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Modern Resentment

20 Feb

Enjoying modern art can be frustrating.

Until a couple hundred years ago, fine art was considered more of a methodological craft, based in a romantic but nonetheless technical ability. Celebrated oil paintings certainly required the illumination of a creative mind, but the ability to execute one’s artistic vision required complex knowledge of the canvas, pigment, opacity, perspective, et cetera. Conversely, modern art emphasizes the conceptual, and more often than not, does not rely on these laurels.

And this is great. But it can make you angry, in an envious sort of way. Call it the, “Why Didn’t I Think of That” Effect. Or don’t, because that’s actually a very lengthy title. At any rate, I’d like to call out Holton Rower for inciting this particular brand of resentment in me. Rower works out of Manhattan, where he produces mesmerizing paintings by pouring cup after cup of acrylic paint over a pedestal. He’s probably rich. Enjoy this video of his process, if you possess the serenity.

“It is a little window into a different world, made on office supplies.”

6 Feb

This is how Denmark native Don Kenn describes his art. By day, he writes and directs television shows for kids, but by night, after putting his own twin boys to bed, he decompresses by “draw[ing] monsterdrawings on post-it notes.” Yay for random compulsive doodling. I’ve found that the best way to enjoy these is to first conjure up in your mind the approximate dimensions of a standard issue post-it note, or better yet, grab one, and then… be amazed by all those pretty little pen marks.




The Wilderness Downtown

30 Jan

At the age of 13, I was of the opinion that there was no higher form of entertainment than the music video. Many an hour was lost in front of MTV, watching the myriad different visual interpretations of pop hits. I thought these artists were speaking to my own personal experience in only that way that an awkward half-delusional teenage girl can.

Eight years later, this habit is no more- in fact, until this week, I don’t think I had really actually sat down and watched a music video since those early teen years. But when a friend showed me Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown, it became obvious that something is definitely different here. And I’d like to talk about why, but really, you should see if for yourself first.

Stop reading, click ( I’ll still be here when you get back.

Isn’t that really kind of cool? Or anyway, will be. Though certain aspects of the experience are a bit choppy, some imagery noticeably less sophisticated than the others, its clear that the video is conceptually successful in a completely novel way. The band partnered with Google Earth to create a product that is interactive on an emotional level, all while strengthening the basis of the song’s content. As more information of this nature is available online, look forward to similarly interactive projects of all kinds. Pretty neat!


Happy Paradox: WHITEvoid

23 Jan

In my wildly biased graphic designer’s opinion, interaction design is one of the most interesting facets of current creative movement. This area describes an alarming variety of work, from the interactive capabilities of your cell phone, or the last amazing exhibit you experienced at a museum, to the functional use of this website; it is defined basically as any interactive system. In these times, this usually connotes a technological component and necessitates thoughtful design.

WHITEvoid, an interaction design firm working out of China and Germany, is at the forefront of this movement. They specialize in large scale atmospheric design, with a signature of stunning, playful work. Below are video of just two of their many award winning projects. For more, which you will most certainly desire, visit

FLARE Facade

This piece is actually more about the structure you don’t see- below the shingles, the form to which they’re attached can be programed to alter the angles of each shingle in turn, creating different reflective tones and forming images. This was created in 2008, and lives in Berlin.


Polygon Playground

This “dynamic lounge object” was commissioned by SMUKfest, a large music festival in Denmark. A sophisticated projector works with a motion sensing device, flashing fluid imagery on the structure’s surface in response to participant interaction. This piece was also made in 2008, clearly a good year.

Cold Architecture

6 Dec

The last few and next few days reflect a forecast of frigid precipitation, and the true beginning of winter. All of Boone’s ice and cold have caused me to recall a childhood fascination: Ice Hotel.

For those of you unfamiliar with this magical concept, the ice hotel is fairly self descriptive. Reconstructed every year, these inns are rendered entirely out of ice in some of the world’s most brumal getaways. The original ice hotel, formally, Ice Hotel, is located in the village of Jukkasjärvi in Sweden. Each year between December and April 30,000 tons of snow and 10,000 tons of ice from the Torne River become elegant, post-modern architecture. With the exception of massive furs adoring all surfaces meant for sitting, everything in the hotel is made of ice, from the beds to the drink glasses at the famous Ice Bar.

So, if your apartment isn’t cold enough for you- book now! The simplest rooms are only about $350 a night, and can be booked in combination with the resort’s more traditional, heated facilities. The owners highly suggest it.

Click here for more images of last year’s Ice Hotel.

An Ode to MOBA

22 Nov

Artistic expression is often hailed at the pinnacle of human achievement. Whether or not this is true, history fails to find a single culture that does not regard their art with a great sense of pride and esteem. But for every creative master, there a surely thousands of aspiring artists who didn’t quite make the cut. And for every one of those, there must be many thousand more who really just didn’t have a clue.

But every dog has his day! Finally, there is a museum for art is that is… bad. Since 1994 MOBA, the Museum of Bad Art, has been “the world’s only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms.” The 500 piece collection has been accumulated from galleries, yard sales, and other places where bad art lives and thrives, and is displayed online and in three different gallery spaces in and around Boston.

Museum owner Michael Frank explains that the idea came from a gallery owner friend, who would frequently purchase art from thrift shops, only to discard the actual artwork in favor of the frame. “What we look for are pieces of work that are produced in an attempt to make some sort of artistic statement — but clearly something has gone wrong,” he says. “There has to be something about it that makes you stop, and very often wonder why the artist continued down the path to produce what he or she did.”

If you ever find yourself in Boston, treat yourself to a laugh and give MOBA a visit. Or, save yourself a place ticket and enjoy MOBA’s bounty from the comfort of your couch at The captions make it extra delightful.

Think Again Acrylic on canvas by Unknown Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash  This disturbing work "makes an offer you can't refuse". The chilling, matter-of-fact manner in which the subject presents the severed head to us is a poignant reminder of just how numb we have become. The understated violence implicit in the scene speaks volumes on our own desensitization, our society's reflexive use of force, and the artist's inability to deal with the hindquarters of the animal.

Think Again

Acrylic on canvas by Unknown
Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash

“This disturbing work “makes an offer you can’t refuse”. The chilling, matter-of-fact manner in which the subject presents the severed head to us is a poignant reminder of just how numb we have become. The understated violence implicit in the scene speaks volumes on our own desensitization, our society’s reflexive use of force, and the artist’s inability to deal with the hindquarters of the animal.”

Two Trees in Love

Acrylic on canvas by Julie Seelig
Donated by Sally Seelig, the artist’s mother

“A heartening painting which makes up for lack of realism with a surplus of symbolism. The cloud caught in the branches of the most prominent deciduous confirms the artist’s vision of a world where dreams can be captured and landscapes tamed, if you only try hard enough. “


Acrylic on canvas by Unknown
Donated by Elizabeth and Sorn Pöckel, Copenhagen, Denmark

“A remarkable fusion of ski resort and wolf puppy — stoical in his yellow-eyed silence, frozen beneath the ice-capped peak, Dog eloquently challenges the viewer to re-examine old concepts of landscape.”


The Mystery of Picasso: Revealed!

15 Nov

As the ends of the semester looms nearer, creative fatigue is difficult to avoid. If you’re in need of inspiration at the moment, look no further than good ol’ impressionist master Pablo Picasso.

The specific process of many great artists is often a secret between creator and canvas, but in the 1956 French documentary “Le mystère Picasso,” Pablo’s creative approach is revealed. Here, Picasso creates a series of works on transparent canvas; a camera films the other side, and the lucky audience watches the piece emerge. This process is overlain with music, and the result is exquisite. Whether you rid yourself of distractions and settle down for 78 minutes of uninterrupted hypnotic magic, or pop it in as a creative backdrop, this documentary is a must.

Treat yourself to an early nondenominational holiday gift, and buy the thing: