Jun 22, 2010

Louise Bourgeois

I shed a tear when I heard that Louise Bourgeois passed away a few weeks ago.  What a loss for the contemporary art world!  
[I realize that I just did a 'ode to Dennis Hopper' a few weeks ago, and I promise this blog won't turn into a bunch of obituaries, but her passing was something I couldn't overlook.] 
I've always admired her work, and encountered lots of her pieces in my visit to museums.  Seems like most museums want to boast having a Bourgeois.   One piece stands out in my memory.  At the Venice Biennale in 2005 at the Arsenale building I simply fell in love with these sculptures (pictured below when they were at the Guggenheim, New York).

The piece (sorry I don't remember the name!) was hung in one of the tallest galleries and it created this play on space and weight that I couldn't get enough of.  I remember standing beneath it in fear thinking that they could fall on me and kill me.  But I still stood there just marveling. 

Jun 16, 2010

Charles Ray, Hinoki

So I'm heading off to the Art Institute of Chicago tomorrow with one of my best friends from college who is visiting me!  I'm so excited, especially to go to this museum with someone who was an art major with me back in college. 
So with that on my mind, I thought I'd share thoughts I had on one of the pieces I enjoyed the most featured in the galleries of the new modern wing.
The piece called, Hinoki, by Charles Ray, is carved out of Cyprus wood and occupies an entire gallery in the modern wing, and rightfully so.  It is a gigantic sculpture of a broken tree trunk.  Sounds simple, in fact I'd say I saw a lot of people glance at it then determine they didn't want to look closer and left that gallery.  It's true, at first you think it's just a broken tree trunk.  You might think, as so many people do, why is this art?  But then as you look closer, you see the details, the shapes of the limbs, see how it hollow in the center, then suddenly you realize you're looking at something that's man  made!  I love it when art surprises you like that.  I remember physically stepping back because I was taken aback almost.  Love having that reaction to art, I think Ray would appreciate it too.

Jun 11, 2010

Outdoor Entertaining

I recently got a few plastic serving pieces (on clearance, yippee!) at Target from the Liberty of London collection and have now been thinking on developing a full set of outdoor entertaining-ware.  That way you're not worrying about things breaking but you're not using paper plates, which I always do.
But, I just started hunting for these pieces and want to wait to purchase until I decide what kind of theme I want.  Flowers, geometric, flourishes, bright colors, simple... I'm not sure yet and my tendency is to impulse buy, then nothing matches and I'm discontent.  However, I figured while I wait for my outdoor entertaining style to congeal, I'd share my favorite finds!
The cutest citrus cup from Pier 1.  I always for get about Pier 1 when I'm shopping for home goods, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say they could be one of the best places to find cheap, outdoor dining pieces.  Maybe not the most unique, but affordable. 

Jun 10, 2010

New Lonny Magazine Issue

The new Lonny Magazine issue is out!  If you're not familiar with Lonny, check it out, it really is a great digital magazine.

Jun 8, 2010

My Favorite Things...

In our house there are a few pieces that are my favorites, pieces I looked long and hard for, created myself or just got a great deal on and feel so lucky to have!  I finally got around to photographing them recently and here they are. 
The highlight here for me is really the old rod iron pieces in the frames.  I got these at the boutique I used to work at and the owner got them in Texas at a flea market, such a find!  I love them, they're definitely the most prominent thing in our family room, being on the wall opposite the entrance, and on the only colored wall in the room. 
A great find from the Kane County Flea Market!  This window (with 2 panes missing) hangs over our piano.  I painted the patterns on the glass to give it a little something extra, but the frame was already distressed white.  I think it brings the whole room together.
Simple, useful, got these from World Market.  Nothing super special, but I love having them in our entry way.

Jun 7, 2010

Unique Use for Paint

This weekend I saw a commercial for Home Depot paint.  Usually we blaze through commercials and can barely handle watching them, but this one caught my eye, even made me rewind it twice.  It wasn't the paint they were marketing, but one of the pictures of a finished product that made me look again.  It was a bright red wall with white trim, but the person who painted it (or commercial producer that made the call, whatever the case may be) decided to add a strip of blue tape a few inches in from the outside of the wall creating a beautifully stark contrast with the red paint.  Almost like a simple picture frame around the plain red wall.  This image is the best example I could find since I couldn't get a screencapture of the commercial.  Imagine this, but in a brilliant red and nothing in the center of the frame, although I do like how they've utilized this paint combination to showcase the mirror and bed.  (Image from Decor Pad)

The commercial got me thinking about how to use paint and think outside the box for decorating.  And at the same time, save myself some money!  So often I tell myself that I need to fill up every wall with a piece of art.  I've attempted to do this in our home, but it can get expensive.  (The custom framing alone, uffda!)  To that end, I've considered installing a chair rail in our 3rd bedroom and painting the lower portion of the walls one color, the top, another.  (I actually mean I've considered asking Josh to install one, I don't think I could handle something so...mathematical!)  Something similar to this image (from In Colors) but more vibrant, more contrast. 

Jun 4, 2010

Architectural Salvage

Architectural salvage places are some of my favorite warehouses to go to and just roam around.  It's also something that I haven't done very much of recently because I don't have that much space to store any pieces I might find and want to take home!  But that doesn't mean I don't keep track of where they are in hopes that I'll have more space one day.  :) 
Places like this really are the best for unique things like vintage signs, beautiful chandeliers, old iron gates, stone sculptures off old buildings, even old arcade games or soda machines.  In fact I bought a beautiful old wooden door at a place like this a few years ago (more on that find later...).  Despite that, I don't typically look for those larger pieces, I tend to look more for smaller accents that will fit subtly into the decor of our home.  Old door knobs, stained glass pieces, small windows, tin wall hangings, wall hooks, iron wall hangings and vintage sconces.

Jun 2, 2010

Homage to Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper died a few days ago.  Until I worked at the Orange County Museum of Art on a exhibition of California art from the 1960s, I wasn't familiar with Hopper's work, outside of the big screen anyway.  But he was a very talented photographer, and it doesn't hurt that some of his subject were among the most famous of artists coming out of the United States at the time. 
Here's a few of my favorite photographs he took, as well as a self-portrait of his which I think captures him brilliantly. 

Ed Rusha (photo by Dennis Hopper)

Jun 1, 2010

Christo + New AT&T Commercial

For those of you that were astounded as me to see AT&T wrapping things with bright orange fabric in their latest commercial, you'll be disappointed to know that this wrapping was not done by artists Christo & Jeanne-Claude.  They just, pretty much, stole the idea.  But I can't be too upset, in fact I appreciate this new marketing campaign.  For those who haven't seen the commercial, here it is.

If you love Christo's work like I do you might be pleasantly surprised by the new creative things they wrapped in the commercial!  For example, the Hollywood sign and the St. Louis arch.  Both excellent choices for wrapping I thought.
I had the unexpected fortune of seeing his work The Gates when I was in New York City in 2005.  I say unexpected because we weren't expecting to get to see it.  The installation was to end a week before we were in town, but thankfully for us, it took them about 2 weeks to tear everything down, hooray!  I even got one of the swatches they were giving out!
His work in central park was, a really nice way to 'wrap' the park.  His work is typically more literal, like this (pictured below, my personal favorite) when he wrapped the pont neuf in Paris, but I liked the play on wrapping he came up with for The Gates.
I first learned about Christo's work when watching the documentary film made about his piece Running Fence. A lot of what the documentary shows is the struggle he went through to get permission to build this fence.  It's really fascinating, I've never seen such an uproar over art before, it's pretty incredible. (If you want to watch part of it, check it out here).
This fence ran the length of 24.5 miles, across the property of 59 ranchers in Sonoma and Marin counties in northern California.  Talk about ahead of his time, he created this piece in 1976.  I appreciate and really love his vision.  And of course Jeanne-Claude, his perfect help-meet and her brilliantly bright red hair.