If you’re the type to stop and smell the roses you probably have some appreciation for the natural world. Unfortunately, in this age of technology, less and less people take time to connect with our natural surroundings, which makes the works we’re featuring here so important. The works of Jeff Koons, Ackroyd and Harvey, Binh Danh and Portia Munson all take plant-life and re-contextualize it; the viewer is faced with something familiar cast in a new light. In the cases of Koons and Ackroyd and Harvey, the scale of their works looms over the viewer to remind them that the nature of all things are continually evolving, even that of human civilization. With Portia Munson’s Garden installations, we literally walk into a new world that is groomed yet overgrown, familiar yet psychedelic. Binh Danh’s plant-based portraits balance the fragile surface of the leaves with the powerful imagery of the victims of the 1970’s Cambodian unrest. Though the works are largely different, one thing binds them together, the power of nature to communicate a feeling and a message without words.
Erik Parker was preparing for two solo shows, one in LA, and one in Fort Worth, when I visited his studio in Brooklyn. Parker is known for making large scale paintings that are as comfortable with their roots as they are disorienting with their forms and spaces. First you get a hug, and then a slap. He said he wanted his paintings to still look good 40 years from now. By reorienting Modernist and Pop sensibilities, and then almost using contrapposto to create a balanced but expressive distortion, Parker was remixing some old school classics — like flower still-lives– into something fresh. His LA show is at Honor Fraser and opens on October 30th, and the Fort Worth show is at the Fort Worth Modern and opens on December 5th, and is curated by Andrea Karnes.
In his third solo show at Team Gallery in New York, Ryan McGinley continues his exploration of youth. Known for capturing spectacular and adventuresome moments, McGinley shifts his focus in “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” to stark, intimate portraits. Photographed in his New York studio over 2 years, the hand-picked subjects are shown bare in black and white portraits.
In their book Waska Tatay, French photographer Thomas Rousset and graphic designer Raphael Verona document the cryptic reality of Bolivian witchcraft. During their trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Rousset and Verona encountered the magical world of shamanism, spiritual healers and ancient mythology. Their book exposes the collision between old and new, mystical and mundane, spiritual and physical.
The ambivalence of Waska Tatay begins from a first glance. Book’s abstract cover of fading yellows and blues is contrasting with the actual matter. The clash continues throughout Rousset and Verona’s style of photography, which is tossing between reportage and staged portraiture. Finally, the grotesque ambiguity reaches its top when the subjects in all their ritual garments are photographed in their mundane surroundings. This incoherence between content and form exposes the viewer to the grim reality of tradition in today’s world.
“We decided to mix two languages: one very staged and those that are very snapshot. We mixed a lot to create ambiguity for the reader, in knowing what’s real and what’s fiction.”
Rousset and Verona claims to have tried to zoom the old fashioned world into today’s reality. The picture of a Bolivian girl standing in a tree is an iconic example of their idea: “You could see that the girl is a witch, trying to talk with divinities or evils but her voice to God is replaced by a cell phone,” says Verona. According to the photographers, what they witnessed in Bolivia was a sense of magical realism which they wanted to broadcast to the viewer. The book Waska Tatay is available on IDPURE. (via Wired)
The most daring piece of public art ever commissioned in the UK, Turning the Place Over is artist Richard Wilson’s most radical intervention into architecture to date, turning a building in Liverpool’s city centre literally inside out. It runs in daylight hours, triggered by a light sensor. The piece consists of an 8 metres diameter ovoid cut from the façade of a building in Liverpool city centre and made to oscillate in three dimensions, resting on a giant rotator usually used in the shipping and nuclear industries, it cts as a huge opening and closing ‘window’, offering recurrent glimpses of the interior during its constant cycle during daylight hours. Amazing!
Alex Valentine is an artist, DJ, teacher, all around awesome guy, and a master of the offset printing medium. Offset printing is a traditionally commercial process somewhere in between digital printing and lithography that uses ink on rubber blankets to transfer images to paper, and is how magazines, cereal boxes, and Red Stripe bottles are produced. Using this process, Valentine creates layered, painterly abstractions that are intuitive and crisp, showcasing his command of color, form and transparency. His recent solo show at Devening Projects + Exhibitions in Chicago, ‘Blonder Tongue Audio Baton,’ borrowed its title from a 1950’s analog graphic equalizer and the title of a Swirlies album. And it makes sense: there’s something about Valentine’s work that indicates a stringent belief in the analog, recalling early 90s record cover design.
A simple piece of software got us through the dark ages of computing before the Internet allowed us to waste company time more effectively. Now you can reconnect with this old friend on the other side of the computer screen. Solitaire.exe is a physical pixel-for-pixel recreation of the massively popular computer card game included in the Windows 98 operating system.
Created by Evan Roth (co-founder of Graffiti Research Lab) this signed and numbered edition of 500 decks was created exclusively for The Cooper-Hewitt. These official Bicycle® Playing Cards are printed on linen by The United States Playing Card Company. Unfortunately they are already sold out but I’m sure they will eventually show up on eBay. (via)