Fashion shows keep pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines between art, performance, design and fashion. Last week in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld and his Chanel team took their Fall 2014 runway show to a whole new level. Stepping into the Grand Palais, all attendees were welcomed by the over-the-top Chanel Shopping Center. An entire supermarket recreated with every item rebranded/repackaged and emblazoned with the highly recognizable interlocking C’s of the Chanel logo. From every food product you can imagine, to cleaning products, welcome mats, brooms, soap, garbage bags and much more. The models walked through the runway aisles clad in the new Fall line, all wearing sneakers (because you can wear a Chanel suit to pick up your groceries, but heels might be too much?) pushing grocery carts or carrying baskets. An impressive feat, which apart from the obvious wow-factor, was meant to be a commentary on the state of consumerism. You’ll be relieved to know that all of the items are being donated to charity. It is difficult to wrap one’s head around all the design, printing, and organization that clearly went into this event, in addition to the fashion line itself. It’s the ultimate mega pop-up shop/installation… it’ll be tough to top.
Here’s a video of the models strutting their stuff:
via Garance Doré
It’s been an art-intense week in NYC, with more art fairs in town than time to view them. I did, however, get to almost all of them and will cover some of the highlights for me, sporadically over the next couple of weeks. Overall, and very in general, I continue to have a bit of a weakness for VoltaNY and The Armory Show, but Spring/Break was a nice surprise, with its edgier works and installations and its very topical theme of PublicPrivate. Less surprising were Scope and Fountain, which seemed to have a lot of repeats from previous years, but then, arriving at Fountain after over four hours at the piers might not have been the freshest way to take it all in. The banners hanging from the upper floor were pretty great, though.
So first here, from the Armory Show, are West African artist Romuald Hazoumé’s whimsical contemporary African masks made using discarded plastic containers, in particular gasoline canisters. Though the masks link to the artist’s heritage, they also represent his critical vision of political systems. “I send back to the West that which belongs to them, that is to say, the refuse of consumer society that invades us every day.” Hazoumé was at the Armory booth when I was there, explaining to a small group that in several of these masks, the hair was very telling of a woman’s relationship status. For example: the criss-crossed braids topping the black diamond-shaped mask represents a woman who is content, but not thrilled by her husband. The yellow jug with the bunched up hair on top, is a woman who is thrilled by her man. The blue canister with the twisted braids shooting out and turning downwards, is a very dissatisfied woman. So, there you have it. Romuald Hazoumés masks reminded me a little of Willie Cole’s shoe masks (here), and whose work was nicely featured at Volta this year, including this fun sculpture made using irons.
I like this concept: projecting street artists’ work onto them and photographing their portraits is what photographer Guille Lasarte did here. Street artists in this series include members of Demolition Crew, Jos, Duarte Brito from Unimotion, Mr. Isaac, Hugo Ferracci, and Cintia Lopes. Another concept I like: Book a Street Artist.
Both via Panta
In addition to its sleek, minimalist design, this West London private residence dubbed Number 23 (based on its street address) designed by and for Matt White of MATT Architecture, is very playful. From the camouflaged front door with a very cool cut-out 23 and the humorous “hello” right above it, to the large single window jutting out of the façade with its electronically ‘switchable’ glazing—an LED technology that creates opacity for privacy with a mere flick of a switch—to the climbing wall and little messages such as “boo” in neon inside the bar cabinet and the “I don’t have OCD” mugs in the kitchen, these guys definitely had fun working on this home. Plus, the simple elevation conceals a house that is 30% bigger than its neighbors, despite occupying a 20% smaller plot and also includes various concealed technologies that dramatically reduce the energy consumption and running costs for the family. Magic. Humor, trickery, energy efficiency, and style…what more could a person ask for in a design?
For performance artists/architects Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder (previously here) sharing an unconventional living space is not a new concept. Their “performance architecture” has taken unusual forms such as a hanging see-saw-like structure or a stacked-living arrangement, in each case co-dependent on the other’s movement. Their latest installation/performance is titled In Orbit: a 25-foot wheel hanging from the ceiling, complete with two beds, desks, chairs, sinks, and apparently porta-potties (fortunately those don’t flip with the wheel), one of each at the counterpoint of the other. Ward Shelley lives on the exterior of the wheel, while Alex Schweder on the interior. And live they will, like this, without getting off, for a total of ten days. Currently they’re halfway through their stay. Any time one of them wants to use the sink or lie on the bed, they both have to slowly walk, rotating the wheel—much in the way a hamster makes his/her cage wheel rotate—to get to that particular item, in unison, and they both have to be in agreement as to the current activity. Schweder can’t choose to work at his desk while Shelley lies on his bed. That simply won’t work.
For those of you in NYC, you can visit In Orbit and witness their cohabitation at The Boiler through March 9, 2014. After that the structure will remain on view until April 5th sans artists. For everyone else, there’s the video below:
Yes, this is probably all over the internet by now, but how could we, a mother-daughters design blog not post about it? Even if the daughters are in their 20s. But this 4-year-old daughter and mother collaboration is right up our alley and my only regret is that we didn’t think of it ourselves. Mom Angie, noticed her 4-year-old “Mayhem” opting to dress herself up in scarves and sheets over her store-bought princess dresses while playing. Clearly interested in fashion, Angie suggested they make their own dress out of paper and Mayhem jumped at the idea. The rest, as they say, is history. Nine months later, the mother-daughter collaboration has yielded dozens of designs—with 50/50 contribution on the creative concepts—that have been posted to an instagram account. Mayhem contributes much more than one would think to the construction of these dresses, having even made a couple completely on her own. Their inspirations vary from My Little Pony to the Golden Globes’ red carpet and the results are unbelievably cute as well as impressive. The most ironic part? Angie, the mom, is not a particularly crafty or fashionable person. As for Mayhem? I think she’ll likely be on Project Runway before we know it.
You can see many more of these delightful designs and photos over here and here.
German artist/designer/architect Tobias Rehberger (previously here) currently has a three-part exhibit titled Home and Away and Outside at the Shirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. For the purposes of this post, I’m focusing only on the first part: a floor to ceiling installation with an optical illusion all-over effect combined with paintings and sculptures that create a dizzying state of sensory-overload. The dazzle camouflage graphics covering the surfaces are based on an optical technique employed mainly on ships in World War I making them difficult to pinpoint as targets. Once visitors make it through this first, trippy, part of the exhibition, they are greeted by a second, more tranquil section that contains applied and functional artworks including much of the sculpture that has set Rehberger apart since the 90s.
Home and Away and Outside is on view in Frankfurt through May 11, 2014.
If you walk by Madison Square Park here in NYC from now through April 13th, you’ll spot a confusing sight: three water towers, the sort we usually see perched atop the city’s buildings holding much of our water supply—and usually a familiar part of the urban landscape. The three tanks in the park, however, do not contain water but rather are Brooklyn-based Chilean artist Iván Navarro’s (previously here and here) latest light installation titled This Land is Your Land after the Woody Guthrie song. This site-specific piece “reflects” the experience of immigration through mirrored neon type, as well as a neon ladder, that repeat infinitely within the wooden cylinders. The word “me” reflects becoming “we” alternating up the interior of one tank, while “BED” in another. I stopped by during the day and then again at night to see these and enjoyed the experience both ways. Having them stand low in the park, with the backdrop of the Flatiron building from one angle and, at night, each one glowing downward with the brightly lit Empire State Building behind from a different position, make the choice of location all the more appropriate. So, make a point to pass by, and peek under, Navarro’s water towers before April 13th.
This is such a great project. LATA 65 is a simple concept: organize street art workshops for the elderly. Over the course of a few days, seniors learn about street art, graffiti and its history, as well as several techniques such as stenciling, then they take their newly acquired skills to the street, ultimately awakening the creative spirit. The clever minds behind the project are Lara Seixo Rodrigues of WOOL Urban Arts Festival and Fernando Mendes of Cowork Lisboa. The presently Lisbon-based project believes that retirement should not equal an intellectually passive lifestyle, and having fun is critical at any age. Even if these elderly street artists don’t get their shot at the Houston Bowery Wall, they definitely look like they’re having fun. Mission accomplished.
Em, who’s always tuned in to the latest fashion news, sent along Moschino’s newest collection designed by the company’s recently appointed creative director Jeremy Scott. These humorous gowns and outfits follow in the Moschino tradition of taking iconic logos and characters and interpreting them with an ironic twist. Jeremy Scott’s line, which includes a capsule collection called Fast Fashion, is inspired by the less-than-healthy snack and fast-food industry. Blowing up these packages ranging from Hershey’s chocolate bar wrapper in this case enveloping a woman’s body, to a variation of the McDonald’s logo centered large on a handbag, the runway show must have felt like a trip down the supermarket aisle in Lilliput. I can’t imagine who will be wearing these, but that Nutrition Facts bridal gown is definitely an irresistibly fun turn on traditional wedding attire.
A couple of weekends ago, when Dan was in town for a short visit, we went over to the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea to catch the new Doug Wheeler light installation. Having been to the previous Wheeler show two years ago (here) I was very excited to share the experience with my daughter. Unlike the last exhibit, there was no line. In fact, we were asked if we had a reservation, which spurred a moment of panic but, fortunately in our case, it was of no consequence. However, also unlike SA MI 75 DZ NY 12 this Wheeler light installation was less surprising and disorienting, which isn’t a bad thing, just different. While the last exhibit was a bit unnerving upon entry — not being able to tell where the room began or ended — this domed room shows its edge and horizon line right from the door. The previous work instilled a bit of anxiety, this one a calm and soothing effect. As in many of Wheeler’s works the immersive environment emphasizes the viewer’s physical experience of space, in this case focusing attention on the way light almost imperceptibly changes along the horizon as the earth turns. If the last exhibit installation felt like being in a cloud, I would equate this one (based on no personal experience, obviously) to a moon-like atmosphere. Forget watching George Clooney in Gravity, head over to David Zwirner and immerse yourself in Doug Wheeler’s rotational horizon. Best to make a reservation, just to be on the safe side. The installation will be up through March 29, 2014.
Third photo courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery. All others collabcubed.
This is such a fun idea. Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is proposing, as part of her platform, to repurpose some of the 14 to 16 abandoned Metro stations in the city of light , converting them into cultural or recreational gathering spaces. The project aims to bring back life to these phantom stations by giving them a new function. She commissioned architectural firms OXO Architects + Laisné Architecte Urbaniste to come up with a series of concepts, rendering the Arsenal subway stop as a restaurant, swimming pool, nightclub and theater. How cool would that be? If it weren’t for all the frolicking rats rejoicing on the NYC subway tracks, I would vote for any of these concepts in this very town. Or maybe one of these could be worked into the Lowline?
What would you do with 500,000 sugar cubes? Well, if you’re Irish artist Brendan Jamison and his sculptor collaborators Mark Revels, Mary McCaffrey, Lydia Holmes, and David Turner, you build a metropolis, naturally. A Sugar Metropolis. Brendan Jamison and his crew did just that this past October through January at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland, inviting visitors to participate in the ongoing construction of sugar buildings with the assistance of the experts. Now, with the help of No Longer Empty (previously here and here) they’re bringing their project to Harlem this summer; the Sugar Hill district, no less! The event aims to celebrate the power of collaboration in art, engaging local residents of all ages in the community to help build their own Sugar Metropolis, with the goal to ignite the imagination of everyone in the neighborhood. Brendan Jamison has created a Kickstarter page to help fund the project, so see if you might want to consider contributing to their generous creative efforts.
Here’s Ulster installation in progress:
It’s been, and continues to be, a long and relentlessly snowy winter here in NYC this year, but Brooklyn-based author/illustrator Shelley Jackson is making the best of it. With admirable handwriting, Jackson has set out to writing a story in the snow—one word at a time—photographing each one and posting them to her instagram. Reading from oldest photo to newest, you can follow the ongoing story, waiting with bated breath for the next words to appear. Photos, it seems, are posted in relatively large batches roughly once a week, so maybe you can get a sentence or two in at a time. Story aside, the photos themselves are lovely, with great composition and a splash of color here and there. This is not the first time Shelley Jackson has taken to story-telling a word at a time; SKIN, a story published in tattoos on the skin of 2,095(!) volunteers is a previous project.
You can follow SNOW (in reverse order) over here, “weather permitting”, but from the looks of things outside, that shouldn’t be an issue…this could end up being a multi-volume story.
via gothamist via the awl
Photographer Fred Cray’s (previously here and here) latest exhibit at Janet Borden Gallery centers around his ongoing work titled Unique Photographs. It’s a fun idea that engages the public, distributing his unique artworks in the most unexpected places. But, really, who better to describe it than the photographer himself?
“This project is referred to as Unique Photographs which is also the title of the first overview book about the project. The second book, Changing the Guard, is a counter point to the first book and uses the same image double printed to make hundreds of unique print variations. The photographs have been hidden literally around the world with the intent of surprising people in pleasant ways, perhaps being kept as gifts. This should be an on-going project taking on new permutations for a number of years. The photographs have been stamped and numbered with holes being punched in the photographs recently to reinforce the notion of the photographs being unique objects.”
You have until February 21st to see the show at Janet Borden. Additionally, you can purchase both books here and here. And keep your eyes peeled for Fred’s unique photographs around your neighborhood. You never know where the next one might pop up…
It’s that time of year again, when all things turn red and heart-shaped in honor of St Valentine. Times Square is no exception. Now in its sixth year since the revitalization of Father Duffy Square, Times Square Arts held their annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition for a heart- and love-themed interactive sculpture to be placed across the square from the TKTS booth steps. This year’s winning design is Young Projects’ Match-Maker that will cosmically connect people, guided by their zodiac signs. Peering through bright red, interwoven periscopes – which, from certain angles, appears as an iconic heart, while from others a more abstract tangled object – visitors are offered glimpses of their four most suited astrological mates.
But while Match-Maker is a clever design, the competition was no slouch either. The five finalists were strong candidates and merit mentioning as well. Haiko Cornelissen Architecten submitted Tweet Heart NY, an illuminated heart that would pulsate with every tweet @ it. The more tweets, the faster the pulse. Schaum/Shieh Architects offered My Fuzzy Valentine, a striped graphic reflective structure that would create moiré patterns when rotated that pulse like a beating heart, as well as making for great selfie opportunities and creating digital Valentine-grams. Next, The Living proposed Vapor Valentine: a dynamic cloud that captures and displays the ever-changing life and light of Times Square. People could interact with the heart through touching and blowing the cloud, through placing their hands on the glass box to affect the vapor inside, and through a custom text-messaging hotline. Heart, proposed by Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, would have been made from an illuminated circle that could be pulled and folded to form a heart. When released it would flutter until regaining its balance. Lastly, SoftLAB’s entry was inspired by the sweetness and forms of rock candy and candy hearts, hence its name Sweet ❤. Its kaleidoscopic reflective surface would capture the lights of Times Square in addition to revealing hidden messages as visitors moved their mobile cameras around the sculpture.
You can visit the winning Match-Maker sculpture through March 11, 2014, and you can read more about all the entries over here.
via Van Alen Institute
Designed by Brooklyn-based firm Para-Project, the Haffenden House in Syracuse, NY, departs from the traditional “house”, breaking the repetitive suburban landscape. The house, designed for two poets, includes a library and writing space on the second floor, a curved reading room above that, and a garage at its base. The 1,125 sq. foot building is wrapped in a white fabric made with silicone-impregnated fiberglass. The fabric adheres to the façade with the exception of the glass windows. The space between the glass and fabric create a fuzzy quality, allowing light in, yet providing a certain amount of privacy from the street. The back windows are not screened, offering an open view to the backyard.
All images courtesy of Para-Project.
Last month, continuing in the tradition of converting pre-demolition or abandoned sites into an opportunity for a temporary street art show – Tour Paris 13, Rae’s Word of Mouth Bodega, and Surplus Candy being prime examples – Le Projet FMR organized the exhibition Home Street Home in a villa doomed to destruction in Montpellier, France. Coralie & Tom, former lawyers who started the project, had a week to set the place up with the help of local and international street artists. Some of these include: Mr. BMX’s bikes; Levalet and the incorporated cables; Baubô in the bathroom; Mme. Moustache; Yuri Hopnn; Stoul in the kitchen; Depose’s graffiti walls; and Souredj’s sculptural street art, to name just the ones in the photos above. Home Street Home was up and open to the public from January 17th through the 19th. You can see many more photos on Le Projet FMR’s website and facebook page, and you can get a virtual tour with some artist interviews in French in the video below: