Archive: 2008
This gigantic sculpture by Mark Bradford resembles Noah’s ark

This gigantic sculpture by Mark Bradford 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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Michael Jackson & bubbles in controversial sculpture by Jeff Koons

Michael Jackson & bubbles in controversial sculpture by Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons - Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988 -ceramic, 106.7 x 179.1 x 82.5cm.jpg

Jeff KoonsMichael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988
Ceramic, 106.7 x 179.1 x 82.5 cm

There have been many stars and singers that have contributed to music in many progressive ways. Yet no one comes close to the influence that the iconic Michael Jackson has left on the music industry. Imagery of him is fairly well known. The pop-culture icon has been seen in various stages of his life and career, physically ever-changing in front of our eyes. Jeff Koons created a famous life-sized porcelain sculpture depicting the now late and legendary Michael Jackson leaning back on a flower bed while on his lap rests his pet chimpanzee Bubbles who holds a white cloth. Jackson and Bubbles wear similar clothing, and are colored similarly while parts of their bodies mirror with each other.
Bubbles, the real life chimpanzee, was purchased by Jackson from a Texas research facility in 1985. He was a very important figure in the eyes of Michael and became a constant sight at almost all of Michael Jackson’s performances and concert arenas and cities. Koons used a press photo of Jackson and Bubbles for his sculpture, and it is nearly indistinguishable to the photo.

When the porcelain sculpture was first revealed, Koons produced three editions, many of Jackson’s fans were offended by how the porcelain made Jackson appear white and feminine (although there doesn’t seem to be any complaints about his hair being gold…). Koons however, really doesn’t care about the complaints and criticism over Jackson’s gender neutral appearance within this piece. The art, he believes, transcends gender- as Koons explains, Jackson is the contemporary Apollo.

In this piece Jackson is that of a Greek god, beautiful and golden- considering that this was created in 1988 it is ironic considering the way that M.J has been immortalized as pop royalty, who may have passed physically, but has transcended in space and time through his music and dance. Bubbles looks wise and all-knowing as he sits on M.J’s lap and gazes at the audience while Jackson gazes lovingly at his companion.

This piece now is a beautiful representation of Jackson’s younger days before he was othered by some and deified by others. The gold almost depicts a time when anything MJ touched turned to gold.

In total three editions of Michael Jackson and Bubbles came into existence, all three can be found separately at the new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and another one in Athens.

Jeff Koons - Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland, Jeff Koons - Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland. 2012
Jeff Koons next to his artwork Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988
Ceramic, 106.7 x 179.1 x 82.5 cm, at Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland, 2012

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Pierre Huyghe fills world’s most famous opera house with 1000 real trees

Pierre Huyghe fills world’s most famous opera house with 1000 real trees

Pierre Huyghe, A Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney
Pierre HuygheA Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney

A Forest of Lines by Pierre Huyghe is a space that brings together the sacred and the profane. The space blurs boundaries, eliminating the separation between the audience and the art where they can become the performance as they explore the constructed forest in the theatre made of a thousand real trees, inside the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House. Thus turning one of the most urban places in the world into a wilderness, converting a space in a way, which seems exceptionally impossible and altogether remarkable.

Paths meander through the trees, mist brings a sense of mystic as you wonder the magical and listen to the story that brings the enchantment to life. This is a space of representation, in which an environment has been transplanted, and becomes a liminal place that is somewhere between nature and urban, a place that lays somewhere in between fiction and fact. Forests are often the sites of fairy tales and legends; they are places of amazement and sometimes fear.

There is something profoundly sensational about the opera, it is the epitome of culture, and furthermore, the Sydney Opera House is internationally known for its architecture and aesthetics. Thus by constructing a forest in a place that represents culture, humanism, and progress, the Cartesian dualism of nature versus culture is completely overridden.

This revolutionary piece demonstrates the mediation of binaries while taking the audience into a different world of the wilderness inside. The melody is written by Laura Marling especially for Pierre Huyghes’ performance, the lyrics literally indicate how to get outside the Opera House and go somewhere else. Visitors to this installation wandered through the glorious forest, and some even set up picnics in the installation, using the space as they would a park. This space was open for 24 hours, and within that short time, audience members were given the opportunity to explore a world that can be described as only a dream.

Pierre Huyghe, A Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney
Pierre HuygheA Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney

Pierre Huyghe, A Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney - 3
Pierre HuygheA Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney

Pierre Huyghe, A Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney - 4
Pierre HuygheA Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney

Pierre Huyghe, A Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney
Pierre HuygheA Forest of Lines, 2008. Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House, 16th Biennale of Sydney


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Beni Bischof’s vision for driving in the future

Beni Bischof’s vision for driving in the future

Beni Bischof - Handicapped Cars
Beni Bischof – ohne Titel, from Handicapped Cars series, 2010/2011

Handicapped Cars is a series of digitally manipulated photographs created by Swiss artist Beni Bischof depicting hovercraft-like cars that would not look out of place in a dystopian science fiction film. They are colorful, sleek, and operate as digital sculptures that are temporally ambiguous, giving the viewer a disconcerting feeling as though these are other worldly vehicles that are present today. Bischof plays close attention to form and movement, with the smooth, seamless lines seeming to indicate the innate speed of the objects. Like his other work, Bischof takes an everyday object and subtly changes it, calling into question its familiarity and function.

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Artificial lake installed on top of museum

Artificial lake installed on top of museum

Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title
Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Starting a rainy day, a day filled with grey shades, feels empty but it will slowly fade.

Nothing but a monotone day is the first impression in the city of London. But with such gloomy ambiance, comes an experience, a life where beauty lies in every aspect. That beauty is art. It is when you enter a different world, appreciating such fine intricacy with a colorful explanation, its secrecy, the intimacy and the mystery behind the piece of work: The Gelitin – Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title.

The voyage around the Hayward buildings give you an art adventure, having to merely roam around like it was an artist’s playground. Not knowing what’s next and what surprises you in the end. There lies a pond, where you can bring back your childhood memory of riding a boat in a bizarre architectural art, filled with amusement comes an immersing experience of appreciation. That’s beauty, where a day is filled with shades of grey that turns its meaningless ambiance to countless appreciation and vibrant elucidation with familiarity in art.

About Gelitin

Gelitin is an Austrian artist collective and comprised of four artists. They met first in 1978 when they all attended a summer camp. They have been playing and working together. 1993 they began exhibiting internationally.

Gelitin - Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Gelitin - Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

Gelitin - Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title

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Alec Soth’s famous series about American dropouts

Alec Soth’s famous series about American dropouts

Alec Soth - Broken Manual
Alec SothBroken Manual

ABOUT BROKEN MANUAL

Broken Manual by photographer Alec Soth is a compelling series that was created over a four-year period, from 2006-2010. They reflect Soth’s increasing interest in the mounting anger and frustration that some—specifically male—Americans feel with societal constraints and their subsequent desire to remove themselves from civilization. The resultant work is a group of portraits of men and the landscapes they inhabit that are poignant, disturbing and mysterious. Soth’s uncanny ability to gain the trust of those whom he photographs gave him unprecedented access to these notoriously elusive individuals, in moments, variously, of brooding, deep reflection or vulnerability.

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This Austrian artist is considered one of the most important postwar-artists

This Austrian artist is considered one of the most important postwar-artists

Franz West - The Unconscious Sculpture

Franz West - Drama (Modell), 2001 at Kunsthaus Bregenz
Drama (Modell), 2001 at Kunsthaus Bregenz
Photo: apa /Franz West / Kunsthaus Bregenz / Rudolf Sagmeister

The Austrian Franz West (1947-2012), one of the most important postwar-artists, died less than two weeks ago. His work has been repeatedly exhibited at documenta, the Venice Biennale and in 2011 was awarded the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia in recognition for his life’s work.

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