Fans of this blog will know that I am way into repurposing and recycling items that would otherwise end up in a landfill into both functional items and aesthetically pleasing works of art, so when I read about Floating Maize, artist Jean Shin’s new public art installation at the Brookfield Place mall, I braved the subway to get down there to check it out.
Known for her inventive works that transform discarded materials into elegant expressions of place and identity, Jean Shin’s art and practice is ingrained with the idea of sustainability. With that in mind, Shin has repurposed thousands of green plastic soda bottles into an elaborate installation that resembles an artificial landscape.
If you’ve passed by Gem Spa, the legendary East Village bodega that is home to the city’s Best Egg Cream (#BestEggCream) at any point since September 11th of this year, you may have done a double, or even a triple take. We know that St. Mark’s Place has become increasingly gentrified, but is Gem Spa now a bank, or wait, what is going on here, exactly?
While it has been rumored that a citibank is slated to take over the corner lot which has been home to Gem Spa since 1957, fear not: this an art installation meant to draw attention to, but also satirize, the phenomenon known as “Disappearing New York.” It isn’t very pretty.
Disclaimer text running across the bottom of the sign above reads:
schitibank has kept the historical appeal to this building to absorb their customer base. This schiti location is not affiliated with any other schiti locations. We don’t mean to gentrify, as schitibank is co-opting this space with Gem Spa to bring you an authentic banking, egg cream and vaping experience. Every customer is on surveillance cameras. Smile, you’re on camera.
The Gem Spa Schitibank installation is the work of Tommy Noonan and Doug Cameron of boutique marketing firm DCX Growth Accelerator, who are known for their ‘Artisanal’ publicity stunts (Google them and be very impressed).
Click Image to Enlarge So You Can Read the Fine Print!
God is definitely in the details here. Promotional posters for the ‘bank’s’ various perks and services include artwork by Robert Mapplethorpe as well as the likenesses of The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
Click Image to Enlarge for Detail
More posters and props can be found inside the bodega!
We clearly do not need another bank in the village (or anywhere in NYC, for that matter) but we do need a cool bodega that’s been around forever, and we need our delicious egg creams! Gem Spa is located at the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. Drop in and drop some cash next time you’re in the hood. Better yet, make a special trip to visit, so you can see the schitibank installation before they take it down!
Update, May 8th, 2020: Sadly, Gem Spa has fallen victim to the Coronavirus Outbreak. Read the Press Release After The Jump
As promised, here’s another one of my favorite Dining By Design Installations from this year’s DIFFA event, as David Scott Interiors and renowned international luxury furniture brand Roche Bobois invite guests to an elemental dining experience aboard a luxury liner cruising the Atlantic.
Thoughtfully crafted for modern entertaining, an ambient seating area splashed with hues of ocean blue and warm sunshine yellow transitions to a dining area evoking natural light reflecting onto wave-like water formations.
A window seat provides the perfect perch to overlook a natural wonder in the water with Zaria Forman (@zarialynn)’s video artwork titled Ode to an Iceberg, fearing video filmed by Forman in Whale Bay, Antartica (courtesy of Winston Wächter Fine Art). While guests cruise along, similarly to artists’ hands, the wind and water sculpt the icebergs into unimaginable melting shapes.
The unique installation features Roche Bobois’ iconic pieces such as the Bubble armchairs, Edito lounge chair, Ava Bridge chairs, Voiles Dining Table and Nonette floor lamps. Architectural lighting is provided by Orsman Design and tabletop arrangements are provided courtesy of Nikko Ceramics and Les Ateliers Courbet with floral arrangements by Mark Rose Events.
“Our design was driven by the sculptural quality of the pieces selected from the Roche Bobois collections,” says designer, David Scott. “The visual strength of the brilliant yellow Bubble chair and the dramatic shape and finish of the Voiles dining table is a striking pairing. Song Wen Zhong’sAva Bridge clear dining chair is the perfect nod to Zaria Forman’s video piece . They look like they could melt away right in front of your eyes!”
“Roche Bobois is proud to support DIFFA in its continuous efforts to fight the misconceptions and judgements against HIV/AIDS,” says Jennifer Barre, National Marketing Director for Roche Bobois. “We couldn’t be happier to have partnered with the amazing team of David Scott Interiors. They really brought a storytelling dimension to the space.”
It wasn’t until the very last day of the exhibit that I made it over to Bitforms Gallery to check out Israeli-American artist Daniel Rozin’s 3-piece interactive show, Sol. To be honest, I was most interested in a piece that everyone seemed to be writing about, a kinetic sculpture/installation called Cracked Mud (2019), which mimics the cracked surface of a dry river bed, stretched out under a glowing sun-like orb.
According to the exhibit press release, “the effects of climate change are causing lakes to warm faster than the oceans and air, leading to a vast increase of dried riverbeds. Cracked Mud emulates this environment with a large-scale floor installation that takes over most of the gallery space.
A barren landscape illuminated by a glowing sun is suddenly transformed into dynamic, undulating motion by sensors that transmit the observer’s gestures into gradual ripples across the ceramic landscape.
Check Out My Video, Below:
The work performs as both an interactive and generative experience through programmed periods of activity. Although the artwork is intrinsically mechanical, the rippling effect gracefully echoes the fluidity of nature. Rozin’s ceramic fragments marry the handmade qualities of natural materials with the exactitude of kinetic technology.”
It was very fun and cool to watch the “Mud” react to my movements as I walked around the installation, and the gallery was empty while I shot the video so, except for a slight cough off-screen from the gallery docent, it was nice and quiet as well.
A couple of weeks ago, Geoffrey and I made the upper Mnahattan pilgrimage to The Cloisters to see the second half of The Met’s Heavenly Bodies costume exhibit, and we were not disappointed. A bonus of the trip is that, as we rode the bus from the subway up to the top of the hill – because who wants to walk in this heat? – I noticed what looked like life-size Knights in Armor scattered about the lawn, and decided that we must check that shit out on our way back to the train. And check it out we did.
It turns out that the Armored Knights, and their alien-looking, silvery Nude companions, part of an installation, Armors, which was created by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Back home, the artist is known for the androgynous figures she’s placed at iconic landmarks across the globe, including in Reykjavík outside Hallgrímskirkja church and, back in 2011 at NYC’s Hammarskjöld Plaza near Second Avenue.
Armors is made up of three pairs of figures, each featuring a Knight — whose armor replicates a piece of 16th century armor found in gallery 317 at The Met – who is facing or interacting with one of Thorarinsdottir’s nude figures. The Knights were 3D scanned and then manufactured out of aluminum. Thorarinsdottir modeled each nude figure as a direct response to each distinct suit of armor, and all six were then brought to the Cloisters Lawn.
Knight Photographed with Random Cosplaying Child
In a statement about the work, Thorarinsdottir offers that, “Ancient armors are in themselves sculptural forms. They were developed for war but they give a sharp insight into the psyche of man. I wanted to merge medieval armors and ageless, androgynous figures in a way that would speak to the human condition today and in the past.”
Armors was created in collaboration with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program, and can be found in Fort Tryon Park, on the great lawn just downhill from the Cloisters. Get your medieval selfies through September 13th, 2018.
Andrea Bowers is a Los Angeles-based artist working in video, drawing, and installation that combines art and activism in order to draw attention to the struggle for social justice. For the High Line, Bowers presents a continuation of her ongoing work supporting the DREAMers, individuals who came to the United States at an early age without documentation, who have assimilated to U.S. culture, and who have been educated in the U.S. School system.
Here’s what the sign looks like at night.
The message is written in Spanish on one side and in English on the other.
Bowers invited the immigration activist group Movimiento Cosecha to write a slogan in support of DREAMers, realized as a neon sign reading “Somos 11 Millones / We Are 11 Million,” which is the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Part of the Agora Project, Installed on The High Line (Under the Standard Hotel) Through March of 2019.
Eureka is the name of this 40-foot tall monumental sculpture, which depicts a rippling and distorted façade of a 17th century Dutch Canal House (paying homage to 40 years of Dutch rule in New York). Originally created by artist Brian Tolle for curatror Jan Hoet’s city-wide exhibition, Over the Edges (2000), in Ghent, Belgium, its representation in Federal Hall blurs the site’s architectural and political history with the contemporary in the conceptual artwork. Previously, the sculpture was on display at C24 Gallery in Chelsea as part of Tolle’s February 2018 exhibit, Bent.
Eureka Installed at C24 Gallery
The sculpture’s ripped appearance is meant to emulate the building’s rippled reflection in the flowing waterway that it borders.
Tolle describes Eureka as “a sculptural play with illusion — a facade of a facade. Its Dutch-inspired form points to New York’s early history and its fluid, but troubled transformation from a Dutch seat of power to a British colony, to an American platform for diversity and democracy.” It’s sad to think that there are so many serious threats to that democracy right now. While you’re checking out Eureka, be sure to tour the rest of Federal Hall and see the various historical items on exhibit.
Statue of George Washington with Wall Street and The Stock Exchange as Seen From the Entrance to Federal Hall.
Brian Tolle’s Eureka will be on Display Through September 8th, 2018 at Federal Hall National Memorial, Located at 26 Wall Street (Across from the Exchange) in the Financial District, NYC.