By Charles Ogletree in the Washington Post
By Samiha Shafy in Spiegel
By Alex MacGillis in the New Republic
By Lisa Wade in Sociological Images
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.
By Charles Ogletree in the Washington Post
By Samiha Shafy in Spiegel
By Alex MacGillis in the New Republic
By Lisa Wade in Sociological Images
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.
The summer season is the perfect time to catch up on art: gallery and museum openings are slow, which gives art aficionados a chance to visit all the shows they might have missed.
Here are 10 exhibits throughout the U.S. and beyond worth seeing:
1. Jeff Koons: A Retrospective, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Through Oct. 19
Koons’ first full scale retrospective in a New York City museum features almost 150 works from over three decades, including his vacuum cleaners in lucite vitrines, his oversize renditions of gift shop kitsch and his stainless steel balloon animals. The exhibition, the last to open in the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer-designed building on Madison Ave. before the museum moves to its new location in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district, will also travel to the Centre Pompidou in Paris (Nov. 26, 2014–Apr. 27, 2015) and to the Guggenheim Bilbao (Jun. 5–Sep. 27, 2015).
2. Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Through Sept. 1
An exploration of 25 years in the career of a multi-faceted American artist who has worked in drawing, photography and objects made from mirrors, light bulbs and glass.
3. Looking at Buddhist Statues: Statues of the Kamakura Period, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo
Through Aug. 31
The Tokyo National Museum is hosting a show that rounds up Buddhist sculpture from the Kamakura period (1192–1333) — statues whose expressions make them look almost alive, a feature not found in examples from earlier periods. “Please look closely at each statue, or compare two statues standing next to each other, while paying attention to their facial expressions, postures, colors and overall mood,” the museum advises.
4. Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Tate Modern, London
5. Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392–1910, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Through Sept. 28
The exhibit, comprising over 150 works produced during the world’s longest ruling Confucian dynasty, features many Korean national treasures that have never before been displayed in the U.S. It’s organized around five themes: the role of the king and his royal court; the hierarchies of class and gender; the production of metal and ceramic objects used in ancestor worship; the religions of the era and the influence of western civilizations.
6. Garry Winogrand, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Through Sept. 21
Garry Winogrand, the renowned rambling chronicler of postwar New York City and American life, and pioneer of the “snapshot aesthetic”, is considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. The Met show is the first retrospective of his work in 25 years, featuring over 175 images, including many that were never printed in his lifetime. His subjects included politicians, anti-war demonstrators, construction workers and the ordinary man and woman in the street.
7. Unsettled Landscapes, SITE Santa Fe
Through Jan. 11, 2015
This group exhibition is the first installment of what will be a biennial examination of work by contemporary artists from across North and South America. By focusing on themes of landscape, territory, and trade, the show aims to highlight the connections among artists from different parts of the two continents.
8. Carpeaux (1827-1875), a Sculptor for the Empire, Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Through Sept. 28
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, an important figure in French sculpture in the second half of the 19th century, was the son of a stonemason and a lace maker from Valenciennes. His career as an artist spanned sculpture, painting and illustration. The show is the first retrospective of his works in all three fields since 1975.
9. Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Through Dec. 7
The exhibition showcases around 80 ensembles created by the late African-American fashion designer Patrick Kelly, whose used his career in the fashion industry to challenge racial and cultural boundaries. Alongside his designs, it features videos of his fashion shows and photographs by artists such as Pierre et Gilles and Oliviero Toscani.
10. Cairo Under Wraps: Early Islamic Textiles, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
Through Jan. 25, 2015
A show featuring textiles from the Early Islamic period, dating from the 7th to the 14th century. Many were meant to be used by the royal household, some bearing inscriptions in Arabic that invoke Allah.
When Dutch artist Telmo Pieper came across a big box of his childhood drawings that his parents had put in storage, he was taken aback by his linear representations of snails and hawks, cars and sharks.
“I was fascinated by how strange and great the line drawings were from when I was little,” Pieper says. “Surrealistic feel with a realistic subject — impossible to copy the style but possible to work it out further. So I did.”
Pieper, who is now part of a street art duo called TELMO MIEL, decided to revisit this early series almost 20 years later in “Kiddie Arts,” which juxtaposes Pieper’s artwork as a 4-year-old with more advanced reinterpretations.
“Since the beginning I never stopped creating and drawing,” Pieper says. “The biggest difference is that I started with pencils and crayons and now my main technique is the spray can or the Wacom tablet.”
Syrian artist Hrair Sarkissian was only 12 years old when he saw three hanged bodies dangling in the middle of a public square while on a bus to school in his native Damascus. Years later, he says, the image of the dead still haunted him — and in the hopes of overcoming the memory’s hold on him, he decided to photograph the place where it all started.
Sarkissian, who is currently based in London, took a series of photographs called Execution Squares, shooting spaces in the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Lattakia and Damascus where criminals had been routinely hanged before the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began in 2011. The photographs show locations one would expect to find in urban environments, yet the apartment buildings, billboards, and empty streets depicted feel heavy with the presence of death — the corpses are long gone, but viewers are left to imagine where they might have hung. Each image juxtaposes the constancy of the physical location where it was taken with the fluidity of real life events — in this case, capital punishment — situated within shifting social, political and ethical contexts.
Sarkissian’s work is now being displayed at the New Museum in New York as part of an exhibition that celebrates the work of 45 artists of Arab origin. The exhibit, titled Here and Elsewhere, is the first museum-wide show in New York City to exclusively feature art from and about the Arab-speaking world, showcasing layers of Arab identities often imperceptible to or simplified by Western audiences. Some of the questions posed are ones Sarkissian himself is trying to answer: Can artists use their work to chronicle real-life events, positioning themselves as witnesses to historical changes? Or should they be asking themselves and their audience whether images can accurately capture reality in the first place?
“I was relying on photography to show me the truth — that these bodies don’t exist anymore in these squares, to convince me they are all erased,” Sarkissian tells TIME. “But it didn’t convince me. I still see the hanged bodies in these empty squares.”
Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions at the New Museum, explains that the show examines the act of representation, of experiences both individual and collective, with an eye to “what is at stake” when images are created and disseminated. While some artists in the show use their work to oppose the existence of a single historical truth, others aim to showcase the process behind constructing a point of view, and a few revise narratives that dominate in the public sphere. The exhibit’s title comes from a 1976 film by French directors Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville, which Gioni noted was originally meant as a propaganda tool about the Palestinian struggle for independence, but was eventually transformed into “a reflection on how images are constructed and used to convey ideologies.”
One artist, Iranian-born Rokni Haerizadeh, transforms documentary footage into allegory by printing stills from YouTube videos of media broadcasts, then painting over them, molding the subjects — including policemen, politicians, protestors, and bystanders — into distorted Orwellian hybrids: half-human, half-animal. Another contributor, an anonymous Syrian collective of filmmakers called Abounaddara, creates short films that document events currently unraveling in their home country — ranging from intimate human interactions to violent fights in the streets — in the hopes of distributing an account different from the one common in mainstream media. “We associate photos and videos with transparency and the truth,” Gioni says, “yet these images… are much different from what we see on TV.”
The poignancy of Abounaddara’s work is derived partly from the group’s modest means of creation. Whereas artists in New York usually spend a lot on art supplies, Gioni explains, this exhibit showcases art that “[was] made with a pen, pencil, paper, a camera… but is equally intense.” Beirut-based Rheims Alkadhi, for instance, found artistic value in items impoverished residents have been forced to sell in street markets — a polyester jacket thus became the subject of The smell of an urban people in the lining of a jacket, and pieces of hair from the hairbrushes of Palestinians constitute part of her project Collective Knotting Together of Hairs.
“A lot of this work is maybe less appealing from a commercial point of view, and perhaps not [the kind of art] that is fashionable in New York — a lot of it is more content-driven, which makes it fascinating,” Gioni says. “What sets apart this type of work is that it’s vested in issues that are bigger than the price of an artwork and whether an artwork looks good on the wall. It is instead vested in issues of life and death, in important social and historical transformations.”
But Gioni and Curatorial Associate Natalie Bell were careful to point out that the show was not conceived as a vehicle for documenting current unrest in Arab countries. Sarkissian, too, emphasized that his photographs “have nothing to do with what is happening now in Syria; executions happened everywhere, and it’s more about humans and how we perceive that act.” Gioni notes that even Cairo-born Anna Boghiguian’s drawings created in the midst of the 2011 uprisings in the Egyptian capital that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak are a blend of “the world out there and the internal, psychological world of the artist.” There is no pretense of objectivity in her work, he says, resulting in a “sincere” representation.
Ultimately, the exhibit attempts to deny the existence of a particular style connected to the region — and it succeeds in that aim, as curators’ attitudes in choosing and placing the artworks haven’t been simplistic or colonial: organizers have instead insisted on preserving the multiplicity of views that exist within the Arab-speaking world. An additional reason the museum has taken extensive care to avoid stereotypes is that some American viewers may be encountering contemporary art from the Arab world for the first time. With many of the exhibition’s artists living in international locations and never before having shown in New York, its nod to art’s global ramifications is clear.
“A lot of this kind of work was not being shown in New York, and it was time to show it [here], in a more institutional context.” he says. “I hope the exhibit will remind us to train ourselves to keep our minds and our eyes open, so that we are not preoccupied with only our ‘here’ but also with ‘elsewhere.’”
A Japanese artist who specializes in vaginally inspired art has been arrested in Tokyo on grounds of obscenity for allegedly emailing design files to her supporters so that they could print 3-D renderings of her genitalia. Or as The Guardian calls it, a “vagina selfie.”
Megumi Igarashi, who works under the name Rokudenashiko, had started a crowd-funding project to create a kayak designed after her vagina. The design files were supposed to be a reward for investors who backed the project.
Igarashi wrote on her campaign’s page that she seeks funding to make her art anatomically precise. “It is extremely difficult to make precise mold. Even when successful, silicone mold will gradually deteriorate, which makes mass production difficult.”
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested the 42-year-old artist for breaking obscenity laws Wired notes hark back to 1907 that prohibit the display of genitalia. But the artist argues that the data itself isn’t adult material. “I cannot understand why the police recognize the 3D data as obscene material,” she said, according to TechCrunch.
Other projects Igarishi has made designed on her vagina include a comic-book, a remote controlled car, and a lampshade.
A Change.org petition has been launched to protest Igarashi’s arrest.
The iconic auctioneer Sotheby’s will open its bidding wars to eBay’s 145 million shoppers, as the two companies team up to build an online auction house for fine art.
The two announced on Monday that Sotheby’s will be the “anchor tenant” for eBay’s new online marketplace. Collectors will be able to browse works across 18 different collection categories. The online auction site will also include a “live auction” feature that will enable users from anywhere in the world to place bids on Sotheby’s auctions in New York, promising a “frictionless” shopping experience for users that is sure to generate a lot more heat on the auction floor.
“We can give people access to the world’s finest, most inspiring items – anytime, anywhere and from any device,” Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, said in a statement.
Sotheby’s said its number of online buyers has surged in recent years, with its share of online purchases climbing by 36% since 2012.
“The growth of the art market, new generation technology and our shared strengths make this the right time for this exciting new online opportunity,” said Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby’s Chief Operating Officer.
Sotheby’s estimates that the global art market, currently valued at $65 billion, could reach $13 billion in online sales by 2020.
The World Cup isn’t just about soccer or athleticism — it’s about bringing people together and taking pride in one’s country and culture, right? To emphasize that part of the event, artist George Zisiadis decided to focus on one key part of culture: food.
He chose one popular dish from several different nations — mussels and fries for Belgium, acarajé for Brazil, and so on — and then combined them.
“Rather than focus on its adversarial nature, I wanted to playfully re-imagine the World Cup and celebrate how it brings cultures together,” Zisiadis told Mashable. “Just like futbol, food also represents nationalities and brings people together.”
Head over to Zisiadis’s website to see more World Cup food pairings.
The uproar following the news that Facebook had manipulated the emotions of some of its users by curating the posts they saw in their newsfeed according to specific emotions was understandable. We like to believe that our social networks are indifferent platforms that don’t play with our feelings the way our friends can. In reality, Facebook strictly controls every factor of its website’s experience—it’s far from impartial.
So why not take control into our own hands? Artist Lauren McCarthy’s Facebook Mood Manipulator gives you access to the same technology that the study used to control its subjects emotions. A sliding scale on the website allows users to select what kinds of posts they want, with factors including positive, emotional, aggressive, and open. Turn the positive slide all the way up, and all that appears are happy posts. Turn it down, and negativity replaces all the good vibes.
McCarthy’s app suggests a kind of self-censoring. If you’re feeling down, then maybe you don’t want to see anything sad in your feed. Sure, the app performs a neat trick by scanning posts for emotive keywords and filtering them based on that vocabulary, but it also has a deeper meaning. It shows just how much our lives are contingent on what we experience online—we’re not communicating on social networks so much as living through them.
When the clueless aspiring gardener heads down to the local garden-supply shop or home improvement store and randomly scoops up whatever looks good, two results are likely: He’ll blow a ton of money, and not much will grow as planned. Yes, to some extent, gardening is a matter of trial and error. But completely winging it, without doing much in the way of doing research or seeking sound, practical advice from folks with experience, will be an exercise in futility—and wasteful spending.
Sources such as This Old House and Southern Living’s Grumpy Gardener blog are undoubtedly trustworthy and worth exploring for recommendations and insights. I’ve also come to enjoy the advice, attitude, and outspoken and opinionated takes on gardening at Garden Rant, an independent group blog featuring the work of gardening writers around the country.
We asked a few of the Garden Ranters to name the best (and worst) ways to spend money when trying to get a garden growing. All agree that there are smart and not-so-smart ways to allocate one’s landscaping budget, and they promised not to pull punches, especially when it comes to anything they consider a total waste of money.
Best Way to Spend Your Gardening Dollars
Here are some areas where it doesn’t pay to skimp. They may not be the sexiest or most eye-catching aspects of gardening—heck, they may not even be things that a newbie gardener thinks of for half a second—but they’ll help you lay the foundation for a beautiful yard, so they’re more valuable than even the prettiest plant.
According to Ranter Evelyn Hadden, the overall look of the garden can be defined by the stuff that doesn’t grow at all—namely, manmade structures like paths, patios, and walls. “Put in the right hardscape,” she says, “and the garden will feel comfortable and more finished even while the plants are small. Invest a little more in artistic paving and walls that will provide winter beauty.”
Susan Harris, who recently launched DCGardens.com, a resource for gardeners and garden lovers in greater Washington, D.C., stresses the importance of basics such as shrubs, trees, and groundcover. Sure, they “may not ‘pop’ with floral display, but they’re the plants that make the garden in three years or so,” says Harris. Garden Rant colleague Elizabeth Licata is on the same page concerning the importance of structural plants. “Trees and shrubs also provide important habitat for birds and beneficial insects,” she says.
Trustworthy Gardening Books
Ivette Soler, the Ranter also known as The Germinatrix, advises against solely relying on the Internet for gardening information. “Buy the classic garden books for your climate and area of interest,” she says. “Many of the resources on Internet search engines are conflicting, confusing, or just give you a tiny bite of pertinent info. Go old-school and buy books. Look for the big, heavy books brimming with horticultural knowledge, and make sure the information is applicable to the area of the U.S. where you garden.”
For people living in the West, for instance, the Sunset Western Garden Book comes heavily recommended. No matter where you live, America’s Garden Book, featuring the input of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s staff, and Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, are worthwhile classics.
Even if you always imagined a garden as a purely DIY project, it’s wise to consult a professional landscape designer. (You can find them in your area listed here.) Using a pro to help with your overall garden design may save years of failure. “Good designers know the right places for the right plants,” says Harris. Licata points out that a designer can provide the equivalent of a handsome frame, which the artist—i.e., you—can fill with a changing palette of color and texture.
For hardscape installation and big yard cleanup jobs, don’t be a hero. Harris and Licata, among others, say that they save their backs for the fun stuff, and they never regret paying a crew of landscapers for a hard day’s work.
Worst Ways to Spend Your Gardening Dollars
Alongside your home itself, a garden can easily turn into a money pit. Stay away from the following traps that snag too many rookie gardeners.
Fancy Overpriced Plants
The kinds of books recommended above should clue you in as to what kinds of plants do well in your neck of the woods, as will a rudimentary look around at what’s flourishing in your neighbor’s yards. On the other hand, be wary of obscure and unproven plants, even if they are gorgeous in the store.
Licata cautions against the fancy hybrids of tried-and-true perennials: “Those glow-in-the-dark, double Echinacea (coneflower) may look great for one season, but they are not as hardy and reliable as the original pink varieties.” The biggest difference between the hybrids and their native forebears, she ways, is in price.
“And beware of those big, fat perennials,” adds Allen Bush, who works at wholesale producer and seller Jelitto Seeds. “They look tempting, but the smaller sizes soon catch up in size, and they’re cheaper and easier to plant, too.”
Seed Starting Kits
“If you’re not detail-oriented, save yourself some headaches and spring for the little plants,” Hadden advises. “Or start with easy seeds like sunflowers and peas that you plant directly in the ground.” Licata notes that in areas with short summers such as New England, seed-starters must emulate greenhouse conditions in order to be successful. That’s just beyond the capabilities of many home gardeners.
Commercial Pesticides and Fertilizers
Landscaping companies constantly mail out fliers to homeowners or call up out of the blue to give the sales pitch for special garden or lawn treatments. The Ranters say that homeowners should pass. “Not only are these expensive, most of the chemicals literally flow down the drain, polluting our waterways,” says Licata. “Even home applications of the store-bought potions can be expensive. And they often don’t do what they’re supposed to do.”
Instead, she suggests that gardeners make their own compost and simply spread shredded leaves as a natural mulch. An organic garden creates its own protection against pests. Weeds in an organic lawn can be tolerated under the “mow what grows” policy, says Harris. And in perennial gardens, tight planting of healthy plants make weeding minimal or nonexistent.
Mass-Produced Garden “Art”
Soler is emphatic on this. “Just say no to tchotchkes!” she declares. “Let flowers, foliage, and hummingbirds be the art in your garden, plus a few high-quality pots.”
Marina Abramovic, the self styled “grandmother of performance art,” might be 67-years-old, but she shows no signs of slowing down. Her latest exhibition, 512 Hours, opened at London’s Serpentine Gallery last week to lines so long they spawned their own hashtag on Twitter.
For 8 hours a day, for 64 days – a total of 512 hours – Abramovic and her assistants will walk amongst gallery entrants, directing them to various places around the room, and encouraging them to breath, to relax and to heighten their awareness.
512 Hours is a long way from the Serbian artist’s solo performances of the 1970s. In her infamous Rhythm series, Abramovic stabbed herself, jumped into a burning star, took drugs to induce catatonia, and, most memorably, offered visitors 72 objects, including a scalpel, which they could use on her.
Over the ensuing decades her reputation continued to grow, culminating in her previous show, The Artist Is Present, at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 2010. Visitors, among them James Franco and Lady Gaga, were invited to sit across from Abramovic and gaze at her, with many moved to tears.
The artist has attracted such a following that she has created the Abramovic method, which music icon Lady Gaga said she used to kick her marijuana habit. The method involves fasting, slowly drinking water, counting rice grains and gazing into mirrors to develop mindfulness.
Aspects of the method have clearly found their way into 512 Hours, where some visitors are invited to stare into mirrors. Abramovic has also suggested she might incorporate furniture into forthcoming performances.
512 Hours is running until August 25, entry is free and on a first-come, first-served basis.