Freaky Flowers: Echinopsis Cacti in Bloom

Freaky Flowers: Echinopsis Cacti in Bloom from EchinopsisFreak on Vimeo.

A montage of a dozen types of Echinopsis cactus flowers blooming. And wilting. And just generally showing off their mind-blowing colors. My favorite cactus flowerings from the 2014 blooming season.

Echinopsis cactus flowers bloom overnight and the flowers last for only a day. Actually, the flowers are at their peak beauty for an hour or two at the most. That's what turned me from a cactus enthusiast into a cactus photographer … the desire to try to preserve some aspect of their freaky beauty. Prior to becoming an Echinopsis addict a few years back, I had never owned a DSLR or image/video editing software.

The cacti shown in this video come from my collection. The evening when it looks like a plant's flowers are about to bloom, I bring it indoors to image. Most of the clips in this montage show approximately 8 hours of change as the flowers open and bloom. A little more than halfway through the montage, there's a series of three clips showing different views of a 24-hour period in the life of a yellow-flowered 'Daydream' plant. Six flowers that opened the night before I started filming wilt to nothingness and another 4 flowers grow dramatically and then open. This series of 'Daydream' clips is followed by another three showing other types of flowers wilting. These additional wilting clips are also taken over a daylong period.

The question I'm asked most often about my cactus flower still images and timelapses is whether I've "Photoshopped" them, that is, have I used editing software to juice things up and create the flowers' intense colors. I do, of course, use Photoshop and Lightroom and other editing software. But not in the way most suspect. Rather than using these tools to overstate reality, I actually use them to reduce the intensity of the colors my camera captures. I have reduced the color saturation in every timelapse clip in this video by a minimum of 10% and some ('Yes', 'Cabaret' and 'Antimatter') by 30% or more in order to have something that wasn't just completely blown out.

I hope you enjoy "Freaky Flowers" and invite you to contact me via my Vimeo account and/or visit http://www.echinopsisfreak.com where you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about these cacti and also be able to reach me via a contact form should you wish.

The 2015 blooming season is just about to start now that April approaches and I hope to be posting new timelapses soon here at Vimeo.

Best! Greg

Video: Greg Krehel. Sound: "Chin Swee Sunset" with the permission of the artists O$P$ (Owe Money Pay Money) … SoSolid Records

Women Artists Are Poised to Take Off

“I think that women artists are on the upswing, and the market will start to correct as more collectors, in it for the game, will drive the prices of women artists up as will buyers recognizing the talent that has been there all along. As a result, women artists will be doing larger artworks, with Damien Hirst- or Jeff Koons-style studios, and they will also become a greater presence in architecture.

“There will be mechanized ways to change galleries and exhibi- tions, allowing for more elastic shows with an ability to place more art on view in ways that are not possible now. The Google project will continue to expand beyond its 32,000 images from 46 museums and will globalize the art market and increase accessibility and expo- sure for all institutions. This digitization will build the audience for images and ideas about art that will dramatically extend what catalogs and books do today. Art will increasingly reach more people in more places.”

—Agnes Gund, president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art

Art Will Be Like Music Is Today—Everywhere

BY CARTER CLEVELAND
Before talking about the future of art, I’d like to draw your attention to the past, to another form of human expression: music.
Pre-20th century, the music world in the West resembled the art world today. If you listened to professional music, were informed about the genre and attended performances, you were part of an elite class.
Today, it’s hard to imagine a world where listening to music has anything to do with class. Not everyone can afford front-row seats to a Justin Timberlake concert, but everyone knows his music. You can ask anyone on the street about their favorite band and watch their eyes light up. In contrast, try asking someone on the street about their favorite artist and rarely will you find a similarly enthusiastic response. (If this thought experiment doesn’t make sense, you probably live in New York or London—two cities that together account for over 60% of the global art market.)
So why has music succeeded in transcending class hierarchies while art has not? Pessimists would say that fundamentally there is a finite universe of people interested in art, or that you must experience art in person to acquire a passion for it. But these same arguments were made about music and attending live performances over 100 years ago.
No, a love for art is not genetically predestined. Like music, passion for art is nourished from a young age via exposure and education. But while the record player and the radio drove music’s exposure beyond class boundaries, those technologies were incompatible with art.
The good news is that the Internet provides a medium for both music and art to reach anyone with an Internet connection—and therefore holds the promise of a future where art is as ubiquitous a part of culture as music is today.
Given that, here are six predictions about the future of art:
1. The art of tomorrow will be the technology of today. Going back to charcoal on a cave wall, artistic mediums always began as functional technologies. Consider the daguerreotype, once an affordable alternative to commission paintings, now a fine- art medium beloved by Chuck Close. As we become increasingly comfortable with new technologies, they will transition to future modes of self-expression. Contemporary examples include Jon Rafman’s Google Street View art, Dwyer Kilcollin’s sculptures made using 3-D printers, and Katsu creating abstract paintings with spray-paint-carrying drones. And just imagine the kind of artistic experiences made possible by new virtual-reality technologies.
2. An “upper-middle-brow” of art will emerge. Literary critic William Deresiewicz used the phrase “upper middle brow” to describe cultural content that has widespread appeal and stands on its own critical merit. Television has seen the emerging dominance of upper-middle-brow shows like “House of Cards.” In film, Pixar has managed to engage high-, middle- and even lowbrow audiences simultaneously. And Shakespeare accomplished the same in theater. Today art is rarely appreciated for appealing outside of a small world of tastemakers—although examples like Banksy and Christian Marclay (particularly his film “The Clock”) come to mind. But in the future, a larger and more diverse audience of art lovers will celebrate artists that achieve trans-brow appeal.
3. The art market will expand massively. The global art market is about $66 billion annually, but for every one household that collects art there are 37 with the same average income who don’t. If art becomes a ubiquitous part of culture, collecting could become normal behavior for households with disposable income, just like buying luxury fashion and jewelry. At Artsy we are seeing this phenomenon firsthand among new collectors in Silicon Valley, a market we have early visibility into given our tech-startup roots.
4. There will be many more galleries. Some 71% of collectors and 88% of dealers regularly buy and sell art via digital image (sight unseen), and on Artsy we see an average distance between buyer and seller of over 2,000 miles. Additionally, as of 2012, art fairs now account for 36% of all dealer sales. Art fairs and online platforms give galleries global reach without the costs of multiple physical locations. This ability to reduce costs will see a corresponding increase in galleries able to serve the rapidly growing art market.
5. New artists will be discovered faster, and location won’t matter (as much). SoundCloud Chief Executive (and Artsy investor) Alex Ljung recently pointed me to the phenomenon of Lorde, a 17-year-old from New Zealand, who hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 less than a year after releasing her first extended play (EP) on SoundCloud. Online music platforms are making these kinds of discoveries increasingly frequent; and online art platforms will similarly unearth more talented artists regardless of location or how connected they are into the art world’s existing power structures.
6. Education today will ensure the longevity of art in the future. For the majority of the 20th century, contemporary classical music flourished. Then, an elitist outlook that saw no value in educating new audiences began to dominate the genre. While rooted in the values of artistic integrity, this elitist stance was falsely premised on the idea that connoisseurs are born, not made.
Ultimately, ignoring future audiences proved lethal for contemporary classical music, which has now become largely an academic pursuit with the biggest names barely able to fill the orchestra sections of concert halls.
Why won’t the fate of contemporary classical music befall con- temporary art? Because unlike the contemporary music establishment, the art world is educating new audiences via the Internet. Museums, foundations and galleries increasingly publish artworks online and—critically—supply contextual material for self-education (the same reason Artsy created the Art Genome Project, which pro- vides art-historical context and allows users to discover related artists).
As with music, a passion for art is made, not born. By educating young audiences today, we are avoiding contemporary classical music’s fate and ensuring that future generations have the opportunity to become art lovers, collectors, patrons and connoisseurs.
page30image1200 Mr. Cleveland is founder and chief executive officer of Artsy, an online resource for art education and collecting.