Sunday, August 21, 2011

and now for a little artist on artist action

best tribute to east end culture: 
 Artists Choose Artists

new works by Perry Burns in background...revelers in foreground
scenes from an opera...Mary Ellen Bartley and Ross Bleckner
Alice Aycock
among the crowds...Susan Lazarus-Reiman, Alice Aycock, Dan Rizzie
Alice Hope, bbs and magnets
Liliya Lifanova, another kind of engagement
bravo to all.

New York...just like I pictured it:

nothing says summer like art in public places. here's a sampler of a few offerings around town.

the highline: 
Robert Adams at The Highline, Nebraska, circa 1978; billboard selections made by Joel Sternfeld

Sarah Sze's birdhouses -- perfection for the urban bird
Spencer Finch, River That Flows Both Ways -- every color at nearly every time of day -- the Hudson River, photo by David B. Smith
madison park:

Juame Plensa, Echo...such tranquility...there's something truly mystical about this work.
city hall park:
Sol Lewitt, Splotch 15, one of 15 sculptures on view at City Hall Park
i love new york.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Architecture of a Bomb at Silas Marder

A little mayhem is good for the soul, particularly if you're the one creating it. Witness the upper bunk at Silas Marder Gallery where sculptors Michael Rosch and Ben Butler have assembled/disassembled miles of tubes, fencing, right angles, signage and bits of detritus into a heaving Tower of Babel in a collaborative work titled, Architecture of a Bomb.

The artists were invited to participate in a thematic exhibition based on architecture. The perimeters: they could use whatever they could carry from the back lot of Marder's -- perhaps the East End's most majestic garden center -- undoubtedly a feast of earth-moving, landscaping and tree-hugging paraphernalia. The only rule: no nails in the floors or walls. Oh, and did I mention...they had 3 days from conception to opening night.

Within this architectural rubric, Rosch felt the Tower of Babel would provide a useful metaphor. Since they couldn't use nails he commenced to wedging and weaving found elements into one another until they started to form a tangled citadel. The results: a vision of total bedlam -- harnessed -- like a tornado in a glass jar. It feels (and it is so physical that it absolutely provokes particular "feelings") as if any second it could let loose an apocalyptic belch of the highest order. The interior of Marder's barn is like a gigantic beehive, lending another layer of order vs. cacophony to the site.

I like my chaos with a side of sublime, and here Rosch deftly slips in a little Zen with a straight back chair hovering in the corner where it stands like a Buddha balanced on the head of a pin. It is an effective point/counterpoint to the tower -- a sort of intellectual martial arts move that perfectly torques this environment. Not an antidote for chaos, but perhaps its inverse or a sibling from another branch of the same family.

Butler's zig-zagging ramp, made from leftover pallets, is one part Temple Grandin and one part dazzle camouflage -- a dizzying linear abstraction that acts as a nave or the beginning of a corn maze.

Above it all, a model fighter jet seems to soar too close to the sun. The installation, it turned out, was completed at the exact moment (Japan time) of the 66th Anniversary of Hiroshima. An apt and exhilarating metaphor for destruction and resurrection, Architecture of a Bomb is on view through October.  


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Love letter found in back room

 inspired by
Ted Gahl, Last Love  

The Idea of the Thing That Isn't,  
curated by Rachel Uffner 
v. cool show in the front room 
now through September 4  

Ted Gahl, Last Love

broken surface
Sonia Delaunay, L Prose du Transsiberien et de la Petite Jehanne de France, 1913

broken glass jello, courtesy the food librarian
Gee's Bend Quilts, Mary L. Bennett, Housetop, 1965
Valeska Soares, courtesy Eleven Rivington
Mike Kelley, Test Room, 2001, courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Saturday, August 6, 2011

best use of plastic bags

Josh Blackwell rethinks painting, plastic and debris at the Riverside Art Museum, California courtesy of designboom:

'blue stripe plastic basket' by josh blackwell
images courtesy of josh blackwell

the riverside art museum
in california presents work by new york based artist josh blackwell, in an exhibition shared with roger white
and curated by james bae. exploring the imaginative possibilities of detritus, this installation features the artist's 'plastic baskets' series,
in which plastic bags are salvaged, embroidered with yarn, and thus repurposed into artworks. a topic which blackwell has investigated
since the mid-2000s, the conversion of these disposable items into art objects questions the nature of waste and necessity, as well as
what differentiates low from high culture.

blackwell explains:

'ostensibly useless, plastic bags are the second most common form of litter in the world after cigarette butts.
I began collecting
semi-degraded plastic bags from kitchen cupboards and city streets about six years ago. the bags are sewn shut with yarn, deliberately
thwarting their function.
the protean shapes suggest faces, animals, or clothing. their textured, worn, or melted surfaces wear the remains
of physical activity like dirty laundry left on the floor. the bags attempt to redress their impoverished status with the addition of colorful
embroidery in geometric patterns.'

this presentation of blackwell's work is particularly timely, given that on july 1, 2011, supervisors of los angeles banned plastic bags

in unincorporated areas of the county due to their detrimental effects on the environment.

thank you designboom! Love this work.