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.

June 30, 2014

Call for Artists’ Qualifications

Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation is looking for professional artists to submit their ideas and qualifications for this innovative public art opportunity. The Foundation encourages artists from all cultural and political backgrounds who have had experience working in the public sector. Artists must be at least 18 years of age.

The 515 DSM PUBLIC ART project has been created to commission a major public art project, not to exceed $5 million, on private property in the central business and financial district of downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

Information must be submitted online through www.callforentry.org

June 24, 2014

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei prepares to open a new show "@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz" in September 2014. The installation will feature seven large-scale works that will probably amount to the most extraordinary use of the old federal penitentiary since the Indian occupation of 1969.

Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei prepares to open a new show “@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz” in September 2014. The installation will feature seven large-scale works that will probably amount to the most extraordinary use of the old federal penitentiary since the Indian occupation of 1969.

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally renowned both as a maker of potent and provocative art and as a passionate advocate for human rights and freedom of expression. His art and ideas find a compelling new context in this exhibition of works created specifically for Alcatraz — a 19th-century military fortress, a notorious federal penitentiary, a site of Native American heritage and protest, and now one of America’s most visited national parks.

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Chinese authorities confiscated Ai’s passport three years ago and have refused to return it, barring him from traveling abroad. Ai has been forced to develop the Alcatraz works in his Beijing studio and will have to remotely manage the installation of the show, whose themes deal with incarceration, freedom of expression and activism.

Ai's sculpture, sound and mixed-media works will occupy four locations in the old prison: the New Industries Building, A Block, the dining hall and the hospital, according to For-Site. With the exception of the dining hall, the exhibition spaces were previously off-limits to visitors.

Ai’s sculpture, sound and mixed-media works will occupy four locations in the old prison: the New Industries Building, A Block, the dining hall and the hospital, according to For-Site. With the exception of the dining hall, the exhibition spaces were previously off-limits to visitors.

The artist has not shared specifics of the show yet. Weiwei would say only that it’s “a heavy topic” but that it also will have a “light touch” that will “make people remember.”

Lots of speculation!

Remember the Venice Biennale of art where viewers stepped on a block and, peering through a small slit on top of the box, they saw lifelike dioramas of Ai Weiwei as a political prisoner inside a padded prison cell, always under double guard?

Weiwei's six iron boxes were part the 55th edition of the Venice Biennale of Arts in Venice, northern Italy. The work on display was called S.A.C.R.E.D. The four initials standing for supper, accuser, cleansing, ritual, entropy and doubt, and referring to Ai Weiwei time 81 days in detention in 2011.

Weiwei’s six iron boxes were part the 55th edition of the Venice Biennale of Arts in Venice, northern Italy. The work on display was called S.A.C.R.E.D. The four initials standing for supper, accuser, cleansing, ritual, entropy and doubt, and referring to Ai Weiwei time 81 days in detention in 2011.

Pictured is one of the most powerful scenes that illustrates the prisoner's physical vulnerability. —Looking down, the viewer sees Ai Weiwei covered by a blanket, lying flat on his back, with two guards standing just a few inches away from the cot and guarding him all night long as he sleeps.

Pictured is one of the most powerful scenes that illustrates the prisoner’s physical vulnerability. —Looking down, the viewer sees Ai Weiwei covered by a blanket, lying flat on his back, with two guards standing just a few inches away from the cot and guarding him all night long as he sleeps.

Memorable installations have included the “The Unilever Series”:

Acclaimed as the “seeds of hope”, a work of “part prophecy, part threat”, an installation intriguingly “contemplative and barbed”, Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds has been exhibited in various versions at 12 galleries across 11 cities, 9 countries since 2009. In 2012, the Des Moines Art Center acquired Weiwei's 2009 version "Kui Hua Zi (Sunflower Seeds)".

Acclaimed as the “seeds of hope”, a work of “part prophecy, part threat”, an installation intriguingly “contemplative and barbed”, Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds has been exhibited in various versions at 12 galleries across 11 cities, 9 countries since 2009. In 2012, the Des Moines Art Center acquired Weiwei’s 2009 version “Kui Hua Zi (Sunflower Seeds)”.

Weiwei's commission at Tate Modern, Sunflower Seeds, is made up of millions of hand-crafted porcelain seeds. Tate Modern s Britain's national gallery of international modern art. Weiwei said: "In China, when we grew up, we had nothing … But for even the poorest people, the treat or the treasure we’d have would be the sunflower seeds in everybody’s pockets. ...It’s a work about mass production and repeatedly accumulating the small effort of individuals to become a massive, useless piece of work. "

Weiwei’s commission at Tate Modern, Sunflower Seeds, is made up of millions of hand-crafted porcelain seeds. Tate Modern s Britain’s national gallery of international modern art. Weiwei said: “In China, when we grew up, we had nothing … But for even the poorest people, the treat or the treasure we’d have would be the sunflower seeds in everybody’s pockets. …It’s a work about mass production and repeatedly accumulating the small effort of individuals to become a massive, useless piece of work. “

Cheryl Haines, FOR-SITE Foundation founding executive director, is organizing the exhibition @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz.

June 18, 2014

Koons Sculpture Comes to 30 Rock

The rocking horse on display at New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza is a 37-foot-high public art installation composed of 50,000 flowering plants and is the work of American artist Jeff Koons.

For his floral sculpture, Koons proceeded from two different rocker motifs, a pony and a dinosaur, whose heads he cut in half and then reassembled. Since the halves do not coincide, gaps are formed at certain places which open the sculpture out and transform it into an architecture that offers refuges. A disassembled and differently reassembled figure that simultaneously looks forward and to the side, Split-Rocker relates to the Cubism of Picasso while at the same time turning it in an entirely new direction. As a floral outdoor sculpture, the piece also continues the tradition of Baroque garden art and the topiary gardening still seen today in popular amusement parks.

For his floral sculpture, Koons proceeded from two different rocker motifs, a pony and a dinosaur, whose heads he cut in half and then reassembled. Since the halves do not coincide, gaps are formed at certain places which open the sculpture out and transform it into an architecture that offers refuges. A disassembled and differently reassembled figure that simultaneously looks forward and to the side, Split-Rocker relates to the Cubism of Picasso while at the same time turning it in an entirely new direction. As a floral outdoor sculpture, the piece also continues the tradition of Baroque garden art and the topiary gardening still seen today in popular amusement parks.

Titled “Split-Rocker,” the work was first exhibited in France in 2000 and has been on display at a private museum in Maryland since 2013, according to Rockefeller Center’s website.

Koons produced just two editions of the sculpture. He owns the one installed in Rockefeller Center; the other is in the collection of Glenstone, the private museum in Potomac, Md., owned by Mitchell P. Rales, the industrialist, and his wife, Emily. Larry Gagosian, the New York dealer who represents Jeff Koons is paying for the Rockefeller Center installation.

The public artwork’s debut in New York coincides with a retrospective of Jeff Koon’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which runs from June 27 to October 19.

With the combination of pony and dinosaur, Split-Rocker embodies that confrontation of opposites that is also expressed in the notion of a "monstrous" , gigantic children's toy. Yet the artist chooses transitory flowers, of all things, as the material for a monument that promises duration.

With the combination of pony and dinosaur, Split-Rocker embodies that confrontation of opposites that is also expressed in the notion of a “monstrous” , gigantic children’s toy. Yet the artist chooses transitory flowers, of all things, as the material for a monument that promises duration.

The Whitney Museum describes Jeff Koons as an artist who has “pioneered new approaches to the readymade, tested the boundaries between advanced art and mass culture, challenged the limits of industrial fabrication, and transformed the relationship of artists to the cult of celebrity and the global market.”

June 18, 2014

“H” is for Harlem

"H" (Harlem) is a massive steel and light sculpture by Bentley Meeker. It will be installed from the 125th Street viaduct.   "If you believe what I believe, that the souls are light, then you've got light within you. So if there's a connectivity there, then I guess somebody's got to be the person that starting to really talk about that and that would kind of in a way make me lights muse now wouldn't it?" the artist says.

“H” (Harlem) is a massive steel and light sculpture by Bentley Meeker. It will be installed from the 125th Street viaduct.
“If you believe what I believe, that the souls are light, then you’ve got light within you. So if there’s a connectivity there, then I guess somebody’s got to be the person that starting to really talk about that and that would kind of in a way make me lights muse now wouldn’t it?” the artist says.

The project celebrates the Harlem community and consists of a giant letter “H,” surrounded by an oval aluminum truss, which is suspended from the viaduct. In keeping with Meeker’s past work exploring the properties of light, two different types of light-LED and white full spectrum plasma-will be juxtaposed next to one another, drawing attention to the characteristics of both types of light.

Bentley Meeker is a New York based artist who has illuminated everything from Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to an intimate dinner party for Benazir Bhutto in exile, to state dinners in the White House rose garden. But his passion project is interesting: for the past two summers, Meeker has driven into the heart of the Nevada desert in order to light up Burning Man.

June 10, 2014

Panthéon in Paris paved with thousands of selfies…

The Pantheon in Paris – the final resting place for France’s most renowned personalities – will for the next 10 years be home to a gigantic art installation, featuring a collection of 4,000 selfies of people from around the world.

People visit the exhibition "Au Pantheon!" by French photographer JR at the Pantheon in Paris, a secular temple which contains the remains of distinguished French citizens, on June 3, 2014. (AFP Photo / Martin Bureau)

People visit the exhibition “Au Pantheon!” by French photographer JR at the Pantheon in Paris, a secular temple which contains the remains of distinguished French citizens, on June 3, 2014. (AFP Photo / Martin Bureau)

Photos for the installation, entitled “Au Panthéon!” were collected by contemporary artist JR, who described the project as “the ultimate selfie experiment.”

People from around the world were welcome to upload their selfies to the project’s website throughout March. A special photo truck was simultaneously doing portraits near nine Parisian national monuments.

People from around the world were welcome to upload their selfies to the project’s website throughout March. A special photo truck was simultaneously doing portraits near nine Parisian national monuments.

JR says that putting together 4,000 magnified selfies of ordinary people is a celebration of diversity throughout the world today.

The portraits are located in various places inside the monument and carpet its floor, while a part of the installation is on the outside of the building, which is under serious reconstruction.

The portraits are located in various places inside the monument and carpet its floor, while a part of the installation is on the outside of the building, which is under serious reconstruction.