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Working oil pumps installed in Manhattan

Working oil pumps installed in Manhattan

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Josephine Meckseper - Manhattan Oil Project, 2012

In March 2012, two monumental kinetic sculptures, each about 7.5m tall, transformed a disused public space in Midtown Manhattan into an art piece by Josephine Meckseper. Though mirroring the forms and materials of the mid-century oil industry, the artist locates her work firmly inside the contemporary debate about American business, wealth and consumerism.

The Manhattan Oil Project is inspired by mid 20th century oil pumps the artist discovered in Electra, a boarded-up town once famous for being the pump jack capital of Texas. Each sculpture is fully motorized to simulate the motions of a working oil pump. Placed in a vacant lot next to Times Square, the black and red steel structures slowly creak in the ceaseless oscillations of phantom oil excavation. The pump jacks recall the ruins of ghost towns, forgotten monuments of America’s decaying industrial past.

This pairing of the pump jacks and the Times Square location merges a classic symbol of American oil production and wealth with the center of New York City commercial culture. The pumps are intended as ignition points for critical discussion engaged directly with modern life, as opposed to operating in the realm of disengaged abstract geometries. They evoke speculation about a functional reality and the notion of use value. I hope to draw parallels between the American industrial system, transitioning from a past of heavy industry, factories, and teamsters and the disembodied present of electronic mass-media, surface advertising, and consumerism – so clearly embodied in Times Square, explained Meckseper, The critical placement of the pumps is a conceptual gesture that raises questions about business and capital; land use and resources; wealth and decay; decadence and dependence.

Josephine Meckseper (b. 1964) has developed a practice which melds the aesthetic language of modernism with a profound critique of consumerism. Through her shop windows, vitrines, installations, photographs, films and magazine projects she draws a direct correlation to the way consumer culture defines and circumvents subjectivity and sublimates the key instruments of individual political agency. Her works have been included in international biennials such as the Whitney Biennial, the Second Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art and Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon. She has also had solo exhibitions at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Zürich, Switzerland), Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst (Münster, Germany) and a retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Her work was featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New Photography and at the Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Photos by James Ewing, courtesy of Art Production Fund

Josephine Meckseper - Manhattan Oil Project, 2012

Josephine Meckseper - Manhattan Oil Project, 2012

Josephine Meckseper - Manhattan Oil Project, 2012

Josephine Meckseper - Manhattan Oil Project, 2012

Josephine Meckseper - Manhattan Oil Project, 2012


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Public Delivery: Next project w/ Andre Hemer

Public Delivery: Next project w/ Andre Hemer

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Live at the Museum is Public Delivery’s next big project, done together with Andre Hemer. It is an international performance project and an on-going series of video works. So far it has been shot in various locations on four different continents.


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Filippo Minelli Silence: Lines

Filippo Minelli Silence: Lines

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Filippo Minelli - Silence: Lines, 2010 (Wall)
Filippo Minelli – Silence: Lines, 2010

Filippo Minelli - Silence: Lines, 2010 (Field)
Filippo Minelli – Silence: Lines, 2010

Filippo Minelli - Silence: Lines, 2009 (Snow)
Filippo Minelli – Silence: Lines, 2009

Filippo Minelli - Silence: Lines, 2009 (Poster)
Filippo Minelli – Silence: Lines, 2009

Filippo Minelli - Silence: Lines, 2009 (Factory outside)
Filippo Minelli – Silence: Lines, 2009

Silence: Lines is an on-going series of works by Filippo Minelli, and shares a similar idea like his smoke bomb photos. The line is a tool that is normally used in writing to say nothing. It represents silence and interacts with the urban and rural surrounding in a drastic way without changing it’s own nature. In Chinese culture the horizontal line represents the primordial breath, the separation between earth and sky and shows separation and unity at the same time, portraying the cycle that rules everything on the planet.

Photos above are taken in various locations around Europe in 2009-2011.

> see more Silence: Lines works on Public Delivery


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Others: Photos of empty billboards in Thailand – Sunghee Lee

Others: Photos of empty billboards in Thailand – Sunghee Lee

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Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (2)

Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (1)

Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (3)

Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (4)

Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (5)

Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (6)

Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (7)

Sunghee Lee - Panneaux (8)

Not much information can be found about Sunghee Lee, a French based photographer, and his work, but his empty billboard photos quickly remind of Bernd and Hilla Becher and their Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). However, he is using various angles and distances and usually contextualizes his objects with the surroundings and small events like a passing person or taxi.

> more works


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Others: David Brooks installs suburban rooftops sculptures in NYC

Others: David Brooks installs suburban rooftops sculptures in NYC

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Video

Photos

David Brooks - Desert Rooftops, 2011 - 1

David Brooks - Desert Rooftops, 2011 - 2

David Brooks - Desert Rooftops, 2011 - 3

David Brooks - Desert Rooftops, 2011 - 4

Desert Rooftops by David Brooks is a 5,000-square-foot sculpture that is an wavy configuration of multiple asphalt-covered rooftops similar to those on suburban developments, McMansions and strip malls conjoined to resemble a rolling, dune-like landscape.

The piece examines issues of the natural and built landscape by comparing the monoculture that arises from unchecked suburban and urban sprawl with that of an over-cultivated landscape – creating a work that is picturesque, familiar and simultaneously foreboding. Brooks’ sculptural approach gives a nod to Robert Smithson’s earthworks and Gordon Matta-Clark’s building cuts while offering a much needed sense of humor to help digest today’s somber environmental issues.

As housing communities devour more and more land and resources each year the outcome is equivalent to the very process of desertification. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification defines desertification as: land degradation into arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including human activities and climatic variations derived from over-development, over-grazing and an overworked land. The result is often a depleted landscape inhospitable to other life.

David Brooks (b. 1975) is an American sculptor and installation artist, whose work considers the relationship between the individual and the built and natural environment. Brooks has exhibited large-scale installations at Dallas Contemporary, Miami Art Museum, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Bold Tendencies London, as well as American Contemporary and the Sculpture Center in New York. Brooks was featured in the 2010 Greater New York at MoMA PS1 and lives and works in NYC.

(Photos by James Ewing, courtesy of Art Production Fund)


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Others: A Prada store in the middle of nowhere – By Elmgreen & Dragset

Others: A Prada store in the middle of nowhere – By Elmgreen & Dragset

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Elmgreen & Dragset - Prada Marfa, 2005 (1)

Elmgreen & Dragset - Prada Marfa, 2005 (2)

Elmgreen & Dragset - Prada Marfa, 2005 (3)

Elmgreen & Dragset - Prada Marfa, 2005 (4)

Prada Marfa is a site specific, permanent land art project by artists Elmgreen & Dragset. From a distance the artwork appears ot be a large minimalist sculpture. As one gets closer the building resembles a Prada boutique where a display of Fall 2005 high-heel Prada shoes and bags can be seen through the store front windows. However, the sculpture will never function as a place of commerce, the door cannot be opened.
The work is located on the outskirts of Valentine, Texas near Marfa on desolate ranching land with no other visible trace of civilization.

(photos courtesy of Art Production Fund)


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Others: Larger than the pyramids, $340 million in costs: Christo’s Mastaba

Others: Larger than the pyramids, $340 million in costs: Christo’s Mastaba

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Christo - The Mastaba (Abu Dhabi) - 1

Christo - The Mastaba (Abu Dhabi) - 2

Christo - The Mastaba (Abu Dhabi) - compared with the Great Pyramid of Giza

Christo’s first permanent large-scale work, The Mastaba, will be the world’s largest sculpture and installed 160km south of the city of Abu Dhabi. The enormous project was conceived in 1977 and will be made from 410.000 multi-colored barrels to form a mosaic of bright colors, echoing Islamic architecture. A mastaba is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb and a familiar shape to the people of the region, and will become larger than any pyramid.

It will take about 30 months of construction work to create thee 150m high, 225m and 300m wide sculpture. The top of The Mastaba will be a horizontal surface 127m wide and 225m deep. Through a long planning period it’s possible to raise the entire structure on rails to its final position in about 3 to 4 days. The estimated cost is 340.000.000US$.

> As usual, the Mastaba is extensively documented here on the artist’s site

Photo #1 by By Wolfgang Volz


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