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.
The Bench I I a (2017) by designer Max Lamb is one of the first prototypes made from solid textile board, a material composed of waste cotton. Lamb created this piece for Really, a Danish company that focuses on upcycling discarded textile waste.
Really mills used textiles into small fibers that are then bonded together with a special agent. The dark blue color of this bench comes from the cotton material, which is discarded denim. The bench is at once a functional object and a conversation starter regarding the reuse of waste materials. The museum installation includes a video (iPad screen seen above) in which Lamb discusses the making of the Really collection of furniture.
The word Nkondi means “hunter,” and it’s also the name of an idol (made by the Kongo people in the Congo region in central Africa) that contains an aggressive spirit meant to hunt down and punish wrongdoers.
The Nkondi Chair, which consists of a No 16 Bentwood Chair by Michael Thonet and hundreds of single-use plastic straws, embodies both the spirit and the act of wrongdoing. In the US, 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown away every single day, and with its artful combinations of colorful plastic straws on the legs, backrest and seat, the Nkondi chair brings attention to the massive plastic pollution on our planet. It also references the artwork created with recycled materials in many countries throughout Africa.
Nkondi is part of the the Metamorphosis Series, where designer Francis Assadi takes the Thonet No. 16 chair and transforms it into a new and vibrant work of art and design.
All of the Metamorphosis series chair are one-of-a-kind/collector’s pieces, handcrafted in New York. Find out more about the unique furniture of Francis Assadi Design Studio at This Link!
The making of dresses from feed sacks or flour bags began in the 19th century, but the idea is most closely associated with the1930s, when the Great Depression necessitated resourcefulness. Knowing that homemakers used the cotton sacks to make clothes and other household items, manufacturers began printing them with cheerful patterns.
In 1994, American Designer Lawrence Scott constructed this stylish suit from large pieces of old feed sacks. He chose to utilize traditional feed sacks rather than the fashionably printed, mid-century bags in order to call attention to their origin. Scott’s design exemplifies the increasing importance of recycling during the 1990s — a notice that extended to fashion production.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Fashion Unraveled: Fashion & Textile, on View at the Museum at FIT Through November 17th, 2018
Coral Forest, Installation View (All Photos By Gail)
Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Crochet Coral Reef (2005–present), an ongoing project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles–based organization, the Institute For Figuring. Mixing crocheted yarn with plastic trash, the work fuses mathematics, marine biology, feminist art practices, and craft to produce large-scale coralline landscapes, both beautiful and blighted. At once figurative, collaborative, worldly, and dispersed, the Crochet Coral Reef offers a tender response to the dual calamities facing marine life: climate change and plastic trash.
With 2016 being the hottest year on record, living reefs everywhere are under stress. Into these arenas of color huge areas of whiteness now intrude; bleaching events signal that corals are sick and dying. In 2005, in response to devastation of the Great Barrier Reef in their native Australia, the Wertheims began to crochet a simulation of healthy and ailing reefs.
If you happen to be doing the tourist thing in the city of Boston, you absolutely cannot miss the opportunity to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, which, like The Met here in NYC, is massive, and has a little bit of everything that an art lover wants to see, all under one roof. It is really quite a remarkable place.
Favorite areas of the museum, for me, are the Contemporary Art galleries, which make amazing use of the space with several installations placed against the high vaulted ceilings. One such piece is Tara Donovan’s Untitled, (2003); a representation of a cumulus cloud formation, which she created solely from Styrofoam cups stuck together with hot glue.
This piece is not only very beautiful, but it also encourages imaginative extrapolation as to how the Brooklyn-based artist chooses her materials. You can read more about that at This Link.