Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation in the exhibition title alone implies alteration and re-creation through human influence. This new perspective into contemporary American Indian art at the Museum of Art and Design is empowering as it shows the strong and unique voices of one of the most stereotyped and held-back populations. But many of the pieces in the exhibit depict nature, above humans, as the definitive artist. Nature frequently acts as both subject matter and shapes the art as a whole. A clear example of this is Robert Tannahill’s “The False Face,” a series of reinterpreted Iroquois masks made from wooden slabs filled and shaped by glass. On each mask there are visible dark, chalky spots from where the hot glass burned the wood. And though Tannahill has the artist’s role of carving the wood and binding the two wood slabs with wire, it seems the natural heat of molten glass was the main sculpture of each mask. [click to continue….]
- The Museum of Arts and Design. Photo credit: Hélène Binet.
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is itself work of art. The somewhat recently redesigned MAD building is modern and does a better job of representing the intensely awesome art that is on display within it than the building it replaced. The architect, Brad Cloepfil, called his work “editing” because the building was worked on while it was still standing (Robin Pogrebin, “Renovation Slowly Adds Some Light to Lollipops”, New York Times, 5 June 2007).One of the most radical changes was the opening up of many rooms by cutting away part of the building. Cloepfil then filled these openings with glass as to create views of Central Park and more importantly shed some of the much needed light on all of the artwork. The old building was ill equipped to be used as an art museum because the inside held little space for large exhibits. Now, thanks to Cloepfil’s work, the building can easily and efficiently function as a museum, with its own restaurant too. [click to continue….]
Lee Krasner's "Mosaic Table" in "Crafting Modernism" at MAD Museum. Photo Credit: Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Have you ever thought whether design and art was the same concept? Well, they are not. There are actually many differences between them. Having spent ten weeks at the Museum of Arts and Design (the MAD Museum), I’ve come to some conclusions.
According to dictionary.com, the literal definition of design is to “prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), especially to the form and structure of:” In other words, it can also be defined as to plan skillfully. Designs are in a commercial sense and are calculated. They are more of a problem solving through communication. Communication is a way to figure out what the designer conveys. Some questions you should ask yourself when you come across a design are: what does this mean? or What is the message that the designer is trying to tell us? These questions are made to make you think and analyze the piece. [click to continue….]
Jennifer Trask's "Intrinsecus" in the exhibit "The Flora and The Fauna." Photo Credit: Ed Watkins.
As is often the case with human beings, we cannot help but fingerprint all that we touch. In the MAD Museum‘s exhibition of Flora and Fauna, the unique imprint of humanity is almost tangible, even amid the foliage. A sea of surreal sculptures and sketches, the array of artwork contains the esoteric air of natural beauty compiled with a distinctly human element. From a twisted vine entwined necklace resembling a crown of thorns to the butterfly guided wings of a plane, each piece evokes a sentiment of pseudo-serenity. However upon closer examination, the gallery at it’s basest level is marred by the cherubs and chains of human creation. [click to continue….]
From L-R: Zandile Blay, Emil Wilbekin, Bethann Hardison, Lola Ogaunnaike
On Thursday, April 7th, I attended a panel at our partner organization the MAD Museum titled The New Black: Fashion and Design on Branding Culture. The panel featured three prominent, black figures in the fashion world: Zandile Blay (fashion editor of Essence Magazine and editor of ASD and the Blay Report), Bethann Hardison (legendary model and Editor-At-Large of Vogue Italia), Emil Wilbekin (Managing Editor at Essence.com), and Lola Ogaunnaike (of CNN and is also a well-known writer and television personality).
So yes, I sat there in the Museum auditorium for two hours and listened to these giants debate topics such as branding, empires, entrepreneurs, the internet, and bloggers. Although amazing points and quips were made regarding these ideas (i.e “What’s your brand, boo?!” – Emil), they all agreed on one thing: business measures and opinions can truly hinder the growth of a talented designer. [click to continue….]
YINKA SHONIBARE, MBE. “Black Gold Toy Painting 6,” 2006.Acrylic paint on Dutch wax printed cotton canvas. 38 1/2 X 41 inches.
Unfortunately, many Americans’ knowledge of African culture and society extends only as far as “Oh, it’s that place that Bono went to right?” and such enlightened familiarity. “The Global Africa Project” at the Museum of Art and Design (on view through May 15, 2011) sought to remedy this ignorance of Africa’s great and diverse artistic influence by exhibiting not only works and artists of African origin, but also works influenced by traditional African style and art. The exhibition featured many examples of different varieties of visual artwork, from wonderful paintings to professional, stylistic photographs to installations with sight and sound factors. Fashion and design projects were also prevalent, with innovative chair and table designs positioned carefully throughout the gallery, bright colorful dresses adorning figurines, and brightly lit lamps and chandeliers hanging from the ceilings.
Yet out of all these wonderful pieces of art, several works stood out above all. A painting by African-born and UK resident Yinka Shonibare, “Black Gold Toy Painting”, was a canvas drowned in a sea of thick, black acrylic paint, with big gold swirls jutting out from the edges. Toy soldiers and airplanes impaled on wooden sticks bordered two sides of the painting. In the artist bio, Shonibare explained that the painting expressed his viewpoint of our world’s dreadful dependence on oil, as well as presenting influences from both his African and English backgrounds. [click to continue….]
Big Chief Victor Harris adorns the spirit of Fi Yi Yi at the Backstreet Cultural Museum's All Souls Parade.
Feel the rhythm of the drums, the movement of the people and the movement of your hand swing in every direction. A place we all know and are from, it’s time for Africa.
Vibrant is what the exhibition the “Global Africa Project” is, full of color, joy, energy and movement.
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) did a beautiful job of making this exhibition entertaining and amusing. I could go on and on about this exhibition but there was few works that stood out to me. The “spirit of Fi Yi Yi” by Big Chief Victor Harris reminded me of being lost in a field of feathers wondering don’t know where to go or where to exist, and the chapel for the betrayed. It make me think of being on top of the world waiting to take over like a king does.
This exhibition makes me feel like I’m back in Africa waiting to explore with all the elements. It was a way to show people that Africa is not that negative and it’s not all about violence and it’s more about the arts, music and the culture. Also, I think the curators Lowery Stokes Sims, Charles Bronfman, and Leslie King-Hammond did an amazing job of picking the artists and the placement of their work. The exhibition was so different from the other exhibition on the lower floors because this one had a mood, and it’s just had something that you can’t stop talking about after seeing it.
The “Global Africa Project” was like a place where you can escape and be free from the world; it’s just you and everything around you. This exhibition will have you feeling relaxed, thoughtless, and it will have you dancing, literary.
Xu Bing. "Background Story 6." Wood and tempered glass, lightbox, natural debris. 2010 @ the MAD Museum.
As I walked through the pearly white staircase of the MAD Museum to see the “Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art” exhibition, I expected to see a display full of zombies, cowboys, or some strange combination of the two. I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I found the presentation to be made of thought-provoking art rather than an undead version of a Country Western. Needless to say, the “Dead or Alive” exhibit at the MAD Museum wasn’t anything like I expected.
The first piece that caught my eye was Jennifer Angus’s “Victorian Fancy.” Upon first glace, it simply looks like a life-size wooden dollhouse. But when you step closer and look inside one of the small windows, you see something quite surprising: an array of various insect carcasses, some plastered on the wall, some flying in the air, and some even sitting and enjoying a nice cup of tea. Another piece, Tessa Farmer’s “Marauding Horde,” also incorporates the use of dead bugs. [click to continue….]