Results tagged “art” from kwc blog

Olafur Eliasson: Take Your Time @ MOMA

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Olafus Eliasson created one of my favorite installations I've never saw -- The Weather Project at the Tate Modern -- so I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon his "Take Your Time" exhibit at the MOMA. I can't think of any American museum that can really rival the Tate's Turbine Hall for immersive art, but Eliasson took over every knook and cranny he could find in the MOMA. A fan propels itself in the atrium, an opening in the wall takes you to a platform that hovers over infinite reflections of yourself, and yellow flourescent lights in the hallway turn everyone into an intense monochrome gray. My favorite part of the exhibit was a multi-faceted kaleidoscope light that sent colors of every stripe onto the surrounding walls.

If only I had been in NYC this weekend instead of last: Eliasson's Brooklyn Bridge Waterfalls are due to open tomorrow. Perhaps another favorite never-seen installation to add to my list.

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© Murakami @ Brooklyn Museum

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I can never figure out whether Takashi Murakami is an "artist" or clever con. His study of otaku/manga/pop fetish commercialism looks an awful lot like otaku/manga/pop/fetish commercialism. But LIchtenstein got away with plagiarizing pages out of comic books and now hangs in nearly every modern art museum; at least Murakami does original work.

Brooklyn MuseumI was sad to miss Murakami's show in Los Angeles. I stayed at a hotel just two blocks away from the exhibit, but between New Years, the Rose Bowl, and the Moca's limited hours, I couldn't make it over. I must have some gravity towards Murakami: last weekend I found myself staying in Brooklyn just on the other side of Prospect Park, so I was not to be denied this time around.

The exhibit takes over a large swath of the Brooklyn Museum and spans two floors. The museum feels transformed with Murakami wallpaper covering many of the rooms to intense effect: imagine the effect of standing in a room covered with smiley flower wallpaper, smiley flower paintings, and smiley flower sculptures. If that doesn't seem intense to you, imagine another room with eyeballs on pink.

The biggest transformation was also Murakami's most brilliant stroke: a fully operational Louis Vitton store sits in the middle of the exhibit, offering some of Murakami's previous work for LV as well as an exhibition-exclusive design.

Murakami's exploration of otaku sexual fetishism setup the most disturbing twist: there was a large number of parents who brought children to the exhibit. I would have thought the naked female robot transforming into a spaceship would have deterred them from going further, sparing the parents from having to explain the life-size manga woman spraying milk from her breasts and the male counterpart just across. But no, deep into the exhibit, there were kids happily drawing smiley flowers on pieces of paper.

Photos aren't allowed inside the exhibition, but I tried my best anyway: photo gallery

Vector Magic

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Vector Magic is one of the coolest online tools I've seen come along in awhile (seam carving is a close second). Simply put: you give it an image and it outputs a vector version. Why am I so excited? Both of the uses I see are by themselves compelling:

  1. Put in a photograph and you get a cool artsy version.
  2. Put in a logo and get a vector version of that logo

Heck, you could probably do Waking Life or A Scanner Darkly automatically.

There have been plenty of times that I have been stuck with a crummy low-res, jaggy, anti-aliased version of a logo that I needed in higher res. Retracing logos sucks. I could even see doing a logo in Photoshop or in Sharpie first and then running it through VectorMagic to get the resolution-independent version (this will depend on what their vector shapes look like, though).

Corel PowerTRACE and Adobe Live Trace have the same feature, but neither is as simple to use as pointing your browser to a Web page and converting. Vector Magic also has some compelling comparisons. My only knock is that their online editor/tweaker needs a bit of work, but for many things you may be happy with the first-pass result.

I'm at heart a photo person -- I don't really do vector -- so having a tool that handles shapes and lines for me is a beautiful tool.

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Reconsidered Materials at the Exploratorium

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Reconsidered Materials-Silk waves Reconsidered Materials-01 Reconsidered Materials-Exodus

Reconsidered Materials Styrofoam Hummer Reconsidered Materials-Fossil Fueled Reconsidered Materials - Rubber Horses-1 Reconsidered Materials-Quilt

There's something about an art show at the Exploratorium that just works really well. Perhaps it's the fact that it's hard to tell the difference between the art pieces and the Exploratorium exhibits (hint: the art pieces came wtih pink labels). Perhaps it's the fact that a mostly adult crowd gets unleashed in a children-oriented museum to play. Whatever the reason, I hope that there are more shows at the Exploratorium. At least this year, while I'm a member.

I became a member as a result of the very, very long line out front. I don't know if it was the Jello SF posting on BoingBoing, a summoning of the Burning Man crowd, or what, but there were a lot of people at the Reconsidered Materials exhibit. Far more than the Exploratorium planned for. They were offering memberships as a way to get to the front of the hour long line, but I resisted as there was no way to get all three of us in on one membership. Or at least I didn't think there was until I talked to the possibly inebriated museum staff. It was a good night for the Exploratorium.

Jello SF was the reason I was there and it didn't disappoint, though we were surprised by how small it was. I guess we didn't take time to think that the artist was doing SF piece-by-piece. The piece that she made for the exhibition was in the Twin Peaks neighborhood and was at a slightly smaller scale than the downtown model. The artist's mom was there to hold a container of dry ice fog over the entire model while it was regularly given earthquake simulations.

There were eighteen installations and I particularly enjoyed the full-size styrofoam Humvee (American Detritus), the blanket pigeons (Exodus), the quilted tea bags (The Quilt), and the Rubber Horses, all of which you'll find photos of in the flickr photoset. I also liked Arp Forms and Strobe Flower, which I've posted movies of below (I forgot to take a movie of Jello SF). Arp Forms was a mixture of corn starch inside of a vibrating cup that caused the corn starch to congeal up into a blobular, dancing form. Strobe Flower was a plastic bag hooked up to a variable speed motor and a strobe -- you could put your finger into it to push it into different forms. click on the photos to access the movies, apologies for rotated strobe flower movie:

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See also: horizonline's and m's posts from the exhibition

Local news

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I love reading the Palo Alto Daily News. After growing up reading niche papers like the Washington Post that ramble on and on about our federal government, it's comforting to read a paper that focuses on real front-page news, like noisy leafblowers and vandalism in pedestrian tunnels.

My favorite ongoing saga is a $10,000, seven-foot tall egg made out of various computer parts, subtlety symbolizing the role of the Silicon Valley as the birthplace of the computer age (note: actually the second $10,000 egg as the first melted into a pile of glass in a fire -- this, of course, symbolized the dot-com bust). I might be misinterpreting here; they placed the egg in front of Pizza-My-Heart, so it could be representing the innovations that had their genesis over a slice of pizza and a beer.

This area in front of Pizza-My-Heart is a popular hangout for all the Paly kids, and when you stick a $10,000 giant green egg in front of a bunch of high schoolers, you end up with wonderful back-to-back news paragraphs like:

Gabe, a Palo Alto High School junior, was also displeased that the city's money was not direct toward education. "In my (chemistry) class we are using five different textbook editions, and we're supposed to be the rich school," he added.

Other teenagers in the group, who regularly hang out at the plaza, said "Digital DNA" lacks coordination and begs to be rolled down the street, rocked from its base, and subject to other thoughts/acts of violence typically inflicted on seven-foot tall egg sculptures.

Paragraphs like those, along with documentation of typical acts of violence inflicted on seven-foot tall egg sculptures (graffiti, ramming it with shopping carts, etc...), as well as quotes from the artist about how she fears her sculpture won't survive to its official unveiling make the Palo Alto Daily News a refreshing take on the issues confronting my community.

LACMA fun

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I went with my Aunt and Uncle to see the "Renoir to Matisse: The Eye of Duncan Phillips" exhibit at LACMA over my Thanksgiving weekend. While I enjoyed the exhibit, I think I would have enjoyed it more if the title wasn't such a misnomer; it should have been titled "A Renoir to A Matisse, with stuff inbetween," as the exhibit only featured one painting each of its headline artists. If they used a more accurate title they might have also charged less and it would have been less crowded.

The Renoir was quite good, but the Matisse was not one of my favorites (I'm much more fond of the Red Fish from the Pushkin exhibit that LACMA held). There were several Van Gogh paintings that I liked (all three from the last two years of his life), including one of a grass field that I appreciated for the way it changed under different distances of viewing. There were two Klees that I liked as well (and two I didn't like), which is unusual given that, in general, I've never liked his stuff. Also in the collection was a Degas dancers painting that I liked much more than the ones at the Norton Simon.

After we finished the exhibit we wandered into the permanent collection, where they had displayed some Gaugins, Renoirs, and Cezannes that I had missed in my previous visit. In some ways, these were more interesting than the ones in the Duncan Philips exhibit, as some of them were outside their typical style (at least in my experience); there were also more of them than in the Phillips exhibit. I also took another look at the de La Tour Magdalen with the Smoking Flame painting to get some closer shots.

I've posted a photo gallery of the entire experience (only the first twelve are from the Duncan Philips exhibit, the rest are from the permanent collection). With some of the paintings I was diligent enough to snap a photo of the placard, but within the actual Renoir-Matisse exhibit photos "weren't allowed," so the need to be discrete overrode documentation.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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LACMA has a permanent exhibit of Japanese art that is rather cool. They built a building specifically for it that uses fiberglass filters on the windows and running water to create the effect that you are in a Japanese country-side home surrounded by shoji screens. One thing that I thought was cool is they had a tiger/dragon scroll. You can click on the image to see a larger version that shows some of the brush detail - I think the dragon is particularly cool. In the extended entry I also posted some pictures of Bishamonten, the Guardian of the North, squashing a demon beneath his feet, and the Carefree Hotei, painted by Zen Monk Fugai Ekun.
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