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French artist Marcel Duchamp once scorned the painters of his time as “intoxicated by turpentine,” mocking their outdated adherence to the medium. The artists of the Prehistoric era, it turns out, may have had a similar problem. A new study found that history’s earliest painters created their works on the innermost walls of deep, dark caves that required lighting by fire, deliberately reducing their oxygen levels to induce “altered states of consciousness.”
The paper was published by researchers at Tel Aviv University in Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture. They focused primarily on caves in Spain and France from the Upper Paleolithic period (between 40,000 and 14,000 years ago) to investigate why humans sought to decorate their most cavernous spots.
By simulating the effect of torches on oxygen concentrations in comparable settings, the authors found that oxygen levels decreased to a state of hypoxia — a condition that boosts the release of dopamine in the brain, potentially resulting in hallucinations and out-of-body experiences.
“Entering these deep, dark environments was a conscious choice, motivated by an understanding of the transformative nature of an underground, oxygen-depleted space,” the paper concludes.
Hey, whatever works to get those creative juices flowing, right?
Saar’s irreverent paintings of dolls from her collection celebrate the catharsis she found in play.
With the opening of the new, $40 million structure in East Williamsburg, it poses the question of its role in the local arts community — one of collaboration or conquest?
Large-scale installations by artist and adobera Joanna Keane Lopez and olfactory-acoustic sculptures by Oswaldo Maciá will be on view starting October 1.
The act of touching allows a deeper sensory understanding for the viewer while simultaneously creating a rebellion against the terms of viewing, the defining terms of the museum and gallery space.
Photographer Fin Serck-Hanssen follows Hedda, a Norwegian in her early 20s, as she travels to undergo cosmetic surgeries and a vaginoplasty.
Over 125 artist studios, galleries, and exhibition spaces open their doors to the public for this year’s Jersey City Art and Studio Tour, taking place from September 30 through October 3.