Across nearly 450 pages, PRIME: Art’s Next Generation offers a broad and insightful survey of the Millenials defining the future of the art world. As its title suggests, the massive tome is a primer on the innovative, subversive, and category-defying works that are captivating curators and art professionals. The volume is collated based on time period alone, bringing together more than 100 international artists working across mediums who were born between 1980 and 1995—this includes Jordan Casteel, Tau Lewis (previously), and Firelei Báez (previously)—in a look at what’s emerged from a cultural and creative landscape shaped by the internet and increasing connectivity. PRIME will be released on May 25 and is available for pre-order on Phaidon and Bookshop.
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A new report released this week by an Australian agency says that the 1,400-mile Great Barrier Reef has undergone its sixth mass bleaching. About 91 percent of the brightly colored marine ecosystems were affected by this most recent catastrophe, which occurs when water temperatures rise. Disasters like this are becoming more frequent as the climate crisis intensifies, prompting artists like Christine and Margaret Wertheim to respond with striking displays of what could be permanently lost.
The Australia-born, California-based sisters began the Crochet Coral Reef project in 2005 to confront the devastations of bleaching, over–fishing, tourism, and agricultural contaminations through sprawling, labor-intensive environments. More than 40,000 of the oceanic works are now on view at the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, transforming the gallery into textured ecosystems resting atop pillars and protected in glass cases. The Wertheims explain the project:
Like the organic beings they emulate, these handmade sculptures take time to make—time that is condensed in the millions of stitches on display; time that is running out for earthly creatures, including humans and cnidarians. Time forms a framework for the Reef project, for as CO2 escalates in our atmosphere time is increasingly in short supply, and what we choose to spend time on is a reflection of our values.
Part of the intention for Crochet Coral Reef is to involve local communities, and so far, almost 20,000 people have contributed their own fiber-based forms, with about 5,000 participating in the show in Baden-Baden alone. Since debuting at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the exhibition has traveled to more than 20 spaces from London and Dublin to Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., and will be on view at the Museum Frieder Burda until June 26. A complimentary satellite project is also up at the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York, through June 12.
Visit the Crochet Coral Reef site for more information on getting involved in the project and for chances to see the textile organisms in person. You also might enjoy Mulyana’s yarn ecosystems. (via artnet)
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Rambling, weathered ivy constructs the walls of a home placed among the quiet, serene cemetery of Wuhan Shimenfeng Memorial Park. The project of designer Hu Quanchun of Field Conforming Studio, “The Vanished House” elicits the act of remembering in a public space devoted to mourning and memories. Tension between the enduring and transitory pervades the architectural work, shown through the combination of the sturdy material and open roof that appears to fade around the perimeter.
In a statement about the memorializing project, the studio likens the structure to that of a child’s sketch, explaining that the simple design draws attention to the sprawling vegetal forms laser cut from sheets of Corten steel. Over time, the crimson material will age with rain and sun, and its rusted color will stand in starker contrast to the green environment.
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Widely regarded as one of the most renowned sculptors in Australia, the late artist Bronwyn Oliver possessed an unparalleled ability to shape thin copper wire into intricate patterns. Her sculptures of ammonites, palm leaves, and single buds are minimal in form and incredibly detailed in construction, with oscillating lines delineating the edge of a fossil or an elaborate web expanding into a plump cherry blossom.
Evidence of Oliver’s devoted and time-consuming practice, the pieces are the result of intense twisting and brazing, a higher-temperature version of soldering. “My sculpture, I like to think of them as the bones of something. It might only be bone, but it might be the beginning or ending of something as well,” the artist says in a clip from the recent documentary about her life and work, The Shadows Within—the trailer is available on YouTube, but the full documentary is only streaming in Australia at the moment.
Oliver has gained greater recognition in recent years and is included in the corrective exhibition held at The National Gallery of Australia. Know My Name, which runs through June 26, showcases works from dozens of women who’ve significantly contributed to the country’s culture. Oliver’s sculptures are housed in major Australian collections, including those at The National Gallery, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Victoria, and her public pieces can be seen at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, the University of New South Wales, and Queen Street Mall in Brisbane. (via Women’s Art)
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Royal frogs, masquerading lemurs, and florals with human faces are just some of the eccentric characters in acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s (previously) gouache paintings. The traditional aesthetic of European still-life, aristocratic portraiture, and romantic landscape paintings set the scene for uncanny, chimerical subjects who engage in dreamlike encounters or gaze haughtily at the viewer. Gouache, which is water-soluble and more vividly opaque than watercolor, allows the artist to mimic the incredible detail of oil paint.
Mayer continues to work on commissioned projects for recognizable publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, and Scientific American. He often shares his varied assignments on his blog, including a collaboration earlier this year with the producers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to submit a painting to the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “Duck Judges”—although disqualified from winning the stamp design for technical reasons—raised $25,000 in funds to support the conservation efforts of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
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Interview: Nick Cave Unpacks Silence and Compassion Ahead of His First Retrospective at Chicago's MCA
A portmanteau of forevermore and for others, Forothermore is a prescient title for the first retrospective of artist Nick Cave opening this week at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Cave discusses the career-spanning exhibition in a new interview supported by Colossal Members, starting with his Soundsuits, the captivating costumes of color and fur that are likely his most recognizable pieces. His work consistently confronts racism, homophobia, and other bigotries through the alluring, affecting power of art.
I have to think about the journey and how I get your willingness to explore and go with me. I’m always thinking about ways into the work. Once you’re in, then I tell you what is the root of the work, where is it grounded. At that moment, you have to make that decision. Do I shy away from that and consume myself with the beauty? Beauty for me is optimism. It is the future. It’s me colliding these two forces together and challenging myself, as well as the viewer, to start to dissect, to start to expand on the narrative, to talk about what they’re emotionally feeling and connecting with.
In this conversation, Cave explains how amassing three and a half decades of work in one space has been an enlightening process. He generously shares that he’s no longer allowing tragedy to function as a directive, that his devotion to silence is an essential part of his practice, and that committing 100 percent has the power to produce awe-inspiring results. Read the interview.
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Editor's Picks: Art
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