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’.
When the cold and snow are as harsh as this winter, the idea of an outdoor art fair sounds less than ideal to most. But, when cabin fever kicks in, anyone stuck indoors for too long understands the need to take drastic action to make the Hibernation Months bearable. Taking inspiration from the omnipresent winter ice fishing communities that spontaneously gather upon frozen lakes and ponds across the Midwest, the Art Shanties Project groups together to various themed ice shanties into a small winter attraction to give warm-blooded (and hot chocolate drinking) Minnesotans something to get through the cold months.
Proposals for these art-minded ice house are selected by committee, and run by volunteers for a few weeks in the dead of winter, creating an outdoor happening which explores the potential of new ideas in community-driven art. As the Shanties’ mission statement explains, “Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of what art can be.”
Taking place in Minnesota since 2006, and operating every other year to protect the water quality and natural wildlife after the ice’s thaw, this year’s was the first on the ice of the Twin Cities suburb of White Bear Lake (hence the 25 foot, Bear-shaped bicycle-powered Pedal Bear). Each shanties’ theme range from winter-related like Ice Ice Maybe (which encases boutique items in ice) and the history museum/training course Curling Clubhouse Ice Shanty, to more participatory (such as the boogie-down Dance Shanty and the kite-making Wind Shanty) to the more conceptual (the Lost Found and Wanting Shanty, which collects actual lost belongings as well as existential yearnings). Citing artist-audience involvement to the spontaneous community which gathers on the ice as its main goal, the Art Shanties Project “…provides a unique opportunity for artists to interact with their audience, and vice versa, in an un-intimidating, non-gallery like environment.” (via l’étoile)
Yuri Suzuki is an English artist/designer/inventor who has been making some really remarkable objects. They’re not really “art” in a traditional sense, but they’re not products or inventions that would ever be used by The People, nor are they simple design ideas. What they are, is amazing–phonograph globes, flame organs, theremin radios. Yuri is also a big supporter of the DIY community, so if you’re wondering how to make any of his objects, he has instructions for most of them on his website. Suzuki’s is a very special brain. Check out videos of his objects in action after the jump! ( via )
Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, who is based in Berlin, creates sculptural installations. Often surrounding miscellaneous items like clothing or furniture in tangled nets of twine, she places strict limits upon perception within her work. The stringy elements of her installations almost exist as clouds obstructing the objects that make up each piece. In this way, a work is viewed simultaneously as a singular object and as a product of its environment. Here, airy materials compound into an extremely weighted whole, repositioning our impressions of worldly material. (via)
While many mediums have a constant back and forth debate between an emphasis towards using traditional, conventional methors or more recently available techniques, printmaker Carolyn Frischling does not concern herself with the argument. The Pittsburgh-based artist investigates new techniques in both image creation and printing methods, while continuing to honor the constantly-evolving history of the medium. “I’m proud that printmaking comes out of a long line of democratic, inclusive ideals, that today is at the forefront of technology and creativity.” Like many makers of prints, Frischling uses several simultaneous techniques to achieve the airy and colorful visual textures in her work, differentiated only by the image creation beforehand using computer editing programs. When asked by Beautiful/Decay to explain the benefits of working digitally versus using traditional methods, Frischling first explains, “Digital art enables me to use the same thought processes of traditional printmaking without the toxicity of using traditional materials on a daily basis.”
These moody and ethereal digital works are printed with archival inks on paper, silk, glass and aluminum, heavy with an abstract beauty attached to their process. Frischling further explains her methodology, “Digital printmaking is incredibly nuanced. There is so much more I can do that I couldn’t do in traditional printmaking, although the only reason I understand digital as well as I do, is because the thought processes are the very same. Sometimes I do miss the physicality involved in other kinds of art-making, but my art isn’t about physicality, so I think in this instance,”The medium is the message.”
Ultimately, whether created by physical process or digital manipulation, the works speak for themselves with strong compositions, moody palates, delicate forms and attest to the time spent mastering any artistic discipline. When Frischling explains, “My instinct is always to create movement and energy through use of color and form”, it is a goal separate from process and more located in ambition.
There’s a pretty great pair of painting shows on the Lower East Side in NYC at Dodge Gallery. Ted Gahl is in the front room with his cryptic, interpretive and symbolic paintings. I was drawing with him once, and he drew something that looked like a mysterious jelly bean, using a marker on construction paper. I was curious so I asked Ted what it was, and told me it was a car mirror reflecting the driver. Go Figure is group show curated by Eddie Martinez, and it has a bunch of artists that have appeared on Beautiful/Decay’s website and in the book series. There is some very choice work too, it’s interesting to see the work together as well. After the jump you can see work by Allison Schulnik, Erik Parker, Jamison Brosseau, and Jose Lerma. Both shows are up until November 13th.
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg‘s project, Stranger Visions, is a wonderful mix of science and art. Dewey-Hagborg turns a poetic attention to the seemingly innocuous artifacts of life: a hair, chewed gum, a cigarette butt. Beyond sight, though, the DNA remains of each unique person inhabits these “artifacts”. She picks up these remains up throughout Brooklyn and brings them to a nearby biology lab. Dewey-Hagborg extracts the DNA from the object, then information from the DNA. She runs the information through a program she has written herself that is able to determine physical features such as eye color, hair color, gender, nose width, and so on. That information is then exported to a 3D color printer to create a sculptural portrait of the unwitting donor. [via]
The proof of the upcoming Book 1: Supernaturalism just came in the mail today! Though, mind you, it is but a mere semblance of its grand future manifestation(!) What you see before you is B/D, sort of at the hominid stage of evolution- breaking off from the flat computer screen and beginning to use tools to make small fires around the office. Wah wah. But while this little puppy is made of taped together color print outs (don’t mind my editorial post-it notes, either) and is without Kyle Thomas’ hand-drawn cover, it is to scale of what the future B/D self will look like. Please note, if you will, the beautiful triumverate-ly mystical gatefold of all seeing eyes, the lack of advertising, the pages and pages of glossy art coverage….(more pictures after the jump.)
For those of you not hip to what us cool kids do in the “mag biz,” young padawan, we use this proof to double check the layout, page composition, coloring, etc in three-dimensional form before approving it. At any rate, hope you enjoy the peep show. Get excited for Book 1! What do you guys think?