Monday, August 04, 2014

Not So Subtle

I was thrilled to experience Kara Walker's latest art installation, "A Subtlety" at the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn earlier this summer. The installation ended on July 6, 2014; if you weren't able to see it in person, take a look at the photos I've taken. Ms. Walker's own statement about the installation:

 Kara Walker - A Subtlety

or the Marvelous Sugar Baby
an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant

(Note: Medieval sugar sculptures were known as "subtleties.")

My daughter and I took the L train to Brooklyn and walked to the site; the line was around the block but moved fairly quickly. Admission was free.

We had to sign a waiver……

We were warned not to touch the art but were encouraged to take photos or videos and share on social networks. (Please click on my photos to see the full image).

A great, soaring industrial space:

Small piles of brown sugar still seen in the nooks and crannies of the space:

Pools of molasses on the floor --

Usually at the feet of any one of several small sculptures of young children, crafted of resin and molasses. 

Most held sculpted fruit baskets filled with un-refined sugar.

All were gradually deteriorating and melting during the course of the installation.

And at the far northern end of the vast space, there she was - 35 feet high and covered in 4 tons of sugar:

She was magnificent.

And voluptuous:

 From every angle:

Everyone was posing for pics with the Subtlety, the Mammy Sphinx:

And I did, too!

Her inspiration. Read more here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ai Weiwei , According to What? Now at the Brooklyn Museum - closes August 10, 2014

Forever Bicycles

High tail it to the Brooklyn Museum to catch the work of the indomitable Ai Weiwei before it closes next month. I won't ramble on about what I saw (tho I could) but will share my pics and the exhibit's own tags with descriptions. 

But, go go go, if you can!

If you are not familiar with Ai Weiwei, here's this from the Brooklyn Museum's website:

Ai Weiwei is one of China’s most prolific and provocative contemporary artists. Featuring over forty works spanning more than twenty years, Ai Weiwei: According to What? explores universal topics of culture, history, politics, and tradition, showcasing the artist’s remarkably interdisciplinary career as a photographer, sculptor, architect, and activist.
These works spotlight issues of freedom of expression, as well as individual and human rights both in China and globally. Many use minimal forms and methods, while others manipulate traditional furniture, ancient pottery, and daily objects in ways that question cultural values and challenge political authority.

Also,  check out the compelling documentary "Never Sorry" on Netflix.

Enjoy this visual, intellectual and at times very emotional feast………..


Table with Three Legs

Table with Two Legs on the Wall


Moon Chest

Moon Chest  

China Log

Cube in Ebony


Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn

Colored Vases


Coca-Cola Vase

Chateau Lafite

This powerful sculpture was crafted from straightened rebar rods recovered from the disaster sites of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. Each was hand-pounded from its tangled shape into a flat bar. The far wall contains the names of over 5000 victims of the earthquake.

Snake Ceiling

Snake Ceiling

Snake Ceiling

He Xie (river crab)

Bowls of Pearls

Bowls of Pearls

And finally, the dioramas... These were secreted out of China in order to be displayed at the Venice Biennale 2013 and are now on display in the Brooklyn Museum as part of this exhibit. The dioramas, constructed in 2.5 ton iron boxes, reconstruct scenes at half scale from Ai Weiwei's detention in 2011, when he was held prisoner for 81 days in a secret prison by a paramilitary unit.

His every moment saw him under the watchful eyes of his captors.

Many better photos of these incredible re-creations can be seen at The NY TImes' Dioramas of a Nightmare.

Go to Brooklyn!