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Posted inArt

Locavoracious Minimalism

Locavores. Slowfood. Raw Food. Whole Food. Green food. Sustainable agriculture. Permaculture. Probiotic. Craft Beer. Grass fed. Fair Trade. Grain fed. Shade grown. Free Range. Cageless. Macrobiotic. What does all this look like translated into restaurants?

These are words that hungry Americans everywhere have taken up as a cause. They are the battle cries of a pervasive back-to-the-land preoccupation with food basics, words that give voice to a collective desire to return smaller-scale sanity to food production in the age of monocultures, GMOs, agribusinesses, and food so machined that it tastes as bland as fluorescent lighting.

Posted inNews

Ai Weiwei Spreads a Sunflower Seed Carpet at Tate’s Turbine Hall

Ai Weiwei, internationally famed artist and chief provocateur of the Chinese art world, opened his London Turbine Hall installation today, the eleventh, and first for an Asian artist, in the Tate’s Unilever series of exhibitions.

The installation forms a gesture both classic for the artist and yet totally unexpected: a carpet of sunflower seeds now covers over 1,000 of the Turbine Hall’s 3,400 square meters of floorspace, in total over 150 tons. Photos from afar show an unmeasurable expanse of gray, a rectangular infinity that calls to mind Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s candy fields: part minimalist, part maximalist. The seed carpet is visually stunning, but beyond its striking appearance, the installation has a deep political, historical and social background.

Posted inArt

Does Park51 Architecturally “Sanitize” Islam?

When the topic turns to Park51, the “Ground Zero Mosque”/Islamic community center that’s been so omnipresent in the news lately, aesthetics may be the last thing that comes to mind. The building has become an icon for its political significance rather than its great accomplishments or offenses of architecture. Yet aesthetics are actually at the heart of the Park51 issue. Aisha Ghani writes that the building’s faux-contemporary varnish actually serves to downplay the fact that it remains a vehicle of Muslim religion, “sanitizing” Islam. For Park51, how does architecture serve to represent ideology?

Posted inArt

Ghosts of Disaster in New Orleans

New Orleans — The captain’s flight-deck announcement that we were now making our final descent towards New Orleans jolted me from a very uneasy sleep. The three-hour flight was my first prolonged opportunity to get prolonged (i.e. 3-hours rest) after a late night train ride, to a later night Long Island Railroad Road ride, to a crack-of-dawn flight departure from the 24-hour nightmare microcity that is New York’s JFK airport.

Confused and groggy I peered out the window as we began our descent. With eyes as bleary as my thoughts, I decided that I was surveying Gulf waters from some 25,000 feet. What are those dark streaks? I thought. Is that oil? Oh my god, that’s oil. There’s still oil everywhere. Holy shit. Oh no. They ruined the Gulf.

Posted inNews

Art Work Attacked in Colorado Museum

Kathleen Folden, 56, of Kalispell, Montana, has been charged with attacking an art work by California-based artist Enrique Chagoya with a crowbar while it was on display in the Loveland Museum Gallery in Loveland, Colorado. The 12-panel lithograph, according to the artist’s statement to FoxNews, depicts “no nudity, or genitals, or explicit sexual contact” and portrays “a dressed woman, a religious icon’s head, a man showing his tongue, and a skull of a Pope in the upper right corner of the controversial page.”

Critics of the work argue that it represents Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the son of God, as receiving oral sex from another man. FoxNews gives its own interpretation of the work and describes it as having “several images of Jesus, including one in which he appears to be receiving oral sex from a man as the word ‘orgasm’ appears beside Jesus’ head.” The attack took place last Wednesday at 4pm.

Posted inOpinion

New Gap Logo is a Generic Fail

Gap definitely knows how to make it viral. The question is, was the Internet scandal caused by its new logo actually worth the publicity? When the historically consistent clothing brand switched the logo on its website from the old three-letters-in-a-square to the new monstrosity, the web reaction was immediate and decisive: the logo sucks. Not only does it suck on the level of the 2012 London Olympic Games logo, unlike London, the re-design doesn’t even have the balls to be interesting.

The logo isn’t anything revolutionary. At this point, a switch to Helvetica — or Corporate A Pro Demi Condensed, News Gothic Demi or whatever it is — is about the oldest trick in the book. But what’s more surprising is that the design doesn’t seem to have anything to redeem it at all. It’s a masterpiece of ambiguity.

Posted inNews

Frank Gehry’s Latest Development Tango: The Joyce Theater’s New Lower Manhattan Home

The Joyce Theater is going to be a lonely Lower Manhattan performance tenant, with vacancies in the building if there are any performing arts organizations hunting for posh new downtown neighbors.

In a statement made earlier this week, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, alongside Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patterson, announced a federal funding allocation of $100 million for a much-touted and much-delayed performing arts center at Ground Zero designed by Frank Gehry’s firm.

Silver said that “this $100 million commitment clearly paves the way for this long-promised performing arts center,” and that it “will be a cultural jewel for Lower Manhattan.”

Posted inArt

Ryan Trecartin + Tumblr = River of the Net

If you didn’t catch the project’s announcement Tuesday on ArtFagCity, Ryan Trecartin (video artist extraordinaire, Youtube star) and David Karp (founder of Tumblr) have launched riverofthe.net, a crowd-sourced video project that strikes a balance between social media site, contemporary art piece, and documentary archive. The website collects videos ten seconds or less in length, uploaded by users, and crowd sourced. Videos are tagged and aggregated by a maximum of three terms, terms that are collected at the bottom of the site’s homepage in an ever-expanding, lo-fi html list that visually recalls sites like Craigslist.

So far, the list is a kind of Ryan Trecartin-inflected stream of consciousness, complete with everything from “sexy feet” (a video of someone pulling off a sock in a sultry manner), the omnipresent “Lady Gaga,” and “bitches be @ the club,” which links to a video of giraffes fighting, violently. Your guess is as good as mine, but that’s Trecartin’s style for you.

Posted inArt

Designed to Move: Newson as Art at Gagosian

The latest exhibition by designer Marc Newson, titled Transport, at Gagosian Gallery raises some interesting questions about the future of design. Namely, is design art?

Where design exhibitions are normally bogged down by oodles of information and panels of educational materials explaining curatorial choices the experience at Transport is vastly different. Here the design objects stand apart to emphasize their sculptural qualities. We’re obviously meant to approach them with a degree of veneration, and the spatial language suggests you are in the midst of the future … and luxury … and you should buy now.

Posted inArt

The Last Boom Palace of the Second Gilded Age: Las Vegas & Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind, until recently, was one of the high-end architect’s of choice for war museums and somber memorials. Jagged, clean-faced metal-clad shapes torn by sharp little windows characterized a style that took trauma and produced memorial. The style was similar to Frank Gehry, but no curves to suggest the wry, playful smile of decadence at work — something I always see just beyond the magnificent and smooth sheet steel smiles of Gehry’s structures. And no 90 degree angles, either; everything is crooked, everything is asymmetrical, everything is torqued into the misshapen fragments that we piece together in turmoil to remember the parts of the past that are not pleasant. A friend who lives in Las Vegas said of the mall Libeskind designed for Las Vegas’s CityCenter: “I can never figure out how to walk around that building.”