Aristotle reasoned that imitation forms the basis of art, and that art imitates nature — some works perhaps more literally than others. Portraying the power, mystery, and grandeur of weather, in particular, has long been a curious obsession of landscape artists brave enough to bear the elements. After all, it’s not easy to capture the immensity of a snow squall or a summer electrical storm.
But art has come quite a long way since the days of picturesque nature paintings, such as Thomas Cole’s dramatic thunderstorm rolling across a somewhat exaggerated Connecticut River Valley. As far as aesthetic subject matters go, weather is just begging for interactivity, some movement and spectacle that don’t just portray the elements, but actually imitate them. These brilliant contemporary art installations prove that there’s more than one way for art to harness the power of Mother Nature.
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British artist Antony Gormley conquers New York’s Flatiron District with his legion of naked men, inhabiting pathways and sidewalks in and around Madison Square Park and perched on ledges and rooftops of buildings from 14th to 34th streets on Manhattan’s East Side. Cast from the artist’s own lean body in iron and fiberglass, the 31 anatomically correct statues, which make up the installation Event Horizon, literally swarm the park. Finding them is a bit like playing “Where’s Waldo?,” yet once spotted, they bring to mind the angels watching over Berlin in Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire.
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Reporter Carol Vogel wrote last week in the New York Times about an upcoming Antony Gormley public art residency with the Madison Square Park Conservancy. All well and good: Gormley is bringing his nude sculptures in multiples to the environs of the park on 23rd Street. He’s a Turner Prize winner. He’s fresh off a living art project in London’s Trafalgar Square. He’s a finalist in some big secret project for the 2012 Olympic Games. But why, according to Vogel, is his commission any less “improbable” than other recent New York showings from the likes of Roxy Paine, Olafur Eliasson, or Christo and Jeanne-Claude? And what, really, should we expect or demand from the realm of public… Read More
1. Gap founder Don Fisher wanted to give San Francisco a $100 million museum in the Presidio, but the people said no. [via SF Chronicle]
2. “Radiohead manager Brian Message has launched a new digital label, Polyphonic, which will allow artists to keep their copyright. [via NME]
3. An anti-smoking protester… Read More