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Art

Assembled Sculptures by Artist Willie Cole Cluster High Heels into Expressive Masks

May 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Street Dragon I” (2018), shoes, wire, and screws on a metal stand, 64.5 x 16 x 15.5 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse. All images © Willie Cole, courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York

Artist Willie Cole juxtaposes readymade footwear and African tradition in his series of sculptural masks. The figurative assemblages stack women’s heels into clusters that are expressive and distinctly unique, an effect Cole derives from the shoes’ material, color, and pattern rather than a preconceived plan or sketch. Depicting exaggerated toothy grins, pointed brows, and outstretched tongues, the sculptures span more than a decade of the artist’s career and influence a new collaboration with Comme des Garçons that’s comprised of headpieces made with black pumps.

Each piece is layered with cultural and societal markers, including those that comment on mass consumerism, fashion trends, and notions of femininity. This context is situated in time and place, which Cole describes as “a subtle catalyst for perception. I have discovered that high heels purchased in New York are very different than high heels purchased in Georgia,” he says. Cole explains:

I guess you could call the high heel both an anxious object and a readymade aid. ‘Anxious’ because as a symbol, it is fully loaded with history and a story all its own even as just a shoe. ‘Readymade aid’ because that history adds so much to your interpretation and/or reaction to these pieces. As for fashion, these pieces speak about the abundance of discarded high heels in the world as well as the various styles and trends.

The New Jersey-based artist is involved in a variety of projects at the moment, including a commission for Kansas City International Airport that’s an homage to Charlie Parker and a series of sculptures made with 75 acoustic Yamaha guitars that’ll raise money for music education. His work is currently on view at Alexander and Bonin in New York City and Beta Pictoris Gallery in Birmingham. This summer, he’s participating in a show at Hauser and Wirth and is involved in an installation celebrating a former Black neighborhood that’s opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this fall. See more from his expansive body of work that largely explores Black identities on his site and Instagram.

 

“Sole Brother 1” (2007), shoes, wire, washers, and screws, 18 x 18 x 19 inches. Photo by Jason Mandella

“Ashley Bickerton” (2016), shoes, wire, and screws on a metal stand, 63.5 x 16 x 15.5 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Street Dragon II” (2018), shoes, wire, and screws, 19.5 x 15.5 x 10.25 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Shine” (2007), shoes, wire, washers, screws, and shelf 16 x 15 x 16 inches. Photo by Jason Mandella

“Fly Girl” (2016), shoes, wire, and screws on a metal stand, 65.5 x 15.5 x 15.5 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Sole Brother 2” (2007), shoes, wire, washers, and screws, 19.5 x 16.75 x 18 inches. Photo by Jason Mandella

 

 

 



Art

Everyday Objects Are Sliced and Re-Assembled into Distorted Sculptures by Fabian Oefner

April 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Heisenberg Object V – Cortez” (2021), leather, foam, and resin, 30 x 18 x 15 centimeters. All images © Fabian Oefner, shared with permission

In Heisenberg Objects, Fabian Oefner (previously) translates quantum mechanic’s uncertainty principle into a sculptural series of segmented objects. The Connecticut-based artist uses resin to solidify the everyday items, which include sneakers, a Leica M6, a tape recorder, a Seiko clock, and flight recorder, before slicing them into countless individual pieces. He then aggregates those fragmented parts into dissected sculptures that resemble the original object through a distorted view of the inner and outer mechanisms.

Drawing its name from German physicist Werner Heisenberg, the series is rooted in the basics of the uncertainty principle, which states that no two particles can be measured accurately at exactly the same time. “You can either determine one parameter and ignore the other or vice versa, but you can never know everything at once,” the artist writes about Heisenberg’s idea. The two opposing views—i.e. the inner and outer layers of the common items—converge in Oefner’s sculptures and visualize the principle through skewed perceptions. “As an observer, you are never able to observe the object as a whole and its inner workings simultaneously. The more accurately we see one view, the less clearly we see the other,” he says.

Check out Oefner’s Instagram for more views of the re-interpreted objects, along with videos documenting the slicing process.

 

“Heisenberg Object III – Leica M6” (2021), aluminum, glass, and resin, 20 x 15 x 5 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object I – Seiko Clock” (2021), plastics, metal, and resin, 20 x 15 x 10 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object II – Tape Recorder” (2021), plastics, metal, resin, 30 x 20 x 8 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object VI – Cortez” (2021), leather, foam, and resin, 30 x 18 x 15 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object VI – Cortez” (2021), leather, foam, and resin, 30 x 18 x 15 centimeters

Detail of “Heisenberg Object IV – Flight Recorder” (2021), plastics, metal, resin, 50 x 50 x 40 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object IV – Flight Recorder” (2021), plastics, metal, resin, 50 x 50 x 40 centimeters

 

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Design History Illustration Music

Inside Information: Cross-Sections of Retro Technology Reveal Historical Moments of Iconic Objects

October 2, 2020

Christopher Jobson

The distinctive Arriflex 35 IIC is one of the most significant motion picture cameras of all time, and a favourite of the Hollywood new wave of cinematographers of the 60’s ad 70’s. The hand held camera was famously beloved by Stanley Kubrick whose 1971 cult classic, A Clockwork Orange, was shot almost entirely on the Arri 35 IIC.

As part of an ongoing series titled Inside Information, UK-based design studio Dorothy explores some of the most iconic designs in the areas of film, music, personal computing, and fashion through clever “cutaway” infographics. Each illustration reveals a miniature isometric world packed with historical moments from famous concerts that used the Vox AC30 amplifier to films that utilized the Arriflex 35 IIC handheld camera, which transformed movies forever. All five of the Inside Information graphics are available as three-color litho prints on its website. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

Released in 1959 to meet the demand for louder amplifiers, the Vox AC30 was quickly adopted as the amp of choice for bands like The Beatles, The Kinks and The Stones, helping to define the sound of the ‘British Invasion’ when the popularity of British rock ’n’ roll bands spread to the States. Its appeal has continued through the decades with bands like Queen, U2, The Smiths, Oasis, Blur, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys all counted as loyal Vox fans.

The Nike Air Max is a bona fide design classic. Designed by Tinker Hatfield and released in 1987 it has, in its 30 plus years of existence, established a cult following. Inspired by the architecture of the Centre Pompidou, it was the first trainer to offer a window to the sole, kickstarting a revolution in sneaker design.

The Minimoog was the world’s first portable (and affordable) synthesiser. Billed as ’The Moog for the road’, it revolutionized music, acquired a cult-like following (which it still enjoys to this day) and quickly became the most popular synth of its time.

The Apple Macintosh (later know as the Macintosh 128k) was launched with an Orwell inspired commercial directed by Ridley Scott, and introduced to the world by Steve Jobs on 24th January 1984. It blew our tiny little minds and for many heralded the beginning of a lifelong love affair with all things Apple.

 

 



Craft Design

Gummy Bears, Sugary Cereal, and Sushi Converted into Playful Apparel by Nicole McLaughlin

March 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Nicole McLaughlin

Nicole McLaughlin (previously) ensures she always has a snack at her fingertips—or stashed in a puffy vest or lining the top of her sandals. The former Reebok graphic designer creates upcycled clothing, footwear, and household items from pouches of gummy candy, old fleece jackets, and even inflated bags of popcorn. Often prominently displaying logos, McLaughlin’s projects provide a humorous take on branding and fashion trends.

The playful pieces also are part of the designer’s years-long efforts toward creating environmentally aware fashion. “I would go to thrift stores and try to find something that I could make something new out of,” McLaughlin told WWD of her initial desire to create her converted, and now edible, apparel. “This inspired my philosophy to be more sustainable and I adopted being sustainable into my practices as a designer, because there’s so much to be done here.” To see what she thinks up next, follow McLaughlin on Instagram.

 

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Photography

Unusual Details Upend Brooke DiDonato's Seemingly Straightforward Photographs

July 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographer Brooke DiDonato (previously) twists bodies into unusual shapes that lead the viewer’s eye in transfixing circles. The Brooklyn-based artist creates seemingly tranquil images with soft colors and soothing textures. But surreal details, like a pair of stilettos on the sidewalk that melt into a patent leather puddle, or a gender-bending figure seated on a bench, make each photograph an object of intrigue. DiDonato exhibits her work widely and most recently showed at Le Purgatoire in Paris. Stay up to date on the photographer’s eye-catching and thought-provoking work via Instagram.

 

 



Art

Muralist Kitt Bennett Paints Pavement With Sprawling Giants

April 13, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images via Kitt Bennett

From parking lots to skate parks, Melbourne-based artist Kitt Bennett paints large illustrative murals on an unconventional surface: the ground. The almost literal “street” art is best seen from a bird’s eye view and features people, objects, and skeletons that contort around their respective spaces as if they fell from the sky.

Bennett’s murals are painted much like the walls of a house. The artist uses large buckets of paint and rollers to cover the large areas and adds shading, highlights, and outlines to create the illusion of depth. A statement on his website explains that Bennett’s work is “often conceptually driven as exploring topics of individuality, existence and the mysterious phenomena that surrounds us inspires him to create art.” To see more of his ground paintings and other works on more traditional surfaces, follow Kitt Bennett on Instagram.

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A post shared by KITT (@kitt_bennett) on Jan 6, 2019 at 12:46am PST