Monday, December 31, 2012

Infinite Art Tournament: The Fabulous Prizes

It's New Year's Eve! It's gonna be 2013!  And, we're going to try something new this year.  At the end of every month in 2013, there will be a drawing from among all the Infinite Art Tournament votes cast that month.  The person chosen will win a fabulous prize!

The fabulous prizes will be a choice of at least:
  • Your very own copy of The Art Book (Phaidon, 2005 edition), an extremely cool book of art reproductions, heavy on the images, light on the text, and easy on the eyes.
  • a $20 donation -- or a $30 matching donation -- to a visual arts museum or charity of your choice.
  • a $25 donation towards the arts charity of MY choice, which would be the Portland Art Museum.
Or, if you need a break from the art:

Other options might be thrown in there if they become available!  But even as things stand -- pretty slick, no?

Now!  From February on, only the votes cast during the month in question and for contests posted during the month in question will be counted as entries.  But for January, as special incentive to go back and catch up on any voting you let slide during the busy busy holiday season, new votes on matches from past months will also count as entries!!   You can use this handy link to go back and check if you missed any matches!

(No, you don't have to wait until tomorrow.  December 31st votes will count too.)

I Anticipate Questions About How This Will Work

Q: How will this work?
A: Every time you cast an art tournament vote, you get one entry.  If you vote in six matches during a month, it's like holding six raffle tickets when the winner is drawn.

Q: What if YOU win, Michael5000?
A: I won't.  Alas, Mrs.5000 and I aren't eligible for fabulous prizes.

Q: But what if I really don't have a preference in a tournament match?  Should I just make a random vote in order to get my entry?
A: No.  If you make an intelligible comment to the effect that you don't have a preference between the artists in this round, that will count as a entry for fabulous-prize purposes.

Q: So do other comments on the blog count as...
A: No.   

Q: So, I voted for four artists in the Play-in Tournament...
A: Whether you vote for four or fewer artists in a Play-in Flight, your ballot counts as a single entry for fabulous-prize purposes.

Q: Can the same person win more than once?
A: If they're lucky.

Q: Surely you don't expect that this will attract new voters, do you?
A: Nah, probably not.  It seems like it might be fun, though.

Q: Won't this be a lot of work?
A: Nope.  I did a test run.  Jenners won the test prize, which is to say nothing.

And Questions About the Prizes

Q: I note that there are a number of formats and editions of The Art Book.
A: The fabulous prize will probably be the medium-format softcover of the original edition.  It might be gently used.  Specifics may vary according to price and availability, but it is my intention to provide a fairly excellent prize.

Q: I've already got a copy of The Art Book. 
A: Perhaps The American Art Book or The 20th Century Art Book would be a good prize for you.

Q: What's a "matching donation"?
A: You can name an organization, and we'll donate $20.  But if you donate $30, we'll up our donation to $30.  

Q: How will the paperwork on the donations be handled?
A: Honor system.

Q: If you give a museum a one-time $20 donation, won't their marketing expenditures over the years to come result in the donation being a net liability to them?
A: I will send the donation with a very polite letter explaining the situation.  They know the drill.

*Q: I notice that there is an asterisk by the cookies...
A: For vaguely legal reasons, the cookie prize is only available to blog regulars, as defined by myself.

Q: What if I win the fabulous prize, but don't see the announcement that I've won?!?
A: Well, there's your incentive to keep up with the IAT!

Q: Well, of course I always keep up!  The IAT is my homepage!  But let's say that in theory, some one-time voter won and you had no way of contacting them...
A: Their prize would wait for them forever, or until the end of 2013, whichever comes first.

Q: What if an anonymous voter won?
A: Can't happen.  Anonymous votes have never been allowed in the Tournament. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One: Domenichino v. Donatello!

1581 - 1641


c.1386 - 1466


Vote for the artist of your choice!  Votes go in the comments.  Commentary and links to additional work are welcome.  Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Element of the Year Tryouts -- 2012

Wow, wasn't it an exciting year in Chemistry? Yes!  Yes it was! And now it is time once again to select the Element of the Year!

It's never easy. We investigated twelve more extremely excellent elements this year, and as always we'll have a tough time indeed picking one out for top honors.

Here's the traditional table of the elements that shows where we've been so far.  The 2010 Elements of the Month are in grey, and the 2011 Elements in light blue.  This year's candidates -- the 2012 Elements of the Month -- are shown in orange.  (I have also updated things a bit, indicating in light yellow the elements that the primitive humans that created this table didn't even have proper names for.  I also added some that they didn't even know about, but you will probably not be able to notice because I did a very professional job.)

January: Ir -- Iridium
February: Cm -- Curium
March: Zr -- Zirconium
April: Os -- Osmium
May: La -- Lanthanum
June: Ca -- Calcium
July: Cu -- Copper
August: Bh -- Bohrium
September: Fr -- Francium
October: Ga -- Gallium
November: Pd -- Palladium
December: I -- Iodine

How will we decide? Same as last year! YOU, that's right YOU, gentle reader, may pick your first, second, and third favorites, and make your votes in the comments.  Voter turnout is likely to be low, so impassioned advocacy on the part of the Element of your choice could really make an impact!

Behind in your Art Tournament voting after the holiday rush?  This convenient link can help you sort it all out.

You'll be relieved to hear that we're not going to do "Saint of the Year." 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round 2: Cranach the Elder v. Dali!

Lucas Cranach the Elder
1472 - 1553

Beat seventeenth-century Dutchman Aelbert Cuyp decisively in Round 1.


Salvador Dali
1904 - 1989

Savaged somebody named Charles-Fran├žois Daubigny in Round 1.


Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012


The IAT Advent Calendar
December 24

Canadian Christmas stamp, 1898.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


The IAT Advent Calendar
December 23

Estonian Christmas cards, contemporary.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One: Dobson v. Van Doesburg!

William Dobson
1610 - 1646


Theo Van Doesburg
1883 - 1931


Vote for the artist of your choice!  Votes go in the comments.  Commentary and links to additional work are welcome.  Polls open for at least one month past posting.


The IAT Advent Calendar
December 22

Vintage Christmas card, jolly, date unknown.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Celebrating a Quarter of Infinity

Heavens, it seems like just yesterday that Jacques-Laurent Agasse and Josef Albers stepped into the ring and, with no fanfare whatsoever, began the first match of the First Round of the so-called “Infinite Art Tournament.” Can you believe that we’re already one-quarter done?  But we are! In a limited sense!

To be precise, as of last weekend, 128 of the 512 artists who will compete in the First Round have made their inaugural appearance. Of the eight bracket sheets necessary to show the first four rounds of the tournament, one and almost all of the second are already in play! (Not quite all of the second, because First Round matches get yanked out of their initial bracket placement if they result in a tie. But close!)

To celebrate the day, there are two very modest new features. One is a full and occasionally coherent statement of the tournament rules, which I prepared as an exercise in technical writing. (Finding: Technical writing is harder than it looks.) The second is the entire third bracket sheet, available over there in the sidebar. From Dubuffet to Hals, you can look up your favorite late-early alphabet artists to check whether they’re in the show and scope out their First-Round competition. Yow!

By the way, if you are feeling a melancholy sense of the party being over before it is fairly begun, remember that we’re only talking about the First Round here. This is what the semi-finals bracket – Rounds 4 through 7 – looks like so far.

We’re in no danger of running out of art

For those who love statistics, here’s how things are looking:

Main Tournament

Entered Competition: 128 artists

Currently Undefeated: 37
Currently 3-0: 4
Currently 2-0: 11
Currently 1-0: 12
Currently 1-0-1: 2
Currently 0-0-1: 8
First Match Unresolved: 16

Currently One-Loss: 60
Currently 2-1: 10
Currently 1-1: 16
Currently 0-1-1: 2
Currently 0-1: 32

Eliminated: 15
Eliminated with a record of 0-2: 9
Eliminated with a record of 1-2: 6

To the extent that we have a leader, so far it would probably be Bernini. He’s one of four artists who have made it to the Fourth Round, and with a running total of 33 votes for and only 15 votes against, he is clearly a crowd favorite. On the whole, we’ve had more close matches than routs, and no one has yet been skunked, but Cornell’s 13-1 pasting of Copley and Bernini’s 15-2 romp over Beuys couldn’t have been pleasant for fans of the losing artists. Beuys is the least fortunate artist in the early going.  Despite not arousing any particular hostility in the crowd, neither did he inspire many votes, and he retired with a painful total of 4 for and 24 against.

Play-In Tournament

Entered Competition: 48 artists (of 96)

Completed Phase 1: 32 (as of Saturday, Dec. 22)

Will advance to Phase 2: 12
Eliminated: 20

Leading the pack so far is Remedios Varo, with a batting average of .917 in her flight. Again, we’ve yet to see anyone fail to get any votes at all, but Anselme Boix-Vives and Anges Martin share a painfully low score of .067.


The IAT Advent Calendar
December 21

Illumination in the Codex Bruchsal, c. 1220.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Play-In Artist SubTournament: Phase 1, Flight 6

Phase One Rules:
  1. You may cast votes for up to four artists.  
    • One vote per artist per person.
  2. Since play-in artists were nominated by your peers in the IAT community, including myself, courteous and affirmative voting is in order
    • Which is to say, no baggin' on the aesthetic sensibilities of the nominators.
  3. Full rules, procedures, and anticipated timeline for the Play-In SubTournament are available on the Play-In SubTournament page.

Phase 1, Flight 4 will be open until noon PST, Saturday, December 22nd.
Phase 1, Flight 5 will be open until late January.
Flight 6 will be open for approximately two months.

Roger Dean
born 1944

Van Gaard

Hans Heysen

Late 18th Century

The Mysterious Book Artist of Scotland
dates unknown; contemporary
Mysterious; works in Scotland

Adolf Wolfli

Theodore Chasseriau

Bruce Licher
dates unknown; contemporary

Vote for up to fours artists! Votes go in the comments. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. This poll will be open for approximately two months past posting.


The IAT Advent Calendar
December 20

Infinitely receding commercial art, 1958.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round 2: Corot v. Courbet!

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
1796 - 1875

Beat 16th Century Italian Correggio in Round 1


Gustave Courbet
1819 - 1877

Defeated 15th Century Italian Francesco Del Cossa after a see-saw battle in Round 1.


Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.