I’ve been so impressed by lagaleriademagdalena’s events and projects ever since anA posted her exhibit last year on facebook. The two young Madrileñas behind this urban street gallery are architects Reichel Congosto and Isa Arenas who came up with this wonderfully innovative concept two years ago while wandering through la Calle de Magdalena in Madrid and coming across a building construction site with large rectangular test color swatches painted on a wall that reminded them of art displayed in a gallery. They quickly seized the opportunity to place artworks within the rectangles and thus began lagaleriademagdalena. The gallery’s (who says a gallery has to have four walls?) pop-up exhibits foment community and interactivity. Everything that is exhibited is there for the taking; they call them “regalos urbanos” (urban gifts) and one of the main motivations behind las magdalenas’ efforts is to give the public the gift of happiness. Plus, the exhibits are smart, creative, and fun. Some created by Reichel and Isa themselves, while others are collaborations. All involve recycling of objects, some involve social activism, and all bring a smile to those who pass as well as pique their curiosity. The ephemeral exhibits usually occur on metal shutters or walls in construction sites, attaching the works magnetically, avoiding harm to the walls and allowing for easy removal and replacement by passers-by which also makes the interventions vandalism-free, allowing them to occur in the light of day, unlike most street artists. One of their exhibits made up of cut-out words from various old periodicals was titled Nevera Urbana (Urban Fridge – top photo) urging the public to play with the words like magnetic poetry on your fridge. The exhibit Tangrams (bottom three photos) offered similar play. An example of a more seriously themed exhibit would be Contra la violencia de género (Against Gender Violence) where egg cartons were used to house images of the many layers of a woman: their beauty, emotional strength, intelligence, death as well as a mirror to remind the viewer that they are the ones reflected in the box.
This month lagaleriademagdalena celebrated their two-year anniversary with their 53rd (these ladies are busy!) exhibit: #EnCinta (2nd through 6th photos). A wall of cassette cases with inserts designed by the participating artists also included their playlist with a link to it on a special lagaleriadelamusica site set up by las magdalenas and audible via spotify or grooveshark. In addition, each case had a little spool of recycled cassette tape. The intervention was a huge hit with an impressive turnout, everyone inspecting the cases and lists, with all of the urban gift cassettes disappearing rather quickly. Seems that many in-the-know have started to collect these artworks.
There are many, many more exhibits to see and read about on their website and blog. The charming magdalenas (interview video in Spanish here) and their transient gallery are definitely ones to watch. They have grasped the true meaning of “public” art. Bravo!
Photos courtesy of lagaleriademagdalena.
This looks very fun and cool (in the literal sense as well.) These castles made using ice with multiple slides and lit with colorful LED lights are part of the 29th Harbin International Ice Festival in China. In addition to the ice architecture, the festival includes many a giant ice and snow sculpture. The Harbin Festival started 10 years ago and has grown to be one of the world’s biggest ice festivals with tens of thousands of people working on the displays. The castle and slides are especially spectacular at night with their pastel hues emanating from within the ice. The slides are not only fun, but they serve as a means of transportation to get around the grounds.
Friday, the three of us headed over to No Longer Empty’s (previously here) 14th exhibition titled How Much Do I Owe You? located in the former Bank of Manhattan in Long Island City’s Clock Tower. No Longer Empty aims to revitalize communities through art. They create site specific, socially-conscious public art exhibits usually in unoccupied yet interesting spaces.
Inspired by the Bank building, 26 artists from 15 countries take on the topic of money and its value during these tumultuous economic times of growing debt and job insecurity. The space is filled with large-scale murals, installations, and videos, in addition to interactive areas that are especially kid-friendly such as drawing your own “Fundred” dollar bill at one installation, and filling in forms on ‘Surplus’ and ‘Debt’, considering the concepts beyond the monetary significance, as well as offering up humorous buttons on the themes.
There’s way too much to go into here, but the three vaults downstairs should not go without mention…even empty they would be fun to experience, but each one, in very different approaches, makes great use of the space including the security boxes and balance sheets.
We had a lot of fun at this exhibit. Some of the highlights for us include Guerra de la Paz’s snake-like ties in his Sealing the Deal (top); Ghost of a Dream’s wall murals, both In Banks We Trust where the word TRUST drops out boldly from walls covered with handwritten questionably trustworthy bank slogans, and their other mural The Price of Happiness, a large-scale collage made up of losing lottery tickets and Buddhist afterworld money (second and third works from top); also, Theodoros Stamatogiannis’ Ping Pong table straddled tightly between two walls, symbolizing the lack of a level playing field in society.
How Much Do I Owe You? will be on exhibit through March 13th, 2013 and is only a block from the subway. We’re looking forward to seeing what No Longer Empty comes up with next.
We’re taking a few days off to enjoy the holidays. In the meantime here are some of our favorites from the archives. Click on an image above to be taken to its post, or feel free to scroll through by category using the pull-down tab in the right margin, or randomly if you prefer. You can always like us on facebook, follow on twitter, or if email is your thing, you can subscribe at the bottom of the site.
Berlin-based interdisciplinary design studio ART+COM was asked by Deutsche Bank to create an installation for a vestibule near the conference room in the company’s headquarters. The brief stated the inclusion of the bank’s iconic logo (designed by Anton Stankowski) in the work. In order to avoid a huge logo dominating the small 25 square foot space, ART+COM opted for a less obtrusive and more poetic approach: anamorphosis. As the visitor climbs the staircase, the abstract mirrored sculpture slowly reveals the logo, but it’s not until the top of the stairs are reached that the image is fully resolved.
You can ‘experience’ the effect in the video below:
Photos and video courtesy of art+com
via adc’s muse
Free and cheap things to do (12/7 to 12/9) in NYC. Cultural events in art, music, film, dance, theater, design, architecture, walking tours, food, and cool fun! Plus a smattering of holiday festivities.
1. Design – Art of the Book exhibit. Fri 12/7 & Sat 12/8. 11am to 6pm FREE
2. Music/Fun – Losers Lounge pay tribute to Stevie Wonder 7pm and 9:30pm Fri 12/7. $25.
3. Art/Music/Drinks/Holiday – Asia Society Holiday Celebration. Museum tours, Leotinis, Tea Tasting. Fri 12/7; 6 to 8pm. FREE
4. Music/Art/Drink/Holiday — Brooklyn Magazine Design Launch Holiday Party. Fri 12/7. 8 to 11pm. FREE
5. Film –TropFest Roughcut Film Symposium: the world’s largest short film festival. Fri 12/7. 10am to 4:30pm. $35.
7. Tour/Architecture – Grand Central Tour, Sat 12/8 at 11am $20.
8. Dance – Movement Research Festival Fall 2012. Fri 12/7 & Sat 12/8 at 8pm. $12.
10. Film & Festivities – Griswold Family Christmas: screenings of Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Gremlins plus festivities: Fri 12/7 & Sat 12/8 $25 check here for tickets and showtimes.
11. Art/Music/Food – Gowanus Nite Market, Artists, Music, Food. Sat 12/8, 7pm to midnight FREE
12. Art/Talk – African-American Artists and Conceptualism: Panel discussion with Naima Keith and Fred Wilson. Sat 12/8 at 2pm Pay what you wish
13. Art – Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos at the New Museum. All Weekend. $14 Thursday nights FREE
14. Comedy/Performance – Mike Birbiglia: Working It Out. Sun 12/9 at 10pm. $15
15. Theater – Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell. “Where one story ends, another begins. The same events are retold from different perspectives. Characters reappear, others disappear.” Fri 12/7 & Sat 12/8 at 8pm. Sun 12/9 at 2pm. $18
Check back for updates throughout the weekend. Enjoy!
Music – Fri 12/7: Join Real Estate, RCRD LBL and MINI USA at a secret location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at 5:30. FREE
Film – Fri 12/7: Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival screening Brooklyn documentaries. 6:45. FREE
Music – Sun 12/9: 39th Annual Merry Tuba Christmas – hundreds of tuba players play holiday favorites. 3:30pm FREE
I stopped by the Eventi Hotel the other day here in NYC to explore the new 3DEA Pop Up Shop. 3DEA is all about the relatively new and amazing 3D-printing technology. The three of us have seen a few demonstrations of these increasingly more affordable machines over the past couple of years, but at 3DEA you get a hands-on experience (there’s a Doodle section that lets you draw an image with your finger on a tablet and then print it out in plastic in less than 10 minutes) admittedly on one of the lower-end models, but still fun and amazing.
The pop up is sponsored by Ultimaker, Shapeways, UP!, Fatboy and Openhouse and features rows of colorful printers to try out or purchase; there’s a 3D photo booth, body scanning and a Shapeways Shop with many 3D-printed products that could make for nice holiday gifts. There’s even a “Sexy Objects” section behind a curtain for those over 18. Also available are classes, seminars and presentations, some free and some not, but I found that all the people working there were eager to help and answer any and all questions.
3DEA will run until December 27th at the Eventi Hotel, 29th and 6th Avenue, every day except Mondays from 11am to 7pm and Sundays until 6pm. If you’re at all interested in 3D printing, it’s worth stopping by and picking the experts’ brains.
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This is an interesting project. Adriana Ronżewska Kotyńska, a Polish architect and painter interested in public art projects, originated the concept behind the Audiomurale and then executed it, with a team, on the wall of a townhouse in the Old Town district of Elblag, Poland, a town extensively damaged at the end of World War II that waited until the 1980s for major reconstruction. The mural is in part a revitalization effort. Kotyńska and her team conducted interviews with passers-by recording their remarks about their town. Selected opinions – including some unprintable remarks – were transferred onto a blank wall of a townhouse in the form of spectrograms (i.e. sound wave patterns); the ‘voice’ of Elblag. The project is intended as a temporary – though not short-term – intervention. The final mural requires a key which will be provided in the form of a display board with a QR code that will enable access to recorded interviews via a mobile phone.
You can hear the mural’s audio track here.
Thanks, Łukasz Kot!
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Boston-based artist Matthew Mazzotta creates participatory public interventions that aim to criticize, raise awareness, and bring a sense of openness to the places we live. I imagine bringing a smile to most people’s faces might be a goal as well. Mazzotta’s work focuses on drawing people in by curiosity and finding themselves as part of something unrehearsed. Reacting and interacting are key to his work as are community building, ecology and public involvement.
The top installation, titled Steeped in Exploration, was created in The Netherlands as a teahouse without tea.
From the artist:
The physical structure of Steeped in Exploration, made from all local materials, becomes a site of communal tea drinking. The tea served at the teahouse is not from the grocery store or peoples’ gardens, it is foraged by the people enjoying the tea on public outing that take us throughout the area based on knowledge and experiences of the people at the outing. Even the heat to boil the water for the tea comes from a local source, by transforming cow manure from local farms into energy (methane) through a methane digester.
In the following piece titled Looking for a Landscape, Mazzotta converted a standard city utility box into a portable viewing station. The structure is on retractable wheels, and the doors were hinged at the bottom opening downwards creating a cantilevered platform on each side of the box, complete with velvet cushions and mounted binoculars to take in the everyday urban landscapes.
Lastly, the video below goes through the function of Mazzotta’s Insertion Module, designed specifically as part of the negative space in architecture, camouflaged within the façade of a building, but when taken out opens up into a Tea House.
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I popped into Envoy Enterprises the other evening, after The Silent History Walking Tour, intrigued by the spare-looking gallery and the title of the exhibited show – Martynka Wawrzyniak: Smell Me. The Polish artist, living in NYC, in essence (no pun intended) created an olfactory self portrait. What exactly is an olfactory self portrait you ask? Working with a research team of Hunter College Chemistry students under the guidance of professor Donna McGregor, Wawrzyniak underwent multiple experiments to collect aromatic elements from her body, and ultimately exhibited them. Partly displayed in elegant perfume bottles/vials that held the scent of her sweat in one, tears in another, nightshirt in a third, and hair essence in the last, while on a separate stand were three candles in beakers titled Martynka Candle #1-3 which were made from paraffin that had been applied and then scraped off of the artist’s body and would emit her scent if burned. If this wasn’t odd enough, there was a type of smell chamber in the back with a little diagram outside, indicating the different scents emanating from holes in the small private room. Presumably the extractions on view outside the room were intermittently sprayed into the chamber one scent at a time, but the result was more of a general unpleasant odor, though I did not react as negatively or extremely as the woman who stepped in right after me and ran out gagging.
All in all, a strange exhibit. Not since Peter De Cupere’s work have I come across anything like this. Upon looking up Martynka’s other work I saw this piece called Chocolate that, though mildly disturbing, at least must have had a more pleasant scent while filming:
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The future of publishing is here and it is good. This from a book designer who feels sadness, and a tinge of resentment, at the displacement of the printed page for the electronic one. This past Saturday I attended The Silent History Walking Tour on the Lower East Side led by the e-book/app’s immensely appealing publisher and editor Eli Horowitz, who took us to three locations where ‘field reports’—short location-based storylines written by readers and fans of the serialized novel—were read live by their authors. But taking a step back, here’s the description of The Silent History from the website:
The Silent History is a groundbreaking novel, written and designed specially for iPad and iPhone, that uses serialization, exploration, and collaboration to tell the story of a generation of unusual children — born without the ability to create or comprehend language, but perhaps with other surprising skills of their own.
The multimedia aspect of the downloadable futuristic novel is very intriguing (I’ve yet to get the app due to my own iphone issues but did view it on another attendee’s phone) allowing the reader deeper levels of engagement. With the purchase of the $1.99 app, daily downloads are delivered automatically to your iPhone in segments short enough to read in roughly 15 minutes. The interactive quality of the field reports not only allows people to write their own, it also teaches the readers to observe their surroundings in a different way; noticing details that usually go unnoticed by making them relevant to the text. A flagpole and the security camera next to it, both hanging from a storefront, are integrated into the story and place you right there as you take note of them in person. A gold-painted brick in the wall at the Allen Street Mall bathrooms is written into the report, and a reference to a yogurt and vodka party point you to the empty containers found in the planters. It all makes for good fun; a literary treasure hunt of sorts and completely immersive.
Published by Ying Horowitz & Quinn, (all three having worked at McSweeney’s; Horowitz as the former publisher) with a list of credits that truly impresses, The Silent History revolutionizes the novel as we know it. Matt Derby and Kevin Moffett, writers and collaborators on the project, were on the walking tour as well, reading their latest field notes on location. If all this wasn’t enough of a treat, the 20-or-so of us on the tour were treated to a mini private tasting at the very popular and hard to get into Mission Chinese Food on Orchard Street where we experienced the deliciously spicy and unique plates in the company of interesting people, some already hooked on The Silent History.
These three guys, and I imagine all their collaborators as well, are truly inspiring with their creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. There’s an instant happiness that kicks in, as if contagious, listening to them describe the project. Check out the trailer below and download the app here.
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Here’s a fun-, if a bit precarious-looking structure for kids. Designed by the recently deceased Thomas Walker Luckey, an artist, sculptor and architect renowned for his one-of-a-kind climbing sculptures, this particular 35-foot “Luckey Climber” is found in Columbus, Indiana at the Columbus Commons. The indoor playground was completed in 2011 and judging from the reviews on Trip Advisor is (not surprisingly) a big hit with kids. The floating C’s alone had me sold instantly.
Photos: Susan Fleck Photography and Columbus Indiana Visitors Bureau.
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This weekend! Free and cheap things to do 10/26 to 10/28 in NYC. Cultural events in art, architecture, music, film, dance, theater, design, food and general fun. This week’s listings include a smattering of spooky Halloween-related events.
1. Design/Architecture/Talks – Designers & Books Fair 2012 is a live New York City event at the intersection where design, architecture, and books meet. All weekend at FIT. Tickets range from $25 to $50. See schedule.
3. Art/Technology/Science – ReGeneration: an exhibition that explores the connection of cultural vitality to immigration, urbanization and sustainability through art, technology & science. All weekend (starting Sat 10/27 through 1/13). $11 Adult $8 Kids & Students. FREE Fridays, 2-5 pm; Sundays, 10-11 am
4. Architecture/Art – Past Futures, Present, Futures presents 101 unrealized proposals for New York City. 2nd Part of the exhibit (Present Futures) opens Fri 10/26 with reenactments. 7pm. Through 11/4. FREE
Alternatively: Scary Movies at Walter Reade Theater Fri 10/26 and Sun 10/28. See schedule. $13
9. Art/Architecture – The blps Project (see post). Spot pill-shaped stickers on and around the High Line—from smokestacks to the Standard Hotel—on surfaces that usually go unnoticed. Kind of like an Easter egg hunt without the chocolate. In conjunction with the Richard Artschwager! retrospective at the Whitney. All weekend. FREE
10. Walking Tour – Haunted Tours of NYC. All weekend. Nightly at 8pm. $20 Adults $15 Kids. 90-minute tour.
Alternatively — Walking tour of Green-Wood Cemetery: Celebrate the fall season with tales of murder, mayhem, spirits and ghosts on our annual autumn tours led by Green-Wood’s historian Jeff Richman. Includes a visit to the Catacombs, usually closed to the public. Sat 10/27 & Sun 10/28 at 1pm. $20
11. Comedy – Jos Houben: The Art of Laughter. Renowned actor from Théâtre Complicité and longtime collaborator of Peter Brook presents a hilarious comedy about comedy. Sat 10/27 at 7pm. $20 with Code FIAF20.
12. Music – Justin Townes Earle with Low Anthem and Joe Pug at Pace. Fri 10/26 & Sat 10/27. At 7:30pm. $5 for Students. $25 and up everyone else.
13. Readings/Fun – Utilities Included: A Night of Brooklyn Writers. Six local writers kick out the jams for Halloween weekend Brooklyn-style. Sat 10/27 7pm at the Pine Box Rock Shop in Bushwick. FREE
14. Art – One of our favorites! John Baldessari Double Play at Marian Goodman. Fri 10/26 & Sat 10/27 through 11/21. FREE.
15. Tour – A Very Spooky Boat Tour of Newtown Creek. Sat 10/27 from 4:30 to 6:30pm $20 Leaves from South Street Seaport.
Alternatively – Halloween Dead Celebrity Ball: Costume Ball aboard the Jewel Yacht. Fri 10/26 at 8pm.
16. Food/Fun – 11th Annual Pickle Day will celebrate the rich history of pickle vendors of the Lower East Side and this time they are bringing back the pushcarts! Sun 10/28 on Orchard Street. 12 to 5pm. FREE
18. Readings/Comedy – Bare! True Stories of Sex, Desire & Romance with John Flynn, Amy Sohn & many more. Brings together storytellers, comedians, sex educators and others to share true tales from their own experiences of sex, desire and romance. At the Bell House. 8pm $10
Art/Fun/Interactive – Bird on a Wire: a projected interactive display created for a pair of storefront windows at the corner Mercer St. and Washington Pl. By calling a number a passerby can set birds perched on telephone wires into motion. Cool! All weekend through 10/29. Opening Fri 10/26 at 8pm. FREE
AND Coming up this week – The Gay Death Halloween Variety Show, Tues, 10/20 at 8pm at The People’s Improv Theater with Scott Schachter and his Fun, Fab Weirdo Friends for a Macabre filled Sinful Night of Devilish Comedy: Nick Cobb; Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting and more. $5
Check back for updates and take a look at our previous Culture on the Cheap posts for ongoing suggestions. Have fun!
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These 2940 yellow and black plastic spheres across a 35m-long wall made up the fun and engaging interactive pop-up installation at London’s King’s Cross station called Song Board. Designed by the students at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts in London, Song Board invited passers-by to rotate the matrix of spheres and create unique patterns, images, and messages. Some came prepared with pre-arranged displays to print on the board and others just rotated them relentlessly, listening to the sound the balls made when rotated.
Song Board was one of the many projects (see also Bus-Tops) put into place by the Mayor’s office throughout the city during the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games.
via eye magazine
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German artist Carsten Nicolai has inaugurated his audiovisual installation titled Unidisplay at HangarBicocca in Milan. The 40-meter long piece has the ability to make sound perceptible on an optical level with minimal aesthetics translated into variations of black and white along with acoustics. There’s a propensity towards abstraction and the infinite in this installation, as well as play with the concepts of time and space. Brings to mind Ryoji Ikeda’s The Transfinite.
I find these kinds of exhibit incredibly soothing in person, in addition to enjoying the immersive quality.
You can see some of the audiovisuals in the video below:
Photos: Agostino Osio
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With the premise of functional habitation wherein houses are set up by way of a pre-determined relationship between space and occupant, artist Jean-Pascal Flavien has created several houses—the viewer in Rio; no drama house in Berlin; and two persons house in Sao Paulo—and now his breathing house, la maison respire, in the Parc Saint Léger in France. On the one hand an exhibition, the project is experienced in three stages: before, during, and after. Before: the artist lives in the house defining the relationship to the exhibit space. During: the artist invites people close to him to live in the house for a few days, leaving behind a testimonial of their experience in the form of a document. After: all the contributions are collected as a publication and considered a constitutive part of his work practice.
I find the whole conceptual aspect interesting, but I have to admit that what drew me to the project was the house itself, with its sliding panels and coordinating furniture.
You can read more about Jean-Pascal Flavien’s work here.
Photos courtesy of the artist and Galerie Catherine Bastide.
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I signed up to see Ben Rubin present his Shakespeare Machine (previously here) at the newly renovated Public Theater last night and was surprised by a number of things: the beautiful lobby; the impressive and perfectly displayed multimedia sculpture in the center; the spectacular collage of Paula Scher-designed Public Theater posters on the wall behind the ticket booths (I’ve been wanting to do something like this at home forever); and the amazingly nice party with open bar and tasty food!
The Public has created what they describe as a “welcoming piazza” with extended steps out front that lure you in to the new lobby. The bar at the entrance is very striking with the chandelier-like Shakespeare Machine above it. And, in Pentragram partner Paula Scher’s typical style, it’s a typography lover’s delight. The bar, the information booth, the archways, the staff t-shirts all play with the Public’s chunky variants on the Akzidenz Grotesk typeface. Talking with someone at the party, I learned that the sunken type on the arches was particularly challenging. The asymmetric positioning of the signage type adds to the uplifting quality of it all.
Oh, and we can’t forget the Shakespeare Machine, which was the main reason for my visit. A couple of technical glitches in the beginning were quickly ironed out and the sculpture played with the Shakespeare text as humorously and cleverly as the space that surrounds it. Close to a million words are shuffled by statistician Mark Hansen’s algorithms that choreograph the text into situations such as a series of “To be or’s” that are followed by unexpected, alternative, and smile-inducing, Shakespearean text rather than the expected “not to be” which also makes an appearance later. The cycle runs roughly 5 to 10 minutes with variations in visual effects, from inverted type to such high-speed text that it becomes abstract. The Shakespeare Machine will be on full-time during the theater’s hours of operation.
You can see a snippet of the sculpture in action below. The voices are not part of the sculpture, but, rather, actors for the event: