Props Rock: Nam June Paik

I recently went on a museum excursion to Washington, D.C. where I found myself captivated by an exhibit at the American Art Museum by Nam June Paik. In 2009 the museum acquired the complete estate archive off the Seoul, Korea native. Before his death in 2006 Nam June Paik  revolutionized the art world by transforming the moving image into a new media for artists. His work was categorized as being a part of the Neo-Dada movement which denies tradition by utilizing modern materials and popular imagery. It can be assumed that Paik's training as a classical pianist during his youth inspired much of his work as an adult. Whilst studying at Munich University in Germany, Paik met other artists including composer John Cage and conceptual artist Wolf Vostell who inspired him to work in the field of electronic art. What I appreciate even more than the visual aspects of his art is Paik's insight to the place of technology in society. The man who once proclaimed, "The future is now" has also said, "Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-half is good. You cannot deny that high-tech is progress. We need it for jobs. Yet if you make only high-tech, you make war. So we must have a strong human element to keep modesty and natural life." Below is some of his work:
Electronic Superhighway: Continental US (1995). Forty seven channel and closed circuit video installation with 313 monitors, neon, and steel structure; color, sound, approx. 15x32x4 feet.
TV Buddha (1974) Closed Circuit video installation with bronze sculpture
Above: Video Piano (1999) Two channel and closed circuit video installation with piano, bench, fourteen monitors, and video camera, color, sound Below: My Faust (1989-91) Three channel video sculpture with twenty five monitors, color, silent. 104.75x50x31 inches.
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Art Installation: Luke Jerram’s “Play Me, I’m Yours”

At my old school sometimes I would study in the student center which featured just about anything a college student would need including a Starbucks, food court, a lot of seating area, a game room, and a lone piano on the second floor. Sometimes a brave individual would play a medley of songs that could be heard on multiple floors. It often reminded me of the Nordstrom department store where you could always find a pianist performing while you shopped. One day I went to study in the center and was able to score one of the coveted tables on the second floor. Just as I was getting into the groove of studying somebody begins to play the piano on the second floor. It would have been lovely because I like to study to the sounds of contemporary jazz anyway, but this so-called pianist was horrible. I almost began to feel embarassed for him because people began to shout at him, but then I remembered I had two finals to take the next day and he was distracting me. Cue imaginary laser beams of disgust from my eyes. I was reminded of that time recently when I read about an art installation in New York by artist Luke Jerram. Luke Jerram is a British artist who works through a variety of mediums including sculptures, live art, and installations. If you are in the New York area between now through July 5th  be sure to check it out "Play Me, I'm Yours". For this installation Jerram installed sixty pianos around Manhattan and its surrounding areas for anyone to play from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Even Cyndi Lauper has performed at one of the locations. If you are interested in tickling the ivories yourself in public then click here for piano locations.
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A Synonym of Ridiculous: “Barf Art”

The reason that I am infatuated with the art world is that it allows people to express themselves through a myriad of mediums. Nowadays, for better or for worse, anything can be considered art. The one thing that has always irked me about the art world is when the art makes no sense to me, but I'm supposed to stand there and act as if it's okay. I used to live across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA and would visit frequently when I need to get lost in my own zone. I remember seeing a plain wooden chair during one of my visits with a sign on it that read, "Do not sit on the exhibit". So, you're telling me that this plain wooden chair is art? It looks like a chair that I could find in anyone's kitchen, but because it's in a museum it is art. I looked on the wall to read about it, hoping that there was some purposeful message behind the piece and to my dismay all it read was the artist's name, year of creation, and title which was accurately named, "Wooden Chair". This is the kind of thing that irks me about the art world. Pulling randomness out of a hat and expecting me to give a round of applause. It's not that I am against randomness in art, but I would prefer that it had some degree of forethought in it, so the viewer can better understand where the artist is coming from. Yesterday, I was watching one of my favorite shows, "Ripley's Believe it or Not" and came across an artist by the name of Lance Ozanix who creates what he calls, "Barf Art". Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. Below is the video showcasing his work. Admittedly, Mr. Ozanix is not the only artist that uses bodily fluids and functions in their work. In 1961, Piero Manzoni exhibited "Artist's Shit" in the Albisola Marina. The display consisted of ninety cans of preserved "100% Pure Artist's Shit" which he eventually sold for the price of their then-current weight in gold. There was also Keith Boadwee, who used to apply paint to canvas by squirting it out of his butt. When asked about his choice of artistic medium Boadwee once said, "I wanted to prove that I can make just as good a painting as (the 'abstract expressionists') can with my butthole."
A can of "Artist Shit" by Piero Manzoni, 1961.
What do you think? Is there a limit to what is considered as art, or should it depend on the eyes of the beholder?
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Props Rock: Jean-Michel Basquiat

Although he passed in 1988, Jean-Michel Basquiat's  artistic prowess is still recognized today.The Brooklyn born artist was initially recognized for his graffiti that used the walls of Brooklyn and Manhattan as canvas. He eventually moved on to painting and began to create work that drew on pieces from contemporary culture. Recently, director Tamra Davis payed homage to her friend in a documentary entitled "The Radiant Child" in which she utilized archival footage and interviews with Basquiat to give viewers a more intimate look at the artist. Below is a trailer for the movie:
The fashion industry has also paid homage to the late artist with magazines such as Vogue Hommes International using his personal style and work as inspiration for editorials.
Vogue Hommes International, March 2010.
To mark Basquiat's 50th birthday, the Beyeler Foundation in the Swiss city of Basel in collaboration with the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris will open a retrospective of his work. The retrospective will be first displayed in Basel until September 5, 2010. Then it will be moved to Paris where it will be displayed there from October 15, 2010- January 30, 2011.
This line drawing of boxer Cassius Clay will be on display.
Below is some more of Basquiat's work:
Zydeco, 1984
“Untitled (Pecho/Oreja)”, 1982-1983
Skull, 1981
His work is praised for its creativity and complexity, but for Jean-Michel Basquiat art was simple. "I start a picture and I finish it. I don't think about art while I work. I try to think about life," Basquiat once said.
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Last night I took a stroll through the New Museum. Boy was I glad that i did not pay an admission fee. It sucked big fat hairy balls. There were a few pieces that were good but overall it was a bunch of art school type art...expensive to create and mediocre (to say the least), not much amazing, not much to think about just blah not good not bad, not relevant, just a waste of materials. It was the kind of work that makes getting the every day person to wrap there head around spending some major cheese on art impossible. Just like how hip hop has the term 'hater', art also has a wonderful build in defense mechanism that makes the viewer un-refined, un-educated or un-sophisticated if you call it out.

photo by Stephanie

I try not to give too much shine to things that don't do it for me, but I am really intrigued with how great the museum is packaged. The building  itself is a fun obstruction to the surrounding structures, the 'hell yes' neon type totally does it for me, even the green elevator is lovely. The new museum also boasts a great bookstore and fantastic website. All of this makes me wonder if all we really care about is the packaging.
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Etsy HQ Wall of Records

Yesterday we (me and Mr. Tough Dumplin) completed the installation of the Etsy HQ wall of records! Rockin it it rockin it yes we are rockin it. Now I can truly say I have incorporated a Milli Vanilli image into a professional project I’ve worked on. Girl you know it’s true!

plan your work, work your plan.

'Stay Handmade' created from laser cut backs of album covers filled with 12" vinly. Etsy letters cut from 12" LPs over orange arcylic circles on square clear acrylic panels.

Desk features 12" and 45 vinyl.

Each record is linked with 1" binder rings through upcycled white grommets from the close down belt factory.

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Home Is Where the Art Is

My dream house would be a brownstone just like the Cosby's home. I would want it to be a refurbished home because I love the way that older homes were built, especially since they have a lot of extra beautiful details included. If I were to actually own When I buy this home below are some things that I think would be neat to have inside:
I need to find a Polaroid camera, so I can recreate this on my wall.
How awesome would this be?
I don't think my house could fit shelves this large, but we'll see. I'm working on stepping up my book collection. It's not that I don't read books, it's just that I always get them from the local library.
Okay, I know that my brownstone won't come with a garage, but isn't this just the coolest idea? It's a garage door cover from a German company called Style Your Garage.
Livingstones are a modular seating concept developed by French designer Stephanie Marin. These rock! You should be used to my corniness by now.
What would you want in your dream home?  Let me know.
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Doing The Most

We've all seen him. That guy who rides around town in a $5000 car with about $15,000 worth of extra accessories on it. Maybe he tried to court you at the McDonald's drive through. Maybe it worked because now he's your boyfriend and after spending every cent he had that is the only place he can wine and dine you. Yes, the reason he can't take you to even buy a "Love It" cone at Cold Stone Creamery is because of that "Ice Cream Paint Job" he just had to have. Why? It's because everyone needs their 1965 Chevy Impala to look like "The Mystery Machine". This is an example of what street philosophers call "Doing The Most". According, to Urban Dictionary "Doing The Most" can be defined as, "trying way too hard to be impressive but only causing self-embarrassment". We see examples of "Doing The Most" everyday. The guy who spent his pay check on the newest Jordan's then turns around and asks you for a quarter. The girl with the long Remy weave who tells you that it's all her's because she's part Cherokee. Riiiiiight. If you bought it, then it's yours. Enough said. Of course Pocahontas is friends with the girl with the "real" Channel bag. You haven't heard of Channel? It's like Chanel, but it fell off of a truck. Never try too hard to be impressive and please, please, please always live within your means. "Doing The Most" is what caused the recession, in my opinion. Check out the following items that are "doing the most" :
This gold and diamond encrusted MP3 player costs $20,000.00 Without the extra "bling" you can purchase it for $79.00.
This set of diamond headphones can run between $3,500 and $80,000. Do yourself a favor and just go to your local Bestbuy or Dollar Store for headphones. They never last as long as they should anyway.
This piece was created during a 2009 collaboration between Pharell Willams and Takashi Murakami. The objects were encrusted by Jacob and Co jewelers with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. Entitled "The Simple Things" , the piece sold within the first half hour of its unveiling.
The Williams/Murakami piece above leads me to the following question: When does art become "Doing the Most"? I like the message behind the piece. I actually think it is pretty funny, but I just flabbergasted that someone paid an undisclosed amount for a bedazzled can of Pepsi. Then of course there is Lady Gaga. She is definitely a very creative artist, but is what she's doing really art or is she "doing the most"? What say you?
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The “Props Rock” Series: Alexa Meade

This is the second in our "Props Rock" series. I think the title explains it all. The purpose of this series is to give props to people who we think rock. After the discovering the work of Washington, D.C. based artist Alexa Meade I decided that she rocks and warranted some props. It also helped that she's from D.C. which gave me a bit of hometown pride. Her technique is visually different than anything I've seen before. She paints on three dimensional surfaces, live models, and architectural spaces. On her website Meade writes, "Essentially, my art imitates life-on top of life. For example, with Portrait of a Self-Portrait you are simultaneously looking at a portrait I painted of myself, a photo I took of myself, and at me."
"Portrait of A Self Portrait"
Meade's Work
Meade's Work
Meade's Work
If you are in the New York area check out Alexa Meade's art show at Postmasters Gallery on Friday, April 2nd, 2010.
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