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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

Alexander McQueen was an incredibly accomplished British fashion designer/artist. He was known for his ability to juxtapose female strength and sensuality with fragility. His creations suggest ethereal fantasy images of Scottish heroines wandering moors or castle keeps. Inspired by women's dress depicted in Pre-Raphaelite paintings, he borrowed ideas and combined them with chain mail, armor, Tartan plaids and punk. McQueen brought silks together with Victorian tartan crinolines, bird-wings, antler-and-lace headdresses, feathers, and ancient pieces of brocade. His artistry, creative use of the unexpected and spectacular showmanship will be missed.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

James Turrell - New York times - 2011 Roden Crater to Open?

James Turrell is an artist from California who's main interest has been light and space. Roden crater is an extinct volcano at the edge of the Painted Desert, outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. Turrell purchased the land and crator in 1979 and has been transforming it ever since. Few have seen his progress. Will the monumental work of art finally open in 2011 as a recent New York Times article suggests?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Space, Comfort and Protection

Ernsto Neto is a well known Brazilian sculptor interested in art as it relates to the living organism, he creates installations some refer to as organic architecture. His materials are thin soft stretchable fabrics sometimes stuffed with scented spices. The pieces are meant to be smelled and touched by the viewer, making one an active, intimate participant in the work. Ernesto describes his installations as “a place of sensations, a place of exchange and continuity between people, a skin of existence and relationships.”

Joo Youn Paek is a student at NYU and an object maker. She is also interested in personal space and particularly human behavior in response to the environment. Her pillow wig allows one to sleep virtually anywhere at any time; the subway, airplane, library classroom or laundromat. She intends the work to be humorous and practical. She intends to combine art and activism while exploring the world around her.

Hizamakura in Janpanese literally means “knee-pillow.” The object is shaped like a woman’s lap. It is made out of a skin-like material and is wearing a skirt and underwear. This product is based on a Japanese tradition, young children lay their heads on their mother’s lap while having their ears cleaned. 耳掃除 (mimi souji) or “ear-cleaning.”  Apparently, some Japanese men still desire the feeling of lying with one’s head on the lap of a mother or girlfriend as they age. Although the Hizamakura is not intended as an object of art, it does address personal space, the desire for intimacy,comfort and sensation of touch.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Debra Baxter - A feminist statement?

Notes on Art

Wild Beasts and Color  - Fauvism
Neuroscientifically, Matisse’s paintings work like a black and white photograph. Although the photograph lacks color, our brains are able to recognize the depicted elements because our minds react to the unnaturalistic colors using one visual pathway. Even if we perceive the color as wrong, to other visual pathways that are solely monochromatic, the scene seems more right. This principle of discussing color in terms of right and wrong helps us to understand Matisse’s work. Even so, it is important to remember that Matisse never discusses his work in these terms. For him, it does not matter whether color is right, because color reflects his subjective inner vision. Therefore, color is always right to Matisse, since it responds to his artistic perception.
Excerpt  - Mona Hatoum

Read more of Hatoum's insightful writing.

Red Studio, Henri Matisse, 1911

Black and white photograph of an artist's studio, inspired by Matisse's painting.

Same photograph in color.

Kengo Kuma - Inflatable Architecture

This project by Kengo Kuma is a commission from the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt in 2008. Even though this is old news in 'web years' the idea of inflatable temporary buildings seems to be a timely post. With the current interest in manufactured housing I'm surprised there isn't more investigation into alternative structures that take advantage of new materials. Besides fulfilling the strictures of an enclosure for a tea ceremony Kuma's design is also beautiful and seductive.
by Tom Villa

From the Tenara website ( the company that supplied the fabric)
The creator of this work, Kengo Kuma, calls it "breathing architecture." When inflated, the Teahouse has in interior space of twenty square meters, enough room for a complete teahouse with tatami mats, electric stove, and preparation room.
The structure is made from a double layer of 40% light transmitting GORE™ TENARA® Architectural Fabric. Even with two layers of fabric, plenty of natural daylight filters through the walls. At night, integrated LED lights make the entire structure glow.
The ease of joining the GORE™ TENARA® Fabric with high-frequency radio frequency welding enabled this complex design to be quickly set up in one day, deflate in 10 minutes, demount in two hours. Assembled by Canobbio SPA. Thanks to the fabric's flexibility, the structure can be quickly deflated, folded, moved and re-inflated.

Burning Man Temple - John DeVenezia

The annual event now known as Burning Man began as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice in 1986 when a few friends met on Baker Beach in San Francisco. The small group burned a 9-foot wooden man as well as a smaller wooden dog. The inspiration for burning these effigies was a spontaneous act of "radical self-expression." Burning Man is now an annual event in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. The "burning man" in this case has been replaced by a burning temple built by John DeVenezia and his team.
Want the Burning Man experience? What will it cost you? 
$320.00 per person.

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