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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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April 24, 2009

Not sure if this is the man himself, but I like how Twitter has been employed to fit a conceptual model that On Kawara has drawn upon before (e.g., his postcard series – a few samples pictured below). Every morning at 9:56 (or sometimes 9:57) his feed is updated with the same comment: I AM STILL ALIVE.

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Shugo Tokumaru – Rum Hee

April 22, 2009

Shu wrote a piece on Shugo Tokumaru a few years back, and I’ve been a fan since. He has a new EP out and a video to match.

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The Ghost House

April 19, 2009

From Datar Architects, Japan.

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Ofer Wolberger

I worked with Ofer back in 2004 when we did a shoot at the AMG Factory in Affalterbach, Germany. The highlight was taking thousands of photos of the factory workers and stitching them together to create stop-motion films. Looks like his work continues to evolve with this new series called Life with Maggie.

[via Feature Shoot]

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Todd Hido. Foreclosed Homes Photos

Photographer Todd Hido’s series of photos of foreclosed homes.

Image: 1922a, from Foreclosed Homes (Interiors) Series

Image: 1968, from Foreclosed Homes (Interiors) Series

Image: 2260, from Foreclosed Homes (Interiors) Series

[via myninja]

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Andrew Kuo. I’m Dying Over Here.

April 18, 2009

Andrew’s new show at Taxter & Spengemann. From the artist’s email “press release”:

I worked really hard on it!

Answers to frequently asked questions about art shows:
1. Yes, there is a painting of Rodney Dangerfield’s last breath.
2. No, I did not hire an assistant to instant messenger for me as I worked.
3. Yes, the new Death Cab for Cutie EP is good.
4. No, salads are generally not delicious.
5. Yes, illegally downloading minimal techno is still illegally downloading.
6. No, I did not create (But I wish I did.)
7. Yes, the minimum of 71 total viewing hours of “No Reservations” required to make an art show was reached.

Andrew Kuo I’m Dyin’ Over Here!
April 4th – May 9th

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Never Forget

April 17, 2009

It’s My Scar is a project that lets people create jewelry that matches their scars. An attempt to help people remember their past rather than forget it.

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