Art

Ceramic Coral Reefs by Courtney Mattison Draw Attention to Earth’s Changing Oceans

February 17, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet, all images via Courtney Mattison

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet

Doubling as an artist and ocean advocate, Courtney Mattison (previously) produces large-scale ceramic installations that draw attention to conservation of our planet’s seas. Her latest installation “Aqueduct” showcases hundreds of porcelain sea creatures including anemones, sponges, and coral sprouting from a porcelain air duct. The piece asks us to imagine the plight of these undersea creatures as tropical sea temperatures begin to rise, asking where they might migrate to once their homes have been rendered uninhabitable.

In addition to large-scale installations, Mattison also sculpts more intimate vignettes. Her series “Hope Spots” depicts areas in our seas that are critical to the overall health of the ecosystem. Each of the sculptures is a representation of one of these spots as identified by Mattison’s longtime hero and marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle.

The Denver-based artist studied marine ecology and ceramics at Skidmore College and received a Master of Arts degree in environmental studies from Brown University. Last year she was named one of the top 100 “Ocean Heroes” by Origin Magazine. Her most recent exhibition is “Sea Change” currently at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art through April 17, 2016. You can see more of Mattison’s finished and in-progress installations on her Instagram.

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet

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“Aqueduct” (2016), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 8 x 8 x 1 feet

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“Coral Sea II” (2015), glazed stoneware + porcelain, 17 x 16.5 x 11.5 inches

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“Chagos Archipelago II” (2015), glazed stoneware + porcelain, 17 x 16 x 9 inches

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“Outer Seychelles II” (2015), glazed stoneware, 17 x 16 x 9 inches

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“Micronesian Islands” (2015), glazed stoneware + porcelain, 17 x 17.5 x 12.5 inches

 

 



Design

Drape Yourself in Literature with Book Scarves from FreshComfy

February 17, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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If you like getting lost in a good book, here’s your chance to literally cover up in one. Thailand-based FreshComfy prints the covers and pages of classic books on lightweight chiffon scarves. Books include retro covers for The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, or even illustrated maps from Lord of the Rings. See more in their shop! (via Lost At E-Minor)

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Design History

The Fine Art and Craft of 1960s Wallpaper Manufacturing

February 17, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

This short film from 1968 demonstrates the newest technologies in wallpaper manufacturing, the narrator exclaiming that some of the processes found in the footage are nearly science fiction! The almost 50-year-old video demonstrates factory workers etching designs into sycamore wood, hand mixing large batches of psychedelic colors, and observing machines as they automatically screen print complicated patterns onto long stretches of wallpaper.

The film was shot at a factory in Perivale, just ten miles west of London. All of the wallpaper designs found in the video are garish and bright, shot in a time when people were intent on matching their wallpaper to their curtains, couch coverings, and clothing. One particular shot shows a woman reading a magazine at home amongst her patterns, demonstrating how pervasive prints were in the home during the time period.

Continuing with a nearly poetic cadence the narrator ends the short video exclaiming, “Designs in profusion, kaleidoscopic colors—interior decorating has come a long way since father first papered the parlor!” British Pathé, a once leader in cinematic journalism, has uploaded several thousands films like this one to Youtube. Make sure to search their channel for other historic documentation of cultural events from curtains to political crises.

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Art History Photography

Why Dozens of U.S. President Statues Sit Deteriorating in a Rural Virginia Field

February 16, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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All photos courtesy Patrick Joust.

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Somewhere in Virginia on the outskirts of private farmland sits the completely bizarre sight of nearly 40 giant U.S. president busts crumbling amongst the weeds. The mammoth heads—each estimated to weigh in excess of 7,000 pounds—were originally commissioned from Houston artist David Adickes as the centerpiece for Presidents Park, a ten-acre open-air museum with presidential sculptures and informational plaques located in Williamsburg, Virginia. First opened in 2004, the museum closed just 6 years later due to lack of attendance and most of the heads were eventually moved to a private farm where they sit today.

Photographer Patrick Joust recently made a trek to the presidential graveyard and shot these amazing photos of the eroding statues. The pieces are already faded and peeling from the elements and display a number of structural scars from repeated moves. The post-apocalyptic scene is reminiscent of the final moments of Planet of the Apes, or a modern take on the giant mysterious heads sprawled across Easter Island. The artist also sculpted a second set of presidential busts which were on display near Deadwood, South Dakota in an outdoor park setting operated by the artist himself. After closing the heads are now scattered—Abraham Lincoln’s bust now rests in front of the the Lincoln RV Park in Williston, North Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt’s bust sits outside the Roosevelt Inn in Watford.

You can see more of Joust’s photography on Flickr and by following him on Facebook. (via The Virginian-Pilot, Smithsonian)

Update: This post has been updated to include the artist’s name as well as refer to a second set of presidential busts that were originally on display near Deadwood, South Dakota.

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Art

Ai Weiwei Wraps the Columns of Berlin’s Konzerthaus with 14,000 Salvaged Refugee Life Vests

February 16, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

Image via Markus Winninghoff

Image via Markus Winninghoff

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Image via Oliver Lang / Konzerthaus Berlin

Ai Weiwei has produced a five-column installation on the facade of Berlin’s Konzerthaus, a collection of 14,000 life vests from refugees who landed on the Greek Island of Lesbos after battling the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey. Ai hopes the bright orange installation draws attention to the hundreds of refugees that are trying to reach Europe each day, over 400 of whom have died attempting the same journey since the beginning of the year.

Although thousands of the life jackets can now be seen in Berlin, this does not begin to account for the thousands of jackets that remain on the shores of the Greek island, pointing to the number of refugees who have passed through the island. Since last December Ai has shared dozens of images of refugees who have come to Lesbos on his personal Instagram account, including this image of a mass of life vests left behind.

The temporary art installation was created for the Cinema for Peace gala which took place February 15, 2016. Ai was the honorary president of this year’s jury. (via Designboom)

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Image via Oliver Lang / Konzerthaus Berlin

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Image via Oliver Lang / Konzerthaus Berlin

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Image via Oliver Lang / Konzerthaus Berlin

Image via Markus Winninghoff

Image via Markus Winninghoff

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Image via Frank Löschner / Konzerthaus Berlin

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Image via Frank Löschner / Konzerthaus Berlin

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Image via Frank Löschner / Konzerthaus Berlin

 

 



Art Design Food

Dive Deep Inside a Seven Thousand Square Foot Cake at LA’s Break Bread

February 15, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

Have your cake and eat inside it too? That’s what Break Bread LA, a six-room installation of cake sculptures, is hoping to achieve for 30 days starting this past weekend at Think Tank Gallery. The immersive art experience will include performance, visual art, and pop-up dinners within the frosted walls put on by Scott Hove and Keith Magruder (aka Baker’s Son). Seven thousand square feet will be dedicated to the sugary experience, made even sweeter by an ice cream truck selling watercolors that match the bright pinks, blues, and peaches found within its surroundings.

Hove’s Cakeland installation is not all frosting and cherries however. To add detail, and a bit of darkness to the works, Hove adds unexpected elements within his sculptural confections. “To contrast that bougie cake look, I collect items that have an inherent violence, but beauty at the same time,” said Hove. “That’s why I choose things like switchblades, wolf jaws, and leopard jaws. Even though they are plastic, they possess a real fierce quality that affects us on a very deep level.”

Exploring his installation during the day is free, but performances at night will be ticketed and need reservations. Events include dinner clubs, pop-up brunches, improv, poetry readings, and other food-themed activities from deep inside a frosting-lined mega-cake. You can learn more about the pop-up and how to get tickets on Break Bread LA’s website here. (via LAist)

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Image via Break Bread Los Angeles

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Photo via Irena Logra

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Image via Break Bread Los Angeles

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Art Science

Chemical Compound Stickers for Crayons Help Teach Kids Chemistry While Coloring

February 15, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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The folks over at Que Interesante created this clever sticker pack for crayons, effectively turning color names into the chemical compounds that correlate with each hue. The sets seem like a fun way to learn for a science-minded family and are available in number of different packs or in bulk for schools. (via Laughing Squid)

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