London: One Small Step

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar mission we’re proud to present ONE SMALL STEP at The Other Art Fair London, 4-7 July in King’s Cross.

Curated by Ben Moore, this special exhibition will feature 12 artists, in-line with the 12 men who have walked on the moon since 1969. Participating artists include Anish Kapoor, The Chapman Brothers, Philip Colbert , Joana Vasconcelos, D*Face, Mr Brainwash, Bran Symondson, Hayden Kays, Ben Eine, Dan Baldwin and Chris Levine. ⁣
Each artist has been selected to transform an astronaut helmet into a work of art.
Philip Colbert
All proceeds from the sale of the One Small Step helmets will go to MAG (Mines Advisory Group) whose mission is to cleanse the earth from landmines and bombs from conflict areas, where one small step can be the difference between life and death.⁣

Joana Vasconcelos

See the helmets in person at the London fair from 4-7 July in King’s Cross. Book your tickets for the fair online now.

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lynda draper

Colorful, whimsical, with twists and turns that make my heart race … yes, all of these pieces make me want to ride imaginary rollercoasters while eating fruity candy. This is the most recent work of Australian artist Lynda Draper. I wrote about her way back in 2010. Her ceramic pieces were fabulous then, but the way she has pushed her work in the past nine years is even more fabulous … and others agree. This past Friday, June 21st, Lynda was awarded the very prestigious Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, which “celebrates and promotes contemporary Australian artists working in the ceramic medium, with $50,000 in prize money.” Amazing! Here is a description of her work found on Gallerysmith {Melbourne}:

[Lynda Draper’s] work explores psychological scenarios often representing a journey within the dualities of life and death, reality and fantasy, past and present. She is interested in the relationship between the mind and material world and the related phenomenon of the metaphysical. Creating art is her way of attempting to bridge the gap between these worlds.

{Thanks to Kylie Gusset of @noticingceramics for letting me know about this exciting news! Congratulations, Lynda!}

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The Kinetic Sculptures of Casey Curran

Casey Curran’s kinetic sculptures consist of wire, aluminum, motors, sculpted brass, cranks, or other materials, yet resemble organic objects in essence. The artist, hailing from Washington, crafts his intricate works with the cycles and shapes of nature in mind, yet each sculpture doesn’t seem to draw from any one creature or floral element.

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Queer Artists in Their Own Words: Liz Collins Wants to Decorate a Hotel With an Unrestricted Budget

The month of June is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community and reflect on the advances of queer people to strengthen civil liberties around the world, even in a moment of great political uncertainty. It’s also a good opportunity to spotlight the richness and diversity of culture we have within the community. Hyperallergic is commemorating Pride Month by featuring one contemporary queer artist per day on the website and letting them speak for themselves. Click here to participate.

Installation at Rossana Orlandi- Fuorisalone, Milan, Italy (2019) (image courtesy the artist)

Liz Collins

Age: 50

Location: Brooklyn

Artistic Medium: Fiber, Painting, Sculpture, Installation

Who are you and what do you do?

I work fluidly between art and design with an emphasis on fiber and textile media. Vivid palettes, dynamic patterning, and the transformation of yarn and fabric into multidimensional forms are some of the ways I create pieces. By embracing abstraction, optics, and extreme material contrasts, I explore the boundaries between painting, sculpture and installation. Intuitively, I try to express the energy, emotion, and the visceral qualities of existence.

Within one installation, the range of my making process is apparent. From slow hand-making processes to digital or industrial production, I create carpets, wallpaper, upholstered furniture, and textiles. I’m not married to any particular medium or method; I engage fully with whatever tools and people are needed to create the work.

I have always been an artist, but have moved across disciplines while maintaining a persistent interest in material, pattern and engagement with industrial processes. Curating works of other artists has become a strong component of my work with love for my community and peers. I do this work with a spirit of inclusivity and generosity.

What are the top three greatest influences on your work?

New wave music, the Arte Povera movement, and Mother Nature.

Describe your coffee order.

Espresso on ice.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Making a living from art.

What constitutes a perfect day?

There are so many ways to have a perfect day but my favorites happen during residencies: long morning runs, a slow day with some admin work thrown in there, and an all nighter in the studio with no pressure. No domestic chores and no commuting.

What was your favorite exhibition from last year?

Outliers and American Vanguard Art curated by Lynne Cooke at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

What would your superpower be if you had one?

To fly.

Tell us a lie about yourself.

I sleep soundly through the night.

What is one question you wish somebody would ask about your work?

Would you like to design a hotel with an unrestricted budget?

What is the greatest threat to humanity?

Scary and reckless people in positions of power.

Do you prefer spilling the tea or throwing shade?

Spilling, for sure.

What is your all-time favorite work of art?

“Room No. 2” (1966) by Lucas Samaras; also known as “Mirrored Room.”

What are your plans for pride month?

I went to the Queer Zine Fair, the opening of Y’all Better Quiet Down at the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division (BGSQD), Stonewall 50 at Clifford Chance, and several other queer art shows already. I also attended Clit Club, making a pair of conjoined chairs for the set of Lesbapalooza at Dixon Place. I will be shipping out to a five-week residency in a remote part of Alaska before the big marches happen. FOMO and relief are coming all at once.

What is the future of queerness?

That we are no longer an “other.” Complete normalcy.

Back in my day…

You could smoke on an airplane. Kids ran around outside without parental supervision and sat in the front seats of cars.

Name one guilty pleasure.

Looking at paparazzi party pictures of fabulous people.

Greatest queer icon of the internet: Babadook, Momo, or a pervading sense of existential angst?

A pervading sense of existential angst.

Is there enough support for queer artists where you live?

Yes and no. There are so many great queer arts orgs and institutions: Queer Art, Fire Island Art Residency, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, BGSQD, Participant. There are also places with queer-leaning programs like Performance Space, La MaMa, Dixon Place, and New Museum. That piece is great — just amazing — and it’s a big part of why I am here in New York. Many artists I know, however, myself included, struggle with the cost of rent. Queer or not, it’s just so expensive to live and work here  and the subsidized and free studio programs are extremely competitive. I feel like I’m always trying to tweak things so I can have the space I need to work well without going broke doing so.

How do you stay cool during the summer?

Leave town. But I like the heat.

What is your favorite type of milk?

Oat milk.

“Queer Artists in Their Own Words” is an ongoing feature happening every day in the month of June. For prior posts in the series, please click here.

The post Queer Artists in Their Own Words: Liz Collins Wants to Decorate a Hotel With an Unrestricted Budget appeared first on Hyperallergic.

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The Breathtaking Images That Won the 2019 National Geographic Travel Contest

1st Place Cities and Grand Prize: “GREENLANDIC WINTER” BY CHU WEIMIN/ 2019 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVEL PHOTO CONTEST (all images courtesy of National Geographic)

An arctic village cloaked in a winter blue hue, a griffon vulture soaring serenely, and two theatre actors in China preparing for a performance inside a cave. These are some of the spectacular images captured by the recently announced winners of the 2019 National Geographic Travel Contest. The winning photos were selected from thousands of global entries in three categories: nature, cities, and people.

The grand prize of $7,500 went to Chinese photographer Chu Weimin for his photograph “Greenlandic Winter.” The photo was taken at dusk time in Upernavik in Greenland, a small fishing hamlet with colorful houses scattered along with a thick carpet of snow. “Historically, Greenlandic buildings were painted different colors to indicate different functions, from red storefronts to blue fishermen’s homes — a useful distinction when the landscape is blanketed in snow,” Weimin wrote in his entry. “This photo was taken during my three-month, personal photo project to present life in Greenland.”

Huaifeng Li took the 1st Place in the People category with “Showtime,” wherein two actors dressed in traditional costumes are seen applying their makeup before a performance at a local theatre in the Licheng County of China. The scene is lit by sunbeams refracting diagonally through the room’s vaulted windows. Winning the 1st place in Nature, Tamara Bulzquiz Haik’s “Tender Eyes” features a close-up camera shot of a wing-spread vulture in mid-flight.

The People’s Honorable Mention prize went to Navis Vasta’s “Mood,” depicting a pensive boy against a seagull-filled sunrise view at the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, India. Another honorable mention went to Jonas Schäfer’s “King of the Alps” in the Nature category. The photo captures a herd of ibexes crossing a high-altitude mountain ridge in Switzerland’s Bernese Highlands.

Scroll down to see the rest of the winning photos and to read the photographers’ description of their work and journeys in their own words.

2nd Place Cities and Grand Prize: Jassen Todorov, “In the Age of Aviation,” San Francisco, United States


“There are four runways at San Francisco’s International Airport (SFO). This is a rare look at the approach end of runways 28 left and right. I had dreams of documenting the motion at SFO and [arranged] permission to fly directly overhead. What a windy day it was. Winds at SFO were 35-45 miles per hour, which meant a bumpy flight, and it was much harder to control the plane while photographing. The flight was challenging, but it was also so thrilling that I couldn’t sleep for several days afterward.” — Jassen Todorov

3rd Place Cities: Sandipani Chattopadhyay, “Streets of Dhaka,” Dhaka, Bangladesh


“People pray on the street in Dhaka, Bangladesh during Ijtema. Bishwa Ijtema is one of the major Islamic religious gatherings which is [observed] annually in Dhaka and millions of Muslims visit [during this time]. Dedicated prayer grounds are not [large] enough to handle this huge number of people, so large numbers of people come to [Tongi,] the main street of Dhaka. All the ground transportation and [pedestrian crossings] are suspended during that time.” — Sandipani Chattopadhyay

1st Place Nature: Tamara Bulzquiz Haik, “Tender Eyes,” Monfragüe National Park, Spain


“A gorgeous griffon vulture is seen soaring the skies in Monfragüe National Park in Spain. How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when looking at such tenderness in this griffon vulture’s eyes? Vultures are important members of the environment, as they take care of recycling dead matter. Vultures are noble and majestic animals — kings of the skies. When looking at them flying, we should feel humbled and admire them.” — Tamara Bulzquiz Haik

2nd Place Nature: Danny Sepkowski, “Dreamcatcher,” Oahu, Hawaii


“What happens before a wave breaks? That question has been my assignment this past year. On this particular day, I decided to shoot the sunset on the east side of Oahu, Hawaii. About 100 photographers were out in the morning, but I had the evening to myself. The textures from the trade winds [created] subtle colors from the west and blended well using my 100mm lens. I had to look into my viewfinder while this wave was breaking. Not an easy task when a wave is about to crush you.” — Danny Sepkowski

3rd Place Nature: Scott Portelli, “Dusky,” Kaikoura, New Zealand


“Dusky dolphins often travel together in great numbers in the deep canyons of the Kaikoura, New Zealand in search of food. They glide through the ocean effortlessly, coming up only to breathe. Dusky dolphins are fast and will often
keep pace with a speeding boat. I waited on the bow of the boat as the Dusky dolphin almost broke [through the surface.] Their elegance and streamlined bodies are built for speed and maneuverability — accentuated by the smooth, clear water of the New Zealand coastline.” — Scott Portelli

Nature Honorable Mention: Jonas Schäfer, “King of the Alps,” Bernese Oberland, Switzerland


“A herd of ibexes in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland cross a ridge above Lake Brienz. Their powerful and impressive horns show who the king of the Alps are. Ibexes are ideally adapted to live at dizzying heights. The continuing ridge path and the rising fog show the natural habitat of these animals. After a few hours of observing the animals, I spotted the ibex herd on one side of the ridge. Several ibexes stopped at the transition [to view the world around them].” — Jonas Schäfer

1st Place People: Huaifeng Li, “Showtime,” Licheng County, China


“Actors prepare for an evening opera performance in Licheng County, China. I spent the whole day with these actors from makeup to [stage]. I’m a freelance photographer, and the series “Cave Life” is a long-term project of mine. In China’s Loess Plateau, local residents dig holes in the loess layer [to create cave living spaces, known as yaodongs]. This series mainly records the life, entertainment, belief, labor, and other [daily] scenes of the people living in the caves.” — Huaifeng Li

2nd Place People: Yoshiki Fujiwara, “Daily Routine,” Choi Hung House, Hong Kong


“This photo was taken at a public park at Choi Hung House in Hong Kong. When I visited during the afternoon, it was very crowded with many young people taking pictures and playing basketball. But when I visited at sunrise, it was quiet and a different place. [The area] is [designated] for neighborhood residents in the early morning, and there was a sacred atmosphere. I felt divinity when I saw an old man doing tai chi in the sun.” — Yoshiki Fujiwara

3rd Place People: José Antonio Zamora, “Horses,” province of Avila, Spain


“Every year on the feast of Saint Anthony the ceremony of the purification of animals, called LasLuminarias, is celebrated in Spain. In the province of Avila, horses and horsemen jump over bonfires in the ritual that has been maintained since the 18th century. The animals [are not hurt,] and it is a ritual that is repeated every year. To make the photo, I moved from Seville to San Bartolomé de Pinares because I am very interested in photographing ancestral rites.” — José Antonio Zamora

People Honorable Mention: Navin Vatsa, “Mood,” Delhi, India


“I captured this layered moment during sunrise along the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, India. This boy was thinking silently, and visitors were enjoying the loud musical chirping of thousands of seagulls. The early morning golden light from the east mixed with the western blue light, creating an [ethereal atmosphere.] I am a regular visitor [here] and have photographed this place for the past three years. Now, many national and international photographers have begun visiting [too.]” — Navin Vatsa

The post The Breathtaking Images That Won the 2019 National Geographic Travel Contest appeared first on Hyperallergic.

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When Tragedy Strikes, Social Media Posts Can Become Invaluable Artifacts

The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris engulfed in flames on April 15 (via Wikimedia Commons)

A painful byproduct of the livestream age is the drastic expansion of helpless witnesses. This past April, people around the world looked transfixed at their computer and phone screens, unable to do anything, as Notre-Dame de Paris burned. In front of the cathedral, some people’s grief took traditional forms. They knelt down on the cobblestones and sang “Ave Maria.” Others opted for more contemporary testimony: smartphones out, recording. For cyber-spectators experiencing it all from afar, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook became the natural public squares. So came the selfies:

And then came the outrage:

Every online user is always contributing to the massive archive that is the internet. In moments of collective loss, posters become amateur archivists, self-aware in their practice, providing proof of our pain and sharing it with the masses. Mourning has historically inspired documentation for catharsis, but the advent of the camera granted a facticity to history that previous mediums could never offer. As Susan Sontag once wrote, “Something becomes real — to those who are elsewhere, following it as ‘news’ — by being photographed.” What better way to testify to the cruel senselessness of loss than through such representations of our encounters with what’s been lost?

A swipe down the average Instagram feed demonstrates how Sontag’s terms of photography, as well as “news,” have shifted since she wrote Regarding the Pain of Others in 2003. Some critics have considered this indicative of the supposed increasing superficiality of contemporary culture. For instance, there’s Kenneth Goldsmith’s description of a phenomenon he saw at MoMA:

Instead of reverently standing there in front of [Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon], scads of visitors were turning their backs on the painting, snapping selfies, and uploading them to social media. I noticed that more visitors were paying attention to their devices than to the artwork on the walls. In every gallery, benches intended for the quiet contemplation of modernist masterpieces were co-opted by smartphone users hunched over their devices.

Vapid and narcissistic? Or providing the same photographic proof of significant experience Sontag outlines, but mapped onto the everyday? In The Selfie Generation, Alicia Eler writes: “a selfie makes clear how someone sees themselves in that moment, then gives them the option of whether or not to share.” The smartphone-wielding social media user has been primed to capture communion with iconic objects, from Picasso paintings to Gothic cathedrals. The reverence such objects were once given which Goldsmith references has been extroverted with the clicking of the “Share” button, a new signification.

The contemporary tourist selfie is thus a new, free variety of souvenir (disregarding, of course, the costs of travel, accommodation, meals, and one’s smartphone). It’s certainly easier to share with friends than a suitcase full of tchotchkes. The tourist photograph has been around since the 19th century, when technological developments expanded both luxury travel and photographic modalities. From exotic postcards to slide projectors and Super 8 films, photographic self-inscription has long been an integral part of tourism. Much-maligned tools like the selfie stick, Snapchat filters, and GoPro are just the latest developments in this realm.

Notre-Dame, beyond its religious significance, embodies a certain starry-eyed romanticism of the international vision of Paris. It’s thought of in the same daydreams as languid meals, chain-smoking, and walks along the Seine. As demonstrated by many Americans in their Twitter eulogies following the fire, Notre-Dame represented cherished memories from the past, or the possibility of leisure or means to afford global travel.

The perceived superficiality of the selfie-taking tourist is vindicated when destruction renders their posts as relics, as evidence. In his essay “Why Social Media Turns to Images to Help us Cope with Tragedy,” Kyle Chayka presents his notion of the “grief meme,” whereby social media users change their profile pictures or repost icons as a means of demonstrating solidarity after a collective traumatic event. “We turn to grief memes when words fail our feelings, when we are yearning to address something that no writing of our own can quite embody, but we want to share it anyway.”

I’d argue that the inarticulate feeling motivating the wave of commemorative travel selfies about Notre-Dame is not mourning for the cathedral itself, the popular ideation of Paris, or a longing for international travel generally (though all could be contributing factors). Rather, it’s people reckoning with the existential fears such events force us to contemplate. Even our most iconic monuments are fragile and will crumble.

In a moment when iconography dominates discourse (as ongoing debates over Confederate memorials in America demonstrate), internet users understand well the potency of monuments as symbols. It makes sense that grappling with the fragility of such symbols should hurt us so personally. No wonder we resort to the internet, the one immortal thing we have created, to stockpile our imperfect, pixelated signifiers of what we have lost.

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This App Makes It a Lot Easier to Be an Art Collector

Elmgreen & Dragset, “Temptation” (2012) (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Elmgreen & Dragset, “Temptation” (2012) (photo by Daniel A. Gross for Hyperallergic)

Truth be told, most of us walk into art galleries never expecting to afford to purchase any of the artworks on display. We use commercial galleries, especially the big ones, as museum entertainment, and leave the dream of collecting art to the wealthy 1%. But how might that change if one could purchase artwork after paying just 10% of its price and pay the rest in installments? A new startup gives aspiring collectors a chance to do just that.

Art Money is an app that offers a loan to buy artworks valued between $1,000-$50,000 in 10 interest-free monthly installments after paying a 10% advance. For example, if you encounter a $3,000 artwork that you’re dying to have but can’t afford to pay the entire sum at once, you can take it home for a mere $300 and pay the rest in $270 installments over the next 10 months. Anyone with a clear credit history and an annual income of at least $30,000 from all sources, including other investments, can be approved for the loan. When the sale is made, galleries get the full sum at once minus a 10% fee.

“The art market is broken and inefficient,” Art Money’s founder, Paul Becker, told Hyperallergic in a phone interview. “People want to engage further with art but there are too many things stopping them from doing that … It’s simply too hard for people to buy art,” he said.

Becker, an Australian art entrepreneur, started Art Money in 2015 in Sydney, Australia, in partnership with 26 local galleries. The app has since expanded to New Zealand and the United States and it currently works with a total of 1,000 galleries. About 600 of the participating galleries are located in the US.

The art market is “not a welcoming environment” for new collectors, Becker said. It focuses on big collectors and makes it hard for all the rest to even know where to start. “There’s a pent up demand from creatively interested people who are interested in design and architecture, but they have never come to contemporary art because the contemporary art world pushes people away,” he said. “Finance is not the only part of the solution, but it’s a big part.”

Art Money reports selling 4,000 artworks totaling $18 million in sales during its four years of activity. A third of the app’s 3,000 clients have returned for a second purchase after completing their first payment plan.

The app performs in a way similar to a recent program launched by the Flemish government, which offers an interest-free loan of up to €7,000 (~$8,000) to purchase contemporary art from Flemish and Brussels-based artists. Similar government-funded initiatives exist in the Netherlands and the UK, where they have been reported to boost the art sales of participating galleries.

Is Art Money effecting the sales of New York galleries? Jared Linge, the founder of High Noon Gallery in New York’s Lower East Side, told Hyperallergic that his gallery has doubled its sales since it started using the app two years ago. “Any gallery can give you a payment plan, but you’ll have to complete all the payments before getting the piece. Here you get it right away,” he said. The 10% fee that the app collects from galleries, is equal to a discount he usually offers to clients in regular sales, he said. Many of his new buyers, said Linge, are millennials who are interested in the works of the gallery’s roster of emerging and mid-career women artists.

But not all of the other galleries working with Art Money share High Noon’s success story. Several Chelsea galleries listed on the site told Hyperallergic the app had a negligible impact on their sales. Jim Kempner Fine Art, Foley Gallery, and Kim Foster Gallery reported no sales through the app. GR Gallery’s curator Francisco Scipioni said that only one client has shown interest, but he quickly backtracked and paid the full sum in advance. Ethan Cohen Gallery said it made a few sales on the app for “substantial amounts,” but refused to disclose any further information. All the galleries that spoke with Hyperallergic said the app did not introduce them with new collectors.

“I think it’s a very exceptional idea, but getting people to use it is a whole different story,” Kim Foster told Hyperallergic in a phone conversation. For some big-wig clients, she said, the very notion of a payment plan is offensive. In one case, a client was so offended by the offer that he ended up purchasing an additional piece “just to prove that he has money.” Following several such cases, Foster stopped promoting her gallery on the app. “I find it awkward to offer it to people … The app is great for galleries, I just don’t know to get it out there without being rude,” she said.

“The main reason some galleries are more successful than others [in selling through the app] is how they talk about it,” Becker explained to Hyperallergic. “The most successful galleries are comfortable talking about it,” he said, “other galleries are waiting for the collectors to ask.”

High Noon gallery appears to be a case in point. Unlike his peers in Chelsea, Linge includes a breakdown of the monthly payments near each item on his gallery’s price lists. That removes a major psychological barrier against buying art, he claims: “Americans are afraid of the word ‘loan’ because of its association with student loans and intractable debts.” Instead of “loan,” Linge promotes the service as a “credit system,” which seems to help ease the resistance. He also follows Becker’s advice and engages personally with gallery visitors to introduce them to the app.

“Anything new takes time to adopt, particularly in the art market which is particularly conservative,” Becker said. Art Money, he adds, is “culture-changing the art market” to pave the way to the “next generation of art collectors.” This diverse and fiscally responsible new breed of collectors, he said, is “less extravagant, less self-indulgent and more responsible” than the old guard.

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