At the New Museum’s fourth triennial launched earlier last week in Manhattan, Songs for Sabotage, emerging artists were given a chance to address the entrenched power structures found in cities and our social superstructures. Thirty artists from nineteen countries put forth calls for public action and political engagement, across every medium. Attempting to reconcile art and politics is never a pretty process, and Songs for Sabotage puts that disparity front and center. The public views images of ruling class-based propaganda on a daily basis, whether they’re posters, movies, or public sculptures; the artists of Songs for Sabotage have presented their vision of an internationalist counter-narrative, using the same forms of media. The broad prompt has resulted in a show with art in a wide variety of styles and media on display. Daniela Ortiz has waded into the debate over polarizing historical monuments with replacement proposals for controversial statues, using ceramic sculptures that emphasize the place of native peoples in America’s history. Columbus (Colón) shows a beheaded version of the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle, while her other proposals depict oppressed peoples rising above their historical colonizers. Reinterpreting and tweaking the familiar sights of city dwellers is a common scene in Songs for Sabotage. Zhenya Machneva has woven industrial scenes and workshops into massive tapestries, softening these dangerous or harsh built places. Hong Kong-based artist Wong Ping has contributed Wong Ping’s Fables, a series of three videos where bipedal animals and living emoji reenact trivial day-to-day tasks, appended with a nonsensical moral, with each story drawing attention to the difficulties faced by the poor and powerless. The digital and sculptural works are only small pieces of a massive three-floor show, and every work takes the adage that "the medium is the message" to heart. Painting, industrial design, mixed-media pieces and architectural metalworks are abundant throughout, as are commentaries on colonialism and continued narratives of oppression perpetuated through mass media. Songs for Sabotage was curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, New Museum's Kraus Family Curator, and Alex Gartenfeld, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, with Francesca Altamura, Curatorial Assistant. The show will run from February 13, 2018, through May 27, 2018.
Posts tagged with "Urban Art":
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.
If all the world is a stage, according to Shakespeare, all the city is a kunsthalle in the eyes of the New York City Department of Transportation. Bogardus Plaza, a tiny pedestrian plaza carved out of a little-used block of Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan and named for architect James Bogardus, the inventor of the cast-iron building, just received a well-deserved facelift and has now been chosen to host a prototype art display case designed by Architecture Research Office (ARO). If the design looks familiar, that's because ARO designed their sleek new case to mirror the look and feel of the city's existing bus shelters, newsstands, and benches to create a cohesive streetscape. The stainless-steel-wrapped display features a unique angled edge that creates a playful optical illusion. The rectangular shape is chamfered at the base, meeting the sidewalk at a single, stationary point, standing in contrast to the plaza's moveable cafe chairs, tables, and potted plants. “We envision the display panel as a visitor to the plaza, a temporary and flexible element that moves culture out into New York City’s pedestrian spaces,” said ARO principal Adam Yarinsky in a statement. ARO's design was selected after NYCDOT challenged designers to rethink the museum display case as public furniture. The display case is on a month-long trial run to test for durability. If it holds up, a series of cases will be fabricated and installed throughout the city in the fall and a new rotating art program will be implemented. The initiative is part of NYCDOT's Urban Art Program that brings art in unexpected places throughout the city.