Artful Green Dot

Eco-Chic…..a Guest Post from Yvonne Tran

Posted in Guest Writing by Audrey Tran on April 23, 2009

With increasing awareness of green being good, fashionistas don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for environmentally friendly fashion. I’ve always been put off by the idea of eco-fashion. Usually when I hear the term, I envision dull shades of brown and beige outdoors wear. But today there are many vibrant options. Even the big fashion power players are participating in the green movement.

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Barney's Windows on Madison Ave.

Beginning April 13 through April 27, Barneys New York is partnering with Loomstate to hold a t-shirt recycling drive. You can drop off old t-shirts at all Barneys New York stores around the country and get 20% off all Loomstate items. 1% of proceeds made during this time will be donated to environmental organizations around the world.

Loomstate is a New York City based brand dedicated to creating demand for certified organic cotton using socially and environmentally responsible methods of production. With Loomstate, you don’t have to sacrificing fashion to be eco-friend. Tres Eco-Chic!

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Another company I’d like to plug as eco-chic is EnviroSax. Instead of carrying those not so cute grocery store reusable shopping bags, invest in an EnviroSax (whatever the singular form is…). These bags come in a huge selection of styles to suit your taste and for as low as $7.95 a bag, they’re very affordable.

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One of the most recognizable fashion houses, Louis Vuitton, hired Gas Design Group to design green exteriors (literally) for some of their existing boutiques.

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“This is wonderful because everything Louis Vuitton does gets knocked off instantly. Soon all of Canal Street in New York, Spadina Avenue in Toronto, countless cheap shopping streets around the world will sport green living facades.” -www.treehugger.com
This is one knock off I’d go for!

Yvonne Tran is a business analyst for ALaS Consulting. She also lives and works in New York. I asked my sister to make a post about Eco Fashion after she sent me a scathing/thoughtful critique of ecochick.com.

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Flowers in Bushwick

Posted in Actions by Audrey Tran on April 18, 2009

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A few weeks ago, I picked up Virginia Poundstone’s flower flicker multiple  from a show at Art in General.  The piece asks participants to pick a site of exposed dirt and just spread the seeds. I chose this spot around a tree on Himrod Street. Hopefully, I’ll return in a few more weeks to find some new growths.

Plants and Mammals

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on April 18, 2009

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Here’s a new show for those who enjoy subtle poetics.  

Recently, Carol Bove and Janine Lariviere have been working together on artwork involving our perception of the plant world, and just last Wednesday night,they opened an elegant show at the New York Horticulture Society.  

For these artists, flowers tell us more than we typically expect.  In her artist statement, Bove says “Flowers are shaped by many forces.  They reflect commerce, taste, intellectual labor, fashion, customs, human emotional life…the living expression of social forces and social experience.”  

 Lariviere sees the daffodil as one particular plant that embodies those “many forces” Bove  is speaking about.  These yellow flowers from Lariviere’s garden have an unnatural existence as they are cultivated by humans as commonly as “poodles and pugs” are bred according to consumer preferences.  

plants_mamalsTo those who make it to this show, pay special attention to the delicate net hanging among the first four of Bove’s sculptures.  Its simplicity might make this piece an easy one to pass as I did the first time, but after a closer look at the material, I found it to be one of my favorites of the night.

Like past works by Bove, her pieces in this show have a way of suggesting a human presence.  I’m amazed at how this happens because there’s nothing particularly human about peacock feathers, concrete, driftwood, or netting, but the feeling does resinate in between the sculptures, making the show more than a contemplation about plants.  

 

 

BOVE NY Horticulture Society

Lariviere and Bove, NY Horticulture Society

More Green Porno Pictures and Blog-Hopping

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on April 15, 2009

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Thanks to Jackie May‘s Minor Matters Blog for this picture.  I like how the pixels from the TV screen are visible.  They add to the feel of Rossellini’s crafted costume and props.  Although the shorts would look beautiful on an HD screen, the aura created by Rossellini’s theme and delivery of the story doesn’t call for anything so advanced.  It’s already visually arresting enough.

Jackie’s blog also had a great quote from the star of the show.  It was something obvious that my last post on the porno failed to point out:

Rossellini: I have to imagine how it can translate in this sort of theatre that we do here with puppetry and me dressed up as the animal … It’s funny but it’s a little sick too. 

That “little sick” quality really does effectively grab you.  It’s a grotesqueness that National Geographic wouldn’t be able to do because they use actual footage of animals.  In theatre, mimicking animals doing essentially the same thing produces a whole different sensation for the audience.  There’s a bit of wonder there, for all the things that technology can do, there are still simpler mediums of performance that can’t be replaced.

 

Here’s one more from Ecorazzi.

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This post informed me that the shorts are actually not specifically new for this season.  In Spring 09, we’re going to see Season II of Green Porno.  And it looks like Rossellini concentrated on insects in her last season.  For the one to come, we’ll be viewing her sea creature pornos.  

Ecorazzi had a poll on this blog post, asking readers which animal we’re most excited about seeing.  I voted for the star fish, who sometimes reproduces asexually.

Sculpture Magazine’s “Nature and Culture” articles in the May ’09 issue

Posted in Reviews in Print by Audrey Tran on April 14, 2009

To get some great insight and beautiful writing on how a few contemporary artists are working with the natural world, take a look at the May issue of Sculpture Magazine. This monthly spotlights different approaches to  nature through works by Jaehyo Lee, Chris Drury, Darrell Petit, Shawn Skabelund and Fritz Haeg (He’s the creator of Edible Estates). Each of these artists gives a different vibe and character to green issues. I have a lot to learn from the writers covering/ interviewing these artists.

The magazine has been really helpful for someone like me who only recently started studying this kind of art because it allows me to see a range of approaches outside of pioneer figures like Agnes Denes, Andy Goldsworthy, and Mark Dion.

My only criticism falls on the letter “From the Chairman” heading the issue. Instead of addressing the writing in this magazine, Josh Kanter used his column space to talk about the “seemingly unanimous outcry when any visual arts organization contemplates or implements the sale of a major work of art to bolster the financial position of the organization.” While I agree with his message and am glad someone is vocalizing this concern, I wish he had saved the words for an online post somewhere else. It just seems that an entire issue dedicated to such a thorough concentration deserves some recognition from the chairman.

In any case, the magazine should be out now.

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A New Species of Porn: Isabella Rossellini’s GREEN PORNO

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on April 14, 2009

 

Using colorful paper sculptures and crafty costumes that recall the aesthetics of Michael Gondry,  Isabella Rossellini has created Green Porno, a series of short films based on the sexual habits of animals.  In the pieces, she takes on the role various insects and sea creatures and then mates with a cardboard, craft-version of her chosen animal.  In the image here, we see Rossellini seducing another snail.  

Snapshort of GreenPorno with Snails

Snapshot of GreenPorno with Snails

 

If you haven’t seen the shorts yet, picture colorful sets and costumes like this accompanied by nature soundtracks–i.e. slimy slurping sounds and grasshopper choirs. And of course, the stories are all narrated by Rossellini, herself.  Interestingly, she seems to tend toward playing the male role of most creature relationships.

 

NPR did a great job of interviewing Rossellini about the piece,  unusual for this actor widely known for her dramatic role played in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.

 

For the purposes of this blog, Rossellini’s following words perked my ears when she was asked about the Eco implications embedded in the films’ title:

 

NPR:  Well’s there’s nothing overtly environmental about it….What’s the environmental message?

Rossellini: I never really want to preach.  I’m actually a little tired when people tell me ‘this is the end of the world’ and you become so saturated by this emergency message, I find myself a little turned off  so I thought a comical approach might be better.  

 

Rossellini doesn’t consider herself an Eco “warrior” in this series, but rather a “comic” whose humor can spread appreciation for the natural world to large audiences, the kind that may not typically review National Geographic.  

I appreciate her desire to incorporate nature into culture.  It becomes both an educational and entertaining way of putting the green movement into the public’s subconscious.

Although, I wonder, is there any green-minded porn with human stars out there?  Now that would say worlds about  the nation’s subconscious.

Updates on Katie Holten’s TREE MUSEUM

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on April 13, 2009

In a final meeting at the end of March, the committee for the Tree Museum decided that part of this public art piece will exist in “satellite museum shows” located at the Bronx Museum and Wave Hill, a public garden in the Bronx. Katie Holten said “In this way, the Tree Museum is refined and is all about the Grand Concourse. The related objects are presented inside as the objects/ephemera they are from the Tree Museum’s archive.”

Wve Hill, Bronx

Wave Hill, Bronx

More information about the project’s artists, writers, and news can be found at the Tree Museum’s social networking site, www.treemuseum.ning.com

Manufactured Feces

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on April 10, 2009

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You could go see this art piece, but it  provokes thought even without a visit to the gallery that houses this shit manufacturing machine.   I came across Cloaca No. 5  first from an entry on The World’s Fair of ScienceBlogs.com.   They did a pretty good job of writing about this piece by Belgium artist, Wim Delvoye, especially with the use of Delvoye’s words:

“I wanted to make something that is absurdly unnecessary… I don’t think this biologically correct machine belongs in a science museum. I don’t have that ego. I’m not helping sick people. I’m practically useless in society.”

The quote works well because it addresses one of the questions I think a viewer would have right away: WHY WOULD ANYONE MAKE A SHITTING MACHINE?

For the artist, I believe it has something to do with pointing out  the obvious futility of the object. When I think of this piece and how food goes in one end as shit comes out the other, I keep on seeing a reflection of people and of all living things that create waste.

What a way to get to a conversation on existentialism….

Thomas Hirshmann’s article also filled in some great insight that I didn’t  get out of the World’s Fair post.  He brought attention to the kind of food that goes into the machine, and for me, new ideas arise out of considering just that.  “When it was up at the New Museum in New York, the machine was fed gourmet meals from the city’s celebrity chefs,” wrote Hirshmann in the article.  Reminds me of some of the thoughts I have had during meals sometimes (Jeez, that makes me sound like a nut).  At times, I can’t help but think that the food I just overpaid for will end up leaving me and become another nothing.  As the calories get used up and I just end up requiring more food, it somehow all ends up as useless as Cloaca No. 5 .

I don’t enjoy the signs posted behind the Cloaca machines, the ones that reference recognizable logos like Channel or Arm & Hammer.  To me, they point to consumerism in  such a deliberate, didactic move. To me, the viewer could have made those connections without the help of a sign to explain all.

The piece also has a way of reflecting back on art objects, as many fecal mattered art pieces tend to do.  Ever since Piero Manzoni canned his own feces and sold them for their weight in gold around 1961, the art world has been conscious of the an impractical  often bootless nature that accompanies art making.  For many, this is just a form of mockery.  For me, it’s that plus a way of getting to discussions on the metaphysics of communication through art.