Art

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Although powered by simple rotary engines, these kinetic sculptures by Netherlands-based sculptor Jennifer Townley are dizzying in complexity.

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Kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe lives and works in a rural area in Eastsound, Washington surrounded by little more than trees, wind, and other natural elements that inspire his incredible kinetic sculptures.

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Industrial Design student Tomek Michalski drafted this cabin in the forest as a retreat for people who need rest, seclusion from other people, the world and daily life.

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Hungarian/German graphic designer David Szakaly has taken zeitgeist to a whole other level, creating the Web’s most hypnotic, artist gifs on the web since 2008.

He began experimenting with Flash in 1999 and nearly a decade later found that Tumblr was a great platform to share his quirky gifs.

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What is luxury? A fur coat, a silk Hermes scarf, a vintage Chanel 2.55, or a Guerlain lipstick? Or is luxury time, or even knowledge? Ultimately, everyone has their own version of luxury, but the V&A’s new exhibitionexplores the history of the subject and questions the traditional norms of what is usually thought of as luxurious. By collecting a highly curated selection of objects—from furniture made of human hair, to a classic Hermes saddle—the exhibition investigates the future of luxury through culture, economics, art, fashion and design.

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Below, BAZAAR talks with one of the curators, Leanne Wierzba.

HB: How do you define luxury in terms of fashion?

LW: In terms of fashion, we’re really looking at the motivations of the designer and also thinking about the investment, time and application of skills that’s involved in the production or making of an object. So, it would be difficult to say that any one type of material could be considered universally luxurious. One of the fashion designers we included in the exhibition that we think epitomizes luxury is Carol Christian Poell. He’s Austrian by birth but based in Milan and does menswear, primarily. What’s interesting about Carol is that, unlike most designers who begin with the fabric, he begins with the thread. He spends a lot of time and puts in a lot of research in developing textiles himself. He’s developed a textile that is 15% glass beads—they reflect light in a particular way. Another interesting thing about his work is that he doesn’t use lining. You can actual see all the internal seams. All though there’s a very raw aesthetic, it’s completely precise because the lining typically hides a lot of mistakes or other fabric that hasn’t really been dealt with.

HB: Which fashion objects throughout time have represented luxury?

LW: One of the objects we have in the exhibition is a 17th Venetian lace chasuble, of course used in the church. Another fashion example that we have in the exhibition is Iris Van Herpen’s work. What we think is interesting about her is her compulsion to innovate and collaborate. Most of her work is done collaboratively, people from different fields—architecture, industrial design, or music, and she is bringing in knowledge and expertise and disciplines from other industries and applying them to fashion. We have a Savile Row suit in the exhibition, but it’s actually a military uniform. We thought that was incredible that the object is so heavily codified and it has so much cultural meaning—that’s luxury as well.

Snuffbox, Jean Guillaume George Krueger, Berlin 1775-1780

HB: Can luxury be inexpensive?

LW: One of the increasingly recognized luxuries in busy cities like London is time. Regularly, when we speak to people about luxury they say time is their biggest luxury. Time for yourself, time to spend with loved ones and family, and also time to develop knowledge and to become a connoisseur of luxury.

HB: Does sustainability play into luxury?

LW: One of the resources that will continue to grow will be human hair. In the exhibition, we have a project where they’ve created furniture and accessories using human hair, and resin. They’re quite beautiful, but once you look closely and realize its human hair, people are quite disturbed by that—which is interesting, because there’s a huge global hair trade at the moment. Having it re-contextualized as furniture is a really strong statement.

HB: What does the future of luxury fashion look like?

LW: It’s really tied up in supply chains and thinking of production. That’s really the focus of the exhibition. I think the supply chain will have to be more adapted to resolve ecological and ethical issues related to current fashion models. We agree that the future of fashion, especially pertaining to luxury is about small batch production and imbuing the kind of objects you’re creating with meaning and intention. Something that you would really want to invest in, value and hold on to. Luxury is something you’d want to repair rather than discard and replace.

What is Luxury is on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum from April 25th-September 27thand is in partnership with the Crafts Council and sponsored by Northacre.

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If their experience was anything like mine, they probably felt they were walking on air. At the opening celebrations I attended, including the ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Thursday with Michelle Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio present and Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, presiding, the atmosphere was euphoric, unlike anything I’d experienced in over four decades in the New York art world. Now we know how it feels, I kept thinking, when a museum emerges bigger but better from the excruciating process of building a new home. Now we know what can happen when an architect — in this case Renzo Piano — and trustees, a director and curators are on the same page and keeping their priority straight. Namely, to accommodate art and people with equal finesse.

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The new building offers 50,000 square feet of galleries. CreditMichael Appleton for The New York Times

When a structure like this opens, a sensation of transformation occurs in real time. The Whitney and its collection are shifting shape — growing and deepening before our eyes.

At Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, the city’s cultural metabolism seemed to quicken noticeably as successive speakers affirmed art’s importance to society. That’s because the new Whitney forces a decisive yet organic realignment of the balance of power among New York’s main museums that is good for all concerned. With its enlarged galleries and the reveal of its collection, the Whitney, and to some extent American art, should begin getting the full respect both deserve.

One sign of this realignment: Last Friday, the Museum of Modern Art congratulated the Whitney in a quarter-page ad in The New York Times. It seemed magnanimous but weird. “Welcome to the top tier,” it seemed to say. And yet, except for the white lettering, the entire page was black, like a death announcement.

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In my years in New York, I’ve seen a lot of disappointing architectural activity among the city’s museums: expansions and new structures that displayed glaring flaws from the outset that either got worse or became, at best, bearable. The most prominent include two expansions at the Museum of Modern Art, one at the Guggenheim, two at the Brooklyn Museum, two at the Morgan Library & Museum, a new building for the New Museum and the coming — and going — of the American Folk Art Museum.

The Whitney is palpably a different order of achievement. Art looks better here, to my eyes, than it did in the old Whitney, and it is amazingly comfortable to be in. I didn’t understand this fully until last Friday night, my third time inside the building.

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The museum’s new home in the meatpacking district shifts the balance of power among the city’s major museums.CreditBebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Up to that point, I’d seen Mr. Piano’s eight-floor structure empty, looking big and fabulous inside but somewhat anonymous. I’d visited again when the first show, of roughly 600 works by some 400 artists, was nearly installed, which was thrilling. For a permanent collection display spanning more than a century of art, the opening show has an unusually high (for the Whitney) percentage of works by women (nearly one-third) and a strong representation of African-American and Asian-American artists, if too few works by Hispanic artists. But this isn’t just a matter of numbers; diversity is broadcast by the art itself, throughout the show and in numerous outstanding works and telling juxtapositions.

To cite but a few: Among the works unfamiliar to me were I. Rice Pereira’s “Boat Composite,” a large, vivid yet grisaille canvas from 1932 that dominates a gallery of Precisionist paintings and photographs with its bold scale and paint handling, learning from Fernand Léger while presaging the great late works of Stuart Davis and Philip Guston. And old standbys suddenly became new knockouts: Lee Krasner’s “The Seasons” from 1957 commandeers the Abstract Expressionist gallery, which is further enlivened by excellent lesser-known works by Norman Lewis, Alfonso Ossorio, Hedda Sterne and Eldzier Cortor. In a gallery centered on the use of non-art materials, assemblages by Raphael Montañez Ortiz and Noah Purifoy hold their own against a Rauschenberg combine, and Jim Dine’s “The Black Rainbow” from 1959-60 shows him at his rough-edged best.

But to see the new Whitney in active use is to understand its success as a place for visitors. It instantly became the most physically welcoming art space in New York outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And it accomplished its new level of comfort without carving a huge event space out of its center, as many museums have done. For better or for worse, the Whitney is in something of an event space, the meatpacking district, but it also has a series of events spaces at its margins: a flexible auditorium and four large terraces, three of which are linked by an outdoor staircase.

The Whitney may be too hospitable for its own good, but only time will tell. It has timed tickets that are designed to control crowding, but people may linger longer than expected. After art they can retire to the eighth-floor cafe, the terraces or the lines of comfy leather couches facing glass walls overlooking the Hudson and Greenwich Village at either end of the fifth floor (an unmitigated luxury for denizens of New York museums).

The outdoor staircase epitomizes the operative and symbolic logic of Mr. Piano’s design. The meaning and function of a wide switchback three-level affair in steel grating will be parsed for years to come. It is the most aggressive part of the multiple components that make the building a kind of architectural assemblage. From the street, the switchback juts out over the building’s east face like a fire escape on steroids or a fragment of an aircraft carrier. From the galleries, it is a people magnet but also a people mover, integrating the indoor galleries and the outdoor terraces and eliminating dead ends in a way that rarely happens in buildings of any kind. It affords a third way to move among three (if not four) of the museum’s main display floors. It is something like the Whitney’s very own High Line, except that it works for its living.

Mr. Piano has built more than his share of disappointing museums, including his expansion of the Morgan Library. But the new Whitney reaffirms why museums began turning to him in the first place. Moreover, it shows that despite Manhattan’s treacherous real estate market, the borough can still accommodate a gracious museum that is equally receptive to art and the viewing of art. It proves that these conditions are mutually dependent. You can’t have one without the other.

PHOTO: MCV PHOTO.

Whether you’re talking about high-end splurges like Chanel bags, or mass-retail staples (think the Nike swoosh), the designer logo has long been considered a status symbol. But, as anyone who’s clicked through pics of the Fashion Week collections — or even breezed through the mall recently — knows, the role of the ubiquitous fashion logo has been moving in the opposite direction.

Some brands have embraced minimalism. Louis Vuitton made news back in 2013 when it pulled back on the use of its iconic LVs in accessories. And, logo-less purses, such as the understated Mansur Gavriel bucket bags, have usurped the popularity of branded carryalls. Now, there’s a noticeable change happening on the other end of the fashion spectrum: Major fashion labels are flaunting the logos of brands other than their own.

Call it the Jeremy Scott effect. For his debut fall 2014 Moschino show, the designer sent models down the runway decked out in McDonald’s and SpongeBob SquarePants motifs. Scott’s throwback vibes continued for spring 2015, with a Barbie-inspired Moschino collection that was almost exclusively pink and plastered with the Mattel doll’s logos. Scott has been repurposing logos — both commercial and indie — for his eponymous line for years, and he’s not the first to do so, but following the financial success of his Moschino collections, others in the industry are rushing to get in on the business.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOYRICH.

The trend picked up more steam this season with additional designers hopping onboard: Opening Ceremony showed tops printed with old-school Kodak branding, NYFW newcomer Bobby Abley debuted a collection featuring characters from The Jungle Book, and Joyrich referenced retro Coca-Cola logos in its pieces. David Melgar, creative director of Joyrich, explained the inspiration behind the logo-centric design: “Being that we are heavily influenced by ‘80s and ‘90s pop [and] street culture, I wanted to do something that reflected this time. I liked how the logo had a nostalgic, vintage feel to it and I felt that with the combination of the fabrications that we used, it would bring life to a whole new story.”

Inspiration aside, tapping into these instantly recognizable images is also a strategic move. Jeremy Scott is consistently one of the top-ranked brands on social media for both Scott’s eponymous line (its spring 2015 collection earned 650,000 likes, posts, and tweets), as well as Moschino, which essentially won the Internet last season with 1.5 million total interactions.

It’s smart for designers to capitalize on our nostalgia for other brands, but we have to wonder: How is this even legal? Turns out, there’s a line between nodding to another company’s logo and infringing on its intellectual property rights, and it all boils down to the message the design sends to consumers.

According to Christopher Sprigman, a professor at NYU School of Law, brands that evoke other brands’ logos must first negotiate licensing deals. “I had seen a report that there was a deal made between Kodak and Opening Ceremony,” he said. “If there hadn’t been one, it would raise questions in the consumers’ minds about whether the product was sponsored.” Not having a deal could have spelled major trouble for OC.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF OPENING CEREMONY.
Kodak, on Opening Ceremony.

In this case, the partnership with Kodak was part of a collaboration between OC cofounders/designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim and the photo company. As the duo said in an interview with Kodak, “We’ve always loved Kodak’s logos and trademarks, and admired Kodak’s dedication to continuity. We think the capsule celebrates all [the] Kodak values we appreciate.”

Unsurprisingly, this type of licensing deal usually entails a financial transaction. “It’s a situation in which a brand like Opening Ceremony would say, ‘We want to use T-shirts with your logo,’ and Kodak would say, ‘Okay. Pay us money.’ The fashion industry is notoriously for-profit, so this would be typically a deal that exchanges a license for money,” said Sprigman. The goal is to define the relationship between the parties, and if a designer incorporates a logo in a way that might cause confusion about whether it was sponsored, he or she runs the risk of being sued.

The exception? When logos are used in a way in which there’s no risk of misleading consumers into thinking they’re endorsements. One example is using multiple logos. Sprigman cites the streetwear designer Heron Preston. Hissignature tees feature 17 logos splashed all over them, including Google, Nascar, Home Depot, and M&Ms. But, despite all the branding, Sprigman says the message remains clear: “If I had looked at this shirt, I wouldn’t necessarily think that any of these companies were sponsoring the shirt,” he said. “I don’t think the trademark law would require this to be licensed, because I think consumers would conclude that this is a commentary about brands as opposed to a T-shirt sponsorship.”

With London, Milan, and Paris still left in Fashion Month, these clearly aren’t the last of the logos we’ll be seeing on the runway. So, designers, take note: Imitation might be the highest form of flattery, but don’t forget to ask permission first.

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Fractal animation made with Mandelbulb3D. Jeremie Brunet originally designed it for Bryan Alvarez from UC Berkeley, for a TEDx talk about his Human Atlas project, to illustrate his initial dream about the beauty of living systems. This one is an enhanced version.

This is a hybrid Julia fractal where many parameters are being animated: the fractal paramaters themselves, the Julia seed, the colors, and of course the camera position.

Click PLAY then go to full screen (bottom right of Video)


by Jeremie Brunet | Soundtrack by Ricardo Montalban.

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Tennessee-based artist Charles Clary knows a thing or two about patience as evidenced by his structural paper creations reminiscent of biological formations or topographical maps. In creating a new piece Clary can work for up to 12 hours a day cutting each thin layer in his delicately stacked sculptures that arise from gallery walls or descend into geometric volumes. The artist most recently had an exhibition at Brett Wesley Gallery last month, and you can see much more of his work on his website. (via Hi-Fructose)

Hand-Cut Paper Microorganisms by Charles Clary