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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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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After setting up shop in a London corner store and NYC-style bodega, Lucy Sparrow (previously) has grown her unusual art showing/selling technique into a full-blown ’80s-style supermarket. Taking up 2,800 square feet of the Standard Hotel in Downtown LA, the British artist’s fifth large-scale installation is quite literally stuffed with replicas of everyday products, each handmade from felt. The shelves are packed with different ramen and instant noodle soups, Reese’s Puffs, Frosted Flakes and other popular cereals, three different brands of peanut butter along with Smucker’s grape or strawberry jelly, a whole range of favorite snacks, chips, pasta or rice, and all the essential personal hygiene products.
In 2014 Sparrow successfully used Kickstarter to fund her first major project in London called The Corner Shop, which offered 4,000 hand-sewn felt products. Three years later she hopped across the pond to open 8 ‘Til Late, a bodega located in Manhattan at The Standard, High Line with 9,000 items that sold out a couple of days before the official closing date. Challenged by the demand for her plush groceries, the artist locked herself inside her Felt Cave studio for a year and produced her largest and most elaborate project to date — Sparrow Mart.
The retro shop has all the familiar selections of American comforts, including a videotape rental section with ’80s classics like Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and Short Circuit. She also has fresh hand-sewn seafood on ice, sushi, fruits and vegetables, a variety of meat cuts and other animal products, popular snacks, canned goods, cereals, candies, sodas, liquor and cleaning products. Each item is meticulously cloned from felt, a material that evokes childhood and play. The fact that the store offers 27 different types of sushi (each produced in 300 pieces), plus chopsticks, wasabi, pickled ginger, and even soy sauce packed inside iconic plastic fish containers, says a great deal about the amount of detail and determination that went into creating this overwhelming installation. Working alone until very recently, the artist ended up hiring four full-time assistants in her studio and outsourcing fifteen professionals to complete this immersive project.
Offering a felt ATM in between the isles, an exclusive gallery section in the back, and ending with three felt checkout stations, each of the 31,000 products on view is available for purchase with prices ranging from $5 for bubblegum to $73 for a kimchi Michelada. Sparrow Mart is open through the end of August 2018 from 11am-9pm (closed Mondays). The installation is accompanied with Sparrow To Go, a 24/7 restaurant in the lobby of the hotel, offering dishes inspired by the items in Sparrow Mart and prepared by the hotel’s executive chef Julio Palma. After this, the artist is considering creating a similar installation in Chicago, Dallas, Melbourne, or somewhere in Asia, like Hong Kong or Tokyo. You can see more from Sparrow on Instagram.
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If you have a late-night hankering for some felty gefilte fish or a bottle of fermented fabric, be sure to stop by 8 ‘Til Late, the newest temporary installation by British artist Lucy Sparrow known for her felt recreations of everyday objects. Located in Manhattan at The Standard, High Line, the bodega is filled from floor to ceiling with thousands of objects you might find at a typical corner store from breakfast cereals, a deli counter brimming with meats, frozen foods, and spirits—all made from felt and a bit of paint. And just like a real store, every last thing is for sale.
Over the last few years Sparrow has exhibited her felt objects in galleries and art fairs around the world including Art Basel, Scope Miami, and the New York Affordable Art Fair. 8 ‘Til Late is a companion piece to her 2014 installation in London titled The Corner Shop with a similar concept but with Eurocentric products. We have word that lines stretched around the block the last few days and every object in the store has since sold. While originally scheduled to be open through June 30th, the exhibition is ending early, specifically 10pm tonight. So if you’re nearby, now’s your chance. Maybe?
You can see the finer details of some 400 individual items from 8 ‘Til Late on Sparrow’s website.
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Using found objects collected from within big-box stores, artist Carson Davis Brown creates color-specific installations for his photography series Mass. The works are organized conglomerations of basketballs, laundry baskets, wrapping paper, and other mass produced goods, each arranged by color within the stores they are found. After photographing the works they are left as is, experienced by passersby as a break from the monotony of the weekly grocery store run and eventually disassembled by the store’s staff. You can see more of Brown’s assembled consumer experiments on Instagram and his project’s website massproject.biz. (via Juxtapoz, Catherine Edelman Gallery)
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The Kouraku Kiln was founded in Arita (Saga Prefecture, Japan) in 1865 and has been producing ceramics for the past 150 years. Over that time the facility has accumulated a vast collection of pottery that has, for one reason or another, gone unsold. The warehouse is so vast that some workers use a bicycle to get from one side to the other. And they’ll be the first to admit that even they don’t really know what’s in there. The production facility is now inviting visitors on a “treasure hunt” to try and get rid of some of their stock.
Here’s how the treasure hunt works:
— Make your reservation by phone (they only allow 10 people per day)
— Show up at your designated time and select your course and pay: 5,000 yen or 10,000 yen (about $45 to $90)
— Get a 30-min tour of the facility
— Begin your 90-min treasure hunt. You’ll be given a pair of gloves, a flashlight and a basket. You can take home everything you fit in your basket.
— The more expensive course gives you access to a special section of decoratively painted ceramics but both allow you to take home as much as you can fit in your basket. Once done you’ll get to wrap everything up in newspaper so that nothing breaks on your way home.
It sounds like a really fun excursion! They even have an English-speaking staff on hand to assist foreigners.
(Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
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Editor's Picks: Craft
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.