Monday, March 28, 2005

Artwork Needed for Auction

Two dimensional artwork is needed between the sizes of 8x10 inches and 24x24 inches for the American Red Cross' DC Bandaids/Tsunami Relief Silent Auction and Concert to be held at DCAC next Monday night, April 4th, 2005.

This is a great opportunity to have your artwork help lives that have been devastated by the tsumami, and also donate to the American Red Cross all at once.

For more info, including where to donate your artwork and when, please email the Silent Auction coordinator Mare Meyer here or visit this website for more details.

click here to visit ArtKrush is back! Visit them often.

Block that Quote

MAN has an interesting post on misused quotes in reference to Matisse.

Nothing to do with Matisse, or DC art, but the trouble with misused quotes is also one of my pet peeves, which in a Woody Allen moment, I was able to "fix" (in a very specific case) a few years ago on national television when I was a talking head in a TBS documentary called "Women of the Ink."

The documentary was about female tattoo artists, and I was the talking head discussing the ancient history of tattooing in European culture, specifically focused on the ancient Picts of current day Scotland.

For almost two centuries historians had debated the issue of tattoing among the Pictish kingdoms north of Hadrian's Wall in Roman Britain. A few lines from a poem by Claudian:

"Venit et extremis legio praetenta Britannis, Quae Scotto dat frena truci ferronque notatas Perlegit examines Picto moriente figuras"
Which means:
"This legion, set to guard the furthest Britons, curbs the savage Scot and studies the designs marked with iron on the face of the dying Pict"
Add a few more sparse descriptions (which are actually the first surviving mention of the Picts dating from 297 AD), in a poem praising the emperor Constantius Chlorus, by the Roman orator Eumenius. And then by just repeating the same partial quote over and over, historians get into a debate about tattoo or painted? What does "marked with iron mean?"

Matrilineal (Royal House of The Seal) a drawing by CampelloEven the name is confusing: Pict (Pictii) is actually probably a derrogatory nickname given by the Romans to their tattooed enemies; it could mean "Painted."

The ancient Greeks called them the "Pritanni" (which some people think is the origin of the word Britannic). Pritanni means "the People of the Designs" as does the word "Cruithnii," which is what the Gaelic Celts called them.

So I actually went and researched the source and text of some of the original documents which mentioned the Picts and discovered that the quotes were but a small part, and once expanded not only confirmed that the Picts were tattooed, but described the process (they used sharp iron tools (needles?) and a natural plant-based ink called woad, which is apparently (in some forms) highly hallucenic by the way... sort of a very strong PCP type drug).

Most of the misquotes were taken from books 9 and 14 of the Etymologies of Isidore of Seville (560-636).

In the Chronica de Origine Antiquorum Pictorum (The Pictish Chronicle), an otherwise confusing text, he writes:
"Picti propria lingua nomen habent a picto corpore; eo quod, aculeis ferreis cum atramento, variarum figurarum sti(n)gmate annotantur."
Which means:
"The Picts take their name in their own tongue from their painted bodies; this is because, using sharp iron tools and ink, they are marked by tattoos of various shapes."
Painted and tattooed!

When I bring this up to a very smug historian in the "Women of the Ink" documentary, you can actually see his proper British jaw drop.

Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins is at it again... check out his latest outdoor installations at the reflecting pool here and at the Mall here.

Beck's Futures

Blake Gopnik pens a really superb look at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts' "Beck's Futures" exhibition of emerging British art.