Hong Kong’s Art Museum Reopening

The Art Community in Hong Kong is refusing to postpone their exhibitions, with this being proven after it was announced that the Hong Kong Museum of Art would reopen on November 30th. This announcement comes after continuous escalating violence against communism in Hong Kong, which has been prevalent state-wide for six months. Unfortunately, there isn’t any end in sight for Hong Kong’s fight against democratic freedom. Subsequently, this could cause significant damage to fall under threat against the museum.

The Government-maintained museum closed their doors far before these protests began, with rebuilding efforts starting back in 2015. The Hong Kong Government spent more than $119 Million for the redesign, hoping that it would showcase the best qualities of their culture. It’s known that eleven exhibitions will be displayed on the opening day, showcasing the lineage and history of Hong Kong Art. There will also be additional exhibitions that showcase Chinese ink Paintings from the 20th Century.

However, there are significant concerns that extremist protestors will enact violence onto the new facility. This would be in retaliation to the government, who have claimed this new museum could be a beacon that brings the Hong Kong people back together. Needless to say, if Hong Kong citizens were to destroy this unique landmark, it would show the government that nothing can stop them from accomplishing their democratic freedom. It would also mean that $119 million the government spent would have been worthless, creating new waves of anger amongst political leaders.

The Violence Ensues

Hong Kong has had more than thirty significant protests in 2019. These protests began when the Hong Kong Government agreed to the Chinese Extradition Bill. This legislation would’ve allowed the Chinese government to deport anyone in Hong Kong that was deemed against the state. Considering that Hong Kong residents live by democratic, equal rights and have the freedom to speech, hundreds to thousands would’ve been considered criminals by Chinese officials. After the Extradition Bill was terminated, protests continue at Universities after police dissolved peaceful demonstrations. From all accounts, the Chinese and Hong Kong government don’t know how to handle the political rise of millennials. Change is coming, somewhat they approve or disapprove.

We will keep our readers up to date on what happens with the Hong Kong Museum of Art and if it’ll be vandalized in the coming weeks. For the love of art, we plead with protestors to leave this new landmark alone.

German Art Collection Stolen in China

One of the most highly valued art collections from Germany has been stolen while on display in China. The collection owned by a woman who had obtained multiple works from Renate Graf, Markus Lüpertz and Anselm Kiefer. Its total estimated value is more than €300 million, with reports indicating that some paintings have been sold on the black market. The German Collector allowed these pieces to be on loan, moving from location to location in China. Several media officials reported on this news when Maria Chen-Tu, the German Woman owning this collection, informed them that her collection had been stolen. Maria is of Taiwanese Descent, and she noted that this collection was loaned to a male businessman for sale for over ten years.

Maria Chen-Tu knows the criminal behind the stolen arts, as she claims it’s the very businessman that took the art collection loan. Chinese laws stipulate he doesn’t have to return any imported items and that once in his possession, are legally his property. Maria, after several exhibitions and zero sales, asked that her collection be relocated to her Hong Kong Depot. However, the business didn’t comply with her requests and ignored all her deadlines. Ma Yue, the identified businessman for this stolen art collection, started to block her contact methods. For the last two months, he hasn’t been available to Maria Chen-Tu. There are also rumours that pieces from her art collection are being sold through the online black market. Unfortunately, Chinese Officials have refused to work with Maria Chen-Tu because of her Taiwanese Descent. This didn’t stop Maria Chen-Tu from receiving her justice though.

Ma Yue was tasked with exhibiting this vast collection of artworks for ten years, with works meant to be sold to the highest bidders over this period. After he stole the artwork and Chinese officials didn’t co-operate, Maria contacted the United Nations for assistance. Since then, the culprit has been captured, and he will begin insolvency proceedings starting January 2020. He will have to relocate or repay for the stolen artwork while facing a significant prison sentence.

Mario Chen-Tu spoke to reporters after her public announcement in Beijing. She mentioned that her concern for the fate of these paintings keeps her up every night. These works are hundreds of years old and are most likely being stored improperly. Subsequently, it’s expected that these paintings will be destroyed over a short period. There is little hope that Ma Yue will assist law enforcement with locating the lost collection and that he will face his prison sentence instead.

MACM Employees Striking

The advancements for equal rights in women’s pay have grown exponentially across Canada. Most recently, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art has once again faced a backlash against their lack of equal pay. The women working for MACM have announced that they will be protesting for November 18th and 22nd. Their strike will be focused on the lack of job security with the museum and demand that wages be increased to the same rates as their male co-workers. These women are supported by the Quebec Professional Workers Union, which almost guarantee’s that their strike will be beneficial.

The decision to strike against the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art was made after an original three-day voting period, where female workers decided if striking was required or not. After intensive debates, it was determined that a strike would be held for six days. However, the Union changed its position and lowered the strike to four days. This wouldn’t be the first time that employees of MACM have gone on strike before, with the museum having faced striking issues for the last five years.

Contract Problems

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal began facing their issues after thirty workers didn’t receive contract renewal in 2015. It became a viral story across the province of Quebec, with the museum forcibly having to rehire the terminated employees. However, they were rehired as part-timers and haven’t received a new contract in five years.

This has brought more problems for the museum, as it was revealed that male workers have continually gained contracts and that male part-time employees receive the same benefit as full-time individuals. MACM has also provided their male employees with a 5.25% pay increase over five years, which is significantly higher than most salaries maintained at Quebec Museums. The Contemporary Art Museum in Montreal was subject to claims of sexism and abuse, with many reporters noting that these men couldn’t receive their pay increases without the loss of contracts for female employees.

The Quebec Professional Workers Union noted that women working at the museum had been underpaid while having to maintain jobs comparable or harder than a man. The MACM is the largest museum in Canada for Contemporary Art, its shocking that they violate equality rights for women.

Quebec’s Problems

The Province of Quebec has been littered with problems regarding sexism for more than a decade. They’re primarily known as a conservative province, with views reminiscent to European Politics. Outdated viewpoints have resulted in women having lower pay or not receiving the same job as men. Since equality became a significant subject amongst Canadians, the urge for women’s rights has increased in Quebec. Changes for women can be seen across the nation daily. Subsequently, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art will have no choice but to agree to the union’s demands.

The Art of Color

The subtle and yet very effective way that every little detail inside a casino is used to achieve the desired outcome is an art form in itself. Much thought and consideration are put into every single bit of detail. In the end, the casino needs clients to stay a little longer, return more often, venture beyond the limits of their imagination and spend a little more than what the might initially have had in mind. This is how casinos stay afloat, and they achieve it through subtle aspects of design and the use of colour.

Many might already be aware of the fact that windows and wall clocks are a definite no in any casino. Casino management does not want to remind patrons how much time they have spent in there already. They don’t want them to watch the sun go down in a tremendous panoramic display of hues of gold and orange, nor to watch the break of dawn of a new day upon them. No clock with arms showing how much time has gone by in an accusative manner. None of these will ever be seen inside the walls of any grand casino.

Calming Colours

The little details which often do pass our watchful eyes are still much more subtle. Such a tiny little detail is hidden in the colour of the card tables. It might be easy to spend hours at the card table without ever wondering why they are always green. It is easy to assume that it is just an industry norm. Yet, green is considered to be a calm and relaxing colour, one that has proven to make people feel more at home in this intimidating environment of flashing lights, constant noises and crowded spaces. The art of keeping players calm is thus accomplished with the brilliant display of the colour green on tables. Counterbalancing other factors out and ensuring calm and relaxed players, always urged to go that one step further.

Another practical use of colour in casinos is in the very busy, often referred to as ugly, carpets. Regardless of whether the design of an average casino carpets suits your taste or not, we can all agree that they are notoriously busy. For this, many reasons have also surfaced. One is that it is another skilful manoeuvre of casino designers ensuring that patrons rather look away from the floor and on to the slot machines and tables. These are the areas where casinos want their patrons to focus and hence with very subtle and artistic planning; they force patrons to look away from where they have no interest. Alternative arguments state that it is purely done in such a way to hide stains and the many chips which land on the floor during the night, but in a place of magic and wonder, we prefer to settle for the initial explanation.

The History of the Dice

A considerable part of the history of gambling, which in itself goes back for centuries, is centred around one single small little item. The core of the multi-billion industry from way back until today, the dice. The dice dates back as far as Sophocles already reporting on it from before his time. Over centuries it became the icon for handing the power of your life over to Lady Luck. The little cube is making decisions for the indecisive, divining the future, casting your lot.

In the lifetime of Sophocles, he already reported on this little invention to which so much power is allocated. A design by Greek legend, Palamedes. A development that occurred during the attack on Troy. This version of the history of the dice is however under siege by another version stated by Herodotus claiming that it was indeed an invention of the Lydians during the kingship of King Atys. Regardless of both claims, archaeologists have found numerous findings that the dice indeed dates back way before then. Indeed a little bit of history which has prevailed for centuries and remains valid today.

Modern Dice

The precursors of the dice are seen to be magical devices applied by primitive people to cast the lot to divine their future. These were most likely bits of knuckle bone or even ankle bones of sheep, buffalo or any other animal carcass. Over time markings were made on these to give additional meaning to the four sides. Later on, in history, these devices were made of ivory, gold, porcelain or alabaster. Some of these dices which closely resemble the modern-day dice were found in excavations in China dating back as far as 600 BCE, as well as in Egyptian tombs from as far back as 2000 BCE. In India written records were found in Sanskrit, dating back to over 2000 years ago, referring to the dice.

During the 16th-century dice games gained the interest of the mathematicians of the time. Galileo and Girolamo Cardano were only two of the many who often researched probability and randomness of these games. This interest was later on concluded in the belief that the dice had no structure indeed when it falls and that it merely indicated the will of the gods and other supernatural forces.

The new dice still is an enigma, often considered to be the magic wand of another unpredictable force of supernatural power, mostly made of cellulose or any other plastic material and an essential component to the casino industry and home board games. A little known fact is that the Western dice is considered to be left-handed with the numbers on the cube positioned in a clockwise direction, while the dices of the Chinese is right-handed with the numbers in a counter-clockwise direction.

Artistic Brilliance Displayed in Macau

Art is not the main reason why the majority of visitors to Macau travel there annually. Even though it is also often not even noticed being overshadowed by the brilliance and enormity of the casinos in Macau, it still is some of the most brilliant works in the world. Here are some to appreciate during your next visit to Macau.

In the elevator lobby at Mandarin Oriental Macau, you will find this exquisite work created by the Chinese artist Li Xiaofeng. The artist uses polished broken pieces of porcelain and stitches them together with wire to make various garments from them. She has created a collection of dresses and jackets and even military uniforms. Her idea is inspired by the Chinese tradition of eating rice from a ceramic dish. These broken pieces of dishes converted into clothing links the bowls and the bodies which are fed from them. These garments can technically be worn but is not a practical option for a night out. The casino showcases a dress she made.

MGM Macau

The MGM Macau is the permanent home to two of the Spaniards most revered and recognized sculpted works. Alice in Wonderland is a magnificently beautiful sculpture by Salvador Dali, which is the welcoming feature in the hotel. The author Lewis Caroll had a significant influence on Dali’s creative side, and he was particularly fond of this surreal story about a young girl in another world. Dali has given his twist to Alice, displaying her less innocently as a young girl with her breast exposed in this famous work of art.

His other work of art is displayed in the hotel’s lobby. It is a bronze sculpture known as the Dalian Dancer and was made according to a technique known as lost wax. The statue is placed underneath another brilliant piece called Fiori di Paradiso, which is a hanging ceiling of handblown glass flowers. Dale Chihuly, an American artist, created this.

Wynn Palace

Jeff Koons often gains his inspiration from modern-day influences like pop culture, and he also earned himself the reputation of sometimes being a bit on the controversial side. This work of art was purchased at the hefty price tag of $34 million and resembled bright balloons twisted into shapes of flowers. The entire sculpture is made of high-chromium stainless steel and weighs in at three tons.

For 27 years the English painter, George Chinnery lived in Macau. During this time, he made many paintings on tiles that displayed how life in Macau seemed during that period. These tiles have since then earned a historical value due to the depiction of the social and cultural changes that took place. The tiles can be seen at the base of Cathedral Square, one of Macau’s hidden jewels.

Gambling – The Art of Deceit

Nearly 80% of the adult population in America has tried their hand at some stage at gambling. Often merely for recreational purposes since many consider the act of gaming as a pleasureful thrill surrounding money. Yet when the thrill turns into an addiction, and the law has lost its fun element, then some gamblers would continue. Thus the question arises of why do players continue if it isn’t fun anymore? Maybe because gambling is an art in its own right, the art of deceit.

The Reward of Uncertainty

Uncertainty of whether you are going to win the jackpot, whether you are going to lose it all, whether today is that day, is one of the biggest subconscious attractions to gambling. When the possibility of reward remains uncertain, the human brain keeps on releasing dosages of dopamine. The anticipation of possibly winning is rewarded with feelings of enjoyment and excitement. Research has also indicated that gambling triggers the same areas of the brain as when a drug addict receives a fix. The effect of this constant surge of dopamine to your mind even alters your feelings towards losing. Thus making the uncertainty in gambling the main attraction to this deceitful form of art.

Immersing Yourself in the Environment

Being able to stand in front of a great work of art is only truly appreciated when the onlooker can truly immerse him or herself into the scenery portrayed. Complete immersion is what gamblers are lured in by time and time again. Gambling is indeed more than just betting and either winning or losing. Casinos are well-planned works of art aiming at alluring gamblers back to the lights and the sounds of excitement. The visual and audio thrills are as enticing and well-planned as every brushstroke and note in great works of art or music. Each has a purpose of fulfilling, of gaining interest to keep you engaged.

Feeling Enriched

Once again, gambling is compared to attending a magnificent art exhibition or musical presentation. The onlooker might not gain any monetary value from participating; in fact, it probably means something out of pocket to them. Yet afterwards, there is a looming sense of achievement, leaving as someone who has just gained something. Alternatively leaving the casino with empty pockets again feeling like a winner, high on dopamine and low on funds. Casinos went even one step further and adjusted their machines to be more electronically advanced, the placement of lights, the brightness of the scenery, being able to play multi-line slot machines. It leaves the gambler with a feeling of achievement when there is none.

Fostering False Impressions of Skill

Gambling does not relate to skill at all, yet it is perceived that way. Even the recreational gambler is gambling against much bigger odds than those presented in front of you. You are indeed betting against being allured into a world where also losing is celebrated, consistently charged on dopamine and truly immersed in an art form aimed at deceiving you.

Great Novels Inspired By Gambling

Great works of literature have the ability to captivate their readers with a sense of intrigue and magic. It is often so inspiring due to the fact that the authors of these written works of art and inspiration, penned down reflections of their true experiences. Some of these great works aren’t necessarily written in order for the reader to relate to the story, but often to provide an escape from everyday life into the story. These great works below are those which deliver on this great escape into a world of magic and fantasy.

The Gambler

This masterpiece was written by the Russian author in order to accrue the needed funds to pay for his gambling debt which was the result of his unhealthy affair with the roulette tables. Dostoevsky was a regular patron at the most glamorous casinos in Europe including Baden Baden and St Petersburg. These places were the inspiration for the story which tells an aristocratic story of love. The story is complex and keeps readers engaged with many unexpected twists in the road after the protagonist of the tale placed bets on the roulette table on behalf of all the women he once adored. Also included in the brilliance of Dostoevsky’s storytelling is a great dash of Russian humuor.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Raoul Duke is in Las Vegas in search of the elusive American dream. The time period is set in a post-war era and the storyline is riddled with absurdities, indeed delivering on complete madness in a printed format. The story is taking the reader from absurdity to some hilarious moments and in the end, the entire work delivers a peek into the core of the American psyche.

Casino Royale

Can anybody else convey the glamour of the gambling industry like our favourite secret agent, 007 does? This was the first-ever Bond novel written by Flemming and it portrays the glitz and glamour of casino life. This novel has been the inspiration of not only a silver screen production, but indeed also shaped the world of casinos globally. It served as an inspiration for what is possible and the industry aimed to deliver on the escape created in the pages of this brilliant novel.

Monsieur X

From as recent as 2018, this young addition to the list reflects the true-life story of a very rich and truly intelligent Frenchman. He successfully manages to outplay the state and with many clever tactics manages to rake in millions which in the end delivers a life of immaculate luxury. His clever tactics weren’t appreciated by the state-owned casinos in France and it resulted in the government changing the set rules for gambling, simply to avoid losing more money to him. This decision portrays then Monsieur X as the underdog in the French culture.

Great Works of Art Inspired By the Gambling

If you were under the impression that great works of art needs divine inspiration to be birthed into creation, think again. For some of the world’s greatest works of artistic brilliance was inspired by none other than the world of gambling, going hand-in-hand already since the 15th century. Although paintings as old as The Crucifixion done by Andrea Mantegna painted in 1467, showcases a couple of gamblers in the crowd, playing with dice. Somewhere between 1571 and 1610 gambling inspired Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and the Gamblers were set for eternity in oil on canvas. Later on, in the mid-1890s, The Card Players make up for an entire series by Paul Cézanne. The following are all great works of art, where the muse must have been a gambling temptress.

The Cardsharps

Painted during the sixteenth century also by Merisi da Caravaggio, this painting delivers a unique peek into the world of gambling of that time. The painting illustrates a group of young boys who are engaged in playing cards. The one boy is emphasized as the one who has drawn an extra ticket, and an older man is also depicted watching the group of youngsters, watching the hand of one player over his shoulder and indicating the odds to another player who we assume is related. The painting is described as a brilliant infusion of the world of arts with gambling. An ordinary game of cards was captured with artistic brilliance and transformed into a captivating drama. Truly delivering on the beauty of art.

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs

A masterpiece by painting genius Georges de la Tour. It is estimated that the work of art was created somewhere between 1626 and 1629. Two ladies are immersed in a game of cards with a gentleman. The painting portrays, however, a storyline much more profound as it is telling the story of how the gentleman is not as noble as one would like to believe since he manages to distract the ladies from the game just enough to allow him to hide away many A’s in his belt. Even though the ladies’ expression indicates that they are slightly wary of the man’s honesty and yet can’t pinpoint his offence. The picture has been described as a walking and talking work of art and deserving of a reprint in 1635. After some changes were made to the original piece, it was renamed appropriately as The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds.

Dogs Playing Poker

The 19th-century creation by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. The painting illustrates dogs involved in a game of poker. In total, a series of 18 paintings are combined to make up the entire image. Although the initial thoughts about the work were ridden with critique, it later on increased tremendously in value and was sold for $658 000 in 2015 at an auction in New York, setting a record in the world of art prices.

Great Gamblers of the Art World

Ernest Hemingway, once upon a time, referred to his passion for gambling as a demanding friend. The love for gaming doesn’t make a distinction based upon the profession, and over the past century or more, many great men of the world of arts have dipped their curiosity in the mysterious bosom of lady luck. For some, this friendship with gambling took too enormous a toll, and for others, it was a muse which brought them brilliance through the inspiration which feeds on the misery in the creator’s mind. Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon are in the latter group, finding brilliance in this mystical relationship.

Lucian Freud

The grandson to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, was born in 1922 in Berlin. He did not stay there for long and fled the Nazi persecution in the 1930s when he moved to London, where he, later on, became a British citizen. During his early works on the canvas, Freud’s work had a strong undertone of surrealistic influence, but later on, during the 1950s, he found his style.

Freud had a reputation as a very private person and kept mostly to himself and his small circle of friends. His work had such a robust psychological infiltration that it stemmed many to a degree of discomfort, gaining him many accolades for the brilliant realism. Pushed to achieve perfection in his creations, he was known as a painter who would work and rework his creations, again and again, completely exhausting his models. Freud’s career stretched over six decades. Being such a notoriously mysterious character, he managed to bridge various cult eras of his time. He was the man who mingled with Greta Garbo and rubbed shoulders with Frank Sinatra and had relations with England’s most famous gangsters of the time.

Many will remember Freud for his success as a figurative artist; others will recall his painting the Benefits Supervisor Sleeping being sold at a record high of $32 million during 2008. But it is only those who managed to penetrate his inner circle who will remember him for his remarkable gambling habit and Freud maintaining a legendary relationship with lady luck.

Francis Bacon

Bacon too was a figurative painter of the 20th century and a close friend to Freud. The Irish-born Brit would over the extent of his career mostly remain an outlier of the art world. He remained somewhat of an enigmatic figure and had his greatest success post-war, during the late 1950s in London. Today Bacon is regarded as one of the most influential figurative painters which the previous century delivered. Bacon lived a life of sophistication. He was witty and charming and loved socializing in smoky restaurants, sipping away on the groceries of life. This would include the best French champagne, caviar and of course gambling. Like with his excellent friend Freud, Bacon’s attitude to life was also giving it everything regardless of winning or losing, doing it for the thrill. An approach which both artists carried through to their passion for their mistress at the tables of failure and fortune.