At the gym this morning a commercial actually caught my eye, believe it or not. It’s for the Amazon Kindle and it features an adorable guy and really cool stop motion animation that enacts book plots. I’m not crazy about the too-cutesy song, but think it looks fantastic. What do you think?
The work of Brooklyn-based artist Jason Peters—on view through April 11 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art— doesn’t break new art historical ground. But the pure pleasure it elicits compensates for that. His large-scale sculptures that mix geometric and organic forms are on trend with many of today’s artists who transform everyday objects to reveal beauty in the mundane, such as Tara Donovan, Tom Friedman and Damian Ortega.
The first section of the two-room exhibition consists of a combination of drawings, paper cutouts and three large hanging sculptures built primarily out of buckets, chair frames and fluorescent tubes. Although the smallest and least flashy, the cutouts (Image 2) are compelling in how they relate to the sculpture. Shifting the focus from the outer curves of the sculpture to its hidden voids, the cutouts emphasize Peters’ interest in the play between positive and negative space.
The real showstopper is saved for last— I Am All Ways In One (Image 1), a snakelike form of hundreds of buckets screwed together in a cave-dark room, except for a buttery glow emanating from the sculpture. Due to strategically placed mirrors, it is impossible to tell the size of the room or how many buckets are used in the installation. The end result is a wonderfully immersive and disorienting experience.
While much of Peters’ work may look familiar, finding something original becomes irrelevant when experiencing the pleasant confusion his work achieves.
I first learned about Eva Zeisel at Pratt- she created the Pratt’s department of ceramic arts/industrial design and taught there for over twenty years.
Eva is originally from Budapest but ended up in New York under the craziest of circumstances. In 1936 she was thrown in jail for allegedly plotting to kill Stalin.
She was imprisoned for 16 months, most of the time in solitary confinement. She was subjected to brainwashing, torture, and the constant possibility that each day would be her last.
She was eventually released with no explanation from the authorities and was put on a train to Austria. Immediately after arriving in Austria, she boarded another train to England, married her boyfriend Hans Zeisel, and left with him for New York- where she’s been designing ever since. Eva is now 103 years old and still making beautiful, expressive objects.
Carol Vogel‘s recent article in the New York Times The New Guard of Curators Steps Up got me thinking…well, fretting mostly. Focusing on four curators in their 30s, Vogel posits that young curators are critical in attracting young audiences. Case in point: the Tim Burton retrospective at MoMA (see image above). Conceived by 37-year-old curator Rajendra Roy, the exhibition is attracting people in their 30s, a whole decade younger than the typical MoMA visitor.
Vogel makes what on the surface appears to be a perfectly harmless argument. But (not to be overly dramatic about it) it’s sort of a dangerous one too. This is embarrassing to admit, but I can’t help but wonder if the museum world is being tainted by America’s obsession with youth.
Even though I happen to fit the desirable demographic described, I know that won’t always be the case. To me, this is more about psychographics than demographics. Will these wunderkind curators cease doing compelling work post their 40th birthday? I don’t think so. Interested, interesting people will always appeal to the next generation. In fact, it is precisely their experience that allows them to do more exciting work than their younger, greener colleagues.
I'm even more convinced of this after seeing the Burton show this past weekend. While I'm greatly impressed with Roy's vision, the show would have been better executed by someone with more curatorial experience who would not have made the mistake of jam- packing too many artworks into too small of a space. The delicate balance between creating a mind-blowing experience for visitors, while at the same time exercising curatorial restraint, is probably one of those things that can only be learned after a lot of trial and error, a.k.a. experience.
We often think of design in terms of the shoes we wear, the vehicles we drive, and the chairs in which we sit. On a daily basis we're reminded of the (good and bad) design of objects, but what about the design of information? Designers of information, otherwise known as information architects or visual journalists, have the complex task of conveying huge amounts of data in an easy-to-understand, visual way.
The unsung graphic design heroes of the New York Times Communications department are to thank for the captivating visuals above. Instead of reading a boring article that breaks down the results of the last presidential election county-by-county, you can study one of their stunning visuals. I’m a sucker for these maps, charts and diagrams because I can very quickly get a big picture sense of a topic in one quick look. To me, these images are as creative and aesthetically pleasing as any painting or drawing in a museum.
If you’re the kind of guy that can justify spending a benjamin or two on a pair of sneakers, then I highly recommend Common Projects new spring line. The styles are minimal, classic, and definitely not boring. Most notably, each shoe is embossed with its own stamp on the heel representing the shoe’s individual serial number, color, and size.
Just the other day at a collector’s home in Tulsa I saw a delightful painting called Apple Pie by Dutch artist Tjalf Sparnaay. I’m going through a phase right now where I’m really into contemporary realism so you may be seeing a lot of posts about that in the future. It’s fascinating to me that in today’s tech savvy world an artist would slave for months, sometimes even years, on a painting of an object that a digital camera could capture in five seconds. The degree of technical prowess required of these contemporary realist painters is astounding. No need for any sort of story or concept behind these paintings for me, I enjoy Sparnaay’s work simply for its sweet subject matter and technical virtuosity.
This Brooklyn apartment was featured in Thursday’s Times, and there are two main reasons why I like it. One reason has to do with the window treatments. They’re made with plumbing pipe and panels of burlap. It’s very inexpensive, but also very impactful. I love the quality of light it creates.
The second reason I like it is because it's a multi-use space. In any New York living situation, it’s essential to get creative in maximizing space, so I applaud the fact that this room works perfectly well as both a dining room and home office. I can picture myself hosting a dinner party or sitting around drinking coffee while perusing through my emails.
William Wegman makes me very happy. I got a postcard of this photograph called Hand Some at the Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia last year and I continue to look at it every day. It's pretty much impossible not to smile when taking in his sturdy little legs, dome head and flabby belly.
Last night I watched Martin Scorsese’s mob movie Goodfellas and was blown away by the gritty realism and exceptional dialogue and acting. I also couldn’t help but notice this painting of a boxing match by George Bellows (1882-1925) in the background of one of the restaurant scenes. Part of the Ashcan school of painters who preferred to depict prostitutes, drunks and tenements over pretty pastoral scenes, Bellows is a fitting choice for the movie.
I went to check out the Rodarte exhibition at Cooper Hewitt last week and was a little disappointed I trekked all the way up to 91st street for such an incomplete show. My beef was that it only skimmed the surface of the work and illuminated nothing about their process in exploring the theme of destruction and decay.
In all fairness, the show was not intended to delve deep- it was meant to give a quick glimpse of their current work. But in thinking about it now, I’m happy I traipsed across the city to see it. It’s occurred to me that their work reminds me quite a bit of the work of Kara Mann- a discovery I would not have made had I not blogged about Kara and visited the exhibition in the same week.
Ok, so Sarah’s last post inspired me to post my favorite clip from Pirates of
There’s a new play I want to see in NYC called A Behanding in Spokane. It’s by Martin McDonagh who I remember from the insanely-good play The Pillowman at Steppenwolf in Chicago. It stars Christopher Walken, Anthony Mackie from The Hurt Locker, Zoe Kazan from It’s Complicated, and most exciting of all—Sam Rockwell. I’ve had a huge crush on Sam ever since I saw Moon. He is absolutely adorable in this screen test for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
Today I wanted to post an interior by Kara Mann to remind myself how I want my work to look one day. I love the combination of distressed leather chairs with the shiny gold coffee table and long fringed sofa. These “risky” combinations are grounded by the traditional panel detailing on the wall and the overall symmetry of the furniture plan.
Since it’s cold out, I thought I would pay tribute to my favorite material—felt. It has been around since ancient times and is made simply by matting together wool fibers with humidity and friction, requiring very little technological expertise. It is truly the most amazing material because it is so darn versatile and can run the gamut in look and feel from soft and ephemeral to hard and tough. Take these two examples here from an exhibition at Cooper Hewitt last year called Fashioning Felt. After seeing this show, I have a whole new appreciation for crazy Joseph Beuys and his Felt Suit.