It’s difficult to tell if it is performance art, a design project, or just a weird way to date. However you classify it, graphic designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman have flung themselves into the project straightforwardly titled 40 Days of Dating. Exasperated with the New York City dating scene, the designers turned to each other. Each deals with the opposite problem – Jessica jumps in too quickly, Timothy’s reluctant to take the plunge. The two good friends decided to date each other for forty days – the amount of time often thought required to quit a bad habit. However, the dating project entails a bit more. First, there are six rules:
We will see each other every day for forty days.
We will go on at least three dates a week.
We will see a couples therapist once a week.
We will go on one weekend trip together.
We will fill out the daily questionnaire and document everything.
We will not see, date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else.
The daily dating adventures of the couple were then uploaded to their in fashionable design style. Would love and dating be redeemed or their relationship irreparably ruined? 40 Days of Dating was set to find out.
At RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, lecturer Claudia Diaz has implemented an unconventional project in order to inspire her anatomy students. After teaching human anatomy for over 20 years, Diaz decided to try something new as she found the regular routine of anatomical memorization boring and uninspired. Over the past 3 years, Diaz has explored human anatomy with her students by having them paint the bodies of 10 students, revealing tendons and bones that would be visible if the person’s skin were stripped. Featured in these photographs is chiropractic student Zac O’Brien who patiently sat for around 18 hours while fellow students painted him. The finished result is what Diaz likes to call “anatomical man,” first brought to one of her classes in 2010.
”We walked him in and I still remember the looks on the kids’ faces. They were just in awe,” she said. ”I realised it shocked them, it inspired them and it motivated them.” Previously shy about taking off their clothes so classmates could study their bodies, the students began to shed their inhibitions through this painting exercise. ”I couldn’t get the kids to keep their clothes on. They were all throwing them off,” Dr Diaz said. (via)
Charlotte Niel’s series Behind the Curtain captures the moments before, during, and after patrons’ engagements with carnival and fair photo booths. These photographs are light and fun, bright and summery. Photo booths have consistently been a place of discovery and wonder, a place to experience the excitement of pulling a curtain behind you to allow some privacy in the midst of a very public setting. In a culture where so much of our photography experience is digital, and the tangibility of the photograph does not seem to be as privileged or common as it once it was, the photo booth is a place that offers this immediate experience. I particularly enjoy the variety of color in these photographs and Niel’s captures of the bottom halves of the photo booth’s subjects. There’s a sense of mystery and curiosity that these images evoke, and I think that largely has something to do with the merging of these private moments in a public setting captured with a public eye.
Of her series, Niel explains, “How many times have we looked at an old photograph and wondered about the person in the frame? People or family members we never knew, set in places we never visited or that have changed beyond recognition. Photos are often the only means to link us to our past or the past of others. They help us not to forget. They become visual memories. For these reasons, I find it fascinating to watch what happens at photo booths at county fairs. People come with family and friends to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, friendships or just to make an annual visit to the booths. For others, it is just a way to capture who they are or with whom they are at that moment, on their own private stage. The result is a body of work of people who shared with me moments that took place in front of and behind the curtain, documented for unknown viewers. With my camera, it became a transformation of a private moment into a public one.”
Marina Abramović is one of the most compelling artists of our time. Seductive, fearless and outrageous, she has been redefining what art is for nearly forty years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits, and at times risking her life in the process, Marina creates performances that challenge, shock and move us. Through her and with her, boundaries are crossed, consciousness expanded — and art as we know it is reborn.
The feature-length documentary film Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present follows the artist as she prepares for what may be the most challenging performance of her life — a new piece that will be the highlight of a major retrospective of her work, taking place this spring at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
To be given a retrospective at one of the world’s premiere museums is, for any living artist, the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more — it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: “But why is this art?” At 63, she has lost patience with being branded “alternative.” That designation, she says, just gives people license to rip her off. What she wants now is for performance art to be legitimated. She is thinking of her legacy — and the MOMA show, as she well knows, can secure it once and for all. “It is,” she says simply, “the most important [show] of my life.””
View some of our favorite videos and interviews with Marina Abramovic after the jump.
The series Like Everyday of Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian is powerful in its simplicity. She created the images shortly after marrying her husband, and indeed the series explores her concerns associated with being a wife as well as gender roles. In the series figures appear to be veiled in patterned cloth similar to the traditional Iranian Chador. The figure’s face, however, is obscured or replaced with a household item, often one associated with daily chores. Ghadirian says of her subjects, ”My series is exactly like a mirror of my life and other women like me — my sisters, my friends, the women who live in this country.” Though the series specifically addresses Iranian women, the photographs capture more universal anxieties concerning gender roles – the anxiety that accompanies building an identity as a woman and a wife, navigating issues of power within a marriage.
There is something unsettling in many of the paintings of Alexis Rockman. His work typically depicts the natural world – wildlife of different sorts in locales as varied. The scenes are surreal as strange groupings of animals converge on a single canvas. However, some sort of order appears to be breaking down and a chaos not often found in nature seems to be gaining ground. Rockman’s paintings illustrate a wider ecological anxiety over our troubled world. In a way he uses his paintings as a form of protest. The work becomes a powerful expression of deep concern that is easy to feel.
How does our plastic/synthetic “throw away” culture affect not only our values, but also our environment? Walmart retail may seem cost effective and conservative, but in a glutton abundance, it’s possibly just as decadent as the upper echelons of collecting from the Renaissance or Baroque times. By placing disposal items such as Coors beer, shelves or detergent, and bargain bin t-shirts under a canopy of classically rich “painted” ceilings in her work, Jean Lowe cleverly examines these ironies and more.
Regarding this fiscal clashing, David Pagel suggests, “This compromise between high art and low culture suggests that splitting the difference between extremes creates a mutation both queasy and questionable.”
This is what makes each piece striking– Lowe is not just easily questioning consumerism’s role in art, but instead asking us to consider where art lives and who it lives for. It’s not just about “what” but “how” such blending or bleeding confuses, masks, or tempers our own sense of place and thought.
Tomas Saraceno is a master of transforming a space and infusing it with an interactive surreal quality. His installations that are constructed to provide viewers with the experience that they are walking on a cloud are absolutely captivating. The soft dream-like magic of his work is more tactile and intimate, however, in this paper installation Cloud House featuring cloud like formations made only out of smaller geometric matte paper structures.