Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Old Navy Cropped Jeans: Fun with Size Labels

I was walking the fashion district, looking for zippers, when I came across a trimmings shop with stacks of little boxes of these size labels:
I knew immediately that they would inspire all kinds of Shell Game fun.  In the future, I may paint or draw on them or in other ways alter them, but for my first utilization I've sewn them, as is, into this pair of cropped jeans from Old Navy.
That photo is of the jeans turned right-side-out, after I altered them.  I sewed directly through the fabric, but because I used a dark thread and did small stitches, my additions were nearly invisible from outside.  Here is what they look like inside-out:
To me, the scattering of size tags works as an abstract composition, but also brings to mind a representation of people of various sizes grouping themselves, and in that way takes on an almost narrative dimenstion.  Here's a closer shot:
The line at Old Navy was very long when I went to do the return, which meant that I had plenty of time to work myself into a nervous state by imagining being caught.  I spent a while watching the people around me, trying to perfect a "normal" way of standing in line.  But when I got to the front the clerk was so busy that quite literally said only two words to me, and the return ended up being one of the quickest and smoothest yet.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Message in a Bottle Project

I recently met the instigator of Message in a Bottle Project.  She, and the occasional collaborator, make small collages, paintings, and drawings which are then left in various public or semi-public locations to be found by whomever happens to chance upon them.  She leaves contact information on the back, and encourages the finders to get in touch and let her know when and where they encountered her artistic dispersions.  As she describes it on her blog:

"Our intent is seated in release, discovery, fun, exploration, stories, and connections between strangers. We like to think of MiaBs as movable, three-dimensional graffiti objects. "

Speaking of her blog, I stole this image off of it.  It is one of my favorites of the MiaB pieces, although there is certainly no dearth of lovely samples:
The way that the cloud-form's colors echo the colors of the room, and how all of these elements inform the figure with his slumped far-away posture is really arresting and poetic.

Here are a few more examples of the aesthetic:

The project shares the playful art-in-unexpected-places ethos of my Shell Game project, but the two take very different paths when it comes to follow-up. While MiaB encourages contact and explanation, Shell Game works hard to preserve anonymity and mystery. Although I don't want to leave contact info in my work, I think the move works well for MiaB. I like keeping my clothing alterations difficult to explain, but I think that the MiaB project is served by an awareness that when one has found a "Message", they have found a discrete part of a more intricate and expansive whole. But maybe Shell Game would be served by that as well?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Top Five in Five

After going to see Miranda July's 11 Heavy Things Installation currently showing in Union Square, I thought to myself, "That was nice, but it wouldn't quite rank among the top five art exhibits I've seen in NYC in the last five years."  Which of course inspired me to reflect upon what the top five art works/exhibits that I've seen in NYC in the last five years would actually be.  Here they are, ranked in what I feel to be their order at the moment.

5) Ron Mueck at the Brooklyn Museum:  Mueck employs the mechanisms of movie special effects production to make incredibly life-like figurative sculptures.  Though intensely impressive from a technical angle, what really drew me into Mueck's work was how he played with scale to make me experience my own figure differently.  A huge sculpture of a woman lying in bed, for example, brought back vividly the feeling of being a child crawling into bed with my parents, simply because of how it's scale related to my own.
Ron Mueck: In Bed
Ron Mueck (Australian, b. 1958). In Bed, 2005. Mixed media, 63 3/4 x 255 7/8 x 155 1/2 in. (161.9 x 649.9 x 395 cm). Private Collection
(Photo from

4) David Byrne's Playing the Building, presented by Creative Time: Byrne's building-as-musical-instrument was smartly conceived, a great way to experience the battery maritime building, and fun to play/watch.

3) David Hockney at Pace Wildenstein: Hockney may have come to prominence in southern California, but East Yorkshire sure seems to agree with him.  His large landscapes were lively and gorgeous in person, in a way that just can't be captured by a website.

2) Marina Abromovic's The Artist is Present at MoMA: Not only was it thrilling to have a chance to participate in an Abromovic piece, but the retrospective itself really fleshed out (sorry, couldn't help myself) my understanding of Abromovic's work.  I appreciated the chance to see others performing her earlier works, although I know that that aspect was actually detrimental for some.

1) Antony Gormley's Blind Light at Sean Kelly Galery: The only piece on this list that I went to go see multiple times, Blind Light offered a simple gesture, an interactive room-sized glass box filled with dense white-lit fog, that created a complex and indelible experience - exploring the human experience of vision and space - as well as an aesthetically beautiful object.

(Photo from
Now, this list may well deserve a place in the ranking of the top five most self-indulgent posts I've ever written, but still, if any of those works show up in your neck of the woods, check them out...