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!

August 18, 2014

Environmental Woes Inspire Public Art

One of China’s most well-known artists, Cai Guo-Qiang, uses stark imagery to shed light on environment issues. The Ninth Wave contemplates man’s destruction of nature. The project is on view until 26 October 2014.

Upon entering the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, visitors come across the massive installation The Ninth Wave, also the title of the exhibition. It is a towering fishing boat with 99 fabricated animals on board. The boat comes from the artists’s home town, Quanzhou in Fujian Province. The inspiration for the piece came from the incident last year of 16,000 dead pigs found floating in the Huangpu river.

Upon entering the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, visitors come across the massive installation The Ninth Wave, also the title of the exhibition. It is a towering fishing boat with 99 fabricated animals on board. The boat comes from the artists’s home town, Quanzhou in Fujian Province. The inspiration for the piece came from the incident last year of 16,000 dead pigs found floating in the Huangpu river.

These nightmarish scenes are not science fiction but part of a new art exhibition by New York-based Cai aims to shed light on China’s environmental problems.

Installation view of "The Ninth Wave" in the Great Hall of the Power Station of Art in Shanghai. (Photo: Zhang Feiyu, courtesy Cai Studio)

Installation view of “The Ninth Wave” in the Great Hall of the Power Station of Art in Shanghai. (Photo: Zhang Feiyu, courtesy Cai Studio)

About the artist

Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China, and lives and works in New York. He studied stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute from 1981 to 1985 and attended the Institute for Contemporary Art: The National and International Studio Program at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City. His work is both scholarly and politically charged.

PAINTALLICA Featured at Iowa State Fair

Visit the Iowa State Fair and experience a new public art installation by Paintallica. The installation is located in the courtyard of the Jim and Patty Cownie Cultural Center.

Meet members of the Paintallica during an informal conversation at 1:30PM this Saturday, 16 August 2014.

Members of Paintallica creating an installation at the Iowa State Fair. This public art project will be on view through August 17, 2014.

Members of Paintallica creating an installation at the Iowa State Fair. This public art project will be on view through August 17, 2014.

Paintallica is a collaborative group of artist friends who have a mutual interest in building things. Their installations emerge from a few days and nights of intense work, field research, discussion and play. Work usually involves chainsaws, wood in many forms, drawing,  paint, fire and a wide range of motor vehicles. Imagery and tools are remnants of the working-class, rural American roots of most of the members.

Paintallica is a collaborative group of artist friends who have a mutual interest in building things. Their installations emerge from a few days and nights of intense work, field research, discussion and play. Work usually involves chainsaws, wood in many forms, drawing, paint, fire and a wide range of motor vehicles. Imagery and tools are remnants of the working-class, rural American roots of most of the members.

Paintallica’s installations are improvised and largely specific to each site. For the Iowa State Fair project, images from past state fairs and Iowa history produced the starting point. The direction emerge on-location in the days leading up to Fair opening. Working on this project are 13 nationally and internationally accomplished artists — many with Iowa roots.

It’s all part of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation’s initiative to engage visitors to the Fair with temporary and performance art.

July 21, 2014

Balmond’s acclaimed sculpture makes UK debut

Artist, architect and scholar Cecil Balmond’s critically acclaimed sculpture H_Edge makes its UK debut in London’s Spitalfields.

H_Edge has been installed in the reflecting pool opposite the Allen & Overy building in Spitalfields, London, and will be on temporary view through Friday, 3 October 2014.

Following the huge popularity of its appearance at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Balmond will exhibit his highly regarded sculpture H_Edge for the first time in the UK.

Following the huge popularity of its appearance at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Balmond will exhibit his highly regarded sculpture H_Edge for the first time in the UK.

H_Edge echoes its surroundings in reflecting plates and, for London’s appearance, a shimmering pool. More than an art installation, H_Edge functions as a spatial ‘sieve’, giving form to the void. The sculpture generates a new dimension within the city; a strange forest, a non-space; for contemplation and reflection.

Blurring the boundaries between art and structure, H_Edge is assembled using thousands of ‘x’-shaped aluminium plates which are held, one above the other, in tension by stainless steel chains that behave like columns. What appears to hang from overhead, on closer inspection, rises from the floor in a seemingly impossible balance of forces. The layers of silver planes form an ethereal, metallic, maze that visitors are free to walk around, within and through.

Blurring the boundaries between art and structure, H_Edge is assembled using thousands of ‘x’-shaped aluminium plates which are held, one above the other, in tension by stainless steel chains that behave like columns. What appears to hang from overhead, on closer inspection, rises from the floor in a seemingly impossible balance of forces. The layers of silver planes form an ethereal, metallic, maze that visitors are free to walk around, within and through.

Belmond sees his work as an open-ended visual application of theory, following the principle that “structure as conceptual rigour is architecture.” He collaborated with Anish Kapoor on the public art projectArcelorMittal Orbit the 120m high sculpture designed for the 2012 Olympics in London, the Marsyas sculpture displayed in the Tate Modern (2002), and the giant Tees Valley art installations with Kapoor.

Cecil Balmond and artist Anish Kapoor pose with Kapoor's winning design for  the 2012 Olympic Park  in London, England. The steel structure entitled "The ArcelorMittal Orbit."

Cecil Balmond and artist Anish Kapoor pose with Kapoor’s winning design for the 2012 Olympic Park in London, England. The steel structure entitled “The ArcelorMittal Orbit.”

July 17, 2014

A Remarkable Collaboration: Weiwei & Benally

Ai Weiwei, internationally acclaimed Chinese dissident artist, and Navajo artist Bert Benally through a remarkable collaboration, recently created Pull of the Moon, a temporary, site-specific art installation in a remote part of Coyote Canyon on the Navajo Nation. Pull of the Moon is part of Navajo TIME (Temporary Installations Made for the Environment), a unique partnership between New Mexico Arts and the Navajo Nation Museum. The installation features earth-based drawings using sand.

Bert Benally's Sand-Sculpture Design

Bert Benally’s Sand-Sculpture Design

Bert Benally said of Pull of the Moon, "The concept is based on Navajo aesthetics, the idea that for the Navajo, art is more about the process rather than the finished product."

Bert Benally said of Pull of the Moon, “The concept is based on Navajo aesthetics, the idea that for the Navajo, art is more about the process rather than the finished product.”

Ai Weiwei's Sandpainting Design

Ai Weiwei’s Sandpainting Design

This image, provided by New Mexico Arts, shows a sand drawing created with more than 250 pounds of crushed porcelain powder shipped from China by dissident artist Ai Weiwei at a remote location on the Navajo Nation near Coyote Canyon, N.M. Weiwei teamed up with Navajo artist Bert Benally as part of the "Pull of the Moon" project organized by New Mexico Arts and the Navajo Nation Museum. Photo: New Mexico Arts, AP

This image, provided by New Mexico Arts, shows a sand drawing created with more than 250 pounds of crushed porcelain powder shipped from China by dissident artist Ai Weiwei at a remote location on the Navajo Nation near Coyote Canyon, N.M. Weiwei teamed up with Navajo artist Bert Benally as part of the “Pull of the Moon” project organized by New Mexico Arts and the Navajo Nation Museum. Photo: New Mexico Arts, AP

Pull of the Moon signifies the transformative power of art through international collaboration and is a reminder of the immense challenges faced by many cultures and the capacity for growth and healing from very impactful events. Despite being unable to travel outside of China, Ai Weiwei’s boundless spirit and creativity still touch many around the globe.

Ceramic shards were ground down to a fine powder that was used in the installation at Coyote Canyon.  "The shards were intentionally placed there as evidence of the powder's origin," explained Ai Weiwei, "I think this is an interesting idea because we can only see ourselves, our past, through material evidence such as these shards. It is important to pass on to future generations where we are from and to give a glimpse of the mind and soul of the people living in that time."

Ceramic shards were ground down to a fine powder that was used in the installation at Coyote Canyon. “The shards were intentionally placed there as evidence of the powder’s origin,” explained Ai Weiwei, “I think this is an interesting idea because we can only see ourselves, our past, through material evidence such as these shards. It is important to pass on to future generations where we are from and to give a glimpse of the mind and soul of the people living in that time.”

This video is an inside look at this extraordinary project: Ai Weiwei & Bert Benally

July 14, 2014

Discovering the Moth at ISU

Moth is a sculpture of contrasts. The material (marble) that Mac Adams chose is heavy and full of mass, but his subject (moth) is delicate and small. The work of art appears simple, but layers of meaning add depth and complexity. The moth itself, the focal point of the work of art, is in reality not present as a positive form at all, but is visualize through the negative spaces in the work of art.

Grace Murray Hopper (1906 –1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer).

Grace Murray Hopper (1906 –1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.

Grace Hopper’s work the theme of this public artwork: She is credited with popularizing the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer).

Enjoy this video:
THE MOTH

The Moth is located at the exterior west entrance of Coover Hall — the computer engineering complex at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames.