A twenty-five minute doctumentary about Auguste Rodin's monumental sculpture "The Gates of Hell," which exists in two radically different versions. From the first version spring many of Rodin's best known sculptures, including his most famous, "The Thinker," originally conceived as a portrait of Dante gazing at Hell from above. It was never cast in bronze during his lifetime and was somewhat notorious for never having been completed, but is now considered to be one of the greatest sculptures of the modern era.
After the highly publicized Bruce Lee monument was erected in Mostar, a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005, a series of similar ventures were initiated in rural Serbia. Some sociologists describe the glorification of nonpolitical celebrity figures as the result of an identity crisis caused by the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, a period when a once functioning multi-ethnic unity collapsed.— Turbo Sculpture is an essay by Aleksandra Domanović about sculptures of pop culture heroes, e.g. Bruce Lee, Rocky Balboa and Bob Marley, which have been placed or proposed in the nation-states that once comprised Yugoslavia. You can also watch a photo-illustrated reading of the essay voiced by a dead-pan British man. [via We Find Wildness]
Humanities and the Liberal Arts is the personal website of former Middlebury classics professor William Harris who passed away in 2009. In his retirement he crafted a wonderful site full of essays, music, sculpture, poetry and his thoughts on anything from education to technology. But the heart of the website for me is, unsurprisingly, his essays on ancient Latin and Greek literature some of whom are book-length works. Here are a few examples: Purple color in Homer, complete fragments of Heraclitus, how to read Homer and Vergil, a discussion of a recently unearthed poem by Sappho, Plato and mathematics, Propertius' war poems, and finally, especially close to my heart, his commentaries on the poetry of Catullus, for example on Ipsithilla, Odi et amo, Attis poem as dramatic dance performance and a couple of very dirty poems (even by Catullus' standard). That's just a taste of the riches found on Harris' site, which has been around nearly as long as the world wide web has existed.
"I'm proud of being recognized as an artist, but I really want to be known as someone with a special talent for the whip." Simon Tookoome, who passed away last year, was justly celebrated as an artist in his lifetime. You can view 39 of his pieces in The Canadian Art Database (including my favorite of his, the sculpture Shaman Wolf). But whipping was closer to his heart, and in his prime may have been the world's greatest whipper. Sadly, I could find no video of him from before 2000 on the internet, but here he is at 72. You can read a description of him at his peak in this condescending Time article about the 1972 Arctic Winter Games. And you can watch a few more Simon Tookoome videos here.
Seattle-based German artist Trimpin makes sculptural musical instruments. He was profiled in a mini-documentary by Washington public TV station KBTC a couple of years ago. Here are videos of some other works of art he's created, Fire Organ, Liquid Percussion, Cello, Sensors and Record Players, Contraption at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, MIDI-controlled Player Piano and Sheng High. Kyle Gann wrote an essay by that placed Trimpin in the tradition of John Cage, Harry Partch and other avant-garde American musical inventors. The audio of a nearly hour and a half long 1990 interview with Trimpin by Charles Amirkhanian can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Another, more light-hearted interview in connection to his show at this year's SXSW, where a documentary about him premiered (trailer).
Tina Manthorpe's Flickr set of churces and church carvings has many lovely images of the kinds of things one isn't surprised to see in churches, trees of life, colorful roof bosses, misericords and many more such beauties. More shocking to modern sensibilities are the pictures in the set she calls exhibitionist church carvings, featuring such images as a protogoatse, Starbucksesque mermaids, autofellatio, free-hanging genitals and, uh... something involving thumb-sucking and snakes.