Archive: 2010
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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Wall in New York covered with hundreds of red tags

Wall in New York covered with hundreds of red tags

Barry McGee - Mural on Houston and Bowery, New York, 2010
Barry McGee – Detail of mural on Houston and Bowery, New York, 2010
Photo Sabeth718

In August 2010 Barry McGee (aka Twist) and Josh Lazcano (aka Amaze) painted a mural on the iconic corner of Houston & Bowery in New York’s Lower East Side, covering the wall with hundreds of red tags, filling it up with the names and crews of different graffiti writers.

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Unpredictable paintings on walls inside of museums

Unpredictable paintings on walls inside of museums

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia, 2013

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia, 2013
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia, 2013

ADA, a kinetic sculpture by Karina Smigla-Bobinski, stands out for being interactive and unpredictable; Imagine a giant ball that is filled with helium gas and its surface covered with charcoal spikes. The helium causes the ball to be suspended in the air and the charcoal sticks provide grips and a medium with which to create art.

Through numerous exhibitions ADA is getting immense attention from visitors and the best part is, you do not have to be an artist yourself to enjoy the experience. Visitors get to push the ball which moves freely in space because it is not attached to anything and as the ball comes into contact with the surrounding walls, the charcoal sticks draw ambiguous lines on them. The result of what is drawn is never predictable and it is perhaps this feeling of suspense that keeps visitors coming back.

ADA is a transparent globe that resembles a molecular hybrid. The helium inside it and the hedgehog like surface give it an autonomous bounce from wall to wall. The ball is covered with 300 charcoal sticks with a spacing of 10 inches from one another. The technique behind it was developed by Smigla-Bobinski purposely for this art piece. Moving the ball to create patterns on the wall is interesting but what is even more enjoyable to do is to watch as people try to control the ball with their weight.

While the charcoal sticks come into contact with the white walls, every stroke is unique because of the direction in which the ball is thrust, the force applied, the level to which it is bent and the angle of contact with the wall. You will be frustrated if you approach this activity with intelligence so visitors are advised to just flow with the energy of the ball as their energy floats with it.

The artist Smigla-Bobisnki might never fully understand the therapeutic nature of what she had created but here is a canvas that was started by an expert and is being completed by anyone who has the interest and time to play with a floating ball of helium.

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010, The Lowry, Manchester, UK, 2015
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010, The Lowry, Manchester, UK, 2015

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia, 2013
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia, 2013

Karina Smigla-Bobinski - ADA, 2010
Karina Smigla-BobinskiADA, 2010

Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSjajlm3Bk0


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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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Dreamlike video work situated in 1930s Shanghai is both frighteningly beautiful and elegant (video)

Dreamlike video work situated in 1930s Shanghai is both frighteningly beautiful and elegant (video)

Yang Fudong - Fifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm - Still 4
Yang FudongFifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm

China’s most well-known cinematographer and photographer, Yang Fudong, was born in Beijing, China, in 1971. He is also regarded by many as one of the greatest film writers to come out of China, however his creativity spans far beyond that. Yang began training in painting at the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, and started working with film in the early 1990s. He now uses images to depict thought and experience, and he seeks to portray that anything is possible, including dreams and fantasies.

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You won’t find these tapestries in any church (NSFW)

You won’t find these tapestries in any church (NSFW)

Erin M Riley - Self Portrait 2, 72 x 48 inch, 2015

Erin M. RileySelf Portrait 2, 2015, Hand woven tapestry, hand dyed wool on a cotton warp, 182.9 x 121.9 cm

Is there a better reflection of a culture than the creatives living in it? From painters to photographers to poets, the voice of our moment is often told most aptly and timelessly through what they create. The same goes for Erin M. Riley. She has taken a look at both her own and the collective conscious of the individuals of today and laid what she sees for all to witness. 

She creates tapestries depicting occasionally controversial subject matter involving porn, guns and drugs. Her work has been featured in magazines and shown at numerous galleries both in her home country of the US as well as internationally.

Having just recently come across Erin’s work, I was full of questions- hard, silly and serious. I reached out to her in the end of 2015. This is the conversation that followed.

Phil America

Let’s start from the beginning. How did you first learn to start weaving?

I found weaving in college. I was interested in sewing and painting, and the fibers major was something that sat perfectly between those two. I could learn construction alongside fine art sensibilities. Weaving was a process I had no knowledge of and I connected instantly with it.

From there how did you progress into having a specific style?

I learned “tapestry” early on and was weaving abstract pieces while also making lots of paper collage work out of found and family photographs that used the silhouette a lot. These eventually led me to combining the two, making simple drawings that I translated into tapestry using a very limited color palette. This progressed and eventually I was using found and photographs I was taking for the work.

Marshall McLuhan famously said, “the medium is the message.” How does the medium you choose to work with inform the subtext of the image?

Weaving is just another way to arrange color on a 2 dimensional surface. I am an image maker. Think of me as a painter who uses yarn.

Erin M Riley - Alone Alone, 48 x 37 inch, 2014

Erin M. RileyAlone Alone, 2014, Hand woven tapestry, hand dyed wool on a cotton warp, 121.9 x 94 cm

Erin M Riley - Loot 5, 42 x 26 inch, 2012

Erin M. RileyLoot 5, 2012, Hand woven tapestry, hand dyed wool on a cotton warp, 106.7 x 66 cm

I know you told me before but how long does each piece take you, roughly, and do you ever get halfway done with a piece and scrap it?

I have only stopped two pieces, one because I had to move my loom and another because it was to small to get the detail I wanted. My work takes from a week to a month to weave, I work 12-14 hour days, every day and I also mix and dye my colors, plus all other prep.

I am really fascinated by how much work goes into each one. A lot of other artists do similar work to yours by designing it digitally. Can you explain
the process of creating one of your works?

There is either digitally woven work or work that is hired out. I work from images so I collect or take photos for an upcoming piece, blow it up to scale and start a line drawing that will be pinned behind the warp on the loom. I collect and prepare colors for the pieces and get everything ready to start weaving, after that its just a slow and steady process of weaving the image from the bottom up. Historically tapestry is woven side to side but I weave bottom to top.

Why do you choose using images of guns and porn rather than flowers or other imagery traditionally seen in tapestry?

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Gigantic breathing lotus flowers by Korean artist

Gigantic breathing lotus flowers by Korean artist

Choi Jeong Hwa - Perth International Art Festival - Moving Flower, 2012
Choi Jeong Hwa – Moving Flower, Perth International Art Festival, Australia, 2012

Korean artist and designer Choi Jeong Hwa is mostly known for his large lotus blossoms. With motorized fabric leaves opening and closing, simulating the movement of a live lotus flower, his sculptures are often installed in public space and create a link between the modern world and one of the most important cosmological symbols in Asia.

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