thoughts on art, interactivity, technology, design, culture & life

Archive for the Art Category

Tonight I gave a presentation on Humanizing Technology at Miami Ad School. I hope the presentation was really inspiring despite the fact that it had very little to do with advertising. The students had seriously awesome questions and it was a pleasure to have time to talk to them afterward. Thanks to Mehera and students for having me. As promised I'm sharing my slides from this evening. Enjoy!

I recently went YouTube Preview Image with a couple of friends to the Skin Fruit exhibition at the New Museum. I walked in with no expectations, just excited to see something new. The exhibit, which was a selection of art from Dakis Joanno's collection curated by Jeff Koons, reminded me why seeing is not enough, sometimes we all need to look closer. For me the act of viewing this exhibit was a practice in re-evaluation.

For some reason while viewing this exhibit the experience of looking seemed much more intense. Not all of the art was beautiful, some of it was outright grotesque. It all had a certain undeniably human, mortal, fleeting quality to it. The sort of quality that gets under your skin...and perhaps that is the point.

The exhibit title "Skin Fruit" is interesting. On the outside there is the skin, possibly tough, possibly rough protecting the sweet fruit inside. And with the pieces in the exhibit, you are skinning the fruit with your eyes. Each additional second spent looking reveals moreĀ  to you, until you finally reach something sweeter...a conclusion, realization or fresh perspective you didn't have before.

My favorite piece in the exhibit was All by Maurizio Cattelan. The work was sectioned off in it's own room; the room itself and the room before it had the lights lowered slightly -- compared to the stark white and bright rooms of the rest of the museum this really shifted the atmosphere. From a distance you see nine body bags lying in a row in the next room. At first you're apprehensive: death, decay, the reminder of your own mortality float to the top of your mind. At this point my friends were ready to turn around having seen enough to be satisfied. If it weren't for my natural inclination to question EVERYTHING I likely would have too, instead I moved closer.

Maurizio Cattelan, All, 2007. White Carrara marble, 9 parts each: 11 7/8 x 39 3/8 x 78 3/4 in. Overall: 11 7/8 x 78 3/4 x 339 1/2 in.

I see some very slight gray markings on the bags, at first I think it's dust -- these are white body bags on a floor after all. I bend closer: it's marble. All at once I get it. This is not just about death, it's about what death brings or more importantly what you do in life. The form:body bags a reminder of our body's mortality. The material: marble a reminder of our life's actions and the potential immortality of our legacy. More importantly it seems to make one question what a country's actions will allow the legacy of those who die for it to be. In that moment, a work which was possibly grotesque, definitely morbid becomes something so beautiful to me. Not only because the craftsmanship is absolutely stunning but because of the gorgeous layered idea behind it. For me the work went from banal to profound in less than a second.

Our lives are so hurried. It's so easy to be content with assumptions and first impressions. I feel like it's easy for us to let ourselves off the hook for not understanding or knowing something when all we really need to do is embrace our inner curiosity. We don't give ourselves enough time to allow ourselves the luxury of being surprised. This exhibit reminded me of that. Despite the extremely adult nature of the show, I felt like a child wandering through the unexplored -- constantly curious, constantly questioning. At the end I walked away feeling refreshed and totally inspired. The simple act of looking closer allowed me the privilege of knowing more. It was wonderful and I loved it.

I should also say that I really loved the curation of the exhibit, Jeff Koons really did a great job. If you haven't seen the Skin Fruit exhibit it will be up until June 6, 2010 - take the time to go check it out.

My name is Rachel Diesel and I am an art addict. I love art, I always have. I know I am not the only one who loves art, there are millions of art lovers across the world, which is why I was always surprised at the lack of a good website for information on the art world with the web 2.0 flavor I have come to expect of a good informational website. I was elated when I discovered NY Art Beat last week, finally the kind of site I expected and wanted to help me curate my artistic activities in the city.

NYAB buttonNY Art Beat provides information on both their website and iPhone application. Both mediums are well designed (though I expect many additions and updates to the iPhone app, I would happily redesign the app for free -- contact me ;)) NYAB even provides an API to developers allowing their information database to basically go anywhere. As a developer, the prospect of doing a visualization of this information is extremely exciting!

Why I've fallen in love...

In NY there are about a million places to go see amazing, cutting-edge, inspiring art. Selecting, curating, and actually going to these events/exhibitions is nothing short of a small miracle at the end of the day. By the end of every year I can name at least five exhibits I missed because I put it off til the last minute and forgot the end date. I hear about exhibits all the time, I never can remember where they are if I remember them at all. NY Art Beat fixes this by allowing me to bookmark events and exhibits to my NYAB Account. Furthermore I can count on reviews of exhibits and up-to-date information about all the important art events in the city. This has become my new go-to place for my art world information.

To add to my absolute love for NYAB is a solid first version of an iPhone app, providing basic information on events around the town (GPS proximity filtering included!). My ONLY disappointments are that I can't sync my NYAB Account to my iPhone or pull the latest information to my device for viewing when internet is not available (pesky subways). That being said, I usually suggest that apps release with a lighter first version and build out from that. I hope to see these features added in the future.

What I expect in the future

Make it social

Much like the rest of my internet hubs (Hulu, Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, etc...) I expect to be able to share what I like, my recommendations, and events I'll be attending with my social network. I also want to see what my friends are doing. Facebook Connect integration would be great to find friends bookmarks, events and recommendations. Integrating Facebook Connect would also afford the iPhone an easy, pre-built login platform to retrieve user information. Another feature I think would be great is an event badge for bloggers who often talk about specific exhibits. This would not only help bloggers provide up to date information on exhibits without having to gather it all by themselves, but it would allow them to point to NYAB driving traffic to the site -- effectivly becoming a relevant in-line ad targeting it's desired demographic.

Make it .mobi

I am surprised when I see major websites that don't have a mobile version of their site, especially when the information on that site pertains to being out-and-about. If I had an android phone I would be pinching and zooming to try and see the information on the site. The extra time it takes to make the site mobile would be completely worth it in my opinion.

Make it intelligent

The more data you have, the more conclusions you can draw. Zappos knows what shoes I like, Netflix knows what movies I like, Amazon knows what books I like, FreshDirect even knows enough to remind me to buy my favorite items before I check out....NYAB should know what kind of art and art exhibits I like. The NY art world is huge, please put the content I'll like on the front page when I visit.

Remind me

If I have an exhibit saved to my account I should get a reminder via text or email before that exhibit ends. Furthermore I should be able to export or sync my NYAB saved events to my iCal or Google Calender. [CORRECTION: Email reminders are sent from NYAB]


If you're an art lover like me do yourself a favor and jump on this bandwagon. I'm super excited to see how this site grows, I think it really has the potential to become the best of the best when it comes to information, especially as expands into new locations.

I am not a huge sports fan, but I love the Olympics. They represent an opportunity not only for athletes, but for designers and artists as well. The branding of the games must represent the host city, but be accessible and understood by billions of people from all over the world. This is no small task. Perhaps my favorite part of the artistry and design of the Games is the artistic innovation that is presented. You have seen it before in Beijing's architectural Bird's Nest for their 2008 Games,1 London's 2012 Olympic logo (I know most people hate it, but I think its brilliant),2 and now in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic metals.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Metals

Why these metals are innovative

YouTube Preview ImageObviously the fact that these metals break the standard form factor for Olympic metals with their sexy, modern, wavy shape, but that was not the piece of innovation I was impressed by; instead I was impressed by where the raw metal to make these awards came from. Rather than mine for the ridiculous amount of metal required to make 1,014 Olympic metals,3 the Olympic committee opted to recycle 6.8 metric tons of metal from landfill bound circuit boards. According to my math that means that over half of the metal used for the Olympic metals was recycled.4 It's good to see an organization finding a way to recycle at least some of the incredible amount of e-waste produced world wide each year.5 For more on these metals visit the Vancouver 2010's page about the metals.

  1. Article on the Bird's Nest and Water Cube architecture for the Beijing Olympics
  2. A post on my previous blog about why this is an awesome logo
  3. 399 metals were made for the Paralympic and 615 for the Olympics (
  4. Teck provided 2,855 kg of mined metals vs. 6,910 kg of recycled metals -- see metal breakdown here
  5. For more on E-Waste check out this article in the Guardian
Back to Home
Preload image Preload image Preload image Preload image Preload image