New York painter Monica Cook depicts absurd, messy scenes in these paintings of women playing and posing with food and sea creatures. Often referred to as “absurd,” her work tells of women, sometimes not naked, covered in liquids and slime, fruit pulp, and cradling octopi. There is no arguing her painterly talent at narrating the viscosity of the elements in the frame, but she leaves it up to the viewer as to how they will interpret the contents of the scene. Meaning, she has no implied meaning:
“When I’m painting, it’s more about my relationship with the object than it is about me. It’s hard for me to separate myself from the experience. It could be a fish or an octopus. I handle it until it becomes unfamiliar to me so I can see it in a new way. People might want to read into those paintings but for me, it’s just about finding magic in the mundane and exploring further. I’m sure if I stumbled upon the work I’d see it differently.” (Excerpt from Source)
Minneapolis born John Lurie is a jack of all trades. He was originally a musician, playing sax in NYC no wave group Lounge Lizards. Later, in the 1980s, he moved on to acting, having a number of memorable roles in Jim Jarmusch movies like Down By Law. Mostly recently however, and especially since isolating himself due to what seems to be Lyme disease, Lurie has been a painter, creating dark, absurdist works with unusual titles. If you like his work, I recommend adding him on Facebook. His online updates are little gems of black humor, just like his paintings.
Stefan Glerum is a Dutch artist known for his playful and eye-popping illustrations. He spent four years studying illustration at Academy St. Joost and also worked as an assistant to Joost Swarte, a celebrated comic book artist. His work is characterized by clownish figures engaged in various dynamic acts. Described as “a melting pot of illustration heritage,” Glerum’s style draws on the Art Deco, Russian Constructivist, Italian Futurist, and Bauhaus movements, infusing this creative mash-up with popular themes (Source).
Recently, on the wall of a housing complex in Amsterdam, Glerum designed a massive and unique work of site-based art: two stained glass windows installed on a housing complex that depict a cartoonish collage of the location’s history. Located on the front and back of the building, each window is 60 feet high. Heren 5 Architects built the complex, and Atelier Schmit fabricated the stained glass. The AFK supported the completion of this project.
The longer you look at this stunning work, the more you’ll unravel about the surrounding location. First and foremost, the windows are aligned like a chimneystack, referring to a Oostergasfabriek (a nineteenth-century gas factory) that once stood out in that area of Amsterdam. Following the abandonment of the factory at the beginning of the twentieth century, the area hosted other industrial and public spaces. The front window shows a swimming pool, an animal shelter, and the Don Bosco School; the back depicts a public bathing room for factory workers, the laboratory of Professor Ernst Laqueur, and musicians of the Red Fanfare who formerly rehearsed there. You can read a more thorough description of each window on Glerum’s website, and there is a video about the construction here.
What makes the windows so spectacular is the artist’s seamless combination of historical periods and human environments. From military maneuvers to the coal industry to animal care, his loony figures crash together in a time-transcending and spirited symphony. Glerum’s art is not unknown to B/D; he is included in our Book 7: Class Clowns, and even designed the cover art. If you enjoy Glerum’s work—and, furthermore, are curious about artists who use similar styles of humor to engage and challenge us—you can purchase a copy of Book 7 on our shop page. Limited copies are still available.
Last night, Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea, NYC opened a group show entitled Détournement : Signs of the Times. The show includes works from some big names including Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Jamie Reid, Steve Powers, and Aiko Nakagawa. “Détournement” refers to the practice of altering the face of public signage to change their respective meanings. From curator Carlo McCormick (editor of PAPER magazine):
Employed brilliantly by the Situationists, whose great philosopher Guy Debord laid out the socio-aesthetic framework for this practice, détournements twist the terms of mimicry in ironic parody using the a semblance of the easily recognizable to dissemble and redirect the literal meaning of signs so as to construe a more honest picture of their deceptive intentions.
A natural response to the lies and coercions we are fed on a daily basis, the détournement has been the reactive impulse of all those who question reality, from the Punks who adopted it in the 1970s through Culture Jammers, Adbusters, contemporary street artists and the winding legacy of protest movements from WTO to Occupy.
From February-March 2007, the artists installed ‘Antarctic Village’ in Antarctica, travelling from Buenos Aires aboard the Hercules KC130 flight on an incredible journey. Taking place during the Austral summer, the ephemeral installation coincided with the last of the scientific expeditions before the winter months, before the ice mass becomes too thick to traverse. Aided by the logistical crew and scientists stationed at the Marambio Antarctic Base situated on the Seymour-Marambio Island, (64°14’S 56°37’W), Jorge Orta scouted the continent by helicopter, searching for different locations for the temporary encampment of their 50 dome-shaped dwellings. Antarctic Village is a symbol of the plight of those struggling to transverse borders and to gain the freedom of movement necessary to escape political and social conflict. Dotted along the ice, the tents formed a settlement reminiscent of the images of refugee camps we see so often reported about on our television screens and newspapers. Physically the installation Antarctic Village is emblematic of Ortas’ body of work, composed of what could be termed modular architecture and reflecting qualities of nomadic shelters and campsites.
The dwellings themselves are hand stitched together by a traditional tent maker with sections of flags from countries around the world, along with extensions of clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people. Here the arm of face-less white-collar worker’s shirt hangs, there the sleeve of a children’s sweater. Together the flags and dissected clothes emblazoned with silkscreen motifs referencing the UN Declaration for Human Rights make for a physical embodiment of a ‘Global Village’.
Are you always in search of the perfect color palette? Well, Pantone Café has not only given you just that, but their brilliant hues are available now on a platter. Finally, food that is worth snapping a picture of! Now, the food you eat can match your mood or even your outfit. Each serving tray, cup, napkin, slushy, and food item has been matched with its Pantone color equivalent. Even the espresso machines hold incredible, eye-catching colors that are impossible to ignore. The menu at the Pantone Café is a masterpiece in itself, with the food and beverage choices being grouped in palettes that are to die for.
This minimalistic café provides an incredibly modern, aesthetically pleasing atmosphere down to the last napkin. Each colorful edible has its appropriate Pantone color name, with delicious hues such as pistachio green, canal blue, strawberry pink, and dazzling blue. Each meal contains such amazing color that it is almost too beautiful to eat. The café is a perfect little Pantone universe where color and design meets culinary beauty. This is a place where you can truly taste color and create delicious palettes for your own palate. This pop-up restaurant is located at the Grimaldi Forum and will be open only until September 9th. (via The Creators Project)
Michael Grab creates his own version of land art by balancing rocks in seemingly impossible ways. Using a learned technique involving patience and a sense of balance Grab finds the process therapeutic and meditative. Grab refers to the work as “gravity glue” and says of the work, “Through witnessing what this art has done for me personally over years of practice, my vision grows more and more to encourage others to seek their own “still-point” or inner silence…This art allows one to freely be themselves, manifesting their own particular vibration into a 3D world.”
Grab believes that stone balancing teaches the practitioner lessons through silence. Using language that describes the benefits of self-realization through meditation Grab discusses stone balancing as a spiritual experience. He describes how the fundamental element in balancing is finding a kind of “tripod” for the rock to stand on. Explaining how each rock requires examination to discover the point of balance, Grab says that the biggest challenge is overcoming doubt. Both honoring nature and the importance of time spent by himself Grab believes that the ephemeral nature of the balance encourages contemplations of non-attachment, beauty and even death.
Grab is available for workshops and live performances. Check his website for any upcoming exhibitions so that you can see his process live.
When Isaac Tobin is not working as a senior designer for University of Chicago Press or playing with type design, then he is whipping up some pretty phenomenal collages with minimal resources. Each piece remind us that cutting back and holding the line is just as important as drawing it. His seemingly simple use of familiar and found paper products matched with sporadic vintage text and condensed doodling presents an accessible everyday charm that inspires affordable creativity.