Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrap and accent their environments with millions of square feet of rope shroud and fabric. Their wrapped and accented installations recontextualize the objects and their surrounding spaces, asking the viewer to consider both the presence and absence of the wrapped objects and the perception of new landscapes. At once conceptually simple and physically difficult to bring to complete fruition, the new environments are breathtaking in their starkness and beauty. Their installations often consume years of commitment and devotion. Wrapped Trees were the outcome of 32 years of effort.
SpY is a Madrid based artist who playfully disturbs urban signs and signifiers, often confiscating them, transforming them, then installing them on the street. I love his really simple gestures, like putting orange construction cones on a sculpted bull’s horns–they just have the hilarious edge of an adolescent prankster (who went to art school and secretly adores Duchamp.)
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Bangkok-born artist Tintin Cooper‘s collages weave different images in popular media, such as sporting figures, to cut away the different faces and obscuring their identity. The themes of her work highlight society’s obsession with celebrity, and undermines this illusion by forming work that seems to shatter her subjects from within. More after the jump.
Kara Walker’s new sculpture “A Subtlety” is pure white, coated in 160,000 pounds of bleached sugar; with this modern take on the ancient sphinx, the legendary artist crafts a towering black face in honor of the slave laborers who worked in sugar cane fields. The powerful work is meant to address racial and sexual exploitation; like the sugar that coats her polystyrene core, this black female figure has been pressured, against nature, into succumbing to whiteness.
The work is now on display at the old Williamsburg, Brooklyn Domino sugar factory shed, where it reaches to the ceiling and extends for a magnificent 75 feet. The mythical creature is a powerful assertion of the black female self; the face quite resembles the artists’ own, and a carefully wrought bandana subtly references the stereotypical (and often offensive) symbol of the mammy, a slave woman who nurtured and brought up white children. Walker has been the subject of debate in the past for her use of contested imagery, and despite the controversy surrounding the “mammy” figure, she is presented here as powerful and divine.
Like the ancient sphinxes of Egypt and Greece, Walker’s monolithic creation is godly, simultaneously fearsome and comforting. The sphinx, known for protecting the tombs of royalty, becomes the guardian of history, interrupting a white-washed historical narrative to make visible the labor of the men and women who were kept enslaved. Her face is serene, assured, and unyielding. The sphinx character, in addition to being a protector, is also dangerous, renowned for devouring those who cannot answer her riddle; Walker’s sphinx is similarly confrontational in her overwhelming size, forcing viewers to confront the complex and painful history of American industry. (via The New York Times)
This vid is also made by Niles Atallah, Cristobal Leon & Joaquin Cociña
Photographer Justin Walker‘s studio photos of guns, food, and thighs (both human and chicken) are cold and slick in the best of ways.
Kyle James Dunn’s intricate patterned sculptures are created using a plasma cutter and lots of patience. The imagery revolves around the American idea of vacation and the island get away. A pervasive cultural myth that presents itself in literature, art, Hollywood film, and more, this fantasy is projected onto real places regardless of local cultures or economies. As such, its tropes–the desert isle, the Aloha shirt–exist in a fantasy realm outside of a specific time or place. They create a seductive language of artifice and leisure that is both costly and escapist to uphold.