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Art

In 'Forothermore,' Artist Nick Cave Harnesses the Power of Beauty and Art to Inspire Change

May 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

Soundsuits. All photos by Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago, shared with permission

From floral Soundsuits and found-object sculptures to a multicolor web of millions of pony beads, Forothermore surveys the 30-plus-year career of artist Nick Cave. The retrospective, which draws its name from “forevermore” and “for others,” opened last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and captures both the evolution and mainstays of the artist’s practice. Cave spoke with Colossal in an interview ahead of the show, saying, “Why now, why now this moment, why this exhibition, why this survey, and who is it for? Once I removed myself from it, I realized that it’s not for me. It really allowed me to take a course of action in terms of that movement and what will this look like, looking at three and a half decades of work.”

Arranged thematically rather than chronologically, the exhibition opens with an iteration of the metallic wind spinners that were part of Cave’s 2017 show at MASS MoCA. Guns, bullets, and teardrops are embedded in some of the kinetic pieces that hang alongside smiling faces and peace signs. These sinister symbols pervade the suspended installation, which considers how a desire to only see beauty can mask painful, life-threatening issues.

 

Detail of “Spinner Forest”

Heavily patterned vinyl wallpaper designed in collaboration with Cave’s partner Bob Faust runs through much of the show and creates a textured backdrop for the artist’s mixed-media assemblages of kitsch figurines, vintage furniture, and other trinkets. Dozens of his signature Soundsuits stand inside the fourth-floor gallery, including the mournful piece veiled in 929 black flowers that was created in response to George Floyd’s murder. Wall sculptures made of items sourced from flea markets—these include rusted tools, dominos, wooden boards, button-up shirts, and glittering orbs—date back to the 90s and surround the vibrant, armor-like costumes.

Cave created the first Soundsuit following Rodney King’s beating in 1991, and he’s never wavered from confronting racism in his works. “As I’m trying to imagine other ways of thinking and making, I’m constantly being brought back to this, unfortunately,” he says. The exhibition also includes a collection of bronze arms cradling sprawling, metallic bouquets with hands often clenched and raised in a fist, a reference to strength and solidarity in the face of rampant injustice.

Forothermore is on view in Chicago through October 2, when it will travel to the Guggenheim in New York City for an exhibition opening on November 18. You can read the full interview with Cave here, and find more from the artist on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Lavishly Dressed Women Equipped with Shovels and Chainsaws Consider the Tools Used for Change

April 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Power Move.” All images © Kelly Reemtsen, shared with permission

“My work has always been a tribute to all the hard-working women in my life,” says Kelly Reemtsen. The artist (previously), who lives and works between Los Angeles and London, has spent the last decade producing a subversive body of work devoted to exploring gender, its constructs, and real-world impacts, from wage gaps to the continual rollback of reproductive rights. Her practice spans printmaking, sculpture, and painting and juxtaposes visual markings of femininity with objects associated with masculinity. Each piece portrays an anonymous woman dressed in a tulle skirt, patent pumps, and glitzy jewelry grasping a chainsaw or shovel in an easy, nonchalant manner.

In recent years, Reemtsen has gravitated toward oval canvases evocative of traditional portraiture, in addition to pedestals and ladders that elevate her subjects. “Are the women in my paintings trying to break through the glass ceilings or just escaping the current situation? I think most women are doing one or both at all times, consciously or not,” she shares. A series of chainsaw sculptures painted with vibrant, playful colors augments the artist’s broader questions concerning how “the tools available to us shape who we are and who we want to be. I find using tools– whether a printmaking press, a chainsaw, makeup, or anything else– to be incredibly empowering as a vehicle for initiating change.”

A 10-year survey of Reemtsen’s work will be on view at albertz benda’s Los Angeles gallery this May, and she also has pieces in a group exhibition opening on April 21 in London and in August at Galeri Oxholm in Copenhagen. Explore a larger collection of her paintings and sculptures on her site and Instagram.

 

“Buzz Kill”

“Pattern Behavior”

“Taking Shape Yellow”

“Snip”

“Scoop”

“Step It Up”

“Taking Shape Aqua”

 

 



Art Design Food

Thin Strips of Metal and Spaghetti Connect in Architectural Collars and Headdresses

April 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Fabienne.” All images © Alice Pegna, by Jacques Peg, shared with permission

Paris-based designer and artist Alice Pegna revolves her practice around structures. She’s concerned with both the relationship between individual components and how a larger framework responds to its environment, and her pieces tend to amplify the connection between adornment and the human body. “The structure is an integral part of the universe,” she tells Colossal. “It is not always visible, yet always present, material or immaterial, just like our body, our thoughts, and our life.”

This interest culminates in her architectural body of work that’s comprised of sculptural garments, headdresses, and accessories with sharp points and acute angles. Previously working primarily with uncooked spaghetti, Pegna’s new collection incorporates thin strips of metal that similarly hug the wearer’s form with geometric detail. The pieces were created in collaboration with the Phoenix Alternative Model association for Paris Fashion Week 2021 and worn by models with physical disabilities to highlight their figures. All of the works, which are photographed against stark black backdrops on minimal mannequins, rely on negative space to alter how the body is viewed without obscuring it entirely.

For more of Pegna’s intricate constructions, visit her site and Instagram.

 

“Anna”

“Barbe”

“Crete”

“Clemence”

“Crete”

“Parure”

 

 



Art Design

1,400 Pages of Rembrandt's Hand Drawings Fill a Wearable Book Bracelet

April 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Lyske Gais and Lia Duinker, shared with permission

Lined with gilt edges and secured with a gold clasp, a bracelet by the Amsterdam-based duo of Lyske Gais and Lia Duinker packs a vast art historical collection within the span of a wrist. The pair created a wearable catalog back in 2015 that binds 1,400 pages into a thick book. Its contents contain black-and-white hand illustrations from 303 of Rembrandt’s etchings and drawings, subject matter inspired by its availability in Rijksmuseum’s digital archive. “We liked that it would be something you could wear, have your own collection with you,” they tell Colossal.

Titled “Rembrandt’s Hands and a Lion’s Paw,” the book bracelet uses brocheersteek, a method of traditional cross-stitching, and each page is titled and numbered. An additional index helps navigate the hundreds of illustrations held within the leather covers.

Cooper Hewitt acquired the original work, which also won the Rijksmuseum’s 2015 Rijksstudio Award, and Gais and Duinker followed the design with a necklace in a similar style that features Rembrandt’s dogs. There are a few of the original 10 limited-edition bracelets available on the pair’s site. (via Women’s Art)

 

Photo by Frieda Mellema

Photo by Frieda Mellema

 

 



Photography

Conceptual Portraits by Photographer Oye Diran Fuse Raw Emotion and Whimsy

March 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Homegrown.” All images © Oye Diran, shared with permission

When working on location or in the studio, Oye Diran (previously) focuses on the natural grace and emotional impulses of his subjects. The Lagos-born New York-based photographer captures portraits that are refined and composed with natural elements, centering on singular figures set against calm, scenic backdrops or surrounded by flowers and fruits. Whether a personal project or commission for a magazine or fashion brand, his photos are minimal and tinged with whimsical details conveyed through elaborate hairstyles or playful, puppet-like props.

Diran’s stylized shot titled “Samsara,” which shows a figure lying supine with a mass of white blooms, is part of his recent In Between Bonds series that explores the tension between individuality and the collective through expressions of kinship. You can view the entire collection and more of the photographer’s works on Instagram.

 

“Samsara”

A commission for Blanc Magazine

Left: “Baptism.” Right: “Grounded”

“Ebonee”

“Eve”

 

 



Craft Design Food

Tools, Snacks, and Other Household Goods Become Clever Wearables by Nicole McLaughlin

February 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Nicole McLaughlin, shared with permission

Peek into Nicole McLaughlin’s closet—or scroll through her Instagram—and you’ll find (literally) toasty winter hats, plush, pocketed work boots, and sandals that double as snacks. The New York-based designer is known for her playful edible apparel and brand-based conversions that turn household objects, logos, and individual servings of food into amusing and functional goods. Her latest creations include toothpaste tube slip-ons, LEGO shorts, and a vest designed with scent in mind. (via This Isn’t Happiness)