Alexander Calder: American Legend

A Snack-Filled Kinetic Tribute to the Great Sculptor

Rotating marshmallows, eggs and orbiting popcorn are part of the moving visual feast in today’s paean to early 20th-century American sculptor Alexander Calder by photographer and filmmaker Carl Kleiner and his wife Evelina, a set designer. Taking the dynamic artist’s most notable forms as a starting point, the Stockholm duo borrowed Calder’s abstracted aesthetic and use of wire in the creation of these mobile food sculptures. Calder’s resolute interest in geometric shapes, sense of movement and the strangely celestial bodies that occupy his work led him to inhabit circles that included Marcel Duchamp and Jean-Paul Sartre, and he continues to inform and inspire artists, designers and architects to this day. The Whitney Museum’s upcoming exhibition American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe, opening this weekend, situates his enduring allure alongside other seminal early 20th-century American legends such as Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence and Elie Nadelman. 

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    Marc Newson: Transport

    The Sky is Far from the Limit for the Feted Designer, Filmed for NOWNESS by Alison Chernick

    “If you have a big enough engine, you can go anywhere,” says Australian designer Marc Newson. He’s talking about flying, but his words typify his limitless creative ambition—in the course of his career his projects have included everything from a space jet to a champagne box, a mobile phone to a recording studio (not to mention many, many beautiful chairs and covetable pieces for the home). Newson’s work, driven by a sleek, biomorphic visual signature, has won him batches of accolades since he first exhibited his work in Sydney in 1984, including seven Good Design Awards from The Chicago Atheneaum. In 1997 he founded Marc Newson Ltd in London, embarking on commissions from companies as diverse as B&B Italia and Ford, while in the mid 2000s, after designing a series of plane interiors and first class lounges for Australian airline Qantas, he was named its Creative Director, a post he holds to this day; other clients include Boucheron and Azzedine Alaïa. For his latest show, Transport, at New York’s Gagosian gallery (through October 16), he shows off his vehicle designs: a reflective-metal tri-fin surfboard; a canary yellow and black jetpack; a wasp-like jet plane Newson built when Fondation Cartier offered him the opportunity to create whatever he liked for his 40th birthday. “It works in theory,” Newson says of the Kelvin40, named after a character from Andrei Tarkovski’s classic sci-fi movie Solaris. In today’s film, shot by Alison Chernick exclusively for NOWNESS, Newson ruminates on his work, surrounded by his wildest creations. Proving he can do luxe as well as lightspeed, he also hops into the $1.28 million cruiser boat he designed for august Italian brand Riva in a limited edition of 22 (Larry Gagosian's already got his).

    Learn more about Marc Newson's latest products here, and his incredible designs for space travel here.

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    Io Echo: Eye Father

    Benjamin Millepied Directs a Kabuki-Inspired Collaboration with the Dark Pop Duo

    A lone kabuki dancer performs against an urban tableau wearing full kumadori makeup in choreographer Benjamin Millepied's video for the Io Echo track “Eye Father.” Since meeting at a party and bonding over masochism and The Velvet Underground, Washington D.C.-native Ioanna Gika and her London-born partner in crime Leopold Ross have scored films for Harmony Korine, toured with Florence and the Machine and opened for Nine Inch Nails’ last-ever show. In “Eye Father,” Io Echo’s koto harp, hazy guitars and ethereal vocals are visualized in the vivid palette of classical Japanese theater. “Kabuki sets are so beautiful and rich in color, I wanted to find urban spaces with that quality,” explains director Millepied, who shot the film at a number of scenic Hollywood spots, including Los Angeles Harbor and a SoCal supermarket. “It looked like we were in rural China, but we were in this all-American urban landscape.” The cultural mash-up resonates well with Io Echo’s own penchant for mixing musical influences. “We’re interested in the sound and aesthetic of Asian cultures, but we’re not trying to emulate it literally,” Gika explains. “You can listen to our songs and imagine a Far Eastern forest, but ours is infused with purple smoke and twisted willows.” Currently in the finishing stages of Io Echo’s debut album, Gika shares the dreams that inspire the work, and a custom haiku. 

    What was on the stereo when you were growing up?
    Ioanna Gika:
    Enya, Vangelis, chant, classical and new age. 

    Favorite new band?
    Haleek Maul, a teenage rapper from Barbados.

    Dreams: black and white or Technicolor? 
    IG: Technicolor. Once the sky was so blue I was terrified.

    Collaboration fantasy?
    IG: Kofi Annan or Philip Glass.

    Favorite Japanese restaurant in LA?
    IG: Sushi Ike––they do a great fresh octopus.

    Write us a haiku?
    IG: Wrote haikus all day
    and apparently I am
    still writing haikus.

    Click here for Io Echo and Benjamin Millepied's second video collaboration, plus a chat with Leopold Ross.

    Vote for your favorite film from this double bill on the NOWNESS Facebook page.  

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