Eyes to the Soul — An Art Installation with Marina Abramovic and Ulay

April 9, 2013 at 7:40 am | Posted in contemporary art, One of the most amazing things I've ever seen, outsider art, what will they think of next? | Leave a comment
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Ok, so I know this video is going around the blogosphere, but I had to post it for my friends who haven’t seen it.

First, I’m a sucker for interactive art installations. I’m always surprised how my mind and heart twist when faced with an unexpected emotional piece of work. In this particular installation, artist Marina Abramovic sat at a table with an empty chair in a large room at MoMA. Onlookers were encouraged to take turns sitting across from Abramovic and stare right into her eyes for one minute. Eye contact can be such an intense feeling; and prolonged eye contact can be really difficult to keep, at least for me. It’s said that the eyes are the window to the soul. Everyone’s eyes tell a different story. Some you can read right off the bat, while others hold something deep and unknown.

So the video shows Abramovic taking a deep breathe and peering back at person after person. She generally has a blank look on her face—until the moment when she takes another deep breathe, looks up and her former lover from many moons ago was sitting across the table from her, silently staring back into her eyes. I was instantly brought to tears watching her face change, her eyes turned red and then welled up with tears. Her former lover, an artist as well, named Ulay and she spent years together in the 1970-80’s. Eventually their relationship reached it’s end and Abramovic had a dream of how they should part ways. The two went to opposite ends of the Great Wall of China: Ulay starting at the Gobi Desert, and Abramovic at the Yellow Sea. Each walked 2500km meeting each other at the half way mark. There, they embraced one last time and went on their way. It was at the art opening that they saw each other for the first time since that goodbye. I can’t imagine how many million emotions she must have felt seeing those eyes she used to look into every day, only now they were older, and held unknown stories from his own life apart from her.

Via A Cup of Jo, via Swiss Miss.

Beautiful Children Smoking — A Photographic Series

April 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Posted in artist, contemporary art, photography | Leave a comment
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young black girl dressed in black cape smoking a cigarette

young white girl with blond hair blowing smoke rings

young black boy in a jacket smoking

girl dressed in pink against green wall smoking cigarette

young black girl about to smoke a cigarette

young boy with blond hair smoking

Smoking Kids.

I too was part terrified and part intrigued at first glance of these glamorous looking youngsters in a pondering state, holding a lit cigarette. It immediately reminded me of Maria Marshall’s infamous video of her own child puffing away on a cigarette in an endless loop. But the photographer of these images, Frieke Janssens drew her inspiration from a far more upsetting scenario — a YouTube video that had gone viral of a tubby Indonesian boy with a 40-a-day smoking habit (see video here). The child became a tourist attraction in his country until Child Protective Services found out about it.

Janssens, a Belgium based artist wanted to explore how her audience would react if smoking were removed from its adult context. So here she staged these young and innocent faces, but dressed them in costume from a bygone era which our society often references giddily with smoke filled rooms in cinema scenes of the roaring twenties or the ‘Mad Men’ days. There’s a sense of nostalgia despite the horrifying idea that children could be puffing on a cancer stick as they are pictured above.

Well, cigarettes were actually not allowed in Janssens’ photo shoots of her subjects (ages 4-9 years old). They held a candle or incense as a prop, and a cigarette was later inserted in post-production (phew). But the interesting quandary here is the massive ban on smoking that is sweeping across the globe versus the constant glorification of smoking in movies and television. I’ll admit, it’s sexy to me too, though I’m not a smoker. What do you think: Are we making smoking a forbidden act by promoting it in our everything-vintage-is-cool culture? Or is it really just a thing of the past?

Here’s a slideshow of more smoking children from Janssens’ show at Ingid Deuss gallery.

See other S+D posts:
Javier Bardem smoking hot.
Kurt Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean puffing beautifully..
Robyn Twomey’s medical marijuana portraits.

We are all under the same moon. — A mobile art installation.

March 27, 2013 at 11:59 am | Posted in contemporary art, outsider art, photography | Leave a comment
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I was drawn to these photographs the moment I saw them. Russian artist Leonid Tishkov has built his own mobile art installation that he travels around the world with. When he chooses a spot, like on top of an apartment building with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower, or in a rural area of The Arctic, or an unnamed city in China, Tishkov collaborates with photographers to document a calm moment with the illuminated crescent moon displayed prominently, watching over the scene. Tishkov said “the moon is a shining point that brings people together from different countries, of different nationalities and cultures – and everyone who gets in its orbit does not forget it ever.” His statement resonated with me. For there are so many people that remain close to my heart, yet I don’t see them often enough. When I’m missing them, I’ve always remembered that no matter how far apart we are, we are always under the same moon, and for that, I feel just a little closer to them.

Go see the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Hirshhorn!

February 22, 2013 at 9:30 am | Posted in architecture, contemporary art, DC, outsider art, photography, Washington | Leave a comment
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We took a family field-trip in the middle of a weekday afternoon to The Hirshhorn, our favorite Smithsonian museum. The Hirshhorn has an incredible modern and contemporary art collection, something that remains dear to me. We want to have Jack exposed to as much art and music as possible at this early age, so that he will grow to appreciate it. I had heard nothing but rave reviews of the Ai Weiwei exhibit and it did not let us down one bit. I was drawn to the show’s black and white photography, many of which are politically charged (middle finger toward government buildings). Weiwei has remained an outspoken critic of communism and government in general and has faced a ton of oppression from his home country. He was the mastermind behind the Chinese Olympic stadium, known as the “Bird Nest.” There was an entire wing dedicated to the design and construction of the structure which lined the museum wing’s walls and ceiling! So much to see. Sometimes I forget our lucky we are to live in a city where all of this is no more than a couple miles downtown.

The Ai Weiwei show closes this Sunday, February 24th. Don’t miss it!

What to Wear to a Gallery Opening

September 7, 2012 at 10:37 am | Posted in contemporary art, design, fashion, life, style, Washington | Leave a comment
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Ok, so here’s the deal. My dear old artist friend whom I haven’t seen in years is coming down to DC with his fiancée for a gallery opening. The artist featured at the opening has become a pretty big deal, I only knew her through my friend, and her husband who I used to work for (are you following me?) at his gallery in NYC called Team (I’ve written about Team here and here). All of these characters will be at the opening and since I haven’t seen them in so long, I’m feeling a little self-conscious about the reunion. I still have not lost all the weight I gained and secretly fear any comparisons to the old days. I still think of myself the way I looked at age 22, but in reality, it just ain’t so. I’ve known about the opening for weeks and have been surfing the net for the perfect flattering outfit to wear. I decided that I do not want to wear a dress. The point of an art opening isn’t to look super pretty and fancy, I just want to look cool and confident and happy (which, um, I am!). All spring and summer I’ve fallen for the fitted capri and am thrilled they are still in style come Fall. So the outfit is basically designed around a skinny capri. I’ve modeled everything in front of the mirror and think it’ll do. Here’s the breakdown of my finds…

01. Off-white, sheer and lacey tee from Madewell. – Walk, don’t run to their brick and mortar and/or online store. Killer apparel and good sales too.

02. Black “Favorite” tank with built-in bra from J. Crew.

03. NARS Lipstick “Heat Wave” – It’s more orangey-red than reddy-orange if you know what I mean, and will surely get any party started.

04. OPI for Sephora “Seriously It’s a Naan-Issue” – Something besides a matchy-match red nail or last year’s gray nail color will do.

05. Kate Spade iPhone case/wallet. – I love her stuff!

06. Frye Silver Metallic Distressed ballet flats. – I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am simply not a girl who wears heels. I can’t do it. I wish I could, but it would wind up being the worst night of my life. So flats it is.

07. J. Crew’s “Minnie” stretch capri – I am seriously going to buy a pair in every color. They are so flattering and really comfortable.

Think of me tomorrow night! xoxo

Damien Hirst re-designs flag for the Olympics

August 13, 2012 at 11:47 am | Posted in contemporary art, pop culture | Leave a comment
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How will you spend your television viewing nights now that the Olympics are over? Frankly, I’m at a bit of a loss. To close out the London 2012 Summer Olympics, one of Britain’s most famous artists, Damien Hirst, was invited to re-design the Union Jack. Hirst drew upon his signature spin painting style in red, white and blue to a massive stage. The result? Well, nothing short of a Damien Hirst explosion of course, set in the background of London’s finest. Shall we look forward to Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympics? Where do you think you’ll be then?

Photos via Design Boom
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