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Art

Cosmic Nature: A Spectacular Polka Dot-Filled Exhibition by Yayoi Kusama Sprawls Across New York Botanical Garden

April 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

Now inhabiting the verdant, 250-acre campus of the New York Botanical Garden are oversized flowers sprouting in seasonal arrangements, a glowing pumpkin-packed infinity room, and a sea of 1,400 reflective spheres by Yayoi Kusama (previously). Teeming with squiggly sculptures, site-specific installations, and smaller pieces covered in the Japanese artist’s iconic polka dots, Cosmic Nature is an expansive exhibition celebrating decades of Kusama’s bold, joyful body of work.

Four new pieces are debuting during the immersive show, like the tentacled creature that marks the entrance to the grounds. Others include a 16-foot-tall dancing pumpkin, an obliteration greenhouse, and a new infinity room that reflects the lush greenery of the outdoor environment. Coupled with a variety of smaller acrylic paintings, fabric sculptures, and drawings on paper—the earliest of which dates back to 1945— the most recent works establish a broad visual trajectory of Kusama’s fixation on the natural world and never-ending penchant for polka dots.

While many of the playful blooms connect to larger themes about the human relationship to the environment, some pieces are distinctly personal, including “Flower Obsession,” which invites visitors into a space that mimics the artists’ own greenhouse. “Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos…when we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment,” the prolific artist notably said.

Cosmic Nature opens this weekend at the Bronx venue and runs through October 31. (via Hyperallergic)

 

“I Want to Fly to the Universe” (2020), the New York Botanical Garden, urethane paint on aluminum, 157 3/8 x 169 3/8 x 140 1/8 inches. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner. All images via New York Botanical Garden

“Dancing Pumpkin” (2020), view at the New York Botanical Garden, urethane paint on bronze, 196 7/8 x 116 7/8 x 117 ¼ inches. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner

“Narcissus Garden” (1966/2021), view at The New York Botanical Garden, 1,400 stainless steel spheres, installation dimensions variable. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts

“Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees” (2002/2021), view at the New York Botanical Garden, printed polyester fabric, bungees, and aluminum staples installed on existing trees, site-specific installation, dimensions variable. Collection of the artist

“My Soul Blooms Forever” (2019), view at the New York Botanical Garden, urethane paint on stainless steel, installation dimensions variable. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner

“Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity” (2017), mirrors, acrylic, glass, LEDs, and wood panels, 59 x 59 x 83 ½ inches. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts

“Hymn of Life—Tulips” (2007), mixed media, installation dimensions variable, courtesy of the City of Beverly Hills

“Life” (2015), view at the New York Botanical Garden, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, tiles, and resin, installation dimensions variable. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and David Zwirner

 

 



Art

Ironic Compositions Juxtapose Outlandish Scenarios in Paco Pomet's New Paintings

April 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

“The Lesson” (2020), oil on canvas, 130 x 170 centimeters. All images © Paco Pomet, shared with permission

In Beginnings, Spanish artist Paco Pomet (previously) visualizes a series of jarring and absurd scenarios born out of an equally concerning event. He juxtaposes disparate elements—a mushroom cloud erupting in a classroom, women cavalierly poking at a tabletop sunrise, a mountain range lying on an operating table—in a series of satirical commentaries infused with pop culture references and nods to art history.

Generally contrasting a black-and-white scene with a recurring, full-color sunrise or sunset, Pomet’s compositions merge time periods and situations to mark the start of a new reality, a broad theme tied to the current moment. “Romanticism with a twist of irony is a very powerful visual engine,” he says about the series.

If you’re in Santa Monica, Beginnings is on view through May 8 at Richard Heller Gallery. Otherwise, find more of Pomet’s humorous and bizarre compositions on Artsy and Instagram.

 

“Little Big Grief” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 66 9/10 inches

“Hesperides” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 66 9/10 inches

“Melancholy School” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 59 1/10 inches

“The Art of Scaling” (2020), oil on canvas, 51 1/5 × 59 1/10 inches

“Headstrong” (2020), oil on canvas, 23 3/5 × 28 7/10 inches

“Classicism” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 × 73 inches

“Das Erhabene Büro (diptych)” (2020), oil on canvas, 59 1/10 × 102 2/5 inches

 

 

 



Art

A Circle of Light Beams Undulates in an Interactive Kinetic Installation by Scale Collective

April 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

An undulating kinetic artwork by Scale Collective blends organic movement and architectural forms in a mesmerizing installation. Created for the Constellations Festival in Metz, France, “Flux” is comprised of 48 beams of light that stretch 1.5-meters-long and are spaced 40 centimeters apart. Each is connected to a single mechanism that’s motorized and controlled by viewers through an interface, allowing for a synchronized performance of twisting and coiling patterns. “The formal multiplication of these lines coupled with micro variations of phases, time delays, speeds, and amplitudes allows us to sculpt an object 20 meters long, alive and evolving with a cyclical back and forth movement,” the French collective says. See more of the group’s dynamic projects on its site, Vimeo, and Instagram. (via Core 77)

 

All images via Scale Collective

 

 



Animation Art

An Uncanny Animated Short by Fernando Livschitz Twists Mundane Scenes into Bizarre Alternatives

April 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

Argentinian director Fernando Livschitz (previously), who helms Black Sheep Films, is back with a surreal short film that envisions everyday activities and scenes with a slightly unsettling spin. Infused with Livschitz’s distinct penchant for humor and absurdity, “Anywhere Can Happen” is set to a rendition of “What a Wonderful World” by Reuben and the Dark and AG and descends into an uncanny universe of galactic rollercoasters, dimension-traveling trains, and oversized hands keen on manipulating the landscape. Watch the animated short above, and find more of Livschitz’s cleverly bizarre projects on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Light Casts a Magical Glow on the Residential Hills of Los Angeles in Paintings by Seth Armstrong

April 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Purple Mountain” (2020), oil on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches. All images © Seth Armstrong, shared with permission

“Color and light are basically all I think about when I’m painting,” says Seth Armstrong. Working with oil paints on wood, the Los Angeles-based artist renders the sloping hills of his native California county in bold, saturated tones. Depicting the staggered houses and vegetation in the glow of golden hour or just after sunrise, Armstrong balances both hyperrealism and more sweeping, gestural strokes. He includes the occasional candy-colored hue to veil the densely populated landscape—the artist notes that small details can be difficult to perceive when not viewing the works in person—with a layer of magic. “The paintings do become, for me, more than a depiction of light and color,” he writes. “But that’s a personal relationship we have.”

A limited-edition print of “Purple Mountain” releases on April 12 through Unit Drops, and Armstrong will have a solo show at Unit London this fall. Check out his Instagram for a larger collection of his paintings and glimpses into his home studio, where he works alongside ceramicist Madeleine Pellegren. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“5:30,” oil on wood panel, 12 x 12 inches

“Green House” (2020), oil on wood panel, 14.5 x 14.5 inches

“Pink Moment” (2020), oil on wood panel, 12 x 12 inches

“November” (2020), oil on wood panel, 19.75 x 27.5 inches

“September” (2020), oil on wood panel, 18 x 18 inches

“March” (2020), oil on wood panel, 36 x 36 inches

 

 



Art Design

Discs Extracted from Antique Porcelain Become Delicate Jewelry by Gésine Hackenberg

April 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Gésine Hackenberg, shared with permission

From her studio in Amsterdam, Gésine Hackenberg (previously) punches perfectly round discs from Delftware and antique ceramic dishes. The ornate, pearl-like forms are then strung together into necklaces or secured into metal bands for rings and earrings. Juxtaposing the old and new, the completed wearables are positioned alongside the original dinnerware to draw connections between the domestic objects and personal adornments that are ubiquitous in everyday life.

The ongoing collection—which Hackenberg says was inspired by her grandmother’s pearl necklaces and massive cabinet of porcelain dishes—evidences what the designer sees as “a certain kinship” between what’s worn on the body and the pieces that decorate and sustain a living space. She says:

What one keeps and owns, often contains an emotional meaning next to its practical function or worth. Possessions, especially personal treasures, define and represent their owner. Jewelry is in particular an outward sign of values that are deeply rooted in the wearer, of what people cherish, in what they believe, and what they desire.

Because the ceramic material is incredibly fragile, Hackenberg works manually with custom tools. She’s developed a precise understanding of the drilling speeds and pressure necessary to remove each disc without creating too many chips or cracks. If the material is damaged throughout the temperamental extraction process, the entire piece is unusable.

Hackenberg’s body of work spans a range of upcycled jewelry designs, many of which you can see on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 

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