Posts tagged with "art":

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As Detroit Struggles With Bankruptcy, Auction House Appraises Prized Art Collection

Even as Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy reverberates among residents and onlookers alike, the city’s art scene shines on. Unfortunately for the Detroit Institute of Art, red ink may yet claim its city-owned collection. This week the museum confirmed Christie’s Appraisals had been hired to appraise a portion of the cultural institution’s holdings. But an appraisal is not a sale. The city’s art collection includes work by Rodin, Van Gogh, and Cézanne. The museum denied the possibility of a fire sale, saying in a statement:

We continue to believe there is no reason to value the collection as the Attorney General has made clear that the art is held in charitable trust and cannot be sold as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. We applaud the [Emergency Manager]’s focus on rebuilding the City, but would point out that he undercuts that core goal by jeopardizing Detroit's most important cultural institution.

Christie’s, too, deflected scrutiny of what many perceived as the beginning of the end for a proud collection of art. “We understand that a valuation of all the City’s assets (extending well beyond the art) is one of the many steps that will be necessary for the legal system to reach a conclusion about the best long term solution,” they said in a separate statement, adding their goal is to advise on "how to realize value for the City while leaving the art in the City’s ownership.” The auction house’s assessment doesn’t mean all or even any of the 60,000-piece collection will be sold or even leased (some are off-limits anyway if their original benefactor stipulated they can never be sold). Assessment would be the first step in a such a process, but it could also mean Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is just showing creditors that all options are on the table. Financial experts speculated to The Christian Science Monitor that sales of city land or infrastructure, such as its sewer system, could be better bets. Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy is the biggest by far in U.S. history, so Orr’s decisions—whatever they may be—are anyone's guess, and will doubtless be the subject of intense scrutiny.
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Giant Sea Creatures To Invade Chicago’s State Street

The Chicago Loop Alliance will wrap the Century Building at 202 S. State Street with a mural depicting a downtown overrun by giant sea creatures. “Float,” by St. Louis artist Noah MacMillan, calls to mind one of the many action movies in which outsized monsters have laid waste to the Loop in computer-generated battle royales of late. But these octopi and puffer fish appear to float along benignly. MacMillan’s surreal illustrations and designs have been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, the Washington Post and elsewhere. His 500-square-foot mural, which will be unveiled Tuesday July 16, was commissioned by building owners The General Services Administration, who asked MacMillan to ponder the relationship of citizens and their government. The 16-story building was designed by Holabird and Roche. Chicago Loop Alliance’s other recent programs include of the Pop-Up Art Loop, a year-long art gallery series, and The Gateway, a "people plaza" on State Street.
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Frank Gehry’s Ice Blocks Chilling Out Inside Chicago’s Inland Steel Building

Follow the Architecture Chicago Plus blog as Lynn Becker raises an eyebrow at the new sculpture that quietly popped up in the lobby of downtown Chicago’s celebrated Inland Steel Building. The 1957 SOM icon seems to have acquired a consortium of ice hunks, courtesy Frank Gehry. Ostensibly a formal counterpoint to the elegant energy of Richard Lippold’s Radiant I, the original lobby art, Gehry’s glass agglomeration (fabricated by the John Lewis Glass Studio of Oakland, California) frames Radiant I and responds to its angularity with carved blobs. It’s admittedly atypical in the setting of the modernist masterpiece, but doesn’t overpower the space or the original artwork.
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The Doors Project: Projecting Gateways onto Obstacles

In an ongoing endeavor to blend public art, architecture, and urbanism by artists Siyuan and Hwee Chong, The Doors Project subversively projects a series of doors onto public spaces in Singapore, reflecting the struggles of the urban poor and underprivileged. But while commenting on despair, the real message is one of faith, hope and empowerment. “We wanted to make a statement about life, and jolt people to think,” the artists said in an interview at Yolo. “Instead of following the light at the end of the tunnel, why not carry our own lights, and create our own doors! It’s really about rolling up our sleeves, and creating the opportunities we want for ourselves.” Inspired by true stories of people they’ve met—from a boy mastering kung fu to protect his mother from his abusive father to an Indian worker desperately raising money for his son’s surgery—the installation provokes the viewer to re-imagine boundaries as thresholds, opacity as reflection, and life’s roadblocks as opportunities. “These people, despite much hoping and praying, are faced with countless roadblocks that take them nowhere,” they said. According to Siyuan and Hwee Chong, people should take a giant leap of faith, work hard at what they believe in most, and open their own “doors” in life. “It’s just more meaningful that way.” Expect more public installations from Siyuan and Hwee Chong in the near future. “’Doors is meant to be an ongoing project. There’s no end date to it. For as long as we keep collecting stories of hope and despair, we’ll keep projecting people’s ‘doors’ onto roadblocks.” Read the full interview with the artists at Yolo or check out The Doors Project's website for more.  
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Storm Brews Over New Jersey Plan to Destroy Tacha Sculpture

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) debacle in New Jersey over a unilateral decision to destroy a sculpture by landscape artist Athena Tacha has begun to slip into the public consciousness. The irony that the plaza piece, titled Green Acres, is to be destroyed by a department with environment in its name has not been lost on many. Apparently, the DEP has a $1 million EPA grant burning a hole in its pocket and plans to replace the sculpture with eco-friendly pavers. The waste has not gone undetected. Philadelphia Inquirer critic Inga Saffron writes in today's column: "There is nothing wrong with the DEP's making its property more sustainable. But why start with the little plaza when its offices are surrounded by sprawling parking lots paved with the usual impervious asphalt?" Now it remains to be seen whether the agency will be impervious to its critics.
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A Spinning Piper Seneca Lands in Central Park

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's actually a plane. On the corner of 60th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, a six-seat, twin-engine Piper Seneca aircraft balances on two vertical steel posts positioned at the end of its wings, playfully rotating on its own axis and likely confusing visitors to Central Park. After doing a double take on the surreal scene, find a plaque located nearby and you'll learn that this mysterious aircraft is actually an installation by artist Paola Pivi, whose portfolio includes scenes of zebras on snowy mountaintops and arenas of screaming people. Working with the Public Art Fund, an organization dedicated to present artists’ work throughout New York City, Paola Pivi opened her newest installation featuring the Piper Seneca, How I Roll last Wednesday, June 20th. Like much of Paola Pivi's work, How I Roll challenges the onlookers to broaden their imagination and perceive something that's usually inconceivable in reality. Frozen in a continuous loop-the-loop at ground level, the aircraft dismisses its own identity as a flying machine, floating and spinning effortlessly on the edge of the park. By ignoring its own gargantuan weight and the context of flying high in the sky, plane becomes an object, a sculpture, perhaps finally linking industrial design and sculpture. Just take a look at it spinning in the video above, or, even better, get your own in-person dose of surrealism by visiting Pivi's How I Roll any time day or night through August 26th.
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On View> Repeat Offender Combines Architecture, Cardboard & Spray Paint

EVOL: Repeat Offender Jonathan LeVine Gallery 529 West 20th Street, 9th floor New York Through May 5 While his artwork might be hanging on the walls of a gallery in Chelsea, Berlin-based street artist Evol adds a distinct element of urban grit to his used-cardboard and spray-paint stencil works now on display as part of his Repeat Offender exhibition. The incredibly detailed views capture the abandonment of low-income German neighborhoods, using the texture of the cardboard base to enhance the paintings' architectural qualities. “Clean surfaces don’t speak to me, so recording these marks is a process of visually remembering the charm of a place that will soon be painted over,” Evol said in a statement. Besides his cardboard paintings, Evol is also showing paintings on metal and photographs on his 2009 installation from a slaughterhouse in Dresden, Germany. [h/t Colossal.]
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IESNYC Student Lighting Competition

  The 12th annual IESNYC Student Lighting Competition, “Fraction/Refraction”, was held Wednesday night at the appropriately well-lit Helen Mills Event Space in Chelsea.  The competition was open to all interested students in New York City and included entries from designers at Pratt Institute, Parsons/New School, Fashion Institute of Technology, Fordham, and New York School of Interior Design.  Over 100 entries created a luminous one-night exhibition of over 100 light-sourced objects, each with a different take on this year’s theme of  “how light plays with textures, flows through materials and creates layers of contrast.”   There were many different takes on the theme at different scales.  Some entries were more traditional light-emitting objects, others used multiple lights and materials to create layered effects, while some obscured the line between object and environment by projecting designs onto the walls of the gallery.  Many were interactive, and there were even some  architectural models, which doubled as lamps that night.  A keynote address came from Dietrich Neumann, author of Structure of Light: Richard Kelly and the Illumination of Modern Architecture, about Kelly’s work as "the first modern lighting designer" including his close collaborations with Philip Johnson and Mies Van Der Rohe.  Kelly even convinced Mies to use the white travertine in the Seagrams Building rather than dark green marble.   Grand Prize went to Pratt's Sejung Oh, whose project titled "Dal Beat" was inspired by Oh's pondering of the moon and how its light reflected off of water.  It was an interactive piece, inviting participants to hit the moon-like drumskin, sending vibrations through water which reflected the light into radial patterns. When asked what he was going to do next, Oh responded, "Im excited to go home and sleep. I didn't sleep last night."  Well, Sejung, it paid off.  The Grand Prize is $2,000 and a trip to Paris to visit L'atelier and La Machine.   Second Place was Ivre, by Sang Yoon-Lee also of Pratt. His well-constructed wine bottle projectors got the judges' attention with interactive cork screws which allowed users to play with the focus of light on the wall via lenses in the bottles.   In Third Place was Farnaz Hamedanchian, of New York School of Interior Design.  Her peaceful composition of natural elements used refracted light to make artful shadows on the wall behind them.  The simple, organic feel of the piece set it apart from most of the other projects which used an assortment of lighting technologies and synthetic materials.   An honorable mention went to Pratt's Andrew An and his "Quasar" project.  The simple setup utilized a directed light source in its base which was refracted through a suspended glass ball, making an animated projection on the ceiling.  The piece directly referenced Achille Castiglioni's Arco Lamp, and was one of many examples of projects that served as both object and environmental element, an interesting take on the theme of refraction.  
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Chutes and Ladders at the New Museum

The New Museum has been transformed into a real-life game of chutes and ladders, or perhaps a Fun Palace a la Cedric Price, for its new exhibition Carsten Höller: Experience that opened this week and is running through January 15, 2012. The centerpiece of the show is a spiraling stainless steel slide traversing the fourth through second floors and providing what certainly must be the most rapid vertical circulation in the entire city short of a plummeting elevator . We stopped by to check out the slide and, after signing our lives away on a waiver, took a couple rides ourselves. Carsten Höller, originally a scientist, is known for experimenting on others' perceptions of the world around them, and upon entering the New Museum and being confronted by a series of ten-foot-tall mushrooms lined up against the back wall, it was clear Experience would be unlike a typical museum visit. On the fourth floor, the sleek stainless steel of Höller's slide emerges from a concrete floor, offering no insight to where you might end up. Sandwiched between an unusually slow, mirrored carousel and a mobile made of bird cages (and singing live birds), the slide clearly steels the show. Once saddling up on a canvas sheet to speed your descent, the plunge down the rabbit hole only lasts a couple seconds. You don't notice others gawking at you through plastic windows as you fly through what the museum has likened to "a giant 102-foot-long pneumatic mailing system." The spiral deposits viewers on the second floor largely no worse for wear (but watch your elbows on that last turn!) and uncontrollably grinning, perhaps wondering if they had indeed just slid through three levels of an art museum. While many made a bee-line for the elevator back upstairs, we suggest taking the spiral staircase to beat the others back to the line.

Quick Clicks> Trip 0˚00, Thinking Gates, Growing Art, and Mapping Pollution

Walking the line. Watch artist Simon Faithfull travel both built and unbuilt environments along "the exact longitude of the Greenwich Meridian," using a GPS device in his documentary project "0˚00 Navigation."  Above is an excerpt through London, but you can also watch the whole thing here. (h/t Polis.) At the city gates. In this short article at the Sustainable Cities Collective, Chuck Wolfe muses over what a "city gate" would be in a modern city, contending that Google streetview is one form of a modern gate incarnation. Is a physical gate just an ornament of memories, or do we need the architectural drama only a physical threshold can provide? Art heals blight. As Elizabeth Currid-Halkett notes in the NY Times, art as a revitalization tool works, but not always. It takes more than just cheap rent and abandoned factory lofts to cultivate the next Soho. Take the case of Red Hook's art scene from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: art, given its mercurial nature, may be best left alone, like the somewhat-isolated Brooklyn neighborhood. A map for Captain Planet. SkyTruth, a nonprofit environmental monitoring group, recently launched a real-time, interactive alert system that digitally maps domestic pollution events, such as toxic spills and air & water pollution. More at the LA Times blog.  
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Highlight> Jorge Pardo at Armory Center for the Arts

Jorge Pardo Armory Center for the Arts 145 North Raymond Ave. Pasadena, California Through November 6 MacArthur-winner Jorge Pardo gained his reputation by blurring the boundaries between art, architecture, and design. In his temporary exhibit in the courtyard of the Armory Center, Pardo engages the surroundings, deploying four pepper trees to act as three-dimensional framing devices for groups of translucent hanging globes. What at first seems to be a festive environment becomes a contemplative one, as visitors sit on benches surrounding the base of the trees and take a closer look at the spheres. Each reveals an ethereal universe inside: delicate reflective materials sit protected from the surrounding activity, casting shimmering, changing light onto the world around them.  
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A Pictorial Description of Broadway in 1899

Last week, we came across illustrator James Gilliver Hancock's series of playful block elevations titled "All the Buildings in New York." It turns out this impulse to sketch block upon block of New York's architecture has been around for quite some time. In 1899, the Mail & Express newspaper company published a graphic journey down Manhattan's Broadway in a book called A Pictorial description of Broadway now archived at the New York Public Library. The stroll down Broadway 112 years ago reveals just how much New York has evolved over the past century. As the NYPL says, "The result, as you can see here, is a 19th century version of Google's Street View, allowing us to flip through the images block by block, passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers, glaziers, and other businesses of the city's past." Two of the most dramatic plates in the series show Times Square, above. Quite a striking difference to the neon canyon we know today. Below, you can see the lush Madison Square, also with significantly fewer high rises, and below that is a stunningly underdeveloped 59th Street showing vacant lots and buildings of only a few floors. Click on the thumbnails below to launch a gallery.