12/22/2009 5:12:20 PM
How would you like to take a truly sustainable field trip and witness the best in environmental art from your own home? In Public Art Review, Allison Compton highlights the work of GreenMuseum.org, a now 8-year-old site that brings sustainable art to would-be museum-goers everywhere. You can explore a lengthy roster of artists and their work, catch up on the organization’s blog, or explore the toolbox of resources to make your own art. Compton spoke to founder and executive director Sam Bower, who offers his take on the importance of sustainable art:
“When we talk about sustainability we ought to think about what the earth will notice and appreciate. What would a watershed, worms, and robins think of an artwork? What about the materials that went into something and its carbon footprint and the potential long-term impacts (positive and negative) on people and the environment? Considering the nonhuman audience for art opens up the idea that everything we do is deeply interconnected and can affect the world around us.”
Source: Public Art Review
12/22/2009 2:59:51 PM
This month, a British sculptor smashed the front window of a gallery with a metal pole and called it art. The artist, Kevin Harman, had warned the gallery of his imminent attack—though he refused to specify the time—and he immediately paid £350 to have the window replaced. But that wasn’t good enough for the gallery’s owners, who pressed charges against Harman. The artist was fined another £200 for breaching the peace. One of Harman’s colleagues, Michael Sandle, disagreed with the gallery’s decision, telling the Guardian, “They should have shaken his hand and bought him a drink.”
Source (with video!):
12/21/2009 2:34:00 PM
Julia Oldham clearly isn’t into her art for the glamour. “Flitting her arms like a firefly or wriggling like a grub,” the video artist uses movement to conjure the lives of insects, according to University of Chicago Magazine in its November-December issue.
Oldham tells the magazine that her art is attempt to come to grips with the mystery of the natural world, and that deep field observation is key to her process:
For The Timber, named for her family’s 700-acre forest preserve in Marshalltown, Iowa, where gnats swarm, crickets chirp, and spiders glide across the ground on a warm late summer day, the Brooklyn-based artist spent two weeks in 2008 living in a cabin overlooking the Iowa River. Each day she ventured out with her sketchbook to study insect larvae around creeks, track grasshoppers in the prairie, and poke at ground beetles helping a log to rot in the dense forest. Then she turned on her video camera and intuitively performed a hybrid of bug actions on the forest floor. Each video, an homage to a different bug, is shot in a single take. During editing she adjusts the color and speed, she says, to “push the movements to an unexpected, almost alarming place.”
New York alternative arts group Art in General has written (PDF) that “Oldham’s art re-contextualizes the human relationship with nature, drawing attention to our competing responses of curiosity, repulsion, empathy, and alienation when confronted with the insect world.”
Thoreau’s close observation of ants notwithstanding, there’s typically not much fame or fortune to be had from artistically interpreting the lives of bugs. But Oldham has found a receptive audience for her work, with a busy slate of shows and residencies. Visit her website to see her video art, and watch her discuss how she makes it in this clip from Art in General:
Sources: University of Chicago Magazine, Art in General
Image courtesy of Julia Oldham.
12/11/2009 3:09:50 PM
Brian Dettmer's book art is so damn good, I don;t want to waste your time talking about it when you could be looking at it. Want more? Have a peek at Dettmer's studio over at The Donut Project.
World Books: Altered set of Encyclopedias, 2009
World Science: Altered Book, 2009
World Books: Altered set of Encyclopedias, 2009
Do It Yourself: Altered Set of handyman books, 2009
(Thanks, The Donut Project.)
All image courtesy of the Brian Dettmer and Packer Schopf.
12/10/2009 12:40:40 PM
The literary blog The Rumpus has posted a collection of images from found Iranian children's books. The images are incredible, and it's been fun watching as readers who speak Farsi write in with translations and other information. Enjoy!
Source: The Rumpus
12/4/2009 1:43:58 PM
It’s tough to find the right holiday gift for the pirate in your life. What could he possibly need that he couldn’t plunder, pilfer, loot, or hornswaggle? Well, you’re in luck: The San Francisco pirate-supply shop 826 Valencia, which David Byrne has called “one of the top five pirate stores I’ve been to recently,” has rolled out a fresh line of nearly 50 new pirate products, according to Print magazine’s December issue. With a selection like that, you’re sure to find something that’ll shiver his timbers.
For the uninitiated, 826 Valencia is the nonprofit tutoring center founded by author, publisher, and Utne visionary Dave Eggers, and the pirate-shop storefront theme originated as a way to skirt restrictive zoning ordinances—not to mention make a little money for the writing programs. Apparently, the brand needed to be freshened up a bit in order to survive in the cutthroat, sink-or-swim pirate-product retail sector. (Har, har, har.) The San Francisco design studio Office spearheaded the makeover of the store’s identity and products, with the swashbuckling Eggers himself writing and editing some of the copy. Here are a few of the labels:
Captain Blackbeard’s Beard Extensions:
Patchy spots got ya down? Fear not, Capt. Blackbeard grows ’em where you can’t. So silky the ladies will swoon. So coarse your crew will covet. Recent studies have found that CBBEs are indistinguishable by 9 out of 10 naked eyes, and able to weather the most savage of gales, tidal waves, and tugs of fraternal greetings. Warning: CBBE may cause an overwhelming sense of adequacy.
Captain Blackbeard’s Beard Dye: Black beards can get bleached by the sun. Beards can turn white from fear. In either case, Blackbeard’s Beard Dye imparts a midnight hue to your whiskers, leaving them shiny, conditioned and bristling with health. Next time you take it on the chin, be sure it’s covered with a beard you can be proud of ... a Blackbeard beard. Also suitable for mustaches and mole hair. Made for the trade; available to all.
Quick Acting Scurvy BeGone: Dosage: a tablet a day, maybe more. Each capsule contains the power of one entire lime or lemon or small lemon. Fairly probable side effects: hirsutism; supernumerary organs; chimerism; sudden onset of fake English accent; boils.
Sources: Print, 826 Valencia, Office
Images courtesy of Office.
12/3/2009 4:28:18 PM
I first fell in love with Zina Saunders’ work when I received a promotional postcard featuring an incredible portrait of President Obama. I’d never seen anyone use color the ways she does, particularly for skin tones. Then I discovered her Overlooked New York project, a collection of “portraits of impassioned New Yorkers doing what they love to do.” Saunders interviewed and painted a diverse cast of zany characters, from river swimmers to subway musicians, park artists to rooftop pigeon coop guys. This (until now) online project is now available in print. While you’re at it, you’ve gotta check out her political illustrations, featuring some of the funniest Sarah Palin caricatures out there. Brilliant.
Images courtesy of Zina Saunders
12/2/2009 2:54:14 PM
If television executives had their way back in 1965, the soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas never would have featured pianist Vince Guaraldi’s now-iconic tinkling cocktail jazz. In the new book The Birth (and Death) of the Cool, published by Speck Press, cultural critic Ted Gioia tells the tale of how Guaraldi got the gig—and in retrospect it’s amazing that he did.
“By the mid-Sixties,” Gioia writes, “the sound of a jazz-big-band-playing cartoon soundtrack was widely accepted, even expected.” But CBS executives bristled when producer Lee Mendelson wanted to build the soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas around Guaraldi’s understated hipster jazz trio. As Gioia explains,
His music for Peanuts … sounded like what Hugh Hefner would be playing in the background while shaking martinis in his bathrobe. Few networks would have accepted this cooler-than-thou music for an adult drama, but to pair it with a high-profile show about youngsters for youngsters was to court disaster. . . . CBS was also unhappy with Mendelson’s use of children who lacked professional acting experience (some of them could not even read a script) for the voices and had doubts about much of the story line too. The pacing was too slow, the humor too subtle. A test viewing for the network execs was met with stony silence, although one of the animators, who had had a bit too much to drink, stood up and taunted them. “You guys are crazy,” he chided. “This is going to be around for a hundred years.”
Of course, the drunk guy was on to something: Nearly half the televisions in America were tuned into the first broadcast, and after 45 years the show’s popularity hasn’t waned a bit. The soundtrack has defined and in some ways eclipsed the program itself, appearing every season among the top 10 best-selling holiday CDs and becoming one of the biggest-selling jazz releases ever.
Guaraldi, for his part, got to see only the beginning of this success: He died of a heart attack in 1976, at age 47. But his music lives on. A new two-disc compilation, The Definitive Vince Guaraldi, was just released by the Fantasy label, and it reveals him as a keenly talented jazz pianist and bandleader in his own right. And sometime in the next few weeks, the Charlie Brown Christmas theme song will appear in your head just as surely as visions of sugarplums.
Source: The Birth (and Death) of the Cool
12/2/2009 2:42:46 PM
If you are familiar with the Washington D.C. band Fugazi, then you probably miss them terribly. If that is the case, you are in luck. Chunklet has posted a 40-minute montage of Fugazi chattering away on stage.
To an aggressive audience member: "This is insane, unacceptable behavior. We do not provide a soundtrack for violence."
To an impolite audience member: "Why are you giving me the finger? Let's talk about it. Because we walk out on stage, I say 'Good evening ladies and gentleman' and you give me the finger. What kind of people are you? Punk rockers? Oh! Fugazi is playing tonight. And in Fugazi's world, we don't use the finger to say hello."
To a stage diver: "What's your name? David? Please don't come on the stage anymore... David, don't apologize. I know you meant nothing by it."
To another aggressive audience member: "We were playing in Atlanta last night and everyone seemed to be having a pretty good time. People kept coming up and knocking my mic into my mouth. Finally, I lost a piece of my front tooth and that was a piece of calcium on my front tooth that my body had been working on for 24 years. And in a matter of one second, for this man's kind of moment of ecstasy and fun, he took out that piece of calcium."
To two more aggressive audience members: "I saw you two guys earlier at the consumer truck and you were eating your ice cream like little boys and I though 'Those guys aren't so tough. They're eating ice cream, what a bunch of swell guys! I saw you eating ice cream pal! You're bad now but you were eating an ice cream cone and I saw you. That's the shit you can't hide! Ice cream eating motherfucker. That's what you are."
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