White horse in spring (painted in 1914-15) by Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup (1880-1928). In the collection of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo.
Chinese artist Xu Bing’s installation Phoenix features two monumental birds made entirely from materials found at construction sites in urban China, including demolition debris, steel beams, tools, and remnants of the daily lives of migrant laborers. The internally illuminated birds are suspended mid-air dwarfing visitors. The male Phoenix Feng measures 90 feet long, while the female Huang reaches 100 feet in length. Together they weigh over 12 tons.
Shown for the first time outside China at MASS MoCA, April-October 2013, then at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York for about a year starting March 2014.
In an interview to the New York Times, Xu Bing explains that the project started in 2008, when he was asked to create a sculpture for the atrium of the new World Financial Center building in Beijing designed by Cesar Pelli.
“When I first visited the building site, I had a sense of shock,” Mr. Xu recalled. “It was impossible to imagine that with all the modern technology today, the building was constructed with such low-tech methods.”
The poor working conditions for the migrant laborers who were building such luxury towers, he said, “made my skin quiver.” Mr. Xu had such a violent reaction to what he saw that he decided to make the phoenixes rise, as it were, out of debris and workers’ tools that he salvaged from the construction site.
The building’s developers, afraid that the birds did not carry the expected corporate message, asked Mr. Xu if they could be beautified, perhaps with a crystalline exterior. He declined, and, in the end, the developers rejected his project. But Mr. Xu was determined to forge ahead. He had them constructed at a factory on the outskirts of Beijing, where they were to have taken four months to complete. Instead, the process took two years, with Mr. Xu working from drawings, models and computer-generated diagrams. While they may appear to have the naïve quality of Chinese folk art, every inch — from beak to tail feather — was carefully considered.
Remembering tap 295D
Tap 295D was once fairly important in some engineer’s life.
The Sleepwalker (1909) by Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943). On the wall behind, two paintings by Eilif Peterssen (1852-1928), on the left Summer Night (1886) and on the right Nocturne (1887). All in the collection of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design (formerly, National Gallery) in Oslo.
Santo Amaro by night
Civil War hero
Col. Newton Stone (1836-1864), led the 2nd Vermont Regiment during the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in May 1864, in which he died at age 27.
Oil painting by an anonymous artist in the collection of the Bennington Museum.
St. Olav’s church
Built in 1894-1897 in the style of traditional stave churches by theKvikne family who own the nearby Kvikne’s Hotel. It was built as a memorial to Margaret Green Kvikne (1850-1894), who came to Balestrand as a tourist and married the hotelier. Margaret was the daughter of a vicar from Yorkshire, England and the church remains an Anglican church, supervised by the Bishop of Gibraltar.
Wagons/Tracks (2013), detail of multi-room installation. By Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad (b. 1980). Part of a major temporary exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, April-September 2013.
Painting with wheel tracks from shopping trolleys.
Wagons/Tracks (2013), detail of multi-room installation. By Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad (b. 1980). Part of a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, April-September 2013.
The Saatchi Gallery provides the following market guidance: “Ida Ekblad’s chance-based art practice is a literal reflection of her peripatetic methodology, a special kind of no-holds-barred urban folk art. The production of her sculptures, paintings, music and poetry revolves around ‘drifts’ taken around the cities in which she will be making the work. Like a scavenger on a mission to extract essential, survival sustenance out of the discarded remains of contemporary culture, Ekblad collects materials on her walks, sifting through piles of rubble from demolished buildings and industrial heaps of metal.”
Cris Bruch (b. 1957) - Roller Roaster (1985). In the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery.