Monthly Archives: November 2017

BEHIND THE SCENES: EXCRUCIATINGLY AWESOME VIDEO SERIES “AT THE MUSEUM” SHOWS INNER WORKINGS OF MOMA

The MoMA (that’s the Museum of Modern Art in the New York-fucking-City) has recently launched a web video series on YouTube called “At the Museum,” and we, savvy reader, are L-O-V-I-N-G it. (See video below!)

It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the innermost workings of one of the world’s greatest art museums as it prepares to mount a major exhibition. It’s documentary-like, but only to a point. The tone is more cinema-verite in a reality-TV-show way, but produced in ultra-understated, high-minimalist style. There’s no narration. No explanation. No formal sit-down interviews. When staff do talk to the camera, it’s while they’re working, doing the mundane daily tasks of their jobs, like the way witnesses in an episode of “Law and Order” always answer detectives’ questions at their place of work while continuing to do whatever it was they were doing (unloading a truck, wiping down a bar, butchering meat, etc.). 

“At the Museum” may have documentary and reality TV bones in its basic visual-narrative architecture, but its manner is the polar opposite of the chaos, Real-Housewivery or Kardashian-Jennerisms we’ve become accustomed to from contemporary reality TV. And it’s far away from anything by Ken Burns or Werner Herzog. No pans, no scans, no slow zooms, no German accents, no depressive anecdotes.

Each episode of “At the Museum” is about ten-minutes long and focuses on some aspect of the museum from the mundane to the important, e.g., shipping and receiving of the artwork. There’s high drama, too, but it’s not obvious and it’s largely confined to the nuances of the art world and its culture and codes. There’s much being said and interpreted in the raised eyebrow or long pause in speech by one of the many MoMA staff, some of whom seem like walking-talking art-world cliches straight outta Central Casting.

But these are real people. The type of people who live, breathe, eat, drink, fuck and poop art, and the type who love their jobs, for whom displaying a small Max Ernst sculpture a quarter centimeter higher on a platform makes all the difference. And we love it! Watch this series.

 

SIDE HUSTLES: WE LIKE TO SKETCH

Yes, it’s true, savvy reader. Sometimes we here at Global Graphica like to pick up a pen, pencil or, preferably, a Sharpie and make little drawings of things, everyday objects, people, faces, and so on. We have a habit of making sketches of surfboards and surfers riding waves, as in the example pictured here. And we do so in our Moleskine notebook or on any available paper surface. In the case of the surfer in the sketch above, we drew that on a paper tablecloth while dining out and killing time as we waited for post-dinner dessert to arrive.

HOBBIES: WHERE TO PUT THAT $450 MILLION DA VINCI PAINTING YOU JUST BOUGHT AT AUCTION

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Christ the Savior” has just sold at auction for a record $450 million. Just to clarify, savvy reader, that’s $450 MILLION, i.e., nearly HALF A BILLION DOLLARS! For a painting. So, you know, a bargain, right? We mean … what’s the fuss?

The painting, pictured above in a photo appearing with a New York Times article, has been called “the male Mona Lisa.” Continue reading

SEEN: MASSIVE CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION AT MOCA CREEPY AF! AND WE LOVE IT!

Some will hate it. Some will love it. Many will be confused. More to the point, it’s creepy AF! But “The Theater of Disappearance,” a recently opened exhibition by the Argentine artist Adrian Villar-Rojas at the MoCA Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles, is a stunning, ambitious, intriguing and unsettling show on a massive scale and must be seen. Or rather, it must be experienced. The exhibition amounts to a giant art installation of geological and human cultural artifacts presented in some post-human future. Villar-Rojas presents stark vision of humankind’s legacy that is fascinating and terrifying.

PINKISH: PORTRAIT OF ROBED ELEPHANT-HUMAN STREET ART BEFUDDLES PASSERSBY

Street art often provides many unanswered questions, not only about the artwork itself, but also who created it. There’s seldom clear authorship for most street art and usually no contextual information about the artwork or artist in the way there is for in a museum of gallery. That can make it difficult to attribute the artist or read the artwork, though that’s also part of the allure of street art. Continue reading

CAPITALISM 101: STRANGER THINGS APPAREL SPOTTED IN THE WILD

Have you binge watched season two of Stranger Things? If you have then you know how good it is. Some are saying it’s better than season one. Go figure.

We admit we’ve already seen all of season two of the Netflix original series. It lives up to the hype. Yes, that’s right, savvy reader, it’s still “critically acclaimed”! 

Given its critical and popular success, there’s probably going to be a third season. (Netflix doesn’t share viewer numbers and the show is commercial-free so in audience and dollars terms we don’t really know how successful it is.)

But no matter. As long as current subscribers don’t cancel there Netflix accounts, it’s as a good as a hit. Continue reading

POLITICAL BORDERS: THE AESTHETICS OF GEOGRAPHIC DIVISION

The New York Times has just published a fascinating article titled “Eight Ways to Build a Border Wall” that looks at various construction prototypes for a new border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. See screenshot above.

Continue reading

CONFUSION: “ART-NOT-ART” STREET ART

A funny thing about “art.” Sometimes the happiest of aesthetic accidents happen as a consequence of totally non-artistic impulses.

Take as prima facie example the case of the roller-shutter pictured above. It’s on a warehouse-factory building in the rapidly gentrifying Downtown Los Angeles neighborhood dubbed the Arts District. It’s a beautiful building, a grand structure standing as testament to L.A.’s glorious former industrial past.

Continue reading

STYLE: THIS FORMER EURO-AMBULANCE COULD BE YOUR NEW CALIFORNIA CRUISER

Style. It’s important. You know it. We know it.

When it comes to personal transport, the mode of transit you use says something about your personal style. This is true or truer in no place more perhaps than Southern California. A.k.a., SoCal, where the car is like your avatar to the outside world, as telling of your tastes and lifestyle to people in L.A. as the kind of jeans and sneakers you wear would be on the streets of NYC.

There are many ways to travel in style as you drive SoCal’s scenic ocean-hugging highways and byways, its beautiful canyons and deserts, the palm-tree-lined avenues and boulevards of its cities and towns, but perhaps none is more unique or expressive of a style than this newly for sale 1970s-era Mercedes Benz 3070 Sprinter-type Ambulance.

Don’t you just LOVE IT?!?! (It’s ok, it’s ok … This is a safe space. You can admit to such things here, savvy reader.)

This vehicle would make the most perfect surf-mobile or DIY camper, mais non? Look closely at its roof — yes, you see correctly: Those are siren lights. Yes, SIRENS!

This vehicle was once an ambulance somewhere in Europe, we’re guessing France or Germany, in all probability. Imagine the stories this vehicle could tell if it could talk.

The design of this vehicle is so European that it’s obvs perfectly suited to SoCal in its severe un-California-ness. It’s got style. And it’s for sale by owner, somewhere in Malibu for about $1,900. 

Imagine pulling up to the beaches of North San Diego County in this big, red behemoth, your party or brood spilling out of this thing and on to the warm sands of summer. Or cruising up to the curbside valet at Spago in this whip. Imagine the envy of other shoppers at Costco as you easily glide the obscene bulk of your purchases into the cargo hold of this van.

Imagine all the surfboards you could carry in this thing. Imagine dark desert highways, cool wind in your hair, the warm smell of calitas …

Imagine the sound of the klaxons on this things, the siren at full blare, but that European siren, the one that sounds like braying donkeys hee-hawing through synthesizer horns. A sound that brings heady memories of Paris, smoking Gitanes outside a bar in Belleville at 2:00am, old ladies walking tiny dogs, croissants, strong coffee … “Un creme, sil vous plait!” you audibly say to your self.

So different from the sirens of American ambulances and their elongated notes that sound like a wolf-howl fed through a broken Moog. A sound that conjures up the heady smell of  …. an airport Cinnabon.

But we digress.

TECHNOLOGY: STREET ARTWORK LITERALLY “PHONY”

An electric utility box along Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake, in Los Angeles, has been painted as an old-school public pay telephone. See pic below.

From a distance you might be fooled into thinking you were spying a real pay phone, albeit a questionably larger-than-life-size one. But, of course, it’s fake, a phony — literally a “phony” in the original sense of the word.

The painting is cartoon-like, but accurate in its rendering of the design and details of the phone. The real public pay phones were once common in cities around the United States, but have all but completely disappeared from American life.

The artwork is a cute and clever reminder of how quickly technology has changed and how physically pervasive and visible it can be in our lives.

As by-product of the explosive growth and adoption of cellphones, and later smartphones, over the past two decades is the erasure of pay phones from the urban landscape.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: NEW MAYA HAYUK MURAL IN NYC COMPLETED

Aaaaaaaaaaand … it is done. As breathlessly reported here earlier artist Maya Hayuk had started work on a new mural in New York City and had posted a photo of the work in progress.

We just learned that her new mural has now been completed and the artist has posted a photo (below) of the new artwork on her socials.  

The precise location of Maya’s new mural was a bit of a mystery, but we can now confirm that it is in a space at the new Google Flatiron pop-up at 5th Avenue and 16th Street in NYC’s Flatiron neighborhood.

Ok. That is all. Now back to your regularly scheduled weekend.

SWEET: ARTIST TURNS CONCRETE BARRIERS INTO GIANT TOBLERONE

Abso-fucking-lutely brilliant! Artist(s) turned these concrete barriers into a giant Toblerone chocolate bar. At time of reporting it could not be confirmed, but sources say this is somewhere in Sweden and was produced by a duo known as “Baron & Pank.” It’s all very reminiscent of the work of Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen.

CULT OF KAWAII: WHEN STREET ART “GETS CUTE” WE ALL SUFFER

 

Look, savvy reader! Look at the photo above!

See that tiny wheat-pasted street artwork of a poodle-like canine waltzing down the pavement seeming to give zero fucks but in a totally oblivious, entitled way?

Ahhhhh …. cuuuuuuuuute, right?!?!? 

Look again, look carefully. Is that a dollop of poop nonchalantly emanating from the butt of this kawaii canine? It is! It must be! Wow, this cartoon pup really does give zero fucks.

Ahhhhh …. cuuuuuuuuute, right?

Well, we’re not buying it. This is just a little too cute (or as Japanese high-school girls love to squeal: Kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”). And frankly this is even a little too cute for the Los Angeles Arts District where this pic was snapped.

Sure, the poop is a touch of insouciance and whimsy we can appreciate here at Global Graphica. Clearly this artwork was something not executed without thought. (Notice how that dollop of poop has its own shadow!!!!)

And we like how the artwork was posted at the eye level of a small rodent. (The artwork actually is the size of a small rodent — less than a foot long. It shows that the artist is, as corporate HR specialists like to say, “detail oriented.”

That aside, this kind of cuteness is too easy and a kind of artistic crutch. We want our street art to be bolder, grittier, heavier, more epic, aesthetically nuanced and more serious about message.

What is this artwork trying to say? Pick up your dog’s shit? That everybody has to poop, even the most beautiful and haughty little bitches? (For the record, the word “bitches” is used here in the scientific sense to mean “gender-female dog,” and not used in the often misogynistic hip-hop sense).

With this kind of cute, we suffer. You, us, everybody — even the artist — suffers. Yes, the struggle is real.

 

DESIGN LUST: SURFBOARD SHOP THINLY DISGUISES ITSELF AS ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN FIRM

It’s no secret that we here at Global Graphica are fond practitioners of surfing, the so-called Hawaiian “sport of kings.” After contemporary art and good espresso, surfing is our other true obsession.

So on our recent road trips up and down the SoCal coast in search of waves, we stopped in the seaside city of San Clemente, the self-proclaimed “Spanish village by the sea” and a hotbed of surfing and surf culture in south Orange County. There we popped into the Album surfboards shop for the first time to see for ourselves the brand’s famously beautiful and well-designed boards. 

We didn’t expect that the shop itself would be as beautiful as those boards. In fact, as we approached the entrance to the minimalist storefront, we were in the hottest of a hot secs stopped in our tracks. 

We stood, slacked-jawed and wondered, “Are we in the wrong place? This must be the office of an architecture firm, surely? Or perhaps a day spa designed for the publishers of Wallpaper magazine?”

It was none of those things, savvy reader! It was a surf shop. It was the Album surfboards shop.

We had found surfing’s Holy Grail: An aesthetically-pleasing retail experience ensconced in sophisticated, minimalist architectural design. Our hearts fluttered.

Most surf shops, ya see, they … well, they suck, aesthetically speaking. Most surfboard shapers and brands suck, aesthetically speaking. (As people, they’re awesome; They don’t suck.) But most of them have no taste.

And this bothers us, savvy reader. It tears at our souls. Album, however, has restored our faith.