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For Napa’s Newest Cult Cab, Art Is Part Of The Terroir – Forbes



Suzanne Deal Booth is not your ordinary art collector, and her new wine project, Bella Oaks, is not your typical Napa Cab. Booth is an art preservationist, a curator at heart, and she has devoted most of her life to making art more accessible to everyone, as well as supporting artists in accomplishing their work. She’s the founder of the Friends of Heritage Preservation (FOHP), which has contributed to more than 80 preservation and conservation projects in 18 countries, and she has endowed two annual awards: the Suzanne Deal Booth Rome Prize for Historic Preservation and Conservation at the American Academy in Rome, and the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize at the Contemporary Austin. In sum, she arrived in Napa with a deep aesthetic commitments, which continue to expand as the wine project evolves.

In 2010, in an intuitive leap of faith, Booth bought the storied old Rutherford vineyard owned by Belle and Barney Rhodes, whose vines had supplied grapes to Heitz Cellars from 1976-2007. Deal sold fruit to Staglin Family Vineyard from 2010-2016, when she decided that Bella Oaks should have its own label. She chose Nigel Kinsman, former winemaker for Araujo, whose own label, Kinsman Eades, makes knockout wines, to craft the property’s own interpretation of these grapes.

I first tasted the wine one day when Booth wasn’t in town, and though I’d wanted to meet her, I was kind of glad I could faun over the wine without seeming disingenuous in front of the owner. You see, I’m not a devotee of California Cab, in general, the way so many wine collectors are. I visit often, I taste a lot, and I often end up preferring other grapes from other regions — Willamette and Anderson Valley Pinots, Italian Nebbiolos — but Bella Oaks won me over before the wine even hit my palate. The aroma of the inaugural 2018 vintage is nuanced, floral, vertically ascendant (meaning lyrically deep), and balanced, something that the genre is not particularly well-known for. I said to my host, “Are you sure this is a Cab?” She laughed, and I sensed she’d gotten similar responses before, as this is a categorically different approach to Cab-making in the Napa Valley, and word is getting around. In the mouth, the lush berry-driven fruit is given ballast by a subtle maquis-like note — imagine circumnavigating Sardinia in the summer with your windows downs — and the spice impulses, for me, are tied to the florals (freesia, perhaps?), while the mouthfeel has a levity I rarely find in Cabernet, inviting but not imposing.

At this point, I hadn’t really even inquired into the art, two pieces of which I had driven by as I entered: Bosco Sodi’s “Untitled” clay cubes designed to change in their environment over time and another untitled sculpture by Joel Shapiro in bronze painted red. But I was tasting the wine adjacent to the vineyard, where I had just walked past the spectacular “Le Génie de la Bastille,” by Max Ernst, and it occurred to me that there was a synergy here, an aesthetic throughline, if you will, that connected the wine in the bottle with the art on the land, a paradox having to do with the simultaneity of gravitas and grace.

A few months later when I met Booth, I was eager to ask her about why she chose the pieces she did for Bella Oaks. She is a grand presence in any room, quietly commanding one’s attention, and the first thing she said to me was, “Have you seen the labyrinth?” Of course, this place of magical vibes would have need of one. She had commissioned landscape architect Andrea Cochran to design a labyrinth after the Chartres Cathedral, made of various stones from some of her favorite places, including Dublin, Boston and Utah. It’s a satisfying space where one can realign, tune in to what’s important.

The piece that ended up being the central focus of conversation is Yayoi Kusama’s “Where the Lights in My Heart Go,” a mirror-polished stainless steel and aluminum cube with an Infinity Mirror Room punctuated with holes to allow light in. Kusama, best known for her pop art, turned to this style of work as an antidote to the detachment of depersonalization, a mental health disorder she suffered that her art brought awareness to.

And on this visit, I was able to taste the just-bottled 2019 Bella Oaks, which will be released on September 13th for $295 a bottle — get on the list here.

Booth has recently acquired the nearby Swanson winery and tasting room and will eventually have a facility that allows Bella Oaks to have complete control over every aspect of farming and winemaking. For now, you can taste (by appointment) at Wheeler Farms down the road, then head over to Bella Oaks for the art tour, which is not to be missed.

There’s no doubt that Bella Oaks will be a must-have wine for the new guard of Napa collectors eager to see what this region can do when a a bit of restraint is employed. I sense that this wine is a view into Napa’s future, and I hope I’m right.

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Is AI Art a 'Toy' or a 'Weapon'? – The Atlantic



Earlier this year, the technology company OpenAI released a program called DALL-E 2, which uses artificial intelligence to transform text into visual art. People enter prompts (“plasticine nerd working on a 1980s computer”) and the software returns images that showcase humanlike vision and execution, veer into the bizarre, and might even tease creativity. The results were good enough for Cosmopolitan, which published the first-ever AI-generated magazine cover in June—an image of an astronaut swaggering over the surface of Mars—and they were good enough for the Colorado State Fair, which awarded an AI artwork first place in a fine-art competition.

OpenAI gave more and more people access to its program, and those who remained locked out turned to alternatives like Craiyon and Midjourney. Soon, AI artwork seemed to be everywhere, and people started to worry about its impacts. Trained on hundreds of millions of image-text pairs, these programs’ technical details are opaque to the general public—more black boxes in a tech ecosystem that’s full of them. Some worry they might threaten the livelihoods of artists, provide new and relatively easy ways to generate propaganda and deepfakes, and perpetuate biases.

Yet Jason Scott, an archivist at the Internet Archive, prolific explorer of AI art programs, and traditional artist himself, says he is “no more scared of this than I am of the fill tool”—a reference to the feature in computer paint programs that allows a user to flood a space with color or patterns. In a conversation at The Atlantic Festival with Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic’s executive editor, Scott discussed his quest to understand how these programs “see.” He called them “toys” and “parlor game[s],” and did a live demonstration of DALL-E 2, testing prompts such as “the moment the dinosaurs went extinct illustrated in Art Nouveau style” or “Chewbacca on the cover of The Atlantic magazine in the style of a Renaissance painting” (the latter of which resulted in images that looked more canine than Wookiee). Scott isn’t naive about the greater issues at play—“Everything has a potential to be used as a weapon”—but at least for a moment, he showed us that the tech need not be apocalyptic.

Their conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Watch: Atlantic executive editor Adrienne LaFrance in conversation with Jason Scott

Adrienne LaFrance: When we talk about AI art, what do we even mean? How does it work?

Jason Scott: So what we’re calling “AI art”—by the way, they’re now calling it “synthetic media”—it’s the idea of using analysis of deep ranges of images, not just looking at them as patterns or samples, but actually connecting their captions and their contexts up against pictures of all sorts, and then synthesizing new versions from all that.

LaFrance: So basically a giant database of images that can be drawn from to call to mind the thing that you prompt it to make.

Scott: Right.

LaFrance: And why is it exploding now? It seems like various forms of machine learning and AI have really accelerated in recent years.

Scott: They let it out of the lab and let regular people play with the toys. Across the companies that are doing this, some are taking the model of We’ll let everyone play with it now—it’s part of the world.

LaFrance: When you think about the implications for this sort of technology, give us an overview of how this is going to change the way we interact with art, or whatever other industries come to mind. For instance, at The Atlantic we have human artists making art. I’m sure they might have strong feelings about the idea of machines making art. What other industries would be potentially affected?

Scott: Machines are becoming more and more capable of doing analysis against images, text, music, movies. There are experimental search engines out there that you can play with and say things like “I need to see three people around a laptop.” And previously it would have to be three people in the laptop, but it actually is starting to make matches where there’s three people in the room. And the weirder and more creative you get with this toy, the more fun it gets. I see a future where you’ll be able to say, “Could I read a book from the 1930s where it’s got a happy ending and it takes place in Boston?” Or, “Can I have something where they fell in love but they’re not in love at the end?”

LaFrance: I have more questions, but I think now it’d be a good time to start showing people what we mean. Do you have some examples?

Scott: I have some examples of things that I did. So this is “detailed blueprints on how to build a beagle.”

LaFrance: So these are prompts that you gave the model, and this is what came out of it?

Scott: Yes. For the people who don’t know how this whole game works, it’s pretty weird. You usually type in some sort of a line to say, “I’m looking for something like this,” and then it creates that, and then people get more and more detailed, because they’re trying to push it. Think of it less as programming than saying to somebody, “Could you go out there and dance like you’re happy and your kid was just born?” And you’ll watch what happens. So it’s kind of amorphous. This is a lion using a laptop in the style of an old tapestry. This is Santa Claus riding a motorcycle in the style of 1970s Kodachrome. This is Godzilla at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This is a crayon drawing of a labor action. These are bears doing podcasts. This is GoPro footage of the D-Day landing.

I’m always playing with it, and the reason you’re hearing all those strange prompts from me is because I want to understand: What are these systems seeing? What are they doing? It’s so easy as a parlor game to say, “Draw a cellphone as if it was done as a Greco-Roman statue.” But what about doing a bittersweet sky, or trying to draw a concerned highway? What does it see?

LaFrance: What does this suggest to you about the nature of art? This gets to be sort of an existential question, but is it still human-made art in the way that we think of it, and should we be bothered by that? I mean, we use all sorts of tools to make art.

Scott: Everyone is super entitled to their own opinion. All I can say is, I did drawings in a zine in my teens; I was a street caricaturist; my mother was a painter; my father does painting; my brother’s a landscape artist. And coming from that point of view, I am no more scared of this than I am of the fill tool or the clone brush [in Photoshop]. Everything has a potential to be used as a weapon—imagery, words, music, text. But we also see an opportunity here for people who never knew that they had access to art. I can almost hear the gears crack and start moving again when I go to somebody and I’m like, “Could you give me something to draw?” And they do it and they see how it goes. I can’t get angry at that particular toy. But I won’t pretend that this toy will stay in its own way neutral, or even is neutral now.

LaFrance: I was talking to a colleague about these sorts of tools the other week, and we were really compelled by the idea of being able to visualize dreams. What other sorts of things—fiction comes to mind—can we imagine but don’t normally get to visualize?

Scott: I love telling these AIs to draw “exquisite lattice work”—using phrases like exquisite or rare—or give me “leather with gold inlay on a toaster,” and watching it move into that world and design things in seconds that aren’t perfect, but are fun.

LaFrance: We’re going to experiment, which is always dangerous. You’re never supposed to do stuff in real time. But I have some prompts for you.

Scott: This is DALL-E. There are many others. Think of it just like early web servers or early web browsers. There’s a bunch of companies with various people funding them or doing things their own way.

[Scott now leads LaFrance through a demonstration of DALL-E 2: It’s included in the video embedded above.]

Scott: We see the ability to do everything from intricate pen-and-ink drawings to cartoons. People are using it now to make all sorts of textures for video games; they are making art along a theme that they need to cover an entire wall of a coffee shop; they’re using it to illustrate their works. People are trying all sorts of things with this technology and are excited by it.

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Tribune's Ruth Lloyd winner of 2022 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk grand prize draw – Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune



The 2022 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk grand prize draw winner was the Tribune’s own Ruth Lloyd.

Those who walked around to local businesses to view the art on display were able to get a stamp for their “passport” at each business, and after 15 stops were able to enter into the draw for prizes, and after 30 participants were elligible for two entries.

Lloyd managed to make it through the entire 30 artists on display in 30 businesses in the downtown core over the weeks of art walk, taking in a few at a time on her lunch breaks.

When called and told she was the winner of the grand prize draw for a $500 gift certificate for art with her favourite artist she asked, “How can I pick just one?”

Instead, she asked to split the $500 between two artists, and settled on Lesley Lloyd, a ceramics artist, and Maureen LeBourdais, textile artist.

She then posed for photos with each artist and someone from the business which hosted the artist during art walk, Tammy French of Lo’s Florist and Hope Tallen of Kit and Kaboodle.

Read more: Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk 2022 opens Aug. 12 and will feature 30 artists at 30 businesses

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Look Inside the $1 Billion Sale of Paul Allen’s Art Collection – BNN Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — The details of what could be the most expensive single-owner auction in history are starting to take shape.

On Wednesday evening, Christie’s announced highlights from the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s estate, whose roughly 150 artworks are anticipated to bring in more than $1 billion. Allen died in 2018.

Topping the list is a Cézanne landscape which carries an estimate “in excess of” $120 million. A Van Gogh landscape and a Seurat interior are both estimated at $100 million. Together, estimates for the top 10 paintings announced by the auction house total $765 million.

The sale, whose proceeds will go to charity, will possibly be the most extreme test of the art market ever, but it comes at a time of deep uncertainty in the the global financial markets. The quality and rarity of Allen’s artworks are unquestionable; the prices, however, are steep enough to give even billionaires pause.

The auction will take place in New York in two parts—an evening sale on November 9, and a morning sale on November 10. Check out some of the highlights and estimates (all of which are listed “in excess of”) below.

$120 Million for ​​La montagne Sainte-Victoire (1888-1890) by Paul Cézanne

$100 Million for Verger avec Cyprès (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh

$100 Million for Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version) (1888) by Georges Seurat

$90 Million for Birch Forest (1903) by Gustav Klimt

$90 Million for Maternité II (1899) by Paul Gauguin

$75 Million for Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau) (1981-1983) by Lucian Freud

$60 Million for Waterloo Bridge, Soleil Voilé (1899-1903) by Claude Monet

$50 Million for Le Grand Canal à Venise (1874) by Edouard Manet

$50 Million for Small False Start (1960) by Jasper Johns

$28 Million for Concarneau, calme du matin (Opus no. 219, larghetto) (1891) by Paul Signac

$25 Million for Three Studies for Self-Portrait (1979) by Francis Bacon

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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