Courtney Love Opens Her First Art Exhibition

Courtney Love has opened the first museum exhibition of her artwork at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Connecticut.

“Mentoring Courtney Love: David LaChapelle and Courtney Love” showcases Love’s artwork and examines the role artist David LaChapelle has played in mentoring the musician’s experiments in a new medium. Love’s artwork on display are all portraits sketched on paper using a variety of methods such as pastel, watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, acrylic and marker. Some are self-portraits, such as this one shown here courtesy of the museum. It’s titled “Don’t You Know Who I Am, 2012.”

David LaChapelle is an artist and photographer who focuses on realistic portraits. He was a protégé of Andy Warhol.

“Mentoring Courtney Love: David LaChapelle and Courtney Love” runs until August 10. If you can’t make it to the exhibition, a 360-degree view is available on the museum’s website.

[Image courtesy the Lyman Allyn Art Museum]

Historical Mexican Portraiture The Subject Of New Photography Book

Since the invention of the camera, portraiture has been an important part of the cultural history of Mexico. Now, a new book, “Mexican Portraits” (Aperture, $85) curated by photographer and editor Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, beautifully captures the essence of this complex country’s people.

The goal of Monasterio’s book, however, is about more than mere imagery. According to CNN, the author was also interested in focusing on recurring themes, “such as lucha libre wrestling, or occupational portraits.

For anyone interested in Latin American history, black-and-white photography, or portraiture, “Mexican Portraits” is a striking, often haunting, story of a country rich in diversity, culture and humor, as well as defined by economic, religious and political instability.

Click here for a slide show from the book.

[Photo credit: Aperture]

‘Bolivian Mennonites’ Photography Exhibition Begins In New York

Unless you’ve followed the horrifying story of the serial rapists who wrecked havoc in the community in 2009, you might not know that the small South American country of Bolivia is home to a large community of Mennonites. Photographer Lisa Wiltse traveled to the isolated colony of Manitoba to capture the conservative community, who shun cars, electricity, and other modern conveniences, and live by a strict religious code. Many of the Mennonites do not speak Spanish, and women typically only speak low German, as the founders of the religion did in the 16th century.

Wiltse’s photographs are a rare glimpse into an insular culture. If you are in New York City tonight, you can attend a reception and slideshow of Wiltse’s work, moderated by the co-curator of The Half King’s photography series. The art exhibition will be on display in the bar until July, and some of the photos can be viewed on the artist’s website.

Photo courtesy The Half King. “Bolivian Mennonites” will be on display May 15 – July 9 in New York.

Airplane Lavatory ‘Laviator’ Self-Portraits Get Artsy

Three years ago, Gadling’s Heather Poole snapped a self-portrait in an airplane lavatory, started a Flickr group and the “laviator” trend was born. Over a hundred official members later, California-based artist Nina Katchadourian has taken the laviator to a new level by creating Flemish Renaissance-style self-portraits on a 14-hour flight.

Katchadourian started with a basic paper toilet seat cover and a camera phone, and then introduced a few scarves to create different backgrounds and airplane accessories ranging from an eye mask to a neck pillow to build a group of portraits. The resulting photographs resemble Dutch masters you might see in an art museum, but savvy travelers will recognize some of her props from around their airplane seat.

This isn’t Katchadourian’s first appearance on Gadling. We’ve previously admired her work with maps, and Mike Barish found a kindred spirit with her “Skymall Kitties” video.

Want to put your own spin on the laviator portrait? Snap a pic on your next flight and add it to the Flickr pool. You might even usurp my title as cutest laviator.


[Photo courtesy artist Nina Katchadourian]

Scottish National Portrait Gallery to reopen after major renovation

After more than two years and £17.6 million ($27.4 million), the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh will reopen on December 1.

The remodel opens up more of the Victorian building to public view, adds more than 60% to the public space, and introduces several themed galleries, including Blazing with Crimson–a collection of full-length portraits of men in kilts.

The gallery’s massive collection of portraits includes those of great statesmen, royalty, scientists, engineers, soldiers, and athletes. Special galleries look at the new face of Scotland, with one exhibit highlighting Scotland’s large Pakistani community.

Another bonus to the revamped gallery is that entrance is now free.

The gallery opened in 1889 as the first purpose-built portrait gallery. While it has always featured paintings of Scotland’s great names, it now also includes a large space devoted to photography.

This is the second major museum reopening in Edinburgh this year. The National Museum of Scotland reopened this summer after a £47.4 million ($74 million) renovation.

Photo of Robert Burns portrait courtesy Wikimedia Commons.