Tag Archives: art installation

ADVENTURES IN NEON: HOW “DOUBLE AMERICA 2” IS THE PERFECTLY SYMBOLIC ARTWORK FOR THE TRUMP ERA

Artist Glenn Ligon‘s “Double America 2” is among the most profound works of contemporary American art, and it is profoundly American. It’s absolutely brilliant.

The artwork can read on several levels. At its core is the idea of there being two different Americas or American experiences largely due to race, and, more pointedly, to racism, discrimination and its place in the nation’s history.

It points to the psychology of identity, the sense of black and white, rich and poor, haves and have-nots, exterior image and interior reality, something bright — and brightly lit — and ideal versus something gravely wrong, upside down, dark and flickering.

We’ve seen this artwork several times over the years elsewhere in museums around the U.S. and the world. We recently viewed it at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles (pictured here). It’s the first time we’ve seen Ligon’s artwork since the U.S. Presidential campaign and election of Donald Trump, an event that brought the startling breadth of the nation’s cultural, economic, racial and political divides into the sharpest focus. 

“Double America 2” seems a perfectly pointed and symbolic visual meme for the times, for the condition of the United States in the politically divisive, ugly “Trump Era.”

“Transparent Migrations”

The LACMA exhibition “Home – So Different, So Appealing” is turning into something of a landmark show with all the buzz from critics and patrons alike. The exhibition features a sprawling collection of artwork from Latin American and Latino artists since the 1950s to the present. As the shows title suggests, it explores themes of home, aspirations and identity,  as the collection reveals, it’s in the context of immigration, socio-economic hardship,  and the personal bi-cultural experiences that come with migration and transience. Contemporary art figures prominently. There are many art-installation pieces and many worthy of attention. One of the more striking and evocative works is “Transparent Migrations” (2001) by the American Latina and Californian artist Amalia Mesa-Bains, who is now in her seventies. The work is beautifully mysterious and sublime shrine.

“Mirage” at Desert X

Like a shiny extra-terrestrial bobble tucked into the foothills above Palm Springs, “Mirage” by Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken is among the most striking contemporary-art experiences of 2017. It’s probably the unofficial rockstar of Desert X, an inaugural exhibition of site-specific artworks mostly in the form of installations and sculptural objects spread across the desert landscape of the Coachella Valley.

“Mirage” is a literal house of mirrors. Its loose architectural form is a single-story ranch house in a nod to the region’s traditional housing style. But it’s a ranch house with a shape augmented by contemporary touches – a skylight, a balcony, a window-less chamber.

All that architecture is just a platform for Aitken’s bold visual statement and its main feature: The mirrored surfaces of the house inside and out. The exterior walls, and interior walls and ceilings, are mirrors reflecting the desert landscape outside and multiplying the reflections inside like a silverlight echo chamber. It is not enough to look at it.

Walking through “Mirage” is to be entranced by the unceasing play of light from every angle and reflective pane and by the all the possibilities in reframing your view of the bright desert outside through the house’s many windows 

The Electrifying Installations of Artist Jason Rhoades

We’re posting a few pix here from the sprawling and electrifying “Jason Rhoades Installations, 1994-2006” exhibition at the massive Hauser & Wirth gallery in the Arts District near downtown Los Angeles. We visited this retrospective of Rhoades work last weekend and were blown away by his darkly beautiful and daring art installations. If you have time and are in L.A., we can’t highly recommend enough that you see this show.

 

Thatched Hut Video Art Installation by Simone Leigh … Hammer Museum, Los Angeles 

The work of Brooklyn-based artist Simone Leigh explores many themes. Among these are the African diaspora and identity. A small exhibition of this work is currently on view at the exceptionally well-curated Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles. The show includes sculpture and an installation of an African-modeled thatched hut that houses a monitor displaying a video of a choreographed dance.

Magdalena Fernandez Exhibition at MoCA Pacific Design Center … West Hollywood, Los Angeles

The small, self-titled exhibition of video and installation artwork by Venezuelan artist Magdalena Fernandez at MOCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles is one of the more exciting art shows we’ve seen in 2015. It’s a sublime little exhibition that sucks you into a mesmerized, contemplative state.

An artist known for her modernist abstraction, “Magdalena Fernandez” includes six projected graphical animation videos on the museum’s walls and floor and a site-spicific light installation that seems to hover over stairs that connect the first- and second-floor galleries. Her work incorporates audio recordings of birds chirping, and these are synced to the choreography of her animated graphics. Go see it.


  
  

On the Scene … “H-Edge” by Cecil Balmond at the Ferragamo Museum

“H-Edge” is a super cool stainless steel sculpture by British-based designer Cecil Balmond installed a few days ago in the piazza in front of the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum and flagship store in Florence (Firenze), Italy. The artwork is part of an exhibition with the Ferragamo, and its installation coincides with a number of art events and the Pitti Uomo mens fashion trade show in Firenze the same week.

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On the Scene … Viewing Artist Tom Fruin’s “Maxikiosco” at Art Basel Miami

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We went to Miami and popped by the SCOPE contemporary art fair in South Beach as part of Art Basel Miami 2013 to check out some of the art, including this beautiful art installation by New York-based artist Tom Fruin. The artwork is titled “Maxikiosco” and the vinyl, stained glass-like house-shaped structure is a featured exhibit in the foyer to the SCOPE tent on the SoBe beach itself. The work is part of Fruin’s “Icon” series, which includes a similar stained glass-like water tower atop a lofts building in Brooklyn’s DUMBO (it can seen from the Manhattan Bridge as you cross by subway or car). Fruin is can be seen in one of the pictures below.

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On the Scene … Mannequin Street Art in SoHo NYC

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These painted mannequin legs were mounted on a manhole cover by an unknown artist at the intersection of Crosby and Prince streets in SoHo, in New York, last week, to the amusement of many passersby who couldn’t resist an fun, easy photo opp.

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