Shared posts

14 Dec 18:09

Antonio Julio Duarte

by Kat Kiernan
14 Dec 18:07

The tree is up

14 Dec 18:05

Station to station, Lukasz Palka

14 Dec 17:56

True North, Catherine Lemblé

14 Dec 17:52

Quarry, Tito Mouraz

14 Dec 17:48

Delayed gratification, Michaël Borremans

14 Dec 17:48

Contemplative Artworks of Cicada Wings, Hair, and Thorned Branches Evoke Rebirth and Change

by Grace Ebert

“Velo de luto (Mourning veil)” (2020), magicicada wings, sewn with hair, 32 x 47 x 2 inches. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman. All images © Selva Aparicio, shared with permission

Woven throughout Selva Aparicio’s cicada veils and fringed floor coverings are the complexities of rebirth, transition, and beauty’s ability to endure. Organic ephemera—human hair, thorned branches, scavenged wings—become poignant installations and smaller artworks that ruminate on a myriad of global issues, including the climate crisis and the infinite failures of the medical establishment.

Aparicio shares that her explorations of life and death began during childhood when she watched the natural world cycle through growth and decay in the woods outside of Barcelona. This lasting fascination has crystallized in the artist’s body of work, particularly in pieces like “Velo de luto (Mourning veil),” which sews together 1,365 seventeen-year cicada wings with strands of hair taken from two generations of women. The shrouds typically are worn to honor a spouse who’s died, and Aparicio notes the material and form exemplify that “as the fragility of the veil of wings decay so does the patriarchal veil of history that it represents.”

 

“Childhood Memories” (2017), hand-carved rug into utility oak wood floor, 657 square-feet. Photo by the artist

Overall, the artist says that her “practice has evolved beyond the individual to encompass environmental, social, and political activism and evoke the change and rebirth I witnesses in nature.” “Childhood rug,” for example, merges personal memory and a domestic object with larger themes of covering and exposing trauma.

Similarly, Aparicio cites her own experiences in “Hysteria,” an installation that surrounds an antique gynecological table with a curtain of thorned branches. Commenting broadly on the unjust power dynamics inherent within traditional healthcare, the artwork draws a direct correlation between the invasive and painful processes of medicine for women and their ability to bring new life into the world.

Although she spends half her time in Barcelona, Aparicio is currently in Chicago and has work on view at two locations: her piece “Hopscotch” is part of MCA’s group exhibition The Long Dream, while her solo show Hysteria is at the International Museum of Surgical Science, where the artist is in residence. Both are slated to close on January 17, 2021. Head to Instagram for glimpses into Aparicio’s process, as well.

 

“Velo de luto (Mourning veil)” (2020), magicicada wings, sewn with hair, 32 x 47 x 2 inches. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman

“Childhood Memories” (2017), hand-carved rug into utility oak wood floor, 657 square-feet. Photo by the artist

“Hysteria” (2020), thorn branches woven with ligature and Hamilton obstetric table from 1931, 9 x 4 x 6 feet. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman

“Hysteria” (2020), thorn branches woven with ligature and Hamilton obstetric table from 1931, 9 x 4 x 6 feet. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman

“Velo de luto (Mourning veil)” (2020), magicicada wings, sewn with hair, 32 x 47 x 2 inches. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman

“Hysteria” (2020), thorn branches woven with ligature and Hamilton obstetric table from 1931, 9 x 4 x 6 feet. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman

“Hysteria” (2020), thorn branches woven with ligature and Hamilton obstetric table from 1931, 9 x 4 x 6 feet. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman

11 Dec 10:20

Top installations of 2020

11 Dec 10:20

Word on the street, Mobstr

11 Dec 10:16

Bristol

11 Dec 10:15

IGNANT’s South Tyrol Architecture Guide

by Stephanie Wade

South Tyrol, the autonomous province in northern Italy, is known for its breathtaking natural landscapes; with the Dolomites mountain range providing some of the world’s most iconic skiing and cycling routes.

Read more

The post IGNANT’s South Tyrol Architecture Guide appeared first on IGNANT.

11 Dec 09:58

Rijksmuseum reveals details of ground-breaking slavery exhibition

by Senay
Slavery should be better taught in Dutch schools, according to the general director of the Rijksmuseum, which next year will...
10 Dec 09:40

The Last Winter, Elsa Bleda

09 Dec 11:57

Gotham, Nicolas Miller

09 Dec 11:57

I’m lovin’ it, Jeffrey Czum

08 Dec 08:52

Wooden Metropolis

08 Dec 08:51

Rare Octopus With Transparent Head Caught by Blackwater Photographer [Interview]

by Madeleine Muzdakis

Rare Octopus With Transparent Head Caught by Blackwater Photographer [Interview]

Octopus Blackwater Photography Wu Yung-sen

Wonderpus octopus larvae (Photo: Wu Yung-sen)

The depths of the ocean are a powerful draw for researchers, experienced divers, and photographers alike. The vast bodies of water which cover over 70 percent of the planet’s surface are still being explored and documented. Lured by mystery, blackwater photographers dive at night into icy, pitch-dark depths. Taipei-based photographer Wu Yung-sen has been deep sea diving and photographing marine life for four years. On a recent blackwater dive—unable to see the bottom and surrounded by impenetrable space—he chanced upon a rare larval Wunderpus octopus. A stunning image captures the encounter; it shows the delicate and transparent baby octopus encasing its own brilliantly red brain, a sight few ever witness in the wild.

The Wunderpus octopus—called Wunderpus photogenicus, literally meaning photogenic wonder—was only first officially described by researchers in 2006. The animal is still understudied compared to other octopi. The species lives in the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean south of the Philippines. The adults are a rusty red with white spots and stripes. They possess an ability to contort themselves to mimic other similarly shaded sea creatures, such as the venomous spiny lion fish. This protective mechanism, however, does not benefit the young translucent larvae.

The specimen encountered by Yung-sen while blackwater diving in Anilo in the Philippines was in this lifecycle phase and presented a visible brain within its translucent head. The avid diving photographer—who also works as a business consultant—knew he was seeing a rare phenomenon. Luckily, he snapped the image before the young octopus could drift away.

Yung-sen was able to capture this elusive creature—and many others—by using the special techniques employed by blackwater divers. These enthusiasts hope to encounter the unusual, solitary life forms in the open ocean. Blackwater divers take a boat out to sea until the depth exceeds two kilometers. Lights on long lines are lowered first, then the divers descend. They remain tethered to the boat for safety and stability, as they sit and wait about 50 meters below the surface. The lights first attract microscopic zooplankton. The plankton in turn draw small planktonic creatures which feed on the minuscule organisms. Jellyfish, squid, and larval (baby) fish drift in to feed under the suspended light. In blackwater photography images such as those of Yung-sen, the tiny marine life appears isolated against an endless expanse of darkness. Up and down are indistinguishable as the strange species hang suspended under the single lightsource.

For Yung-sen, blackwater photography is a way to explore the limits of the natural world, unseen by many. However, he is also an award-winning photographer in much shallower waters. The ambitious photographer won the Taiwan National Award in the Sony World Photography Awards for his image of migrating salmon in British Columbia, Canada. To get the shot, Yung-sen lay in the freezing river for hours.

Whether he is lying in a river or deep sea diving, Yung-sen's wildlife photography brings aquatic wildlife to a global audience. My Modern Met recently had a chance to catch up with Yung-sen to discuss blackwater photography and his memorable octopus photo. Read on for our exclusive interview with the intrepid wildlife photographer.

Octopus Blackwater Photography Wu Yung-senTransparent Octopus Sea Creatures ImagesWhat first got you interested in blackwater photography?

Blackwater is the ultimate frontier for me. The purpose of blackwater photography is to explore an unknown world, and to look for new life and new species in the vast sea, showing the side of creatures that people barely know.

Deep Sea EelWu Yung-Sen Underwater PhotographyWhat is the biggest challenge of this type of photography?

The most difficult thing is finding creatures. First, it’s a matter of luck to encounter creatures. Afterwards, taking photos in a gravity-free environment seems like I am chasing alien creatures up and down. That’s exactly how I feel!

You must meet the four factors of black water photography:
1. Top neutral buoyancy
2. Experienced diving center
3. Suitable lights, reliable equipment
4. Wait

Blackwater Deep Sea PhotographySquid Deep Sea Ocean CreatureWhat is the appeal of blackwater photography for you?

Because most of the blackwater creatures are larvae, they are mostly transparent, and some of them even expose their organs. The most interesting thing about blackwater photography is that larvae and adults are totally different. I didn’t know what I would get before shooting. For example, the stomach of some species of flounder larvae is exposed outside the body. Because of that, the viewers are stunned by these precious pictures. I hope that everyone can understand this strange and beautiful new world through my photos. The fun of shooting in blackwater is that you can meet unknown larvae. Most of larvae have exaggerated and transparent looks, so I want to show these incredible alien-like creatures through photography.

Do you have a most memorable photo?

The larva of Wunderpus [see lead image]. Unlike the adult, the head is very large and the body is transparent. Especially, when it opens the tentacles completely.

Fish Blackwater Deep SeaWu Yung-sen Underwater Photography

Wu Yung-sen: 500 PX | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Wu Yung-sen.

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READ: Rare Octopus With Transparent Head Caught by Blackwater Photographer [Interview]

07 Dec 10:59

Fishing by Lantern on an Island in Kenya

by Jeffrey Walcott
On Lake Victoria, attracting baitfish with lanterns extends as far back as anyone can remember. But overfishing may jeopardize the tradition.
07 Dec 10:56

SCOTT TYPALDOS

by noctambulo
07 Dec 10:50

Every day is Caturday to a cat, Virgina Mori

07 Dec 10:50

Krampusnacht (in the before times)


Lisi Niesner / Reuters


Angelika Warmuth / Reuters


FooTToo / Shutterstock


Jure Makovec / AFP / Getty


Sean Gallup / Getty


Falk Heller / Getty


Lisi Niesner / Reuters


Simone Padovani / Awakening / Getty

Krampusnacht (in the before times)

07 Dec 10:49

Flat Street in Montreal Is a Visual Playground That Looks Like Undulating Sand Dunes

by Arnesia Young

Flat Street in Montreal Is a Visual Playground That Looks Like Undulating Sand Dunes

Immersive View of Moving Dunes Mural

Outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the street undulates with rippling lines and geometric forms. Its surface is covered by an immersive mural appropriately named Moving Dunes. This morphing installation is the work of Montreal-based architecture firm NÓS, which was founded by Gil Hardy and Charles Laurence Proulx in 2016.  The project—which was introduced alongside the 2018 MMFA exhibition From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-Face Picasso, Past and Present—was designed in response to the artistic approach used by cubist painters to challenge the role of perspective in visual representation.

“We feel that the installation is a kind of public/exterior extension of the exhibition,” Proulx tells My Modern Met, “so the visitor could immerse themselves in an abstract and playful environment, a giant ‘trompe l’oeil' in reference to cubist techniques.” The architecture firm achieved that aim through the use of an optical illusion process called anamorphosis, which requires the viewer to observe the mural from a particular vantage point in order to fully appreciate its form. Experiencing it from alternate viewpoints would break the illusion.

For that reason, the entire impact of the composition cannot be experienced fully through photographs (although they are quite remarkable as well). Instead, the observer must submerge themself within the moving landscape. It's a visual playground for children and adults alike, offering a new way to appreciate an otherwise ordinary street in the city. “We wanted to create an experiential mirage, a kind of oasis in the middle of downtown Montreal,” Proulx says. “The figure of the dunes also refers to a moving landscape, always changing. And it allows one to see the heritage building around in a new way and accentuate the effect of depth in the topography.”

Ultimately, Proulx and the NÓS team wants visitors to experience “an artwork that is not a fixed image but an environment to be discovered with the body moving through space.”

Canadian architecture firm NÓS installed their immersive mural Moving Dunes outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Full View of Anamorphic Art InstallationKids Immersed in Anamorphic Installation ArtView of Moving Dunes From AboveInteresting Perspective of Anamorphic Mural

They used a technique called anamorphosis, which requires the observer to experience the mural from multiple points of view in order to fully appreciate it.

Close-up View of Moving Dunes by NOSAerial View of Moving Dunes Mural

The anamorphic installation transforms as the viewer moves and interacts with it.

Interacting With Anamorphic ArtMoving Dunes Anamorphic Mural MontrealBiking Across Anamorphic Mural Moving Dunes

NÓS: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by NÓS.

Related Articles:

Vibrant Street Mural Transforms a Busy Crosswalk Into a Walkable Work of Art

3D Mural of Precarious Teacups Comes “Crashing” To Life With Augmented Reality

Bernard Pras Forms Incredible Anamorphic Portrait Out of Found Objects

Mind-Bending Optical Illusion Murals Turn Ordinary Buildings into Giant 3D Abstractions

READ: Flat Street in Montreal Is a Visual Playground That Looks Like Undulating Sand Dunes

07 Dec 10:24

Knock three times, Jeffrey Becom

04 Dec 09:13

Architects Are Rethinking the Way We Remember History With Monuments

by Samantha Pires

Architects Are Rethinking the Way We Remember History With Monuments

First Memorial for Covid-19 Victims

World Memorial to the Pandemic (Design by Gómez Platero Architecture & Urbanism)
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Uruguayan architect Gomez Platero has released a series of conceptual renderings of a mass memorial for the victims of COVID-19. Titled World Memorial to the Pandemic, the design features a circular concrete structure along the oceanside of an unspecified site. The minimal plane is disrupted by a singular void cut out of the center, allowing visitors to look inward at the water below, or outwards towards the horizon.

Platero believes this design was necessary to imagine a built space where people could remember, reflect, and mourn. “Monuments, too, mark our shared cultural and emotional milestones,” he says. “By creating a memorial capable of activating senses and memories in this way, we can remind our visitors—as the pandemic has—that we as human beings are subordinate to nature and not the other way around.”

First Memorial for Covid-19 Victims

World Memorial to the Pandemic (Design by Gómez Platero Architecture & Urbanism)

Monuments dedicated to the dead have been around for millennia, so this idea of building a memorial isn't new. But while this particular design is in its early stages of being conceptualized, there are many monuments across the world that are being torn down. In 2020, in particular, there has been an uprising of concerns over confederate statues in the United States that celebrate individuals with complicated and increasingly problematic histories. In order to understand why the demand to take these monuments down is important and what this means for the future, we have to look back and recognize why we have monuments in the first place.

 

Why Do We Have Monuments?

Monuments are fundamental to the human experience—they allow us to remember our past, express the values of our culture, and sometimes to even oppress with a constant reminder of a difficult history or societal expectation. Aside from burial sites and temples, some of the oldest structures in the world are memorials to the dead. Monuments or commemorative statues are types of memorials that often pay homage to individuals. The statue is often built in the likeness of the person it's commemorating. Each monument serves as a physical representation of a memory that is celebrated. This can be especially problematic with time, as what was once celebrated is eventually reexamined, criticized, and potentially vilified.

 

How Confederate Statues Are Making Architects Rethink Monuments

Confederate Monument

Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument (Photo: Stock Photos from Suzanne C. Grim/Shutterstock)

“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” These words were written by Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, referring to the Vietnam War. At a Harvard Graduate School of Design event titled “On Monuments: Place, Time, and Memory,” past Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust shared her thoughts on this theory in regard to the American Civil War. She said that, in many ways, though the North won the battle, the South has continued the fight in memory. This is demonstrated by the survival of the confederate flag long after the confederacy’s four-year-long existence and the emergence of confederate statues that spiked 50 years after the war’s end.

This story may be a meaningful example to understand how monuments have the power to oppress, and how the intention of a monument is far more relevant than the figure or form they depict. In today’s political climate, the importance of remembering our past and acknowledging the shifting values of our society has become increasingly important. How do we preserve current monuments that no longer meet our values, and should we preserve them at all? Is intention important when considering the removal of monuments? Do monuments need to be more abstract to stand the test of time? Do memorials need to do something, do we expect to engage with these spaces to feel connected to our past? These are all valid questions and concerns that architects are now addressing in their designs. There is a clear shift in the way monuments are now being designed.

 

Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument

Statue of Nathan Bedford

Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument (Photo: Stock Photos from L. Kragt Bakker/Shutterstock)

A bronze statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest riding his horse while dressed in the Confederate Army Uniform was installed in Forrest Park in Memphis, Tennessee. Forrest and his wife were dug up from their graves nearly 30 years after their deaths and reburied in the park.

So why was a slave trader and a leader of the Ku Klux Klan commemorated 40 years after a lost war? Even though the Civil War ended in 1865, a majority of Confederate monuments were built between 1890 and 1950, during the Jim Crow era. The largest amount of these statues were installed during 1900-1920. The Forrest Monument coincides with this time frame, having been built in 1905. Though earlier monuments were typically installed in cemeteries, this new era of Confederate monuments placed them in main public spaces and often in front of city buildings.

A graphic map created through data from the Southern Poverty Law Center reveals an important pattern. An increase in Confederate monuments in the 1900s, and the erection of the Forrest Monument, happened just as Southern states attempted to legally segregate society.

 

What Will Future Monuments Look Like?

Regardless of individual feelings on the controversial monuments scattered across the world, future designers of monuments must contend with the fact that what is sacred today, may not be sacred tomorrow.

Modern iconic memorials tend to be pieces of architecture that allow us to connect with history in physical ways. With the knowledge that monuments and memorials can oppress, inspire, and heal, designers have a responsibility to craft a narrative for an entire community—and in cases of significant monuments, the entire world.

Scroll down for two more examples of modern monuments (in addition to Platero's COVID-19 victims memorial) that memorialize lives lost.

 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Holocaust Memorial

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Photo: Stock Photos from D.Bond/Shutterstock)

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was designed by Peter Eisenman and features 2,711 concrete slabs aggregated across a massive landscape. The sculpture park creates a wave-like form as the slabs of different heights interact with the landscape. It is meant to be experienced as a procession that is different for each visitor.

It is open at all times of days, and from all endpoints. It is designed to be purposely abstract and non-prescriptive so that visitors can experience it as they need to. Once their procession is complete, an underground area includes the names of three million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Memorial

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Photo: Stock Photos from D.Bond/Shutterstock)

 

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Piece and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Photo: Stock Photos from Katherine Welles/Shutterstock)

Designed by the Equal Justice Initiative and MASS Design GroupThe National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a structure in Montgomery, Alabama that acts as the first memorial for victims of lynching in the United States. Both the memorial and the nearby Legacy Museum are the result of an interdisciplinary planning process led by EJI's Executive Director Bryan Stevenson. The National Memorial spreads across six acres of land and is dotted with sculptures and art that “contextualizes racial terror” while providing a space for true engagement. In the memorial square built in collaboration with MASS Design Group, each Corten steel block symbolizes a county in the U.S. that has lynched a Black person. The design creates a moving and overwhelming experience for visitors as the sheer number of blocks—about 800—hang overhead.

EJI explains, “The memorial is more than a static monument. It is EJI’s hope that the National Memorial inspires communities across the nation to enter an era of truth-telling about racial injustice and their own local histories.”

Though it may be possible to summarize the characteristics that seem to define modern monuments, the way we remember and the way that we grieve is a constantly changing and intangible experience—one that designers will continue to honor in the built environment.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Photo: Stock Photos from Anton Havelaar/Shutterstock)

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Powerful BLM Video Projections Help Reclaim Controversial Robert E. Lee Monument [Interview]

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Moving COVID-19 Memorial in Uruguay Pays Tribute to Victims of the Pandemic

READ: Architects Are Rethinking the Way We Remember History With Monuments

04 Dec 09:05

Best of 2020: Top 10 Amazing Art Installations That Defined a Year Like No Other

by My Modern Met Team

Best of 2020: Top 10 Amazing Art Installations That Defined a Year Like No Other

Best Art Installation of 2020

To say that 2020 was a year like no other is an understatement. World events, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Black Lives Matter protests, shaped the way we lived. And, as a consequence, they also shaped the way we saw and consumed art. With many museums and galleries closed for extended periods, artists were more resourceful than ever in getting their messages across. This was particularly true of installation artists.

Many artists chose to focus their practice around what was happening in the world, and this often meant striking out on their own. From Dustin Klein‘s spontaneous light projections on the Robert E. Lee Monument to Jammie Holmes‘ powerful airplane banners with the last words of George Floyd, artists were not afraid to use their art to highlight social issues. Some, like flower designer Lewis Miller, even used their skills to give thanks to the brave healthcare workers putting their lives on the line during the pandemic.

And while much art was centered around world events, there were also other incredible art installations that managed to come to life, giving people a break from the divisive and depressing realities of the world. From interactive sculptures in the desert to underwater sculptures in the Great Barrier Reef, these installations reflect the incredible creativity of today's contemporary artists.

2020 was marked by art installations that commented on extraordinary world events.

 

Banksy Quarantine Installation

Photo: Banksy

My wife hates it when I work from home by Banksy

Staying at home in lockdown didn't make legendary street artist Banksy any less productive. He managed to find a space right in his own home to create an installation that exemplified how the whole world was going a little stir crazy. In this piece, which he captioned “My wife hates it when I work from home,” his rats run amok and wreak havoc in the bathroom.

From marking off the days in quarantine to using a roll of toilet paper to get a little exercise, these rats were all of us. And in posting this, Banksy once again showed how he's able to use humor and irony to get through a tough situation. This wouldn't be Banksy's only artistic contribution related to COVID-19. He also painted artwork for a local hospital and his rats took over a subway car with a warning to wear your masks and sanitize your hands.

 

George Floyd Banners by Jammie Holmes

Photo: courtesy of Jammie Holmes and Library Street Collective

George Floyd Banners by Jammie Holmes

The senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers sparked outrage across the globe. Many artists used their craft to ensure that what happened to Floyd would not be forgotten, including Jammie Holmes. The artist organized airplanes to fly across five major U.S. cities carrying banners with Floyd's last words. The results are an in your face, undeniable look at the pain one man suffered that had rippling effects felt by millions. In reflecting his words to the public, Holmes forced us to think about what we can do to ensure this does not keep happening.

“I hope that people will be reminded of the power we can have to be heard and that coming together behind a unified message is key for real change,” Holmes said. “Like countless silenced and fearful young Black men, I have been the victim of police misconduct on a number of occasions in my life. Our mothers are burying us way too early. My fiancée shouldn’t worry every time I’m headed out of the house on my own. Yes, I carry a pistol, Mr. Officer. I carry it to protect myself from you by any means necessary. At some point, you will realize you can’t kill us all.”

 

Light Projections on the Robert E Lee Memorial

Photos: courtesy of Dustin Klein

Reclaiming the Monument by Dustin Klein

In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's deaths, widespread protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement happened across America. And in many cities, old Confederate monuments were forcibly removed or ordered taken down by the legislature. In Richmond, Virginia the last remaining of these was the Robert E. Lee Monument. So while the city decided what measures to take, light projection artist Dustin Klein took matters into his own hands.

For several months, Klein projected images of Black victims of police violence on the face of the monument as a way to transform the meaning of the statue. As the faces of these victims took center stage, the public was allowed to use the space to mourn and gather their thoughts. Klein then extended the project to also include the faces of important Black citizens throughout history—such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman—as a way to acknowledge the great contributions they've made to our country. Klein's project is a reminder that the best art can often come spontaneously from matters that move us.

 

Janet Echelman Bending Arc Installation

Photo: Brian Adams

Bending Arc by Janet Echelman

Artist Janet Echelman is known for her large-scale installations using twine. Her work in St. Petersburg, Florida is no exception. Measuring 72 feet tall and spanning 424 feet, Bending Arc is a focal point of the new Pier Park. Flowing and billowing in the wind, the installation is even more magical at night when it's lit up.

While the visual of the installation is impressive on its own, the work took on new meaning for Echelman when she discovered that it is located in an area that was important during the Civil Rights Movement. People gathered here in peaceful protest against the segregation of local municipal pools, which continued locally even after it was deemed unconstitutional. Upon learning this, Echelman decided on the title Bending Arc in a nod to a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—”the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

 

Flower Flash by Lewis Miller Design

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the public have been showing their appreciation for front-line healthcare workers. Floral designer Lewis Miller had his own unique way of giving thanks by placing his Flower Flash installations in strategic locations across New York. One stop included New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where roses, lilies, and cherry blossoms were placed in an ornate arrangement.

Though Lewis' team was eventually asked to remove the flowers by hospital security, they made the most of it by handing out the flowers to the nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers who passed by. The positive reaction they had shows that even the most simple gestures can be the most powerful.

 

There were other installations that don't focus on the pandemic or Black Lives Matter, but they certainly highlight the creativity on display in 2020.

 

Underwater Sculptures at the Great Barrier Reef by Jason deCaires Taylor

Photo: courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor

Coral Greenhouse by Jason deCaires Taylor

Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor never disappoints with his underwater sculptures, and his latest installation in Australia's Great Barrier Reef is no exception. After years of planning and installation, Taylor didn't let the pandemic get in his way—he was able to open this new underwater park on schedule. Working with the local community, Taylor conceived the Coral Greenhouse. In this installation, the youth are in charge of running a laboratory to investigate the ocean. And as always, the setup makes a wonderful artificial reef for marine life.

“One of the overriding objectives was that we wanted young people to be inspired by marine science and fascinated by it,” Taylor told My Modern Met. “And want to have an active interest in the health of the reef and to be able to explore it in a fun and dynamic way. One of the big objectives was to create this space encompassing many areas, to be not only a space for art and culture but only about marine science and to use it as a portal or access point to explore the Great Barrier Reef.”

 

Pigeon Feather Art Installation by Kate MccGwire

Photo: courtesy of Kate MccGwire

Discharge by Kate MccGwire

Sculptor Kate MccGwire views the use of repurposed materials as central to her creative practice. Her installation Discharge is an incredible example of how creative reuse can produce striking results. The London-based artist used around 10,000 pigeon feathers to create an explosion trickling from a bookcase.

By carefully sorting the feathers she collected, MccGwire was able to create this dynamic curve filled with abstract shapes. The result is at once mesmerizing and yet could be off-putting for viewers once they realize what the material is. This dual reaction is something the artist looks for, as she attempts to show the public how unexpected materials can be transformed into something aesthetically pleasing and beautiful.

 

Petrit Halilaj at the Palacio de Cristal

Photo: ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzmán and Rocío Romero)

To a raven and the hurricanes which bring back smells of humans in love from unknown places by Petrit Halilaj

When Madrid's Palacio de Cristal reopened after the initial COVID-19 lockdown, they started with a bang. Kosovar artist Petrir Halilaj put on an incredible display with his installation To a raven and the hurricanes which bring back smells of humans in love from unknown places. Inspired by the mating rituals of bowerbirds, he filled the space with enormous, oversized flowers.

The flowers were made in collaboration with Halilaj's life partner, Álvaro Urbano; and, in fact, the entire piece is meant to be a celebration of love. By declaring their love openly, they are starting a wider dialogue about acceptance and identity.

 

El Seed at the Desert X Alula Installation

“Mirage” by eL Seed (Photo: Lance Gerber)

Desert X AlUla

Early in 2020, before most of the world was shut down, 14 artists traveled to the Saudi Arabian desert to create their own art oasis. Desert X AlUla is groundbreaking for Saudi Arabia, with a diverse lineup of young artists that included many women. Each artist was asked to use the desert as their canvas, and they all delivered.

Many created interactive pieces that invited visitors to engage with the art. From installations that visitors could swing on to artificial puddles that were meant to be jumped upon, each artwork is a reflection of its artist. Some, like eL Seed even took direct inspiration from the surroundings. His work Mirage is based on a 7th-century love story from the area.

“When I arrived in AlUla, I realized it would be impossible for me to compete with the environment,” eL Seed shared. “So I decided to create a work that would blend into the desert. Jameel and Butheyna were never able to be together. That’s also a mirage. Love is universal. It unites us all.”

 

Mirror Installation at Doge's Palace by Arnaud Lapierre

Photo: courtesy of Arnaud Lapierre

AZIMUT by Arnaud Lapierre

Venice is already beautiful and, by harnessing its beauty, designer Arnaud Lapierre created a memorable installation. Using strategically placed mirrors that rotate, Lapierre's AZIMUT reflects back fragments of the surroundings. Each mirror contains an unexpected detail of Venice's historic architecture, which allows viewers to observe them in a new manner.

Unfortunately, this installation was cut short due to the pandemic, but the power of the piece lives on through photos and videos.

 

Next: Learn more about installation art and see the best examples since 2013.

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Get a Bird’s-Eye View of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Across the Globe

by Jessica Stewart

Get a Bird’s-Eye View of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Across the Globe

Aerial View of Arles Amphitheater

Arles Amphitheater (Photo: Lucas Miguel)

Since 1972, UNESCO has been working to preserve monuments around the world by assigning destinations the status of World Heritage Site. As of today, there are 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include both natural and cultural areas. In some cases, entire cities are named to the list for their cultural significance. With so many places in the program, it can be difficult to keep track, but luckily Overview is taking us on a unique tour.

Overview seeks to share the world as seen from above by generating incredible aerial photos. The community primarily uses high-resolution satellite imagery to composite overhead images. They've put together a collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as seen from above, and the results are astounding. From well-known places like the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Grand Canyon to lesser-known areas like the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, the photos are an excellent opportunity to discover new places and revisit old favorites.

“This project was inspired by an idea known as ‘The Overview Effect,'” shares Overview founder Benjamin Grant. “This term refers to the sensation that astronauts experience when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole, from a great distance. They have the chance to appreciate our home in its entirety, to reflect on its beauty and its fragility all at once. Recent studies have shown that this vantage point inspires a greater appreciation for Earth’s beauty, and an increased sense of connection to all other living beings, and an unexpected level of emotion. That’s the shift that I hope to inspire with my work.”

Take a tour around the world with Overview and check out even more pictures on their website; there, you'll find a map outlining the locales and imagery. If you like what you see, prints of the stunning aerial photography are available for purchase.

Check out these incredible overhead views of UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the globe.

Aerial Photo of the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House (Photo: Nearmap)

Birds Eye View of Venice

Venice (Photo: Maxar technologies)

Overhead View of the Great Pyramids of Giza

Great Pyramids of Giza (Photo: Digital Globe)

Aerial View of Sundarbans

The Sundarbans – Bangaldesh (Photo: NASA)

Aerial View of Marrakesh

Marrakesh (Photo: Maxar technologies)

Aerial View of Mount Etna

Mount Etna (Photo: Planet Labs)

Overhead view of Brasilia

Brasilia (Photo: Digital Globe)

Aerial View of Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Photo: Maxar technologies)

Overhead View of Naples

Naples (Photo: Maxar technologies)

Aerial View of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park (Photo: planetlabs)

Aerial View of Palmanova

Palmanova (Photo: Daily Overview)

Overhead View of the Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring – Yellowstone National Park (Photo: Chris Leipelt)

Aerial View of Damascus

Damascus (Photo: Maxar technologies)

Overhead Photo of Bern

Bern (Photo: Maxar technologies)

Aerial View of Vatnajokull

Vatnajökull National Park (Photo: Maxar technologies)

Overview: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Overview.

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READ: Get a Bird’s-Eye View of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Across the Globe