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July 27, 2014

Summer School: HVW8 Gallery

Art Lessons and Dance Sessions in the Californian Desert

From the brazen imagery of Amsterdam’s Parra to the internet-inspired visuals of the Kanye West-affiliated Canadian artist JJJJound, LA gallery HVW8 cultivates an international collision of pop culture and graphic design in a contemporary art setting. “We allow someone that might not be familiar with the artists we exhibit to see them in a lineage of El Lissitzky or Roy Lichtenstein, who to me are examples of fine graphic artists,” says HVW8 co-founder Tyler Gibney. This month the gallerist took psychedelic artists Erin D. Garcia, Teebs, Jean André and Alvaro “Freegums” Ilizarbe on a desert road trip for Summer School, an art and music weekender at Ace Hotel in Palm Springs featuring sun-kissed West Coast bands such as dance-punk duo De Lux. “I grew up with a Bauhaus education and I love the idea of artists teaching and exposing their craft,” says Gibney of the hands-on experience of Summer School’s workshops. Founded in 2011 by LA new music champions School Night and Ace Hotel, the micro-festival’s inaugural line-up included cult mobile letterpress studio Movable Type, and Chris Johanson of the Mission School art movement. “I approach my drawings as a viewer, I want to understand why a choice is made and the reason behind it,” says Garcia, who took on collage class duties while Cali locals Teebs went cosmic with Japanese tie-dye alongside Ilizarbe’s infinity patterns, and Paris’s André showcased poster techniques. “I think there's an elegance in a simple idea that's communicated well.”

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Thomas Struth: Imagineering

The German Art Photographer Ventures Into Sites of Scientific and Creative Endeavor

Strangely unpeopled pictures of Disneyland, California, nestle up against images of a research and medical facility in Berlin and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in this series from Thomas Struth. The photographer turned his penetrating eye to these places of human invention to try and probe a question that has been on his mind for the past few years: “Why do large groups of people agree more easily on finding scientific, creative or technological solutions than in the political or social fields?” Struth is internationally acclaimed for his images—from street scenes to architectural photographs, family portraits to troops of tourists captured gazing at the masterpieces in the Museo del Prado—and has had major exhibitions of his work displayed at MoMA, MOCA and London’s Whitechapel gallery. “The absence of people is to highlight that it was created by the human imagination. I wanted to photograph the evidence of what people had once only imagined in their heads, which then materialized in one way or another,” he says of shooting today's beguiling group of pictures. “They are waiting for people to enter the frame.” 

Thomas Struth runs at the Marian Goodman Gallery January 10—February 22

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Daniel Arsham: Future Relic 01

The Multidisciplinary Artist Teams Up with Swizz Beatz and Richard Chai for His Debut Film Work

A mysterious archeologist plays out a search for meaning along an ambiguous shoreline in Daniel Arsham’s new video work, “Future Relic 01”, that premiered as part of a series in the artist’s hometown of Miami as part of Art Basel this week. “Much of what I create presents an undefined scenario,” says the artist. “In 'Future Relic' you see these objects that seem as though they have been uncovered on some future excavation, but it’s left to the imagination of the viewer.” The work was shot in a secret New York City location that perceptive viewers can locate through coordinates included somewhere in the piece; realized with the help of directors Ben Louis Nicholas and Sam Stonefield, as well as fashion designer with Richard Chai and hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz, it marks Arsham’s first foray into filmmaking. The Brooklyn resident is no stranger to collaboration. Since being invited by Merce Cunningham to work on stage design for the choreographer, he has created a keyboard made from volcanic ash with Pharrell Williams, and paired up with Alex Mustonen to found Brooklyn architecture practice Snarkitecture. Today’s film also introduces his “Mobile Phone”, the first work in a new series of limited editions that premiered in Miami with OHWOW gallery, and Arsham also presented his large-scale performance project with Jonah Bokaer, “Occupant”, at the international event. “Much of my work is about taking something normal and everyday, and making slight adjustments to it,” he explains. “It brings people outside of their normal experience and becomes about a shift in time.”

What did you draw on in order to create the world within “Future Relic 01”?
Daniel Arsham:
The visual language draws from Lawrence of Arabia. The film was shot entirely at dawn, which is the same technique that was used in the 1962 film, this day-for-night quality. So we shot everything in the day and then the color was adjusted so it appears like moonlight.

Why was film the right medium for this project?
A lot of the work I do is static. I work in many different mediums, and about six years ago I started to work with the choreographer Merce Cunningham, doing stage design. This notion of time-based art, something that creates a kind of arc, is a very different process from creating a static object in the form of a sculpture or a painting. Film is something that I love, but is definitely the sort of medium that requires collaboration. There are 20 or 30 people who worked on this film—it’s not like a painting that I can make myself. So it was really about waiting for the perfect moment, and finding the right collaborators.

How important is collaboration to your work?
I think it’s extremely important. First of all, I can be a master of certain things that I do within the studio. But I can never master all of these other qualities in film. For me, collaboration has always been a way to recognize and learn from other people who have these amazing skills. For example, Swizz Beats did the score. This was something that was very outside of his normal way of working but I think he really made a beautifully subtle piece that was very much in key with what I was looking for.

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