Curated by Alyssa Nassner and Bryan Ische, Pokemon Battle Royale challenged 151 designers and illustrators to make original art inspired by the 151 original Pokemon. I’m still a fon of Pokemon and use the phrase “Pokemon evolution” to describe so many things, so I think this is a wonderful idea for an art show. There are even prints available for a lot of the pieces.
Click here to catch ’em all!
I’ve seen photographs of Elmgreen and Dragset’s ‘Prada Marfa’ before. They’re the sort of strange and surreal images that often show up context-free on the likes of Ffffound and Tumblr (and even Google Street View). As a building, it looks as though it shouldn’t exist – it’s as if the whole thing had just been photoshopped into existence. Yet it’s real. Despite having seen it many times before, it’s only recently that I’ve taken the time to discover the context of the work and who made it.
Built in 2005 near the West Texan towns of Valentine and Marfa, ‘Prada Marfa’ is a permanent sculpture created by artist-collaborators Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Masquerading as a Prada mini-boutique, the sculpture’s door is in fact non-functioning. Instead the building is intended to never be used and never repaired. For the artists, the hope is that over time, the piece will slowly degrade back into the natural landscape.
Despite this “master-plan”, the artists had to briefly deviate when, just three days after it was completed, vandals broke into it, stole some bags and graffitied the exterior. Wikipedia describes the incident best:
A few days after Prada Marfa was officially revealed, the installation was vandalized. The building was broken into and all of its contents (six handbags and 14 right footed shoes) were stolen, and the word “Dumb” and the phrase “Dum Dum” were spray painted on the sides of the structure. The sculpture was quickly repaired, repainted, and restocked. The new Prada purses do not have bottoms and instead hide parts of a security system that alerts authorities if the bags are moved
This is only one of a number of great(?) stories about the installation. In late-2009 the New York Times writer Daphne Beal was passing through the isolated stretch of Highway 90 when she stopped by the installation. For her, the work’s punch-line felt a little pat, yet when she discovered a series of business cards lined up along a ledge at the bottom of the installation she couldn’t help but feel a strangely moved. “The idea of so many people passing through” she said “was strangely moving”. For Beal there was something special about all these people who passed by and wanted to prove they were there.
You can take what you will from Elmgreen and Dragset’s installation – from the stories above it’s clear that people already have. Personally I think it’s an interesting and unique piece of art. Standing on it’s own, this Prada shop is isolated from its usual urban surroundings. Elmgreen and Dragset have taken a symbol of luxury and juxtaposed it with the romantic landscape of the Texan desert. It’s a surreal and jarringly image, and one which is filled with a dry sense of irony and a strange sense of odd isolation.
Contrary to popular belief, not EVERYTHING is new in Los Angeles. Soul Cal: Funky Disco & Modern Soul, 1971-1982 is a perfect example of that. After ten years of anxious, dear-god-Egon-when-will-this-come-out nailbiting, Los Angeles based Now Again Records releases THE seminal collection of the bands that pioneered the ground between funk and disco. ‘You Can be A Star!”, the lead single from the compilation, is a perfect example of that transition of American popular music. Rhythmically structured in the funk but rolling in the melodic and instrumental bliss of disco, the song’s guitar solo is a perfect example of the bliss one feels when they play what they love.
Now Again is one of my favorite labels of all time. They don’t just appreciate the music – they care about the era, the feeling, the aesthetic and art that came with it. This compilation… well… This is no-joke. It’s a beautiful product that label manager Eothen put his heart and soul into. The double LP is accompanied by an 80 page book with rare photos of the musicians and their songs. Utilizing the licenses, master tapes, and the stories of the musicians themselves, Soul Cal is a completely analog audio/visual experience from a forgotten age. So put the needle on the record and open the book – this stuff is deep.
You can snag it on iTunes here, or if you want vinyl and the book, here.
I’ve been listening to this Kisses remix of Regina’s Haluan Sinut on repeat now and I can’t get enough of it. Regina is a Helsinki based band that Philip (of course) has written about before. There’s something about this remix though that’s totally captured me. It’s both soft and charming but still has a really great bass line and even a little guitar solo. A round of applause to Kisses, this is absolutely going on the next mixtape I make.
Found through Surfing on Steam
Karen Kurycki has a fun little site called Absurd Overheard. She takes little statements she hears and then does a watercolor illustration that twists a bit, making the statement pretty dang absurd. My favorite is above, which comes from The Texanist (@thetexanist) via Twitter:
“Friday the 13th loses a little of its ominousness when you discover that its also National Peach Cobbler Day.”
Judging from all of his work and his almost European gaze, we were convinced that Chris Turnham was based somewhere in Europe. By Twitter, we found out that he actually is a local Angeleno, something we were both shocked to here. Of course, we had to interview him for Los Angeles, I’m Yours and, a few Sundays back, we met up with him at his cute little spot in Los Feliz and had a chat about art, Los Angeles, and life. First, we were shocked he didn’t have an English accent (like we both assumed). Second, we were shocked that he’d been here for almost a year and a half having just relocated from Portland. Third, we were shocked to find out that his Fleet Street Scandal partner Kevin Dart also now lives in Los Angeles (and isn’t from Europe either). And, fourth, we were glad to find out that Chris is now working as a full time artist and freelance illustrator/animator. All great things to find out!
Chris is super fantastic and has some great things to say about making art, being new to Los Angeles, working in animation, and now working as a free agent in the art world. Also, his apartment is super cute. Check out the story and more photos here.
The surroundings of the Won Dharma Center in Claverack, NY look particularly serene. Which seems important since the Won Dharma Center is a gathering point and education center for Won Buddhists, a group committed to providing ” a nurturing and educational environment.” Indeed, one of the successes of Hanrahan Meyers Architects here is space that not only supports the serene surroundings, but create similarly calm interiors for meditation and contemplation.
In an interview, the architects describes the advantage of breaking the volume of the built program into smaller masses: “The clustered schemes had the most appeal as they broke down the scale of the program into five buildings and created public, outdoor gathering spaces between them.” The architects further broke down the walls of the enclosed program to ease the transition between indoors and out: “This complex of buildings is notable for its layered approach to exterior and interior spaces and the building envelopes. The outdoor spaces, decks, and wooden screens create a ‘spatial gradient’ that both engages the landscape and enriches the architectural experience. The building envelope is not simply a wall, but a series of layered, performative volumes. “
Stumbling across the work of Michiel Schuurman, a Dutch graphic designer, was a huge treat for my eyes. Taking a “maximalist” approach as he puts it, Michiel make these vibrantly colored, screenprinted posters which have an intense amount of detail and care placed into them. Going through his work it’s fun to try and pick apart the colors he’s layered together in order to make his pieces. And even if these weren’t screenprinted, which is where the big wow factor comes for me, he’s still an amazing designer doing really creative things with type.
See more of Michiel’s work by clicking here.
There’s a lot to love about this Nicolas Jaar remix of Shlohmo’s ‘Rained the Whole Time’. Appearing on Shlohmo’s Vacation EP 12″, the remix proves once again that Nicolas Jarr really can do no wrong. His take on Henry Laufer’s track is just wonderful and I was delighted to see that the guys at Video Marsh had created an accompanying video for it.
Its combination of visuals and music really bring the whole thing to a new place and both elements together end up creating an experience which is best to just let wash over you. What I really love here is the mystery surrounding what exactly we’re watching. The subtle fluid movements and strange color combination feel like perhaps it’s simply paint, but other times it definitely feels as though we are being taken deep inside the human body. It’s mesmerizing stuff.
Found through Gorilla vs. Bear
Last night at Los Angeles’ MOCA, they unleashed an audio and video feast for the senses: the Mike D of the Beastie Boys curated art spectacular that is Transmission LA. The event featured celebrities, a performance by Santigold, people clawing to get in, and an entire art warehouse packed with moving colors that reshaped and recolored rooms: it was like being on acid with thousands of people even though there were no drugs involved (at least for us).
The event boasted tons of video art/moving art superstars that spanned from Ara Peterson and Jim Drain to Mike Mills to Sage Vaughn to Takeshi Murata–even Los Angeles chef Roy Choi had a hand in it! The star of the show was Ben Jones, who created a room that made you feel like you entered some sort of racing video game, smiling sun and moon, moving floor, and everything. It was baller. The event is only a few weeks long and will be gone in a flash so, if you live in LA or are visiting LA from now until the top of May, you HAVE to see this show.
See more photos, a video of Ben Jones’ work, and read about the opening here.