As we recently reported, Banksy debuted a dystopian homewares store on October 1, 2019. Making good on his promise to open an online platform to purchase goods displayed in the Croydon pop-up (which was never, in fact, open to the public, and closed this past weekend), the Gross Domestic Product store went live today. Featuring a slate of items, ranging from a rat race clock to a static-filled HD TV, each piece serves as a social commentary on issues ranging from the refugee crisis to children’s sugar-filled diets. Most items—some of which are pointedly nonfunctional—are available to request for purchase immediately through a somewhat opaque lottery process. Pieces all seem to indicate that they are signed by the artist.
To mediate demand, the website requires would-be buyers to answer the prompt ‘Why does art matter?’ In the event of demand outstripping supply, the answer to this question may be used to evaluate your application. Please make your answer as amusing, informative or enlightening as possible, the website states. Similarly, seemingly in anticipation of those wishing to re-sell their GDP purchases, the ecommerce website also links in the footer to BBay, which describes itself as “your first choice destination to trade in secondhand art by a third-rate artist.’ Keep up with the latest from Banksy on Instagram.
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We don’t recommend getting near Kate Jenkins’s breakfast spread before you’ve had your morning coffee, or you might find yourself biting down on a bagel full of yarn. The British crochet artist (previously) creates fiber-based foods that bear a striking resemblance to their edible inspirations. Jenkins has a particular affinity for baked goods: her recent spreads include bagels and lox, whole grain bread loaves, and individual fruit tarts. The artist creates every last detail down to tiny caper berries, thinly sliced red onions, and kiwi and poppy seeds made from black beads.
Jenkins learned to knit and crochet as a child in Wales, and shares in an artist statement that she has always been fascinated and inspired by everyday objects and experiences. In addition to her culinary crochets, Jenkins trained and worked for many years as a knitwear designer in the fashion world. Keep up with Jenkins’s freshest bakes on Instagram, and purchase artwork in her online store.
For those in NYC who love textile-based delectables, we also recommend Lucy Sparrow’s felt food “deli” pop-up at Rockefeller Center, open through October 20, 2019.
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Using stop motion animation and her signature blend of the banal and bizarre, animator Kirsten Lepore (previously) plays with universal human traits in her new short, “Natural History Museum.” The animated film highlights the readiness with which we condescend to cultures from the past, as well as the deliciousness of chicken wings, through the lens of two characters whose identities shift over time. See more from Lepore on Vimeo and pick up swag inspired by her animations in her Society6 store.
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Ironing Wrinkled Chips, Keeping Headphones in Place, and Other Surreal Life-Hacks Photographed by Gab Bois
Montreal-based artist Gab Bois uses everyday objects to create photographs that twist reality and illustrate bizarre, yet clever, concepts. Often achieved using post-processing techniques, the seamless images depict unnatural double entendres and impossible feats. For the artist, the ideas are the star and photography is a tool for translation.
Gab Bois has a degree in fine art but didn’t practice photography until after graduating. Finding inspiration in the mundane and random, the common thread in Gab Bois’ work is the familiar. The artist prefers creating from her own imagination and dreams so that the work feels authentic. She tells Colossal that nine times out of ten, she is the model in her photographs. “I like to be very hands-on when it comes to most aspects of my practice and find it very hard to delegate,” she explains. “Being my own subject gives me a sense of control that I wouldn’t have with a model.” She has shot other people on occasion, and Gab Bois says that those were great learning experiences.
Gab Bois’ images live on Instagram, but the artist says that they “aspire to live a much larger life outside of the platform.” She added that Instagram is “a great diffusion tool but it feels reductive to me to have my work reside solely in a virtual environment.” The artist also has a sculptural practice that lives outside of social media.
Gab Bois is working on a solo exhibition for 2020. In the more immediate future, her work will be featured in a group exhibition opening on October 10, 2019 at KK Outlet in London and also in Montreal on October 17, 2019. To see more of her ideas come to life, follow the artist on Instagram.
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Open Call: The Elmhurst Art Museum Resurrects ‘Par Excellence,’ an Artist-Designed Mini Golf Course from 1988
In a unique collision of recreation and art, the Elmhurst Art Museum will commission an 18-hole artist-designed golf course in homage to the wildly popular 1988 exhibition Par Excellence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The fully playable course will be conceived and fabricated by a new group of contemporary artists, designers, and architects selected through an open call process. Designed to fill the entirety of the museum’s interior galleries, the course will be comprised of a surprisingly varied collection of themes and forms, promising an unusual twist on a familiar pastime.
The extraordinarily popular exhibition was the brainchild of sculptor Michael O’Brien and opened to lines down the block. The show sold out daily and found its way to the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune among others. The course went on tour to downstate Illinois before returning to Chicago as a rebranded commercial miniature golf course called ArtGolf at 1800 N. Clybourn in Lincoln Park (currently the site of Goose Island Brewery).
Artist-designed golf courses are now a popular addition to many Midwest museums such as the Walker Art Center, The Sheldon, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but Par Excellence is widely believed to be the first.
Par Excellence Redux is curated by Colossal’s founder & editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson. To learn more about the open call process and submit your ideas for a hole, head on over to the Elmhurst Art Museum for more info.
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Tony the Frosted Flakes tiger sacrificed as a living room rug, wooden dolls handing their babies off to smugglers in freight truck trailers, and welcome mats stitched from life jackets: rather than offering an aspirational lifestyle, one South London storefront window depicts a capitalist dystopia. Created by Banksy and appearing overnight, Gross Domestic Product is the latest installation to critique global society’s major issues of forced human migration, animal exploitation, and the surveillance state.
The temporary installation, which will be on view for two weeks in the Croydon neighborhood, incorporates multiple window displays for a shop that is not in fact open to passersby. However, some of the items on display are available for purchase in GDP’s associated online store including the welcome mats, which Banksy hired refugees in Greek detainment camps to stitch; all proceeds go back to the refugees. Revenue from sales of the doll sets will also support the purchase of a replacement boat for activist Pia Klemp, whose boat was confiscated by the Italian government. The product line is rounded out with such oddities as disco balls made from riot gear helmets, handbags made of bricks, and signed—and partially used—£10 spray paint cans.
Tying this latest project to his larger body of work, Banksy incorporated familiar motifs. The fireplace and stenciled jacquard wallpaper from his Walled Off Hotel, the stab-proof Union Jack vest he created for Stormzy to wear at the Glastonbury Festival, and the Basquiat-inspired ferris wheel that appeared outside the Barbican all appear in GDP.
In a statement about the project, Banksy explains that the impetus behind Gross Domestic Product is a legal battle between the artist and a greeting card company that is contesting the trademark Banksy holds to his art. Lawyer Mark Stephens, who is advising the artist, explains, “Banksy is in a difficult position because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear—if the trademark holder is not using the mark then it can be transferred to someone who will.”
Despite this project’s specific goal of selling work in order to allow Banksy to demonstrate the active use of his trademark, the artist clarifies, “I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism. I just don’t want them to get sole custody of my name.”
Per usual, Banksy shares updates on Instagram, where he claims recent projects, including GDP, which he just announced an hour ago as of press time.
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The U.K.’s Iconic Red Post Box Gets a Twisted Makeover in Alex Chinneck’s Surreal Urban Interventions
Master of distortion Alex Chinneck flips parking lots upside down, unzips buildings, and most recently has tied post boxes in knots. Chinneck traffics in everyday structures that are universally recognizable, which serves to unite passersby in reacting to the bizarre interventions. The post box series, which the artist calls ‘Alphabetti Spaghetti‘ has made appearances over the past week across the U.K., in London, Margate, and Tinsley, adding three bespoke boxes to the more than 115,500 traditional ones that exist across the kingdom. No word yet on whether postmarked letters placed in Chinneck’s sculptures will be delivered. You can see more of the artist’s mind-bending work on Instagram. (via It’s Nice That)
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Editor's Picks: Architecture
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.