Connect with us

Art

Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art has found a big voice of its own

Published

 on

Carlos Bunga’s Procession, 2020.

toni hafkenscheid/MOCA Toronto

Enter the lobby of Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art these days and you will find yourself in a pleasing space defined by a colonnade of old steel pillars and crossbeams whose pale painted surfaces are peeling artistically. Or maybe not.

Look up and around, and you’ll quickly realize the steel is actually corrugated cardboard masterfully assembled with packing tape while the peeling paint is a trompe l’oeil effect. MOCA’s building in the Lower Junction Triangle is a former auto-parts plant and one of those hip renovations of abandoned industrial spaces, but in this installation by artist Carlos Bunga, the historic architecture is a contemporary illusion. In a place where local workers once made auto parts for a U.S. manufacturer (and before that rolled sheet metal for Alcan), an artist now labours with the discarded packaging of the rich and the housing materials of the poor. The playful colonnade is globalism’s Potemkin village.

Bunga, a Portuguese artist based in Spain, is one of three artists who have created site-specific work at MOCA this month as the contemporary art institution continues to define itself and its new old place. Tower Automotive declared bankruptcy in 2005 and closed its Toronto plant in 2006; MOCA moved into the building in 2018 and, ever since, it has been stumbling about trying to stake out some territory that is both cutting-edge and community-oriented. These current installations form one of its most successful efforts so far: All three artists are showing work that is accessible and smart, satisfyingly engaged with the history, architecture and neighbourhood around them.

Story continues below advertisement

For more background on the building, start on the fourth floor, where the Canadian artist Shelagh Keeley has created a work around her own archival photographs of Tower Automotive during its intervening years as a graffiti-covered squat. She juxtaposes photos of its suffering surfaces of cracked tiles and flaking paint with her own quasi-architectural drawings of green shapes and spaces, displaying these fractured and transitional images in the midst of the sharper, cleaner architecture that has replaced them. The effect of elegy and decay is heightened by some haunting paintings from the 1980s: tarps the colour of dried blood featuring black, biomorphic figures are displayed not on the walls but on the floor.

Shelagh Keeley’s Unfinished Traces of Labour, 2020.

toni hafkenscheid/MOCA Toronto

One floor down, Megan Rooney, a Canadian who works in Britain, greets the viewer with sunshine yellow softened by delicate pinks and purples in an abstract mural she has painted over every wall in the gallery. The effect is initially delightful, as though you had been invited into a flower garden on a summer day, but Rooney’s sculptures suggest something less happy is at work.

For an installation titled Hush Sky Murmur Hole, she has taken common bits of street furniture – a shopping cart, oil cans, traffic cones, market umbrellas – and turned them into unusual sculptures. The baby seat on the shopping cart (from No Frills, of course) is encased in a stretchy sleeve of gauze, suggesting a lost or displaced child. She also fits fabric over vertical traffic barriers so they become odd little human figures with their round lights signalling a head but no face. A stuffed snake lies in one corner, curled up in a quilted moving blanket.

Megan Rooney’s Hush Sky Murmur Hole, 2020.

toni hafkenscheid/MOCA Toronto

toni hafkenscheid/MOCA Toronto

toni hafkenscheid/MOCA

toni hafkenscheid

There is a lot of humour in these repurposings, but Rooney also creates the atmosphere of an unstable and unsettling dream world just slightly removed from MOCA’s actual urban setting. Dwelling in this space, with its surprising contrast between its easy colours and its uneasy sculptures, you begin to wonder whether you can trust objects. Rooney pours sand over a fuzzy pink bathmat so its fabric fingers are almost unrecognizable as they stick up like some underwater ghoul. If part of MOCA’s mandate is to engage with the developing neighbourhood at its doorstep, Rooney offers a particularly imaginative response.

Bunga also includes found industrial and commercial objects from the neighbourhood – an old glass display case; a metal art cabinet; a dismantled picture frame – to create a handful of sculptures in his main installation on the second floor, but you can be excused if you don’t spot them. The centrepiece of this room is a showstopper: Bunga has carefully filled the whole place with a grid of low packing boxes, part of his international series of site-specific cardboard installations.

Bunga’s Occupy, 2020.

toni hafkenscheid/MOCA

You are welcome to take off your shoes and walk gently through the boxes, lifting your feet to cross over each rim. But stepping back for an overview is also interesting because it begins to raise questions of scale: It is as though Bunga has created a miniature city in the gallery – or a church since the boxes also read as pews positioned beneath the gallery’s vault. The work is simultaneously meditative and participatory.

Like his colonnade in the lobby, the cardboard boxes suggest ideas about labour, shelter and garbage but young visitors are unlikely to think much about those implications as they happily pick their paths through the grid. This time around, cutting-edge and community-oriented have discovered co-existence.

Story continues below advertisement

Works by Carlos Bunga and Shelagh Keeley are showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art to May 10; Megan Rooney’s Hush Sky Murmur Hole runs until April 12.


Also on exhibit: Images in Debris

Sarah Sze’s Images in Debris, 2018.

toni hafkenscheid/MOCA

Since it reopened on Sterling Road 17 months ago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto has been inviting artists into its new building to create site-specific installations; they have obliged with everything from cardboard boxes to a felled tree. On the other hand, MOCA has also launched a new program that takes an entirely different approach, coaxing existing artworks out of private collections and into the public gallery.

This month, The City is a Collection program makes an impressive debut with the exhibition of Images in Debris, an installation with video projections by the American artist Sarah Sze that is on loan from collectors Audrey and David Mirvish.

Images in Debris announces itself with a dark but sparkling projection of shimmering water that spills out on to the walls beyond the gallery where it sits. The piece itself, shown in darkness so that its projections are visible, is a wildly cluttered desk inspired by the artist’s own studio. Covered in paper, projectors, paint pots, plants, cups, cables and clips, the desk features an almost indescribable mess from which a fabulous quantity of imagery emerges. A light metal armature on the desktop supports multiple irregular screens, including some that are created from dried latex paint drips. On these jury-rigged surfaces, and on the walls of the gallery, this latter-day Rube Goldberg machine unevenly projects videos of nature that suggest the passage of time: a leopard runs, water flows, clouds float. This fascinating contraption can be read as a metaphor for how we experience our image-saturated world – and yet simultaneously it disrupts that experience.

Sarah Sze’s Images in Debris is showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art to May 10.

Source link

Continue Reading

Art

The LA Art Show Returns With an Environmental Focus – Surface Magazine

Published

 on


Environmental issues have taken on a particular urgency in the past year. Climate scientists have warned that if nations fail to immediately pivot from fossil fuels, catastrophic consequences await. Artists frequently reckon with this grim reality, with many expressing skepticism—if not outright anger—at climate inaction, which has resulted in the destruction of coral reefs, intense wildfires, rising sea levels, and the extinction of beloved animal species. The issues surrounding climate change have become top of mind for The LA Art Show, which is kicking off the city’s eagerly anticipated 2022 art season with a newfound ecological lens thanks to the return of DIVERSEartLA.

This year’s edition, which kicks off today at the Los Angeles Convention Center, sheds light not only on how artists represent the environment in their work, but how humanity’s role factors into the equation. “DIVERSEartLA 2022 will encourage visitors to confront the complex challenges of our global climate crisis and imagine potential solutions,” says Marisa Caichiolo, the show’s curator, who encouraged participating art museums to partner with science and environmental institutions. “This topic is at the heart of a growing number of art narratives, including exhibitions built with high-tech innovations designed to inspire artistic appreciation and the desire to respond to environmental challenges, reinforcing the value of translating environmental advocacy into art.” 

Among the programming highlights is “Our turn to change,” a worry-inducing video installation by Andrea Juan and Gabriel Penedo Diego and presented by the Museum of Nature of Cantabria Spain that awakens viewers to melting polar ice caps that are causing sea levels to rise drop by drop. The Torrance Art Museum, meanwhile, presents “Memorial to the Future,” a collaborative piece curated by Max Presneill that centers Brutalist architecture as a failed model of idealism while highlighting the immediate need for environmental action. And in “The Earth’s Fruits” by Guillermo Anselmo Vezzosi, waste unexpectedly takes on a dignified second life. 

The LA Art Show opens at the Los Angeles Convention Center, South Hall, from Jan. 19–23. 

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

300-pound local art heist took 4 minutes | News | pentictonherald.ca – pentictonherald.ca

Published

 on


[unable to retrieve full-text content]

300-pound local art heist took 4 minutes | News | pentictonherald.ca  pentictonherald.ca



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

At Art Basel, FLUF Haus Breaks Barrier Between Metaverse And Physical World – Forbes

Published

 on


Last month, while the cultural elite wrapped up Art Basel with the usual lavish purchases of Keith Herring paintings and Daniel Arsham decayed sculptures, a different crowd had gathered just a couple blocks down the South Beach coastline. The world’s first “Metaverse star” was about to perform.

FLUF Haus, the first in-person gathering for a community of virtual 3D Rabbits (known as Flufs), was hosting a concert for the music star known as “Angelbaby”—a large tattooed pink rabbit whose identity, appearance, and music had been created entirely on the metaverse.

Despite Angelbaby’s entirely virtual existence, some 600 people—largely stakeholders in the NFT community, FLUF World—had flown from across the globe to witness the in-person debut. A projection screen overlooked the dance floor where guests including Trinidad James and Boyz Noise commingled amidst fire breathers and models. Screens scattered throughout the venue displayed various Fluf avatars, broken up by animated scenes from FLUF World.

ADVERTISEMENT

The event—which felt like a bit of a coming out party for newly created FLUF World—underscored a crucial, often overlooked detail of the booming NFT space: community.

“The most important thing to me with FLUF World was the Discord.” said Robert Hellauer, a 33-year old financial analyst who became a Fluf holder in September.  “I went to all the Discords, and all the metaverses have a different vibe…And you could just feel the energy with this one.”

Like the notorious Bored Apes or CryptoPunks, the value of a Fluf isn’t just as a piece of digital art, but as a digital identity. Much like how Supreme or Thrasher did for skaters, NFTs codify culture into appearance, branding one’s allegiance to virtual clans and online subcultures. Buying into a community, literally, helps carve out one’s metaverse identity. FLUF World recognized this early on, and decided to intentionally avoid the toxicity present in many virtual worlds, instead focusing on creating a dynamic and inclusive world to house their digital animal characters.

ADVERTISEMENT

This appeal of intentional community has seemingly paid off, as many at Fluf World expressed having previous interest in the metaverse, but hadn’t yet found a space that appealed to them.

“These guys think about things other guys don’t,” says Tom Soler, a software manager attending the event. “Decentraland launched way ahead but it feels very empty. These guys have thought through what is the most engaging way to create a community for people who want to hang together.”

This engagement is reflected in Fluf World’s 42,000 member Discord where “#new-fluffers are greeted with a reminder to “treat each other with respect”, and after searching through the Fluf Radio and sales channels can navigate to the “Above Ground” section, to find channels such as #health-and-wellness, and #time-to-talk.

ADVERTISEMENT

That’s not to overlook the draw of Fluf World’s impressive technology and artistic detail. Rather than use 8-bit images or 2D cartoons, Fluf World features fully 3D characters designed by animators who’ve worked on projects including Avatar and the Lord of The Rings trilogy.  Characters hover over customizable, multi-dimensional environments—which include both personalized character music and location based-backgrounds that range from a desert to futuristic city (collectively known as “scenes and sounds”). 

Along with the 10,000 original rabbit ‘Flufs’, FLUF World introduced their second line of characters —known as Party Bears— of which all 10,000 sold out in under 10 minutes. Beyond avatars, stakeholders can also purchase virtual real estate known as “burrows”, and even AI-brained spiders (known as “thingies”) which use pattern recognition to create and mint their own new virtual art. All of Fluf World’s characters constantly evolve, and often contain hidden attributes that develop and reveal themselves over time.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Together, this technology, art, and community channels weave together a digital world that shows promise of true depth; an online space with the potential to create a self-perpetuating cycle of growth based on bottom-up user participation. 

“When it comes to other [metaverse] platforms, it’s all about roadmaps,” says FLUF World superfan Nick Synodis, (who goes by the handle Knux). “Fluf is in a league of its own. Its competitor is Spotify. It’s Facebook.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A Record Label For The Metaverse

One of the most promising examples of FLUF World’s potential to be a truly dynamic multi-channel world is their partnership with NFT music collective, Hume. 

Described by co-founders Jay Stolar and David Beiner as the “Web3 version of a record label,” Hume is the NFT music minting service that allows Flufs to commercially own and display exclusive music snippets in their character environment. With a tagline of “we are hume. we are many,” Hume has the most active twitter following in the Fluf World community, acting as both differentiator and hype builder for the virtual world.  

“We’re creating music-driven Metastars,” says record producer Gino the Ghost, the event’s emcee and Hume evangelist. “The next Billie Eilish or Drake is gonna be in the metaverse.” 

Asked what made him interested in migrating his experience from the traditional music realm, Gino (who has composed music for the likes of rapper Saweetie) expressed both an ardent fascination with FLUF World, as well as sharing a commonly held frustration with the revenue structure of the music industry.

ADVERTISEMENT

​​”What I primarily do, I work with the pop side, the rap side, the dance side —and they all want to know,  ‘How do I get into NFTs?’ All these creatives are so tired of the labels and the royalties—and music NFTs are a way out that isn’t cash-grabby.”

With the creation of their metaverse star Angelbaby, Gino and the founders at Hume are optimistic that Web3 could create a paradigm shift not just in how artists generate revenue, but how fans can benefit from their artist loyalty. In this case for instance, by financially supporting Angelbaby’s origin story (which involved being lost in the desert after being transported 1000 years back in time), fans received some of Angelbaby’s original minted music. This music in turn grows in value as Angelbaby’s popularity rises. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“People who helped Angelbaby in the desert, now they all own a piece of their song that is worth $400-500. Over time this increases the value of their own NFT,” says Beiner.  

Gino explains the relationship a bit more simply: “It a way for fans to make fucking money supporting their favorite artists.”

World Competition, or Synergy?

As Gino’s introduction wraps up and Angelbaby’s giant character is projected onto a screen in front of a sea of cellphone recordings, one aspect of FLUF Haus becomes immediately clear: it’s surprisingly normal. 

For all the talk of Web3 and NFTs the metaverse, the event feels much like any other concert—with people dancing in close quarters, and having a good time with people they know. Save for the fact that the performing artist is a 13-foot tall pink rabbit with no known human identity, you’d be hard pressed to know this was an NFT event. 

ADVERTISEMENT

And in a way, that’s kind of the point. As virtual representations of ourselves continue to grow—and the metaverse becomes increasingly populated—so too inevitably will our online identities. But that doesn’t mean we will forgo our personalities in the physical world. Like gamertags, or bitmojis or animal crossing islands, spaces like FLUF World will add another layer onto our beings that enhance, not replace our existing lives. FLUF Haus was trying to demonstrate that connection to the world. 

“The meta verse is going to be this amazing digital space,” says Knux. “But the ultimate goal of it is to live in both worlds.”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending