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Astrological Aesthetics: August 2016 Horoscopes

Wilhelm von Kaulbach, illustration for to Goethe's 'Reineke Fuchs' (1846) (via Wikimedia Commons)
Wilhelm von Kaulbach, illustration for Goethe’s ‘Reineke Fuchs’ (1846) (via Wikimedia Commons)

Hyperallergic’s horoscopes offer astrological advice for artists and art types, in art terms, every month.

Leo (July 23–August 22)

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is pretty good, Leo, but his codexes hold many more secrets. In fact, some of them are even more brilliant than we initially realized. Unfortunately, this is not a Mona Lisa month for you. Any attempts to create a transcendent masterpiece will not only fall short, but fail spectacularly. Your energies would be better applied to humbler tasks. Do you know how to codex?

Virgo (August 23–September 23)

We need to talk about your studio, Virgo. It’s a mess; a non-hot mess. It looks like either the dank dungeon of a sloppy hoarder, or the spartan cell of an ascetic prisoner — we’re not sure which, we’re just trying to cover as broad a spectrum as possible here. You’ve got some big projects in your future, but they will only pan out if you clear out all the clutter from your work space and create the ideal conditions. The ideal conditions do not include dust mites the size of tumbleweeds (or, for the Land artists out there, tumbleweeds the size of mobile homes).

Libra (September 24–October 23)

You know what would make a great art fair name, Libra? Your astrological sign. Think about it: Volta, Pinta, Nada, Arco, and … Libra! It’s also franchise compatible — Libra London, Libra Bogotá, Libra Lisbon, etc. So what do you say, will you give up your rights to your sign so we can market it as a contemporary art marketplace? If you answered “no,” well done, you’ve passed this test and are ready for August. A supposed authority figure is going to ask you to do something this month that will initially seem crazy; stick to your guns — it is crazy.

Scorpio (October 24–November 22)

You’re going to feel a bit like Cindy Sherman this month, Scorpio, and not because you’ll be approached to create a diluted version of your work for a nonsensical cosmetics ad campaign — although, you never know. No, you’re just going to wear many disguises, uniforms, and expressions in August. First you’ll be “paranoid worker certain she’s about to be fired,” then you’ll be unemployed (try to have fun with that look), and then “happy-go-lucky new hire at a better job.” See? Unlike the characters in a Sherman series, it will all work out for you in the end.

Sagittarius (November 23–December 21)

You’re going to want to take a screenshot of this one, Sagittarius, because it’s the only time we’re ever going to recommend doing what Damien Hirst has done. Your astrological forecast calls for something big and surprising, like that time collectors were tired of Hirst’s pre-sold out exhibitions, so he went directly to auction; or that time people got fed up with his conceptual one-liners, so he made a bunch of (awful) paintings; or that time everyone lost interest in the work he’d made, so he built a museum to show the work he’d bought. Surprise us!

Capricorn (December 22–January 20)

Whether it’s the stylized and implicitly bruised, bumpy, and lumpy bodies of Jenny Saville, or the painstakingly rendered pockmarks and pores of Ellen Altfest’s fragmented figures, there’s nothing quite as queasy-making as a painting that powerfully evokes human skin, Capricorn. You should get that rash checked out.

Aquarius (January 21–February 19)

Six years ago, Katrin Sigurdardottir created a very clever installation at the Metropolitan Museum that consisted of a gradually shrinking replica of one of the institution’s historical rooms. Like a series of folding screens installed in a snaking pattern, the piece began with a full-scale replica of a wall of an 18th-century French hotel interior and eventually shrunk down, panel-by-panel, to a Barbie-sized facsimile. Exploring the piece made for a wonderful, Alice in Wonderland-like experience. This is precisely the sort of thing that will happen to you this month, Aquarius: your best laid plans will pan out, but on a much smaller scale than you’d hoped.

Pisces (February 20–March 20)

Have you ever seen David Shrigley’s sculpture “Egg” (2011), Pisces? It’s a large ceramic egg with the word “EGG” painted on its front in his trademark typeface. It is also an oddly fitting metaphor for your August astrological forecast. On the emotional front, you’ll need lots of alone time for self-examination, reflection, and to explore your inner life — something akin to cooping up inside a gooey, nutritive, yet fragile egg. In your professional life, people will tend to overlook you, ignore you, and tune you out, so you need to make yourself noticed. (To be clear: we are not advising you to walk around wearing shirts with your name in giant letters on them all month; you’re not a lost toddler at Disneyland.)

Aries (March 21–April 20)

Your astrological outlook for the month is basically a shorthand for the creative process, Aries. You’ll be going about your practice/life as usual and then some major revelation/aesthetic breakthrough — what exactly we can’t say; we don’t want to ruin the surprise — will result in boundless joy/a masterpiece. Enjoy! (Semi-related: a clumsy colleague could accidentally sabotage everything; do not let this happen.)

Taurus (April 21–May 21)

There’s been so much talk of late about institutional sexism and racism, and how such socialized biases impact the art world, but we think there’s another important “-ism” that needs to be discussed: speciesism. Who the hell decided that portraits of humans are the bees’ knees, anyway? Selfish and destructive humans, that’s who! And who came up with the absurd hierarchy of animals in art, where noble chickens and brilliant pigs play second fiddle to dumb horses and brutish bulls? Sorry Taurus, but it’s true. You’ve got to check your privilege this month.

Gemini (May 22–June 21)

Do you know what’s behind every great painting, Gemini? Great underpainting. That may seem like a weak joke, but it’s actually not a joke; it’s a truism you should keep in mind this month. Yes, there are many momentous things on the horizon for you this fall, but for now you need to focus on laying the groundwork for them. Spend August working out your technical and logistical problems so that your creativity can run wild next month.

Cancer (June 22–July 22)

Tracey Emin’s “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995” (1995) may be a tired yardstick for the shock tactics of autobiographical art, Cancer, but it’s oddly similar to your astrological forecast for August. Not only did it document Emin’s extensive history of bed-mates (102, though not all were sexual partners), but it also drew on a broad range of artistic traditions, from conceptual installation and sculpture to textile art and craft. Get promiscuous — both in the projects you take on and in the relationships you explore.

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