shu and joe

Robert Morris at Tate Modern

May 26, 2009

Morris’ Bodyspacemotionthings was originally created for the Tate Gallery in 1971, but it’s been recreated for the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. On view until June 14.

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Dunlap House

May 20, 2009

Read the inelegantly named George Nelson: The Design of Modern Design this past weekend and came upon this image of a sun shade that Nelson designed for home of William E. Dunlap. Dunlap was the owner of Aluminum Extrusions, a Michigan-based company that produced Nelson’s original modular wall storage unit — the Omni System. When he commissioned Nelson’s office to design the interior of his home, Nelson found these sheets of punched stainless steel scrap that were the remains from a set of knives he’d designed and set them in redwood. I think it shows a brilliant reuse of materials and a clever way of imprinting Nelson’s mark on the project.

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One Year Later

May 12, 2009

Luke made this video about musician Abigail Washburn, who travels back to Sichuan a year after the earthquake to make music with the local kids:

In May 2008 an earthquake devastated Sichuan province in China, killing tens of thousands and leaving millions homeless. To commemorate the one year anniversary of this tragedy, musicians Abigail Washburn and Dave Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project traveled to Sichuan to make music with children who survived the earthquake and their parents. Using folk songs sung by the children as well as sounds of their parents rebuilding their houses with bricks and mortar, Abby and Dave created a unique musical soundscape, and this video shows how the whole process unfolded in March, 2009.

Chinese version.
Official website for After Quake Music.

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Black Market Type

May 11, 2009

Our friend Scott Ponik helped organize this show at PNCA. By organize, we mean he helped produce the graphics, design all of the communication and act as the gracious host for visitors who walked into the gallery. Curated by Joseph del Pasco, the Black Market Type & Print Shop features 30 fonts composed of the hand-lettering of prominent artists. Visitors are able to wander to the back room and create posters of their own using any of the fonts.

Artist types included in the project: John Baldessari, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mel Bochner, R. Crumb, John Cage, Henry Darger, Julie Doucet, Jimmie Durham, Marcel Dzama, Tracey Emin, General Idea, Thomas Hirschhorn, Chris Johanson, Jasper Johns, Ray Johnson, Mike Kelley, Margaret Kilgallen, Kathe Kollwitz, Annette Messanger, Duane Michals, Chris Ofili, Laura Owens, Gary Panter, Raymond Pettibon, Adrian Piper, William Pope.L, Richard Prince, Ad Reinhardt, Dieter Roth, David Shrigley.

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Mind the Gap

Jesse’s fledgling gallery, Ditch Projects, is located in a decommissioned “gear house” in Eugene, Oregon. It sits comfortably above a canal and faces a giant hangar that was once used for logging shipping and receiving. We headed down I-5 to have a look at a new show that Ken curated, entitled Touched By Mystics.

A canal on the way to the gallery.

The old hangar across the way.

View from the other side of the bridge.

Interior of the gallery with the giant sliding door that opens out onto a deck overlooking the canal.

Looking down.

A video piece by Shana Moulton.

The sign.

There were 4 Toyota vans of the same model parked nearby. Strange.

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Artist Direct

NY Mag features an article and slideshow about artists’ whose galleries have closed. Instead of paying a commission to the gallery now, patrons can buy directly from the artist. Not surprisingly, Mariah was one of the featured artists, with her complex, abstractions of light going for $800 to $2500.

Kitchenlight, 2005

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Architect’s Fish & Chips

May 4, 2009

What! Posh Nosh. BBC circa 2003. Eight 9-minute episodes. Hilarious.

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We made a small pilgrimage up to Seattle last week to catch My Bloody Valentine on what appears to be a sort of caesura tour for the recently reunited quartet. In an interview with KEXP just prior to the show, Kevin Shields announced that “when we finish the gigs in August, that’s when I wanna draw a line under everything, and say, ‘Okay, that’s it, the past is finished, finally.’” For the future he’s promised the release of the 15-or-so-years-belated follow up to Loveless — again. That and a new expanded lineup for the band.

Shields also talks about his (and his bandmate’s) tinitus, which is really no surprise, given that the signature closer for an MBV live set is 15 minutes of densely layered, mind-bendingly loud noise tucked into the 3-minute power-poppy “You Made Me Realize.” The sheer force of the sound produced by their vast array of amps during the finale reminded me of walking into the wind tunnel on Walker St. near 6th Ave on a bad day. Which means bracing yourself against a building to avoid falling down.

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April 29, 2009

What’s so seductive about the aesthetic of the slum? Buildings in decay? Imbricated scrap multiplied into a shantiopolis? Ad hoc structures? Forms of life dictated by basic subsistence needs?

These conditions have proven to be great fodder for recent visual culture — Camilo José Vergara’s American Ruins, Michael Wolf’s Bastard Chairs, Rem Koolhaas‘ infatuation with the “culture of congestion” of Lagos, Cyril Duval’s design for Bernhard Willhelm’s Tokyo boutique based on the dwellings of the city’s homeless, or Mike Meire’s Global Street Food project are just a few examples. Some of these projects simply document phenomena, presenting them without apparent judgement, while others actively promote an aesthetic of poverty — which has sparked some debate.

A romanticization of the ruined and the impoverished can be traced back through the arts to at least the, well, the Romanic period (the paintings of Hubert Robert or the celebration of the bohemian, for example). Perhaps the global economic situation has made it a choice time to examine social, physical and aesthetic typologies of urban decay, slums and the poor.

Hubert Robert, Vue Imaginaire de la Grande Galerie en Ruines (1796)

Michael Wolf, Bastard Chair #5

Mike Meiré, Global Street Food (2009)

There’s a thoughtful post on this topic at Momus’ blog — which points to an ongoing exhibition of photos of ad hoc shelters by Peter Bialobrzeski and Oliver Boberg.

Peter Bialobrzeski, Slum 29

Peter Bialobrzeski, Slum 32

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Spring in Tokyo

April 26, 2009

A late-blooming cherry blossom tree.

Indoor trellis.

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