Toy Art: Artists Incorporate The Objects Of Our Youth

Hans Hemmert toy art

Hans Hemmert

Yoram Wolberger toy art

Yoram Wolberger

Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer

I have to confess I am easily drawn to works of art that resemble or depict toys and other childhood objects.  At face value these works are easy, as all of us have some form of relationship or pre-existing association with the referenced nostalgic icons.  In other words, the works naturally engage us and draw us in.  However, these works, specifically those featured here, use the familiar imagery to interject layers of conceptual content, moving far beyond catchy into heavier implications, through expert usage of scale, quantity and context.

Context is key in these pieces.  Maurizio Cattelan is a conceptual master of context, as demonstrated in his piece Daddy Daddy, which features a large drowned figure of Pinocchio floating face down in a pool inside the Guggenheim.  The result is ironic, tragic and flawless.    As well, the practice of significantly altering scale such as Jeff Koons‘ balloon animal sculptures, Urs Fischer‘s Untitled (Lamp/Bear) and Yoram Wolberger‘s life-size sculptures of toy and trophy figurines, allows the objects to become monolithic, dwarf us and alter our sense of reality.

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Documentary Watch: Skin- Tattoo Culture as high art

Directed by Ryan Hope, Skin is a dark, stylish examination of tattoo culture as high art, and a film that tests the boundaries of art and the human body. Featuring contributions from Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Raymond Pettibon, the film is a beautiful visual essay from the frontiers of contemporary British art. Watch the full documentary after the jump.

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Culinary Fine Arts

mondrian cake At the SFMOMA’s Rooftop Coffee Bar, baker Caitlin Williams Freeman has found a fun way to pay homage to the artists featured in the museum.  If you’re in the area, visit the museum, then swing by the Coffee Bar to munch on pastries of art you just saw!

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Art:21 Season 5!

Usually I don’t get too excited about shows on PBS but I have to say that Art:21 is by far the best thing i’ve ever watched on public television. If you’re not familiar with the show, Art: 21 is the only prime time show dedicated exclusively to contemporary artists. Each season follows 14 of the biggest names in the art world as they walk you through their conceptual process, studio practice and share rare behind the scenes footage of work in progress. Some of my favorite episodes from previous seasons include the legendary interview with Barry Mcgee and his wife Margaret Kilgallen and LA painter Lari Pittman. This is a must see show for anyone interested in the international contemporary art world.

I received a preview copy of Season 5 and I’m happy to announce that it does not disappoint with another set of interviews with art legends such as John Baldessari, Cao Fei, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, and many more.

Season 5 premieres Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 10:00 p.m. (ET).
More Art:21 trailers after the jump.

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