How, exactly, does one become an artist-in-residence at a sanitation department? If you want to do it the way Mierle Ukeles did it, first you get expelled from Pratt for making "pornographic" abstract art. Then you have a baby. Then you write a rad manifesto that redefines everyday maintenance work as fine art. Then you make landfills into beautiful public parks! Easy peasy.
Linda Gass is definitely not be the first to use her skills in sewing for political activism, even within the environmental art movement.
Susan Shie is credited with starting the Green Quilt Movement in 1989, with two other artists, taking quilts off of the bed and on to the walls to promote ecology and our stewardship of the earth. Gass is one of over 1,000 artists worldwide who has contributed to this relatively new formal tradition in environmental art, but she stands out for her realistic aerial landscapes and deep knowledge of land issues and histories of the areas she depicts.
This is what reality television should be like. Made Here is a new web documentary series about work and life as a performance artist as told by a variety of artists living in New York City. Broken up into easily digestible video segments, the series goes beyond "Making It In The Big City" to explore the real-world challenges of space, family, and the impediments to creativity an artist faces.
I first heard Riva Lehrer's name when I spoke with Ann Fox and Jessica Cooley about curating shows dealing with art and disability. Actually seeing her work though, was inspiring. A Chicago-based painter whose work speaks to identity and disability through her beautifully rendered portraits, and I don't think I can put it better than Art Critical does when they describe her style as "crisply observed realism mixed with fantastically contrived settings."
Sculptor Louise Bourgeois created an array of surreal images in her career, many of which address psychological phenomena in physically mutated or twisted figurative forms. But perhaps Bourgeois, nicknamed "Spiderwoman," will be remembered by much of the public who encountered her work for placing dozens of giant bronze spiders worldwide. She died last week, aged 98.
How many times have I heard people describe a new new laptop computer or i-Whatever as sexy? So much so that apple has built a brand on technology that people want to touch, hold, explore. Sleek, clean, shiny. High-touch and high-tech. And yet, when I think of sex toys design, I often think garish, clunky, and tacky. Why would the ultimate in touchable tech not follow suit?
A photograph from Shadi Ghadirian's "Qajar" series.
I planned to write only about Sara Rahbar today, but in researching her and her work I found a few more amazing Iranian artists highlighted in the Saatchi Gallery's 2009 exhibition "Unveiled: New Art From the Middle East". This post will only feature Rahbar and Shadi Ghadirian, but I urge you to check out the work of Shirin Fakhim, Tala Madani, Laleh Khorramian and the other very talented artists from that exhibit.