Art

Detailed Portraits of Tahiti’s Third Gender by Kehinde Wiley Challenge Gaugin’s Problematic Depictions

May 25, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Portrait of Geysha Kaua, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 151,5 x 122,5 cm 59 3/4 x 48 1/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

American artist Kehinde Wiley (previously) has unveiled a new series of paintings of Tahiti’s Māhū community, a group of Polynesians classified as a third gender between male and female. Presented at Galerie Templon in Paris, the colorful portrait series challenges a collection of 20th century works by Paul Gauguin, removing elements that Wiley considers problematic and exploitative side effects of colonialism.

Wiley takes issues with Gauguin’s depictions of the Māhū for being unrealistic fantasies that sexually objectify the community for the sake of his White audience back home. The paintings in his “Tahiti” series incorporate tribal patterns, bright colors, plants, and poses inspired by Gauguin’s work, but these distinctive elements were chosen by the models themselves as a form of “self-presentation.”

Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta,II, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 162,5 x 213,5 cm 64 x 84 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

“I am interested in transformation and artifice,” the artist said in a statement. “My newest exhibition will engage with the history of France and its outward facing relationship to black and brown bodies, specifically relating to sexual proclivity. Gauguin features heavily in the imagination of France and her global interface–with that comes an entire history of complicated gazing. I interrogate, subsume, and participate in discourse about Māhū, about France, and about the invention of gender.”

The “Tahiti” exhibition opened on May 18 and will remain on view at the gallery (along with a new video work) through July 20, 2019. Follow Kehinde Wiley on Instagram to see what else he has been up to, including preparing for his upcoming Black Rock Senegal residency.

Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 92 x 78 cm 36 1/4 x 30 3/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Moerai Matuanui, 2019 Huile sur lin/ Oil on linen 183 x 153,2 cm 72 x 60 3/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Shelby Hunter, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 183 x 244 cm 72 x 96 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Tuatini Manate,III, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 180 x 241,5 cm 70 7/8 x 95 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

Portrait of Tuatini Manate, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 114,5 x 92 cm 45 1/8 x 36 1/4 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

The Siesta, 2019 Huile sur lin / Oil on linen 183 x 244 cm 72 x 96 1/8 in. photo : Diane Arques / ADAGP, Paris, 2019

 

 



Art

Advanced Technologies Hide Below the Surface in New Three-Dimensional Collages by Dustin Yellin

May 24, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

"Astronauts Building a Rocket Under the Sea" (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 16" x 16" x 8.25" and 16" x 15.875" x 8.125"

“Astronauts Building a Rocket Under the Sea” (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 16″ x 16″ x 8.25″ and 16″ x 15.875″ x 8.125″

Brooklyn, New York-based artist Dustin Yellin (previously) preserves three-dimensional photo collages in glass bricks to create what he describes as “frozen cinema.” Some of his more recent works feature landscapes only slightly more dramatic than our own natural and manmade world, often with groups of subjects working together to construct grand machines. Humans unite to build rockets under waterfalls and the sea, while a time machine is secretly constructed underneath a car junkyard. No matter the subject, each work explores our fate within the Anthropocene and the lasting impression we will leave on the Earth. You can see more of his scenes encased in glass on his website and Instagram.

"Unicorn Disc" (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin 16" x 16" x 8.25"

“Unicorn Disc” (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin 16″ x 16″ x 8.25″

Detail of "Unicorn Disc" (2017)

Detail of “Unicorn Disc” (2017)

"Building a Rocket Under a Waterfall" (2018), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 48.25" x 17.875" x 18.75"

“Building a Rocket Under a Waterfall” (2018), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 48.25″ x 17.875″ x 18.75″

Detail of "Building a Rocket Under a Waterfall" (2018)

Detail of “Building a Rocket Under a Waterfall” (2018)

"Ceremony to Build a Rocket on Floating Disc" (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 16" x 16" x 8.25"

“Ceremony to Build a Rocket on Floating Disc” (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 16″ x 16″ x 8.25″

"Building a Time Machine in Car Mountain" (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 15.875" x 15.875" x 7.75"

“Building a Time Machine in Car Mountain” (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin, 15.875″ x 15.875″ x 7.75″

Detail of "Building a Time Machine in Car Mountain" (2017)

Detail of “Building a Time Machine in Car Mountain” (2017)

Detail of "Group Sisyphus" (2017)

Detail of “Group Sisyphus” (2017)

"Group Sisyphus" (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin 16" x 16" x 8"

“Group Sisyphus” (2017), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin 16″ x 16″ x 8″

"The Peace of Wild Things" (2018), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin 48.25" x 18" x 17.5"

“The Peace of Wild Things” (2018), Glass, collage, acrylic, resin 48.25″ x 18″ x 17.5″

 

 



Art

Murmuration: 10,000 Porcelain Birds Create a Calligraphic Landscape at the National Gallery of Victoria

May 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All images courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria

As part of a new large-scale exhibit at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (previously) has created a swarm of 10,000 porcelain birds, titled Murmuration (Landscape). The multi-part winter exhibition at the museum combines Cai’s contemporary work with the display of a selection of China’s famed ancient terracotta warriors. Cai, who is best known for his enormous artworks that utilize fireworks, assembled the vast quantity of birds and smudged them black with gunpowder. The installation fills an entire gallery and the birds are suspended to create a 3D impression of a calligraphic drawing of Mount Li, where the tomb of the ancient warriors was located. Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang opens to the public today and is on view through October 13, 2019. Watch a time-lapse of the labor-intensive installation here and explore more of the artist’s diverse works on Instagram.

Photo: Tobias Titz

 

 



Amazing Art

Rainbow Village: An Entire Community in Taiwan Hand-Painted by a Single Man

May 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

When Huang Yung-Fu learned that the village where he had lived for decades was slated for demolition, the Taiwan resident decided to showcase the continued vibrancy of his home. Huang was the last remaining resident of the community that had once housed 1,200 households, mostly Chinese Nationalist veterans like Huang, who had been defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communist regime. By the mid-2000’s, real estate developers had bought out many residents to be able to raze the area, with Huang as the last holdout. Left on his own, the elderly veteran, who also has a strong creative streak, started painting every available surface of his surroundings. Walls, rooflines, and pathways became canvases for multi-colored Chinese characters and figurative motifs.

Since beginning the open-ended project about ten years ago, Huang’s community has become known as Rainbow Village and he, the Rainbow Grandpa. In 2010 a local university student came across Huang’s vibrant paintings and helped raise awareness for the Rainbow Village. Over a million tourists visit each year and the Taiwanese government has since pledged to keep the village intact. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Art

Feathered Skulls by Laurence Le Constant Serve as Objects of Memory Dedicated to Departed Loved Ones

May 23, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Laurence Le Constant started working with feathers in the early 2000’s while employed as a sequins designer in haute couture workshops throughout Paris. Inquisitive about the meticulous art, she would ask embroiderers and feather workers to teach her the trade during breaks or her lunch hour. After her grandmother passed in 2010 she created her first skull as a memorial, spending hundreds of hours of works selecting and gluing feathers to a resin base. Since this first skull, her other pieces have also served as tools for memory, honoring prominent women in her family and beyond.

“With the series ‘My Lovely Bones,’ I became the Huesera, or the ‘bone lady,'” Le Constant told Colossal. “Like this mythical creature from the Mexican folk tales, which roams the desert to collect bones and bring back life through its singing, I bring the magnified skulls of women back from the afterlife, giving them a new life and a new voice.”

The artist sources feathers from animals farmed for the food industry in Europe and never uses feathers from protected or endangered birds. You can see more of her feather sculptures on her website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Design History Illustration

Cross-Sections of Geological Formations and Views of the Cosmos Bring the World to Life in 19th Century Educational Charts

May 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In 1887 Levi Walter Yaggy published the Geographical Portfolio – Comprising Physical, Political, Geological, and Astronomical Geography with his publishing company, Western Publishing House of Chicago. The popular set of maps and charts (an expanded second edition was released six years later) was intended for teachers to use in classroom settings. The two by three-foot sheets used clever composite images to convey the range of topography and animals around the world, resulting in dense caves and steep mountain peaks that could be straight out of a fantasy novel.

In addition to their imaginative designs and eye-catching color palettes, Yaggy made strides in the teaching aid field by incorporating interactive elements. Each set included a 3-dimensional relief map of the United States and latches revealed hidden diagrams on individual charts. Unfortunately, despite his forward-thinking designs, Yaggy did include the era’s all-too-common racist depictions of non-white populations on some of his cultural maps.

You can explore the full range of Yaggy’s Geographical Portfolio via digital scans on David Rumsey’s map website (where they are available as on-demand prints and as high-resolution downloads), and learn more about the charts on National Geographic. (via this isn’t happiness)

 

 

 

 



Craft Design Music

Classic Compositions Performed on a Miniature Paper Piano by Aliaksei Zholner

May 22, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Aliaksei Zholner (previously) is known for making fully functioning models from cardboard and paper. His latest piece is a miniature 18-key piano that is tuned to play popular and classical pieces such as Fryderyk Chopin’s Polonez b-moll, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Für Elise, and Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. The “strings” of the piano are created from paper strips connected to a tension mechanism similar to a guitar and struck by hammers made from paper and cardboard. The black cardboard body is branded with Zholner’s name above the keys in the style of popular piano makers such as Bösendorfer and Bechstein. A more detailed explanation of the construction (in Russian) is available on the Only Paper forum, and you can view more of his paper demonstrations on his Youtube channel.

 

 

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