December 22, 2014

Iowa’s High Trestle Trail Bridge Graces Cover of American for the Arts

Americans for the Arts, which serves a network of organizations and individuals, has just released its 2015–2017 strategic plan with a key focus on building recognition for the transformative power of the arts in all of our lives and communities in new ways.

The report cover features High Trestle Trail Bridge, a project by artist David B. Dahlquist and a team of designers from RDG Planning & Design, Iowa.

stratplan

Located northwest of Des Moines, Iowa, the High Trestle Bridge spans the banks of the Des Moines River Valley and is located between the rural communities of Woodward and Madrid.

The "portals" or vertical elements that form a gateway to the Des Moines River Bridge are sculptural symbols that speak to this geology, the cutting and slicing of nature that forms this river valley.

The “portals” or vertical elements that form a gateway to the Des Moines River Bridge are sculptural symbols that speak to this geology, the cutting and slicing of nature that forms this river valley.

December 2, 2014

Public Art in Greater Des Moines Targets Community Innovation Challenge

Des Moines, IA: From more than 50 submissions the Innovation Investors with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines have identified 4 IGNITE FINALISTS for the 2014 Challenge! A collaborative group will pitch their innovative idea to a community panel to determine the winners: first place prize of up to $30,000 and runner-up prize of up to $15,000. Winners will be announced December 4, 2014.

The idea is ART RTE (ärt raüt):
Think, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” with a route leading you to world-renowned art within our city, free for all to enjoy-24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. ART RTE unites 86 works of public art in Greater Des Moines with a nearly seven mile long, sustainably painted path, creating artful city sidewalks and five bold downtown intersections. The project is scalable and can expand into art pockets throughout the metro for a coordinated regional approach. ART RTE engages locals and visitors in a walkable and memorable experience. Drives economic impact to nearby businesses. Increases traffic and pedestrian safety. Leverages the existing Public Art Foundation’s geo-targeted, informational mobile app. ART RTE is innovative as it combines a unique experience with art, safety, education elements and health benefits. To date, the project is a collaboration between the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, City of Des Moines, Des Moines Police Department and Downtown Neighborhood Association. This project’s innovation is that Greater Des Moines would be the first city of its kind to combine a public art painted connector path with painted intersections. ART RTE is vibrant. Artistic. Cultural. Unique. Game changing.

This link provides more information.

November 18, 2014

Public art takes to the streets on public transit in Greater Des Moines

Public art is taking to the streets of Greater Des Moines in a new initiative that wraps artists’ one-of-a-kind designs on public transit buses.

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation Project Spaces initiative, in partnership with the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), will unveil the new public art initiative at 11 a.m. Thursday, November 20, 2014, at The Hub Spot Plaza on The Principal Riverwalk at Court Avenue and Water Street.

“The Public Art Foundation advances the best of public art through public and private collaborations. It is dedicated to envisioning, developing, and promoting public art projects such at this initiative,” said Paul Mankins, President of the Public Art Foundation Board and Principal of Substance Architecture. “Alex Brown, the first artist selected, is a Des Moines-based artist whose paintings have drawn international acclaim.”

Full Wrap Template

“We love introducing more art on DART,” said Kirstin Baer-Harding, DART marketing director. “We’re glad we could partner with the Public Art Foundation to help expose more people to great works of art by local artists.”

The bus wrap is the latest in a series of projects, supported through the Public Art Foundation’s PROJECTSPACES program, and follows temporary art installations at the Iowa State Fair in 2013 and 2014. Through PROJECTSPACES, the Public Art Foundation places compelling, temporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public spaces.

The bus wrap project began with an open call to all professional artists/artist teams, 18 and older, residing in the United States. Forty-five artists from 21 states submitted applications, over 328 images were reviewed, and five finalists were commissioned to create concept proposals. From these proposals, designs created by Alex Brown and Jay Vigon were chosen. Artist Alex Brown’s design is the first bus wrap to be fabricated. Jay Vigon’s design will be unveiled in 2015.

ABOUT ALEX BROWN

American artist Alex Brown (born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1966) earned a BFA in 1991 at Parsons School of Design in New York. His paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Tokyo, and Paris. He lives and works in Des Moines. Brown’s artwork engages the viewer with everyday images that emerge out of abstraction. He manipulates the visual meaning of familiar objects. His process embraces humor and the joy of discovering an image that at first appears hidden, only to materialize out of shape and color.

ABOUT THE GREATER DES MOINES PUBLIC ART FOUNDATION

The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, established in 2004, recognizes that art belongs not just in galleries and museums, but in streetscapes, parks, buildings and infrastructures of a thriving community. Dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing and promoting public art projects, the Public Art Foundation collaborates with local entities and artists to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of residents and visitors to the community. The goal is to increase awareness of our community as a world-class destination for public art. For more information about the Public Art Foundation, visit www.dsmpublicartfoundation.org.

ABOUT DART
The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority is the public transportation provider that serves Polk County. DART operates a family of transportation services that makes getting around the Greater Des Moines area easier and more convenient. For more information about DART services, schedules, route changes, or directions to the nearest DART stop, visit the website. The MyDART Tools and Trip Planner are now available.

RIDE DART TO THE UNVEILING
Attendees of the unveiling are encouraged to ride the D-Line Downtown Shuttle to the event. The D-Line loops through downtown on Grand Avenue and Locust Street and picks up passengers at any of the designated stops along the route. The D-Line is free to ride and departs from stops approximately every 10 minutes.

November 9, 2014

Glowing Balloons Trace Berlin Wall Route

The “Lichtgrenze,” or Border of Light, a temporary public art project is meant to evoke the brutal division of the past. At the same time, its use of modern materials and techniques symbolizes how much the city and the world around it have changed in a quarter-century.

To remind Berliners and others of the night when the Communist authorities effectively made it possible for East Germans to travel, Berlin organizers are retracing more than eight miles of the inner-city border with an installation of 8,000 illuminated balloons — biodegradable, of course, in this environmentally conscious country — which are to be released on tonight — 9 November 2014.

Read more about this extraordinary story in Melissa Eddy’s article in the New York Times.

November 9, 2014

Shaping Des Moines’ Public Spaces

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Cowles Commons is really taking shape. The lights have been installed, the concrete base for the Red Carpet is being poured and the first of the plantings are in the ground.

Project Architect Ken Smith and sculpture artist Jim Campbell were both in Des Moines last week and KCCI carried a piece about the project. You can see that here.

October 31, 2014

WOW! Jim Campbell’s light project in Hong Kong

The artist said: “The first time I went to Hong Kong about 12 years ago I had thought about what it might be like to program the lights on one of the tall buildings. I was already making work with LED lights and was fascinated with thinking about what kinds of imagery might work at that scale without overwhelming the audience. A decade later the opportunity has come to me and in a way the ICC building is the best building for me to explore in Hong Kong because of its relatively isolated location. The challenge has been trying to come up with imagery that works with the shape of the façades where each image is 8 times taller than it is wide. An odd shape for a “screen“. The final metaphor that I’m working with is to treat the 3 screens as parallel pathways where each path is without a beginning or an end, where each façade represents a window onto a much longer journey. It was clear in looking at different forms of human movement for this work that the smoothness of swimmers in water worked well with the inherently gravity defying up down motion forced by the shape of the building.”

Stay tuned for the unveiling of “Eclipse” — the artist’s new public art project at Cowles Common in Des Moines, Iowa!

October 29, 2014

Exploring Light

The Kinetica Art Fair has featured multiple installations that explored light using the latest technology to create art, such as the projection mapped sculpture.

Visual artist David Ogle‘s “O18015″ uses nylon fishing line that is stretched across an open space in a geometric grid and then illuminated with UV LED panels.

David Hadlow Ogle commented: "Much of my work to date has dealt with exploring notions of materiality, of permanence and of the perception of objects in space. Using light as a sculptural medium, my work is innately ephemeral. It begins as a set of strict mathematical procedures that are played out within an environment. The space simultaneously shapes the work and becomes manipulated by it.  Through negating material properties, my current practice seeks a mode of fragility. It rests on the edge between a sculptural form and an environmental effect of light within a space; a context from which the work is inseparable. Such pieces utilise both ambient and artificial light, channeling it and molding it into sculptural works that completely divorce themselves from static material: sculptures without mass and forms without structures. "

David Hadlow Ogle commented: “Much of my work to date has dealt with exploring notions of materiality, of permanence and of the perception of objects in space. Using light as a sculptural medium, my work is innately ephemeral. It begins as a set of strict mathematical procedures that are played out within an environment. The space simultaneously shapes the work and becomes manipulated by it.
Through negating material properties, my current practice seeks a mode of fragility. It rests on the edge between a sculptural form and an environmental effect of light within a space; a context from which the work is inseparable. Such pieces utilise both ambient and artificial light, channeling it and molding it into sculptural works that completely divorce themselves from static material: sculptures without mass and forms without structures. “

Check out the video below to learn more about the installations. The 2014 Kinetica Art Fair was held October 16-19 in London.

October 13, 2014

BMW Art Car

The BMW Art Car Project was introduced by the French racecar driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain, who wanted to invite an artist to create a canvas on an automobile.

In 1975, Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder (1898-1976) to paint the first BMW Art Car.

Since Calder's work of art, many other renowned artists throughout the world have created BMW Art Cars, including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. To date, a total of 17 BMW Art Cars, based on both racing and regular production vehicles, have been created. Frank Stella also made one unofficial art car at the behest of race car driver Peter Gregg. The most recent artist to the join BMW Art Car program is Jeff Koons in 2010 with his M3 GT2, which competed in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans but did not finish.[2] Artists for the BMW Art Car Project are chosen by a panel of international judges.

Since Calder’s work of art, many other renowned artists throughout the world have created BMW Art Cars, including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. To date, a total of 17 BMW Art Cars, based on both racing and regular production vehicles, have been created. Frank Stella also made one unofficial art car at the behest of race car driver Peter Gregg. The most recent artist to the join BMW Art Car program is Jeff Koons in 2010 with his M3 GT2, which competed in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans but did not finish.[2] Artists for the BMW Art Car Project are chosen by a panel of international judges.

October 13, 2014

A giant of South Africa’s contemporary art scene: Esther Mahlangu

Renowned South African artist Esther Mahlangu recently painted two mural-scale works, which serve as a gateway to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ African Art Gallery.

Mahlangu has built an international reputation for her boldly colored geometric patterns and intricate black and white borders, designs linked to the traditional beadwork that adorns Ndebele clothing and jewelry. The museum commissioned the murals to frame the entrance of the wing that holds its African Art collection. Ndebele women paint these designs on the exteriors of their home, so hanging them in Evans Court, at the entrance to its collection, is a fitting nod to Ndebele heritage.

Photo: David Stover/Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Photo: David Stover/Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Esther Mahlangu is a colourful, artistic painter, born in 1935 in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa and belongs to the South Ndebele people.

The term Ndebele refers to several ethnic groups in Zimbabwe and western popular in the province of Transvaal in South Africa. The division of the AmaNdebele nation dates from the early sixteenth century when there were a series of internal feuds among the tribes that led to the current division of three groups, now regarded as the Ndebele nation: the Matabele nation of Zimbabwe, the Transvaal and Northern Transvaal Ndembele, and the Southern Ndembele in South Africa.

Mahlangu is one of the few African artists whose art is often exhibited on the international scene. Her works are in major private collections including that of The Contemporary African Art Collection of Jean Pigozzi and in many Western museums. The art of Esther Mahlangu highlights the tension between local and global, between the anchor and detachment. Mahalangu directs a school which teaches young girls not only painting but also the technique of painting designs on particular compositions of beads. The tradition is not a static entity. As the work of the same Mahlangu suggests, “tradition” is a mobile field, future-oriented and ready to incorporate diverse stimuli. In fact, although South Africa is now one of the African States which is able to facilitate and promote the work of their artists both nationally and internationally with the likes of the biennial event in Johannesburg, the work of Esther Mahlangu is even more courageous because she was born and grew up in political and social turmoil.

Esther leans from scaffolding as she continues work on a design. September 2014. Photo by Will Solis for Richmond Arts Review, 8 October 2014.

Esther leans from scaffolding as she continues work on a design. September 2014. Photo by Will Solis for Richmond Arts Review, 8 October 2014.

Mahlangu’s career propelled in 1989 when she was invited to participate in the landmark Magiciens de la Terre exhibition in Paris.In 1991, BMW invited her to participate in its Art Car program. Since 1979, BMW has commissioned 15 artists, including Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and Frank Stella. Mahlangu is the only non-Western and only female artist engaged to paint a BMW car. The National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, displayed Mahlangu’s BMW in 1994 and at the same time commissioned her to paint the façade of an annex building.  At her home and studio in South Africa, Mahlangu is active as an artist and teaches painting.

Mahlangu’s career propelled in 1989 when she was invited to participate in the landmark Magiciens de la Terre exhibition in Paris.In 1991, BMW invited her to participate in its Art Car program. Since 1979, BMW has commissioned 15 artists, including Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and Frank Stella. Mahlangu is the only non-Western and only female artist engaged to paint a BMW car. The National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, displayed Mahlangu’s BMW in 1994 and at the same time commissioned her to paint the façade of an annex building. At her home and studio in South Africa, Mahlangu is active as an artist and teaches painting.

When asked what Esther Mahlangu hopes her viewers gain from looking at her paintings, the artist responds simply with a smile: “Happiness.”

September 26, 2014

Public Art Helps Transform Plaza in Des Moines

In Des Moines, IA, a new public art project by Jim Campbell will be installed at the site of a public plaza called Cowles Commons. Campbell is a visual artist who collaborated on the new Cowles Commons design. His custom electronic sculptures have made him a leading figure in the use of computer technology and video as an art form. Campbell is based in San Francisco. This plaza is also the home to the iconic sculpture “Crusoe Umbrella” designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

The Cowles Commons design team is led by Ken Smith of Ken Smith Landscape Architect, a landscape architect committed to creating landscapes as a way of improving the quality of urban life.

Looking for public art in Des Moines? Check out the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation website, or …

The DSM Public Art app is available now for free in the iTunes Store. DOWNLOAD NOW!