You wouldn’t necessarily associate Moishe’s Moving with art and architecture, but you would be wrong not to. Moishe Mana, founder of the moving company, and his right-hand man Eugene Lemay have converted 150,000 square feet of the 1.5 million industrial space they own in Jersey City into the impressive Mana Contemporary, a center that houses over 250 artists’ studios, numerous art galleries, Richard Meier’s Model Museum, Gary Lichtenstein’s Editions printing studio and shop, in addition to dance studios, an art book shop, a bistro, designer studios, a recently completed spectacular column-free 50,000-square-foot separate glass gallery, and who knows what else? I visited last spring during an open studios event and was blown away by the facilities as well as the quality of the art (there are some impressive names on the doors such as Michal Rovner and others.) The Richard Meier Model Museum is a must-see, and there are special exhibits in many of the art galleries. The trip from NYC is relatively quick on the Path train but, as was the case when I visited in May, this Sunday, September 14th there will be free shuttle buses running from the Meatpacking District every half hour, making the excursion irresistible.
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.
Look 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
Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian lives and works in Tehran. Her photographs, though at first glance somewhat humorous, reflect what she sees as “the duality and contradiction of life.” After her marriage, inspired by her wedding gifts, Ghadirian photographed her series Like Every Day in which each of these photographs depicts a figure draped in patterned fabric in place of the typical Iranian chador. Instead of a face, each figure has a common household item such as an iron, a tea cup, a broom, or a pan, depicting the daily routine of many of the women that surround her yet, despite its focus on Muslim women, its relevance extends to women in other parts of the world as well. An earlier series titled Qajar (bottom two photos) is equally smart, reimagining the traditional Iranian portraiture of the late 19th century, but the veiled women carry boomboxes and other modern-day items.
Believe it or not, Belgium-born Henk van Rensbergen is an airline pilot; a job which takes him to many locations around the world. But it is the urge to explore eerie abandoned sites which he’s possessed since childhood, that has led him to take this stunning series of photographs (and books) titled Abandoned Places. Van Rensbergen captures the ghost-like atmosphere that exists within these spaces, whether they be homes, offices, amusement parks or hair salons. The presence of those who once inhabited these locations is almost palpable. The stories (or the stories we decide to create in our minds) are there to be told via his amazing images. These few are just the tip of the iceberg. You can see so many more over here. I think it’s safe to say, flying might be Mr. Rensbergen’s official profession, but photography is clearly his passion.
After years of great success in advertising in the 80s and 90s, British photographer Carl Warner suddenly found his work less in demand and not as fulfilling creatively. Searching for something to rekindle his interest in photography as well as put some new energy into his flagging business, Warner started creating Foodscapes having found inspiration in the produce section of his supermarket. After going viral, these foodscapes opened the door to new clients and a burst of work. From the foodscapes, Warner then departed to a series of other scapes including these Bodyscapes. Maybe a tad disturbing, these contorted and manipulated bodies certainly do make some fantastic landscapes. And the titles fit perfectly. A few examples: The Cave of Abdo-men; Cut Throat Valley; and Headless Horizon, just to name a few. You can see more of these Bodyscapes and the rest of Carl Warner’s work over here.
Dan and I went to The Last Brucennial this past weekend and in the midst of the fun chaos that is the show, we spotted some work that really stood out for us. Among these were two large photos by Alyse Emdur which elicited several emotions at once: confusion; laughter; and sadness. And that was before I even googled the artist to find out more about these! We assumed the artist had placed the bizarre murals in these depressing office spaces/institutions, but as it turns out, they all truly exist in this manner. Prison Landscapes as the series, as well as book, is called, is a collection of photographs of prison waiting rooms, that typically have backdrops—often painted by the inmates themselves—which are used as portrait set-ups for the inmates and their visitors to pose in front of for photos. These idealized landscapes offer a brief escape…a chance to pretend that they are somewhere else. Emdur invited hundreds of prisoners to send in their photos for inclusion in her book Prison Landscapes which was initially inspired by a photograph she found in 2005 of herself at age five, posing in front of a tropical beach scene while visiting her brother in prison. Poignant and at the same time a little unintentionally humorous.
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
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.
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…
The always-wacky usually-less-bloody Jon Burgerman (previously here) has a an ongoing series of interventions staged in front of film and television ad panels, photographing himself perfectly situated as the target of the pointed gun, arrow, or other weapon of choice in each poster. These Head Shots, as the series is called, are then digitally manipulated, adding splattered blood in a Tarantinoesque fashion. Definitely a departure from the cute characters he usually draws, but still, somehow, very Burgerman.
You might like his Korean Subway series, too.
Who doesn’t like a good flipbook, right? And your very own? Even better. A few years back I made a couple of flipbooks of my kids when they were little via flipclips which were a hit, but now kinetic artists Wendy Marvel and Mark Rosen have taken the concept to a whole new level with their FlipBooKit Moto, a motorized animated flip book. Based on their own artworks inspired by the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, the duo applied the same techniques they use in their sculptural mechanical flipbooks to a DIY kit. It’s easy to assemble— you’ll only need a screwdriver—and will take less than an hour to complete. You can use the included art or use your own images, the possibilities are limitless! Looks like a great gift idea. You can hear more about it in the video below and you can purchase it here.
I love everything about Chicago-based designer Audra Hubbell‘s project Letters at Large. For starters, it’s type. Large type at that. Then the combination with architecture and the effect of each on the other is pretty fabulous. Somewhat reminiscent of Jenny Holzer’s Projections, but here it’s all about the one letter as opposed to text. Hubbell unleashes full-scale typography in public spaces as a visual research project exploring the interaction between projected large scale letterforms and the urban Chicago surroundings. Wouldn’t it be great if the poster set were available for purchase.
Initially inspired by working with balloons in her retail business, architect/photographer/entrepreneur Janice Lee Kelly (originally from Kentucky) began developing the medium into her own personal art form, eventually creating her studio FLOAT. Creating gravity-defying, kinetic and ethereal sculptures, Kelly captures and records their interaction with the environment through photography and video. In addition, Kelly creates balloon pieces and installations for exhibits and event spaces that range from smaller private ones to Lincoln Center for the Big Apple Circus.
For some, regularly dozing in moving vehicles and inadvertently leaning against random strangers while doing so, is a common occurrence (ahem…Em), but in the case of Brooklyn-based artist George Ferrandi, it’s completely intentional. For her ongoing project It Felt Like I Knew You… Ferrandi rides the subway (her choice for these interventions because of its packed quality and the loneliness one can feel despite the physical intimacy) during rush hour and tests the limits of this shared confined area by reshaping the space between her body and a stranger’s sitting next to her.
I focus on the shape of the space between the person sitting next to me and myself. I attempt to mentally and emotionally re-sculpt that space. In my mind, I reshape it- from the stiff and guarded space between strangers to the soft and yielding space between friends. I direct all my energy to this space between us. When the space palpably changes, and I completely feel like the stranger sitting next to me is my friend, I rest my head on that person’s shoulder…
Ferrandi started the continuing project in 2012. The endearingly humorous results are documented by co-conspirator Angela Gilland on her phone. So, the next time you feel a woman’s head rest on your shoulder in the subway, it’s likely to be George Ferrandi…or, Em.
It Felt Like I Knew You can be seen at the Abrons Arts Center as part of the exhibit GUTS through the end of December.
Sure, it’s that time of year when visions of sugar plums dance in your head, and gingerbread houses abound. But New Zealand-born artist/photographer Henry Hargreaves based in Brooklyn and stylist/chef Caitlin Levin took their holiday creations to new heights. The two have collaborated on several projects in the past (Deep Fried Gadgets being a largely recognizable one,) but their latest collaboration took the form of Gingerbread and Candy Art Museums & Galleries for ArtBasel/Miami. These amazing models of the iconic institutions were made using gingerbread, hard candy, chocolate, licorice, and many other tasty sweets. Hargreaves and Levin made tabletop-size replicas of the Louvre, Guggenheim, Maxxi, Tate Modern, Karuizawa Gallery, MAS, and Soumaya and then cleverly lit and photographed each one.
You can see more of the process here.
French-born, and now Brooklyn-based, artist/designer/musician Benjamin Løzninger likes to merge digital storytelling with experimental branding. This past summer Løzninger’s C/Loud Project took to the streets of Paris and Brooklyn. With the idea of seeking refuge from some of life’s daily worries or the “dull bluntness of ocular reiteration,” the artist covered the sides of buildings, garage doors, billboards and more, with large digital prints of cloud-filled blue skies, subliminally suggesting a head-in-the-clouds effect. The hope is to provoke a smile, breath, or at a minimum a moment’s pause in the viewer’s day.
Brazilian artist Lucas Simões uses source materials such as maps, books, and photographs which he then folds, cuts, and deconstructs into new forms. In his series of portraits titled Desretatos (Disportraits) Simões invited friends to tell him a secret as he took their portrait. More than listen to the secret, Simões was interested in capturing their expression as they revealed it. He would also listen to a song selected by the subject as he photographed them, and asked them to give their secret a color as well. Combining all these elements as he worked, the artist would then select 10 different portraits from the photo shoot, layer them, cut, and overlap them. As you can see, the results are pretty wild. See more Desretratos here.