Alexis Rockman’s Mazaruni River (1994) plunges the viewer into the watery world polluted by large-scale gold dredging in Guyana. The hyper-realistic scene is simultaneously seductive and terrifying, as sunny skies and tropical green foliage belie the river’s toxicity. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Mazaruni River By Alexis Rockman
Have you visited the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC? It’s pretty sweet: friendly people, decent weather, excellent restaurants and — if you love nature, especially — endless fun adventures. My recent Alaskan cruise ported out of Vancouver, so I was able to spend four days checking out this fantastic city, including a fun-packed (and educational) afternoon at the very impressive Vancouver Aquarium. Let’s check it out! Continue reading Let’s Go: The Vancouver Aquarium!
If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to see a photo of a Blob Fish online, then you know that this Blob Fish stress toy (from our friends at Gift Republic) bears an uncanny resemblance to the real thing.
It was a dark and stormy afternoon when I first spotted this unique piece of sculpture bolted to a street sign on East 13th Street (near Ave A). I went in for a closer look:
Designs inspired by nature form the largest group of more than 10,000 wallpapers in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Often, a wallpaper theme would tie-in with the room’s use: designs of food were popular for dining rooms and water motifs dominated in bathrooms. The modern bathroom. with a designated space indoors, running water and flush toilets, had been developed by the late nineteenth century. Given the concerns for hygiene and running water, ceramic tiles were the preferred wall-covering because of their durability and sanitary nature. For those on a budget, early wallpapers imitated this look with varnished tile patterns.
Around 1910, bathrooms shifted away from this sterile, hygienic look to become a more pleasant, decorative room that was harmonious with the home’s decor. Some moisture-resistant coverings were introduced in the early 1900‘s, but general-use wallpapers at this time were printed with water-soluble pigments and thus were unsuitable for use in bathrooms.
By 1934, the development of washable wallpapers coincided with a new array of decorative papers that had no hint of their sanitary past; rather, scenic designs featuring more panoramic views, as seen here, became popular, appealing to decorators and homeowners who wanted to bring the outdoors inside.
Sea Beauties Scenic Wallpaper (1920 – 35, Ideal Wall Decoration) seen here in this three-panel set, contains a lively underwater view of fish, shells, coral and plant life in their natural habitat. Multiple sets could be used to wrap around the bathroom, creating an immersive environment.
This early water-resistant design is printed in oil colors, so it could withstand the moisture and occasional splash from the tub, giving the wallpaper both a practical and decorative purpose.
Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Upper Manhattan.