Sad Dog:

In 1863, the director of excavations at Pompeii, the city buried by a volcanic blast in 79 A.D., developed a way to make casts of the victims—or, better put, the voids left where their bodies had disintegrated. The ghostly plaster forms, documented by Giorgio Sommer and others in haunting staged photos, were a worldwide sensation, making visible a previously vanished population. These pictures, along with art inspired by them by Robert Rauschenberg and Allan McCollum, are part of “The Last Days of Pompeii,” an inventive, “anti-archeological” show at the Getty that examines how the doomed city was imagined centuries later in art, literature and film. Read more here

Giorgio Sommer, Cast of a Dog Killed by the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, ca. 1874, albumen silver print. 

 © The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.


Above: John Divola - N34°11.115’W116°08.399’ , 1995-98

Below: Image from Google Street View

Today I’ve paired a photograph by John Divola belonging to the Getty Museum with an image from almost the exact same location on Google Street View.  What have we learned?  In about 13 years, not much has changed in Twentynine Palms, California.

In the 90s, American photographer Divola took a series of photos called “Isolated Houses” in the Southwest.

Lots of hi-res images free to own and use - like this hungry crocodile

Yesterday the Getty Museum announced the start of its Open Content Program, which provides 4600 high-resolution images for all to browse and use, including almost 1900 medieval images (read the announcement here). With the help of a clear search engine you can track down what you are looking for very easily and quickly (check it out here). When you click on “view record” you are presented with large images of 20 MB or even more, which you can download without registering. The best thing? You can do with them what you want. You can crop them, change them, print them on your office mug, include them in your Christmas cards, and even use them for commercial purposes (check out the rules of the game here). So why are you still reading this Tumblr? Take a big crocodile-bite out of Getty’s offering!

Pic: Crocodile eating a man, Getty Museum MS 100 (2007.16.49v) (England, 1250-60).

French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923)
Félix Nadar
around 1864 (8 5/16 x 6 3/8 in)

The extraordinary actress Sarah Bernhardt was about twenty when she posed for Nadar and had barely begun her long and phenomenally successful career. Nadar’s photograph was probably the first of innumerable images by painters, photographers, sculptors, and graphic artists. At a time when Nadar was preoccupied with ballooning and willing to leave most of the portrait work to studio assistants, Bernhardt drew him back into the studio to make touching images of her delicate face. Here he wrapped her with a great sweep of velvet that bared one shoulder but showed no more of her slender body, centering all attention on her head, which is seen nearly in profile. 

The young woman with the supple shoulders and the golden voice became an incomparable and indomitable actress, famous first in France and then throughout the world for playing heroines-and heroes-in a wide variety of plays. Bernhardt’s celebrity and the enormous attention she attracted everywhere she went anticipated the phenomenon of late twentieth-century media stars. 


The second segment of this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features J. Paul Getty Museum curator Scott Allan.  Allan curated "The Scandalous Art of James Ensor," which is on view through September 7.

The show focuses on Ensor’s wild, groundbreaking work of the 1880s and 1890s, and places the artist’s two greatest works in the context of Ensor’s larger project. The Getty’s own Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889 is famous and well-known, but the exhibition also includes Ensor’s 1887 The Temptation of St. Anthony, a mammoth drawing never before exhibited in the United States. It’s in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, to which this exhibition will travel after it’s in LA. 

The image here is Ensor’s The Cathedral. One of Ensor’s best etchings, this piece includes one of Ensor’s densest crowds. MAN Podcast host Tyler Green and Allan discussed Ensor’s crowds on this week’s program. 

How to listen to this week’s show: Listen to or download this week’s program on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at: