Category Archives: Art

Day Crab Crab Day Day Crab Crab Day

Ever wonder what a music video might look like if John Waters and David Lynch co-directed it? And what if the music they fixed in visual narrative were a brilliant 11-1/2 minute instrumental that evokes the likes of Stereolab, Tom Waits, and My Bloody Valentine? If you have any interest in seeing what the confluence of ideas and sounds swirling outta the minds and speakers of these folks and bands might look like, look no further than the title track on Cate Le Bon’s fourth album, Crab Day (April 2016). Shot in Berlin and directed by the intriguing English-born / Berlin-based artist and filmmaker, Phil Collins (no, not Sussudio!), this video is at once absurd and mesmerizing, compelling and awkward. I wish it were longer. This is 11-1/2 minutes of Dadaist joy! The rest of album is pretty great, too.

Street Art & Commentaire Social

La artiste Invader a de nombreux des pièces de «street art» à travers la ville de Paris. La plupart d’entre eux sont des images éponymes: c’est, ses œuvres sont images qui reflètent l’origine de son nom, qui lui-même est basé sur le jeu vidéo de 1978, «Space Invaders». Donc, vous voyez les petites créatures extraterrestres de ce jeu collées dans tout Paris, ainsi que d’autres villes, comme celui-ci au-dessus du pub à quelques portes de là où nous vivons.

InvaderContrairement à beaucoup de street art de nos jours, qui sont préfabriqués «paste-ups» qui ne durent que si long selon la météo et le vandalisme, les œuvres d’Invader sont des mosaïques. Ils sont faits de tuiles. Donc ils résistent aux éléments bien. Et ils sont souvent placés à des hauteurs bien au-delà de la portée des fêtards ivres typiques. Donc, à Paris au moins, on peut trouver un nombre de pièces d’Invader, qui semblent être relativement ancienne (par exemple, la collecte de la poussière, de la suie et la saleté de l’échappement des véhicules de la ville). J’ai vu ce que je présume sont les œuvres de Invader dans d’autres villes aussi, y compris New York, Londres, Amsterdam, Bonn, San Diego, et Manchester (je suppose que certaines de ces pourraient être copie-cat interprétations du style de Invader). Néanmoins, Invader est très prolifique.

À travers l’allée de la porte d’entrée de notre bâtiment à Paris, cette image est apparue il ya environ quatre semaines.

IMG_3573C’est une mosaïque de tuiles, avec le genre de couleurs qui évoquent immédiatement le travail de Invader. Mais il est très bas à la terre – en fait, Ronald McDonald est dépeint comme debout sur le trottoir entre les piétons. La pièce est aussi ouvertement politique, que beaucoup (sinon la plupart) de ses œuvres sont pas (ils pourraient être d’ordre politique, par exemple, par rapport à l’endroit où ils sont placés, mais comme «critique sociale» la plupart de ses oeuvres me semblent plus ludique que politique — quelqu’un de plus compétent que moi peut me corriger sur ce point). Il ya eu beaucoup de presse dans les quotidiens de Paris ces derniers temps sur l’évolution de la consommation alimentaire des Français, et comment fast food a des effets négatifs sur les jeunes hommes et femmes françaises, à la fois physiquement et culturellement.

Notre quartier se trouve également être un cœur de vie nocturne parisienne pour 18-35 ans, et du jeudi au samedi, il ya consommation d’alcool beaucoup ici, par conséquent, les matins des vendredi, samedi et dimanche, il ya de nombreux «pièges vomissent» (vomit traps) nous, les résidents de cette quartier, doivent esquiver.

L’image montre clairement le sentiment de l’artiste apropos la qualité de la nourriture McDonalds et ses effets sur les personnes qui la consomment (qui mieux que Ronnie McDo pour illustrer que nous sommes ce que nous mangeons, après tout!). J’aime à penser que la pièce fustige aussi les buveurs dans ce quartier comme des amateurs, qui sont dans un égarement évident concernant le pouvoir et les seuils de leur consommation d’alcool.

P.S. Pardon my French.

“Annorstädes” is Sublime

In April I had the good fortune to spend a day in the southern Swedish city of Malmö. I’d never been there before, and though I had a handful of interesting reasons to spend a day there I never expected to be so enthralled by the place. With Copenhagen as my base, I got a bike, hopped a train, and after a quick twenty-five minutes traveling under the Øresund, I emerged in Malmö. I took care of business and by bike saw a lot of Sweden’s third largest city, the capital of Skåne County and home to the HSB Turning Torso (the largest skyscraper in Sweden and the Nordic countries).

I was quickly taken by the old town, its markets and cafés, pubs and music stores. The buildings were colorful, too, which I rather like, and somehow they retained a sense of fecund floral life even in the cold and rainy springtime weather that I encountered. There is a lot more to say about the architecture and the people, both of which, for their charm and attractiveness, left an indelible mark on my memory and imagination that, before too long, I hope will drive me back for a longer stay.

What I’d like to mention here is something that I found really extraordinary in the city: the art. There’s excellent modern art in Malmö, no doubt.  And not just at the Malmö Konsthall, which Wikipedia bills as “one of the largest exhibition halls in Europe for contemporary art” (who would have thought, in Malmö, Sweden!). Malmö is also the setting of Bo Widerberg’s classic film, Kvarteret Korpen (Raven’s End — 1963), which was nominated for an Academy Award for best Foreign Film in 1965 (it’s about a young aspiring writer, Anders, who lives in a rundown, working class section of Malmö in the 1930s, and the struggles he faces to publish his first novel, escape the turmoil of his family life and ever-quickly demanding relationship, and move to the land of plenty, Stockholm).

While I was preparing to leave Malmö, drenched from the rain, waiting for my underground train back to Copenhagen, I saw something that just floored me. Across the tracks, on the grey cement wall, were images floating by, framed in the shape of an old photographic film reel. They weren’t still images, however, as I realized after a few moments. It was moving film footage, and on it there were people actively doing things–working, walking dogs, waving back at me!–and the people appeared to be in places from all over the world. It felt a bit odd that some of the people seemed to be staring at those of us who were on the platform looking at them. But after one scene would drift by, ever so casually, every four minutes (apparently the interval between trains arriving at the station), the scenery would morph into a new place, with new people, doing new things.  Some of the locations looked familiar to me, but I can’t be certain, since there were no captions to let the viewer know where the footage was taken. But that didn’t matter. There was something utterly mesmerizing about the installation, and calming. That the artist could make me feel that way — and the folks with whom I spoke about it claimed to feel similarly too — in a cold, grey, subterranean subway station is quite a feat. I’ve since come to learn that the artist is Tania Ruiz Gutierrez, a French, Colombian and Chilean national, who currently lives and works in Paris.

The installation I saw in Malmö’s subway station is called Annorstädes (which is Swedish for “Ailleurs” in French or “Elsewhere” in English). Here’s a blurb from Ruiz Gutierrez’s statement about the exhibit, which underscores the affect she intended it to have on its viewers:

In terms of tempo, Annorstädes is conceived as a release for the individual viewer. The recorded images are slowed down, in contrast with the speed of everyday urban life, in order to ease the experiential flow of time.

In symbolic terms, this artwork highlights the importance of the Central Station as a node; in its primary sense, as a crucial railway link, but also metaphorically as a connection between the city and the entire world.

I took this short film of Annorstädes with my phone from the station platform.

It’s not nearly as good as the several samples of footage on Ruiz Gutierrez’s website, like here and especially here.  Dig around. There are a lot of worthwhile images and writings on her website. I haven’t been this captivated by a public art installation in a long time. To echo the comment of one visitor to the exhibit, that is, one Malmö subway rider (or perhaps as the artist herself would have it, one Malmö patron of both the arts and public transportation): “If you’ve seen Malmö, you’ve seen the world. That is now a fact.” Ruiz Gutierrez really pulled this off. Malmö as synecdoche for the global community! Genius. This work punctuated, in a sublime and lasting way, my visit to this southern Swedish city. I hope it’s still there when I return.

“Anudinaṃ Keraḷaṃ” at The Little Theatre

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If you’re in the Rochester, NY area and looking for some good grub and photographs, stop by The Little Theatre Café between 17 September to 14 October, and check out the exhibit, “Kerala Divaanisham,” featuring photographs from Kerala, South India by A. Cerulli (including the selection of photos above).

R.I.P. Maqbul Fida Husain, “the Picasso of India”

On 09 June 2011, M.F. Husain – the most famous, and at times the most controversial – modern artist of India passed away at the age of 95. When he was 88 years old, Husain emigrated from India to the Persian Gulf—first Dubai, then Doha, Qatar—after some politically powerful members of the Hindu right brought a case against him over his depictions of women and Hindu goddesses in his paintings. He was accused of corrupting the sensibilities of others!

Last week, M.F. Husain died in London, where he also kept a home and studio for many years. He is said to have produced over 30,000 paintings. And some of his pieces have sold at auction for over $1.5 million.  So, indeed, he’s well know in “art circles.” Yet his work is quite amazing, and has been for the better part of the 20th century and the initial years of the 21st century, and he deserves to be better known around the world by folks who aren’t collectors, South Asianists, or painters as an important contemporary artist, period. Perhaps like so many artists his death will usher in a renewed and greater awareness for his work, artistic innovation, and historical importance.

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Eye of the World

So, a while back I referenced the enormous Eye scultpure scheduled for erection in Chicago.  Well, they did it.  The Chicago Tribune online posted a three minute documentary on the project.  Pretty cool stuff; I liked the Wisconsin “assembly plant”.  Maybe Peashoot should take a sabbatical and lend his labor for a year!  Anyhow, cool stuff: