Most people would pass them by without even noticing, but for Joan Miró, the small almond and pebble now in the archive of the Fundació Miró Mallorca were art in the making. “Miró found inspiration in anything, often where least expected,” writes his grandson Joan Punyet Miró in the 2015 book The Miró Eye. For decades, the artist roamed nearby roads, fields, beaches, and markets in search of things he’d later translate into quirky collages and large-scale sculptures. But it wasn’t just a matter of being attentive to his surroundings. As Miró’s friend and fellow artist Joan Prats once said, “If I pick up a stone, it’s a stone; if Miró picks one up, it’s a Miró.”
Miró was born in 1893 to a family of craftspeople. The artist lived for years between France and Cataluña, but eager to escape the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, and its threat of Francoist surveillance, Miró settled just outside of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1956. There, the artist filled his studio with hundreds of found objects, including shells, fossils, toys, gourds, bones, and folkloric crafts, like Mallorcan siurells — ceramic whistles in the shape of humans and animals — which inspired the creation of many of Miró’s artworks.
The pock-marked almond and smooth, black pebble in question were likely found in the late 1960s during one of Miró’s daily walks around his Mallorca home and studio. In 1970, he made a plaster cast of the two objects which he later enlarged and altered in the bronze sculpture “Personage” (1970). In this piece, Miró transforms the humble found almond and pebble into a six-foot-tall anthropomorphic monument.
In this and other works, “something ephemeral and disposable becomes noble and permanent,” Fundació Miró Mallorca curator Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini wrote in an email to Hyperallergic. “With an intimate and somewhat accidental gesture, a simple found object becomes a work of art, and moreover, a monument.” Miró often sculpted from throwaway materials like tin cans, egg cartons, and even bread, challenging ideas of beauty and value. He had an uncanny ability to see art in the unlikeliest everyday objects, but as the almond and pebble show, Miró was also drawn to easily overlooked elements of nature. As the artist once said, “The smallest thing in nature is an entire world.”
How does a selective competition fit with the contemporary art world’s aspirations toward greater inclusivity?
Critical race theory, which has been attacked by conservative lawmakers, is conspicuously absent, as are many contemporary and living Black artists.
“Dignity of Earth and Sky,” unveiled in 2016, raises questions about who should depict Native people and how they should be portrayed.
In this online exhibition, Indigenous artists reclaim realities long denied them by US and Canadian federal governments — including moments of collective reverie.
At this year’s Sundance International Film Festival, more than half the feature-length movies were made by directors who identify as women.
In her novel Tell Me I’m an Artist, Chelsea Martin questions whether art offers a refuge from the world.
Ten artists will receive studio space and access to faculty, staff, students, workshops, and programming at an arts institution in the heart of Philadelphia.
The US government has lifted a Trump-era ban that kept formerly imprisoned people from accessing their works.
A work of art will be on the line when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
With two exhibitions at SoFi Stadium, the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection seeks to engage a different art audience.
The works that best exemplify a uniquely German grotesque in Reexamining the Grotesque are those that reflect the war and Weimar years.