1960s, when society continued to treat the female body as a tool to serve men and children, and female sexual experience remained off-limits.

Later, as performance art and performing arts expanded in the contemporary field, many female artists used their bodies to interpret women’s control over their own bodies and minds. German artist Rebecca Hong uses her body as a prop to reach into the individual’s spiritual world through photography, video, and performance. One of the artist’s representative performance works is “Unicorn”, in which she wraps her naked body in cloth and exaggerates a long horn on top of her head to show a kind of extended body. This work is called “Body Sculpture”. The way the artist handles her body shows a kind of psychological tentacle, which makes people reflect on the relationship between the human body and the identity of public space. But at the same time, when female artists use sex to express their thoughts, those inappropriate acts of nudity and privacy revert back to the initial state of being voyeuristic, which is always a contradictory existence, and female art continues to develop.

Rebecca Hong “Unicorn

What exactly is feminist art saying?

In the field of art, the creators, curators, collectors, and viewers are usually men, and women are valued more for their roles of being created, viewed, and consumed (a situation that did not gradually loosen until the 1960s/1970s). This imbalance, this network of unequal power relations, is deeply rooted in human consciousness and culture. Feminist artists’ focus on female sexuality and their sexuality challenged previous societal notions of the affirmation of male sexuality and the female body as a mere vehicle for the transmission and satisfaction of male sexuality.

My Bed” by Tracy Emin

In both traditional social life and artistic expression, the female body is mostly viewed and satisfied by men, making women shy away from feeling and expressing their own bodies. However, the female genitalia, as an important part of the female body, is closely linked to women’s lives and spiritual emotions. Early feminist artists were particularly concerned with the physical basis of gender construction because they believed that the fundamental difference between male and female art was the difference in the perception of the body. Feminist art is, in part, a phenomenon in which a female performance artist uses her own body as a prototype for performance and expresses her ideas through performance and makes the audience understand and reflect on them. It is a reflection of the state of life from a woman’s perspective and a reflection on life, thus presenting the demands of women themselves. The transformation of the female body from being viewed to active self-viewing is a construction of female consciousness and a reflection on male power.

Entering public space was a common feature of women’s art and women artists in the 1970s. Women’s art was increasingly exhibited in public spaces such as museums, parks and squares, and women artists increasingly entered some large public projects to create art. However, this does not mean that women can no longer create individually. Women’s entry into public space is not because they want to enter the masculine system by recognizing male characteristics and wanting to be like men, which is against the original purpose of feminist art.

Today, feminist art is much more than simply a question of gender equality; it is more broadly linked to the social contradictions caused by race, class and other minorities, and is a contemporary practice that allows more voices of the “other” to be heard and true human rights to be liberated. As Simone Beauvoir put it, “The nonsense men invent to keep women in a state of oppression is not a question for women to emphasize that they are women, but a question to become fully human.”

Feminist Art Today

As we enter the 21st century, women’s art, despite its diversified appearance, has a generally similar trend: it weakens the confrontation between genders and instead seeks to express women’s unique ways of observing and experiencing the world, or to leave behind the constraints of gender and devote itself to the exploration of humanity in its universal sense. In terms of content, there is a decline in the use of sexual objects or direct expressions of violence or non-violence against women, replaced by recognition of women’s way of life and behavior, and deeper exploration of women’s individual inner world.

Ariel “Choke

Although in reality there are still some female artists who cater to power capital, making their erotic works generally present a situation of creation according to men’s visual aesthetic standards and perspectives and for their psychological needs. They have not succeeded in establishing an effective erotic interaction between themselves and their works, in order to break the trap that erotic or erotic depictions have been monopolized by the male gender. However, in recent years, we can also feel a new trend emerging in women’s art creation: more and more women artists are involved in thinking and creating in the current socio-political dimension. For example, Yan Yinhong’s performance work “One Man’s Battlefield” is a metaphor for the suppression of women in the power society with a nearly crazy dance, and finally, the image of a police officer hidden in the lower half of her body is shown in an upside down position. This is a typical work that critiques the social ecology through the body, and at the same time is branded with feminist characteristics.

This is undoubtedly a direct challenge to the patriarchal society in the form of art, and is a more prominent manifestation of feminist art, but from the perspective of art history, where many contemporary female artists truly distance themselves from male artists is in the reconfiguration of the structure of viewing. With the intervention of female artists’ subjectivity, the use of the female figure, especially the female body, as a viewing object, and the control and possession of the male audience over women safely hidden in elegant artworks, has been fundamentally subverted. The tradition of objectifying the female body in Western art history has continued from the Classical period and continues to dominate art production in modern art in various variants. As John Berger points out in “The Way of Seeing,” “the female body as object is not a subject matter but a form.”

Cecily Brown’s work

Feminist art has been developing for nearly half a century, but either because of preconceived prejudices or because of its own novelty, social standards and artistic mechanisms have always been harsh and severe in their evaluation, but this does not prevent feminist art from moving forward. confidence. Regardless of its profound historical function and practical mission, feminist art has at least changed the pattern of artistic existence with its pioneering and avant-garde nature.

Today, at the market level, the status and attention of women is soaring. The Tate has welcomed its first female curator and planned two of the three major solo exhibitions this year for female artists, namely American video and performance artist Joan Jonas and Bauhaus artist and textile art pioneer Anne Albers, all of these phenomena show that female art is increasingly valued by society.


Feminist art should express works with feminist spiritual connotations, rather than being limited to the formal level of mere nudity. Female artists should not be confined to the established male-dominated ideology but should look for socially meaningful expressive content, and on the premise of both focusing on the real life state of women without being bound by these kitschy ideas, so as to make some art works with practical and effective The future of feminist art will continue to develop as people pay attention to women as a whole and reflect on some social issues.

How Global Art Festivals Drive Art and Public Connections

The question that the public often asks about art is: Why do artworks that seem so simple and random sell for so much? Does it have any special value? In the past, the art world actually did not care about how the public understood and evaluated artworks. Because the art market has formed a closed loop: artists, critics, painters and collectors. In recent years, however, the public’s evaluation has become increasingly important. If a work is collected by a public-oriented gallery/museum and recognized by the public, the artist’s value will multiply. A gap has also opened in the previously closed art circle, and art festivals serving the public’s art needs have been popping up around the world.

An Island Reborn by the Festival

Seto Inland Sea International Arts Festival

The Setouchi International Arts Festival in Japan has been held every three years since 2010. The main venue for the festival is on several small islands near Takamatsu City in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan. These islands are scattered across the turquoise blue Seto Inland Sea, and the festival invites renowned artists from around the world to create works based on the local environment of the islands, attracting visitors and art lovers from all over the world.

Vision of Seto Inland Sea, Japan

However, a few decades ago, the Seto Inland Sea island group was not a paradise. These small islands of the Arts Festival sacrificed their ecological environment to develop industry. These islands were once the heart of the birth of Japan’s industrial miracle, and fishermen who had lived by fishing for thousands of years went into the copper smelting industry as a result of the industrial development of the Meiji Restoration. As the industry grew, the surrounding environment began to deteriorate. For example, Naoshima Island became bald and forested because of the sulfite gas released from the refining process, and Toshima and Inujima were contaminated with industrial waste and sulfite gas. As the environment deteriorated, the island’s industries declined, and young people left the island in droves. In this way, the island’s economy continued to decline and aging became more and more serious, and it was about to become an abandoned island. At that time, the Fukutake Foundation of Japan bought the southern part of Naoshima Island and invited famous artists such as Tadao Ando to design art museums and hotels on the island, such as the Benesse House Museum, the Jidaka Museum of Art, and the Ando Museum, etc. Since then, the Setouchi International Art Festival project, which restores the original beauty of the Setouchi Islands and revitalizes the local economy, has been in operation. The Setouchi International Art Festival is now in operation.

The island’s art museum

The island’s art museum

The island’s art museum

Soichiro Fukutake has dissected the reason for the island’s high level of aging is that young people feel that their hometown is not vibrant, not attractive, and not worth staying, so they are leaving in droves. However, Soichiro Fukutake feels that people on the islands live very happy lives, unlike people in big cities who have long daily commutes, work overtime, and have a low sense of well-being.

From this, two main lines of the Setouchi International Arts Festival gradually became clear, the first of which is to use the power of modern art to reinvent the charm of the island. Although the festival is held once every three years, the exhibition period is long, spanning spring, summer and autumn, with different artworks open in different seasons, giving visitors a new experience each time. The island’s artwork is also all-encompassing, the product of a collaborative effort by artists from more than 180 countries.

The second is to tap into the island’s local flavor and revitalize local culture. After the success of the island museum, architects such as Tadao Ando came up with the Empty House Project. The project hopes to rely on the original old houses on the island and renovate them to show the local style and stories. In addition to renovating old houses, local islanders are also actively involved in the creation of the festival, transforming their houses into restaurants and promoting the unique local food culture.

Seto International Art Festival Iconic Sculpture, Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin

In this way, the Setouchi International Arts Festival, with its unique charm, has seen an increasing number of visitors, from 970,000 in the first edition to 1.04 million in the recently held third edition. According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the third Setouchi International Arts Festival has boosted the economy of the island and the nearby Kagawa Prefecture, with visitors staying longer and spending more, and the overall economic pulling effect was 13.9 billion yen, an increase of 5% percentage points compared to the 2013 edition.

After years of development, Naoshima, the largest island in the island group, is now known as a mecca for art. The island is scattered with works by well-known artists, and the local islanders have become an important backing force for the festival. Young people who love art have come to the island, and the whole island has become thriving and vibrant.

Some happy, some sad

The failed Sapporo Arts Festival in Japan

Seeing the cultural and economic impact of the Setouchi International Arts Festival, various parts of Japan have followed suit, however, following the trend does not guarantee success, and the Sapporo Arts Festival in Japan, for example, has fallen far short of the expected impact.

Sapporo International Arts Festival Poster

After the first Sapporo Arts Festival in 2014, a lot of reflections and criticisms sprang up on the Japanese internet: the Sapporo Arts Festival was not lively enough and did not have the atmosphere of an arts festival. Sapporo citizens did not have a sense of involvement in the organization of the festival. The promotion of the festival in Sapporo was not consistent and lost its strength halfway through. The first Sapporo International Arts Festival in 2014 was planned by artist Ryuichi Sakamoto, who proposed the theme “From now on, let’s consider how to make the city and nature coexist. ” was the theme of the festival. However, this theme was entirely the artist’s own idea, and the local people neither participated nor resonated with it. This left the festival suspended in the air and lost its appeal. This is in stark contrast to the Setouchi International Art Festival mentioned above, which places special emphasis on the participation and recognition of local residents and has formed a special volunteer squad, led by local residents, with volunteers from various localities working together to help make the festival run smoothly.

Sapporo International Arts Festival Live View

The first failed Sapporo Arts Festival in 2014 did not stop there; in 2017 it relaunched, inviting musician Ryoei Otomo as the chief planner and reflecting on the current situation where arts festivals are blossoming everywhere by proposing a new theme: “What is an arts festival really about?” Unfortunately, this second Sapporo International Arts Festival still did not have the desired effect. Although the number of venues for the second Sapporo International Arts Festival increased from the original 18 venues to 45 venues, the number of visitors dropped from 480,000 in the first edition to 370,000. Many visitors expressed disappointment about the festival. The artworks were too crude, not moving and shocking, but instead began to wonder if they really deserved to be called artworks. Some visitors pointed out that the festival seemed to have borrowed a lot from successful examples such as the Setouchi International Art Festival in order to make up for the shortcomings of the previous one, and copied their models without any new ideas, and there was a suspicion of plagiarism.

Some of the exhibits at the Sapporo International Arts Festival

Some of the exhibits at the Sapporo International Arts Festival

After two consecutive failures, the Sapporo city government was chastised by local residents for squandering tax money willy-nilly without achieving the desired results, and there were strong calls to hold the mayor and the festival planning department accountable. The example of the Sapporo International Arts Festival proves that the festival is not a 100 percent success plan.

Systematic European Art Exhibitions

Venice Biennale and Documenta Kassel

The Venice Biennale has endured for a hundred years and is one of the oldest surviving exhibitions in the world. From the first edition in 1895, it has experienced changes such as the World War and witnessed the development and changes of contemporary art. The Venice Biennale can be said to be the source of the current biennials blossoming all over the world and is also known as the Olympics of the contemporary art world. The international reputation of the Venice Biennale has grown, and the number of visitors from all over the world has increased from 224,000 at the beginning to about 500,000 today. The Venice Biennale consists mainly of the exhibitions in the national pavilions and more than forty parallel exhibitions. On the small island of Venice, almost all the space that can be used for exhibitions is decorated with artworks. The Venice Biennale and China also have a deep connection. Thirteen Chinese artists were invited by Oliva, the chief curator of the Venice Biennale in 1933, and ten years later, Chinese contemporary art occupied an exclusive Chinese pavilion at the Venice Biennale. And by 2017, the number of Chinese exhibiting artists reached a peak of over 300.

The greatest charm of the Venice Biennale is that it is possible to see the development of modern art from all over the world in one venue, becoming a platform for artists, collectors and art lovers from all over the world to exchange ideas. Behind this successful platform, there is also a mature system of operation. The Venice Biennale Organizing Committee is responsible for the overall operation and execution of the Venice Biennale. The Organizing Committee’s funding comes mainly from government grants, the collection of exhibitors’ fees and sponsorship income. However, for the participating artists, the fees paid to the organizing committee are not much, and most of them are paid to the local service providers in Venice. For example, in some categories, exhibitors are restricted from bringing in their own exhibit workers and have to hire local workers at high prices. There is also the cost of hiring exhibition staff and the escalating cost of hotels, food and transportation due to the art exhibitions. It can be said that Venice, a small city on the water, is dependent on the service industry, and the Biennale is the benchmark of Venice.

In addition to the Venice Biennale, another major European art exhibition, Documenta Kassel, has also developed over the years as a result of its development. Documenta is held every five years in the German city of Kassel, and each exhibition lasts for one hundred days, also known as the 100-day museum. The first Kassel Documenta was established in 1955 by artist, teacher and curator Arnauld Bode as part of the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticultural Show), which was intended to summarize the early modern present from the 19th to the early 20th century and attracted a total of 130,000 visitors. Its original purpose was to bring German art up to date with the world’s contemporary art, while also critiquing the dark side of Nazi culture.

Two installations by Vlassis Caniaris (1928-2011), “Hopscotch” and “Coexistence”, are on display at Documenta in Kassel

Documenta always adheres to its academic orientation, with a five-year cycle that gives artists at least 1-2 years to create their works. At the same time, unlike other art fairs, Documenta does not accept applications from artists or recommendations from galleries and other art commercial organizations, and its artworks are selected and invited worldwide by a dedicated curatorial team. The entire planning and preparation process is rigorous and meticulous, giving the curators enough time to think and polish, ensuring that the curators’ academic ideas are not infected, and that the entire Documenta has a serious tone, rather than simply bringing artists and enthusiasts together to revel. It has become an important coordinate of international contemporary art, the focus of attention in Western culture, and a mirror image of the times in Western society.

Iconic Exhibit at Documenta 2017 in Kassel: The Parthenon of Books by Marta Minujín

Like the Venice Biennale, Documenta Kassel has changed the story of a city. Kassel was originally an industrial and military city that was bombed into ruins during World War II. The only large city in the northern part of the German state of Hesse is uniquely positioned to develop a base for art exhibitions. With approximately 106 square kilometers and a population of nearly 200,000, the city has enough space for art exhibitions, as well as a local restaurant, accommodation and transportation system to accommodate visitors from all over the world. On the other hand, Kassel has a strong cultural tradition, with the city’s landmark statue of Hercules built during the Renaissance. Thanks to Documenta Kassel, the city has become a city of culture and art.

The most recent 14th Documenta took a step beyond Germany’s borders and opened a section in Athens as well. Chief curator Adam Szymczyk proposed a budget of 37,000,000 euros, and the actual money spent exceeded this figure, making Documenta one of the most expensive visual art exhibitions in the world.

Both the Venice Biennale and Documenta Kassel have developed a complete exhibition system and support system due to their long development time and profound accumulation, and have become world-renowned examples of art exhibitions driving cities.

The Dilemma of South America – Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil

Founded in 1951, the Bienal de São Paulo is the second oldest biennial in Brazil after the Venice Biennale. The São Paulo Biennial was initiated by Francisco Ciccillo Matarazzo Sobrinho, an industrialist of Italian descent, who was also the president of the Biennial until his death in 1975. Since 1957, the fourth edition has been held in the pavilion of the Biennale, designed by the architect Niemeyer. Like the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Biennale also chose to combine a national pavilion with an international exhibition. However, unlike Venice, São Paulo Biennale does not have separate national pavilions, but rather has all the national pavilions distributed in one large space. In this way, there is no competition between different countries for favorable pavilions, and to a certain extent, a fairer and more pure environment for artistic discussion is created. The specificity of the São Paulo Biennial stems from its geographical location – Latin America, away from the traditional European centers – and is one of the few art exhibitions in developing countries that has a great global impact and prestige.

The history of the São Paulo Biennial, however, is more difficult. For one thing, the biennial has not received much support from the local government, and for obvious reasons. Brazil, once one of the BRIC countries along with China, India and Russia, is now economically stagnant and heavily in debt. The Brazilian government cannot afford the high operating costs of cultural institutions, and even the cultural program for the Olympic Games has been cancelled due to funding problems. Therefore, the São Paulo Biennial is in a very bad situation. Compared with the strong government financial support behind Documenta in Kassel, Germany and the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Biennial enjoys less than 10% of the financial aid. The huge scale and expenses have to rely on private and corporate sponsorship.

Poster for the 2016 Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil, on the theme of existential uncertainty

In addition to the financial troubles, the São Paulo Biennial came to face a volatile political situation. This conflict reached its peak in 2016, immediately after the closing of the problematic 2016 Olympic Games, which was followed by the Brazilian Biennale. During the Olympics, the Brazilian public was extremely vocal in its opposition to the government’s spending of large amounts of tax money to host the Games, disregarding the living standards of the local population. At the time, politician Michel Temer automatically took office without being elected and with the support of the military. He removed Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president in office at the time, and tens of thousands of people took to the streets during the Brazilian Biennale to protest and demand Temer’s ouster. President Temer had also proposed at the 2016 G20 summit to abolish the Ministry of Culture to balance the fiscal deficit. The dramatically volatile political situation and the government’s reduced cultural investment have overshadowed the Brazilian Biennale.

Gabriel Perez-Barreiro, chief curator of the 33rd edition of the São Paulo Biennial

And this year Brazil will welcome the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, from September 7 to December 9. Chief curator Gabriel Perez-Barreiro wants to use the Bienal as an opportunity to rethink the way the Bienal is organized, and he has invited seven artists to create seven different exhibitions based on this year’s theme: “Affective Affinities He invited seven artists to create seven different exhibitions based on this year’s theme: “Affective Affinities” (Affective Affinities). Let’s wait and see what kind of surprises the Brazilian Biennale will bring to us in this seamy survival.

The Abstractionists Lead the oil Painting Market, What Makes the Unreadable Paintings Sell so Well?

Among the most expensive paintings at auction in the world, abstract art is a common sight. When this unintelligible painting sells for hundreds of millions of dollars, one wonders: how can a work that looks like anyone can paint be so valuable? Today, let’s enter the world of abstract painting and understand the mystery!

Abstraction fever in the auction market

In today’s auction market, abstract miracles are not uncommon, and various auction data show that abstract works have become a trend to sell. On the evening of May 15, Christie’s New York 20th Century Art Week “Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale” was held. Among them, Kazimir Malevich’s abstract painting “suprematist composition” in the form of consultation price auction, $60 million starting, $76 million hammer, plus commission finally sold for $85.81 million, about 537 million yuan, a world auction record for his works, but also the most expensive Russian art.

Kazimir Malevich “Suprematist Composition

Just a few days ago, on the evening of May 9, the second evening auction of the Century Sale – “The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller” – went under the hammer, with 41 lots covering Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe and Willem de Kooning, among other outstanding American artists of the 20th century. The second sale of the “Rockefellers’ Collection” was completed with 41 lots. Among them, de Kooning’s late abstract work Untitled XIX sold for $14,262,500, making it the highest priced work in the auction.

De Kooning’s Untitled XIX

Zao Wou-ki’s paintings sold in Paris galleries 20 years ago for no more than $50,000, but nowadays, whenever they appear on the auction block, they generate records in the tens of millions of dollars. On the evening of May 27, 2017, the sale of 29.09.64 at Christie’s Hong Kong ended up at HK$152.86 million, putting Zao’s works in the “Billion Dollar Club”. Zao Wou-ki’s “fever” was particularly intense, not only witnessing the vibrancy of the Asian modern art market, but also highlighting Zao Wou-ki’s charm as a reigning figure in both the Eastern and Western art worlds. A few months later at Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Auction “Evening Sale of Twentieth Century and Contemporary Art”, Zao Wou-ki’s “29.01.64” sold for HK$202.6 million after 13 minutes of bidding, setting a new personal record for the second time in 2017. The last time this record was rewritten was only six months ago. Successive auction records were set, and each time the improvement was more than 35%. This is, as Christie’s Asia’s International Director of Twentieth Century and Contemporary Art Zhang Ding Yuan said, “In the art trading market, Zao Wou-ki’s best era has clearly come.” And it also represents, to some extent, the onset of the abstract painting boom!

Zao Wou-ki, 29.09.64

Unreadable = expensive?

The explosion of abstract art is most strongly evidenced in the auction market. Data from major auction houses show that abstract works have always been at the top of the “pyramid”. In the world’s most expensive works at auction, abstract art has the highest price, ranking first. But at the same time, abstract art is very contradictory, many people feel that it is not beautiful and unintelligible, but many others feel that abstract art is one of the greatest achievements of human art.

What is the rationale for abstract painting being so expensive? The reason lies in the logic of art history, and the logic of capital is to follow the logic of art history. Indeed, abstract painting no theme, no characters, no narrative, no plot, only color combinations plus dotted lines, the godfather of American abstract expressionist art, Greenberg once said, is because of abstract art, the concept, theme, characters, narrative from art completely removed, art has become pure and clean, art is the real art, art is no longer reduced to a political tool, bending to what the main theme and the pursuit of positive Only then will art become pure and clean. Abstract art is the “flat revolution” of painting, the sum of formalist painting, and the highest achievement of modernist art.

The earliest abstract art works were painted by Kandinsky around 1910, which is only a little over a hundred years ago. Since China’s modern art is dominated by realism, most people can’t understand abstract art, because of the lack of abstract aesthetic awareness training.

Abstract art was the ultimate goal of Western modernist art pioneered by Cézanne, and the greatest achievement in the history of Western modernist art. However, abstract painting is not so easy to understand in the West, even for the ordinary viewers living in the same cultural soil, but it is an artistic and cultural progress. In the twentieth century, Western artists who cherished freedom began to explore breakthroughs, trying to get rid of the traditional concept that painting must imitate nature, thus gradually formed abstract oil painting. As Arsene Polibny added, “Although the value of abstract painting cannot be underestimated, it has still not become an integral part of popular culture”. For the Chinese audience, Western modern abstract art is more of a heavenly book that is difficult to decipher. For the Western audience, the main reason for not understanding abstract art is the professional barrier; for the Chinese audience, besides the professional barrier, there is a more important reason for the difference in worldview and way of thinking.

From the above analysis, we can see that it is not because we can’t understand the abstract oil painting that its value becomes high, the reason for the high price of the painting and the meaning of the painting itself is inseparable. We often say we can’t understand abstract oil painting, but if we quietly appreciate it, we believe we can always understand its essence!

The development of abstractionism

Abstraction is the relative concept of figuration. It is the concept of extracting the common denominator of many things and synthesizing them into a new concept, which is called abstraction. Abstract painting is a general term for the 20th century painting style that wanted to move away from imitating nature. In the 1930s and after World War II, various forms derived from the concept of abstraction became the most popular and characteristic art styles of the twentieth century. The development of contemporary Chinese modern abstract art and contemporary Chinese abstract Chinese painting is mainly in two situations. One is the exogenous “East-meets-West” contemporary abstract art, which is mainly the Chinese modern art and contemporary art with reference to the Western contemporary art system.

Palisade” by Willem de Kooning

Abstract painting is based on intuition and imagination, and rejects any symbolic, literary or illustrative expressions, and only synthesizes and organizes shapes and colors on the screen. Therefore, the pure form and color presented in abstract painting is similar to music. The development trend of abstract painting can be roughly divided into: geometric abstraction (or cold abstraction), which is based on Cézanne’s theory and developed through Cubism, Constructivism and Neo-Formism. It is characterized by a geometric tendency. This school of painting can be represented by Mondrian; the other is lyrical abstraction (or hot abstraction). This school is based on the artistic concept of Gauguin, developed by Fauvism and Expressionism, and has a romantic tendency. This school can be represented by Kandinsky.

Kandinsky’s “White Line Composition

In fact, since the 1980s, the development of Chinese abstract painting has always had a reference system of Western abstract art. The internal reason is that, after the end of the “Chinese Cultural Revolution” in 1976, the art world began to emerge from the “Cultural Revolution art”, to get rid of the cultural function of art serving politics and mainstream ideology, and to gradually restore artists’ creative freedom and rebuild art The external reason is that, since 1978, the art world has been in a state of flux. The external reason is that since 1978, the Chinese government has implemented the economic development strategy of “reform and opening up”, and the economic reform that came along with the “emancipation of the mind” inevitably faced the challenge of learning from the West in the field of culture and art. It is in this context that the emergence of abstract painting in China has at least a double significance: one is to restore the creative freedom of artists and reshape the ontological value of art. The other is that, due to the elitism, individualism and cultural rebellion spirit of Western abstract art, the emergence of abstract painting in China also had the cultural enlightenment color of rebellion against autocracy, desire for liberation and call for freedom from the very beginning.

Zao Wou-ki, 24.12.2002-Diptych

Some people regard Western modern abstract art as the opposite of traditional realistic art, and think that abstract art is a betrayal of realistic art. We should know that, although abstract art and realistic art are so different, but the two have a lineage of inherent connection. In essence, Western realistic art and abstract art are the products of rationalism, the difference between the two is only the difference between Newton’s classical physics and Einstein’s modern physics. Abstract art represents the new achievements of Westerners in the age of industrial civilization in exploring the universe and its mysteries by means of modern science. In a strict sense, abstract art, like realistic art, is not a subjective fabrication of the artist; it is a true representation of the objective world.

Mondrian’s work “Composition A

Future value trend prediction

If abstract art has its special characteristics, then it lies in its more open scope. In terms of a narrow “abstraction”, we can’t seem to find the beginning and the end of its history, and it’s hard to cover the motives and purposes of artists with one or two ideas. It seems that there is always something called abstraction, and under the same name there are many different artists such as Kandinsky, Mondrian, Koonin, Pollock, Miro, Malevich, Fontana and so on. From this level, the evaluation of the value of abstract art works, the creation of the motive, the purpose of the grasp is more important, which is also the difficulty of the evaluation of abstract art.

Jackson Pollock, No. 5, 1948

As a style of art that has always been mind-boggling, abstract painting has been unprecedentedly hot in the foreign auction market, while in China has been a cold door. With the rebound of the domestic auction market, as well as the continuous drive of the foreign abstract market, before in the domestic attention less abstract painting category has been the attention of funds, including Zao Wou-ki, Zhu Dequn and other abstract painting master’s works in the domestic and foreign auction market repeatedly shot sky-high prices. Obviously, in the international art investment market occupies an important seat of abstract art, is hot in the Chinese auction market!

Jackson Pollock “14 in Grey

As for the current market trend of abstract style, curator Li Xu believes that the current urban construction mode is becoming more internationalized, and the design tendency of various public and private spaces is becoming more and more concise, the trend of abstract artworks occupying an important visual position under such a status quo is irreversible, which is an objective visual demand triggered by the overall living environment of the urbanization era. In addition, the continued development of the art market needs a new economic growth point, in a type of work sales rise and gradually become weak, as soon as possible to seek new profit points and value-added space will be the common direction of the entire market. Analysts said, China’s art market is ushering in the plate rotation era, in this sense, the domestic abstract art by the collection community “lag”, but also because of this “lag”, may be the achievement of abstract art collection opportunities.

If you’ve been paying attention to the abstract painting market, you’ve seen a gallery emerge at this point in time whose two founders are “the most unbeatable” art brokers. About a month or so after the duo was founded, Dominique Lévy, one of the world’s top contemporary art brokers, and Brett Gorvy, former Christie’s executive and chairman and international head of the Post-War and Contemporary Art department, immediately realized their first high-profile exhibition, a two-person solo show of Willem de Kooning and Zao Wou-ki Such a strong combination will be a powerful force in the future of abstract painting and will further enhance the market impact of the abstract school!

Brett Gorvy and Dominique Lévy of Lévy Gorvy Gallery


With the market operation of auction houses and galleries, the aesthetic of abstract art is slowly changing for everyone in China, and the overall acceptance of abstract works in China has been increasing in the past two years. However, because the segment is not fully mature, some of the abstract works with value are complicated and difficult to interpret, which hinders their market recognition. But we believe that in the future development of the market, the abstract painting school will be more understood and accepted!

The Past and Present of Art Criticism

In the world of art, artists produce works, galleries and museums showcase them, and collectors end up buying them. Between these interlocking art gears, art criticism acts as a lubricant. Art critics are neither the creators nor the buyers of art; they connect art to its audience, being both an insider and a distance from all parties. Compared with other critics (such as film critics and book critics), art critics seem to be more mysterious. They are like shadows, always following the development of art.

The Origin and Development of Art Criticism

In ancient times, the opportunity to appreciate art was more often controlled by the elite class, and the general public lacked the opportunity to encounter art, let alone express artistic opinions. Therefore, it was not until the Renaissance that a number of detailed art analyses and critical essays on certain artists emerged. Prior to that, there were texts that resembled art criticism, but they were not systematic. The earliest art critical texts date back to the Cronica (1308-64), a work by Giovanni, Matteo and Filippo Villani, during the Renaissance.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, art treatises proliferated and offered many insights. Albrecht Dürer, for example, was the first art critic to state that “the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy,” and the first to analyze the intellectual emancipation underlying the Renaissance movement.

By the 17th century, theoretical criticism (theoretical art criticism) entered the picture, basing their analysis on reason and viewing art as the embodiment of the human creative mind. In the 18th century, the French writer Denis Diderot further expanded the medium of art criticism. His work The Salon of 1765 was the first attempt to portray artworks in written form. It was also during this time that newspapers and magazines began to create independent art criticism sections, and in the 1870s the Morning Chronicle became the first newspaper to systematically publish information about art exhibitions.

By the 19th century, artists were no longer working for religions or governments, but were free to create their own works, and private lives and everyday objects could be the subject of paintings, and sketches of paintings were allowed to be included in the list of works to be exhibited. As the art world became more liberal, tolerant and diverse, art criticism also blossomed.

Art Criticism Advances Art History

After centuries of development, a consensus gradually emerged on the content norms of art criticism articles, while the diversity of the objects of art criticism – the artworks themselves – was expanded. After World War II, the center of world art shifted from Paris to New York. As the center of art shifted, American art critics began to shine. At the time, the major American magazines were engaged in a war of attrition for the public’s attention, and the battlefield extended to art criticism. As a result, art criticism articles were printed and distributed to a wider audience with the mass circulation of magazines.

It can be said that the prestige of American art critics reached its peak in the 1920s and 1950s. Among the most influential of these critics were Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. The two art critics, who were close friends of each other, were at odds with each other in their professional views, discussing the topic of “the maturation of American contemporary art,” proposing an analytical approach to abstract art, and successfully promoting the development of the abstract art movement in the United States.


Art critic Clement Greenberg is admiring a painting

Art critic Clement Greenberg is admiring a painting

The art critic Clement Greenberg, known for his theory of formalism, also introduced a new object of criticism, institutional criticism, and began to evaluate conceptual art.

Greenberg’s most significant contribution was his identification of derivative works of action painting and his recognition of the creative acts of artists. In his 1952 essay, “The American Action Painters,” he wrote:(The new American painting is not ‘pure’ art, since the extrusion of the object was not for the sake of the aesthetic. The apples weren’t brushed off the table in order to make room for perfect relations of space and color. They had to do so that nothing would get in the way of the act of painting.)”This statement directly confronts Rosenberg’s emphasis on the formal and technical nature of painting.

Greenberg is looking at a painting

For Greenberg, Abstract Expressionism was not a continuation of modern art, but a new beginning in art history. He believed that freedom was inherent in the creation of art, and that “the moment one decides to paint is the moment of greatness. Every movement wielded on the canvas was synonymous with liberation from political, aesthetic and moral bondage. Yet Greenberg did not choose to embrace subsequent artistic movements, such as Pop Art and Minimalism, and reflects his certain limitations.

Art critic Harold Rosenberg

On the other hand, the art critic Harold Rosenberg proposed abstract expressionism, along with support for action painters. Rosenberg’s art criticism has not only provoked thought in readers for its insights related to contemporary art, but has also directly influenced artists’ work. His critical essays have been called the cornerstone of understanding abstract expressionism, formalism, and “non-objective” art.

Artist Jackson Pollock is creating

Thanks to Rosenberg’s sensitivity and foresight in contemporary art, he had the good sense to discover the artist who would become famous, Jackson Pollock. Rosenberg first mentioned Pollock’s name in a 1943 art article for the magazine The Nation: I was surprised and gratified to discover Jackson Pollock’s abstract works that were not overly abstract. He was the first painter I knew who could convey a positive force through his busy colors, and his work can be said to profoundly embody the essence of American painting (There is both surprise and fulfillment in Jackson Pollock’s not so abstract He is the first painter I know of to have got something positive from the muddiness of color that so profoundly characterizes a great deal of (American painting.). “The professional and forward-looking nature of art criticism is exemplified by the career journeys of two outstanding art critics, Greenberg and Rosenberg. Their contributions influenced the subsequent decades of art criticism, and to this day their art theory is an inescapable topic of conversation in art criticism.

Has current art criticism gone stale?

In the past, people had the impression that art criticism was mainly about interpreting art and judging its aesthetic value, and the status of art critics was highly respected for their high insight into and art. At the same time, artists also accept the opinions of art critics, allowing a positive circular mechanism to form between art criticism and art creation.

However, art criticism, once highly revered, is losing its voice in today’s age. Art historian James Elkins has pessimistically commented, “Art criticism is dying, it is being mass produced and massively ignored.” He argued that art criticism was becoming uninteresting, losing its professionalism and losing its originality over the past twenty years. Art critics have become more like the PR heads of contemporary artists, galleries and art markets, becoming a part of the contemporary art machine that supports the constant stream of money it spits out. As a result, the commercial value of art exceeds its spiritual value, aesthetic, emotional, cognitive, moral and other intangible values. As a result, each work of art is displayed to stimulate collectors’ impulse to consume, just like mass consumer goods that are mass-produced to expand sales. The article of art criticism is more like a loudspeaker, in order to hype and corroborate the value of a certain artwork and thus attract collectors’ consumption.

Cartoons on the subject of art criticism

Art criticism has become less neutral, and we sometimes see art criticism articles in the form of propaganda copy. In addition, the influence of art criticism is not what it used to be. Artists and curators have become the biggest stars in the art world, and art critics, who were the gatekeepers, have been pushed to the margins. For example, the star artists, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, whose work has always been sought after by the market, with thousands of dollars pouring into their pockets, and whose work is still paid for by the market even when art critics write a critique of their art, the power of art criticism The appeal of art criticism has diminished. The value of a work of art is increasingly aligned with its final price, and the art critic has lost the control it once had: the art critic.

Art Criticism in the Wave of Change

With the development of technology and public art institutions, art has begun to move from the high halls to the masses, and the winds in the field of art criticism have shifted. In particular, the development of the Internet has brought art resources that were once scattered around the world within reach, while every Internet user has the opportunity to speak online and have his or her words seen by all. As a result, thousands of art-related articles are produced every day, including traditional news reports on an art event, art sections in magazines, exhibition brochures, observational articles on the art market and academic analyses of artworks, as well as a fragmented amount of art-related commentary online. Mixed and diverse, serious art criticism seems to be losing its presence in comparison to the well-presented and comprehensible art-related articles.

Cartoons on the subject of art criticism

At the same time, the bar for contributors of art articles is being lowered. Social networking platforms encourage users to share their personal feelings about a particular piece of art or exhibition. In a way, this implies that everyone can review art, share their own personal feelings and become an art critic. The entrance to art criticism has become wider than ever, and the boundaries of judging art review articles have become blurred.

On the one hand, this approach liberates the power that originally belongs to art experts to the public and frees up an infinite variety of perspectives on art. But on the other hand, the viewers, in the process of commenting, connect their own experiences and ideas to the artwork and the insights they get sometimes do not match the artist’s original intentions.

At the same time, on the Internet, the public’s communication with artworks and art critics is no longer the one-way flow it used to be. Those lofty and authoritative art criticism articles appear less and less frequently, and more young people choose to browse artworks and read short art reviews on their cell phones. In a way, the cell phone has become a mini-exhibition, and the decider of its content is ourselves. We can decide whether we want to follow an artist or let a genre’s work disappear into the mobile stream. We can also express our own attitudes by liking, retweeting and sharing.

In the face of the current mixed environment of art criticism, many people cannot help but lament that art criticism is dead. But the changing environment also holds a new development direction for art criticism. The current art scene is rapidly changing, and one cannot help but feel dazzled. In the midst of this massive output, the majority of artworks are merely mediocre, and people are desperate for someone to help them identify and sift through them. This has always been one of the functions of art criticism – to identify the quality and value of artworks, what is good and what is bad, in order to prompt artists to reflect and develop.

At the same time, as art becomes more and more popular, art critics have taken on a new function: popularizing art, encouraging more people to participate in art appreciation, distinguishing between good and bad, and prompting them to think. An art critic, in contrast to the general public, is a person with professional knowledge who builds on his or her own past experiences and cultural environment to evaluate a particular work of art or exhibition. Different art critics will again have different views and opinions on art works. Those who are curious about the art world can find another way of looking at the same work of art through art criticism articles, and the additional information that comes with art criticism can prompt the reader to think further about the meaning of the work.


Art criticism is like a mirror, calmly and objectively analyzing the development of this art from a third party’s perspective. Although more and more people have a channel to share their art views, there are few art critics who can truly have a voice and influence the direction of artists’ creations and the art market. The more art blossoms, the more we need art criticism to guide us through the vast array of choices.