I’m pretty novice when it comes to museums and galleries in New York. I’ve been to the big ones like MoMA and The Armory, but it wasn’t until recently that I read there was a museum in Queens dedicated to the work of Isamu Noguchi. The Noguchi Museum opened in 1985, the museum is truly unique because Noguchi himself designed and curated the space, the only one artist created space like this in the U.S.
Writer Daniel Waite Penn recently visited the museum for Cereal Magazine, penning a lovely piece that explains the mystique of the Noguchi’s works and the space they permanently inhabit.
Polished sections and geometric slices are cut into the remaining swathes of their rough, unaltered surfaces, dubbed by Noguchi the ‘skin’ of the stone. Crowbar chips and dynamite holes are evidence of the quarrying process, embracing found qualities alongside a determination to shape the raw material into art. This juxtaposition of deliberate geometry with natural and accidental irregularity gives these works a powerful formal tension, showing Noguchi at the height of his creative powers. He was a veteran artist by the time he made them, and they evince his lack of interest in notions of perfection – a theme he had pursued diligently in earlier phases of his career.
The next time I’m in New York I’m definitely making a special trip out there to visit.
The spoon. It’s a ubiquitous tool that perhaps most of take for granted. I looked up the definition of a spoon (because when was the last you did that?) which states it is “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food.” And if there’s anyone who’s testing this definition it’s probably Stian Korntved Ruud, an Oslo School of Architecture grad and former intern at Tom Dixon. He has a wonderful ongoing project simply titled Daily Spoon, where obviously he creates a unique looking spoon every day for one year straight.
By repeating the production of a spoon every day for a longer period of time (365 days), the goal is to challenge and explore a spoons aesthetic and functional qualities. I make all the spoons in a traditional way with only hand tools. The point of this is to actively cooperate with the material, in this case wood. In a modern industrial production the machines overwrites the wooden structures and natural growth pattern. When using manual hand tools my hand collaborates with the wood structure during the forming process. This underpins all the spoons unique qualities.
Stian has made big spoons and small spoons, wide spoons and knobby spoons. There are spoons with spikes and spoons with holes. His creations, although all quite beautiful and considered, begin to feel Seuss-ian in their variety. It’s incredibly impressive that he’s been able to create such a diverse number of shapes where I think a lot of people would have given up after doing 50 or so.
If you’re interested in following Stian’s progress you should visit his Instagram where he posts spoons daily, or on his website.
I came across this old piece by Banksy the other day and it reminded me of how funny the guy is. If you haven’t visited his site lately you should take a minute and see what he’s been up to. I found a bunch of new street pieces I hadn’t seen before.
I don’t understand the kind of people who appear in this video, or who appear in Kinfolk, whom the video was shot for, but I’m certainly fascinated by them. They live privileged lives that most of us can never imagine having, and for me personally I love having a voyueristic spotlight into their worlds.
Directed by Chris and Sarah Rhoads, the feature shows the life of a Yippy looking family at their lovely home in Venice Beach, California. It’s a well shot video featuring gliding steadycam shots of beautiful interiors and a charming backyard space that’s so very Venice Beach. Again, I have no idea who these kind of people are, but this gives a good look at life on the West Coast and the types of folks who reside here.
Editor’s Note: I was informed of the couple’s identities so I thought I’d clear up the mystery. The man is John Moore, who helped found the Hollister brand under Abercrombie & Fitch, who also runs The Pop Studio, and designs a fantastic menswear line called M.Nii which just won GQ’s 2014 Best New Menswear Designer of the Year. His partner Hannah Henderson and he run General Store, a fantastic home good shop in Abbott Kinney. Quite a prolific duo!
I had never heard of Jerko the Gowanus Water Vacuum until discovering these excellent photos of it. Taken in 2011 by the LA-based photographer Elizabeth Weinberg, these images show the Jerko on its madden voyage. The vessel is an incredible two-story houseboat which boasts its own homemade rain-harvesting system as well as solar panels and a composting septic system. It’s a pretty incredible construction! I hope the city still continues to make space for people and projects like this!
Weinberg’s photographs capture the energy that this vessel seems to have brought to the area; despite it sailing on one of New York’s most environmentally disturbed waterways – Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. While I can’t seem to find any information about the Jerko after 2011, I think it’s great to see people making a real effort to be energy efficient in a city as large and as polluted as New York.
You can view Elizabeth Weinberg’s full series of images on her website.
Frequent readers of the site know I love plants and artist Paul Wackers makes just the kind of plant paintings I would love to own. Paul has an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute and BFA from Corcoran where he honed his unique style of painting, which to me looks like a contemporary vision of 19th century folk painting.
His latest works center around still life set-ups, almost all of them prominently feature plants, and each are created in an outrageous palette of colors. One of the details I love about his work are the objects which appear to be collaged in. The brush strokes that make up these objects go against the grain of the background as well as the other objects around them, giving them a real energy. I also like his juxtaposition of flat versus rendered that creates an interesting sense of depth to each piece. Probably one of the best artists I’ve come across in the last year or so, really beautiful works.
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When visiting an unfamiliar city it’s always fascinating to see it through the eyes of a local. A resident of the city has an ability to show you the special places, avoiding the cliché destinations and nonsense that interests the common tourist. This is the feeling I get when I’m watching this beautifully shot short film, Paris Through Pentax.
Maison Carnot frames the video through the viewfinder of a Pentax 67, an approach that makes for an incredibly different way of looking at things. We’re all so used to taking photos with our phones these days but the viewfinder of the Pentax has such a romantic feeling to it. It’s both active and full of life but antiquated in a lot of ways. I also like that you can see the photographers hands in each shot which gives it a human element. Every now and then you see the hands keeping the focus on the subject. A subtle touch that adds to the feeling of it all.
Take me to Paris.