May 122022
 

Marcos Ramirez ERRE’s  Is All That it Proves, 2015, was created for Murals of La Jolla, in San Diego. Murals of La Jolla is a project started in 2010 by The Athenaeum and the La Jolla Community Foundation. It commissions artists to create work to be displayed on buildings around La Jolla. Information on his current mural for the project can be found here and a map of all the murals can be found here.

From the Murals of La Jolla website about the work-

Marcos Ramirez ERRE’s mural, All That it Proves, is a strongly stated, critical stance on what we perceive as the truth. He employs Thomas Paine’s famous quote as both a linguistic and visual exploration of the human condition and a challenge against long standing rhetoric. Paine’s quote is about understanding that our opinion is only that, our opinion. And our opinion is not necessarily the “truth”, while at the same time it may be. The piece deviates from its most obvious reference towards eyesight and becomes about another kind of vision, the kind of vision you perceive through common sense. True to his form as humanitarian artist, Is All That It Proves, exemplifies the notion that now, more than ever, we need to embrace tolerance and learn to respect individuals who chose to think in a way different than we do.

Marcos Ramirez ERRE has come to be defined by his clever visual arguments and masterfully crafted work that maintains a poetic sensibility, even when leveling biting political commentary. He was born in 1961 in Tijuana, Mexico. ERRE received his Law Degree from La Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. In 1983, he immigrated to the United States where he worked for seventeen years in the construction industry. His multi-disciplinary background has shaped his practice. He came to prominence in the 1990s with large public installations that dealt with migrants, immigration, and border control, specifically focusing on the Mexican-American border crossing. Much of ERRE’s work grapples with these issues.

Mar 152022
 

Artist Sophie Calle’s Here Lie The Secrets of the Visitors of the Green-Wood Cemetery, a 25 year long public artwork. The project debuted on April 29th and 30th, 2017.

From Creative Time’s website-

To inaugurate the project, the public was invited to Green-Wood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to privately unburden and inter their most intimate confessions.

During the two-day opening, in a setting nestled among the mausoleums and monuments of Green-Wood’s verdant rolling hills, visitors transcribed their secrets onto paper, and deposited them into the earth below, through a slot on a marble obelisk of Calle’s design. The artist was on hand during the two-day event to receive some visitors’ secrets.

The two-day performance was free and open to the public. Guests were invited to spend the day exploring the sculptures and monuments throughout Green-Wood, a tradition that dates back to the early 1800s. Free maps of the cemetery, specially designed to accompany Calle’s installation, were be available. Guided walking tours emphasizing the cemetery’s symbols and iconography were offered at no cost.

Visitors to the Cemetery can now see Calle’s installation during regular cemetery hours and independently deposit secrets into the marble obelisk. Calle has also pledged to return periodically over the next 25 years, each time the grave is filled, to exhume and cremate them in a ceremonial bonfire service and moment of remembrance.

Everyone has a secret to tell, now there’s a place to put one of yours.

 

Feb 172022
 

A Surreal Presence for Every Possible State, 2018 by Kenturah Davis from her 2019 exhibition, Blur in the Interest of Precision at Matthew Brown Los Angeles. The four panel work was created using oil paint applied with rubber stamp letters and graphite grid on embossed Mohachi paper.

From the press release-

Blur in the Interest of Precision is a search for parallel conditions between the poetics of our visual experience and the strangeness of our relationship to language. We often use language to carve out distinctions between one thing and another. Davis’ objective—to complicate ideas about meaning, representation and perception—have found refuge in blur and doubling. The new drawings are rendered with arrangements of text, but the words are virtually illegible. Many of the portraits pursue ideas the artist is working through via the writings of Fred Moten and Toni Morrison’s essay, Sites of Memory.

Davis’ work oscillates between various facets of portraiture and design. Using text as a point of departure, the artist explores the fundamental role that language has in shaping how we understand ourselves and the world around us. This manifests in a variety of forms including drawings, photographs and performances.

Recently Davis was commissioned by LA Metro to create work for the future Inglewood Station, slated to open in November of 2022. The work, Sonder, depicts community members photographed at gatherings at the artist’s Inglewood art studio and made into large porcelain enamel steel panels.

From Metro’s site

The photographs were hand painted with stamps incorporating letters that form the words defining the term “sonder.”

Davis was drawn to the term which alludes to the realization that every person has a unique and significant story. She hopes that the portraits inspire connections between strangers, even if only for a passing moment while waiting for the train.

(images below via LA Metro’s site)

For more images, information about the station, and a video of the artist discussing the work, check out Metro’s website.

 

Jun 242021
 

 

From The High Line’s information page on this work-

Simone Leigh presents Brick House, a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a Black woman with a torso that combines the forms of a skirt and a clay house. The sculpture’s head is crowned with an afro framed by cornrow braids, each ending in a cowrie shell. Brick House is the inaugural commission for the High Line Plinth, a new landmark destination for major public artworks in New York City. This is the first monumental sculpture in Leigh’s Anatomy of Architecture series, an ongoing body of work in which the artist combines architectural forms from regions as varied as West Africa and the Southern United States with the human body. The title comes from the term for a strong Black woman who stands with the strength, endurance, and integrity of a house made of bricks.

Brick House references numerous architectural styles: Batammaliba architecture from Benin and Togo, the teleuk dwellings of the Mousgoum people of Cameroon and Chad, and the restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi. The sculpture contrasts sharply against the landscape it inhabits, where glass-and-steel towers shoot up from among older industrial-era brick buildings, and where architectural and human scales are in constant negotiation. Resolutely facing down 10th Avenue, Leigh’s powerful Black female figure challenges us to consider the architecture around us, and how it reflects customs, values, priorities, and society as a whole.

Leigh works across sculpture, video, installation, and social practice, stitching together references from different historical periods and distant geographical locations. As a sculptor, Leigh works predominantly in ceramics—a medium that she mastered early in her career—continually pushing the boundaries of her chosen material by working in new methods and larger scales. In her intersectional practice, Leigh focuses on how the body, society, and architecture inform and reveal one another. She examines the construction of Black female subjectivity, both through specific historical figures such as Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham, and more generally through overlapping historical lineages across Europe, Africa, the US, and the Caribbean.

The High Line’s website also has some excellent videos and additional information on the making of the sculpture well worth checking out.  This work was on view until May of 2021.

Jun 102021
 

NEW YORK CLEARING by Antony Gormley was on view in Brooklyn Bridge Park from 2/4-3/27/20. The work consisted of a single line made of 11 miles of square aluminum tubing that looped and coiled without a beginning or end, “turning itself into an environment for the viewer that counters the grid of modernism and the city with swooping lines of energy”.

This is one of a series of art works that were part of Connect, BTS– a global public art initiative supported by the K-Pop Group BTS and organized by a group of curators under the direction of independent curator Daehyung Lee. The project took place in five cities on four continents with 22 contributing contemporary artists.

Jun 032021
 

Barbara Kruger designed this mural, Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…) for the High Line in 2016. It is based on the quote “Blind idealism is reactionary” by Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist and political philosopher Frantz Fanon.

From the High Line website-

The original statement by Fanon, “Blind idealism is reactionary,” suggests that political and religious convictions stem from the situations from which they grow, not from the inherent nature of individual human beings. According to Kruger, the work reflects “how we are to one another” within “the days and nights that construct us.” These texts, along with Kruger’s own writings, resonate with particular potency in today’s political climate.

For more on this work at the time it was made, check out this interview with Kruger by The Intelligencer at New York Magazine.

May 262021
 

Mel Chin’s animatronic sculpture Wake, formerly on display in NYC’s Times Square, is now on view in Asheville, North Carolina until December 1.

From The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina website-

Wake was commissioned as part of Mel Chin: All Over the Place, a multi-site survey of his works from across many decades that took place in several New York City locations. A collaborative group, led by UNC Asheville’s Steam Studio and CFWNC, formed to plan and raise funds for the sculpture to be seen locally.

Wake – 60 feet long, 34 feet wide and 24 feet high, conceived and designed by the artist – was engineered, sculpted and fabricated by an interdisciplinary team of UNC Asheville students, faculty, staff and community artists led by Chin. Wake is interactive and features decks and places to sit and contemplate.

Wake evokes the hull of a shipwreck crossed with the skeletal remains of a marine mammal. The structure is linked with a carved, 21-foot-tall animatronic sculpture, accurately derived from a figurehead of the opera star Jenny Lind that was once mounted on the 19th century clipper ship, USS Nightingale. Jenny Lind moves subtly as she breathes and scans the sky.

“She may be looking at what cannot be seen as she moves away from the wreckage of her past,” explained Chin. “It’s about relationships we have to history. It’s almost an obligation to understand our relationships with our environment now and an opportunity to project what things could be like far into the future if we’re not engaged.”

The artwork is not only a comment on climate change, it calls forth a history that includes ships, like the USS Nightingale and many other vessels, used to move tea, guns and slaves that augmented the nation’s burgeoning economy. “These expanding past economies serve as prologue and perhaps a warning to our current environmental dilemma,” said Chin.

“Wake is a powerful comment on how the tides of history have shaped many communities, including Asheville,” said Steph Dahl, who manages the City of Asheville’s Public Art Program. “The piece asks us to acknowledge and discuss a long and complicated past, one that has left us operating in a sea of racial inequities and environmental crises. Wake’s temporary presence in an empty lot where the history and future of the Southside and South Slope meet is part of its power, and its impermanent nature underscores some of the tough questions we need to address together.

“Jenny Lind was the Beyoncé or Adele of her time,” said Chin. “She was brought by P.T. Barnum to tour America as the Swedish Nightingale. Barnum initiated American mass marketing and the world still lives in the real wake of this marketing enterprise. American commercialism provided profound advancement and wealth, but it came with real costs including colonialism, enslavement and rapid expansion. Jenny Lind, an abolitionist herself, had nothing to do with the USS Nightingale, but as its figurehead, she is an integral part. You can’t escape the web you’re in whether you are in New York City or Western North Carolina.”

Since the late 90’s Chin has lived and worked in Egypt Township, outside of Burnsville in Yancey County, North Carolina. His work has been exhibited by major art centers nationally and globally. He is described in his MacArthur entry as “a category-defying artist whose practice calls attention to complex social and environmental issues. In an expansive body of work ranging from collages, sculptural objects, animated films and video games to large-scale, collaboratively produced public installations, Chin demonstrates a unique ability to engage people from diverse backgrounds and to utilize unexpected materials and places.”