Art Buzz: Hear 35,000 heartbeats, see painted people & a look back at 1980's pomo

Article: Art Buzz: Hear 35,000 heartbeats, see painted people & a look back at 1980's pomo

Heartbeat Island: French artist, Christian Boltankski, has recorded the heartbeats of over 35,000 people and stored them on a tiny Japanese island for his project, “Les Archives du Coeur.” His touring booth is slated to come through Finland in 2012, so you romantic types should probably start booking tickets for Valentine’s Day…

Remember the (crocheted) Alamo

Article: Remember the (crocheted) Alamo

Previously spotted covering the Wall Street Bull, Olek created buzz once again by wrapping another iconic New York City sculpture, Tony Rosenthal’s Astor Place Cube with her trademark pink and purple camouflage yarn, as seen in the picture above. Here’s a video of her in action installing this piece over the cube, or the “Alamo” as it’s officially named. If you walk around New York City long enough you’ll eventually stumble upon her smaller, guerrilla pieces like…

Music for my funeral

Article: Music for my funeral

David Kraftsow, an artist and programmer based in Brooklyn, has made waves on the Internet for his various projects that blur the line between culture jamming and art on the web, most notably his (rearranges any YouTube video into a sequential series of images) and First Person Tetris (playable version where instead of moving and rotating the blocks, you rotate the entire screen) earned him quite a bit of buzz even with the mainstream press…

Full scale paper Mustang

Article: Full scale paper Mustang

Photo by Laura DeSantis-Olsson
Hosfelt Gallery in New York recently hosted Jonathan Brand’s exhibition “One Piece at a Time.” The undeniable star of the show was the Brooklyn-based artist’s full scale replica of a 1969 Ford Mustang constructed entirely from paper. As the exhibit’s title suggests (it was inspired by the Johnny Cash song of the same name), Brand recreated everything about the iconic American muscle car by hand, “right down to the nuts and bolts, displaying it as the individual collected parts, rather than as a single object.” The papercraft nature gives the installation an almost Americana-kitsch quality that appeals broadly, which is fitting, considering the role of the Ford Mustang in the construction of the modern American myth of muscle and might. However this was also a deeply personal project…

Wim Delvoye's X-rated, X-rayed stained glass

Article: Wim Delvoye's X-rated, X-rayed stained glass

Artist Wim Delvoye plays the trompe l’oeil card with visuals that prudes might find perverse, like his scatological ceramic tiles or pigs tattooed with the Louis Vuitton logo. The pigs earned him quite a buzz online along with the ire of animal rights activists earlier this year. And the blogosphere is buzzing once again over one of his installations in a Gothic-inspired building. What, at first glance, appears to be the kind of kaleidoscopic stained glass found in old towering cathedrals throughout Europe are actually anatomical X-rays. And Delvoye really puts the “X” in X-ray – many of these macabre designs are pretty racy…

12,235 tin soldiers

Article: 12,235 tin soldiers

On display at this year’s Istanbul Art Biennale 2011, an event on par with Venice and São Paulo (or so says The Guardian – someone needs to send me there so I can judge for myself!), is this sensational, politically-charged installation by Kuwaiti artist, Ala Younis. Younis neatly arranged a total of 12,235 toy tin soldiers hand-painted in the military uniforms of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey…

The uncanny world of Philipp Igumnov

Article: The uncanny world of Philipp Igumnov

I want to highlight Russian artist Philipp Igumnov and his intriguing collection of collages. His dream-like landscapes are oddly familiar; He takes an image as common as a family posing in a field and imbues it with a certain uncanny quality. My favorite is the one pictured above of a child leaping out of the back of a C-130 transport plane. It captures what it feels like to be a child joyously jumping into a pool, but Igumnov ups the stakes by launching the kid out the back of a plane.

The Virginity Project: a blog, a book, a play

Article: The Virginity Project: a blog, a book, a play

We first heard from Kate Monro a few years ago from across the pond when her Virginity Project was just a fledgeling little baby blog. Today, that blog, which collects and publishes first time tales of all sorts from all over the world, is shortlisted for the UK Cosmoplitan Blog Awards 2011. She’s also got a book out now based on the blog, ”First Times: True Tales of Virginity Lost and Found,” and this month her blog/book is being turned into a play at the…

Art Buzz: Warhol gets his own app and Tom Sachs goes to Mars

Article: Art Buzz: Warhol gets his own app and Tom Sachs goes to Mars

No time to scan all the blogs in your Google Reader? Never fear! We’ve rounded up the five art world happenings that have bloggers and gallery-goers buzzing this week.

Tintype Photography: San Francisco photographer Michael Shindler is reviving the lost art of tin-type photography with his new portrait studio, Photobooth. Charging just $50-$80 a pop, subjects have to sit perfectly still while…


Article: Men-ups!

We once did a photo shoot for The Sun, the super trashy but widely popular UK newspaper (you know, the one with the “Page 3 girl”). We were promoting the British edition of our book, The Big Bang. We were young and naive, the photographer was old and pushy, and as he gradually encouraged us to get into sillier and sillier poses, our publicist was there pressing us on. We felt like Coco in the original “Fame.” Don’t get us wrong: we were dressed. But at one point we reluctantly ended up on a bed with one of us holding the other’s bare leg straight up in the air like a lightening rod. It was not what we’d consider sexy, feminine, or us. Fortunately, our inner horror must have radiated out of every pore, because they ultimately ran the article without the pics. (There was a God that day.)

Reinterpreting of the $100 bill

Article: Reinterpreting of the $100 bill

I’m really digging Make Your Franklin, an online community art project featuring a variety of creative reinterpretations of the $100 dollar bill, which the website’s French creators call “a symbol of modern society.” Many of the designs are overtly, and understandably political, reflecting the current state of affairs and the world’s complex and dysfunctional relationship with the United States. Some took their cues from pop culture icons while others are just straight up hilarious and, at times, even sublime.

Illustrated missed connections

Article: Illustrated missed connections

Since 2009, artist Sophie Blackall has been illustrating very artful and charming depictions of submissions on Missed Connections, one of my favorite time-wasting features of Craigslist. If you aren’t familiar with this subsite because you’ve been quarantined from the Internet in the past decade, it’s basically a message board for the hopeless romantic-optimists who were too shy to ask out a person when they initially saw them. Or as Sophie poetically describes: “Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I’m trying to pin a few of them down.” This is nicer than what I like to tell them, “You’ll all be FOREVER ALONE!” Kidding.

Art Buzz: Cow tongue sculptures and an alien obelisk in the Tuileries gardens

Article: Art Buzz: Cow tongue sculptures and an alien obelisk in the Tuileries gardens

No time to scan all the blogs in your Google Reader? Never fear! We’ve rounded up the four art world happenings that have bloggers and gallery-goers buzzing this week.

Adrián Villar Rojas 300-foot Alien Obelisk

Buzz has been building around 31-year- old Argentinean sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas ever since he was chosen to represent his country at this year’s Venice Biennale…

Shredded money, money, money

Article: Shredded money, money, money

“Shredded Money” is an older piece by Christodoulos Panayiotou, but I think it’s relevant to the current times with the controversy over the Eurozone bailout fund and related financial crisis plaguing Europe. There’s more than meets the eye to this dune-shaped installation which stands 5 meters high and 7 meters wide. It’s a pile of shredded Cypriot pounds from the Central Bank of Cyprus that were of no value after the country entered the Eurozone by adopting the transnational Euro currency on January 1, 2008.

Berliner Liste: 126 galleries in an old power plant

Article: Berliner Liste: 126 galleries in an old power plant

Continuing their recent tradition of up-cycling abandoned nuclear centers, Berlin hosted a three-day art fair, dubbed Berliner Liste, in a former power plant with works from 126 galleries in 26 different countries. For those of you who didn’t see my review of Wunderland Kalkar, the amusement park operating inside a giant nuclear reactor, Germany announced it will close all of its nuclear facilities by 2022, many of them repurposed as public centers. So, this is kind of their thing.

Abramovich's art island to include outdoor hot tub

Article: Abramovich's art island to include outdoor hot tub

Roman Abramovich, the billionaire Russian businessman who owns (among lots of other things) the Chelsea Football Club, recently purchased an island off the coast of St.Petersburg – like ya do when you’re the 11th richest man in the world. Last winter, Ambramovich announced he would dedicate $400 million to converting the island – previously used as a military base – into an enormous art center, complete with offices, hotels, restaurants and boutiques along with a new museum. A “Starchitect” search soon followed, with submissions from top architects all over the world. Just last month, New York-based firm, WORKac, was given the nod – probably because theirs was the only design to include a giant jacuzzi in the courtyard.

Dead Drop your files into random USB flash drives

Article: Dead Drop your files into random USB flash drives

Not sure if you’ve heard this around the water cooler, but apparently we’re living smack in the middle of the Free Information Age, which means we have unprecedented access to (random, often incorrect) knowledge and ideas more than any other generation. Go us! To give the whole “free knowledge” concept a more literal twist, Berlin-based media artist, Aram Bartholl, launched his latest project, “Dead Drops,” by mounting USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs. The idea is that folks can come plug-in and download goofy, anonymous files, or share a few of their own.

Olaf Brzeski's solid plume of smoke

Article: Olaf Brzeski's solid plume of smoke

Poland got a pretty bunk deal as far as the 20th century is concerned: reconstituted as an official country only after the First World War, citizens suffered through Nazi invasions before being jammed behind the Iron Curtain for decades. This summer, an exhibit at Brussels’ Palas des Beaux-Arts showcased work exclusively by Polish artists who grew up under Communism, but only began working after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Entitled “The Power of Fantasy: Modern and Contemporary art from Poland,” the exhibit tried to engage with Poland’s painful history in a new way.

The world of David Byrne, squished beneath the Highline

Article: The world of David Byrne, squished beneath the Highline

Yesterday afternoon I went to check out David Byrne’s latest installation, “Tight Spot,” at the Pace Gallery’s new lot beneath the Highline. Having seen preview photos of Byne’s “squished” planet Earth floating around the Internet, I assumed I’d be able to wander through Chelsea guided by the sight of a massive blue orb that would be my final destination. Alas, the work is not so immediately apparent, tucked away in a relatively small space that’s invisible to surrounding streets, and so I wandered aimlessly for twenty minutes. The take away: be ye not so stupid.

A thousand naked people floating in the Dead Sea

Article: A thousand naked people floating in the Dead Sea

Many things in life are best enjoyed in small doses: a glass of red wine at dinner, or a twenty-minute power nap. When it comes to full-frontal nudity, however, artist Spencer Tunick is guided by a “more is more” philosophy. Honestly, who cares about one clammy pale butt when you could feast your eyes on thousands?

So last week, Tunick convinced over a thousand people to strip down and float buck-nakey in the Dead Sea, creating one of the most bizarre, un-Photoshopped images I’ve encountered in awhile. Apparently, the project was meant to draw attention to Israel’s efforts to have the salt-saturated sea – which geologists predict will dry up by 2050 – recognized as a natural wonder of the world.

Marina Abramovic: the video game experience

Article: Marina Abramovic: the video game experience

In the overlapping center of a Venn diagram between the art and video game world is this 8-bit side-scrolling online game adaptation developed by Pippin Barr of Marina Abramović’s live installation, “The Artist Is Present,” which was presented earlier this year at MoMA. In one of the more buzzed about art exhibits this year, Abramović sat silent and still in the atrium of the MoMA, where visitors lined up for the opportunity to sit across from her, thus “becoming participants in the artwork.”

Deck of cards honoring NYC creative royalty

Article: Deck of cards honoring NYC creative royalty

Class up your next poker game and pay homage to some of the artists, writers, thinkers and provocateurs who injected New York City’s DNA, either directly or indirectly with their creative genius with these casino quality playing cards from Shipley & Halmos. Who said gambling can’t also be both inspiring and educational?

Run for your life – it's the shredded newspaper man!

Article: Run for your life – it's the shredded newspaper man!

I really love this new costume/sculpture “We are all here to do what we are all here to do,” by Fabio Lattanzi Antinori and Alicja Pytlewska. Resembling something that emerged from the imaginations of Maurice Sendak and Guillermo del Toro, it was constructed using “shredded newspapers found around East London” and is perhaps an unsubtle visual metaphor for the declining state of the traditional print news industry and the ongoing Murdoch/News International phone hacking scandal.

Political rock-paper-scissors

Article: Political rock-paper-scissors

Our design crush Christoph Niemann’s latest illustration for his Abstract Sunday art column in the New York Times Sunday Magazine takes the hand gesture game of “rock, paper, scissors” and updates it for the modern political era. If kids can use this classic game to settle disputes such as who gets the last piece of pie (I will fight you to the death if it’s strawberry rhubarb) or as a tie breaker in the game of shotgun aka who-gets-the-front-seat, then perhaps it can work for the gridlocked politicians in Washington by following some of these new additional gestures invented by Niemann. I feel like President Obama has been using a lot of “pretty please with a cherry on top.” Not permitted: the middle finger.

A glowing army in Hamburg, Germany

Article: A glowing army in Hamburg, Germany

In the wake of the Japan’s tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown disasters, people were extra skittish about the threat of radioactive poisoning (especially Lindsay Lohan, who promptly evacuated herself from Los Angeles even though her hair already looks like a victim of toxic fallout). To poke fun at our paranoia, art collective Luzinterruptus installed 100 “radioactive” figures in a field outside Hamburg’s Dockville Festival. The effect is surprisingly eerie, each figure outfitted in protective white clothing and lit from within. With their heads pointed at the ground, it appears to be a giant alien army advancing from the forest.