Thursday, August 18, 2011

John Waters, Guest Curator at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis -

John Waters, the Artful Dodger

“I ALWAYS think of art as animate objects with their own little lives and personalities,” said John Waters, the filmmaker known for ignoring the boundaries of good taste and bad in movies like “Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray.” “I’m curious about who can live with each other.”
Stephen Maturen for The New York Times
John Waters curated “Absentee Landlord” at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. More Photos »


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Stephen Maturen for The New York Times
A work by Wolfgang Tillmans, left, and “Shoestring Potatoes Spilling From a Bag” by Claes Oldenburg. More Photos »
Mr. Waters, also an actor, writer, artist and art collector, is now a museum curator as well. Invited by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to plumb its storerooms and make additions to and subtractions from an existing show of works from its collection, Mr. Waters — in his role as“Absentee Landlord,” as he named his installation, which opened this month — selected what he considered to be uneasy roommates. “I want to clean house, reward troublemakers and invite crashers,” he wrote in an introductory wall panel that raises unusual curatorial questions. Who’d be sloppier to live with than Mike Kelley? Who’d copy from Richard Prince, the infamous appropriator? Would Fischli/Weiss and Roman Signer fight over who’s more droll? More Swiss? And if all these artists had to live together, would Carl Andre, the austere Minimalist, ever lighten up?
“It really does feel like John’s standing there speaking to you,” said Betsy Carpenter, curator of the permanent collection at the Walker, of the highly idiosyncratic text. The curatorial staff had originally envisioned that Mr. Waters would do a kind of “intervention” to keep the collection galleries lively. But he became so swept up in the project that, with the Walker’s blessing, he almost completely overhauled the existing show. He brought in outside loans of artists he collects, including Lee Lozano, Paul Lee and Jess von der Ahe, as well as some of his own conceptual pieces for comic relief. And he tweaked the entire museumgoing experience with additional manipulations of the parking lot, cafe, admissions badges and audio tour.
“Right out of the gate he’s asking visitors not to walk through the show with a hyper-serious or intellectual mind-set that they might go into another show with,” Ms. Carpenter said. “The history of art is still being told through these objects, but there is this edge of irony and humor.”
At the start of the show a black-curtained doorway emitting muffled audio will have experienced museumgoers walking directly into a wall if they try to enter. Mr. Waters has planted his own Faux Video Room almost as a decoy next to an actual curtained video room screening surreal footage by Superflex, the Danish artists collective, of a waterlogged McDonald’s. “To see McDonald’s flooded slowly, there’s a kind of beauty in that destruction,” Mr. Waters said of the piece, which he borrowed from the group’s New York gallery. “You see it now in a completely different way. That’s what art is: a magic trick.”
Nearby roommates include Richard Prince’s rephotographed ads of model living rooms, which Mr. Waters finds “incredibly creepy”; a remnant of “hideous wall-to-wall carpeting” mounted and painted by Mike Kelley as a monument to Minimalism; and John Currin’s painting of a couple on a date, the woman with an elongated Mannerist-style neck and laughing manically. “That painting is everything the show is about,” Mr. Waters said during an interview in his New York apartment. “It’s making fun and loving art history. Is this beautiful or hideous? It’s both to me.”
While he hopes that people will like the show, Mr. Waters, who is 65, said he knows he’s choosing work that can be polarizing. He’s been hooked on the power of contemporary art to infuriate people ever since at the age of 8 in the Baltimore Museum gift shop he bought a Miró print that his friends pronounced disgusting and stupid.
In the Walker show he has included some sacred cows, like Willem de Kooning, as a reminder that they weren’t always accepted. “Who’s going to have the nerve to say anything bad about him now?” said Mr. Waters. “You have to keep him in there to remember that people did.” He has paired a depiction of a furious woman by de Kooning, the ultramasculine Abstract Expressionist, with Ms. von der Ahe’s portrayal of an effeminate Ludwig II painted with her own menstrual blood. “I liked her work even without knowing what she painted with,” Mr. Waters said. “When you find out, you’re a little bit taken aback, but good for her, good idea.”
Another room looks as if it contains a cast of characters out of a Waters film. Photographs include Cameron Jamie’s shots of women in bikinis wrestling; and personifications of sausages in meat-related environments by Fischli/Weiss, Mr. Waters’s favorite team of artists; and Karlheinz Weinberger’s big-haired rebel youth pictures from the early ’60s. “They’re from Switzerland?” Mr. Waters deadpanned, observing Weinberger’s subjects. “These people look like Baltimore.” He’s hung his own photograph of a flower, with a barrier line on the floor, which in museum code means don’t get too close. If viewers do cross the line, it triggers the flower to squirt them in the face with water like a clown with a gag lapel flower.
“I am serious about my appreciation for art, dead serious, but I find amusing certain things about the art world that I think should be addressed,” said Mr. Waters, whose own art is represented by the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York and who was one of five jurors this month at the international art exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Other treats planted around the museum include the John Waters Blue Plate Special, which can be ordered in the cafe — hungry visitors are served not food but a limited-edition photograph of meat gristle, sprouting potato eyes and the cutoff ends of vegetables — and an audio tour of the exhibition spoken by Mr. Waters in pig Latin. “I know people get really upset by impenetrable art-speak, and I wanted to comment on that.”
Mr. Waters compared his stint as guest curator to making his own mixtape and said it was of a piece with his other work. “Ever since I started collecting art in the late 1980s, it’s become another way I tell stories,” he said. “I make movies, but I couldn’t get a movie made right now with the economy, so I wrote a book,” he continued, referring to “Role Models,” his 2010 memoir. “In my book I wrote about art. I made the film ‘Pecker’ in 1998, which is about the contemporary art world — I think a loving picture of it. It’s all one career. I’m telling stories.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

good weather exhibition by sarah illenberger

© meloncholie, 2010 by sarah illenberger. fine art print, 40 x 60 cm, ed. of 50. courtesy of gestalten.

sarah illenberger
: 'good weather' exhibition
at: gestalten space, berlin
from: 18 august — 11 september, 2011
(opening: august 18, 18:00 – 21:00)

to coincide with the launch of the the artist's first monograph gestalten space will show a large selection of work by berlin-based visual artist sarah illenberger.

© chili con carne, 2008 by sarah illenberger for enroute magazine. fine art print, 70 x 84 cm, ed. of 25. courtesy of gestalten.

following text from gestalten

good weather also presents many of the original crafted objects composed from combining an array of materials such as paper, textile, and stones to mundane everyday items from fruits and rubber bands to car tires.

meticulously created with analog handicraft instead of using a computer, sarah illenberger’s richly-detailed work opens up new perspectives on seemingly familiar, iconographically-charged
forms and content. she expertly avoids imbuing her materials and subjects with artificial significance or forcing a meaning upon them. instead, illenberger’s penetrating creative eye reveals their true
essence—one that has usually remained hidden just under the surface from our fleeting and routine everyday glances.

© soft brain, 2009 by sarah illenberger for sz-magazin. fine art print, 20 x 26 cm, ed. of 25. courtesy of gestalten.

sarah illenberger’s visual language is extremely effective at translating content, data, and ideas into vivid, often humorous images. whether big or small, abstract or complex, the subjects and
problems of our times are pointedly depicted by this renowned illustrator and designer in concise visual forms. the conceptual strength, descriptive intensity, and spatial finesse of her style make her
work particularly attractive for international magazines that are looking for a catchy and entertaining way to illustrate their articles.

© totem, 2011 by sarah illenberger for rubbersoul/goodyear. courtesy of gestalten.

the exhibition coincides with the release of her eponymous first monograph, entitled sarah illenberger.
in addition to commissioned designs for editorial and commercial clients, such as vanity fair, süddeutsche zeitung, wallpaper, and nike, it also includes a selection of current personal projects.
the book will see its exclusive international pre-release at gestalten space before it hits bookshops in september.

front cover of the sarah illenberger monography published by gestalten, 2011

sarah illenberger was born in 1976 in munich. after studying graphic design at london’s central saint martins, she launched the jewelry label sarah & patrick design in 2001, together with designer patrick muff.
since 2003, the award-winning artist has worked as a freelance illustrator, art director and set designer, and runs her own studio in berlin-mitte since 2007.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

levitation self portraits by hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

elevating the art of self-portraits to a new level - literally - tokyo-based photographer hayashi natsumi's work consists of the artist seemingly floating in midair within conventional settings in and around the japanese city. entitled 'today's levitation', the series is updated daily with new photographs set in a variety of locations from a desolate street to a busy train platform.

using the aid of a simple tripod, the self-portraits are taken with a 10-second timer from a distance. all the poses are captured in mid-jump with no aid of a rigging system or photoshop. impossibly relaxed and composed, the floating subject injects a surreal atmosphere to the often normal set, rendering an image devoid of gravity or physics.   

to see many more images from the series, click here to natsumi's daily blog.

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

image © hayashi natsumi

via designboom 

gulp - world's largest stop motion animation

'gulp' by aardman
all images courtesy aardman

'gulp', a short film created by sumo science at aardman, has broken a world record for the 'largest stop-motion animation'. completely shot using a 12-megapixel cellphone camera on a nokia N8, the project was set on 11,000 m2 of sand on south wales' pendine beach. props include a full-scale boat and a rain-jacket clad actor to tell a harrowing episode of a fisherman's time at sea.

the short involved a large team that raked and smoothed out patterns on the sand to create a seascape--and the inside of a whale's belly--when viewed from above. shot from a large crane overhead, the images were then compiled to run at 25 frames per second to create the stop-motion effect.

make sure to check out the making-up film embedded at the bottom of the page.

camera set up

nokia N8

the team

props used

making of

via WIRED 
via designboom 

wastelandscape by elise morin & clémence eliard

'wastelandscape', an installation by elise morin and clémence eliard

created by french artist elise morin and architect clémence eliard, 'wastelandscape' overtakes the 'halle d'aubervilliers' of paris's centquatre with an undulating landscape composed of 65,000 old CDs, sorted and hand-sewn together into a 500-square meter surface. the piece is on exhibition at the centquatre now through september 10th.

in the artists' words:
'made of petroleum, this reflecting slick of CDs forms a still sea of metallic dunes; the artwork's monumental scale reveals the precious aspect of a small daily object.'

'wastelandscape' is planned for exhibition in multiple locations, transforming each time, before eventually being completely recycled into polycarbonate.

the 500-square meter artificial landscape utilizes 65,000 CDs

installation view

view from above 

closer view

detail view

video view of the exhibition and installation process
via designboom 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

paper shadowbox sculptures by christina lihan

'uffizi', a paper shadowbox sculpture by christina lihan

originally trained as an architect, US-based artist christina lihan creates elaborate paper relief sculptures, mounted in shadowboxes and ranging from two to six inches deep. as subjects she has taken buildings ranging from the eiffel tower and taj mahal to private residences and american cities.

all carefully assembled in detailed layers, the artworks are composed of unpainted, 300lb. coldpress watercolour paper.
lihan begins her work by photographing and sketching the site, generally creating scaled charcoal drawings that she then enlarges to the planned size of the finished piece. she lays out the buildings directly over these sketched forms, and cutting out details in place and ultimately assembling all the components into the finished composition.
all carving, scoring, cutting, and folding is completed by hand, and lihan admits that, basing her work primarily on its aesthetic effect rather than on mathematical measurement, she frequently resizes the pieces over the course of production to achieve the most accurate perspective.

detail view, 'uffizi'

'taj mahal'

closer view, 'taj mahal'

detail view, 'taj mahal'

'george washington bridge'

'south beach condominium'

'place des vosges'



closer view, 'palladio'

'eiffel tower'

detail view of base of 'eiffel tower'

to create the sculptures, lihan overlays paperwork over full-scale sketches of the architecture

process shot 

via designboom