Eye On Design: Unknown Pleasures Album Cover Art

Unknown Pleasures Cover Art

Photo By Gail

This poster by Peter Savile, who first came to prominence for his designs for Factory Records, was issued to promote Joy Division’s 1979 debut album, Unknown Pleasures.  Band member Bernard Sumner found the image, a rendering of successive waves emitted by a pulsar, in an astronomy textbook.  Saville reversed the image from black-on-white to white-on-black, conjuring the darker atmospherics of the album’s sound. The Cover Art design has attained an iconic status, particularly of late, going so far as to spawn the term “joyplot,“ which refers to a method of data visualization that involves the layering of successive and comparative histograms.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Too Fast To Live Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC.

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Five Conversations By Lubaina Himid On The High Line

Five Conversations
All Photos By Gail

The High Line always seems to have new public art installed along its mile-plus length of green space, and Five Conversations by Tanzanian-born artist Lubaina Himid, although it has been up since April, was new to me as I walked south along the path on my way to the Whitney Museum one sweltering Sunday afternoon.

Five Conversations

For Five Conversations, Himid introduces five wooden doors reclaimed from traditional Georgian townhouses, painted with life-size portraits, cut into silhouettes, that stand freely as flat sculptures. The portraits depict everyday, stylish women who love talking to each other!

Five Conversations Detail

These works have a theatrical quality, referencing stage sets and the simplified histories that dominate our world. In her signature way, Himid brings the two-dimensional medium of painting into our three-dimensional world.

Five Conversations Detail

Part of the En Plein Air, a Group Exhibit that Examines and Expands the Tradition of Outdoor Painting, On View Through March 2020.

 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Tom Wesselmann, Still Life Number 36

Still Life Number 36
Photo By Gail

The enormous sandwich and pack of cigarettes in Still Life Number 36 (1964) reflect Tom Wesselmann’s nonhierarchical approach to subject matter and technique. He believed that anything could be art, including the ordinary consumer items that fill our pockets and kitchen cabinets. In 1962, Wesselmann began a series of large-scale still lifes that incorporated fragments of discarded commercial billboards, which he initially scavenged from trash cans but later procured in new, pristine condition directly from advertising agencies. The larger-than-life proportions of the objects in Still Life Number 36 at first seem to celebrate the surfeit of commercial goods in America’s postwar consumer culture. Yet the layers of collage and painted areas bring together incongruent depictions of reality, creating tensions in the composition that Wesselmann described as “reverberation.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Pokémon Ditto Plushy

Pokemon Ditto
Photo By Gail

OMG, how cute is this week’s Pink Thing of The Day? I found this adorable plushy at Flame Con 2019 and was informed that this is a Pokémon creature called Ditto. Here’s the lowdown from the Pokémon Wiki (yes, there is one):

In its natural state, Ditto is a light purple or pink amorphous Pokémon with vestigial facial features. The face consists of a simple mouth and beady eyes. It also appears to have two pseudopods protruding from its body that it uses as arms. It is capable of transforming into an exact replica of any physical object, including its form and abilities. However, if Ditto tries to transform into something based on memory, it may get some of the details wrong.

Good to know!

Simone Leigh’s Brick House On The High Line

Brick House By Simone Leigh
All Photos By Gail

The first time I laid eyes on Simone Leigh’s monumental Brick House sculpture I was on the bus heading uptown on 10th Avenue.

Simone Leigh Brick House from Distance

I looked up and there she was, gazing out over the oncoming traffic from her perch on the 30th Street overpass, which I am told is now known as The Plinth. A month or so passed before I was able to pay her a proper visit and find out what she is all about.

Brick House Taken From Street Level

Brick House By Simone Leigh

Brick House is a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a Black woman with a torso that combines the forms of a skirt and a clay house. The sculpture’s head is crowned with an afro framed by cornrow braids, each ending in a cowrie shell. Brick House is the inaugural commission for the High Line Plinth, a new landmark destination for major public artworks in New York City.

Brick House By Simone Leigh
View of Brick House Looking East to 30th Street

This is the first monumental sculpture in Leigh’s Anatomy of Architecture series, an ongoing body of work in which the artist combines architectural forms, from regions as varied as West Africa and the Southern United States, with the human body. The sculpture’s title (which is familiar to most as the title to popular 1977-era song by The Commodores) comes from the term for a strong Black woman who stands with the strength, endurance, and integrity of a house made of bricks.

View of 10th Ave Looking South
View From The Plinth Looking South Down 10th Ave

Brick House references numerous architectural styles: Batammaliba architecture from Benin and Togo, the teleuk dwellings of the Mousgoum people of Cameroon and Chad, and the restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi. The sculpture contrasts sharply against the landscape it inhabits, where glass-and-steel towers shoot up from among older industrial-era brick buildings, and where architectural and human scales are in constant negotiation. Resolutely facing down 10th Avenue, Leigh’s powerful Black female figure challenges us to consider the architecture around us, and how it reflects customs, values, priorities, and society as a whole.

Brick House By Simone Leigh

Leigh works across sculpture, video, installation, and social practice, stitching together references from different historical periods and distant geographical locations. As a sculptor, Leigh works predominantly in ceramics—a medium that she mastered early in her career—continually pushing the boundaries of her chosen material by working in new methods and larger scales. In her intersectional practice, Leigh focuses on how the body, society, and architecture inform and reveal one another. She examines the construction of Black female subjectivity, both through specific historical figures such as Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham, and more generally through overlapping historical lineages across Europe, Africa, the US, and the Caribbean.

The High Line Plinth presents a series of art installations that rotate every eighteen months. Designed as the focal point of the Spur, the newest section of the park that opened in spring 2019, the Plinth is the first space on the High Line dedicated solely to new commissions of contemporary art.

Simone Leigh’s Brick House will be on View on The High Line Plinth (at the Spur), 30th St. and 10th Ave., NYC, Through September 2020.

Simoe Leigh Brick House from Distance

Eye On Design: Upcycled Side Chair and Table By Xtreme Upcycle

Upcycled Lounge Chair and Side Table By MH Couture
Photos By Gail

Creating cool, modern furniture from upcycled car parts is not an entirely new idea, but in this case there is a unique motivation behind the design. This fun and funky Side Chair and Cocktail Table — which incorporate discarded car tires and refinished bike wheels — is by Xtreme Upcycle, a small business whose proprietors have a deep social conscience behind everything they produce.

Upcycled Side Chair and Table By Xtreme Upcycle

Embracing the theme of Turning Trash Into Treasures, Xtreme Upcycle (established in 2012) lives its vision of reducing waste and combating climate change; finding alternative uses for discarded items and recycling them into up-cycled new products! Based in Ghana, West AfricaXtreme Upcycle works on most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by halting climate change in its own small, but significant, way. In partnership with it upcycled fashion accessory business MH Couture, they promote positive environmental sanitation processes, create employment for all (with an emphasis on women), and contribute to the education of underprivileged young women and girls in West African society. They also embark on regular tree planting exercises in rural communities. Fantastic!

Follow and contact Xtreme Upcycle via Instagram at @xtremeupcycle!

Upcycled Lounge Chair and Side Table By MH Couture

Photographed at the New York Now Show at Javits Center

Keith Moon’s Pictures of Lily Drumkit

Keith Moon Drumkit
All Photos By Gail

If you can make it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art before the October 1st, 2019 closing date of its attendance record-setting exhibit, Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll you will find that it is so much more than just a collection of famous guitars. For me, the Oh, Wow factor is summed up in the true work of art that is Keith Moon’s Pictures of Lily Drumkit circa 1967. Jesus god, look at this beautiful thing. Just look at it.

Pictures of Lily Drumkit

Inspired by the song of the same title, Pictures of Lily is nine-piece Premier kit — comprised of a snare, two bass (or kick) drums (which are reproductions of the originals), three floor toms and two mounted (rack) toms, with two Paiste cymbals, which appear to be one ride and one crash — with custom artwork.

Pictures of Lily Floor Tom Detail
Floor Toms Artwork Detail

Keith Moon received this drum set at the beginning of The Who’s 1967 U.S. Tour and used it extensively for the performances that followed. The artwork features nude photos of Lily Langtry, the subject of the single “Pictures of Lily.” The psychedelic design incorporates a Union Jack and the text “Keith Moon Patent British Exploding Drummer,” a reference to Moon’s tendency to pack his drums with shells and flash powder in order to detonate them onstage. The two original bass drums are lost, possibly destroyed buy Moon’s pyrotechnics.

Keith Moon Kick Drum

Kick Drum Reproduction, Detail 

Keith Moon Drumkit