Etnia Barcelona Releases New Basquiat-Inspired Sunglasses

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Basquiat’s work was iconic, imbued with a level of unabashed emotion and power that street art hadn’t seen when he first began wreaking havoc on New York in the ’80s. By addressing charged themes like racism, politics and hypocrisy, the young painter gave new depth to graffiti art and infiltrated the world of high-brow aficionados with a personal, outsider approach.

Designer eyewear brand Etnia Barcelona has tapped into this narrative, creating a capsule collection of sunglasses that incorporate Basquiat-inspired motifs through smart, subtle details. An homage to the late visionary, this exclusive release follows the brand’s mission to develop authentic accessories with an eye for key cultural movements in art and photography.


Four different sunglasses will be available worldwide with patterns based on three original works by Basquiat. Though each individual piece is unique, Etnia Barcelona’s designed the eyewear with three vertices to resemble those hand-drawn, three-point crowns that we’ve grown to associate with Basquiat’s legacy.

A true fusion of substance and style, Etnia Barcelona’s forthcoming capsule sees the release of a fashion film, as well, featuring rapper Oddisee and graphic artist Elle—two contemporary figures who’ve both kept Basquiat’s rebellious energy alive today. Watch, below:


Andy Warhol’s Upper East Side Studio Hits the Market For $10 Million

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Photo via Cushman & Wakefield

During the early ’60s, Andy Warhol was working primarily as a commercial artist, having just begun to assert himself as a fine artist and local provocateur. In January 1963, he moved into an Upper East Side studio, his first private space, which was then an affordable fire house, available for only $150 per month. More than half a century later and following years of gentrification, Warhol’s historic site, 159 East 87th Street, is on the market for a steep $9,975,000 and “offers a developer a blank canvass [sic] to create boutique condominiums, a mixed-use rental or a luxury townhouse.” 

Six months before the iconic pop artist moved into his UES space, he’d established a polarizing name with his newly debuted Campbell Soup Can paintings. “In 1963, [Warhol] was only just becoming known as a fine artist, so it’s no wonder he didn’t invest in a fancier studio,” said Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik to Artnet NewsThe building was “a wreck, with leaks in the roof and holes in the floors, but it was better than trying to make serious paintings in the wood-paneled living-room of his Victorian townhouse, as he’d done for the previous couple of years.” Despite the shifty environment, Warhol still managed to create several pieces from his revered Death and Disaster series, as well as portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.


Brillo Box (Soap Pads), 1964 (Photo via MoMA)

Warhol’s lease ended the following May, more than half a year before he moved into his legendary Silver Factory and unveiled his 1964 sculpture exhibition, Brillo Boxes—work philosopher Arthur Danto labeled the end of art. “What Warhol taught was that there is no way of telling the difference [between art and non-art] merely by looking,” Danto said. “The eye, so prized an aesthetic organ when it was felt that the difference between art and non-art was visible, was philosophically of no use whatever when the differences proved instead to be invisible.”

The two-story building, located between Lexington and Third Avenue, is currently being used for art storage and marketed by Cushman & Wakefield as a “boutique development site”—a far cry from its humble Warholian roots and testament to NYC’s ever-evolving real estate landscape.

Create a City Out of Legos at Olafur Eliasson’s High Line Art Installation

Olafur Eliasson
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Installation view courtesy High Line Art

Everything is awesome! Internationally renowned installation artist Olafur Eliasson is inviting passersby of the High Line to participate in his new work, The collectivity project. The task? Create your vision of an ideal city…with legos.

Open daily from 10am to 7pm until September 30, visitors are encouraged to come, build and rebuild an imaginary skyline with hundreds of white legos at their disposal. When the project opened on May 29, Eliasson collaborated with several Manhattan architectural firms to create a few structures in order to get the ball rolling; all were quickly rebuilt by participants. In a press release, the ultimate outcome of the project is illuminated,

“As the inevitable entropy of the piece begins to soften the hard edges of the designed structures, and mounds of loose pieces gather in the corners between buildings, a beautiful collective creation takes form.”

The utopian vision of the project coupled with the nostalgic materials and relational aesthetics is typical of the Danish-Icelandic artist’s work, highlights of which include 2003’s The weather project,where he turned the turbine hall of the Tate Modern into a simulated atmosphere with humidifiers, lights and mirrors.

You can participate in The collectivity project this summer on the High Line at W 30th St.


MoMA Acquires Complete August Sander Photograph Series

August Sander
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“Film Actress [Tony van Eyck]”, 1933 + “Artists’ Carnival in Cologne”, 1931 by August Sander, courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Some new faces are popping up in MoMA after a landmark acquisition of August Sander photographs.

The German documentary photographer began chronicling the lives of the peasant class with stark sepia portraiture after serving in the German military and working as a miner in the early 20th century. Similar to the work Dorothea Lange did in the Dust Bowl, Sander’s work pierces the zeitgeist of a particular society with an anthropological lens.

In a recent milestone acquisition, MoMA can now boast having “People Of the 20th Century” in its entirety. Sander’s pivotal series, a set of 619 photographic prints, contains portraits of the German working class, mixing the faces of draughtsmen, farmers, mothers, soldiers, bohemians, and more in a diverse documentation completed over the period of about 60 years.

MoMA is the only museum in the world that has an entire set of Sander’s work like this, bestowed upon them from the artist’s family. No other can compare.

On the acquisition of some 600 works, Sarah Hermanson Meister, a photography curator at MoMA, exuded her excitement over the phone this morning, “[The 80 photographs the museum previously held] never felt sufficient, now it’s everything we could have dreamed of. [Sander’s] reputation rests on a couple dozen photographs that have become iconic, but with all 619 there are so many surprises.”

Meister also remarked on a sense of completion within the context of other works in MoMA’s collection, namely those of Walker Evans and Eugène Atget, two other important documentary photographers who influenced and were influenced by Sander. “These three figures can be now be understood completely in one institution.”

The Lost Lectures Returns to NYC — But We Don’t Know Where Yet   

Lost Lectures NYC
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Last year’s Lost Lectures. © Tod Seelie, courtesy Hyperallergic.

Originating in London, “The Lost Lectures” — a series of unexpected events hosted in a secret location — is returning to New York City for its second installment this Friday.

Aimed at taking intellectual discourse outside of institutional settings like corporate-fueled buildings or universities, the Lost Lectures NYC, co-sponsored by Brooklyn-based art blog Hyperallergic, will include guest speakers, art installations and performances in a yet-to-be-announced location (though it’s promised to be at most a 40 minute journey from Union Square).

Highlights of last year’s Lost Lectures included Amanda Lepore discussing having the “most expensive body on earth,” an impressive performance by Brooklyn-based dancers Flex is Kings, and musical sensation Blood Orange (AKA Dev Hynes).


Diana Al-Hadid

Artist Diana Al-Hadid photographed by Sarah Trigg. Courtesy Hyperallergic.

This year’s installment boasts Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino unveiling never-before-seen material, a top secret performance from indie filmmaker Josephine Decker, and a talk with internationally renowned visual artist Diana Al-Hadid.

Naturally, free beer will be provided by Brooklyn Brewery (and coconut water from ZICO if you’re on the wagon).

If you’re an urban explorer with a thirst for alternative events, it’s definitely worth checking out. Ticket holders will be informed of the location tomorrow.

ARTNews Calls Out Rampant Sexism in the Art World: Everything You Need to Know

ARTnews June 2015
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Where are all the great women artists? The gender gap in the industry may have reduced in size over the years, but as ARTnews’s June 2015 issue points out, there’s still rampant sexism in the art world.

Curator Maura Reilly begins by breaking it down numerically and structurally in her article “TAKING THE MEASURE OF SEXISM: FACTS, FIGURES, AND FIXES”, from the amount of press women artists get to museum representation statistics. For example, since 2007 only 29% of solo shows at the Whitney Museum went to women. She continues,

It’s not looking much better at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2004, when the museum opened its new building, with a reinstallation of the permanent collection spanning the years 1880 to 1970, of the 410 works on display in the fourth- and fifth-floor galleries, only 16 were by women. That’s 4 percent. Even fewer works were by artists of color. At my most recent count, in April 2015, 7 percent of the works on display were by women.

Guerrilla Girls

Feminist collective The Guerrilla Girls’ “Report Card” from 1986 takes galleries to task over how many women they represented. Pussy Galore’s 2015 version show how much (and how little) has changed in 29 years.


Theorist Amelia Jones argues that women (as well as artists of color and queer artists) are allowed into the hegemony of the art world so long as they ape the identities and roles of straight white male artists; the purported archetype of the “artist genius”. It may behoove those on the fringes to eschew this institutional authority and develop spaces outside to foster a new kind of art world. Jones says,

While not disregarding the potential importance of large museum exhibitions and programming in foregrounding feminist goals, artists, and movements, I find […] more modest venues more creatively vital at this moment for achieving feminist goals.

She cites the Blk Grrrl Book Fair, an LA-based event this past March which combined artworks, poetry, performance and more from anti-racist, radical feminists, as “the art world I want.”

Linda Nochlin, in many regards the progenitor of the feminist art movement, spoke with Maura Reilly for the issue, touching on everything from her hatred of Tinker Bell to the landscape of feminism in the arts today:

It is undeniable that both institutions and education have changed a great deal. M.F.A. programs are now comprised of 60 percent women students. There are courses on women artists, feminism and art, contemporary women artists, etc., at major institutions of learning. This would have been unheard of in my day.

Check out all of the art world feminist goodness in the June 2015 issue of ARTnews.

Drue Kataoka’s New App Scans the Hands of Heidi Klum, Christy Turlington + More to Help Children

Touch Our Future
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“Touch Our Future” Homepage

Silicon Valley-based artist Drue Kataoka has made a name for herself melding technological innovation with breath-takingly beautiful aesthetics. She’s presented at TED, was a Cultural Leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos for the billionaires, world leaders, and CEOs who run the world, and is an accomplished flutist. Now, her new project, a global art installation entitled “Touch Our Future” aims to aid in fighting the scourge of infant mortality.

“I took inspiration from the cave paintings at Lascaux and Sulawesi.” Kataoka explains over the phone from Los Angeles. The almost 40,000-year-old hand impressions left on ancient cave walls, signs of our forebearers’ emerging intelligence and creativity, led her to trace the handprints of mothers and infants today, especially in areas where the infant mortality rate was high. She wanted to give infants a voice, and that evolved into a global project.

Heidi Klum

Image courtesy Evolutionary Media Group

A true product of Silicon Valley, Kataoka accomplishes these handprint scans with a mobile app: anyone with a mobile device can take a picture of their hand, which is then silhouetted perfectly in an instant with an image of a sun taken from somewhere in the world. Once submitted, your hand joins the likes of Heidi Klum, Chelsea Clinton, and the Dalai Lama in a fluid spiral towards the horizon on the project’s homepage. Thousands of handprints already populate the site.

“I wanted to leverage art to build a bridge to people and build a lasting message to them that would be the first step in engaging people around the issue,” she says.

“Touch our Future” is one piece of a large oeuvre that seeks to break down barriers between disciplines and illustrate how art and technology can converge beautifully and with great meaning. Kataoka is inspired by a lineage of creators that includes not just other artists, but also scientific minds, for instance, Richard Feynman, the celebrated physicist who became entranced with artistic creation and began drawing, and is perhaps best remembered for his beautiful representations of particle interactions and decays, commonly called Feynman Diagrams.

“His work was only something he could create because of his deep knowledge,” says Kataoka. “I think if we are very welcoming of each other across the different cultural gaps and disciplines, there are many positive things that can arise.”

Christy Turlington

Image courtesy Evolutionary Media Group

Moving forward, Kataoka hopes to emulate Pablo Picasso, who politicized his work in the aim of promoting peace (Guernica, anyone?). His meetings with President Truman and President de Gaulle echo the diplomacy Kataoka activates to propagate her work, but she is aware that the divide between politics and art has become larger.  “You would be very hard-pressed to see an artist meeting with Barack Obama,” she says. “I think that’s sad.”

This summer her piece “Twelve Minutes of Thinking” (a piano with a brain wave musical score) will be displayed in Carl Schurz park, in New York, as part of the city-wide installation “Sing for Hope Pianos”. Again weaving the nexus between arts, public policy and tech, Kataoka proceeds in a mission to inject creativity into society.

“Touch Our Future” is currently on display at the TEDWomen Conference in Monterey, and is available to download on the Appstore and Google Play.     


Everything You Need to See at Frieze, According to Cynthia Rowley

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Photo: Cynthia Rowley by Sam Deitch/

We sent designer Cynthia Rowley into the madness of Frieze to do a little reconnaissance, and she came back with these gems. Here’s everything you need to see at Frieze, according to Cynthia Rowley.

If you want to get your hands dirty, stop by Gavin Brown’s DIY make-the-painting-yourself art booth, created by Jonathan Horowitz. It is totally genius.

If you need to recharge a bit, visit Korakrit Arunandchai’s massage chair at Frieze Project space.

Martin Creed’s ginormous wall paintings at Hauser and Wirth are positively exuberant. Please come paint the outside of my whole house, Martin!

Get Inspired in L.A. This Weekend with 5 Major Art Shows

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JOHN CURRIN, Tapestry, 2013. Photo by Rob McKeever. Courtesy of Gagosian Galley. © John Currin.


John Currin at Gagosian Gallery, 456 North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills


JOHN CURRIN, Tapestry, 2013. Photo by Rob McKeever. Courtesy of Gagosian Galley. © John Currin.

John Currin is back, with more eroticism and perplexing imagery than ever! While the layering of painting on top of painting characterizes his newer works, the same thematic exploration of balance between the beautiful and the monstrous remains.


Alma Allen at Blum & Poe2727 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles


Alma Allen, Installation view, 2015. Courtesy of Blum & Poe.

Allen, a high school drop out and teenage runaway, is having his first solo exhibition since his success at the 2014 Whitney Biennial. His sculpture is a paradox of solid form, but fluid shape, creating a complex balance between the two. Ends February 28.


Jacci Den Hartog at  Rosamund Felsen GalleryBergamot Station B4 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica


Jacci Den Hartog, Conversation In the Garden: A Chill To Repartee, 2013-2014.  Courtesy of Rosamund Felsen Gallery.

Hartog’s second exhibition at Rosamund Felsen, The Etiquette of Mountains is an scrulpture exploration into landscapes and mountain terreraine. Using cool blues with pops of bright color, the textured shapes provide an new perspective on nature. Ends March 14.


Brendan Fowler at Richard Telles Fine Art, 7380 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles


Brendan Fowler, From South, 2014. Photo courtesy of Richard Telles Fine Art.

The exhibition features sound and printed art that examines repurposing and the value of the unintentional. Through both sound and imagery, Fowler ignores the uniform purpose of mass production, by tweaking common sound and embroidery instruments to create a unique print or noise. Opens February 21.


Stanley Whitney at Team Gallery, 306 Windward Avenue, Venice


Stanley Whitney, Aura of the Sandfall, 2014. Photo courtesy of Team Gallery.

In his debut Los Angeles show, Whitney’s works are a study in color and grid patterns. The orderly structure dictated by the bold colors are combined with the spontaneity of the drip to exude an interesting combination of mixed textures and complex layering. Ends February 22.