A little while ago, Andreas Frank took a dive down to the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a United States missile tracking ship that was recently sunk 7 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida in order to create an artificial reef. While he was down there, Frank, who is a successful commercial photographer, took pictures of the wreck. He used the resulting images as the basis for a series of digitally manipulated photos depicting various underwater happenings on the sunken ship. The cool part: he then staged an exhibition of the photos on the deck of the ship! Divers took in the exhibit in full scuba gear. I’m not sure that bobbing up and down under water is the best way to take in Frank’s work, but it is kinda cool. See more photos from the Vandenberg- Life Below the Surface show after the jump, as well as a video of divers checking out the pictures while down by the ship.
Often it seems the most useful objects are the most overlooked. Much of the work of artist and designer Joost Goudriaan is set upon changing our relationship with such items. A park bench, an object whose aesthetic is nearly entirely defined by its use, is transformed with traditional craftsmanship. Goudrian uses leather and walnut wood to turn a typically stark bench into luxuriant public seating. Also pictured, is a replica of the classic Nike Air Max made from chocolate. While the original may be prized and collected, Goudriaan compelled anyone who bought his chocolate replica to sign a contract stipulating that they would eat the shoe.
Art Dubai Opens today but I had a chance to sneak in yesterday and take some shots before the masses stormed the fair. As a result I don’t have the names of all the artists/galleries but there’s still some good eye candy.
Some may say basketball is their religion. Well, if you worship the game, then these stained glass basketball backboards might be right up your alley. Like stained glass windows that depict religious icons in churches and cathedrals, artist Victor Solomon places breathtaking and beautiful stained glass windows in place of basketball backboards. These are not likely to be used at any court that you’ve ever seen, as they are likely to shatter into a thousand pieces. Each piece is ornamented in luxurious materials and gems, including the basketball goal’s net and rim. This series, cleverly titled Literally Balling, embodies the lavish lifestyle and luxury that NBA all-stars. These superstars being like royalty, Victor Solomon adds an age old, delicate art to their domain.
Solomon hand assembles these brilliant and intricate creations in the timeless beauty of the Tiffany Style. What is ironic about this work is that although hypnotizing to look at, none of the remarkable basketball goals are by any means functional. They are as fragile and as easily broken as success and wealth. If a basketball player gets injured, they can be done with playing the game forever. Their career could be over. Solomon’s goals embody this brilliance, power, and delicateness that a life in the sports industry can have. If you want to see more of Victor Solomon’s amazing work, you can see more of his work here.
Eric Johnson is a brilliant carpenter who designs and builds furniture out of completely salvaged materials. Armchairs from boat masts, rocking chairs from milk crates, lamps from moped scraps. A lot of “recycled” product design can end up looking not too different from the garbage it started out as, but Johnson does an incredible job of using clean, shrewd designs to make objects that stand on their own regardless of their history. The combination of his intelligent designs and recycled materials is inspiring in its own right too, quietly encouraging us all to see the potential in the mountains of discarded objects that overwhelm our modern lives. So kudos on three levels, Eric. Keep your eyes on Mr. Johnson, I smell a bright future.
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)