Episode 227: Guerra de la Paz

January 3, 2010 · Print This Article

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This week: The AMANDA BROWDER SHOW! Amanda and Tom start 2010 off with an interview with Miami artists Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz about their collective Guerra de la Paz (awesome composite of their names) about their work, and how clothing can be more than just a shell over one person’s nubile body..but a story and a basis for sculptural exploration.

Then, Mike Benedetto returns!!! He offers up a meditation on Steven Seagal, Lawman.

Guerra de la Paz is the composite name of Cuban born, American artist duo Alain Guerra (born 1968) and Neraldo de la Paz (born 1955), who have been collaborating since 1996. They are based in Miami.

Guerra was born in Havana and de le Paz in Matanzas. Guerra de la Paz work in sculpture, installation and photography. Their work references the politics of modern conflict and consumerism alongside symbols of faith; they often use old clothing to build their sculptures.

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Beautiful Wearable Dress Has Over 24,000 LEDs

November 13, 2009 · Print This Article

The Galaxy Dress is the center piece of the “Fast Forward: Inventing the Future” exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The museum is celebrating its 75 years and has commissioned the GalaxyDress for their permanent collection.

The wearable dress made up of over 24,000 full color super thing LEDs, 4,000 Swarovski crystals & enough bateries to keep it on up to an hour at a time is something to be seen first hand and no photo or video recording does it justice. All this makes The Galaxy Dress the largest wearable display in the world.

Designed by Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz, the London-based design duo behind interactive clothing company CuteCircuit

The Soundsuits of Nick Cave: Contemporary Art or Material Culture?

April 6, 2009 · Print This Article

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Artist, performer, and director of the School of the Art Institute’s graduate fashion program Nick Cave had a big profile in last Sunday’s New York Times. Cave’s Soundsuits–wearable mixed-media sculptures that incorporate every material imaginable to make sounds unique to each garment–are on view in a large-scale exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from March 28th through July 5th; the show will travel to UCLA’s Fowler Museum in 2010.

Nick Cave, Soundsuit 1, socks, paint, dryer lint, wood, wool, 2006

Nick Cave, Soundsuit 1, socks, paint, dryer lint, wood, wool, 2006

In the Times profile, Cave recalls what he was thinking when he made his first Soundsuit out of fallen twigs gathered from Chicago’s Grant Park.

“It was a very hard year for me because of everything that came out of the Rodney King beating,” he said. “I started thinking about myself more and more as a black man – as someone who was discarded, devalued, viewed as less than.”

One day, sitting on a bench in Grant Park in Chicago, he saw twigs on the ground in a new light: they looked forsaken too. He gathered them by the armful and cut them into three-inch sticks. He drilled holes through the sticks, so he could wire them to an undergarment of his own creation, completely covering the fabric.

As soon as the twig sculpture was finished, he said, he realized that he could wear it as a second skin: “I put it on and jumped around and was just amazed. It made this fabulous rustling sound. And because it was so heavy, I had to stand very erect, and that alone brought the idea of dance back into my head.”

Cave, you’ll remember, had a show at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2006. I really wish I’d been living in this city at the time so I could have seen it–Cave’s stuff is blowing my mind, and I need to know more about it, look at it up close and in person, watch the fur fly, so to speak.


Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

My own lack of familiarity  with Cave’s work makes me wonder, though: Why is Cave’s show traveling to the Fowler Museum, which is a museum of cultural history, and not an art museum that has an equally strong ability to support and exhibit interdisciplinary art of this nature, like, say, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) or even UCLA’s “other” arts institution, the white-hot Hammer Museum*? From the Fowler’s online mission statement:

The Fowler Museum explores art and material culture primarily from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas, past and present. The Fowler seeks to enhance understanding and appreciation of the diverse peoples, cultures, and religions of the world through highly contextualized interpretive exhibitions, publications, and public programming, informed by interdisciplinary approaches and the perspectives of the cultures represented.

Don’t get me wrong: the Fowler is a fantastic institution and will do a superb job with this show. My quibble is with what seems a questionable location of Cave’s work in terms of “material culture” when it really is better understood in terms of contemporary artistic practice–which is, you know, highly interdisciplinary itself nowadays, and which is why institutions like Yerba Buena’s are an ideal context for it.

Nickk Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

The NYT piece notes that in his catalogue essay for the Yerba Buena show, Dan Cameron “cites the ‘social sculpture’ of the artist Joseph Beuys, the legacy of the drag queen Leigh Bowery in the London underground performance scene and the ornate costumes of African-American Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans” as associative touchstones for Cage’s fashion/sculpture/performance mash-up. So why emphasize only the last part of that description?

Cave shows his Soundsuits at Jack Shainman alongside Kerry James Marshall, Carrie Mae Weems, Michael Snow, Odil Donald Odita, Bob Knox, Tim Bavington–a diverse stable of artists involved in a wide range of practices, some interdisciplinary in nature, some less so. Check out Cage’s bio: He’s had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville and a bunch of other smaller contemporary art venues. That the Los Angeles venue of his biggest exhibition to date will be a cultural history museum rather than a contemporary art center seems a little out of context given where Cage has shown previously.

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

I’ve sat in the conference rooms where the decisions to greenlight exhibitions are made–the choices are complicated and involve a multitude of factors, and believe me, I know that outside observers (like myself) often have an overly simplistic view of how it all goes down. Maybe it’s as simple as the show wasn’t offered to anyone but the Fowler. But I’ve also witnessed firsthand how certain exhibition proposals get tossed aside with hardly a second glance because it belongs “somewhere else,” often that conveniently located cultural history museum that’s right down the street, practically next door, maybe we can collaborate with them on something or maybe not…whatever, “it’s not for us.”

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

This is not about the relative value of cultural history museums. It’s about context, the meaning of “culture,” and museological responsibility. Is the Fowler’s role, and by extension the role of other cultural history museums, to pick up the slack and plug up the holes left by the fine arts institutions in their city? I haven’t lived in L.A. for awhile now, so I can’t do more than broach the question. But the institutional journey that Nick Cave’s Soundsuits have taken and will take in the future would seem to provide a provocative case study in what qualifies as “contemporary art,” what’s deemed “material culture,” and why that distinction even matters.

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Nick Cave, photo by James Prinz, courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

*(Is this the part where I’m supposed to do the “due diligence/ full disclosure” thing and report that I was once an assistant curator at the Hammer? Well, then, consider it done.)

Louis Vuitton Sues Art Student Who Did Darfur Illustration

May 20, 2008 · Print This Article

Marc Jacobs
Nadia Plesner, a Danish 26-year-old art student, designed a T-shirt depicting a Darfurian child holding a Louis Vuitton bag with a Chihuahua on his shoulder in the vein of Paris Hilton. The image was printed on t-shirts to bring about increased attention to the plight of Darfur and the West’s insistence to trivialize or overlook the issues there.

In February of this year the Marc Jacobs run House of Louis Vuitton issued a copyright lawsuit demanding $20,000 a day for each day she continued to use this image and reimbursement for legal fees. Plesner is scheduled to meet with Louis Vuitton in Paris with her lawyer on May 30th since she refused to comply.

New York Mag has a interview with Nadia Plesner that makes for an interesting read.

While the House of Louis Vuitton is busy spending thousands of dollars suing her instead of capitalizing on the moment by making a donation in her name to charity and realizing that parody/caricature and non competitive market copyright have a considerable barring on this “copyright” case. May Bad at Sports suggest other parody related/for profit targets for their attention.
Nadia Plesner
SNL Season 31: Episode 10 – Where a copyrighted Louis Vuitton like background was used to parody a sweet sixteen skit.

Sue Chewy Vuiton again (and fail again) – If at first you don’t succeed-waste court time agian.

Every Editorial Cartoon ever made that has a Louis Vuitton related caricature – Newspapers used to be for profit industries at one time.

Paris Hilton – A living caricature of a human being who is regularly seen with a LV handbag.

Gap Artist Edition T-Shirts – Jeff Koons/Barbara Kruger/Chuck Close/& More

May 13, 2008 · Print This Article

via highsnobiety

Building on its long history of supporting the arts, today Gap introduced Artist Editions T-Shirts, a limited edition collection of t-shirts designed by 13 of today’s most influential contemporary artists, including Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, Marilyn Minter, Kiki Smith, Cai Guo-Qiang, Barbara Kruger, Ashley Bickerton, Kenny Scharf, Glenn Ligon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kerry James Marshall, Hanna Liden and Sarah Sze.

Gap worked in close partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art and Art Production Fund to create the collection with the 13 artists, who are all previous Whitney Biennial participants. The Whitney Biennial is a special exhibition held every two years at the Whitney Museum of American Art that features the most important contemporary art in the United States. Gap is a proud sponsor of the 2008 Whitney Biennial.

The limited edition collection is available exclusively at select Gap stores in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and franchise markets, as well as online in the U.S. at gap.com. It’s also available at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at Colette, a Paris-based boutique. The t-shirts range in price from $28 to $38.