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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We love collisions of culture as much as the next guy, but we have to admit to having a soft spot for those involving provocative hip-hop artists and legendary New York cultural institutions. A few months ago the most venerable of concert halls welcomed Jay-Z’s charity performance in what The New York Times hailed as “the highest-profile hip-hop show ever at Carnegie Hall.” Decked out in a white satin Tom Ford dinner jacket adorned with a diamond Cartier lapel pin, Jay-Z defined blinged-out class. As the Times’ music reviewer went on to write, “more than any of his peers Jay-Z understands the cultural politics of infiltration, and as he gets older, he has made it more the subject of his music.”
We were reminded that bling has transcended the world of rap, even sneaking in to the bourgeois world of architecture, when we stumbled across the whimsical large-scale sequin architectural installations of Theresa Himmer. We couldn’t help but wonder what other sparkling structures might exist in the world. From a blue crystal encrusted urban revitalization project in London to Margiela’s shimmering Beverly Hills boutique to a small gold glitter covered house in the Egyptian desert, click through to check out some of the best building bling out there (and, yes, we will be taking credit for coining that phrase).
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