Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Yinka Shonibare's ballerina appears outside the Royal Opera House

Yinka Shonibare's ballerina at the Royal Opera House

Yinka Shonibare's Globe Head Ballerina sculpture has recently been launched at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. The animated artwork (the dancer will twirl around inside its' 'bubble') stands on the corner of Russell Street and is sited high up on the building's facade.

The dancer, whose body is modelled on a sculpture of the real dancer Melissa Hamilton (from the Royal Ballet) will pirouette parallel to the pavement below, and on her shoulders in place of a head is a turning Victorian globe of the world. The pose itself was inspired by a photograph of dancer Margot Fonteyn.

The sphere surrounding the dancer was made by a firm in Italy that specialises in aquariums, who also made the gigantic bottle to hold Shonibare's scale model of Nelson's HMS Victory, which after its display on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square is now a permanent fixture at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich. 

The artwork is due to remain in place for at least the next five years, and has been produced by UP Projects.

I can't find a photo of the artwork in situ (it was due to open today at 12noon) so it might still be in the process of installation - I'm guessing the one above shows the work in the artist's studio. When I find one I'll add it to the blog.

Ross Lovegrove's Solar Tree in London for the summer

Solar Tree by Ross Lovegrove at Clerkenwell Design Week. Photo by Ashley Bingham

I'm sure there will be people who argue that Ross Lovegrove's Solar Tree is design and not public art, but whatever they are, they are in public space and I think they are beautiful enough to be an artwork. Much more so than many artworks, in fact.

The Solar Tree has been shown all around the world and was brought to London to coincide with Clerkenwell Design Week in May. However, it will remain on display throughout the Olympics and Paralympics in St John's Square (EC1) until late September 2012.

Photo: Ashley Bingham

The light was made by Italian lighting brand Artemide, and according to Ross's website:
'The Solar Tree has an embedded artificial intelligence controlling its energy and light. The LED lights are switched on automatically when night falls and the A.I. balances the light intensity, depending on the batteries energy level and the natural night-light conditions.
The Solar Tree has been developed to work “off grid”, as well as being connected to the ‘grid’ to feedback excess energy. In an “off grid” situation, the solar tree has an energy independency to expel light for 3 days.'

Sarah Sze High Line artwork finally comes down

Still Life with Path (Model for Habitat) by Sarah Sze

I'm really sorry to have missed this artwork by New York-based artist Sarah Sze on the famous High Line in New York. (To read more about the High Line scroll further down the page.) Still Life with Path (Model for Habitat) was a temporary installation that has been on display for a year (since June 2011). The elegant, spare design plays with the idea of receding perspectives and vanishing points. The artwork also incorporates fruit and bird seed for the birds and butterflies to feed and rest on.

There's a short film about the artwork here:

You can read a full article about the project here:

The commission is part of the High Line Art commissioning programme which has been running since 2009. One of the current projects is a billboard commission by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. You can read more about current and past commissions here: http://www.thehighline.org/about/public-art Previous artists commissioned include Spencer Finch and Thomas Houseago.

Another current commission is the group exhibition Lilliput which will run until April 2013 and forms a trail of miniature sculptures (as its name would suggest!) along the High Line.

About the High Line, from their website:
'The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.'

It currently runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. The first section of the High Line opened on June 9, 2009, and runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. The second section, which runs between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Versailles commission Joana Vasconcelos

A computer rendering of Marilyn, 2011 by Joana Vasconcelos

The Art Newspaper has published an article which reveals the next commission at the Chateau de Versailles by Joana Vasconcelos, following the previous display of work by Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons in the rather over-the-top palace surroundings.

Portugese artist Joana Vasconcelos will be producing a pair of high heeled shoes made out of saucepans, standing nearly 3 metres high, for display in the Hall of Mirrors. She will also envelop a pair of marble lions in crochet in the Queen's guard room. Wonder if she's heard about the crochet lions being produced for 2012?

Happy family, 2006 by Joana Vasconcelos, an example of her beautiful crochet work

According to a press statement, the work is intended as an “ode to women’s achievements both in the private and public spheres”, and is juxtaposed with Charles LeBrun’s very male depiction of battle glory in the ceiling paintings and medallions of the hall. 

Vasconcelos became well known for her 2005 contribution to the Venice Biennale, A Noiva (The Bride), a giant chandelier made of more than 25,000 tampons.

A Noiva

There are lots of beautiful examples of Vasconcelos's work at: 

To find out opening times, visit: www.chateauversailles.fr

To read the full article on the Art Newspaper website, visit: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/whatson/event/Vasconcelos-Versailles/1123591/?keyword=queen

Friday, 1 June 2012

Creative Review publishes Scott King balloon proposal article

Long Live Death by Scott King

Creative Review have published an interesting article about artist and former graphic designer Scott King who has a rather critical view of public art and whose own satirical work often comments on it.


According to King, the balloon proposal runs as follows:
"I imagine myself to be a government employed 'think-tank' that has come up with the idea of floating gigantic party balloons (low level) over Britain's ten poorest towns and cities in order to lift flagging spirits and encourage re-generation," 

Scott's work Long Live Death proposes that the Angel of the North be relocated to Trafalgar Square (because it's wasted in the north) and he once collected a thousand votes for a 300ft gold-plated statue of Lee Brilleaux (the frontman of Dr Feelgood) on Southend seafront - see:  http://focalpoint.org.uk/e-petition/ 

Worth a read. A shame most of the people who added comments at the end didn't seem to realise the balloons proposal was satirical, but never mind eh. 

Simon Armitage's Stanza Stones project is completed in Yorkshire

The rain stone at Cow's Mouth Quarry near Littleborough, one of the Stanza Stones featuring a poem by Simon Armitage

Poet Simon Armitage has written 6 stanzas which have been carved into large stones in the landscape in West Yorkshire, forming a 47-mile trail. The poems are inspired by the language and landscape of the Pennine Watershed, and have been carved in situ by stone artist Pip Hall. The stones create a permanent poetry trail between Armitage's home town Marsden and Ilkley, where the literature festival is based which has partnered the project.

There is a seventh stanza in an unknown location, but the location of the rest of the stones can be found on a trail map which you can download here: http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Stanza-Stones-Trail-Guide.pdf

To watch an audio slideshow about the project, visit:

Sarah Morris commission for Gloucester Rd tube station

Big Ben [2012] by Sarah Morris, courtesy Sarah Morris and White Cube

Big Ben [2012], British-born American painter and filmmaker Sarah Morris's new temporary artwork for Gloucester Road tube station in London, will be opened on 20 June 2012 at a special event including a talk with the artist and Ossian Ward, Time Out's Visual Arts Editor. The project is the twelfth commission at the station, with previous artists including Brian Griffiths, David Batchelor, Mark Titchner and Cindy Sherman.

Sarah was also one of the artists commissioned to design a poster for the London 2012 Olympics (one of the best ones in my opinion).

Art on the Underground say that Big Ben: 'is a site-specific response to the architecture of the station and the city of London. Spanning eighteen arches across the entire length of the disused platform, this dynamic work is an evolving spectrum of colour and geometry that invites the viewer to reflect upon both London’s past and its future.'

To read more about the commission visit: http://art.tfl.gov.uk/projects/detail/8083/ 

The launch event will be held at The Science Museum's Dana Centre, 165 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5HD. The talk is free and starts at 7pm but places are limited, booking is essential. There's a pay bar. 

If you're interested in going:
020 7027 8694

Liliane Lijn commissioned to create a second artwork in Milton Keynes

Light Pyramid by Liliane Lijn

American-born artist Liliane Lijn (b.1939) has been commissioned to create Light Pyramid, a second permanent artwork for Milton Keynes, thirty three years after the first was installed in 1979. The first work, Circle of Light, is a kinetic light sculpture in thecentre:mk. 

Lijn's new piece is a 6-metre high pyramidal sculptural beacon in Campbell Park which at night will radiate light and will be lit up for special occasions. It has been jointly commissioned by MK Gallery and The Parks Trust.

Light Pyramid is sited at the end of the Belvedere in Campbell Park, a man-made feature formed at the time of the original city centre. It is at the most easterly end of Midsummer Boulevard, at the highest point in the park, giving views to the surrounding Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire countryside, from where it will also be seen.

The work will be unveiled as part of the Jubilee celebrations on 4th June 2012 from 10pm. For details of the event visit: http://www.theparkstrust.com/whats-on/event-details/447

To read more about the project visit: http://www.mkgallery.org/exhibitions/light_pyramid/