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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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
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:
At the VVTs All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow last week, an upside down house had visitors in a tizzy. Similar in concept to Jean-François Fourtou’s Tombée du Ciel, this house (not sure who the artist/designer behind the project is) is larger and even includes a car hanging from the driveway. The multi-room structure was built upside down as a tourist attraction and was fully fitted with furnishings, kitchen, bath, and even food on the dining room table, all hanging from the ceiling, or, rather, floor…wait. It appears that at least in one of the rooms a video camera was inverted inside a cabinet (see third photo down) projecting the room live and right side up on a tv screen and, consequently, its visitors upside down. Confusing and fun.
Thanks Ramon and Eugene. (GMS)
I’ve been through a corn maze and even visited an ice bar, but I had never heard of these incredible Ice Castles created in Colorado, Utah, and New Hampshire. As an homage to the Polar Vortex we’re presently experiencing here on the east coast, I thought I’d post some photos of these castles/mazes that are built by hand from more the 20,000,000 pounds of ice. These glacial formations include caverns, archways, paths and tunnels inviting visitors to wander through in awe. If the ice itself isn’t amazing enough, at night these structures are illuminated by colored lights for additional dramatic effect. The castles begin by ‘growing’ more than 5,000 icicles per day which are then sculpted together. By dipping the icicles in freezing water they then stick to each other and with the combination of wind, temperature fluctuation, and water volume a variety of effects can be achieved. The process takes a few weeks of growth and artistry, repeating the process twice daily, until the final ice masterpiece is completed. If temperatures don’t change much around here, we may be able to build one of these in Central Park any day now…
Take a virtual walk through with this video:
Last month at Art Basel Miami, Venus Over Manhattan Gallery curated an exhibition titled Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile. Fourteen cars converted into sculptures by well-known contemporary artists since 1970 were on view at the spectacular open-air parking garage, 1111 Lincoln Road, designed by Herzog & deMeuron. The exhibit included works by Keith Haring (top), Damien Hirst (dotted Mini Cooper), Kenny Scharf (3rd from top), Ron Arad (pressed car), Bruce High Quality Foundation (VW Beetles), Franz West’s 1970 Rolls Royce, as well as eight more artists.
And here in an unrelated yet related (in that he’s drawing on a car) video is Jon Burgerman doing his thing on a zipcar:
via Venus Over Manhattan
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Tokyo-based teamLab is a group of ultra-technologists including programmers, user-interface engineers, mathematicians, CG animators, as well as architects, designers, artists and editors, who blur the boundaries of their respective fields to create and discover new ideas and push limitations. Presently, their interactive installation Homogenizing and Transforming World is part of the exhibition Distilling Senses: A Journey through Art and Technology in Asian Contemporary Art, at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Individual balls floating within an enclosed space communicate to each other via wireless connection. They change color and emit different sounds when touched by visitors or bump into each other or other objects. The balls send color information to other balls which in turn spread the information to other balls, changing all the balls to the same color. The piece is a metaphor for the internet and globalization in general. People act as intermediaries for information which so quickly travels via the internet globally, transforming the world in an instant and unifying at the same time.
You can see the installation live through January 12, 2014 or in the video below anytime:
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Imagine 365 wooden sleds stacked in the form of a Christmas tree. Now imagine each of those sleds going to a child in need once the structure is dismantled. Nice, right? Well, that’s just what architecture/design studio Hello Wood (previously here) is doing at the Palace of Arts in Budapest. In the span of one week, they built an 11-meter tall tree that can be viewed from inside as well, giving the impression of being in the middle of a giant snowflake. The base is made of steel to keep things safe in case of strong winter winds. A tall wooden frame was built with the help of a crane and some welding, in which the sleds were fixed upon. Once the temporary installation comes down, Hello Wood will donate the sleds to the children at SOS Children’s Villages, keeping things reusable and charitable as the holidays should be.
Here’s a video of the installation process:
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Well, actually, they’re already here. These eight foot snails are part of the REgeneration Art Project and are made of recyclable plastic obtained from landfills. The snails are a creation of the Cracking Art Group (previously here) consisting of six international artists whose intention is to change art history through both a strong social and environmental commitment, and a revolutionary and innovative use of different recyclable plastic materials. The snails were “living” at Rumsey Field in Central Park up until last week before moving (okay, they were more moved/transported than moving themselves) to Columbus Circle last week. You’re gonna have to trust me, they’re there. That’s where I spotted them earlier today, but no time for photo-taking. Apparently there’s at least one at Eataly on 23rd Street as well. These snails seem to keep with the scavenger hunt street art theme that has descended upon our city since the fall, first with Banksy, then Invader, and now, in a smaller, yet at the same time larger, scale, the invasion of the red snails.
The snails will be up at Columbus Circle through January 6th, 2014, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood, do keep an eye out for them.
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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.
via abrons arts center
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What if your corner bodega didn’t just sell milk, candy and cigarettes, but acted as an exhibit space for beautiful street art, inside and out? Cool, right? Well, that’s exactly what Brooklyn artist RAE has done in the East Village. Finding a former bodega that had to close due to flooding by Hurricane Sandy last year, RAE reopened the shop temporarily for his first solo NYC exhibit Word of Mouth. Covering most every surface in the place—including security cameras—with his drawings, and folky sculptures, the artist has the ‘gallery’ space operating as a functioning bodega as well.
A couple of years back, a friend pointed out RAE’s art on a sign at a now defunct fruit and vegetable stand in SoHo, so it seems that he has a longstanding fascination for the corner food vendor.
Word of Mouth will be on exhibit Thursdays through Saturdays until November 16, 2013, at the corner of East 12th Street and Avenue C.
via vandalog & gothamist