Rocky debris, vintage photographs, and a wooden ship colliding with its own hull are suspended above a 100-yard gallery at MASS MoCA for “In the Light of a Shadow.” The work of Los Angeles-born artist Glenn Kaino (previously), the monumental installation generates a sprawling environment filled with thousands of floating elements that speak to the vast impact of protest and collective movements.
Lined with an aisle of light and constantly moving shadows, the hovering artworks fuse memories of past injustices and a brighter, hopeful path forward in an immersive experience. Specifically, Kaino uses “In the Light of a Shadow” as a response to the horrific events of Bloody Sunday in both Selma, Alabama, and Derry, Northern Ireland. He models the wrecked ship after the Shadow V, a modest boat Lord Mountbatten often used for fishing, that the Irish Republican Army bombed in 1979 to assassinate the member of the royal family.
The towering display is also paired with a metal sculpture comprised of tuned bars that emit the melody from U2’s protest anthem “Sunday Bloody Sunday” when pinged in succession. A collaborative video with singer and activist Deon Jones, who police nearly blinded after shooting with a rubber bullet for protesting George Floyd’s murder, plays nearby, drawing together the historic tragedies with those happening today.
“In the Light of a Shadow” is on view through September 5. Find more of Kaino’s works, which span installation and sculpture to film, on his site.
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Cosmic Nature: A Spectacular Polka Dot-Filled Exhibition by Yayoi Kusama Sprawls Across New York Botanical Garden
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)
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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)
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Sprawling across a bright red floor at Setouchi City Museum of Art is Motoi Yamamoto’s sweeping installation of 100,000 cherry blossoms. Using a small, petal stencil and poured salt, the Kanazawa-based artist meticulously laid a mass of mineral-based buds during the course of 55 hours and nine days. Constructed radially, “Sakura Shibefuru,” or “Falling Cherry Petals” mimics the natural patterns formed around trees after the blossoms drop and end their life cycle each spring, a process Yamamoto (previously) says informed much of the work:
When the red-purple buds fall, for many people, this is also the time when they lose interest due to the flower season being over. However, this time can also be seen as a small nudge to think about the coming fresh greens of spring and midsummer…While thinking about the future of the buds, I created petals that had just fallen, piling the petals while contemplating the trees that produced these beautiful flowers with their thick trunks, supple branches, and powerful roots.
Paired with the crystalline blossoms are two of Yamamoto’s sculptural works from 1995, which the artist considers the origin of his practice and which he created following his sister’s death from a brain tumor. “This was an attempt to engrave into my heart the moment when an important life ceased to exist,” he says. Creating painstaking salt-based pieces like “Sakura Shibefuru”—which Yamamoto shares is, in part, a response to his wife’s death a few years ago—is meditative and a way to work through grief and retain memories.
“Sakura Shibefuru” is on view in Setouchi until May 5, and the artist currently is working on a large-scale project for Suzu’s Oku-Noto Triennale 2020+, which will be installed this fall in a former kindergarten building. Until then, watch Yamamoto’s works take shape on Instagram and YouTube, and shop originals, prints, and books in his store. (via designboom)
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In Parable of Gravity, artist Casey Curran (previously) assembles a vast garden of delicate kinetic blossoms amidst an expanse of deterioration. The sweeping landscape, which is on view at Seattle’s MadArt through April 17, positions Curran’s pulsing plant forms atop 20 towers of wooden scaffolding that line the gallery space. Coated in a thick layer of mud, the tallest structures scale eight feet at the outer edge of the installation, where a human-like figure appears to hover in the air. The anonymous body is covered in the flowers, which are made from laser-cut polyester drawing papers and powered by cranks and small motors.
Through the maze of garden plots at the other end of the space hangs a hollow, aluminum asteroid—which is modeled after 951 Gaspra, the first rocky mass humans were able to observe in detail thanks to a 1991 viewing by the Galileo spacecraft. Titled “Anchor of Janus,” the imposing sculpture references both the Roman god and the intricate motifs on Gothic cathedrals and provides a foreboding, catastrophic lens to the otherwise burgeoning garden.
In a statement, Curran explains the confluence of the manufactured and organic themes:
This mythological, architectural, and astronomical convergence considers not only the scientific and spiritual aspects of our connection to the natural world, but also our cultural legacy and the ways in which past technological advancements continue to impact our lives and experiences today. Further, the reference to Janus recognizes the dual nature of human progress, with all of the positive and negative implications it carries.
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The Wound: JR’s New Anamorphic Artwork Appears to Carve Out the Facade of Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi
French artist JR unveiled an imposing artwork at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence last week that mimics a massive gash in the institution’s Renaissance-era facade. Spanning 28 x 33 meters, “La Ferita,” or “The Wound,” is an anamorphic collage that appears to reveal the iconic artworks housed inside the building, in addition to a stately courtyard colonnade, exhibition hall, and library. Exposing different parts of the interior as the viewer shifts position, the artwork is in response to the lack of accessibility at cultural institutions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Completed alongside a team of 11 in two months, the site-specific piece was constructed 30 centimeters in front of the 15th Century ashlar facade with a metal structure and 80 panels of Dibond aluminum. It features JR’s signature photographic style—similar projects were installed at Williamsburg’s Domino Park, the Louvre, and the U.S./Mexico border—and includes a mix of real and imagined elements, including black-and-white renderings of Botticelli’s “Primavera” and “Birth of Venus” and Giambologna’s “The Rape of the Sabine Women,” in addition to prominent spaces like the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento.
“The Wound” is layered further with references to art history, from its use of the trompe l’oeil technique that grew in popularity in the 1500s to its evocation of ruinism, an 18th Century style that portrayed ancient architecture “as testimonials to a glorious past in a dramatic reflection on the fate of mankind,” a release says, noting that Palazzo Strozzi will not be preserving the piece beyond its initial construction.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.