Design July 26, 2012 By Nalina Moses

Verbier, Switzerland.

Verbier, Switzerland.

Oldwoodtitlenew Fiona Barratt Campbell
Using repurposed and reclaimed construction materials has gone beyond ecological propriety and become high style. Just take a look at the spaces crafted by London-based designer Fiona Barratt-Campbell, who weaves reclaimed wood into contemporary interiors with striking ease. At the Lodge, a ski chalet in Switzerland, weathered wall panels give the space a cave-like warmth. At a house in Harrogate, a patio table and lounge chairs crafted from railroad ties have a cool, post-industrial sensibility. And at an indoor swimming pool in France, twisting black tree trunks have the presence of expressionist sculptures.

Just like working with other kinds of repurposed materials, working with reclaimed wood requires special flexibility. As Barratt-Campbell describes, “Reclaimed wood can often prove difficult to work with as it is not in a uniform size or thickness and is often riddled with old nails, creosote and tar, so the design has to be adapted to suit these imperfections.” And it requires creative sourcing and fabrication. Barratt-Campbell partners with “a fantastic company” in the north of England to find lots of old wood and devise finishes will enhance their natural grain and color. She says, “I usually design a piece of furniture first and then ask our furniture makers to source the right material to work with. We work very closely together on the actual making of the piece so that the finished item is as my vision.”

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Art July 24, 2012 By Kelly Robbins

Sung Hwan Kim, <em>Washing Brain and Corn</em>, 2012   © Sung Hwan Kim

Sung Hwan Kim, Washing Brain and Corn, 2012 © Sung Hwan Kim

tanksheader The Tanks
Once seen as an obscure and elusive genre, performance art has been gaining public awareness over the past decade. But it still lacks a permanent presence in a museum setting, historically because of its anti-institutional nature and recently because of its time-based and spontaneous tendencies. This summer Tate Modern opens The Tanks: Art in Action, a 15-week inaugural series for its new exhibition space, the first of its kind dedicated to live and performance art. The former Bankside Power Station’s oil tanks provide the perfect setting for the multitude of media found in live art. Dance, large-scale installation, film, and soundscapes by the genre’s most cutting-edge artists fill the underground tanks, fostering a very physical interactive experience.

Performance art deals with the desire to engage with art without relying on an outside object—to use one’s body as the artistic tool. Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker exemplifies this notion with an adaptation of her seminal performance piece Fase: Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich. Keersmaeker responds to Reich’s repetitive compositions with synchronized, metronomic movements, resulting in a dizzying and bemusing display. The Tate’s first commission for the Tanks is of the interdisciplinary video artist Sung Hwan Kim, who’s incorporated actors, excerpts of Rainer Maria Rilke, a girl with a beating heart at the top of her neck, paintings, and sculpture into his live work in the past.

Tate: Art in Action runs 18 July-28 October 2012

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Art July 23, 2012 By Sophie Mollart

<em>Swaziland</em> Emely Dlamini, Swaziland John McCafferty © John McCafferty

Swaziland Emely Dlamini, Swaziland John McCafferty © John McCafferty

theworldinlondonheader The World in London
As the Olympic games descend on London this month – an event Londoners will likely meet with ambivalence, agitation and hopefully just a little bit of excitement – the Photographer’s Gallery will launch an outdoor exhibit celebrating the city’s rich ethnic composition. London has the kind of polyphony of culture to rival Astoria, Queens; that’s 300 languages spoken and more than 50 non-British communities contributing to it’s ever expanding cultural make-up.

The Photographer’s Gallery has commissioned 204 international photographers to portrait London’s émigré community – residents born in each of the 204 countries competing in the Olympic and Paralympic games that now call London home. Emerging photographers will feature alongside established names such as Toby Glanville, Anders Petersen, Jim Goldberg, Rankin, Stefan Ruiz, Dryden Goodwin, Karen Knorr and Catherine Yass. The entry for British-born resident is a portrait of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, photographed by Andres Serrano a year before his death in February 2010.

The photographs can be viewed in East London’s Victoria Park from 27th July – 10th August.

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Music July 18, 2012 By Lily Moayeri

Photo Credit: Sam Butt

Photo Credit: Sam Butt

kiwanukaheader MICHAEL KIWANUKA
To what extent does your environment define who you end up becoming? In the case of Michael Kiwanuka, this extent would be large. The British folk-soul-jazz singer/songwriter, who is in his mid-twenties, is a product of the affluent Muswell Hill neighborhood in North London, by way of Ugandan parents. He sounds, however, like he’s a senior citizen who grew up in the bowels of Middle America. Terry Callier, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, these are some of the names being thrown around when speaking about Kiwanuka’s debut full-length Home Again.

Brushed drums, super-crisp strings, and immaculate woodwinds are the ingredients in the concoction that is Home Again. Over-polished to perfection under the Band Of Bees’ Paul Butler’s production chops Kiwanuka’s vintage tones deliver primarily neutral sentiments far away from the pain and suffering of his main vocal idol, Otis Redding. But then, Muswell Hill doesn’t give you a lot to worry about. It does, however, give you a lot of rope to experience different kinds of music.

“Muswell Hill is a middle class, predominantly white area,” says the ever-affable Kiwanuka. “What I would listen to would be different if I grew up somewhere else. I don’t know if I would ever listen to Dylan or the Beatles if I grew up in Hackney in East London.

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Art July 17, 2012 By Chloe Eichler

<em>Ai Weiwei in a scene from Alison Klayman’s AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY.</em>  Photo by Ted Alcorn.

a scene from Alison Klayman’s AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY. Photo by Ted Alcorn.

AIWEIWEIHEADER Ai Weiwei
Alison Klayman began making a documentary on Ai Weiwei in 2008, at what must have seemed like a summit of notoriety for the artist. He was in the middle of the Sichuan Earthquake Names Project, an attempt to uncover the death toll from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which the Chinese government refused to name. He had just designed the groundbreaking Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium and immediately denounced the Beijing Olympics in the international press. He had been an opponent of the state for years, with his explicit underground artwork and interest in Western ideas; now he willingly became an open target.

And this is all years before Ai’s infamous 81-day incarceration. Part of what makes “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” so compelling is that the artist’s life—or at least the narrative that Klayman has extracted—seemingly never stops revving up. As a young man Ai railed against an oppressive cultural heritage in Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn and the Study of Perspective series. He has become more preoccupied with the present in his later career, waging campaigns against the earthquake secrecy and the jailing of Chinese activist Tan Zuoren with dogged endurance. Integral in his mobilizing efforts are his website and Twitter account, which give off an energy and inspiration that “Never Sorry” makes palpable. For dissidents, the young, and any Chinese citizen unwilling to ignore the rest of the world, Ai is a vital figure.

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Art July 16, 2012 By Aiya Ono

© Candy Kennedy

© Candy Kennedy

gangsterheader Gangst*r
At seven and a half months pregnant, Candy Kennedy and her partner left the sandy desserts of Dubai for the Cape Flats in South Africa. The Cape Flats are notorious as the home of the infamous South African gangs, as a result making it one of the unsafest parts of the world. “Originally the apartheid’s dumping ground” as Kennedy describes, the Cape Flats became home to the “coloured” by force in the 1950’s. Most gang members in the region are mixed in race and range from black, Khoisan, Malay and South Indian ancestry. There are some exceptions however, such as “Whitey”, a caucasian gang member Kennedy met during her journey. These men and women are mostly from dysfunctional families and lack alternatives in terms of career. Becoming a gang member becomes a vital part of their identity, much like the Yakuzas of Japan. The most notorious gangs are referred to as the 26s, 27s, and 28s and are highly organized and controlled from within prison cells. The gangs have their own code of honor and as an ex-gang member described to Kennedy, for the youth it is similar to“joining the army or entering a university”. Most steal and commit crimes to hang around unlicensed, speak easy bars called “Shebeens” and to buy their next fix of “Tik”– the street name for methamphetamine, which provides them with confidence and a sense of being invincible.

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Events July 13, 2012 By Chloe Eichler

© Christopher Han

© Christopher Han

membermadeheader Member Made
The Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market is teaming with the artsy kids of 3rd Ward for Member Made @ Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, a one-off specialty market featuring merchandise made by New York City artisans. 3rd Ward is the DIYer’s most invaluable resource in the city, a workspace that rents equipment to photographers, woodworkers, and metallurgists, and offers studio space for artists and classes for novices. Member Made rounds up the best of 3rd Ward’s member professionals, who are independent designers and business- owners in their own right. Among the furniture, clothing, home goods, jewelry, and lighting for purchase will be Stockpile Design’s furniture made out of repurposed ammunition, Let Love Reign’s socially conscious bags, and a plethora of handmade jewelry, utensils, and clothing from around the city.

Member Made @ HKFM will be open this Saturday and Sunday from 10 – 5 at 39th St, between 9th & 10th Avenues.

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Architecture July 12, 2012 By Nalina Moses

<em>Alpine Hut, Stara Fuzina, Slovenia.</em> OFIS Arhitekti. Photo © Tomaz Gregoric.

Alpine Hut, Stara Fuzina, Slovenia. OFIS Arhitekti. Photo © Tomaz Gregoric.

smallecohousesheader small eco houses
We already know that green living means making houses that are smaller and more energy-efficient, reusing existing structures, and incorporating repurposed materials. The new book Small ECO Houses accepts these assumptions and adds a provocative new one to the mix: prefabrication. Most of the houses in this portfolio of outstanding new designs from around the world are mobile homes, or have been assembled from standard modules that were fabricated in a workshop and then delivered to the site. Yet they’ve been conceived with such refinement that it’s difficult to believe they weren’t custom-made.

In the United States, certainly, prefabricated houses carry a strong stigma. They’re considered shoddy and impermanent, a kind of shelter that’s more appropriate for emergency relief than real living. Now designers are looking more closely at prefabrication as a way to control costs and quality by employing highly skilled craftspeople to build on a larger scale in a controlled, studio environment. And designers are bringing a broader, more sensuous palette of materials to the task. There are no white corrugated aluminum panels or flapping screen doors here. Instead, the modestly-sized structures pictured in the book are clad with wood boards, steel panels and rough brick that will weather naturally over years. And the structures are finished with a layer of details — awnings, railings copings — that add sophistication.

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Music July 6, 2012 By Thomas Beckwith

pomcover Pomegranatespomegranates
If Heaven is any indication, the members of Pomegranates play an average of eight instruments each. You can pick them out in a kind of parlor game for music geeks: there goes the razzy, feedback- heavy guitar solo, there go the bells, there go the rollicking drum lines and plinky cadenzas on piano. There goes a singer whose syrupy falsetto makes you wonder if he studied with Antony. There go three anthems – “Pass Away,” “Sister” and “Ezekiel” – whose brashness barely connects with the syrupy ballads that follow. Given this variety, you wonder if the band, which takes great pains to use every part of their buffalo, is eclectic or just indecisive. By cobbling together the hallmarks of a hundred different song structures, they managed to create an album that’s less a statement than a showcase. In that light, it’s best to look at Heaven as a kind of musical sample platter – one that, for better or worse, eschews the needs of a narrative.

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Art July 2, 2012 By Chloe Eichler

<em>Omri, Givatti Brigade, Golan Heights, Israel, March 29, 2000</em>

Omri, Givatti Brigade, Golan Heights, Israel, March 29, 2000

gugg title Rineke Dijkstra
After almost 25 years of being one of Holland’s most interesting portraitists, photographer Rineke Dijkstra is getting her major mid-career survey in America. After premiering at SFMOMA, Rineke Dijkstra: A Restrospective comes to the Guggenheim this summer, showcasing Dijkstra’s elegant light touch and acute eye for emotional currents. Though she’s searched for unguarded moments in adult subjects, most notably in mothers post-delivery, Dijsktra’s long-standing topic has been youth. In portraits of children and teenagers at parks, dance clubs, and beaches she gleans the earnest, half-formed quality that lies behind any posture or pose of adolescence. Her subjects stand without accoutrements or really much in the way of background, but each photo achieves a beautiful balance between delicate color and light effects, and the glowing openness of the face in the frame.

Dijkstra’s other exploration of the young—the one that’s garnered her the most attention—is an epic time-lapse method. The Almerisa series, which began in 1994 and continues today, comprises eleven photos of a young Bosnian refugee taken once every 1 – 2 years. The series begins with Almerisa at age 6 and its latest installment, taken in 2008, includes Almerisa’s own baby.

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