I've just discovered for myself the work of Olly and Suzi. They trek across the earth and make animal photographs and drawings/paintings that look like early Joseph Beuys. I think I'm in love.
"Our art-making process is concerned with our journey; a collaborative, mutual response to nature at its most primitive and wild. The majority of our art is conducted in diverse and remote environments both on land and in the sea. We paint on location and in close proximity to animals, which are often endangered, because they are still here. They are our primary subject matter. Where possible we use natural pigments and materials. In this way the wild is our studio."
Read more about the duo in this lengthy article from Men's Vogue.
In my last post I mentioned Kinokuniya which is a great place to find Japanese art books, magazines, and stationary. But right near-by is the holy grail of used Japanese books and manga - Book Off. Books can be found in English and Japanese for dirt cheap - about $1 to $5. There is apparently a strange shame in Japan for purchasing used or old books - as documented in this NY times article. However, there's no shame in the U.S. for folks who love to dig for the bizarre and fascinating. Like this reader, who discovered Osamu Tezuka's (best known for Astro Boy) comic version of Crime and Punishment.
No Age - Eraser
This spring weather in NYC has got me humming. The new soundtrack for the season is No Age's debut on Sub Pop. It's just what a great rock and roll album should be - 30 compact minutes of pop, noise, invention, and sonic sound-wave surfing. The waves found in this book - New Waves by photographer Takashi Homma - have also peeked my interest. These meditative variations on sun, sand, and surf are a welcome invitation to summer. You can find the book here at NYC's Japanese bookstore - Kinokuniya. Visit the store (right by Bryant Park) for more sources of inspiration from Japan.
An Olafur Eliasson retrospective is opening at both the MoMA and PS1 this Sunday, April 20. In my opinion, the exhibits are just in time. As the thoughtful recent NY times article states, Eliasson's work is refreshing in a market swamped with super-glue junk amalgamations. Eliasson produces real magic, real communal fascination and wonder. Like a modern day James Turrell, Eliasson plays with light and color, space and air, smoke and mirrors. He twists our perceptions and alters our assumptions about art by evoking the wide, mysterious atmosphere of his homelands - Denmark, Iceland and Berlin. View more photos here from the NY Times and some multimedia stuff from the exhibition's previous home at the San Francisco MoMA.
Laika was the first Earth born creature to orbit the planet. She did so in Russia's Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. More than half a century ago. A new monument has been formed in Laika's memory in Moscow. Several other Soviet space dogs followed Laika's cosmic explorations in subsequent years. These dogs have been memorialized in paintings now on display at the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
You can read more about Soviet space dogs here and view a Flickr set of Laika images here. My first introduction to Laika was in the wonderful Swedish film My Life as a Dog. In the film, a boy gazes into the stars and imagines Laika's thoughts and emotions as she traveled into space, which becomes an apt metaphor for the feelings of loss, loneliness, and exploration of childhood.
I've had a lot of work in my life lately. Not very much time to play. And I've felt distinctly out of step, out of sync with the world. "Balance," my dad would always say, "balance is the key!" Work is necessary. It makes fun more fun. But sometimes, I think Andy Warhol is right - work is fun. Supposedly, Andy would work all day and all night on his artwork (amphetamines help). Andy said in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol - "I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of "work," because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don't always want to do." I love reading Andy's book, maybe even more than I like looking at his paintings.
Andy continues his thoughts on work - "Unless you have a job where you have to do what somebody else tells you to do, then the only "person" qualified to be your boss would be a computer that was programmed especially for you, that would take into consideration all of your finances, prejudices, quirks, idea potential, temper tantrums, talents, personality conflicts, growth rate desired, amount and nature of competition, what you'll eat for breakfast on the day you have to fulfill a contract, who you're jealous of, etc. A lot of people could help me with parts and segments of the business, but only a computer would be totally useful to me.
If I had a good computer I could catch up with my thoughts over the weekend if I ever got behind myself. A computer would be a very qualified boss."
Andy published his book in 1975. Who knew that he would predict the internet, blogs, forums, social networking sites, and email? Andy was a smart guy. He made good art and introduced a lot of new ideas. Maybe because he worked so hard. Read more about Andy here.
Too much information. There's a wealth, an excess, on the internet. This video of Air Traffic Control encapsulates my meaning. It's symbolic of the exchange of online information, and at the same time, what is it doing on the internet? The video is hypnotizing, but what purpose does it serve beyond curiosity? What are we learning here?
Books like Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky make me more optimistic about the future of the web. You can view Clay Shirky speaking about "The Power of Organizing Without Organizations" in this video. Organization seems to grow, even to thrive, from chaos. It makes you proud to be alive during such a marvelous and muddled time. Which is probably how the Victorians felt and everybody conducting secular science during the Renaissance. Onwards and upwards.
This is one of my favorite new sites - TED. The videos run the gamut of fascinating, seemingly disconnected content floating in the ether of the internet. Here are two of my favorite videos previously featured on both boingboing and tomorrowland. Above is a theory on the face of Da Vinci, and below is an enthralling lecture on the apparition of mathematical fractals in African art and architecture.
The Los Angeles based Institute for Figuring, which has previously collaborated on exhibitions with the Museum of Jurassic Technology, brings its Crocheted Great Barrier Reef to NYC this week. The project represents the intersection of hyperbolic geometry, natural history, global warming awareness, and feminist handi-craft. From treehugger.com - "With the threat of global warming and agricultural pollutants, scientists believe the reef will be dead in 30 years." The crotched creatures from the ocean's depths have been steadily growing, moving from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York. The exhibition has been snowballing into its current incarnation - a gigantic gorgeous representation of the disintegrating reefs. Read more in this NY Times article and this Chicago Reader article. You can view more images of the reef on this Flickr page.
The reef's opening reception in New York is Sunday, April 6, 3-6pm at World Financial Center, Winter Garden (info). The Reef will also be on view at Broadway Windows at NYU (corner of Broadway and East 10th Street) beginning April 6th. A lecture with Margaret Wertheim, director of the Institute for Figuring, and Kate Holmes, AMNH marine biologist, will be held at the American Natural History Museum on Tuesday, April 8, 7 pm (info) and a symposium will be held at New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU on Sunday, April 20th, 11 am (PDF info).