Art, arts and culture

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A week ago, we took a trip to Rockaway beach to escape from the city heat. After a day of relaxing and sunbathing we went to Fort Tilden to visit Rockaway!, a free public arts festival to celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden and Rockaway Beach after Hurricane Sandy destroyed most of it two years ago. Two of Rockaway’s most notable residents, MoMa PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach and Patti Smith, were invited by the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) to create this exhibition. Smith created specific on-site installations and shows a photography collection. Sculptures are by Adrian Villar Rojas and there is a sound-art piece by Janet Cardiff.

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Sunday June 29th was the opening day of the Rockaway! arts festival; featuring performances by the Rockaway Theatre Company and a poetry reading by James Franco and Patti Smith. See below a few of our own photographs of the event, as well as some images from our favorite installations pulled from several articles (see links at the end of this blog post).

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Resilience of the Dreamer by Patti Smith 

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The Fort Tilden chapel 

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Short film by Walt Whitman 

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Photography collection by Patti Smith 

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T9 Building, a former locomotive repair facility 

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For more information about this event, please visit MoMa PS1, NYTimes.com or Vogue.com.

Photography by Forbes.com, NYTimes, MoMaPS1 and rubenvdb.

 



Art, arts and culture, Dizon Inc family, dizon team, NYC Culture

This week we are featuring artist Kysa Johnson on our blog, she is a member of the Dizon Inc. family and joins us every fashion week as a freelance coordinator. We sat down with Kysa and asked her a few questions about art, fashion and food. Scroll down to see the interview and a few of her recent installations.

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What’s your favorite thing about working fashion week and what keeps you coming back every season?
The amazing people I get to work with! The camaraderie and the chance to be a part of a smart talented group of people working towards a common creative goal.

What inspires you in your own life or work?
Ohhh so much but mostly nature and science. The sense that everything we are surrounded by at all scales is subject to the same basic physical laws and principles and that these laws and principles are over-arching and elegant.

What are the 3 most played songs/albums on your iTunes?
The War on Drugs, William Onyeabor, an old mix made by my husband called “What’s the Rumpus?”

What are you watching right now?
Sooo much good TV! True Detective, Halt and Catch Fire, Veep, Louie, the Leftovers seems promising, Cosmos…. and embarrassingly I watched about 3 episodes of I Wanna Marry Harry on demand the other night. It was way too terrible to turn off.

List 3 fashion week essentials:
Clothes with pockets, coffee, lip balm

Does fashion have a place in your life out side of fashion week? If so, in what way?
Yes! I love clothes soooo much. I love finding those key pieces each year which define that particular time in your life and I have a vintage clothing fetish. I look forward to our bi-annual trips to Pittsburgh each year almost exclusively because they have fantastic and affordable vintage stores. I actually have dreams every now and again that I am in a warehouse full of vintage clothing (from every era imaginable) and it’s all free, it’s amazing.

Below: Kysa Johnson’s ‘Bank of America waiting room’ installation at The Armory Show (click here for more information about the art installation).

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Kysa’s latest exhibition: ‘blow up 250 – be it ever so humble – subatomic decay patterns after Wyandanch, Payne & Rennert’ at the Halsey Mckay Gallery. The exhibition consists out of a sculptural chalk on blackboard drawing, Johnson employs subatomic decay patterns to define a Hamptons landscape occupied by 3 homes: a wigwam typical of the Montauk, John Howard Payne’s grandfather’s humble estate, and a contemporary palatial one. (for more information, click here)

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Below: ‘blow up 181 – subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi’s Funereal Urns’, 2012.

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For more information on Kysa Johnson, please visit her website, wikipedia-page or artsy.net 

Photography by the Halsey McKay GalleryArtInfo.com and Renato Ghiazza.



Art

The provocative Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has finally been released by the Chinese government after 80 days in detention with no charge. Ai Weiwei has been an outspoken challenger of Communist Party rule, both in statements and in his art, but he was uncharacteristically tight-lipped as he emerged from his long imprisonment.

His work constantly questioned traditions in China, especially accepted ideas about the possession and value of art and antiquities. He famously dipped neolithic Chinese clay vessels in bright-colored paint, and photographed himself dropping a Han Dynasty urn which smashed into pieces on the stone ground he stood on. Destroying those symbols of Chinese craft and longevity was a statement that earned him attention and notoriety.

Just as the artist disappeared, his monumental work “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” was installed at Somerset House in London. This sculpture installation addresses the problem of looted art and antiquities, referencing the Imperial Haiyantang water clock, where twelve bronze heads, each an animal of the zodiac, spouted water on the hour.

During the Second Opium War in 1860, French and British forces looted the Imperial Summer Palace and seized the bronze figures, exporting them from the country. Some have surfaced in private collections, such as the Rabbit and Rat held by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé until 2009, while others have been recovered by China and others remain missing.

The installation re-imagines the bronze heads in their formation around an active fountain, and reminds the viewer of the millions of objects around the world removed from their origin cultures by force.

Another Chinese artist whose work interacts with the history of art and material culture also has an installation in London, at the British Museum. Xu Bing created “Background Story 7” as a “dialogue” with a 1654 Chinese landscape painted on a hanging scroll by Wang Shimin.

Xu Bing’s image seems to simply copy the familiar brushstrokes of the 17th century traditional landscape in a modern medium, a large-scale light-and-shadow box. However, a surprise awaits as the viewer walks behind the work. The image is a silhouette meticulously constructed with branches, tape, paper and other refuse. It is a fascinating process and truly makes one question one’s assumptions about how art is created, and challenge one’s capacity to renew vision.

-EM



Art

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is currently featuring a retrospective of the Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. In addition to the main exhibition space, Yohji pieces are also tucked into rooms throughout the museum, interacting with the permanent collection of varying regions and time periods. One of the best satellite spots was in the V&A’s tapestry hall, which boasts some of the most important European tapestries preserved from the 15th century.

There were three Yohji Yamamoto ensembles on mannequins at the center of the large and virtually silent gallery, darkened to protect the aging textiles. The pieces were from Yamamoto’s Autumn/Winter 1995-96 Collection. Two were coats of red felt and one of black. Underneath the thick red wool, black dresses accented with black mesh were layered. The red and black palette and the weighty, stiffened nature of the wool interacted perfectly with the heavy tapestries draping the walls all around.

One of the largest and most memorable tapestries in the room was the The Swan and Otter Hunt, a wool textile woven from about 1430-40 in the Southern Netherlands is part of a group of four called the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries which hung at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire in the 16th century.

The theme of the hunt was particularly powerful and represented a privileged pastime. Hunting was an activity of sport and practicality; in this scene, otters were hunted for their pelts and to control their effect on the fish population needed for human consumption. Swans were hunted for their meat, and in this tapestry boys are seen robbing a swan’s nest of eggs. A bear hunt is seen on the right, the bears struggling to fight back against hunters dressed as Saracens in turbans. Fancy dress and costumes at tournaments and feasts was a popular feature of court life.

The visual style of this tapestry is unlike the others in the room, depicting the figures and their surroundings in a naturalistic but not illusionistic manner. Bold colors and strong lines define the images, and yet there are equally careful details, like the simple chain of the drawbridge. A perfect match for Yamamoto.

-EM



Art

We at Dizon Inc. are well acquainted with the Park Avenue Armory, producing shows for Proenza Schouler as well as G-Star in the amazing space. The history of the building is something few people who rush in and out for a fashion show or two probably have time to ponder. However, it is a fascinating building boasting important 19th-century Aesthetic Movement interiors that are in the process of being restored to their original glory.

On a recent tour, the architectural preservationist in charge of leading the crusade to restoration gave a background of the building and some of the rooms. The Armory occupies an entire block between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue, 66th and 67th Streets on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was built to serve the Seventh Regiment National Guard, a volunteer militia whose members included elites of society like the Roosevelts and Vanderbilts. In the 19th century, the “Silk Stocking Regiment” was had a social club located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. During this time, the area was becoming a neighborhood thickly populated with immigrants, largely German and Irish. The Regiment requested funds from the government to build a new location uptown, a ritzier neighborhood where many of the members already lived. When their proposal was denied, many of the members realized that they could fund the project themselves. Although additional money had to be raised partway through the project, by 1881 the Armory was completed.

The 55,000 square foot Drill Hall is the largest space and was used for training exercises. The structure is a barrel-vaulted “balloon shed”, the oldest in the United States. This system of iron arches allows the huge soaring ceiling and vast floor space to be uninterrupted by load-bearing columns. The effect is reminiscent of European train depots like the Gare du Nord in Paris, or London’s Crystal Palace of 1851.

Proenza Schouler showed their Spring 2009 Collection with a X-shaped runway in the Drill Hall, while G-Star built a comprehensive stadium seating with raised runway in the same season. The lighting on the worn green painted floor reflected beautifully to an silver gilded effect.

HALLWAYS
The first floor hallways and staircase were designed in a Renaissance Revival style by George C. Flint & Co. in 1880. The most striking feature still intact today are the chandeliers and wall sconces which were installed in 1897 with electricity. Proenza Schouler showed their Spring 2008 show in the Armory Hallway; the military influenced collection was accentuated by the vaguely menacing wrought lighting fixtures.

VETERAN’S ROOM
This room is probably one of the most ornate and intact interiors of the Armory. Elements of the decoration were designed by a young Stanford White just as he started his first firm, as well as a virtually unknown Louis Comfort Tiffany. The scheme includes ornately painted silver patterns on the ceiling and columns in a chainmail pattern, as well as a painted frieze depicting the history of warfare. Stained glass windows and glass artwork embellishing the fireplace were executed by Tiffany. The dense program of motifs include an eclectic blend of infuences: Greek, Moresque, Celtic, Egyptian, Persian, and Japanese. G-Star guests fill the room during the after party of the Spring 2009 show at the bottom right. Knowing the illustrious history and the state of restoration makes one a bit nervous to see so many drinks!

FIELD AND STAFF ROOM
This room with extensive woodwork and mounted game heads was originally designed by Pottier & Stymus in a Renaissance Revival style. It will soon undergo extensive work to restore the stenciled floral and geometric wall patterns, which have been revealed under a layer of yellow paint.

LIBRARY- SILVER ROOM
The Library, which has been reappropriated to display some of the Armory’s collection of silver, boasts a beautiful basketweave barrel vaulted ceiling designed by Tiffany, White, and Associated Artists in a subtle salmon color with silver disks scattered over the surface. Crosshatch metalwork on the balcony screen will be cleaned and restored to its original luster.

MARY DIVVER ROOM
This Ladies Reception Room was done by the Herter Brothers. The fireplace is decorated with Minton art tiles that show scenes from Arthurian legend. The painted ceiling and woodwork has been remarkably preserved, even as the walls have been painted over.

BOARD OF OFFICERS ROOM
Another Herter Brothers interior. The wall pattern is the original design but has been overpainted several times. Several different but complementary patterns adorn the walls and ceiling of this room.

-EM