Until December 30, 15 giant electronic billboards at Times Square, New York, are transformed into Imagine Peace, a public art project by Yoko Ono. Her message of anti-violence will be translated into 24 world languages set over the tranquil imagery of a blue-sky background. The piece has been transformed into a site-specific multi-channel work, and spreads the message of peace across the monumental screens simultaneously, displayed hourly across American Eagle Times Square, MTV 44 ½ and Viacom North and South signs throughout one of the world’s most famous places, which is also known as the Crossroads of the World.
Imagine Peace uses internet projects and presence, posters, badges, and a multitude of other media to communicate its message of peace to the global community. Located in a highly trafficked location, the installation tries to spread awareness and encourage the community to take responsibility and promote worldwide peace.
Past Imagine Peace projects include Imagine Peace for Pause at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and the Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland (2007) for which the artist has collected over 1 million wishes over the past few years.
Yoko Ono (b. 1933, Tokyo) lives and works in New York. Ono is an influential artist who pushes the boundaries of the art, film, music and theatre media. She received the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2009 Venice Biennale.
Times Square Arts is a public art program which presents leading contemporary art and performances in multiple forms and media to more than 400,000 daily visitors to New York City’s Times Square, making it one of the highest profile public arts programs in the United States. Since its inception, the program has featured works by a diverse group of more than four dozen prominent and emerging artists.
Photos: #1, James Ewing, #2,5, Casey Kelbaug, #3,4, Ka-Man Tse
Yellow Tree by Yayoi Kusama (rendering)
Yellow Tree by Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama at Louis Vuitton (New York)
In celebration of Yayoi Kusama’s past retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art earlier this year, two off-site projects took place. In one of them Kusama’s rhythmic dotted “Yellow Tree motif transformed a construction site in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan into a giant canvas. A detail of the original painting Yellow Trees (1994) has been printed onto special mesh netting and wrapped around the building. The large-scale (150 feet wide by 120 feet high) reproduction applies patterns to the surface of the canvas, often using strong linear gestures to give a sense of space along with jarring visual contrast.
Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Japan in 1929. She lives and works in Tokyo.
(Photos: Courtesy DDG Partners)
This summer Public Delivery and Nils Müller created a 5x10m mosaic print. This work is called Vandals, like the upcoming book of Müller. It is an ironic preview, free for anybody who made it to Linz, Austria. It consists of ten thousands of photos from Müller’s private archive and shows photos taken in North and South America, Europe and Asia.
New photo prints were displayed in an accompanying exhibition.
> larger images here
Apolítico is an installation by Cuban Wilfredo Prieto (1978), first created in 2001 and now showing 45 iconic flags by countries recognized by the United Nations. However, the artist stripped the flags of their familiar colors, creating abstract and egalitarian versions.
Wilfredo Prieto’s Apolítico is shown at the Hardturm Stadium, formerly a site of international soccer matches, and like the other artworks of the festival on display until September 23rd.
Art and the City takes place in Zürich right now and shows 40 works by artists like Doug Aitken, Paul McCarthy and others. The public art project coincides with the Venice Biennale and Kassel’s documenta, roughly located between their two venues.
> overview of extensive tours and other dates and events of Art and the City
(photos: courtesy the artist und Art and the City)
During the last week of August 2012, German painter Hendrik Beikirch, created not only a stunning work but an iconic piece that stretches over 70 meters (230 ft.) high and is yet to be considered as Asia’s tallest mural. Located in South Korea‘s second largest city, Busan, this piece showcases a monochromatic mural of a fisherman, set in contrast with the Haeundae I’Park building at the background, constructed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.
The Haeundae I’Park is a residential building and is also a symbol for the rapid development and accumulated wealth in Korea, a poor country not too long ago. The mural that depicts an image of a fisherman represents a significant portion of Korea‘s population that has not been affected by the economic growth and until now, lives under very different circumstances compared to their affluent neighbors.
Responsible for this project is Public Delivery, an organization who has made waves across Asia and Europe through the promotion of contemporary art.
The artwork will be on display for an indefinite period of time.
The mural presents a local fisherman in his 60’s, staring into an intangible space with his face marked with wrinkles, still wearing long plastic gloves – a sign that there are still men and women like him at this age working for a living. This dying profession entails six to seven days of work in a week, under difficult circumstances, while just receiving a minimum amount of financial support, just enough to buy certain needs.
However, despite the story behind the portrait, the painting conveys a positive message seen in the emotion shown by the fisherman. In addition, underneath it, Beikirch added a statement in Korean letters which roughly translate to “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”
Beikirch is known for his artworks set in monochromatic and detailed painting and this is no difference. Unlike other artists, he painted this mural without using a projector or a sketch on the wall. This, in its true form, is a masterful performance and a task that requires enormous routine and outstanding precision.
The painting is applied on the building of Busan‘s fisher union. It is located between Korea’s two most famous beaches, Haeundae (해운대해수욕장) and Gwangalli (광안리해수욕장), clearly visible from the latter. Over the past years, both beaches turned into excessive commercial areas and became heavy motors for the city‘s tourism, attracting mostly Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Russian travelers.
The building is also home to a fish market that provides the prosperous inhabitants of Busan, like those living in the Hyundai I’Park building, with Korean style raw fish (hoe, 회), a pricey delicacy that is similar to Japanese sashimi.
Hendrik Beikirch (b. 1974) is a German painter well known for his series of large monochromatic wall paintings that often show portraits of older people, visibly marked by life. In order to create these works, Beikirch secretly takes sketches of strangers whom he encounters on his travels, noticing them for their aura and expression between hope and struggle. This inspired the title of his on-going series “Faces of Hope and Struggle” and runs seamlessly on the canvases of Beikirch, which mostly displays the same frontal view of unfamiliar people.
He deliberately distances himself off from the polished and artificial aesthetic of advertising, which has now occupied major parts in public space.
Beikirch always works with a reduced color palette, and therefore the high recognition factor ensures that viewers now can easily find walls by him all over Europe, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Russia and other countries, all painted in the last 15 years.
This project would not have been possible without the support of The Busan Cultural Foundation, The Arts Council Korea, Busan Metropolitan City, Indie Culture Network AGIT and Suyeong Local Government.
MBC, the oldest and one of the major commercial Korean broadcasting companies, is the main media partner.
Montgomery’s billboards are poetic pieces of text and always using the strong contrasts of a white letters on a black background. He captures spots that are usually occupied by advertising, trying to create a surprising artistic situation.
In total, the project Echoes of Voices in the High Towers, organized by Neue Berliner Räume, will display 23 billboards, two illuminated poem sculptures as well as artistic interventions in several print publications like EXBERLINER, Sleek, Päng!, Um[laut] and others, as well as an exhibition of his drawings.
Echoes of Voices in the High Towers runs until October 2012.
> read more about the interesting anonymous publications / interventions of the project and the historic context here
The Hong Kong 1 July protests are a surprising sight on the often chaotic stress. This day marks the transfer of Hong Kong from the United Kingtom to China (PRC) and being a public holiday it was originally thought to be a day of celebration. However, now it is mostly known for hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets who protest for democracy, universal suffrage and a variety of other political concerns. This annual protest rally started in 1997, the year of the handover, and in 2003 brought out as much as 500.000 Hong Kongers. Only the protest in May 1989 in favor of the participants of the Tiananmen Square protests was bigger with 1.5 million participants.
This year 400.000 other citizens took part in the protest, among them Kacey Wong, one of Hong Kong’s most exciting artists. He paraded the streets, using a pink tank made out of cardboard. His artwork called The Real Culture Bureau and the Real Culture Bureau director aims to reflect the changing political and cultural situation of Hong Kong and to portray a corrupted government official which for the artist embodies money and violence often seen in mainland China. Kacey Wong threw fake money ($100 million dollars bill, see below) to real politicians and other real local political parties to prevent them for putting up resistance against the Pink Party and demanded harmonious silence from them.
(photos: Laway Law and others)