International architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has created a life-sized wooden maze reminiscent of European hedge mazes of the 17th and 18th centuries, currently on view at The National Building Museum in Washington D.C. Eighteen feet high and made of baltic birch plywood, this installation offers a glimpse into BIG’s work and their forthcoming exhibition, scheduled to open in early 2015. The thoughtful design of this labyrinth allows visitors to see the entirety of the maze elevated around them once they fully descend to the center of the structure. BIG describes the project, “As you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. What if we invert this scenario and create a panopticon that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth? From outside, the maze’s cube-like form hides the final reveal behind its 18 foot tall walls. On the inside the walls slowly descend towards the center which concludes with a grand reveal – a 360 degree understanding from where you came and where you shall go.” (via design boom)
Batman holds a gun to his own head at the edge of an empty swimming pool. Captain and Mrs. America sip mixed drinks under palm fronds. Spiderman naps on the couch. These are our Superheroes, candidly captured in their off hours. But they’re not the Superheroes we’re used to underneath their familiar suits. These Superheroes are aged, white-haired and wrinkled, and somehow completely wrong. The characters we know may die, but although they live for decades they never grow old. Our heroes stay perpetually strong, alluring, and complicated, and always, always young.
Lina Manousogiannaki’s costumed heretics of “Superheroes Gone Old” represent more than the inevitability of old age. To her, the aging superheroes they serve as reminders of the damaged Greek political system, one that politicians and people of her parents’ generation have been unwilling or unable to change.
[The series] was conceived as homage to the generation of my parents, the same one as our politicians. They have been pretending to be heroes ever since the collapse of the military junta but time has caught up with them. My heroes are old and they are afraid of everything that they can’t control. … The heroes of another time can no longer save me as they have pretended to do for so many years.
There is anger in Manousogiannaki’s writing that isn’t reflected in her images. These heroes are worn out, slightly absurd, certainly pathetic. And yet, there is the suggestion of pride here, of perseverance. They haven’t divested themselves of their worn finery. They haven’t stopped fighting. In a country with a struggling economy and generational discord, the heroes are stooped and sad. Manousogiannaki’s intent may be to put them aside and lead her own fight, but these archetypical heroes seem to be saying that it will be harder than she thinks. Read More
Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.
A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture. “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
Creative murals by designer and street artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo are turning Tehran, Iran’s streets into an outstanding open-air gallery. Executed on two-dimensional blocks of concrete, Ghadyanloo’s artworks deceive the viewer’s eye by skillfully using methods from op art and 3D painting.
Mehdi has established a mural-painting company Blue Sky Painters, which helps him to work with the large-scale street art projects. What is not very frequent in the field, is that Ghadyanloo is fully backed up by the city’s municipality. According to the artist himself, it is one of the government’s goals to promote mural art in Tehran.
“The city is an architectural mishmash with buildings often having only one facade and the other three just left blank and grey. This doesn’t make for a beautiful city but it is a great environment for mural work. I think the municipality really felt the need to bring some cohesion or at least colour to the often confused and smog-smeared architectural face of the city.”
Ghadyanloo graduated from MA in Animation, which brought him closer to storytelling and surrealism. The latter has really influenced his style in urban murals. His scenes often depict unrealistic sights and actions such as cars flying in the air, man bicycling down the wall, people defying gravity and so on. Many of Ghadyanloo’s creations also cleverly interact with their surroundings bringing even more life to the streets of Tehran. (via: My Modern Met)
Beth Scher‘s “Female Soldiers” series depicts women in the military adorned with embroidery and other decorative elements. Scher’s mixed media paintings explore ideas concerning femininity and strength. Her images feature women in a variety of military contexts – Scher’s embellishments of her female figures recalls the idea of a “decorated” soldier while also referring to the art of craft and embroidery, concepts normally found within in a domestic setting. In images that include a bulls eye or target image, Scher conceals the women’s faces with black thread, evoking a sense of expendability that must inhabit a conflict-heavy environment. Scher explains, “In my paintings, I portray them as young women who intentionally seek to display their sexuality and vulnerability, yet are trained killers, in a position of power and placed in serious conflicts. I wonder what the consequences are in a society that must deal with this dichotomy.” (via lustik)
In two of Aurel Schmidt’s more recent series, the artist’s highly rendered drawings depict leafy vagina lettuce and ginger toes, among other inventive combinations of body parts and edibles. Her older drawings focused more on hedonism and a kind of consumptive chaos. She created party beasts constructed from accumulations of coke baggies, cigarette butts, pabst cans etc. They mischievously smiled out at the viewer like a visualization of a hangover. Even with discarded condoms and burn holes, she’s always had a tendency for beauty, though.
In contrast, the ideas in FRUITS are refined to a few poignant elements. There is a strong focus on associative forms, and Schmidt’s choice to pair white grapes with a plump penis emphasizes the gravity in the image. The nippled melon is equally sumptuous, and it’s great to finally see melon and breast united in one. Her style is laborious, but it doesn’t show in her drawings. She’s funny, with an I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that’s present throughout her work. It’s not indignant or aggressive; it’s joyful and celebrates absurdity and decay.
Black Drawings returns to a more standard subject matter for Schmidt, and the drawings become more severe without colour, maybe even cult-ish. The bellybuttons are the most seductive, because of their subtlety and curiosity. It takes a while to identify them for what they are. This series definitely demonstrates Schmidt’s breadth of ability, where the spurting penis cross is much more in your face than the bright sunflower nipples.
In a candid conversation with Art Market Monitor and Artnet News, Famed London gallerist Steve Lazarides discusses his long term involvement in the street art scene. Initially selling works by Banksy out of his car, he officially opened his gallery space in 2006 just as the street art market gained popularity. In this podcast Lazarides discusses a wide range of topics from the street art bubble of 2007 to recently curating “BANKSY: The Unauthorised Retrospective” at Sotheby’s London S|2 gallery space.