Housed in the former home of the 10-story International Shoe Company, the sprawling 600,000 square-foot City Museum in St. Louis is quite possibly the ultimate urban playground ever constructed. The museum is the brainchild of artist and sculptor Bob Cassilly who opened the space in 1997 after years of renovation and construction. Although Cassilly passed away in 2011, the museum is perpetually under construction as new features are added or improved thanks to a ragtag group of 20 artists known affectionately as the Cassilly Crew.
So what can you find at the City Museum? How about a sky-high jungle gym making use of two repurposed airplanes, two towering 10-story slides and numerous multi-floor slides, a rooftop Ferris wheel and a cantilevered school bus that juts out from the roof, subterranean caves, a pipe organ, hundreds of feet of tunnels that traverse from floor to floor, an aquarium, ball pits, a shoe lace factory, a circus arts facility, restaurants, and even a bar… because why not? All the materials used to build the museum including salvaged bridges, old chimneys, construction cranes, and miles of tile are sourced locally, making the entire endeavor a massive recycling project.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart) and live in the midwestern United States or have any other means to get to St. Louis, if you aren’t immediately planning a trip to City Museum, you’re missing out on life. On my first visit last year our family hardly left the museum for two days. It is the complete antithesis to commercialized theme parks like Disneyland. You can see more photos at Gallery Hip.
Lights at the Bus Stop. Oil on canvas. 120 x 120 cm
5ª Avenida.195 x 195 cm
Empire State. 146 x 146 cm
Afternoon From High Line Park. Oil on canvas. 120 x 120 cm.
Cristóbal Pérez García’s oil painted scenes are those found in twilight or dusk, landscapes encased in smog and the highly trafficked realities of living in an urban metropolis. The vantage points are those of the pedestrian, Garcia’s own view when embarking on a new city to paint. He recently shared a video, Traffic, that gives a short, but intimate glimpse into his process both within the studio and on the street.
Garcia’s highly textured paintings give a nice balance to the blurred masses of city inhabitants and his detailed buses, cabs, and cars. Each painting also has an emphasis on light, either natural or the reflection of vehicle and traffic lights in the crowded streets.
Garcia was born in 1976 in Álora, Málaga and studied painting and sculpture at the Universidad de Granada, Spain. Garcia has upcoming exhibitions at Galería Mar from March 5-18, and Art Expo New York from April 23-26. You can see more of Garcia’s urban landscapes on his website and frequently posted on Twitter. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
When first discovering these paintings by Korean artist Jieun Park, either on a distant gallery wall or on a small website thumbnail, you might first mistake them for nothing more than thick abstract brushstrokes on on a large canvas. A closer look reveals entire nighttime cityscapes embedded in the blots of paint, glimpses of Paris, Hong Kong, Prague, and other cities from Park’s travels. The artist has numerous prints and originals available over on Saatchi Online.
Artist Amy Casey (previously) just unveiled a new collection of work at Zg Gallery here in Chicago. Titled Putting Down Roots the paintings continue an ongoing fictional saga of characters living in Casey’s artwork who often face great adversity from killer plants, collapsing structures, and other desperate means to keep their cities afloat or intact. From the looks of it things have improved dramatically for these little painted inhabitants who appear to have weathered the storm and are now thriving within Casey’s bizarre, suspended worlds. From the artist:
After any pendulum swing of chaos grinds to a slow halt, there will come a time when you will have to decide if you are going to wallow in the rubble or take what remains and create a new empire. Building upon recent work, I have been in search of a solid ground. A bit less kinetic than past work, I have been trying to take what was left of the world in my paintings and create a stability of sorts, thinking about community ties and the security (or illusion of security) needed to nurture growth. Cities are fascinating creatures that I am just beginning to scratch the surface of.
In the video above from Cleveland Arts Prize she talks at length about her process and the continuing narrative that weaves through years of her art. Interestingly, every building or house in each of her paintings is based on actual source materials. Casey will take photographs of some 500 individual houses, office buildings, and water towers which she then uses as reference for every small small structure you see in her artwork.
Putting Down Roots will be up through July 6th, with a smaller selection of work on view through August. All images copyright Amy Casey, courtesy Zg Gallery.
I’m really enjoying the perspective and mood in these oil paintings by Valerio D’Ospina. Born in southern Italy but now living and working in Pennsylvania the artist paints gritty scenes from industry including ship yards, trains, and factories as well as broad “urbanscapes” that are captured from a dramatic, almost blurred perspective. His most recent solo show was at Hall Spassov Gallery back in October. (via cosas cool)
Stockholm-based photographer Christian Åslund recently payed tribute to retro 2D video games using the streets of Hong Kong as a backdrop. The photos were taken as part of an ad campaign for shoe brand Jim Rickey utilizing models who would lay flat on the streets or sidewalks to create the unique perspective. I’ve seen many photographers toy with this idea, but the wide-angle nature of these shots taken from such height creates a truly fun and expansive environment. See many more shots from the series here. (via design taxi)
San Francisco-based artist Jeremy Mann executes these sublime, moody cityscapes using oil paints. To create each work he relies on a wide range of techniques including surface staining, the use of solvents to wipe away paint, and the application of broad, gritty marks with an ink brayer. The resulting paintings are dark and atmospheric, urban streets seemingly drenched in rain and mystery. Mann’s work is in no way limited to cityscapes, he also paints the human figure, still lifes, and landscapes. He currently has work at John Pence Gallery and you can see many more of his cityscapes here. (via my darkened eyes)