Step into the conservation and restoration studios at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in this short documentary following the restoration of a 1907 painting. Featuring conservator Diana Hartman, the video follows Hartman’s problem-solving, tool acquisition, and hands-on work. The hundred year-old canvas, painted by Paula Modersohn-Becker, is unusual in that it is still on its original wood stretchers, and was presumably stretched by the artist herself. This also presents some complex logistical hurdles, as normally a canvas on non-original stretchers would simply be removed from its wooden structural support for repairs. After several months of planning the repair, Hartman re-weaves the canvas using eye surgery needles and tones a custom-shaped canvas patch with precisely matched watercolors.
MoMA reopens to the public on October 21, 2019, after several months of extensive renovations and expansions, including two new ground-floor galleries that are free to visit. (via The Kid Should See This)
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Brooklyn-based artist Bisa Butler (previously) uses brightly colored cotton, wool, and chiffon fabrics with bold patterns to piece together quilts featuring detailed portraits of Black people. The materials and themes connect American subjects with their African roots and tell visual stories of history and culture.
Butler is a New Jersey-born African American artist with Ghanian heritage. A closer look at her portraits reveals intricate mosaics of shapes and patterns and complex multi-hued skin tones. For her James Baldwin-inspired piece “I Am Not Your Negro,” Butler created a portrait of a man seated in a pose similar to Rodin’s “Thinker” and a warm complexion inspired by The Fire Next Time, an important book written by Baldwin that was first published in 1963. “I used reds and oranges in his complexion to indicate this while this man sits calmly [there] is fire inside,” Butler said in a statement. “I use colorful imaginative colors in my figures because I am connecting color to emotion and I want their images to indicate a personality, mood, and temperament.”
The artist’s quilts also incorporate nods to Black wedding traditions, references to historically Black colleges and universities, and other elements that speak to the Black and African American experience. The Katonah Museum of Art is set to host the artist’s first solo museum exhibition with approximately 25 of her quilts on display from March 15 to June 14, 2020.
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Textile artist Amanda Browder collaborates with the communities she’s working in to built site-specific architectural interventions. Using hundreds of yards of donated fabric with bright colors and patterns, Browder and her volunteer teams stitch together enormous panels that resemble crazy quilts. The panels wrap around bell towers, sheath elevated walkways, and drape from gables and eaves to give passersby a new experience of familiar buildings. In a statement on her website, Browder describes her work:
A state of betweenness – ‘twixt soft sculpture /’tween orchestrated public object installation with a studio affinity for abstraction and minimalism”. I am in love with the transformative nature of materials, and how the combination of the familiar creates abstract relationships about place. This relational objectivity generates an open-ended narrative, ambiguous situations defined by the choice of materials and work ethic. Central to the psychedelic experience, I am drawn to reinventing Pop-Art colors by exploring shifts in scale and sculptural perceptions.
The Montana-born artist received a B.A. in studio arts as well as two master’s degrees in sculpture and installation art. Browder is now based in Brooklyn and frequently travels to create new work. She was recently awarded an opportunity with the prestigious ArtPrize organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The multi-part work, titled Kaleidoscopic, is currently on view at locations around Grand Rapids. Keep up with Browder’s projects on Instagram, and watch the video below for a time-lapse of a previous installation in Las Vegas and an interview with the artist.
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Berlin-based Japanese artist Aiko Tezuka carefully unravels and re-weaves elaborate textiles to form new shapes and patterns. In some works, the separated threads hang from the bottom edge of an intact textile in perfectly parallel lines; others feature threads course down in waterfall-like sheaths, reconnecting as they crash into the floor. In still others, the loose threads come together to form images and words hovering on sheer substrates. Tezuka closely studies the cultural and economic histories interwoven in different Eastern and Western textile traditions, examining the greater symbolism embedded in each decorative element.
“My essential interest has been what makes up the surface of the object; through which processes was the surface produced; how could I peel off the surface; what things could I see behind the surface; and how could I embody these things behind the surface into my work,” Tezuka shares in an artist statement. “Although we are completely surrounded by surfaces, we cannot physically enter things in even one millimeter under the surface. Every time we peel a surface, a new surface will appear immediately, like an infinite loop. How does one perceive these infinite surfaces, or loosen the surfaces that seem to be firmly interwoven?”
She has exhibited widely and her solo show “Dear Oblivion” at Michael Janssen gallery, runs from September 14 to November 16, 2019 in Berlin. Tezuka’s work is also on view September 7 – 28, 2019 at MA2 gallery in Tokyo. See more from the artist on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)
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For his “flow” series, artist and designer Benjamin Shine crafts portraits of serene faces using lightweight tulle fabric. The fine netted material allows for dramatic differences in opacity depending on how densely it is is bunched or layered. In his artist statement, Shine explains that his work “centers on ideas of energy, impermanence and the relationship between the spiritual and the superficial.” With his most recent sculpture, “Quietude”, Shine scaled up his signature portraits and built an outdoor sculpture that measures over eight feet tall. The fuchsia-toned sculpture was made an 80 by 20 foot piece of recycled high density polyethylene shaped around a steel frame, and its color shifts as natural light changes throughout the day. Take a peek inside Shine’s studio in the video interview below, and see more of his work on Instagram.
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Like many of her haute couture peers, fashion designer Iris van Herpen (previously) selects a theme that inspires and unites the designs in each of her collections. Van Herpen, who has interdisciplinary interests in fine art and science, is particularly known for her wide-reaching collaborations. For her latest body of work, titled ‘Hypnosis,’ the Dutch designer partnered with Anthony Howe (previously), an American sculptor who specializes in large-scale kinetic works.
The resulting collection is centered around Howe’s Omniverse sculpture. With rotating circles of varying sizes spiraling out from a central arc, Omniverse “explores our relationship with nature and intertwines with infinite expansion and contraction, expressing a universal life cycle,” according to a statement on van Herpen’s website. The designer used feathers, silk, aluminum, stainless steel, organza, ball bearings, and satin in labor-intensive processes to form the ethereal dresses worn by runway models who passed through and around Howe’e sculpture.
“The ‘Hypnosis’ collection is a hypnotic visualization of nature’s tapestry, the symbiotic cycles of our biosphere that interweave the air, land, and oceans. It also reflects the ongoing dissection of the rhythms of life and resonates with the fragility within these interwoven worlds” van Herpen explains.
You can read more about the intricate techniques used to create the garments—including one developed in collaboration with Canada-based Professor of Architecture Philip Beesley—on the designer’s website. Van Herpen also released a behind-the-scenes short documentary that takes viewers inside her atelier, which is embedded below. Explore more of van Herpen’s mesmerizing creations on Instagram. (via Hi-Fructose)
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Editor's Picks: Design
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.