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Ice Fishing Shanties Transformed Into Alternative Art Spaces In Minnesota

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I93A0248Photos by Urban Camper

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)

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Jason Rhoades Amazingly Intricate Neon Installations

Jason Rhoades - installation

Jason Rhoades - installation

Jason Rhoades - installation

Jason Rhoades, who lived and worked in Los Angeles up until his death in 2006, created amazing, over-the-top, often overwhelming, generally disorienting installations.  Using neon, plastic buckets, power tools, snaking wires, figurines, sound and other odds and ends Rhoades created work that is engaging, witty and visually spectacular.

Known as “scatter art,” Rhoades’ environments combine a multiplicity of ideas.  In works like The Creation Myth, originally installed in 1998, and now re-created for his retrospective at the ICA in Philadelphia, Rhoades created sculptural forms representing how humanity processes information, forms memories and produces things like art.  The work often contains biographical, sexual and sometimes outright vulgar elements that require a viewer’s patience and open-mindedness.  Seemingly arbitrary, each artifact has its purpose within Rhoades’ installations.

Overloading a viewer with information and visual content replete with metaphors and symbols, Rhoades purposefully creates his installations to avoid finite conclusions.  In many ways Rhoades’ works mirror human thought—they layer information and content in seemingly incoherent ways forming multiple, usually incomplete notions and assumptions.

Rhoades’ retrospective will be on view at the Philadelphia ICA through December 29.

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Kim Gordon – Performing/Guzzling

Kim Gordon performing/guzzling

If there is one band that I associate with the art world it would have to be Sonic Youth. Over the last 30 years the band has collaborated with such blue chip artists such as Mike Kelley, John Cage, Yoko Ono, and Christian Marclay. So it’s no surprise that Kim Gordon, one of Sonic Youth’s founding members has just released a book of paintings and photographs with Rizzoli Books and Nieves Titled “Performing/Guzzling.”

Performing/Guzzling functions more as a hard bound artist journal than a monograph filled with page after page of Gordon’s ghost like watercolors, text paintings, lyrics/poetry, and photography. The watercolor works are by far the most accomplished, inspired by on-stage performances where the faces in the audience become a dreamy and ethereal blur of color.

The first printing of the book will be in a limited edition of 3,000 copies, with each containing a signed print by Kim Gordon. Performing/Guzzling is a must have book for both artist book enthusiasts and Sonic Youth fans alike!

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Sayaka Kajita Ganz

Emergence, 2008

Emergence, 2008

The sculptures of Sayaka Kajita Ganz are gorgeous. Made out of plastic utensils to hangers, these sculptures are done in such a way that they capture the movement of the animals in action. My favorite piece would have to be the sculptures with the running horses, “Emergence”. Her work is so dynamic and depicts such an agility out of something as unconventional as kitchen utensils. Sayaka was born in Japan and currently lives and works in Indiana.

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Ben Beshaw’s Outer space Kitten Riders

Ben Beshaw’s paintings of galactic cat riding avengers and unicorn saving business men will surely appeal both to lovers of uncanny narratives and surreal juxtapositions.

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Sasha Frolova is a latex dream come true

Sasha Frolova

Aquaaerobika is a project synthesizing art-performance and electronic music. Moscow based artist Sasha Frolova founder presents herself in the show in animated style image of silicone blonde, universal superwoman from the future with ultra-abilities. The plot of the show is endless computer game in which the main character travels through parallel worlds of future and talks about it’s feelings, dreams, love and hope of finding it. Electro-pop, 8bit, disco-house and avant-garde sometimes quite abstract texts are mixed with a vivid spectacular performance based on images of postmodernism. Soo amazing.

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Whimsical Bussiness Cards Of Your Favorite Pop Culture Hero’s And Villains

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Business cards exist as a tangible resource and advertisment for offering one’s trade. Benedetto Papi and Edoardo Satamato of Italian creative agency Invasiona Creativa began to wonder: what jobs would pop culture characters have, and how would their cards look?

Beginning with the idea that these characters (ranging from science fiction to comedy to horror and action films) lost their jobs, how would they rebrand? Although most of the results involve wordplay over any serious retelling of the character’s myth, the results are playful and fun, which seems to be the duo’s motivation.

On their website, the group declares, “A different approach compared to canonical style of advertising agencies: a NERD APPROACH…We will do everything to…give new life to mundane communications, to re-invent social campaigns completely useless, to regain lost contact with the consumer, to open new horizons in the world of apps…” (via mymodernmet)

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Incredible Chewing Gum Sculptures By Maurizio Savini

Maurizio Savini - chewing gum sculptures Maurizio Savini - chewing gum sculpturesMaurizio Savini - chewing gum sculptures

The first question Maurizio Savini is asked about his work is one he hates to hear: does he chew every piece of gum he uses to make his sculptures? He admits this question is very annoying, but if everybody is still genuinely interested, then no – no he doesn’t chew the gum. Instead he has two full time assistants unwrapping each stick of gum and melting the pink sticky stuff into layers of usable material. Savini begins his lengthy process by layering the sheets of gum around plaster molds which give his sculptures stability and shape.

Working with the gum for over a decade, he has created some amazing pieces. One sculpture  – ‘La Lupa‘ (the figure who nursed the founders of Savini’s birthplace of Rome back to health) is made from 14 kg of chewing gum. He has animals bearing different flags, business men clutching pillows, chandeliers and women’s shoes among many other things. His work is usually loaded with some sort of socially and/or politically focused message.

He says chewing gum has a unique cultural context. It is connected to art history, industry and world history, and is a loaded symbol for Savini. He says after being introduced to Europe when WW2 was ending, the material became a symbol (along with Coca Cola and nylon stockings) of a new era.

When Savini began making his chewing gum sculptures, he has the misfortune of several pieces disintegrating. He now combines the gum with formaldehyde and anti-biotics to preserve it, so the high sugar content doesn’t destroy the pieces. You can see some of his new pieces at the upcoming Art-Southampton, July 9-13, 2015, or find out more about how he makes his creations in the video above.

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