It’s a cool glow-in-the-dark playground. No, it’s an art installation. Well, actually, husband-and-wife team Eric Höweler + Meejin Yoon of the Boston-based Höweler + Yoon Architecture were striving for both. The temporary installation titled Swing Time, located in a public park space next to the Boston Convention Center in South Boston, consists of 20 glowing oval swings that encase LED lights which activate with the swings’ movement. When forces are static and the swings are not in use, they emit a soft, white light that illuminates the area. When the swings are in motion, the micro-controller switches the light from white to purple, creating a more colorful glowing effect. Swing Time is part of an initiative to create the first interactive public space in the city, with the goal to entice people of all ages to play. If you’re in Boston, you might want to check it out.
Strolling through the gallery openings in Chelsea the other evening I came upon Jen and Paul’s One Stop Shopping Souvenir City & Chelsea Bus Tours. Definitely hard to miss, the glitzed up light blue parked bus (on 26th Street the night I was there, but apparently more often located on 24th Street) beckons to passers-by, welcoming them in and offering an array of humorous art souvenirs for purchase. The mobile shop — created, designed, run, and driven by performance artists Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw — displays and sells an impressive selection of clever mock DIY-style art kits, games, and supplies that poke fun at the big-name contemporary artists whose work is often found within the galleries that surround it. Make your own Jeff Koons balloon animals with a set of branded balloons. A glasses and nose disguise is repositioned as a Cindy Sherman Disguise Kit. There’s Chuck Close Graph Paper, Paul McCarthy Ketchup bottles, Mini Damien Hirst Shark, William Wegman Dog Treats and much more. Definitely chuckle-inducing throughout. And if that weren’t enough, Jen and Paul offer free Chelsea tours led by the two of them as well as a few semi-celebrity guests such as Paddy Johnson and comedian Sean J Patrick with others to follow. Make sure to keep an eye out for the bus if you’re headed to Chelsea this fall, or sign up for a tour over here.
You can learn more about Jen and Paul in the video below:
I’m not sure if it’s because it’s Fashion Week here in NYC, or because the fall season has begun bringing with it a new crop of looks, or maybe I just hadn’t strolled down Madison Avenue in a while but, when I did yesterday afternoon I was really struck by all the store windows, both in their content and their display design. Barney’s had a series of rotating photos by Bruce Weber titled L.A. Stories; another store whose name escapes me was setting up neon signage along with what seemed to be an outdoor runway, but the windows that stopped me in my tracks were those of Hermès. The mannequin heads were these spectacular sculptures which at first glance looked like blocks of painted wood, but as I got closer I realized that they were actually books. Books! Rolled, fanned, stacked, bent, not only were the mannequin heads stunning (possibly the most fabulous part of the general fabulosity), but the backdrops as well were intricate tableaus created using the edges of books, painted in colors and stripes, in some cases just as multicolor striped motif backdrop while in others 2-dimensional mythical gods. I went in to ask who the artist was and should have recognized the name right away, having posted NYC-born and based artist Nick Georgiou’s work before. Seeing them in person, however, is even more impressive. Kudos to whoever thought to give the job to Georgiou, and of course kudos to the artist himself for making an impressive splash on Upper Mad, specifically at the corner of 62nd Street.
Photos collabcubed and Nick Georgiou
It’s not really surprising that Italian artist Marco Bottin of Padua wrote his graduate thesis in Philosophy on Economic Sociology, specifically the theme of gift and reciprocity. He has carried the theme, and related ones, into his art using everyday objects and filling them with symbolism and contradictions or tensions. His sculptures in particular are at once humorous and troubling, and if the visuals don’t pack enough of a punch on their own, the titles finish the job for sure. From top to bottom: A Middle Class Portrait (top two); Growing Up is not for Adults; In Loving Memory; and Statements, Injuries, Predictions.
This looks fun and since we’ll be attending festivities in Maryland this weekend, maybe we’ll be able to squeeze in a quick jaunt to the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. before the maze comes tumbling (well, maybe not tumbling) down on Monday, September 1, 2014. Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) (previously here and here) has created a concave wooden labyrinth in the middle of the museum’s main hall. Constructed with maple plywood, the structure rewards your efforts by revealing a 360-degree view of the maze once you reach the center, the point where the 18 ft tall walls are clearly a lot shorter. Of course, there’s always the option to get a different—and more complete— perspective/view from the second and third floor balconies without doing all the work, but then, what fun would that be?
Daniela shared this Instagram photo series with me last week and it’s right up our alley, both because they’re absurd—starting with the title—and because they’re pizza-related, two things we really enjoy. Pizza in the Wild series I and II by Los Angeles-based photographer Jonpaul Douglass were inspired by pizza graffiti which led him to photograph a bunch of Little Caesar’s pizza pies in unusual locations and situations throughout LA. Some hang off ledges, others are thrown/placed on animals, cars, street signs and the like, and still others become one with nature. If you’re feeling badly for the pizzas that appear in the shots, don’t; none were harmed in the making of the series and apparently some were even eaten! A very wise man, for sure.
Artists 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:
The 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.
East 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.
Swiss 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:
A 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
I 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.
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.
The 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.
It’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.
Last weekend we headed over to Bushwick Open Studios. Always a bit difficult to navigate due to the number of artists and studios that participate, as well as the sprawling nature of it, we were fortunate to find Hyperallergic’s Concise Guide and managed to hit a good amount of studios with interesting work. One of these was Rodney Allen Trice’s, an artist and designer who moved to NYC 25 years ago and needed to furnish his apartment on a budget, ultimately using found objects and “refitting” them into furniture. What might look like an old garden hose to the naked eye becomes an ottoman or a funky fashionable hat in Trice’s world. His tire rocker, having sat in one myself, couldn’t be more comfortable, and the crutches table, though maybe not my personal aesthetic, is definitely eye-catching and incredibly clever. But the designer doesn’t stop there, no siree. His company T.O.M.T. has been repurposing trashed and forgotten objects for years with the mission of object recovery and reassignment. He likes to call it “object career counseling” rather than waste-handling and he’s spreading his philosophy and technique not only through his work but via classes in his studio as well.
Daniela showed me these amazing nails a couple of nights ago. I’m not one to wear nail polish—it’s a stubby-fingers issue combined with a ridiculous feeling of nail suffocation—or even appreciate it much, but these literal works of art painted on the small fingertip canvases definitely wowed me. Art lover (and nail art lover) Susi Kenna has had her nails painted numerous times in the past two years in the style of paintings by famous artists ranging from Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet, to more recent artists including Shantell Martin and Barry McGee. It’s not clear to me whether Kenna goes in to her various nail artists (Mei Kawajiri, Vanity Projects, and Jessica Washick) armed with art, but it appears that may be the story. In any case, Susi Kenna has documented the nail art on her hands in a tumblr worth a peek.
Chilean artist/designer Sebastian Errazuriz (previously here, here, & here) has taken the birthday piñata of his youth and put a spin on it for this year’s NYCxDesign Festival. His monumental Golden Calf, or Cash Cow, will provocatively serve multiple purposes: a symbol of celebration; a symbol of capitalism; and as a symbol of “anti-capitalistic” greed. At the end of the festival, guests will be invited to smash the symbol of capitalism to smithereens. The oversized piñata will be filled with over 1000 dollar bills that will tumble out once the beating is successful. The irony that Errazuriz anticipates is the moment when the anti-capitalist rage in the piñata bashers turns into greed as the very same crowd ends up running for the cash themselves, stuffing their pockets with the bills. “I’d like to see people rolling on the ground and fighting for dollars,” he said. Wouldn’t it be nice if he were wrong.
Errazuriz’s golden calf will be on view at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn until May 20th at which point mayhem should ensue at 5pm.
Top photo: NY Daily News. All others: courtesy of the artist.