Richard Mosse's Stunning Photos of the Congo

Curator: Rev. Fredrik Öst IV
date: April 18, 2015
Categories: Photography
Tags: art, exhibition, Museum
Until the end of May, one of our favorite photographers, Richard Mosse, has an exhibition called “The Enclave” at the Museum of Modern Art in Louisiana. Mosse captures the horrible civil war in eastern DR Congo in a striking, poetic, and beautiful way, using an outdated military surveillance film that turn everything that's green, pink instead. And as you may know, we love pink!

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Dr. Frankenstein's Busy Making the Perfect Human. NBD.

Curator: Isabella Bruno
date: October 29, 2014
Categories: Entertainment Design, Environmental Design
Tags: exhibition, history

In the lead-up to Halloween, I’ve selected five projects to scare, provoke and stimulate the designer’s brain. These aren’t all ghosts and goblins, but each has something special to offer.

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Playing with Fire? Don’t Be Surprised if You Get Burned

Curator: Isabella Bruno
date: October 29, 2014
Categories: Environmental Design
Tags: exhibition, politics

In the lead-up to Halloween, I’ve selected five projects to scare, provoke and stimulate the designer’s brain. These aren’t all ghosts and goblins, but each has something special to offer.

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Miroslaw Balka: The Order of Things

Curator: Wade Jeffree
date: August 15, 2014
Categories: Art
Tags: art, exhibition, sculpture

Miroslaw Balka is a contemporary Polish sculptor and video artist. His show at Gladstone gallery last year was a confrontation of the natural and mechanical. I loved it.


I'm very big fan of large, intrusive and invasive sculptures. (Gladstone is one of my favorite galleries for that). Upon passing the reception desk at Gladstone you see a large white wall covering what usually shows the soon-to-be-viewed gallery space. As you start to open the door to enter the space you're hit with a wall of sounds made by the rushing water on top of the sculpture to come.


Entering the room you're greeted by two monolithic steel containers that completely dwarf you. Their original context is unknown, but the notion of the machine and its empowering drive to propel is evident.


A loud wall of sound is presented and could be confused for a waterfall if not for the overwhelming containers that sit in front of you. The thick black, oil-like substance that's currently being expelled from two industrial hoses into the two four-sided containers could be representative of many things. Is it oil? Is it another form of industrial waste? Or it is simply water and paint? It's re-circulated to continuously spool the liquid around in a fountain-like motion; gallons upon gallons of it circulate in a never-ending flow.


At this point you can take two positions: either walk around and explore the circulatory system that sits behind, or you stand on the plinth in the center of the two containers 10 feet back. After exploring this, I stood on the plinth and began a somewhat hypnotic experience. You're left with the discourse of nature and mechanized world. The scale and sound work together to focus your energy on the piece and the surrounding sound.


The transformation of something so industrial into this serene environment is something that I really love. You're confused as to what it is and you want to know more, but you're left there, watching and listening intently to the subtleties in the wall of sound and what distinctions come from every rotation of the substance. The confusion with the representation of machine and nature is polarizing; How could something so unnatural be so natural once I close my eyes? It's strong in itss appearance and idea, but upon further reading it only gets deeper—I truly loved this piece (and wish I had done it).


What I love most about these types of shoes is their ability to suspend my knowledge for their creation.


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Urs Fischer Mounts an Unexpected Sculpture Exhibition in a Dilapidated Chase Bank Building

Curator: Wade Jeffree
date: August 13, 2014
Categories: Art
Tags: art, exhibition, sculpture

Banks aren't typically places that you look forward to visiting (this is why we can now scan checks on our phone). The bland stillness inside makes you want to get in and out as quickly as possible. But now artist Urs Fischer is using a gutted Chase bank on Delancey Street in New York City (leftover signage hanging feebly from the ceiling and all) as a gallery space. 


The facade is covered with graffiti and looks completely dilapidated, which is actually quite fitting considering the nature of Fischer’s work and the sculptures in the current show.


You might recognize many of the works from his large show at MOCA, entitled "YES," where 1,500 participants created clay sculptures on-site, ranging from cats to crazy monsters. Fischer then selected a batch of these to be cast in bronze. The MOCA show was about the energy that's sustained within the creative process, as well as the fast pace of working with clay. It holds a similar energy drawing or writing in a sketch book. Fischer wanted to capture that feeling and then solidify it, which he does here, too.


These sculptures are spread throughout the bank—literally every corner of the bank is accessible—from the vault to the the tellers’ desks. There are many surprises found in locations not normally accessible to customers. In the vault at the very back of the building, I found a large, body builder torso wearing a baseball cap, aptly named "bro w/ hat.Held atop a squished clay-like cast bronze base, it was both bewildering and confrontational. The scale and placement of the sculpture worked gave me a feeling of discomfort. Even though the security cameras were no longer running, I felt like I was doing something wrong.  


Other pieces included a one-legged boy in an armchair, a gigantic foot, a fireplace, some columns, a bust of Napoleon, a Louis XIV chair, a mermaid (conceived as a functional fountain), a depiction of sleep, a man copulating with a pig, a man and woman embracing, a hat on rocks, a man in a boat, a faceless cat, a pile, a Pièta and a lion in chains. Though constructed in cast bronze, some of which are silver- and gold-plated, they still retain their essence of the decrepit, expressionistic tone in many of Fischers pieces. 


The banal nature of the bank only heightens the surreal representation of these sculptures; their construction and dilapidated nature mirror the dilapidated bank to retain a sense of "banal shittines." As Fischer says, they're a "chaotic little non-family of things," brought together in an unexpected and "convulsive" context, which was key in heightening my experience.

For further reading, I recommend his book, Urs Fischer.

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