Archive: 2009
Uncontrollable destruction when artists flood McDonald’s

Uncontrollable destruction when artists flood McDonald’s

's, 2009, Paris, Ferme du Buisson
SuperflexFlooded McDonald’s, 2009, Paris, Ferme du Buisson, France

In this short film a life size replica of a McDonald’s burger bar gets flooded with water gradually. There are images of furniture being washed away in the water, food floating around the room, and electric appliances short circuit to a halt before space can no longer be seen below the water. While the production lacks the typical disaster drama, it does not fall under artistic film production or documentary. ‘Flooded McDonald’s’ is an insight into the role those big multinationals need to play in the face of disaster. First shown at a gallery in 2010 in South London, the film is the brain work of a group of Danish artists called Superflex.

The group built their idea from scratch; first singling out McDonald’s as the largest fast food restaurant in the world before they recreated a McDonald’s as it might have looked in the 1980s. Why the 80s? The group thought that an image of how an outlet looked like at the time would be most iconic. The function of water was not only meant to illustrate destruction but also to cause the various components within it to come to life. Creation of the film began in 2008 at a time when numerous post-apocalyptic scenarios were going on. The film no doubt focus on serious issues but viewers cannot help laughing at the lack of control of food as it gets washed away with the water.

Superflex has been doing similar projects since the group was constituted in 1993 with members Rasmus Nielsen, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, and Jacob Fenger. In all their projects, they aim to develop tools with which their audience can use to model their own circumstances. They have done projects on ‘Free Beer’, ‘Guaraná Power’ and installations and film. Most of their projects center on self-organization, democratic conditions, and economic forces. Since these are common issues in many parts of the world, Superflex and their projects have found international recognition. Some of the most spectacular exhibitions they have held in renowned venues are Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt am Main, REDCAT Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C.

Art must reflect real life and while McDonald’s might not suffer the catastrophe that is showcased in this film, the art work opens up the minds of people to destruction especially that which we can control.

https://vimeo.com/12508390
Video (excerpt) of SuperflexFlooded McDonald’s, 2009

https://vimeo.com/150651361
Video (interview) with Superflex about Flooded McDonald’s, 2009

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009
Superflex – Still of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009
Superflex – Still of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009
Superflex – Still of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009
Superflex – Still of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery in New York
Superflex – Installation view of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery, New York

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery in New York
Superflex – Installation view of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery, New York

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery in New York
Superflex – Installation view of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery, New York

Superflex - Still of Flooded McDonald's, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery in New York
Superflex – Installation view of Flooded McDonald’s, 2009, Peter Blum Gallery, New York


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Artist creates tiny house & paddles away in the ocean

Artist creates tiny house & paddles away in the ocean

Kacey Wong - Paddling Home, 2009 1
Kacey WongPaddling Home, 2009, wood, ceramic tiles, aluminum windows, stainless steel gate, pipes, plastic barrels, 278 x 220 x 290cm, Hong Kong

Kacey Wong has a knack for creating art which investigates the space between people and their surrounding environment. Paddling Home, which was performed on the Hong Kong Victoria Harbor, was a star feature in the Hong Kong contemporary art scene. The project features deep architectural elements, which clearly show in the design. The project also features various functional and commercial aspects. The result of the Paddling Home house was the creation of artwork unbounded by business values or functionality, which allowed it to represent the philosophies of Kacey Wong.

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McDonald’s did not pay for this mural

McDonald’s did not pay for this mural

Brad Downey - I’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany 5
Brad DowneyI’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany

Brad Downey has consolidated a reputation for himself in the street art community as an artist who has a flair for navigating gray areas in the society. His work in public is an expert combination of culture and sensationalism, which are both presented and partnered with media friendly and pop culture acceptable imagery.

Case in point, Brad Downey’s McDonald’s mural proves that art is made up of more than the audience’s understanding of subject or object included in the art; it is an idea that lives, grows and mutates in the audience’s imagination. As a result of his unique perspective on art, the McDonalds’s mural received a lot of attention partly because it did not contain any humoristic slogans or any disruption by rats, as is common with other well-known street artists. The piece was also not intended to be a McDonald advertisement; this commercial mural was created ironically and was anticipated to serve as a radical and controversial piece for the urban art rebel.

Downey created the McDonald mural at a time when the University of Leuphana (where the mural was created), was undergoing a rebranding process. The branding strategy adopted by the university was intended to raise school fees, which made the students unhappy. In response to the rebranding, Downey created the mural to address the issue. Downey’s mural is the perfect example of how street art can help to manipulate the reality of the situation as a way of passing across a message and generating interest.

Downey selected the McDonalds logo, not because it had anything to do with the worldwide chain of restaurants, but because he wanted a logo that evoked power. According to Downey, any logo would have served the purpose, but McDonalds’ seemed to be a great fit. By using the well-known brand, audiences were forced to look beneath the surface to really get the message in the work. The McDonalds piece was received by the student body of the university well and even inspired some of the students to address the issue through various different mediums such as film.

Brad Downey - I’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany
Brad DowneyI’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany

Brad Downey - I’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany
Brad DowneyI’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany

Brad Downey - I’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany
Brad DowneyI’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany

Brad Downey - I’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany
Brad DowneyI’m Lovin It, 2009, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany


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This gigantic sculpture resembles Noah’s ark

This gigantic sculpture resembles Noah’s ark

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect 1, New Orleans, Photo Nicole J. Caruth
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans
Photo: Nicole J. Caruth

Asked to describe himself, Mark Bradford uses the words demolisher and builder in the same breadth and it is easy to see why. Using posters created for promoting merchant goods and services, flyers and general advertising materials, he takes pride in transforming anything he can lay his hands on, into large-scale art pieces. His specialty in the arts is sculpting but to arrive at a final piece that impresses him, he takes advantage of media such as film, photography, and collage. Mithra is one such creation made for the public in 2008 as part of the Prospect.1, the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the United States held in New Orleans. What was the inspiration? Hurricane Katrina.

Mithra, a gigantic sculpture that resembled Noah’s ark was placed at the center of Lower Ninth Ward in the city and this was to deliberately preach restoration that faced this epicenter of the storm.

New Orleans is a special place and especially in light of the terrible storm and so only an artist who had experience in relating to people in a way that made them feel important would drive the message of restoration home. Luckily, Bradford learned this trait early in life, first when he worked at a salon. When he was invited to create an art project for the people of New Orleans, he automatically knew the weight that the art piece he would create needed to bear, and was it heavy? While he purposed to use materials that he was familiar with, it took tons of materials. On the social aspect, he required for the project to create social impact. Three containers stacked one on top of the other was what it would take.

Original pictures of the sculpture show it as it stood in New Orleans in the parking lot of a local religious science church. This would later be dismantled, shipped in the Ninth Ward at a vacant space and reassembled to stand there. For all those who interact with this version of the work and especially those who are familiar with its biblical significance, it symbolizes a quest for salvation or futility. Any way you look at it, it is clear that those who fell victim to Hurricane Katrina need more than came their way in the form of support and government intervention.

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm 1
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm 2
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Mithra, 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm 3
Mark BradfordMithra, 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Mithra (detail), 2008, Plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm
Mark BradfordMithra (detail), 2008, plywood, shipping containers, steel, 2133.6 x 609.6 x 762 cm, installation view at Prospect.1, New Orleans

Mark Bradford - Detail, 2009–10 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm) Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts
Mark BradfordDetail, 2009–2010 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm, Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University

Mark Bradford - Detail, 2009–10 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm) Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts Photo- Sven Kahns
Mark BradfordDetail, 2009–2010 (parts of Mithra reassembled), plywood, found paper, adhesive, 498 x 549 x 914 cm, Installation view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University
Photo: Sven Kahns


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Artist mocks Koons highest priced work using garbage bags

Artist mocks Koons highest priced work using garbage bags

Gimhongsok - Canine Construction, 2009, bronze
GimhongsokCanine Construction, 2009, 164x231x90cm

This Canine Construction by South Korean artist, Gimhongsok is one that anyone would fall in love with, coupled with the enigmatic quality it has. This work is the sculpture of a dog remains one of the artist’s most well-known works in recent times. The creation involved using garbage bags, balloons, cardboard boxes, all assembled with expensive materials like resin.

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The power of laughter

The power of laughter

Yue Minjun - One of 14 A-maze-ing Laughter bronze sculptures in Morton Park, Vancouver, BC

Yue Minjun - Untitled, stainless steel sculpture, 95x197x143cm
Yue MinjunUntitled, stainless steel sculpture, 95x197x143cm

Yue Minjun was born in Daqing in Heilongjiang, China in 1962. For most of his life, Yue moved from place to place, because his family had to move from oilfield to oilfield to find work. Before starting to work as an electrician, he graduated from Hebei Normal University in 1989, where he studied oil painting. 1989 was the same year in which China was left shocked by the infamous student-led demonstrations and the suppression of such on Tiananmen Square. These movements played a large part in the inspiration and mood of Yue’s work. In order to fight the dark mood of the hour, the dark reality of the time, he created vibrant self-images embodying an almost mania; The laughing image.

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Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

 Jeremy Deller - It is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre,  Photos: Linda Nylind
Jeremy DellerIt is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
Photo: Linda Nylind

In the Imperial War Museum in London, surrounded by some of the most powerful military hardware of the last 100 years rests a rusting, crumpled car. This is a clear example of what war does. The car is a piece by Jeremy Deller, and was a car that was contorted in a street bombing that killed 38 people and wounded many more at Baghdad’s Al-Mutanabbi book market. Al-Mutanabbi book market was at the heart of the Baghdad’s cultural and intellectual life.

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