TIME Art

See How Body Paint Turned Naked Women Into New York City Landmarks

City chameleons

It’s easy for New Yorkers to feel like they are invisible in such a big city. Artist Trina Merry took this concept literally by using body paint to transform topless models into New York City landscapes.

Brightly colored sneakers drew attention to their faint outline, hidden in the Guggenheim or Manhattan bridge.

Body Paint Artist NYC Landmarks
A model appears to blend into the background as she stands in front of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Trina Merry—AP

“I wanted to engage the city and understand it and make some observations,” Merry told the AP. “So instead of a person right in front of the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty, they’re softly in the background, and you’ve got more of a reflective view of the person within the landscape.”

Body Paint Artist NYC Landmarks
Jessica Mellow poses in front of the Manhattan Bridge after Merry, a body-paint artist, camouflaged Mellow to blend into the bridge, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Trina Merry—AP

Angle was everything when camouflaging each model into the landscape. It took six hours to complete each “work.”

Trina Merry, Jessica Mellow
Merry is a body-paint artist who seamlessly camouflages her semi-nude models into New York City’s skyline, blending them into Central Park, Coney Island and other famous landmarks. Rachelle Blidner—AP
TIME Art

Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’ Returns to the Tate on Long-Term Loan

Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' To Be Auctioned At Christie's
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece My Bed on display at Christie's in London on June 27, 2014 Rob Stothard—Getty Images

The piece will be displayed there for at least 10 years

Contemporary art’s most well-known bed is returning to the site where it first gained notoriety.

Artist Tracey Emin’s controversial installation My Bed — consisting of an unmade bed surrounded by piles of discarded condoms, old liquor bottles and pregnancy tests — will be exhibited at Tate Gallery on a long-term loan from its most recent owner, the Tate said in a statement on Monday.

The 1998 work, which grapples with the aftermath of a difficult breakup, has been included in discussions about what qualifies as art. It gained renewed prominence in the past month when it was slated to be sold at a Christie’s auction in London. On July 1, the piece was sold to German collector and businessman Count Christian Duerckheim for approximately $3.77 million — more than 18 times the amount collector Charles Saatchi paid for it in 2000.

My Bed was exhibited at Tate Britain in 1999, the same year it was shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize. Now, new owner Duerckheim will loan the work to the Tate for a period of at least 10 years. Tate director Nicholas Serota expressed gratitude for Duerckheim’s gift, which will allow museum visitors to see “a work that now has iconic status.”

Emin, the artist herself, told the BBC, “I have always felt My Bed belongs at Tate. And now it will be.”

TIME Art

This Furniture Looks, Feels and Smells Like It’s Made Out of Human Skin

Courtesy Gigi Barker

Strangely, not part of the Buffalo Bill Home Collection

A set of furniture designed by Gigi Barker looks a lot like what Hannibal Lecter might use to decorate his family room.

The British designer and founder of design studio 9191 has crafted a material that has the look, feel and — thanks to the addition of after shave to the mix – smell of human flesh. Barker used the pheromone-impregnated silicone base to craft a collection of chairs and footstools, which were modeled after the Rubenesque folds of a man’s stomach. No word on whether you need to moisturize the chairs with lotion to help them keep their luster.

While the chair may make your skin crawl, Barker isn’t just trying to creep out her audience. She believes that the unique material lets people form a physical connection to the piece and allows them the opportunity to examine their relationship to their own skin and other people’s. Plus, the material reacts to bodies and according to Barker, speaking to Wired UK, matches a human’s body temperature, which is “perfect for soothing a crying baby”.

If the concept doesn’t scare you, the price tag might – the combined cost of the chair and stool is over $4,000 (£2,380). That said, Barker’s show at Central Saint Martin’s sold out last month, according to Wired UK, and she’s already in talks with retailers.

Courtesy Gigi Barker

MORE: Sweden’s ‘Hannibal Lecter’ is Set Free

MORE: Ikea’s Chinese Stores Invite Customers to Take a Snooze

TIME career

Here’s a Really Original Way to Quit a Soul-Crushing Job

A young lawyer finally gets up the courage to quit her job and follow her creative passion--cartooning. Here's how she did it.

It’s a familiar story: the graduate who takes the safe route after college – going along an established career path to a comfortable job, and maybe letting some former passions fall by the wayside. One day they wake up and realize that they never play the guitar any more, or they don’t write as much as they used to, and suddenly their job doesn’t seem so fulfilling.

What isn’t so familiar is when people actually do something about their regrets. Catherine, a New York lawyer in her early 30’s, knew she needed to make a change. So she quit her job at a high-powered law firm to pursue art- and documented it all in cartoons.

Laywer Cartoons Departure Memo
“Catherine”—departurememo.com

Catherine’s website departurememo.com is a cartoon strip that depicts her battle—spanning across multiple years and two cities—to keep her passion for painting alive in the world of finance law, and her eventual decision to pursue that passion full-time. (Catherine chose not to reveal her full name to avoid harming her past employer’s reputation.)

“Art is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing,” Catherine tells TIME. “It’s enough of a constant throughout my life that I’ve really gotten to thinking in the past few years that maybe this is something more than what I do when I have free time.”

Her website also documents that her entry into the legal world was less than enthusiastic. “Like many of my friends and classmates and colleagues, I had gone to law school fairly aimlessly in my mid-20s with no real plan other than the well-beaten path: do appreciably (if not well), Biglaw, pay off loans, then see where the cards fell,” departurememo.com reads.

Lawyer Cartoons Departure Memo
“Catherine”—departurememo.com

However, as her illustrated memo shows, the “well-beaten path” didn’t suit Catherine very well, and the time she had to dedicate to her life-long passion for art became minimal. “People here are really talented. Unfortunately, for many people, the talents from our past lives now merely take the form of s**t we hang on our walls. It’s the ‘used to’ syndrome,” she writes on her website.

This problem led to her decision to make a career change, and the comic seemed the most fitting way to explain it. “I had a few exchanges that I’ve memorialized in the memo that seemed to me to be too funny, or I just felt that they would work really well in a kind of comic format,” Catherine says. “I felt that it would be relatable. I wanted to do something funny and memorable that the people would enjoy.”

Lawyer Cartoons Departure Memo
“Catherine”—departurememo.com

She sent it to a couple dozen of her co-workers and hoped word of mouth would spread the cartoon around her office. The results were more successful than she’d anticipated. The website was even featured in Yahoo and the legal blog “Above the Law.” She says, “Apparently it struck a chord with a lot of people. I’m just really impressed, really amazed at the reception it got, how far and wide it’s been passed around.”

Catherine’s memo is not the first creative representation for quitting a job. Last September, 25-year-old Marina Shifrin filmed a dance video to Kanye West’s “Gone” to explain her decision to quit her animation job. “For almost two years I’ve sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job,” Shifrin wrote in the video.

“Everyone’s had to cancel plans, been pushed into projects that are a mismatch for their interests, worked terrible hours, and so forth,” Catherine said. “Probably quite a few people have wished they could say what was really on their mind when they left, but few do.”

For those like Shifrin who might find the cartoon all too relatable, Catherine has some advice. “I think that there is so much talent out there, and people should absolutely cultivate their talents…and spend time supporting other artists and creative people,” she says. “Everyone can make something, but if we don’t spend time supporting one another, then it’s kind of a dead end for everyone.”

Catherine will find her own creative support community in a month-long artists’ residency program before returning to San Francisco, where she has settled. “Basically the plan there is to clear my head and paint, really not to have to worry about too much else other than figuring out with paintbrushes and paint what I have to say at this point,” she says. “And I’m really open to whatever may come.”

Lawyer Cartoons Departure Memo
“Catherine”—departurememo.com

 

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: July 21

1. Israel and the world must focus on not ‘going all the way’ in Gaza.

By Charles Ogletree in the Washington Post

3. Two Haitan policymakers debate what’s more important for their country: justice or tourism.

By Samiha Shafy in Spiegel

4. We can address one factor driving America’s border crisis: American guns fueling gang wars in Central America.

By Alex MacGillis in the New Republic

5. In the future, art will be for everyone, and the internet will be the delivery system.

By Lisa Wade in Sociological Images

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Art

10 Art Exhibits to Discover This Summer

US-ART-WHITNEY MUSEUM-JEFF KOONS
Artist Jeff Koons poses next to one of his sculptures during a press preview of "Jeff Koons: A Retrospective" a exhibition of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art June 24, 2014. TIMOTHY A. CLARY—AFP/Getty Images

In New York, Paris, Tokyo and beyond

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

Through Sept. 7
This exhibit focuses on Matisse’s last works—the cut-outs he produced when ill health prevented him from painting. By cutting into painted paper, the artist created forms such as dancers, snails, and snowflakes. The show, which features 120 works, will also travel to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the fall.

112 x 112 7/8” (284.4 x 286.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mrs Simon Guggenheim Fund, 1968. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954). Memory of Oceania (Souvenir d’Océanie), summer 1952–early 1953. Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, and charcoal on paper, mounted on canvas. Jonathan Muzikar—Digital Image 2013 (c) MOMA, New York/Scala, Florence

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.

TIME Art

An Artist Turned His Childhood Drawings Into This Beautiful, Surrealist Series

"Surrealistic feel with a realistic subject"

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.”

TIME Art

New Museum Puts Spotlight on Art From the Arab World

"Here and Elsewhere" opens on July 16 and will be on view through Sept. 28

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.’”

TIME

Police Arrest Japanese Artist Who Invited Fans to 3-D Print Her Genitalia

Emailed design files to supporters as a reward for those who crowd-funded her vagina kayak project

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 Guardian]

TIME

Sotheby’s and eBay to Launch Virtual Auction House

Edvard Munch's "The Scream" Auctioned At Sotheby's
Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' is auctioned at Sotheby's May 2012 in New York City. Mario Tama—Getty Images

Bidding wars are about to heat up at the iconic auction house

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.

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