The house is a shape everyone has some form of relationship with. Whether it symbolizes comfort, global financial crises in housing market, cookie cutter mediocrity or family, the house as a mundane symbol or object has been elevated to captivating experimental art and high art on several occasions. This weekend we share with you a selection of significant works that adapt houses into art objects.
Urs Fischer‘s Untitled (Bread House), constructed of bread, bread crumbs, wood, polyurethane foam, silicone, acrylic paint, screws, tape and rugs leaves every ingredient exposed. Stepping inside this large sculptural work recently at MOCA had the effect of walking inside a decaying fairytale, as the work is naturally allowed to crumble and decompose in exhibition. Stepping over piles of crusts of cinnamon raisin bread amidst dirty rugs and peering up at the bubbled polyeurythane foam that seeps between boards and rows of old bread, the viewer may feel any combination of wonder, amusement and fear- much like Grimms Brothers Fairytales.
An Te Liu‘s Title Deed evolved from the Leona Drive Project in Toronto where a number of vacant tract houses were offered to artists to be reinvented as artistic installations. As this project took place in 2009 in the height of the housing market crash, the artist observed that the simple shape of the existing house represented the 20th century iconic Monopoly board game house pieces. The simple, yet flawless execution of Title Deed situated within a functioning suburban neighborhood carries comical yet heavy implications.
In 2006, “Looking for Lost History” traveled in the form of a 19th Century American Traveling Show. This was Alison Pebworth’s first tour in a continued series of traveling exhibitions, exchanges and happenings exploring what it means to be American. The investigation continues with “Beautiful Possibility” launched first in San Francisco at Southern Exposure coinciding with a intimate exhibition of drawings and a video by Chris Sollars at Michael Rosenthal. The project will then travel May through October from California to South Dakota across the northern United States and Canada. Pebworth seeks to discover a new understanding of our past, present and future through research, conversation and survey’s comparing and contrasting opinions of those living and working in the various regions she visits along the tour.
Pebworth writes: “This interactive project combines art, history and anthropology for an investigative look at obscured people, places, stories and myths and how they contribute to our collective understanding of who we are as Americans. Venues for the traveling show are pre-scheduled and will serve as headquarters for conducting research on local histories and culture. I will be physically touring the show and living in a travel trailer for this solo journey, interacting directly with regional audiences and gathering source material for new work to be included in the second tour and culminating exhibitions in 2011 and 2012.”
High in the Himalayan foothills, fearless Gurung men risk their lives to harvest the massive nests of the worlds largest honeybee. Photographer Eric Valli tagged along to document one of the most dangers jobs that is just business as usual to the people who live in the Himalayas. (via)
Oliver Payne‘s collages present many juxtapositions: East and West, new and old, digital and analog. In an interesting way, though, the images of Japanese Bullet Hell Games and photographs of classical European sculpture compliment one another. A tradition of fantastic stories and violence are present in each. Further, the gallery statement mentions that the “Greek statues serve as a background and a reminder of the fantasy worlds produced in Japanese arcade games, which often picture rural Europe.” While exhibited, the collages are joined by the raucous soundtrack of the noises of a traditional arcade flowing through the gallery.
Lina Scheynius has been one of my favorite photographers for a while now. The nostalgic hazy atmosphere that she creates in her photos really taps into my inner sappy-self. Her photos are always so honest, looking though her work is like looking back on photos of your past…except they’re not yours..and they look far more interesting than reality. I know it has been done before, but her point and shoot photos are some of the most beautiful and successful documentations of life that I’ve seen today. Scheynius has been working more with fashion photography, and I think she’s well suited for it because her work is incredibly romantic and she always makes the mundane fantastic.
Using salvaged materials Boston based artist collective !ND!V!DUALS create sculptural installations occupied by large-scale or life-size characters and creatures that are influenced by 1990’s cartoons, animations, and film set designs. Creatures and anthropomorphic beasts have been the focus of work as well as an interest in creating environments and transformative art experiences. The narratives are fairly open, but encourage viewers to be transported into the world of there humorous and playful sculptures. (via)
The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles has not one, but two very appealing magic-related exhibitions opening April 28. The first, Houdini: Art and Magic, travels to us from New York. Featuring tons of Houdini-ana, the exhibition looks not only at the historical Houdini, but also at his enduring legacy. To that end, the exhibition includes a number of artworks by contemporary artists inspired by the Houdini legend, including such luminaries as Matthew Barney, Petah Coyne, Vik Muniz and Raymond Pettibon. The Skirball has created a second exhibition to give context to Houdini. This is called Masters of Illusion: Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age, and it focuses on Houdini’s predecessors, colleagues and competitors in both Europe and the US, focusing on the years 1875 to 1948. The exhibition examines more than 40 fascinating careers, largely forgotten, and contains many outstanding objects, all displayed in “period” environments meant to evoke vaudeville stages, Victorian magic parlors and the like. Both exhibitions feature vintage photography, gorgeous promotional ephemera, original props and costumes, and rare documents, and Masters of Illusion includes four renowned automata.
San Francisco-based photographer has a few different ongoing projects, but the one I like the best is the tentatively named “The Inhabited West.” The series consists of aerial photographs parts of the American landscape: “pursuing themes of mapping, vertigo, human impact on the land, geology, and various aspects of the sublime.” Some interesting points on how we’ve constructed our world around nature, and how the two interact.