Posts tagged with "Art":

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An architecture course built around Burning Man and students finding ways to fund their projects

Each year, the Burning Man festival held in the Black Rock desert of Nevada attracts fantastical sculptures of all shapes and sizes. Joshua Potter, a fifth year student at the University of Westminster in London, is hoping that his structure "PURSUIT" will make to this years festival. Part of his studio assignment, PURSUIT follows a parametric approach—and an emphasis on self-reliance to fund student projects—that has become synonymous with his studio unit. Run by tutors Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess, the studio, named DS10, has garnered a strong pedigree for complex designs. However, DS10's primary approach, according to Potter is about producing "happy and fun" architecture that also relies on rigorous testing such as model making and digital fabrication. “The studio's philosophy is to involve students as much as possible in the design, fabrication and construction process" the two said. "We chose Burning Man for its ten guiding principles which include ‘Radical Self-Reliance,’ ‘Radical Self-Expression,’ ‘Leave no trace,’ and ‘communal effort.’ This meant playful and climbable structures, fully built by us as a team in a way that wouldn't harm the local environment.” Within the past five years, DS10 has submitted over 80 projects to the Global Arts Grant of Burning Man. As a result, six proposals have been provided funding through the scheme, notably Fractal Cult and Shipwreck constructed in 2013 and Hayam in 2014. Students are heavily encouraged to seek funding for their projects either through the Global Arts Grant or Kickstarter, to see their projects realized. "They try and make it a lot of fun, but it's a lot of work!" said Potter, who also added that DS10's ethos has taught many students, including himself about being independent and self reliant. His project brief, meanwhile, called for a project that could respond to a social agenda, through a set of parameters. As a result, PURSUIT was born. Deriving from a mathematical theory known as "pursuit curvature," a system that relies on inputs and thresholds. Potter used the shape of an arrowhead and formed the idea of six arrowheads pointing towards the center. Using the this algorithmically, an iterative process forces certain points to move in accordance with each other. "With Pursuit Curvature, each point starts at a unique position of a polygon, and moves incrementally towards the nearest adjacent point until they all converge in the centre. The path travelled is directly influenced by the points around it, so the final curves represent the effects all of the points have on one another as a group," he explains. On his Kickstarter page, he goes on to say that his project "celebrates humanity's ongoing quest for Peace, Freedom and Joy - in Life, Love and Art" aiming to "create an interactive and unique sculptural playground for visitors."
  The design forms three interconnected spaces that offer unique perspectives of their surrounding and interior spatial arrangements. Potter adds that this encourages "playful interaction" and allows visitors to climb up the and around the structure while also providing a "space for personal reflection and communal gathering." If Potter's $25,575 dream is realized, PURSUIT will be burnt to the ground when Burning Man is over, perhaps symbolizing the final end of the "pursuit."
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Our recap for architects and designers of the Frieze New York art fair

The Frieze New York art fair (May 5-8), currently ensconced in its large SO-IL designed tent on Randall's Island, always has a few works on display of special interest for architects and designers. This years fair is not brimming over with such works—but still there are a few. And this year, for me, they were all on wheels. William Kentridge's rolling wooden and metal accordion machine labeled TBC turned Marian Goodman’s booth into a dynamic space covered with the South African drawing and textual works. It was also a great—yet still somewhat sad—to see Krzysztof Wodiczko’s 1988-89 Homeless Vehicle Project. A major work by the artists in New York, I first saw it employed at Union Square where there were encampments of some of the estimated 70,000 homeless people in the city that winter. It’s sad to think we still have this enormous problem the city and this rolling homeless shelter is a reminder of all those people that push their homes shopping carts on the streets. Their was also Erwin Wurm’s 2016 corpulent white polyester and acrylic VW micro bus often seen at art fairs. But it's always an effective comment about the body of both humans and cars. The highlight of the Frieze art fair wheeled works was a special Frieze project: a remake of Mario Bellini’s Kar-a-sutra created for The Museum of Modern Art's 1972 New Domestic Landscape show curated by Emilio Ambasz. It's green 1960s fantasy of a car as a house for a Mediterranean seaside. Re-creator Anthea Hamilton also creates “an inhabitable mobile space meant to foster human creativity, imagination and communication.” It was all so sexy and easy in the 1960s!  
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Colorful animal sculptures coming to Cleveland’s Public Square

Nonprofit Cleveland-based LAND Studio has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation to install temporary outdoor art over the course of three years. The installations have been designed by Italian art collective Cracking Art Group. Art will be displayed in the city's Public Square, currently in the final stages of a $50 million overhaul by New York Firm James Corner Field Operations. The Mall and balconies and garden of the main Cleveland Public Library will also be used as locations. Based in Milan, Cracking Art Group are well known for interspersing brightly-colored oversized animals across the city. Clevelanders can expect huge yellow snails or mobs of pink meerkats to invade the ten-acre civic space, adding a vibrant dash of color to the scene. Other animal additions include groups of swallows, wolves, frogs, and a red elephant, are set to be the showpiece focal point of the installation. Rising to some eight feet high, the elephant, the symbol of the GOP, will welcome Donald Trump and co. to the area for the Republican National Convention this year on July 18. Being made from plastic, the colorful animals will not be fixed to the ground, allowing for children to interact with them though LAND Studio acknowledge that this means some could be stolen. Others, meanwhile, will be weighed down with sand to keep them in place. "The choice of recyclable plastic for its aesthetic appeal shows acceptance of the inevitability that our world is becoming increasingly artificial," say Cracking Art Group on their wesbite. "The artworks are designed to inspire a community-wide conversation about the importance and the environmental impact of recycling, while leaving a potent artistic trace." Before the installation can go up, however, the the city's Landmarks Commission has to award approval to the finalized proposals, though it was reported that "stakeholders, including the city, have already weighed in." Even when the animals leave the area however, LAND Studio, who are working alongside fellow stakeholders Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, James Corner Field Operations and Nelson Nygaard hope that their colorful impact will remain with Public Square that they will essentially inaugurate. concert hill design "Public Square will be transformed from four individual quadrants into a singular public park that can be used throughout the year for a wide range of programs and events," they say.  "Landscape and design will create a soft colorful space that invites people in and encourages them to stay. The Square will include pedestrian pathways, green spaces for concerts and events, areas to sit and lounge, a water feature, a café and restrooms. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument will remain, but will be integrated into the overall park and become more accessible." The display by Cracking Art will feature 376 of the group's standard creatures, plus a bright red elephant, standing more than, which begins July 18.
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John Waters shares his perspective on remodeling with exhibition titled Home Improvements

Baltimore filmmaker and writer John Waters lives in an architect-designed house that’s approaching 100 years old, so it’s not surprising that he knows a thing or two about home improvement and remodeling. Now he’s sharing his perspective on the subject with an art exhibition entitled Home Improvements, which he curated for a new gallery in San Francisco called FraenkelLAB. Home Improvements features the work of 13 artists, including Waters. All contributed pieces that in some way make a comment about remodeling or home repair, with an off-kilter sensibility. There’s a wall mounted toilet paper holder that substitutes silk chiffon for three ply sheets of Charmin. A floor mat that’s chained to the wall. A triptyph of orange sponges with surfaces that look like the craters of the moon. A collage of shopping bags saved from trips to home improvement stores. According to the gallery, the works are intended to transform the mundane and pay tribute to ordinary domestic materials, such as shopping bags, a wall mirror, bath towels and staples. Some reveal unexpected aesthetic pleasure in overlooked fixtures of the home, such as a light switch or a breaker box. Waters’ contribution is an S & M-themed baby stroller called Bill’s Stroller, 2014. It looks like an ordinary stroller from a distance and has ordinary baby stroller wheels. But it features logos from old New York sex clubs on the seat and sunshade portions and uses part of a black leather harness to strap baby in for the ride. Waters rails against the ‘adult baby’ community in his stand-up shows and interviews, so this appears to be his revenge. The other artists, working in a wide range of media, include Martin Creed, Moyra Davey, Vincent Fecteau, Paul Gabrielli, gelitin, Paul Lee, Tony Matelli, Doug Padgett, Karin Sander, Gedi Sibony, Lily van der Stokker, and George Stoll. Waters, who turned 70 in April, describes the exhibition as “a celebration of the low-tech concept of ‘remodeling.’ These twelve artists’ humble but surprisingly imperious paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings will hopefully make any serious property owner want to throw caution to the wind, pack up their living space, and start over.” Home Improvements is the inaugural exhibit for the new gallery at 1632 Market Street, a satellite of Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary Street in San Francisco. It’s on view until May 28.
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Catherine Opie on designing a monumental artwork for SOM’s Los Angeles Court House

When SOM’s federal courthouse opens in downtown Los Angeles, the 633,000-square-foot civic edifice will feature a monumental new artwork from L.A.-based artist Catherine Opie. Over the course of her career, Opie has taken on many architectural subjects: freeways, modernist interiors, and even lonesome icehouses. The General Services Administration commissioned her six-panel photographic mural of Yosemite Falls, which is installed in the multi-story atrium of the boxy glass building. Mimi Zeiger spoke to Opie about architecture, nature, and justice.

The Architects Newspaper: What’s the difference between working on a piece such as the Federal Courthouse, which is for an architectural space, and photographing an architectural space, like your photographs of Elizabeth Taylor’s house?

Catherine Opie: I’ve done a lot of work in relation to architecture over the years. It’s, you know, definitely a love of mine. And you know they’re different. Working  in an architectural space, you would hope that you reflect the notion of space in relationship to the piece, where when you’re working on representing different moments of architecture, whether it be the American Cities body of work or Elizabeth Taylor’s house, they have to do more with the specificity of identity. And even though the Federal Courthouse piece can connote that to a certain extent with something that is iconic as Yosemite Falls, you still want the piece to actually work within the space or hope to.

It’s a huge piece: Each panel is 18 by 16 feet. How do you go about choosing a subject for and creating a piece that big?

The good thing about working with the architects is that they put steel in the wall exactly where I need it so it can hold the weight of the pieces. So, it was a really cool thing to problem-solve because I’ve never made anything this big before.

And the subject—I’ve been making these abstract photographs for the past three years in national parks. And so one of the things that I was thinking about when they offered for me to make a proposal was what is something that people can live with every day? Who works there? And what is it to make a piece that also creates an ability to recognize nature as a moment of reflection? I was asking myself a lot of questions about how nature serves us, as well looking at the history of image-making, specifically in California.

So, the Ansel Adams, Carleton Watkins, John Muir era?

Exactly. There’s also a nod to the kind of great mural projects that the government funded, which happened not specifically around the Farm Security Administration photographers, but more the WPA. So there’s a kind of breadth of the piece and making it very much this fractured mural, which is all in line with thinking about that history as well.

I’m curious about that, the question of murals and the history of the WPA murals, but also this question of identity. I think about the Diego Rivera murals of that time. Is there something to be said about identity through this kind of image making, especially in such a charged place as a courthouse?

Well, identity is interesting. Diego Rivera was always about political identity in relationship to the worker. My identity is about California as a site of identity. One of the things that I do within the piece that works on a more metaphorical level: I reflect the falls on itself, because I’m actually asking for people to have a moment of reflection. And also the way my piece is structured is in relationship to me thinking about the scale of justice. So, you have absolute clarity within the first half of the mural. Then you come to the middle section, which is this river and kind of a darkish moment of woods and then you have the falls reflect on itself in the last two panels. And for me that’s a little a nod to the scale of justice.

I’m asking for people to have that moment where life becomes incredibly abstract as well as perfectly defined with clarity. And that so much of life, for me, lies on that axis.

And then you’ll have to roam the building in order to experience the piece, too. And that’s what I really like about it. There won’t be one vantage point where you can see all six panels. You have to experience it by actually experiencing the architecture, the site.

Was there a practical reason to fracture the image? What were the technical challenges?

Well, technically you can’t just take one image and fragment it because of the scale of the images. So I had to map it out on-site and photograph each panel so that it would seem like it was almost one seamless photograph.

And you visualized the mural using a 3-D model of the courthouse lobby? Did you work directly with the architects at SOM?

Yeah, I plugged in existing images into the 3-D model to see how it would look. Then the architects would fly me around the space. It was great, and I had really interesting conversations with them about the building. The building inspired me because it’s a reflective building that also fractures the space; I realized that the outside cladding would reflect the city, but it wouldn’t be a mirror reflection, it would be also a fragmented reflection. That allowed me to think about the falls as fragmented.

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Cornelia Parker puts a “Psycho-Barn” on top of the Met

Esteemed British artist Cornelia Parker has placed an ominous looking barn on the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The installation, according to Parker, was inspired by Edward Hopper's House by the Railroad painting. Under its official title, The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is the fourth rooftop installment the Met has overseen in what is becoming a yearly occurrence. When speaking of the rooftop feature, Parker says that she was "daunted" by the skyline surrounding the site. As a result, Parker, who's from Cheshire in the North of England, says that she wanted to place an "incongruous, domestic house" on top of the Met. Initially, Parker had planned for a much bigger traditional red barn, however, she quickly realized that these were "far too big." The result is a sinister looking barn, dubbed "PsychoBarn" due to its similarities with the infamous Bates mansion used in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho. In fact, that is in part from where Parker drew her inspiration. When reading into Edward Hopper's House by the Railroad she discovered that the painting inspired Alfred Hitchcock to use an eerily similar barn structure for Bates mansion in his epic, Psycho. Likewise, Parker's creation is equally ominous. Formed from a deconstructed red barn, a prominent image in American architecture and indeed Hopper's work, the PyschoBarn rises 30 feet on the Met's rooftop. While it hardly makes a dent in the New York Skyline, it's a welcome variation on the typical imprint new builds have on the cityscape today. A closer look reveals that the barn is incomplete. Instead, it is two facades merely held upright by scaffolding and supports, emulating how Bates' mansion was constructed on set for Psycho. The successful deception of being a real barn is Parker's way of blurring authenticity and illusion through the process of assumption. “When you round the corner, you might think it’s the house from Psycho, or you might think it’s a red barn,” Parker said. “It’s cognitive dissonance. You oscillate in between two things—one is cozy, the other malign.” She added, “It’s not a one-liner.” On their website, the Met says: "The piece flickers between the physical reality of the barn and the cinematic fiction of the house, bringing up their respective ties to comfort and discomfort. Neither entirely real nor completely false, it vacillates unnervingly between its identities." “The title of Parker's work alludes to the psychoanalytic theory of transitional objects used by children to help negotiate their self-identity as separate from their parents.” Sheena Wagstaff, the museum's Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of modern and contemporary art, also said: “Cornelia has developed an astonishing architectural folly. It intertwines a Hitchcock-inspired iconic structure with the materiality of the rural vernacular." “Combining a deliciously subversive mix of inferences, ranging from innocent domesticity to horror, from the authenticity of landscape to the artifice of a film set, Cornelia's installation expresses perfectly her ability to transform clichés to beguile both eye and mind."
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Konstantin Grcic draws on 15th-century Italian artwork for Kreo Exhibition

German furniture designer Konstantin Grcic has designed five chairs revolving around the spatial dynamics exhibited in St Jerome in his Study, a 1475 painting by Antonello da Messina. His exhibition, called Hieronymus (Greek and Latin for "Jerome"), is currently on display at Galerie Kreo in Paris. When looking at St. Jerome in his Study, it's clear that his specialized space, which he used to translate the Bible into Latin, has been ergonomically refined with precision to his needs. Everything, from the angle of the writing desk to the height and placement of shelving, create easy ergonomic access and allow light to illuminate this desk. St. Jerome, while in his study in 4th Century A.D., was in fact one of the first people to read silently. This perhaps says a lot about the man and the thoughtful design around him. Without getting carried way into deeper analysis, it is the chair and its contextual relationships that ultimately captured Grcic's imagination. In Hieronymus, Grcic aims to embody and amplify this sense of tailored physical intimacy. Each chair comprises different materials that range from fiber cement, aluminum, marble, anodised aluminum, and plastics used for 3-D printing. Despite their open nature, Grcic's chairs convey a sense of privacy, encouraging occupants like St. Jerome to engage in a similar approach to solitude. Each chair achieves this through cuboid cuts, staggered ledges, angular seating, and specific places to rest ones feet. This year, Grcic is also celebrating 25 years of working alongside fellow German furniture design firm ClassiCon. Meanwhile, another exhibition of his chairs, Mingx, is on show at the Salone del Mobile 2016 in Milan. This time, though, Gricic takes influence from ancient furniture design. Hieronymus runs from through to July 14, 2016, at Galerie Kreo, Paris.    
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A step too far? Vasily Klyukin’s “Sexy” leg tower fails to impress

When enjoying sustained periods of economic prosperity and growth, it's almost natural to want to flaunt, in untamed excess, the fruits of entrepreneurship through architectural means. Just look at the Pyramids of Giza, the Roman Colosseum and more recently, Trump Tower and areas of China. What's significant though, is that China, instead of growing out of this phase, has put a stop to the practice altogether. Russian billionaire and amateur architect Vasily Klyukin has other ideas. "This concept is very extravagant, even for the modern World," Klyukin wrote on his website, and he's not wrong. The tower design—centered on a "sexy leg"—has been met with fervent hostility, mostly due to its complete disregard for its Lower Manhattan context and subsequent intent on standing out like sore thumb—or toe, in this case. "Someone will be shocked by this idea, someone will find it beautiful and sexy, someone—vulgar, but everybody, without an exception, would want to observe such a tower or visit it at least once in a lifetime. If this building will become a hotel—it will always be crowded. I personally would like to live in this tower," Klyukin continued. Dubbed the "Russian-born Tony Stark," Klyukin dabbles in real estate, sci-fi literature, sculpture, and yacht design as well as apparently being a Doctor of Historical Sciences. One doubts whether he himself even sees these designs being realized, despite his desire to live in them one day. His book, Designing Legends (Klyukin referring to his own designs) is available on Amazon for only $54, and so far has only received five-star reviews. One fan comments: "Klyukin is indulging in a playful critique of contemporary architecture and the post-Modern [sic] city, but it’s really an 'artist’s book,' or in the parlance of the previous century, 'un livre d’artiste.'" As much as one tries to find any validation in his proposals, further probing reveals deep-rooted egotism. Such an ethos is highlighted by Klyukin's Cobra Tower design. There is no place for this snake, something he inadvertently points out himself by imagining the tower in a number of locations such as China, Japan, and London. From this we can see that Klyukin deems his surroundings irrelevant; all that matters is that his design dominates the skyline, regardless of its relationship to its vicinity. When a large enough proportion of designers subscribe to this approach, the result is a chaotic conglomeration of buildings attempting to shout louder than each other. Any identity within the vicinity is lost, the art of placemaking long forgotten and the world quickly becomes alienating. Beijing artist Cao Fei exemplified this journey into cultural obscurity with Shadow Plays by revealing the "hypothetical extremities to which China is susceptible as a product of growth and potential collapse."
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Eavesdrop> Bauhaus China Set

China’s culture of copying is well-documented, but the recent sale of Berlin-based art dealer and collector Torsten Bröhan’s large collection of 19th- and 20th- century design objects to the city of Hangzhou, China raised eyebrows. The “Bauhaus Collection” deal was allegedly made for tens of millions of dollars and contains over 7,000 pieces of design from the modernist period. Scholars have questioned the use of Bauhaus, but argue that the Chinese understand Bauhaus as the whole of modernism, not just the products of the seminal school. The curious case is compounded by a lawsuit that charges that Bröhan never gave business consultant Stephan Balzer his 10 percent cut of the purchase price.
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Artist creates mesmerizing patterns on the floor of the American Academy in Rome

Based in Los Angeles, designer Bryony Roberts' installation, Primo Piano, covers a distinctive stone floor at the American Academy in Rome with a colorful pattern of decals. The work builds upon the pre-existing two-tone square pattern on the hall's floor. Roberts caters her design adaptations to this context, offering, in her words, a "modest, neo-Renaissance pattern of travertine circles and diamonds inlaid into peperino stone." Surrounding stone motifs, laid around the floors perimeter compliment the the medieval Baroque Cosmatesque flooring that is enriched by the geometric flooring. A clever use of color and "curvilinear forms" helps give the impression of depth too. Roberts has overlaid varying circles and diamonds and squares (all in different and alternating colors) to break the monotony of the existing pattern. At first glance, from an angle, the resulting pattern appears random. This is amplified by the fact that Roberts stuck to a rigid color palette comprising black, pearl grey, and purple. When viewed from above, one can clearly see a sense of rhythm within the artwork. In plan view, this is much more obvious and an even more explicit symmetry can be found when removing certain colors/form overlays. "As the Cosmatesque floors were designed to guide church processions, so this project both responds to and disrupts patterns of movement in the space, producing impromptu choreography as people entering the academy step and dance around the shapes on the floor," Roberts said in a statement. The installation is currently on view at the 2016 Cinque Mostre Exhibition.
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Theaster Gates’ ‘Sanctum,’ a 552-hour continuous performance, will run through November 21

Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates launched Sanctum, a 24-day performance in Bristol, England that will have continuous programming 24 hours a day. Gates set the performance in Temple Church, a 14th-century building that was bombed out during the Bristol Blitz in World War II. The temporary venue was constructed out of leftover building materials from all over the city: brick and doors from local homes, bricks from the demolished citadel in St. Paul’s, wood from the Prince Street bridge, and flooring from a former chocolate factory nearby. Produced by the art organization Situations, the performance line up will not be published so visitors will not know what they will hear until they enter the space. Sanctum will be open through November 21.
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30 Years in the making, land artist Alberto Burri’s Grande Cretto in Sicily finally complete

Memorializing the quiet town of Gibellina that was destroyed by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in 1968, Alberto Burri's Grande Cretto has finally been completed after some 30 years of planning. Occupying over 86,000 square feet, the concrete piece of land art is now open to the public and coincides with the artist's 100th birthday. New Gibellina, built to house the displaced residents of the old town is now situated 12 miles away from its predecessor. In the wake of the disastrous event, Alberto Burri decided he would concentrate his attention on what was left of Gibellina when artists and architects were asked to contribute to the foundation of New Gibellina. In doing so, Burri, unlike his counterparts, chose to cover the area with slabs of white concrete, over five feet tall, punctuated only by his signature cracks (roughly nine feet wide) that follow the original street plan. The stark emptiness of the installation echoes the horrors of the earthquake. Burri started his work in 1985 though construction halted after just four years, stopping short at 64,000 square feet of his proposed 86,000. Thanks to the Fondazione Burri, the work has now been fully realized which has prompted a series of celebratory events in New Gibellina notably an installation called AUDIOGHOST 68 that features the band Massive Attack, Robert Del Naja, and Italian artist Giancarlo Neri. For the installation, hundreds of portable radios were dotted across the surface of the concrete and lights from the audience contributed to create the effect of a thousand fireflies dancing in the night through the cities veins—a poignant reminder of what once was. A video of the installation can be seen above. In addition to this, Burri's works have seen a remarkable resurgence of late. A new exhibition, Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, is now open at the Guggenheim New York (closing on January 6), meanwhile another New York gallery, Luxembourg & Dayan is currently exhibiting Alberto Burri: Grafica. The artist's works at auction have also been subject to a recent rise as the graph from Artnet illustrates.