Nov 152023

The images above are from SUPERFLEX: This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg, GENERATOR: USF Contemporary Art Museum’s inaugural exhibition. The two part exhibition includes a sculptural installation and the mesmerizing interactive animation Vertical Migration, in which viewers encounter a siphonophore that reacts to their movements.

From the gallery about the exhibition-

This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg emerges from SUPERFLEX’s in-depth research into the deep sea, biodiversity, and the climate. The exhibition immerses viewers in two parallel and interconnected realms, separated by a curtain which acts as an imaginary filter between land and sea. Passing through the curtain brings visitors from a terrestrial space unsettled by rising water to the ocean’s dark depths, to meet one of the most important cleaners of the ocean, the siphonophore. Relatives of the jellyfish, siphonophores bring between two and six billion tons of carbon a year from the surface down to the seabed, where it is stored. This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg offers an opportunity to encounter this unfamiliar species, prompting reflection on the impacts and consequences of climate change, especially relevant to Florida and its coastal communities, and encouraging humans to imagine a future defined by interspecies living and ecological coexistence.

For a more detailed discussion of the work, the gallery has created an exhibition catalogue that can be viewed online or downloaded as a pdf.

Vertical Migration was originally created in 2021 by SUPERFLEX for ART 2030  and was projected on the United Nations Secretariat Building in NYC during the 76th United Nations General Assembly.

SUPERFLEX’s statement on the project-

The sea is not an abyss. It teems with an almost unimaginable array of life. Every night, the largest biological migration on Earth takes place, as trillions of creatures travel closer to the surface to feed. Some of these animals, like shrimp, are well-known. Others, like siphonophores—relatives of jellyfish—are unfamiliar: varying wildly in size, from the slightness of a fingernail to the length of a whale, they look like nothing that we find on land.

How does it feel to be one of these creatures? To explore this question, SUPERFLEX designed a computer-generated siphonophore and created an animated film, Vertical Migration, depicting its ascent. At first, the film mechanically circles the creature, getting closer and closer while giving the audience a view of it from all angles. But eventually the perspective shifts, the camera’s movements become more fluid, and the viewer sees the world from the perspective of the siphonophore.

Unsettling our perceptions of scale and otherness, Vertical Migration is an intimate encounter with a life form that bears no resemblance to human beings, though we share a planet, an ecosystem, and a future. Because of sea-level rise, humans will also be migrating vertically in the coming centuries, to higher elevations and raised buildings. The siphonophore’s story is our story. Though we can never experience its journey through the pitch-black ocean depths, we can shift our perspective to recognize that we’re connected, that our actions affect each other, and that we share a common fate.

For a look at the work in motion, below is the trailer from ART 2030.

About SUPERFLEX from their website-

SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, and Rasmus Rosengren Nielsen. Conceived as an expanded collective, SUPERFLEX has consistently worked with a wide variety of collaborators, from gardeners to engineers to audience members. Engaging with alternative models for the creation of social and economic organisation, works have taken the form of energy systems, beverages, sculptures, copies, hypnosis sessions, infrastructure, paintings, plant nurseries, contracts, and public spaces.

Working in and outside the physical location of the exhibition space, SUPERFLEX has been engaged in major public space projects since their award-winning Superkilen opened in 2011. These projects often involve participation, involving the input of local communities, specialists, and children. Taking the idea of collaboration even further, recent works have involved soliciting the participation of other species. SUPERFLEX has been developing a new kind of urbanism that includes the perspectives of plants and animals, aiming to move society towards interspecies living. For SUPERFLEX, the best idea might come from a fish.

This exhibition closes 11/22/23.

Feb 242023

Lars Fisk, “Court Tennis (v.1)”, 2023 with “das Ding (v.3)”, 2023

Lars Fisk, “Court Tennis (v.1)”, 2023 (right side)

Lars Fisk, “Court Tennis (v.1)”, 2023 (left side, closer) with “das Ding (v.3)”, 2023

Lars Fisk, “das Ding (v.1)”, 2023

Lars Fisk, “das Ding (v.1)”, 2023 (back view)

Lars Fisk, “das Ding (v.2)”, 2023

For 10SNE1, Lars Fisk’s exhibition at Broadway Gallery in NYC, he has created an immersive environment that is really fun to walk around in or even try playing in.

From the gallery’s press release-

Whatever isolation people experienced during the 2020 pandemic lockdown was, to residents of the remote enclave of Red Hook Brooklyn, both compounded and barely noticed at all.  Lars Fisk, who lives and works there in a stacked shipping container house and an adjacent studio, mostly carried on with his solitary practice fashioning astonishingly complex sculptures from glass, steel, brick and wood.  Apart from the occasional neighborly drop-in, he saw very few people.

As a result, when New York emerged from the fearful slumber of Covid, Fisk himself blossomed in late spring with a hunger for human connection. As luck would have it, he was invited by a Red Hook neighbor to join their softball league. Fisk had never really played before, but took a chance and shook off the isolation to give it a shot. He has described the profound uplift of multi-generational camaraderie and shared purpose; of competition and physical exertion in almost euphoric terms.

As summer wound down, Fisk was determined to find a way to perpetuate this endorphin rush. Simultaneously, he had also been playing tennis with some regularity, and, as is his inclination, had been researching the history of the game. He was delighted to discover that the game (known first as Court Tennis) originated in the Middle Ages with opponents paddling a cord-wound leather ball back and forth off of the sloping roofs of the stalls at the close of the public market—a version of what many a contemporary suburban kid would recall as a game of “Roofball”.

This gave Fisk the idea of creating a winter-ready racquet sport inside his studio. This portion of his workspace had been set aside for formal display of works that were complete but hadn’t yet been shipped out for exhibition—a place to present works to his now close-knit Red Hook community in an in-crowd acknowledgement of the locals’ contribution to his work and happiness. Therefore, this site (a White Cube with an absurdist twist of the traditional wattle and daub and timbering of Tudor architecture) became the obvious location for the court. Here, any neighbor or visiting friend that came to play and help develop the rules of this makeshift new sport became de facto performers—became the artwork that this space was designated to display. A low net was set up and a loose set of rules were developed to keep the play lively and competitive. Fisk experimented with different wall treatments (clapboard, asphalt shingles, etc.) that complicated the angle of rebound of volleyed shots and produced a controlled chaos that slowly refined itself as his visiting collaborators learned the peculiarities of the court.

Fisk was pleased that his passions for architecture, sculpture, competition and bonhomie had successfully converged in this new sport/performance/artwork and he began to develop the idea and how it might be realized within a more formal exhibition space.  In preparation for the show, he expanded upon the theatrical possibilities (both in presentation and potential for audience) that the commercial gallery setting in Tribeca would provide. The result is a kind of non-site environment that evokes an outer borough environment of vinyl sided clapboards and shingled rooftops that form the irregular angles and planes that recalls the architecture of Court Tennis. A basement bulkhead door emerges from the floor at a 45-degree angle perfect for bewildering bank-shots; a pre-fab bay window presents a multi-faceted surface refracting the ball in unexpected ways; an open garage shelters a sculpture based on a boxy 1970s Volkswagen “Thing” whose windshield is also fair play. Two more of these themed vehicle sculptures (one evoking a military ambulance and the other a preposterously tricked out off-road vehicle with aftermarket flood lights and winch) are arrayed in the court’s adjacent “gallery” acting alternately as obstacles, artworks and seating for viewers of the match. The sculptures’ angular geometry acts as a catalyst for the court’s faceted architecture, unifying the exhibition as a whole.

Formal concerns aside, the development of the game has naturally teased out conversations about court etiquette, dress and decorum as signifiers of class, and the twinned elitisms of the tennis club and art world. Within the exhibition these are reflected in the players’ tennis whites and the ritualistic manners of play. Perhaps as an antidote to this reality, the hope is that Fisk can expand his community by inviting exhibition visitors to engage with both the built environment and discrete artworks and to become a part of the artwork itself.  In the process, he may simultaneously democratize the lofty status of tennis and the gallery space itself.

This exhibition closes Saturday 2/25/23.


Dec 142022

Orange Tree

One Line That Connects Us

Orange Tree by Angela Warren is one of several of her works currently located at the Fenway Hotel in Dunedin, Florida. Organized by Creative Pinellas, Beyond the Walls 2022 places Pinellas County artists in several different hotels in the county.

Warren is also part of Arts Annual 2022 at the Creative Pinellas Gallery. For this exhibition she created the interactive work shown above, One Line That Connects Us.

From her Instagram about the work-

Last summer I took some time to brainstorm this work. I wanted to do a piece that would engage people in the gallery and encourage others to participate in creating. My idea/the concept is that we are all literally connected with one line, there’s so much that divides people but art is a way to connect us together! 💜

One Line That Connects Us:

This is an interactive art piece.

This year was hard. The recent hurricane Ian, the pandemic, various wars…these things pushed us further and further away from each other. It’s time to come back together!

During the 2022 Arts Annual opening on November 11th, I invite friends to have their portrait drawn by me in a “blind contour” style. If guests are feeling extra brave and want to take a turn, it is highly suggested!

The two rules are, no looking at the canvas, and no lifting your marker. This allows for an intimate interaction between the drawer, and the drawee. Once there are a good “community” of drawings, we can fill in each others portraits.

The picture above is from one of the earlier days of the piece. Check out her Instagram for more updated shots or better yet, see it at the gallery.

Tomorrow, 12/15, Creative Pinellas is having a party to celebrate the exhibition, from 6-9pm. It’s a great way to experience the show and meet the artist participants.


Oct 132022

This is the last weekend to see Jason Hackenwerth’s exhibition DARKMATTER at Creative Pinellas in Largo, Florida. It includes the two giant balloon sculptures shown above, as well as several of the artist’s paintings and drawings.

To hear the artist discuss his work, and see more views of the sculptures and artwork in the gallery, check out this video.

This weekend is also Third Saturday at Pinewood (Creative Pinellas, Florida Botanical Gardens, and Heritage Village). For this event Hackenworth will be leading a family arts workshop where he will be teaching visitors how to create sculptures from balloons.

DARKMATTER closes on Sunday, 10/16/22.

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.”

Nov 012019

Closing 11/2 at Tanya Bonakdar’s Los Angeles location is Ernesto Neto’s interactive exhibition Children of the Earth.

From the press release-

In Children of the Earth, Neto creates an alluring environment of color, materials, fragrances and sound, transforming the gallery into a living organism, where visitors are encouraged to wander, touch, feel, interact and connect.

Upon entering the gallery, a curtain in green and brown patterns invites the viewer to walk through a tunnel-like path which leads to the main gallery space. Entitled Children of the Earth, a large-scale installation of crochet, spices and leaves hangs from the ceiling to the floor. The large biomorphic shape—hand knitted in vibrant colors of yellows, greens, purples and reds—is flanged by drop-shaped crochet vines that serve as counterbalance and establish the delicate equilibrium of the piece. Here, references to nature interconnect with formal questions of tension, gravity and weight. On the floor, tracing the outline of the structure above, a soft surface of handmade textile is installed. Ceramic vases sprout from the ground, representing the diversity of peoples inhabiting the planet, and that ultimately, we are all the children of the earth. Musical instruments, spices, and crystals comprise an integral part of this malleable, highly tactile sculpture, which engages the five senses, and invites viewers to connect with one another in new and meaningful ways. In expanding the boundaries of physical space and calling for a new type of interaction, Neto creates an experience that is physical, sensorial, intellectual and social all at once.

Surrounding the piece, as another layer of skin, hand-sewn fabric hangs. The organic pattern and color pallet further recall the natural world, as they invoke the forest, wood grain, or the circulatory system of a plant. The path the visitor follows throughout the space, and from within the piece—like an organic line in nature—is analogues to Neto’s conception of life where there is “no separation between humans and nature, nor between art making and art experience”, highlighting that in the exhibition, as in life, everything is connected.

In the back gallery a hanging platform with a crochet canopy and crochet tendrils is installed. Designed for direct interaction, this is a healing bed that offers a moment of rest and respite, where people can connect to themselves, as to one another.  The tendrils function as ‘connectors’, as they amplify the pulse of life while connecting us to the environment and to our own physicality. Embracing the participant in its serenity, the healing bed investigates the meeting point of art, sensation, personal connection and the human body.

The exhibition as a whole connects mind, body and nature through a sensory experience that is unmediated. It is an invitation to connect to ourselves and to our planet at a time when connectivity is most needed. For Neto, sculpture is an extension of the body, and the body is ultimately an extension of earth.