The language of watercolour: An interview with Bera Nordal

Situated in Skärhamn on the island of Tjörn, Sweden, Nordiska Akvarellmuseet (The Nordic Watercolour Museum) occupies a place both on the desolate coastal edge of the rugged Scandinavian landscape and at the cutting edge of the Nordic and international art scene. Incorporating a collection of classic watercolours works with a progressive spirit and passion for education, the museum has continued to expand and flourish since its opening in 2000. Bera Nordal has been at the healm of the institution since its beginning, having previously served as director of the National Gallery of Iceland and Malmö Konsthall, Sweden. AMA went to meet the woman painting a language in watercolour. The museum is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. How do you think it has developed and what has it achieved since its opening in 2000? I think it has grown steadily since the opening; the museum is located in a very special place being in the country rather than in the center, and the content itself is also very special. What we’ve been doing over these years is building and securing the ground for the different sections of the museum. And I feel that now we have come quite far-now we have a good mix of international and Scandinavian works for our exhibition program. We also focused on the educational program from the beginning, and have gradually built up a collection. Straight away, the main focus was the dialogue with the public-it was very important that we took that decision from the beginning. And concerning watercolour in particular, how would you say that perceptions of the medium have changed over time? What is contemporary watercolour? Well you can look at it, of course, just in a very classical way-the paper, the pigment and the water-but for us, it’s also about the...

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Celebrating 90 years of Disney animation

Los Angeles, 12 December 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). On 10 December, a cocktail reception was held in Burbank, Los Angeles, to celebrate 90 years of Disney animation. The occasion marked the anniversary of the establishment of a small company, opened in the back of an estate agent’s office, by Walt Disney and his brother Roy, who, together, began to produce a series of short animations known as the Alice Comedies. 90 years later, the reception at the Disney lot in Burbank also celebrated the release of the corporation’s 53rd animated feature, Frozen. Present at the event was Ruthie Thompson, 103, who was an inker at the studio for 40 years; Milton Quon, 100, who worked on Fantasia (1940) and Dumbo (1941); and Burny Mattinson, 78, who this year celebrated his 60th year of working at the studio. John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, praised the founder’s marriage of traditional forms of art, film and music. “His work was so beautiful and there was so much heart with appealing memorable characters. He was constantly pushing the technology of the storytelling and the music was so integral and special. More than any other film producer in history, what he produced is...

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Disney and the Beatles at Heritage Auction

Beverly Hills, 6 November 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). On 20 November, auction house Heritage Auction is to host a sale entitled “Animation Art Signature Auction”, to take place in Beverly Hills. Jim Lentz, head of Animation Art at Heritage auction, explains “We knew that we had to follow-up our $1+ million inaugural auction in February with something spectacular. This auction features something from every corner of animation, from Disney to Bugs Bunny to The Beatles, Peanuts, Windsor McKay, Hanna-Barbera and well beyond, spanning every era in animation...

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Angoulême cartoons festival celebrates its anniversary!

Angoulême, 30 January 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême celebrates its 40th edition! It is an exceptional meeting for cartoons’ amateurs and fans, that for many years was devoted to spreading the 9th art, always putting in the spotlight not the cartoons characters, but the cartoonists themselves. To celebrate this anniversary, no self-compliment: an exhibition titled “Mickey&Donald, tout un art…” (the art of Mickey&Donald) will be held from 31 January to 3 February 2013. The event emerged from a desire to “revisit cartoons’ foundations, said Benoît Mouchard, the Festival’s Art Director, and amongst them one finds an essential pillar of Mickey and Donald”. To respect the Festival’s spirit, the exhibition will reveal artists that branded each decade of cartoons’ history, from 1930s to nowadays, under the Disney label: from Floyd Gottfredson to Kari Korhonen and Silvia Ziche, without forgetting Carl Barks, Romano Scarpa or Don Rosa. Each of them adopted Disney codes overstepping them to give this unique world their own touch and make univers of Disney evolve. Affiliations and respect of one towards another is so great that some play with these sentiments, quoting their collegues, integrating their predecessors’ motives in their own creations, notably Don Rosa vis-à-vis Carl Barks. Editors developed cartoons in Europe, settling down primarily in Italy and Scandinavia, allowing themselves great liberty: “Scrooge Mc Duck was invented by Carl Barks and Walt Disney found out about it only three years later! reveals Benoît Mouchard. This shows the great confidence Disney placed in his cartoonists and scriptwriters. Carl Barks developed the univers of Donaldville and the characters of Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, Scrooge Mc Duck, Gladstone Gander – Donald’s cousin who always has luck and Gyro Gearloose. There was no censorship nor directive”. This exhibition is as well an opportunity to show how strong was...

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Mickey Mouse cartoon on auction

Dallas, 11 February 2011. Art Media Agency (AMA). The most expensive Mickey Mouse cartoon in the world, The Band Concert Production Cel Animation Art, Walt Disney, 1935, will feature at the “Signature® Comics and Comic Art Auction” at Heritage Auctions.  It has been estimated at $100,000 and is the only preparatory production in existence of the first cartoon representing Mickey and the rest of his gang. The cartoon is the ultimate Mickey Mouse collector’s object, according to Barry Sandovel, the director of the comics department at Heritage. The Band Concert was the first colour cartoon of Mickey Mouse and Disney fans all over the world are fascinated by this classic animation. The cartoon is part of the Kerby Confer Collection, one of the largest collections of key Disney pieces ever assembled. Confer, an executive at Maryland is renowned for his collection of original Disney material. He acquired the cartoon in 2001. The Band Concert a humorous piece, filled with colourful gags about Mickey’s disorganised orchestra, which never stops playing no matter what the circumstances, despite the attempts of Donald Duck, the vendor of non-alcoholic drinks, to thwart the programme by playing Turkey in the Straw on a piccolo. The film ends with a tempest at the moment the band is playing The William Tell...

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