Friday, July 27, 2007
Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has teamed up with hip-hop star Kanye West for a variety of projects centering around West’s upcoming album Graduation, due to be released on Sept. 11, 2007. The first two singles from the album, Can’t Tell Me Nothing and Stronger, already feature Murakami artworks as covers -- the former a grimacing head made of neon coils, and the latter a rendering of West’s bear mascot with two helmeted robots floating nearby (representing the band Daft Punk, which is sampled on the track). West told MTV.com that Murakami also did a three-minute animation for one of the songs on Graduation.
Though he’s living the life of a Grammy-winning hip-hop star, West seems to have a real admiration for Murakami’s lifestyle, describing him as "a god in the art world." During a recent tour of Japan, West visited the artist’s Kaikai Kiki studio and took his own souvenir snapshots of Hiropon, Murakami’s life-sized sculpture of a bosomy anime pinup. The two men had their photo taken posing in front of the work, an image that is part of an illustrated report by Akiko Kato on the Kaikai Kiki website.
"Murakami, his work has been stunning to me," said West in an MTV interview. "Every single that’s coming out for my album, he did the artwork for the covers. . . . And all the merchandising for the new album is Murakami."
The admiration, apparently, is mutual. During his stop at the studio, West showed off a diamond-encrusted crucifix that he had designed himself -- "Breathtaking," wrote Kato, "Christ’s eyes shined blue" -- and then went on to sketch an idea for another amulet design. West asked Murakami to add eyes to the drawing, and "an unexpected collaboration was born!" The sketch was clearly the inspiration for the neon creature from Murakami’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing cover, and the necklace West wears in the Can’t Tell Me Nothing video looks like the Kaikai Kiki drawing.
"We think that he [West] and Takashi share this eerie ability to concentrate and approach everything with utmost seriousness," Kato concludes. The report also hints at another common interest between the two superstars -- Louis Vuitton, whose brand Murakami famously revitalized several years ago. West entered Murakami’s studio wearing a colored Vuitton pouch. Both of the rapper’s new singles refer to the luxury handbag maker (Can’t Tell Me Nothing includes the words "And what’d I do? Act more stupidly/Bought more jewelry, more Louis V;" and Stronger includes the lyric "I’m caught up in the moment, right?/This is Louis Vuitton dime night.")
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
In December the Hudson River Trust announced two new pieces of art being installed at an (also new) northern Chelsea park (at Pier 66), one being a giant waterwheel. The wheel is currently installed at the end of Pier 66 near 25th Street and was inaugurated at a ceremony yesterday. It uses the river's changing tide to power an odometer which has been functioning since April.
Paul Rimirez Jonas is the mastermind behind the wheel, which is about 30-feet in diameter and serves as "a reminder of the Hudson River’s milling history." Jonas is a local artist who explained, "although it was created with the improbable goal of marking the duration of our lives, species, civilizations, and even the planet, its more immediate intent is to place human existence within a geologic time frame." The time frame to make his creation a reality has been seven years! He began in 2000, working with marine engineers and a whole lot of imagination.
The other piece of public art now on display is "Two Too Large Tables" by artists Allan and Ellen Wexler. Their stainless steel and wood pieces resemble a community table (with chairs) and a pavillion - all of which are larger than life. In total the Trust has commisioned seven works of art for the new parks, and promises more to come.
Ladies, check out www.lovemyshoes.com. I found this in the newspaper-I think. It's cheap and fabulous.
The hottest eco-friendly "I'm not a Plastic bag " canvas bag this summer designed by Anya Hindmarch. It's only like 15 bucks. I went to get one last Wednesday but the was sold out. Apparently, a lot of people were waiting outside all night in the rain for the bag and it was sold out like in 30 mins. It's limited edition. It's already banned in China because people in Hong Kong were trampled over just for the bag and they don't want that to happen in China. Craziness. They should just write, "I'm going to die for this bag".
For all you outdoor people that love to go out for picnic with friends and love ones. www.picnicfun.com is a fun website. It's lightweight and it's waterproof on the exterior part.. This metrobag costs only 30 bucks.
I found this cutesy ring at www.elsewares.com. I wouldn't buy it but I thought it was cute.
I want this tshirt "I have a body of a god" in babytee. I saw this ad on Myspace when you sign out..an addicitve site. I'm trying to find the shirt that says, "I'm so excited, I'm so scared" with an image of a pill - priceless.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
According to the NY Times reports that Blake was seen "taking off his clothes and then walking into the water at Beach 102nd Street" Tuesday night and was not seen coming out. A wallet and a suicide note were found amongst his clothes, and police divers have not found Blake's body.
Duncan and Blake were both artists: Duncan, who had a blog, The Wit of the Staircase, developed video games and made films, while Blake created lush paintings, photographs, and digital animations that "mix visual narrative with abstract forms, as Modern Art Notes explains. Blake was represented by the gallery Kinz, Tillou + Feigen (more about his work here), and Lance Kinz told the Daily News, "They were extremely intelligent, talented, creative, ambitious people...As a couple, they were extremely close, very much in love. They worshiped each other, and collaborated on projects together, as if they were one."
The NY Times' art critic Roberta Smith said that Blake's work had "given the stream-of-consciousness narrative, so long a part of modern literature, a time-based visual equivalent." In 2003, Blake's work Cowboy Waltz was shown as part of Creative Time's 59th Minute series, where artists' videos were show on the big Panasonic TV in Times Square (it was recently replayed as part of Creative Time's 59th Minute retrospective). Blake's work can also be seen in Punch Drunk Love, where his animation is used to punctuate scenes (see some clips here).
Photograph of Blake and Duncan from PatrickMcMullan.com; still from one of Blake's sequences in Punch Drunk Love
Monday, July 02, 2007
The basic look consists of bleached hair, a deep tan, both black and white eyeliners, false eyelashes, platform shoes (usually sandals or boots), and brightly colored outfits. Also typical of the "Ganguro Gal" look are cell phones covered with purikura stickers, tie-dyed sarongs, mini-skirts, hibiscus flower hairpins, and lots of bracelets, rings and necklaces.
Extreme trend followers further bleach their hair up to a platinum blond shade, get even deeper tans, wear white lipstick, multicoloured pastel eye shadows and tiny metallic or glittery adhesives around the bottom rim of the eye sockets (See Yamanba). Popular Ganguro magazines include: Egg, Popteen, and Ego System.
In an interview with Tony Barrell, Creator of FRUiTS magazine, Shoichi Aoki, stated: "Ganguro was a phenomenon that was specific to Shibuya, about 1km away from Harajuku - which we have been talking about - and they were totally different so FRUiTS as a rule didn’t really take them up. Only a few times we’ve covered ganguro in our magazine. Where they came from is actually a mystery, no one really knows but there is some speculation that they were girls who were infatuated or fascinated with Janet Jackson or black American musicians or perhaps Naomi Campbell, the supermodel, but it’s still a mystery what their origins were."
There is some dispute surrounding the etymology of the word "ganguro." Many claim the name itself, "Black face" support this. This also goes against Ganguro itself, because many people are seeing it as racist and comparing it to the Blackface of early 1900's culture in America.
I guess it's one of the coolest style in Japan but I have worst pics of them. Bad and the Ugly. Why???
Takashi Murakami’s show is nakedly commercial; “Underdog” strikes an opposite pose, to much the same effect.
Takashi Murakami’s That I may time transcend, that a universe my heart may unfold (2007), at Gagosian.
(Photo: Acrylic and silver gold leaf on canvas mounted on board. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York. © 2007 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved)
The New York gallery scene being as incredibly overpopulated and overmoneyed as it is, deep conflicts and contradictions aren’t hard to find. Still, it’s a little strange to find two shows side by side in a single gallery on Madison Avenue, throwing those contradictions into high relief. But that’s happening at the artplex known as Gagosian, often called the most powerful gallery in the world.
On the one hand there are the superslick, super-flat, superexpensive, and to me superficial paintings of the Japanese entrepreneur–Energizer Bunny–artist Takashi Murakami. On the other, there’s the seemingly insurrectionary but clubby group show of what could be called the “boys and girls in black and silver,” organized by two leading downtown artists, Adam McEwen and Nate Lowman. The two shows, the first flashy, the second self-consciously disheveled, couldn’t be more different. Their juxtaposition at Gagosian, however, points up disconcerting similarities; under its combative surface, the group show is as buddy-buddy as the Murakami is self-satisfied. Still, seeing the two exhibitions back-to-back suggests that a shift in aesthetic sensibilities is under way.
The Murakami show is the latest twist from an artist who in the nineties excelled at ultrathin surfaces and magically vapid images of sex and consumerism. Drawing from the realms of manga—the radically distorted creatures that populate Japanese comics—and anime, Murakami painted Mickey Mouse–like characters, sunny mushrooms, and abstract splashes that were part Pop Surrealism, part Hokusai’s Great Wave, and part porn. Murakami is a craft-master whiz of cuteness, razzmatazz, and adolescent male fantasy; he once made a life-size sculpture of a big-eyed girl with shaved pudenda who squeezed her phallic nipples and jump-roped over a money shot of milk spurting from her gigantic breasts. He also curated several crackerjack exhibitions that elucidated the Japanese penchant for mirroring the West back to itself, and shed light on how Japan is insular and xenophobic yet simultaneously open and adaptable. If Japan is like the android that finds life (a common anime theme), Murakami is one who breathed life into contemporary Japanese art.
Unfortunately, since around 2001 Murakami has been so set on merging fine art with commercial product that by now all he’s doing is moving merch. The best that can be said about Murakami’s new work is that he’s making pretty money. Or pretty empty money. The main attractions of this exhibition are 50 little happy-faced flower paintings and six large portraits of a haggard-looking Zen patriarch. The flowers are insipid. So are the portraits, although at least with them Murakami is up to his old extreme stylization. But the real content of Murakami’s art is money and marketability. Hence, each of the 50 silly flowers reportedly goes for $90,000; the portraits, about $1.5 mil per unit. Four better larger flower paintings run about $450,000; two boring pictures of severed hands, about $400,000. Needless to say, the gallery reports everything is sold.
Not bad for paintings that have the visual oomph of screensavers and are only placeholders for gullible collectors, who buy them hoping today’s feeding frenzy lasts long enough to fob them off on subsequent happy patsies. Or they’ll keep them as trophies. Either way, it’s a foul feedback loop. While we’re laughing at them for being servile and cynical enough to make, sell, or buy these gewgaws, they’ll laugh at us for missing out on this payday.
It’s wonderful that more artists are making more money from their work. Without the market, the art world would be a pretty boring place. But this is a complete acquiescence to a world where gamesmanship, money, and hype are measures of success; where advisers sell art over the phone from JPEGs to collectors who imagine they’ll enter art history by spending exorbitantly. Meanwhile, auction houses cheer them on. Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, says of the mad prices, “It’s a new world.” Actually, it’s just the old one of cash, carry, and entitlement, speeded up.
Murakami’s supporters call him “the Japanese Warhol.” They say he’s enacting Warhol’s deal-making dictums that “good business is the best art” and “business art is the step that comes after Art.” He has his own “factory” where assistants make his paintings, his Kaikai Kiki company represents a brood of Murakami clones, and he’s engaged in product design. To his credit, Murakami’s eagerness to outmarket everyone makes artists like Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons seem decorous by comparison. But Murakami has fallen into his own trap. He didn’t heed one other Warhol bon mot, “Commercial things really do stink. As soon as it becomes commercial for a mass market, it really stinks.” Murakami is no longer playing the market; the market is playing him—and so many others.
An installation view of the “Beneath the Underdog” show at Gagosian. In the foreground, Barry Le Va’s One Edge, Two Corners; On Center Shattered (Variation 13, Within the Series of Layered Pattern Acts) (1968, re-created 2007); on the ceiling, Michael Joaquin Grey’s Orange Gravity (California) (1992).
(Photo: Robert McKeever/Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery, New York)
Which brings us to the gritty, intergenerational group show at Gagosian. “Beneath the Underdog” features 53 artists who seem to be railing against the type of hype Murakami represents. Of course, a number of “Underdog” participants are very hot, overtouted artists themselves. The curators claim the show is about “the individual’s relationship to the towering vertical landscape of late capitalism.” Perhaps. But it’s disingenuous not to address the fact that this show’s being at Gagosian means “Underdog” is about as deep in this landscape as it’s possible to get.
There are a number of excellent pieces in the show, among them Jessica Diamond’s hand-painted buy a condo or die sign (in re-creation, originally from 1987), Michael Joaquin Grey’s orange 1992 rendition of Rodin’s Balzac hanging upside down from the ceiling, and Barry Le Va’s 1968 shattered-glass sculpture (also re-created). Best of all, in this context, is Monica Bonvicini’s smashed-to-smithereens Sheetrock floor. This piece runs throughout the entire show, and infuses everything with a subtext of raucous anger, destruction, and vulnerability. It also saves the show from itself, offsetting the irksome impression that too much work in “Underdog” is either beholden to a predictable list of au courant males (e.g., Warhol, Richter, Smithson, Matta-Clark, and Kippenberger) or just trying to signify radicalism and resistance. By now the messiness, appropriation, and abstraction of “Underdog” are so common and system-approved that they’re beginning to signal emptiness and cliquishness instead.
In some ways, “Underdog” is simply what frustration and ambition look like now. The show is so up-front about its in-groupness and back-scratching, however, that you begin to understand that these conditions are effective ways to draw polemical lines in the curatorial sand, to circle the wagons against dubious tendencies. “Underdog” will seem dated in a year, but right here, right now, its polemics, tribalism, and gang tactics—as cynical and annoying as they threaten to become—are what it may take to move beyond the pranksterism of artists like Murakami.
Is it really worth it? Spending 500-600 bucks for internet, phone, emails, organizational functions. I couldn't believe people waited over night in the rain for the new gadget. I mean, other companies were promoting their name by giving out freebie stuff. Some people actually bought the Iphone just dissect it.
I remembered back in the days, there were pagers and beepers. Now laptops. digital cameras. Ipods. Now Iphones. What is going to be next? Irobot for Lazy people.