A Brief History Of John Baldessari is a fantastic short documentary that looks at the life and works of the American conceptual artist John Baldessari. Commissioned by LACMA for their first annual “Art + Film Gala”, the film is narrated by Tom Waits and directed by Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman.
Despite having a running time of just a little under six minutes, the film still manages to capture so much of Baldessari’s life, work and personality. It’s a documentary which is filled with quick edits, a frenzied pace and a wonderful dry sense of humour which bounces back and forth between Waits’ narration and Baldessari in his studio. It reminds me a lot of the snappy pictorial montages seen in Mike Mills’s ‘Beginners’ and I think it’s a storytelling technique which works really well in this context. Hopefully the LACMA’s Art + Film Gala goes on to be an annual event and we get to see many more great films like this in the future.
I’ve heard that when David Sedaris signs books after a reading, adults with braces are allowed to jump the line and have their books signed first. It’s nice of him, and I wish folks had extended similar courtesy to me when I was a high school freshman with a mouth full of metal (held together by glow-in-the-dark rubber bands.) My orthodontist, Dr. Dickey, had a nice office next to the skating rink. Although it looked nothing like this, I wish it had–-it might have made going to the orthodontist a little more enjoyable.
This is the Practice of Periodontics in Zwolle, designed by Kwint Architecten. While the project is an addition, it a blocky mass that is formally distinct from the older structure it attaches to. Clad in red cedar, the materiality of the extension contrasts the light surfaces of the existing building, but maintains a kind of calm that keeps the overall effect coherent. In the hands of less capable architects, all this contrast could look like the kind of mess my braces-laden mouth resembled every time I ate food, but instead the practice looks sleek and professional. Smiles all around.
Transmission L.A. came to Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art a few weeks ago and seemed to take the art world and the entire city by storm. It was a celebration of hyper-contemporary artistic voices who use video and moving shapes and light to make art. It also tied in audio and visuals, something that came with it being curated by The Beastie Boys’ Mike D. There were huge celebrity performances from Santigold to James Murphy to Diplo to Thom Yorke: it became a cultural entity beyond the art world.
This was a huge win for everyone. It was a win for MOCA, a museum that has been on top of the local and international art world since luring Jeffrey Deitch out West to run their show. It was a win for the city of Los Angeles, a city that we personally champion everyday on Los Angeles, I’m Yours that is quickly evolving into a destination for contemporary art and culture. It was also a win for art in general, the work being shared truly remarkable pieces, groundbreaking and fun and what should be happening at contemporary art museums.
I woke up this morning and realized that I didn’t have a desktop wallpaper ready…the horror! Thankfully though I’d gotten an email from a talented fellow named Nick Agin who was able to hook me up. Nick is a New York based designer who’s a jack-of-all-trades. His portfolio is great to go through because of the breadth of his work. he can illustrate and design with the same ease. Just look through his Dribbble, you’ll see what I mean.
For his wallpaper we chose to use this beautiful illustration he did of a classic sewing machine. I thought it was a such a perfect representation with such lovely details. Did you notice that the thread says Make? If you dig this illustration you can also buy it as a print by clicking here. A huge thanks to Nick for helping me out at the last minute.
If you’re not listening to the new Beach House album Bloom at least once a day then I’m pretty sure you’re doing it wrong. But let’s say you’re not really sure who these Beach Houses are, then here’s a perfect example of what to expect. Last night they performed on Later with Jools Holland showed just how amazing they are, recorded or in person. This just confirms that I need to see Beach House live this year.
Calling these photos by Canadian photographer Alex Kisilevich “portraits” may not be entirely accurate, but I love to think of them as a contemporary version of a classic way to capture a persons visage. We actually covered Alex last February, but it’s super interesting to see just how much his work has grown since then. I feel like Alex has found this really interesting way of combining humor with fine art. I think the photos above are both pretty hysterical but also perfectly framed and incredibly well captured. I think his work is sort of where my head is at when it comes to art these days – a bit of humor showcased in a beautiful way. Really looking forward to seeing what next year brings for Mr. Kisilevich.
Sachliches is the title of a series of photographs taken between 2001 and 2008 by the German-based photographer Josef Schulz. The series explores the formal aspects of pre-fabricated buildings and the resulting work feels more like graphic compositions then actual photographs.
Schulz’s intention is to exaggerate these qualities and with the help of his computer, these images become striking counterpoints of their actual architectural selves. Stripping away the finer details of each building means that Schulz leaves us with no hint of their age, size, location or place. Instead what remains is pure anonymity. While pre-fabricated factories and warehouse attempt so often to stand inconspicuously, Schulz takes these qualities and brings them to their final conclusion. The finished work is wonderful – modern buildings reduced to pure form.
You can view the complete series of images from Josef Schulz’s Sachliches online here.
The set consists of a cloth-bound slip-case, 3 disc-tray and 72 page signed book. The hardback book contains essays by Steven Heller and director Gary Hustwit, with behind-the-scenes photography of all three films. We devised a system of abbreviating each film (He-Helvetica/Ob-Objectified/Ur-Urbanized) giving the box set an individual identity in of itself.
I think the collection turned out so nicely. I feel like it would be really hard to sum up these three movies easily. They’ve got one strong point of view thanks to Gary Hustwit, but they’re also really different. Approaching the design with a minimal response was probably the best way to go, especially with the audience who enjoys these films most in mind.