August 27, 2015

Jordan J. Weber’s new mural is spotlighted

Jordan Weber‘s monumental mural is dramatically illuminated (below) at night. This dazzling artwork is located just east of 4th Street and bordering Locust Street in downtown Des Moines, Iowa — across from Cowles Commons.

Photo by Aaron Graves, 2015; Coutesy of Jordan Weber@fluxxcollective

Photo by Aaron Graves, 2015; Coutesy of Jordan Weber@fluxxcollective

The Des Moines Register art critic Michael Morain reported on August 3, 2015 that Weber, known for politically and socially charged artwork, “spray-paint[ed] black outlines on the two-story, 100-foot long wall, with help from a forklift, a video projector and a few buddies from Minneapolis. …But the new mural’s message is more subtle. The blonde woman represents “the overall American consumer” or a “more traditional” Des Moines citizen reacting to downtown’s rapid growth. Partially hidden among the graffiti tags are Dopey from Disney’s “Snow White” and a pair of Smurfs, whose woodland habitat is threatened by development.”

“In any city in America, there are murals everywhere. In Oakland, you can’t go two blocks without seeing one,” Weber said, praising downtown Des Moines’ own murals. “Hopefully, in another year or two, we’ll have twice as many…”

Check out more images of Jordan Weber’s work.

August 24, 2015

RFP and RFQ: ARTWORK COMMEMORATING THE VISITS OF CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING AND HIS FATHER TO IOWA

In honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic visits to Iowa [1985 and 2012] as well as that of his father Xi Zhongxun in 1980, the World Food Prize Foundation [hereafter WFPF] is requesting proposals and qualifications from artists resident in Iowa or with an Iowa connection [birth, education, training, prior residence] to create an original artwork in any medium commemorating those events and the special relationship of President Xi to the state of Iowa.

The proposed artwork should convey to the viewer element(s) / aspects / impact of the visits of the Xi father and son, with primary emphasis on the significance of President Xi Jinping’s two visits. The artwork will be permanently displayed in the Iowa Gallery of the WFPF Hall of Laureates building in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Hall of Laureates is a century old former public library which serves as a museum, convocation center and headquarters for the WFPF. The Iowa Gallery is dedicated to telling the story of Iowa’s remarkable agricultural and humanitarian heritage through the artwork displayed there.

The Hall of Laureates is a century old former public library which serves as a museum, convocation center and headquarters for the WFPF. The Iowa Gallery is dedicated to telling the story of Iowa’s remarkable agricultural and humanitarian heritage through the artwork displayed there.

BACKGROUND – VISITS BY PRESIDENT XI AND HIS FATHER
Xi Zhongxun visited Iowa in 1980 immediately after the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China. At that time, he was serving as Governor of Guangdong Province, and was the leader of a delegation of governors from China who were welcomed by then Iowa Governor Robert Ray.

Governor Xi’s son, Xi Jinping, first visited Iowa in 1985 as part of an agricultural delegation when he was a county level Party Secretary in Hebei Province [Iowa’s “sister state” in China]. He met then with newly elected Iowa GovernorTerry Branstad and spent time in the city of Muscatine where he memorably stayed overnight in a family’s home. In

February 2012, now Vice President Xi Jinping paid a sentimental return visit to Iowa at the invitation of Governor Branstad during which he was welcomed at the home of Sarah Lande in Muscatine, feted at a “state dinner” at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines and toured an Iowa farm.

During that latter visit, the WFPF served as host for the 2012 U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium at which then Vice President Xi delivered the keynote address in the Hall of Laureates.

Links to two articles that describe the visits by President Xi and his father:
Seeds for Xi’s visit to Iowa planted in 1979
Iowa and China have come full circle

BACKGROUND OF THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE
The World Food Prize is the foremost international award presented to laureates from around the globe who have made exceptional breakthrough achievements increasing the quality, quantity and availability of food, thereby reducing hunger and malnutrition in the world. Created in 1986 by the late Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Iowa native Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, this annual $250,000 award has been informally referred to as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.”

The 40 individuals who have been named World Food Prize laureates are considered to have led the single greatest period of food production and hunger reduction in human history. Among the past recipients are: Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus; the former president of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; Professor Yuan Longping of China; former Senators Bob Dole and George McGovern; and UN World Food Programme head Catherine Bertini.

The “Prize” is presented each October in a ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, held in conjunction with the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium. Speakers at past World Food Prize conferences and events include: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, Secretary of State John Kerry, Kofi Annan and Bill Gates.

Information about the World Food Prize Foundation, which is a 501[c][3] non-profit organization, is available at www.worldfoodprize.org

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Proposals may be submitted in either electronic / digital [encouraged] or paper format and must include the following information:

 Artist name

 Address and contact information

 Describe Artist’s connection to Iowa

 Written description of the artwork to be created including proposed size and a statement as to whether the

proposed size is adjustable, based on the wishes of the WFPF

 The requested compensation for creation of the artwork, including proposed phases of payments

 The anticipated timeframe for completing the artwork once the commission is awarded

 At least three [3] examples of previous artworks completed by the artist, including any that the artist considers could help the WFPF understand the style and visual impact of the proposed artwork. More than three examples of prior artworks are welcome and encouraged.

 A preliminary sketch / drawing / model of the proposed artwork

NOVEMBER DUE DATE
Proposals must reach the World Food Prize office at artwork@worldfoodprize.org or at 100 Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309 by 5pm CST, on Monday, November 2, 2015. The WFPF anticipates awarding a commission to create the artwork in December 2015. The completion and delivery date for the artwork is October 1, 2016.

QUESTIONS
Questions should be submitted in writing to artwork@worldfoodprize.org

August 13, 2015

Artist Sends Ladder of Fire into the Sky

Sky Ladder,” a pyrotechnic artwork by Cai Guoqiang.

Off the shore of huiyu island — a small and picturesque fishing village the chinese city of quanzhou — artist Cai Guo-Qiang has realized the explosion event ‘sky ladder’ in his hometown, a project he has attempted three times over the past 21 years. Finally completed in Quanzhou, ‘sky ladder’ was offered as a gift for the artist’s 100-year old grandmother, his parents, family, and hometown.

Off the shore of huiyu island — a small and picturesque fishing village the chinese city of quanzhou — artist Cai Guo-Qiang has realized the explosion event ‘sky ladder’ in his hometown, a project he has attempted three times over the past 21 years. Finally completed in Quanzhou, ‘sky ladder’ was offered as a gift for the artist’s 100-year old grandmother, his parents, family, and hometown.

Cai Guo-qiang filled a gigantic white balloon with 6,200 cubic meters of heliu.

Cai Guo-qiang filled a gigantic white balloon with 6,200 cubic meters of heliu.

Born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China, Cai moved to Shanghai in 1981 to study theater design at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. After spending nearly a decade in Tokyo (1986-95) he moved to New York City where he currently lives and works. At the close of his studies in 1985, Cai began experimenting with gunpowder. The resulting works, which he has described as “unpredictable splendor,” combined his interest in chance and the physically as well as culturally charged material. Small, more personal explosions gave way to monumental events that garnered the energy and workforce of the community. Each project is site specific, calling upon the cultural and geographical history of the chosen place to inform the work.

"Sky Ladder" lasted a total of 150 seconds, before finally dimming from the bottom up.

“Sky Ladder” lasted a total of 150 seconds, before finally dimming from the bottom up.

August 7, 2015

Jordon Weber Creates New Mural in Des Moines

Jordan J. Weber (American, born 1984) is currently painting a new mural in downtown Des Moines at Locust and 4th Street, just north of Cowles Commons.

The mural concept design by Jordan J Weber who is a full time artist/curator from Des Moines, Iowa, where he currently lives.

The mural concept design by Jordan J Weber who is a full time artist/curator from Des Moines, Iowa, where he currently lives.

August 6, 2015

American Enterprise Group’s Architecture + Art: AEG Open House

Des Moines, IA: American Enterprise Group is showcasing its newly renovated mid-century modern building and extensive contemporary art collection with a public open house. The event is scheduled for Sunday, August 9 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The building and art park is located in downtown Des Moines at 601 Sixth Avenue. Art docents and informational handouts will be available. It is the first time in nearly 20 years that the building and the art collection that graces its floors are open to the general public.

AEG Building and Pomodoro Sphere within a Sphere Sculpture-525px

The eight-story American Enterprise headquarters is designed by renowned American architect Gordon Bunshaft, a leading proponent of modern design in the mid-twentieth century.

This corporate headquarters is a mid-1960s "muscular rendition" of an integrated systems building. The space planning concept of fixed work stations provides window views to many workers with the provate offices located near the core. Originaly, a metal "stabile" by sculptor Alexander Calder was displayed in the entry court (it was replaced by Amaldo Pomodoro's 1999 bronze "Sphere Within a Sphere") — a fine modern art collection complements the interior.

This corporate headquarters is a mid-1960s “muscular rendition” of an integrated systems building. The space planning concept of fixed work stations provides window views to many workers with the provate offices located near the core. Originaly, a metal “stabile” by sculptor Alexander Calder was displayed in the entry court (it was replaced by Amaldo Pomodoro’s 1999 bronze “Sphere Within a Sphere”) — a fine modern art collection complements the interior.

The building, completed 50 years ago, has been nominated for international architectural significance and is in the final stage of being added to the National Register of Historic Places. The federal designation will signify national recognition of the building’s historic and architectural significance.

"Landscape Piece #1" was created in 1965 by Dale Eldred (American, 1933-1993). Photo by King Au

“Landscape Piece #1″ was created in 1965 by Dale Eldred (American, 1933-1993). Photo by King Au

For more information: Eldred

The building and the adjacent sculpture art park is home to the company’s large contemporary art collection. The art collection started in the 1960s as a way to enliven the building’s simplistic modern design and to inspire an innovative work environment.

The open house event allows the public access to specific floors of the renovated building and to the majority of the newly reinstalled art collection of nearly 400 pieces by Andy Warhol, Claus Oldenberg, Michael Pavlosky, Frank Gardner, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Ivan Chermayeff, Peter Chinni, Jack Youngerman, John Salt, Jean Arp, among others.

“Construction”  by Ivan Chermayeff (American, b. London, England 1932) is a wall with painted steel components commissioned in 1971.

“Construction” by Ivan Chermayeff (American, b. London, England 1932) is a wall with painted steel components commissioned in 1971.

August 5, 2015

Artwork ‘Wading Bridge,’ pulled early, showed dynamics of the river

The temporary public art installation ‘Wading Bridge’ by New York-based artist Mary Mattingly will not be reinstalled in the Raccoon River in Water Works Park.

The temporary public art installation, a dock off the riverbank that was partially submerged so people could walk in the water, had to be pulled to land last week in response to the flood-stage water levels caused by significant rainfall in the Raccoon River watershed. Organizers had planned to keep ‘Wading Bridge’ in the water through Sunday, August 9, but opted not to reinstall it out of respect for the time of the volunteer installation crew.

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“We certainly learned a lot about the river, which was the artist’s key objective,” said Jessica Rowe, director of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. “I am most excited that this public art project nurtured wider strategies for residents and visitors to explore their relationship with this important natural resource. ‘Wading Bridge’ opened a lot of people’s eyes and illustrated just how much rain runs straight into the river, like a gutter, because we’ve redesigned the land around it to not hold and absorb rainwater. This initiative emphasized that the river’s volatility will be a challenge as we try to reconnect with our river town roots.”

The public art installation was aimed at engaging the community in a conversation about the future of the waterways and nearby greenways in Greater Des Moines. The public is being asked for ideas for approximately 150 miles of the region’s waterways as part of a regional water trails master plan being developed by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The Des Moines Area MPO, the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, funded the public art project. The art installation river was made possible by the generous volunteer work of Michael LaValle, president of Port of Des Moines, LLC, and Tim Monson of Shuck-Britson.

The public can share their ideas for improving the region’s waterways in an interactive online game. Additional details about the regional waterways planning process.

July 22, 2015

‘Wading Bridge’ Invites People to Reconnect with the River

The public is invited to dip their feet in the Raccoon River as part of a public art installation by New York-based artist Mary Mattingly.

The art installation, titled “Wading Bridge,” is a dock off the riverbank that lets people walk not only over the water – but in the water – as the center section of Wading Bridge is submerged under water. The art installation opens to the public Friday, July 24, and will remain in the water through Sunday, August 9, near the boat launch in Water Works Park.

The installation of the art in the river was made possible by the generous volunteer work of Michael LaValle (pictured center, during installation), president of Port of Des Moines, LLC, and Tim Monson of Shuck-Britson.

The installation of the art in the river was made possible by the generous volunteer work of Michael LaValle (pictured center, during installation), president of Port of Des Moines, LLC, and Tim Monson of Shuck-Britson.

“Our rivers determine our land, livelihood and lives – and Des Moines’ rivers are a force,” Mattingly said. “Crossing ‘Wading Bridge’ and getting our feet wet allows us a momentary intimacy with this river.”

The public art installation is aimed at engaging people in a community conversation about the future of the waterways and nearby greenways in Greater Des Moines. The public is being asked for their ideas for approximately 150 miles of the region’s waterways as part of a regional water trails master plan being developed by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization on behalf of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The public art work and the event is funded by the Des Moines Area MPO, the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The installation of the art in the river was made possible by the generous volunteer work of Michael LaValle, president of Port of Des Moines, LLC, and Tim Monson of Shuck-Britson.

The public can share their ideas for improving the region’s waterways in an interactive online game: RIVER

July 13, 2015

French artist JR

French artist JR (born 22 February 1983) works anonymously, but the giant images he pastes on buildings, streets, and bridges around the world are meant to put faces on often-ignored slices of society, from victims of crime to the elderly.

French artist JR poses with his public art installation "Actions" on the Terrace at Somerset House in London on October 7, 2013.

French artist JR poses with his public art installation “Actions” on the Terrace at Somerset House in London on October 7, 2013.

He has described himself as a “photograffeur”, he flyposts large black-and-white photographic images in public locations in a manner which is similar to the appropriation of the built environment by the graffiti artist. He started out on the streets of Paris. JR’s work often challenges widely held preconceptions and the reductive images propagated by advertising and the media.

JR, who has received a TED Prize for his work, sees the streets as his stage and says he “owns the biggest art gallery in the world.”

Keep scrolling to see four of the artist’s most visually arresting works that are integrated into a specific site.

In early 2014, JR took portraits of dozens of people, and turned them into a collage around the dome of the Pantheon in Paris while it was under construction. The installation depicted "the diversity of the contemporary world." [ABOVE] More of the artist's portraits were displayed under the dome of the Pantheon in Paris.

In early 2014, JR took portraits of dozens of people, and turned them into a collage around the dome of the Pantheon in Paris while it was under construction. The installation depicted “the diversity of the contemporary world.”
[ABOVE] More of the artist’s portraits were displayed under the dome of the Pantheon in Paris.

JR covered the walls of homes in favela Providencia in Rio de Janeiro with photographs of women in 2008. The project, called "Women Are Heroes," depicted women whose relatives were the victims of clashes between police and drug traffickers.

JR covered the walls of homes in favela Providencia in Rio de Janeiro with photographs of women in 2008. The project, called “Women Are Heroes,” depicted women whose relatives were the victims of clashes between police and drug traffickers.

Starting in 2011, JR and his team photographed individuals as part of a global project called "Inside Out."  portraits were pasted on walls in a central part Shanghai. A different part of "Inside Out" was displayed on the roof of a foot bridge at Hong Kong's Financial Central District in 2012.

Starting in 2011, JR and his team photographed individuals as part of a global project called “Inside Out.” portraits were pasted on walls in a central part Shanghai. A different part of “Inside Out” was displayed on the roof of a foot bridge at Hong Kong’s Financial Central District in 2012.

For "Wrinkles of the City," JR's plastered murals of the elderly around various cities. In this photo, a bird flies past Berlin's decorated television tower.

For “Wrinkles of the City,” JR’s plastered murals of the elderly around various cities. In this photo, a bird flies past Berlin’s decorated television tower.

July 13, 2015

Public Art & Skateboard Parks

The skatepark as public art. Photo courtesy of Antonie Robertson.

The skatepark as public art. Photo courtesy of Antonie Robertson.

Recently in Vancouver, British Columbia a skateboard competition transformed a park into a public art installation. Reigning Canadian champion Alex Sorgente was joined by dozens of featured for an annual skate park jam, Design direction for the temporary public art project was provided by graffiti artists Virus and Ben Tour, supported by talent from the city.

Adam Hopkins of Vancouver competes in the Van Doren Invitational skateboard competition at Hastings Skate Park in Vancouver on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider

Adam Hopkins of Vancouver competes in the Van Doren Invitational skateboard competition at Hastings Skate Park in Vancouver on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider

Looking around the nation, there are other fascinating public art projects connected to skateboard parks. Here are a few examples:

LAND studio partnered with Grindline Skateparks Inc., Public Square Group, and the City of Cleveland to create an beautiful skate park. The skate park covers 15,000 square feet and features the iconic snake run, street park elements, ledges and more.  Cleveland-based designer Dru Mckeown of TOI studio was selected as part of the City of Cleveland's public art program to design a shade structure for the park. The 40-foot structure is inspired by the industrial landscape of the Cuyahoga River Valley.

LAND studio partnered with Grindline Skateparks Inc., Public Square Group, and the City of Cleveland to create an beautiful skate park. The skate park covers 15,000 square feet and features the iconic snake run, street park elements, ledges and more. Cleveland-based designer Dru Mckeown of TOI studio was selected as part of the City of Cleveland’s public art program to design a shade structure for the park. The 40-foot structure is inspired by the industrial landscape of the Cuyahoga River Valley.

The Canopi Bowl

Back in 2012, Tashkeel, a hub for creatives and artists in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, held the first Skate Biladi event constructing a huge skateboard ramp in its gardens. The unique skate park design was created as both a functional space for skateboarding and an art installation celebrating the curves of Arabic calligraphy. The ramp is open to all and is accessible throughout the year. The much-loved Canopi Bowl is also located at Tashkeel and is built around natural obstacles such as trees and shrubbery creating a cool and sheltered place to skate. Photo credit: Angelo Aguilor Photos

Back in 2012, Tashkeel, a hub for creatives and artists in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, held the first Skate Biladi event constructing a huge skateboard ramp in its gardens. The unique skate park design was created as both a functional space for skateboarding and an art installation celebrating the curves of Arabic calligraphy. The ramp is open to all and is accessible throughout the year. The much-loved Canopi Bowl is also located at Tashkeel and is built around natural obstacles such as trees and shrubbery creating a cool and sheltered place to skate. Photo credit: Angelo Aguilor Photos

In the summer of 2013, the City of Seattle, Oregon partnered with 4Culture  (a public art organization) and the company Red Bull conducted a call for artists to create a public art piece that would accommodate skateboarding. 40 artists applied and after an extensive interview process artist C.J. Rench was chosen to produce Seattle’s first skateable public art sculpture.

In the summer of 2013, the City of Seattle, Oregon partnered with 4Culture (a public art organization) and the company Red Bull conducted a call for artists to create a public art piece that would accommodate skateboarding. 40 artists applied and after an extensive interview process artist C.J. Rench was chosen to produce Seattle’s first skateable public art sculpture.

June 29, 2015

SHOWSTOPPER at Des Moines Art Festival

 Jay Vigon's art is the second of four original  artists' designs to be wrapped around a large DART transit bus.

Jay Vigon’s art is the second of four original artists’ designs to be wrapped around a large DART transit bus.

More than 100,000 people saw Jay Vigon‘s design when they came to the Western Gateway Park to enjoy the Festival. The bus was unveiled to the public on Friday morning, June 26, then on view throughout the day and evening. On Saturday, all ages were able to ride the bus for free guided tours of public art in the downtown core!

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation is grateful for Jay Vigon’s artistic vision and helping launch the second artist’s design to wrap an entire DART bus! Thank you DART, Des Moines Art Festival, and volunteers for partnering with us on this venture! With our ongoing Project Spaces initiative, the Public Art Foundation places compelling, temporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public space—and in this case, around a large transit bus! We hope that this bus will be a source of joy and inspiration to all!

Support public art and ride the DART bus!

Remember to share your photographs of this bus: #ArtOnDART