We saw 10 sites over two days, and traversed just as many neighborhoods. I won't go into all the details here, I'll let the photo set on this page do the talking. However I will indulge with a few highlights:
• We started the weekend by volunteering at a site. Not only does it feel good to give back for a change, it also feels good to get a pin that lets you cut the line at all the other locations! We were switched at the last minute to the Target Community Garden that just opened in Bed-Stuy (do-or-die, Biggie Smalls baby-baby! Uh.) The neighborhood folk were really excited about this beautiful place taking over what had been a lot "filled with crap" as one local explained to me. Nice.
• The Forbes Galleries were the biggest surprise of the weekend. Housed in the Forbes building just below 14th street, these galleries are the private collection of Malcolm Forbes' childhood relics. I have never seen so many odd things in such numbers! There were easily 5,000 toy soldiers alone, each one more mint than the last. The design of the galleries are as unique as the collection. highly recommended.
• Not a stop you'll find in the Open House event guide, but we couldn't pass up a few sesame pancake sandwiches from the Dumpling House on Eldridge. Perfect when on the go, and quite a bargain at 75 cents each!
• The last stop of the weekend was also the most impressive. We rode the tram to Roosevelt Island (see video below) for a special public art project setup on the normally off-limits south side of the island. Yes, this is the area that houses the small pox hospital that burned down. The exhibit was top-notch and the experience was thrilling.
Don't forget to check the full photo set here!
I didn't go to any of these events.
However, I feel like I did because I've been obsessively reading the posts over on Design*Sponge. Grace has been straight killing it with photos galore, and links to designers sites.
So I present to you the best of all the design shows, poached from the Design*Sponge blog! My apologies...
Do yourself a favor and go to Design*Sponge and read the full posts and see what's cooking in design world.
Rebecca (you may remember her from her Drawing Game touted many times here on Stupidfresh) hipped me to PocketMod. It's a very simple ingenious paper PDA you can create and carry with you. From their site:
The PocketMod is a new way to keep yourself organized. Lets face it, PDAs are too expensive and cumbersome, and organizers are bulky and hard to carry around. Nothing beats a folded up piece of paper. That is until now. With the PocketMod, you can carry around the days notes, keep them organized in any way you wish, then easily transfer the notes to your PDA, spreadsheet, or planner.
Head on over, get organized and save $300.
Tis the season for Design Within Reach's annual Champagne Chair design contest. The finalist's have been announced, and you can now view the entries and vote here.
In this contest, normal schmoes like you or design a miniature sitting chair using the components found at the top of a bottle of champagne. The results are astounding.
And you get to drink a bottle of champagne in the process ( I bet there are quite a few bad chairs out there)
Tim-bo showed me an amazing site today: http://www.wefeelfine.org/
This site has a bot that looks at blogs all over the Internet every 10 minutes (!) for anyone who has written "I feel..." or " I am feeling.." and then adds that quote to the site. You then see all quotes floating in a crazy sea and can choose one at random. Each one of those little dots in the image is actually a quote lifted from the web. Also you can filter the results based on a few criteria (age, location, weather).
It's a little abstract to explain here, but please go and have a look and find out how people are feeling.
My friend Rebecca has started a really cool project.
She calls it the Drawing Challenge Game where she is drawing 30 birds in 30 days.
Her birds are super cute and would look great anywhere on your computer. Each bird is being scanned and posted to her blog devoted to this project,
check it out.
As mentioned a few days ago right here on this very site, and elsewhere, this last weekend hosted possibly the largest and most diverse showing of Street Art to date.
The mysterious building has been bought recently and the developers will be turning the location into condos - no surprise there. However, the new owners are aware of the buildings artistic significance and wished to celebrate it.
After collaborating with Street Art aficionado group the Wooster Collective, a one weekend only show was conceived, setting up works by artists inside the empty building.
With camera in hand, I went to experience this moment in time.
When I arrived at 11:30 am (the doors opened at 11) the line had already snaked down Elizabeth, clear across Spring, and was about a quarter of the way down the Bowery. I lined up behind a large group of students with a few chaperones. In all, it took about two hours of shuffling along before entering the threshold to the building.
It was nice having that time to appreciate the building and its architecture from the outside - 11 Spring is huge taking up about half of that entire city block. From my starting point there were only traces of Street Art to be seen - a few tags here, some stickers there. But as I worked my way around the building the art started to creep closer. This was due, in part, to the continuing stream of artists who were installing works on the building as we waited.
The air was filled with excitement. I began chatting it up with some of my neighbors and exchanging predictions of what we would see once inside. Crowds were forming in, around and across the street. Before long, I was at the entrance. TV crews and reporters started to show. Free water was being given out. A real sense of community had developed in that short time.
Right before I passed through the entrance, a blind man and his assistant asked if they could come in and see the show. The guard let them through - and I got to catch glimpses of him as he felt his way through the show.
The first floor was overwhelming. The space was raw - wooden boards on the floor, no heat, jacked up lighting to allow some vision. Large panels covered the interior walls with imagery , painting and graffiti. I spied a larger than life version of the Street Art campaigns that cover the Walk/Don't Walk signs with miniature people that light up from the mechanics of the sign (see inset photo). I found long colored rubber bands, strung together sneaking between the floorboards above me (I would find later these extended up the fifth floor where you could still pull on the and feel their elasticity through the building. ) There were also gigantic letters that covered most of the ceiling which read: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
There were still a ton of people inside on the ground level, but many were on yet another line to go up to the above floors. The guard only let the same number of people come up that would go down, which maintained a low number of attendees on the higher floors, which was great after being shoulder to shoulder for the past few hours!
As opposed to talking through each floor and the works they contained I'll leave that to the photos. I'd rather concentrate on a feeling.
As I ascended from one floor to the next, taking my time to absorb the works that were covered everywhere (literally everywhere - stuck in the rafters, underneath the staircases, painted on the windows), I was overwhelmed with that feeling. That feeling one gets living in New York City, being a part of something that will only happen once, in this town at that time.
This is an age where there is corporate sponsorship of just about everything you can be a label on, and a city hellbent on squashing creativity in the interest of raw profits. This special "it can only happen in New York" feeling is becoming more and more rare.
On a grander scale, this was a moment for street art - a celebration for a medium that has existed outside of the law, outside of galleries and traditional methods of distribution. This is art for the people.
This is art for you.
Went last night to a Design Within Reach store to see a few of the short Eames design films. Overall the movies were great - inspirational, beautiful, and just an overall cool asthetic.
The few that stood out were:
Tops (1969, 8 minutes) Tops – many, many tops. In the words of a child who was asked to describe the story of the film: “Tops are born, they live, and then they die.” A gem, with a beautiful Elmer Bernstein score, Tops is the second in the unfinished trilogy of toy films (Shipswould have been next).
Toccata for Toy Trains (1957, 14 minutes) Vintage toy trains journey through a world of toy people, props and scenery–Toccata for Toy Trains gives a feel of immersion into the visually rich painted sets. On another level, it addresses the honest use of materials, a critical theme in the Eameses’ work, demonstrated by the clean lines and forms of the molded plywood furniture. Toccata for Toy Trainswas used to conclude the Norton lectures.
(Abstracts taken directly from the DWR Press Release)
I had some trouble tracking down footage online, but check them out if you can - the film series is travelling all over the country.
The Kokuyo Design award winners were announced a week ago, and this awesome post-it pad won the grand prix. The theme was "leaves." Each layer looks slightly different from the one before it, and the translucency and texture make it really feel like you are peeling off thinly cut layers of the onion.
We rounded the corner, bringing the warehouse right up against us and saw that the letters were also spread across the long side of the warehouse. The total message read: "IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK"
I love me some public art. The experience of seeing this form the road was thrilling and frightening. The letters were HUGE! Where did they come from? What did it mean?
A little investigation found that the artwork is called "indestructible language" and was done by Mary Ellen Carroll . The piece is a commentary on global warming and on living green. Check the info on The Precipice Alliance's webpage.
Go public art go.
I came across an amazing website while researching a book called "A Whole New Mind".
The book has an interesting theory: left-brain thinking has dominated our culture for the past few centuries, but due to external factors (abundance, automation of tasks and the Asian work force) right-brained thinking must now be honed in order to succeed in the coming decades.
One way to develop the artistic side of your mellon is via this Jackson Pollock website. It's surprisingly enjoyable. An insider's tip: click once to change colors.