21st Precinct: Street Art & Graffiti Art Show

20 Aug

21st Precinct NYC, Graffiti, Street art exhibit, Outlaw Arts, Alice Mizrachi, NYC art exhibit in an abandoned police station building21st Precinct NYC, Graffiti, Street art exhibit, Outlaw Arts, NYC art exhibit in an abandoned police station building21st Precinct NYC, Graffiti, Street art exhibit, Outlaw Arts, NYC art exhibit in an abandoned police station building21st-Precinct-NYC_Graffiti+Street-art-exhibit_Outlaw-Arts_collabcubedI stopped by the opening of Outlaw Arts’ graffiti and street art show 21st Precinct last Saturday evening. The 1863 NYPD building will be demolished in the coming months and a condominium will take its place, so, as has become recently popular in NYC and abroad, the four-story space was handed over to street artists who covered every wall, door, floor, ceiling, bathroom, and other nooks and crannies throughout with their art. The irony of graffiti in a police station was not lost on many of the artists who themed their work accordingly: there were excerpts from the Miranda Rights sprayed in beautiful type graffiti; there was a bathroom that looked like a murder scene with a blood-filled sink; a machine gun vending machine; Pacino’s Scarface above writing in white powder simulating cocaine on the floor, and much more. Each artist was apparently given a room or hallway or stairway to go to town on, and go to town they did. Some of my personal favorites included Rae-BK, Alice Mizrachi, Yok and Sheryo, Mr. Toll, and of course others who I was not able to identify, such as the bottom photo.

It’s interesting to see how street art is increasingly making its way indoors and with that so is the sense of a downtown gallery scene. There were even iPads displaying additional works in some of the rooms and business cards abound. And why not? Just as with any art, there are some truly exceptional artists among many of the more mundane, and I, for one, would be thrilled to have any one of a number of these artists’ works on my walls.

Many of the featured artists were wandering around the opening, blending in with everyone else, except for the rare case of red spandex pants that far from blended, but that seemed to be the point. If you missed the event last weekend, don’t despair, the 21st Precinct at 327 East 22nd St. will be open to the public again this coming weekend 8/23 and 8/24 from 1 to 6pm. If you can’t make it live, you can see many more (and better) photos here and here.

Photos: collabcubed

Land of the Giants: Choi+Shine

18 Aug

Land of the Giants, Choi+Shine Architects, Electrical Pylons in shape of giant men and women, Iceland, CompetitionLand of the Giants, Choi+Shine Architects, Electrical Pylons in shape of giant men and women, Iceland, CompetitionLand of the Giants, Choi+Shine Architects, Electrical Pylons in shape of giant men and women, Iceland, Competition

Can’t say that any electrical pylons I’ve seen are particularly attractive with all those cables protruding from their metallic structures, but at least this design by Jin Choi and Thomas Shine of Choi+Shine Architects in Boston injects a little humor and personality into these massive forms. Known for their innovative and creative designs and experimentation, Choi+Shine submitted a proposal for a High-Voltage Pylon competition in Iceland—put forth by Landsnet, a national power transmission company requesting that careful consideration be given to the appearance of the towers—converting the existing steel-framed tower designs into iconic pylon-figures with minor alterations. The result would transform the Icelandic landscape, adding expression and fun, varying the forms and styles while keeping the cost low through repetition in production and simple assembly. These 150 foot tall giants across the land would silently transport electricity 24/7. Might be a little creepy coming across them on the road at night, but a fun alternative to the norm, nonetheless.

Thanks, Ramon!

The Water Tank Project: Word Above the Street

13 Aug

The Water Tank Project, Word Above the Street, Mary Jordan, 100 water tanks in nyc wrapped in artists's works to raise environmental awareness. NYC. Art and awarenessThe Water Tank Project, Word Above the Street, Mary Jordan, 100 water tanks in nyc wrapped in artists's works to raise environmental awareness. NYC. Art and awarenessThe Water Tank Project, Word Above the Street, Mary Jordan, 100 water tanks in nyc wrapped in artists's works to raise environmental awareness. NYC. Art and awarenessThe Water Tank Project, Word Above the Street, Mary Jordan, 100 water tanks in nyc wrapped in artists's works to raise environmental awareness. NYC. Art and awarenessLook up New York! The Water Tank Project has started to roll out…or maybe “wrap around” would be more accurate. I first learned of Word Above the Street’s project roughly one year ago, but was happy to hear yesterday, via an interview on wnyc, that this is actually taking place right now. Filmmaker Mary Jordan, the creative and driving force behind the project, was working on a documentary in Ethiopia in 2007 when she fell gravely ill due to contaminated water. It was the women in the village she was in who nursed her back to health. In return, they asked that she let people know of the global water crisis when she returned to the U.S. Jordan founded Word Above the Street and set out to fulfill her promise through a citywide exhibit on the very icons that proudly contain our own fortunate and excellent water supply. Over 100 water tanks will be wrapped with art by acclaimed artists (such as John Baldessari, Jeff Koons, Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy), street artists (including Icy & Sot, Barry McGee, and Fab 5 Freddy), emerging artists, and even NYC public school students. The first one, by Laurie Simmons (top photo), went up two weeks ago on 29th Street near the High Line, and another one (I couldn’t find the artist, but third photo down) on West 25th Street.

Tanks in all five boroughs will be included and, in addition to the art above, action will be taken on the ground through educational programs, tours, and a symposium dedicated to global water issues. So, keep your head up and eyes peeled for the next 3 months if in NYC. Or, if not, you can always follow them on twitter or instagram for the latest updates. Water above all!

Photos & images courtesy of The Water Tank Project

Jello Brick Wall: Hein & Seng

11 Aug

Jell-O Brick Wall, Jello Brick Wall by Lisa Hein and Robert Seng. Contemporary Sculpture. Seattle and Exit Art NYC. Cool art, fun art, goofy art. Food artJell-O Brick Wall, Jello Brick Wall by Lisa Hein and Robert Seng. Contemporary Sculpture. Seattle and Exit Art NYC. Cool art, fun art, goofy art. Food artJell-O Brick Wall, Jello Brick Wall by Lisa Hein and Robert Seng. Contemporary Sculpture. Seattle and Exit Art NYC. Cool art, fun art, goofy art. Food artArtists Bob Seng and Lisa Hein have created their Jello Brick Wall sculptures on more than one occasion. Their most recent was at the Seattle Center in, well, Seattle. The jiggly installation consisted of 500 lbs. of Jell-O made into loaf-size bricks of varying flavors (raspberry, orange, cherry, lime, and more) and colors held in place with gypsum mortar. The artists cook the Jell-O on a hot plate and cool it in molds in a fridge. The final wall measured roughly 5 feet in height and 12 feet in length. And then there’s the melting/deteriorating aspect. Hein and Seng like the temporary nature of the work. Each brick apparently has the approximate lifespan of cut flowers, eventually melting or crumbling leaving just the mortar. The work is part performance, part installation. You can see more in the video below:

via nyfa

 

Ryan McGinness: Signs

1 Aug

Ryan McGinness, Department of Transportation Public Art Project, DOT, street signs, street art, graphic design, fun art, nycRyan McGinness, Department of Transportation Public Art Project, DOT, street signs, street art, graphic design, fun art, nycRyan McGinness, Department of Transportation Public Art Project, DOT, street signs, street art, graphic design, fun art, nycI noticed a few of these in Nolita the other day and then again yesterday right around Astor Place. I wondered what they were about and have since learned that it’s a public art project titled Signs by artist/designer Ryan McGinness fabricated and installed by NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). Apparently there are fifty in all of these vinyl on aluminum signs and, so far, they seem to mostly be downtown. McGinness has sketches of all fifty on his website accompanied by brief, somewhat whimsical/enigmatic descriptions. I couldn’t find more information, such as how the DOT went along with this, but I’m a fan of anything that makes you stop on the busy streets of NYC and ponder. If you’re in the city, keep your eyes open for more of these. They’re scheduled to be up through August.

Top photo: Ryan McGinness; 2nd photo down: Animal; following three photos: DustyRebel.

Flederhaus: House of Hammocks

24 Jul

House of Hammocks, Hammock House, Vienna, Flederhaus, Heri & Salli ArchitectsHouse of Hammocks, Hammock House, Vienna, Flederhaus, Heri & Salli ArchitectsHouse of Hammocks, Hammock House, Vienna, Flederhaus, Heri & Salli ArchitectsThe Flederhaus—a pun off the word fledermaus which means ‘bat’ in German—is a fun structure in Vienna designed by architects Heri & Salli explicitly for hanging around and relaxing. The open building, situated in the Museum Quarter of the city, houses 28 hammocks on 5 floors that offer great views to one and all at no cost. The inviting hammocks are arranged to allow for meeting and interacting with neighbors. A fun public space for sure.

Photos by Mischa Erben courtesy of the architects.

Apex Predator Shoes: Fantich & Young

21 Jul

Apex Predator shoe sculptures with teeth/dentures as soles by Fantich and YoungApex Predator shoe sculptures with teeth/dentures as soles by Fantich and YoungApex Predator shoe sculptures with teeth/dentures as soles by Fantich and YoungEast London artist duo Mariana Fantich and Dominic Young who make up the studio Fantich & Young, create conceptual sculptures addressing “parallels between social evolution and evolution in the natural world.” The original Apex Predator—described as predators with no predators of their own, residing at the top of the food chain—tooth-soled shoe sculptures started with the Barker Oxford shoes inlaid with 1050 false teeth in their soles in 2010. These were used to accompany the Apex Predator Suit made of human hair and glass eyes for buttons. The Empire (Jimmy Choo heels) followed and, most recently, this year in fact, the Red Shoes Mary Janes are the latest addition to the series. Now the whole family can grip the ground, chomping their way around town. Creepy? Yes. But come on…pretty cool, too.

You can see the rest of Fantich & Young’s work here.

Form Scratch: Kolkoz

16 Jul

Form Scratch by Kolkoz at Art Basel 2014 for BallyForm Scratch by Kolkoz at Art Basel 2014 for BallyForm Scratch by Kolkoz at Art Basel 2014 for BallySwiss accessories luxury brand Bally has launched a year-long initiative expanding their commitment to art and design with their project titled Form Scratch presented during Art Basel last month. The project has three parts to it: the restoration of one of architect Jean Prouvé’s signature prefab nomadic structures; a collection of furniture by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret; and, lastly, a commission by French artists Benjamin Moreau and Samuel Boutruche of Kolkoz. That last part mentioned is the one this post is about. Drawing from their background working in video games and 3D digital imaging, the Kolkoz duo recreated the house’s elements as a flat wooden panel, much in the style of the model kits from my youth (and likely still today… it’s been a while since I’ve put together a toy model.) Being that the Jean Prouvé house is meant to be built by two people in a day, the artists flattened it out and playfully made it an oversized toy object. The installation is both fun as well as a document of the structure’s elements. Suspending it over the river Rhine makes it all the more humorous and eye-catching.

Here’s the event in all its fabulousness:

via notcot/mocoloco

Matt Reilly of Japanther: Skateboard Painting

14 Jul

Skateboard Painting, matt reilly, japanther, Mana Contemporary, performance art, abstract painting, cool artSkateboard Painting, matt reilly, japanther, Mana Contemporary, performance art, abstract painting, cool artSkateboard Painting, matt reilly, japanther, Mana Contemporary, performance art, abstract painting, cool artA couple of months back I made the trip out to Mana Contemporary (a surprising cultural hub in Jersey City) and witnessed Matt Reilly of Japanther—a band established by Reilly and Ian Vanek while students at Pratt and described by art reviewers as “art-rock installation paratroopers” —skateboard paint. Somewhere between Jackson Pollock’s drips and Aaron Young’s multi-motorcycle performance art piece Greeting Card, lies Reilly’s skate-painting. By adding paint to the wheels of his board with sponges and then showing off his skating skills, Reilly is able to create large, abstract paintings while putting on a mesmerizing show. The results are nicer than I would have imagined, and the process was fun to watch. You can see him in action below:

Top two photos: collabcubed. All the rest: Japanther

João Onofre: Box Sized Die

10 Jul

Box Sized Die, Joao Onofre, performance art, london, heavy metal in a box till air runs outBox Sized Die, Joao Onofre, performance art, london, heavy metal in a box till air runs outBox Sized Die, Joao Onofre, performance art, london, heavy metal in a box till air runs outThis isn’t the first time artist João Onofre displays his art installation titled Box Sized Die, nor is it likely to be the last. It is, however, the first time the installation has gone to London. Consisting of a large soundproof steel cube, the Portuguese artist invites a local Death Metal band to play inside the cramped space both with the door open, and then with it closed, limiting the performance length to how long the band can last before the oxygen runs out. Placed in the heart of the business district for this summer’s Sculpture in the City festival, Box Sized Die, according to Onofre, is meant to symbolize the office buildings that surround it filled with cubicles and impossible to know what’s going on inside from the exterior. Spectators put their ears to the box to hear the band Unfathomable Ruination play their self-proclaimed “unrelenting brutal death metal” to no avail, but the band seems to be embracing the challenge wholeheartedly having lasted between 19 and 25 minutes in the sealed box so far.

If you’re in London, the band will be performing Wednesday to Friday through August 1, 2014.

via the guardian

Stik: Stick Figure Street Art

8 Jul

Stik, British street artist paint stick figure graffiti, cute, fun, water towersStik, British street artist paint stick figure graffiti, cute, fun, water towersStik, British street artist paint stick figure graffiti, cute, fun, water towersWhen it comes to street art, it doesn’t get much cuter than Stik. The British graffiti artist based in London paints mouthless and noseless stick figure characters on walls, doors, water towers, and more, that despite their minimalistic quality exude warmth and charm. Sometimes in groups holding hands (see the two water towers we’re acquainted with in the East Village and Bushwick), and other times alone, these not-so-little guys are usually painted in black and white against solid bright colored backgrounds. In addition to his unauthorized work, the somewhat private Stik, who has been homeless at times, works with many charitable and human rights organizations. See? That good heartedness shines through in his art. Stik’s work can be seen in Europe, NYC, and even the Middle East and Japan. We are fortunate to have two of his works right in our neighborhood.

You can see more of his work here and an interview below:

All images courtesy of Stik except bottom left: Geof Hargadon via Brooklyn Street Art, and bottom right: Paul Whitehouse via Huffington Post London.

Çanakkale Observation & Broadcast Tower

2 Jul

canakkale observation and broadcast tower, Turkey, IND architects Power Companycanakkale observation and broadcast tower, Turkey, IND architects Power Companycanakkale observation and broadcast tower, Turkey, IND architects Power CompanyAt first glance, the winning design for a 100-meter-tall observation and broadcast tower set to be built in the city of Canakkale—on the northern part of the Aegean coast of Turkey—looks like the latest in cutting edge amusement park rides. Upon a closer look, the strikingly dramatic sweeping structure is a clever solution to the challenges of combining technological requirements of a broadcasting tower with recreational ones of a public space. The two Rotterdam-based architecture firms that formed the winning team, Inter.National.Design (IND) and Powerhouse Company, united all the functions and requirements in a single strong structure. Made of Cor-Ten steel, the looping design offers close-up panoramic views on all sides of both the city and forest as well as a visitor center that hovers above the trees before shooting off into the sky into antenna-mode. A future iconic landmark for sure.

via a10

Shadowing: Jonathan Chomko & Matthew Rosier

30 Jun

Playable City Award 2014, Shadowing, light installation by Jonathan Chomko and Matthew RosierPlayable City Award 2014, Shadowing, light installation by Jonathan Chomko and Matthew RosierPlayable City Award 2014, Shadowing, light installation by Jonathan Chomko and Matthew RosierI get a particular thrill out of exploring and discovering things on my own, by chance. I’m not a big fan of GPS and forever get annoyed at the level of detail on Mapquest or Google maps when trying to get directions. For me, part of the fun is making the effort to figure it out myself and the mistakes I may make in doing so are part of the adventure. So it’s not surprising that I like the concept behind Watershed’s Playable City Award in Bristol. In their second year, The Playable City Award aims at getting people to use technology to capture that element of surprise/fun and adventure instead of using it to  solely engineer our lives. They invite entrants from all over the world to submit ideas that use technology to create playful interactions connecting the people of the city and helping them engage with their surroundings in unexpected ways.

This year’s award of 30,000 pounds was presented to New York-based interactive designer Jonathan Chomko and Treviso-based architect/designer Matthew Rosier for their interactive light installation titled Shadowing. Using infrared tracking and triggered projections, the shadow of a previous passerby will be replayed to the next person who walks under a modified streetlight. The creators are hoping for a playful experience, though there is potential for a little creepiness, too, but they are working on ideas to avoid that as well as many more features before Shadowing is unveiled to the public on September 10, 2014.

I suppose you could say that by posting this I’ve spoiled the element of discovery and surprise, and you’d probably be correct. Sorry. Quick…stop reading! But, if your memory is as bad as mine, even if you happen to be one of the few people reading this who will be in Bristol come September, the odds of remembering this as you pass under a streetlight are quite slim.

If you’re not one to care about spoilers, you can see Chomko and Rosier’s animated prototype below.

Rona Pondick: Hybrids, Teeth, & More

26 Jun

Rona Pondick, Hybrids, sculpture, bizarre art, humorous art Rona Pondick, Hybrids, sculpture, bizarre art, Teeth, humorous art Rona Pondick, Hybrids, sculpture, bizarre art, teeth, humorous art I probably should know Rona Pondick’s work—after all she studied under Richard Serra and her impressive list of exhibitions include the Whitney, Brooklyn Museum, and MoCA in LA among many more art institutions worldwide—but I don’t believe I’ve ever come across it before. Fortunately, I stumbled upon it the other day online. I really like all of her work; both new and old. Pondick, a NYC-born and based artist, offers a feminist critique on Freudian theories of sexuality through her work. Her earlier pieces mostly depict abstractions of mouths and breasts in an array of mixed media. Her more recent sculptures are cast in a variety of metals and consist of human-animal or -plant hybrids, often strange and disturbing, suggesting a kind of metamorphosis, hence the name of one of her exhibits and subsequent publication: The Metamorphosis of an Object. You can see much more on her site.

Mentalgassi & Mundano: Pimp My Carroça

24 Jun

Pimp my carroça, Street Art, Mentalgassi and Mundano collaboration, Sao Paolo, BrazilPimp my carroça, Street Art, Mentalgassi and Mundano collaboration, Sao Paolo, BrazilPimp my carroça, Street Art, Mentalgassi and Mundano collaboration, Sao Paolo, BrazilThe German street art trio Mentalgassi (previously here) joined forces with Mundano in São Paulo, Brazil, to create this clever series of characters donning their customized trash backpacks for Pimp My Carroça, an environmental and cultural group that aims to add a little color and humor to the importance of recycling and not littering. The message is particularly on point with the hoards of tourists in town for the World Cup, leaving a trail of garbage behind.

via streetartnews

Sambre: Escalier de Secours & More

20 Jun

Sambre, French Street artist, Escalier de Secours, Fire Escape, Giant wood installation in Saint Pierre le Puellier Church, Orleans, FranceSambre, French Street artist, Escalier de Secours, Fire Escape, Giant wood installation in Saint Pierre le Puellier Church, Orleans, FranceSambre, French Street artist, Escalier de Secours, Fire Escape, Giant wood installation in Saint Pierre le Puellier Church, Orleans, FranceInspired by the half-timbered houses and architecture of Orleans, France, French artist Sambre (previously here) whose signature style involves using recovered wood in a variety of impressive installations, is in the process of building his latest work titled Escalier de Secours (Fire Escape in English) in the center of the Church of St. Peter the Puellier in Mairie d’Orleans. The exhibit officially opened at the end of May, though the enormous staircase was not yet completed, this completely intentional, inviting guests to experience the process. Sambre’s majestic and almost disproportionately large staircase offers discovery through ascension; new perspectives on the Church’s space and architecture. The artist doesn’t impose a single path, but invites visitors to make a choice among multiple possible routes, like the path of life chosen by man.

This intervention comes only two months after his last piece along the Seine in Paris (see bottom two photos), once again utilizing discarded materials instead of spray paint to create his sculptural street art. And shortly before that piece, he collaborated with Teurk and Run on OKube (see two photos on middle right side) for the Inuit Festival in Cergy.

So far, 2014 has been a very prolific year. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with this second half. Escalier de Secours will be up through July 13, 2014, if you happen to be in France this summer… lucky you.

Photos courtesy of Sambre & The Mouarf 

OK Go: The Writing’s on the Wall

18 Jun

OK Go's video for The Writing's on the Wall with anamorphic effects, cool sets, cool videoOK Go's video for The Writing's on the Wall with anamorphic effects, cool sets, cool videoOK Go's video for The Writing's on the Wall with anamorphic effects, cool sets, cool videoIt’s been a couple of years, but it comes as no surprise that OK Go’s latest music video for their new single “The Writing’s on the Wall” is amazing. It may even top all the others, if that’s possible. With one tricky optical illusion after another, the clip includes the anamorphic effects and styles of artists such as Felice Varini, Vik Muniz, Bela Borsodi, and one of our favorites, Boa Mistura. The project took roughly three weeks (looks like it would have taken even longer!) and fifty takes before wrapping. The last scene revealing the crew is terrific, adding yet another dimension, and the sense of joy at having completed the impressive project shines through. In addition, the playing with perspective (more than one way to see things) goes hand-in-hand with the somewhat sad lyrics, despite the upbeat tune.

Watch the video below. OK Go’s new album Hungry Ghosts, which includes this song, is due out in October.

via colossal and rollingstone

Tara Donovan: Index Cards & Acrylic Rods

16 Jun

Tara Donovan, Index Card sculptures, post-its, Pace Gallery 2014, cool artTara Donovan, Arcylic Rods, Drink Stirrer Sculpture, Pace Gallery 2014, cool artTara Donovan, large-scale sculptures made with index cards and acrylic rods, post-its, drink stirrers, Pace Gallery 2014, cool artIt was a spectacular day this past Saturday here in NYC, ideal for strolling through Chelsea and taking in a lot of art. To my delight most galleries still had great shows up and hadn’t yet reverted to their quieter summer group shows. Over at Pace, the amazing Tara Donovan (previously here) had two new large-scale sculptures. For over a decade, the NYC-born and based Donovan has taken volumes of everyday materials and turned them into impressive works. Whether toothpicks, drinking straws, paper plates, styrofoam cups, or pieces of mylar, Donovan, a MacArthur Genius Award recipient, layers, piles, or clusters these items with a precise repetition until these products assume forms that evoke natural systems. These two sculptures currently at Pace are no exception. The first room in the gallery welcomes you with what seem to be a group of conical rock formations, possibly of a volcanic sort but, upon closer inspection, the millions of 3″ x 5″ index cards stacked and glued become evident, proving, once again, her ability to create amazing effects through the accumulation of identical objects. The second room contains what looks to be an almost fluffy or furry sculpture, but in fact is made of thousands of acrylic rods of different lengths, quite the opposite of soft or fluffy. These “bursts” are interconnected much in the way coral appears to be. Donovan has experimented with these rods before, but this work is her largest of the series. Tara Donovan’s sculptures will be on exhibit at Pace Gallery through June 28, 2014 extended through August 15th!

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