Posts tagged with "Art":
Aranda\Lasch and Native American artist Terrol Dew Johnson combine traditional and modern craft in this new exhibition
As contemporary architects continue to integrate craft into their designs, they’d be well served to take a close look at the new exhibition Meeting the Clouds Halfway at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (MOCA).
Stemming from a more than 10-year collaboration between New York architects Aranda/Lasch and Native American artist Terrol Dew Johnson of the Arizona-based Tohono O’odham Nation, the show examines the merger of contemporary and traditional materials, techniques, and ideas.
“I’ve always been fascinated by things that were really different and took me out of the traditional realm,” said Johnson. “I saw this as an exciting adventure.”
The show, staged inside MOCA’s generous, light-filled Brutalist main gallery, includes works ranging from jewelry and small baskets to furniture, sculpture, and large-scale structures that grew out of the designers’ experiments with the traditional native technique of coiling, in which a bendable material is woven around itself to create a solid surface.
The teams incorporated a large palette of traditional materials like bear grass, yucca, sinew, wood, gourd, horsehair, and feathers, and more modern ones like aluminum, steel, copper, and fiberglass. They merged coiling and weaving with computer modeling and fabrication techniques like CNC milling and water jet- and laser-cutting. Often a design would bounce between the teams across the country, digital and analog creations emerging in new and unexpected ways.
In one case, a wood basket was formed from laser-cut panels, assembled via weaving and connected with yucca and sinew. In another, a laser-cut metal loop would start in New York, and then come back from Arizona looking utterly transformed.
The artists first teamed up in 2006 for a show at New York’s Artists Space. The current show, curated by Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, displays diverse pieces on platforms and walls, and even hangs them from the ceiling.
The project was as much about process as it was output, said Chris Lasch, principal at Aranda/Lasch. “What it boils down to was looking for a way to exchange information. The design was always collaborative. The pieces were always done through discussions and design sessions.”
Both sides of this creative team are not only happy with what they’ve learned from the other, but are looking to collaborate again. Lasch notes that perceptiveness to local craft and materials is helping them with a new furniture system they’re developing for a school built by the 14 + Foundation in Zambia.
“The sky is the limit,” added Johnson. “I’m definitely looking for what the future holds with more collaborations or ideas to expand on what I need to express myself.”
Meeting the Clouds Halfway runs through January 29, 2017, see MOCA's website for more details.
The 9th Berlin Biennale, The Present in Drag, is “more rooted in a time than a place,” explained curator Lauren Boyle of the New York–based collective DIS. For this citywide art exhibition, the DIS team wanted to expose the contradictions and sheer spectacle of today’s hyper-networked, content-saturated culture. The exhibition breaks from many past Berlin Biennales, as it does not, on the surface, take an immediate political stance. Instead, it acts as a platform for artists to perform the present, in a sense, caricaturing and parodying it in order to tease out the contradictions and confusing realities of contemporary culture. DIS assembled a list of young artists and collectives, including 69, Cécile B. Evans, Simon Denny, Hito Steyerl, and more to show across five venues in Berlin.
Many of the works confront the Internet and the effect that it has on our lives and the way we create our identities. Three of the works explicitly deal with architecture, and how it is being affected by changes in technology and new social cues in an evolving world.
The first and most outwardly architectural is “#3” by architect Shawn Maximo. In collaboration with German kitchen- and bath-fixture manufacturer Dornbracht—famous for its ongoing forward-thinking collaborations with artists since 1996—Maximo created a room based on the idea of a “comfort station” where you can get all the comforts of home, such as going to the bathroom, getting a drink, or taking a nap…but in the Kunste-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art. In the installation, a squat toilet, a kitchen sink, a large-screen monitor with digital videos and illustrations, and light boxes illuminated with images of nature create a place where the most intimate, private ritual collides with a social gathering space—a place for both comfort and information. The title, “#3” suggests a new way of thinking about the bathroom as a place where maybe you can use the toilet while your friend washes dishes and watches a movie. Maximo wanted to tackle some of the taboos and boundaries that we hang on to despite their lack of usefulness today. “The bathroom is a place where there is a lot of potential to make more of an impact in terms of design and aesthetic,” he explained.
Another installation at the Kunste-Werke is “ARCHITECTURE,” a long, thickened wall that incorporates six nooks filled with pillows, by London-based åyr. These cozy spaces are outfitted with outlets for phone charging and are meant to challenge our assumptions of “openness” and “crossing boundaries” common to both the sharing economy and corporate architectural discourse. The work also makes reference to Rem Koolhaas’s Berlin Wall studies and Testo Junkie by Paul B. Preciado, which conflates spaces of protection and incarceration.
Completing the trifecta of architectural, boundary-challenging works is a deconstructed showroom apartment in the Akademie der Kunste by Christopher Kulendran Thomas titled “New Eelam.” In the apartment, a video explains the concept of a new app that would utilize the sharing economy to introduce users to a network of luxury communal housing units. The app—named after the failed neo-Marxist movement in Eelam, Sri Lanka—breaks out of traditional borders, operating outside the traditional power networks of late capitalist, neo-colonial influence. By establishing a collectively owned network of housing inside the existing system, Kulendran Thomas hopes to create a new way of living through the “luxury of communalism rather than private property.”
Combined, the three artworks attempt to make sense of the architectural implications of the political and technological forces that are swirling around us, but are hard to pin down in an architectural context. Contemporary art succeeds where architecture struggles in this exploration, perhaps because art can more adeptly capture these subtle forces not necessarily embedded in actual buildings.
Now on display at the Guggenheim is Tales of Our Time, an exhibition that opens up a discourse on the concepts of geography and nation-state. The exhibition's artists are primarily East Asian (Chia-En Jao, Kan Xuan, Sun Xun, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Tsang Kin-Wah, Yangjiang Group, and Zhou Tao) and their work has a site-specific focus that ranges from their homeland to remote border areas and untouched islands. Within this spectrum, notions such as territory, boundaries, and utopia crop up and are used to question the traditional understanding of place.
Tales of Our Time draws on renowned Chinese author Lu Xun's Gushi xin bian (Old Tales Retold, 1936). In this story, ancient Chinese legends critique society, reimagine history, and shed light on contemporary issues. The line between reality and fiction is blurred by artists in the tale, thus causing disruption, drawing up new borders, demolishing old ones, and dividing communities, regions, nations, and continents in the process.
The artworks from the aforementioned artists are all new commissions. However, they don't focus solely on China and its art scene. Social and political tensions found across the globe manifest in the works through themes such as individual and collective memory, migration and urbanization, cultural inclusion and exclusion, and technological development. "The tales told in this exhibition consider our seemingly more connected, globalized world as one that is still filled with fractured land, fragmented history, and upended traditions, but, at the same time, they also propose ways to imagine culture differently," says the museum.
Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’s Autoconcanción, a collection of new sculptures, is on display at Regen Projects in Los Angeles. The collection of eight autobiographical, mixed-media installations uses the backseats from cars Cruzvillegas has used throughout his life and augments them with various apparatuses—lifting some on spindly stilts and shading others behind iridescent sheets of backlit, colored plastic. To these objects, the artist attaches radios that play reports from local stations. Each piece also contains some sort of native plant specimen perched somewhere, such as a palm tree still in its nursery bucket or a collection of oak saplings like those typically seen in Southern California freeway medians. The work, meant to be a reflection on Cruzvillegas’s life through Southern California car culture, is reflected via the Mexico City–based artist’s title for the exhibition, which translates to “car with song.”
Autoconcanción Regen Projects 6750 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles Through October 22