America Is Hard to See

I was back in New York for a few days at the beginning of this month, and fortunately, my time in the city happened to coincide with the reopening of the Whitney Museum of American Art. I, somewhat ashamedly, had never been to the Whitney before, and made it a priority to withstand the long lines and ‘blistering heat’ to get inside.

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Right off the bat: I cannot recommend this exhibition enough! The building is a masterpiece, and it’s opening is a true moment in New York history. Given such a momentous occasion, the curators at the Whitney could not have done a better job at offering an all-encompassing view into the progression of 21st century American art, or better yet, visual history.

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Organized chronologically with different floors representing different intervals of time, the gallery spaces are then subdivided thematically, offering viewers an extremely concise and logical understanding of the contexts surrounding each work’s creation. Covering themes like turn of the century industrialization, civil rights, mid-century commercialization, the Vietnam war and the AIDS epidemic, the exhibition truly does become a historical experience, with the energy of being there for the opening weekend truly playing into that.

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My only criticism would be a slight lack of thematic sophistication, but given the fact that such a large time period is being covered, and again, that this is a focus on history, it quickly becomes clear that this was not intended to be a highly sophisticated exhibition. While the pieces may sometimes read as selections from an Art History textbook, that ends up becoming the beauty of the experience, and for that, it’s extremely successful.

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All photos by me.

x Syd

The Heart is not a Metaphor

Way back when I was in New York over the holidays, I shockingly managed to drag myself to midtown and take a trip to MoMA for the first time in almost a year. I’ve seen the permanent collection about a million times, so I expected it to be a semi-redundant venture, but the specialized exhibitions ended up being absolutely spectacular. I expected the Matisse Cutouts to leave me totally spellbound – they did – but the big shocker was definitely the Robert Gober exhibit in the bottom floor contemporary gallery.

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From the ‘Mature Subject Matter’ sign outside the space doors to the virtually empty front room, I was immediately put on edge. The erie imagery and super redacted gallery space created such a surreal experience, not unlike a haunted house, albeit with more subtle, psychological scares.

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Visually, my favourite spaces were easily the series of wallpapered rooms. Being surrounded by such symbolically heavy imagery created such a beautifully encompassing effect, transforming the room itself into the work of art, and the viewer into an involved subject.

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Gober’s choice of including a small section of thematically similar works by different artists was one that I personally really enjoyed and respected, although it did seem slightly disjointed as I was experiencing it in person. The sudden shift from such strong and consistent imagery was slightly disconcerting, but in hindsight, the decision to elevate the act of curation to an art form in itself was one that I found very intriguing and in line with my own perspective of art.

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Ultimately I found the solo exhibition to be a huge success, especially seeing as Gober’s art lends itself incredibly well to being shown in a continual context. Robert Gober has never been an artist I’ve lent towards for inspiration, primarily because his I feel his pieces fail to truly inspire understanding when shown alone. As an immersive experience, however, they create a moving and thought-provoking representation of humanity.

Enjoy

x Syd

Images from MoMA.

I Close My Eyes and Just See Pretty Colors

If you couldn’t already tell, I am a huuuuuugee fan of colour. When it comes to fashion or interiors, I try maintain a fair bit of restraint, but my attitude towards colour in art is definitely no-holds-barred. While I still love a good charcoal sketch or some monochrome-minimalism, I’m gonna take this opportunity to shoutout a few contemporary artists I feel have been using colour really well.

Canyon Castator

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I first saw Canyon in this Bullett Magazine article a couple years back, and I instantly fell in love – I’m a huge sucker for visual artists who work with tattooing as a medium. He’s technically super talented, as judged by some of his earlier realistic pieces, but lately he’s been ripping out these crazy-bright, expressionistic mega-works – each one a total release of energy. His digital painting is great too, not to mention he’s a total babe (I told you I was in love…).

Andy Dixon

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Another artist on the come-up for colourful figurativism is Vancouver-based Andy Dixon. Andy’s pieces have such a beautiful retrospective sensibility about them, and his total embrace of beauty and aesthetic pleasure is refreshing, given the general movement towards conceptuality in art. I actually had the opportunity to stop by his studio the other week, and can now confirm that his work is even more stunning in person. His newer pieces are also beautiful as ever.

Mogu Takahashi

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I first found Mogu Takahashi through his Instagram account, where he posts his infamous ‘daily doodles’. While I love the images themselves, I think I’m even more taken aback by their casual presentation – there’s something so incredibly inspiring about seeing his innocent paintings presented in a chronological and consolidated way. Despite being perhaps the world’s biggest proponent of the art of curation, it’s incredibly beautiful to see an unfiltered collection of someone’s daily thoughts and inspirations. I’m mostly just jealous of his capacity for creativity, though…

Devin Allen

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I’ll admit, this one is totally biased (Allen was my much-beloved art teacher in High School…), but this particular piece is honestly too beautiful not to mention. An apparent collaboration between the artist and a friend’s toddler, the subtle elements of abstraction add such a refreshing touch to the more traditionally-rooted Chinese painting style.

Enjoy!

x Syd

Weak Messages Create Bad Situations

I only recently came across British artist David Shrigley as I was (yet again) scouring for photos of the magnificently reworked Sketch London dining room. I came for the 50 shades of pink, scalloped chairs, and marble chevron floors, but I stayed for the continuous strip of comical sketches that works its way along the two side walls.

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A quick google search left me speechless at the sheer quantity and individual ingenuity of every single drawing Shrigley puts forth. The images are incredibly simple, hilarious, and yet seem to say so much about modern humanity. I can only imagine the encompassing effect of being confronted by so many of these “unfortunate” truths at once, but to my dismay, the night I had planned to go to Sketch back in June was thwarted by an abrupt Cartier incident… (long story). Thankfully, the artist has published a tonnnn of books, including a recently released manifesto, so if Amazon Canada ever decides to get its shit together, I’ll have my fill in no time.

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A few faves…

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My own lil Shrigley collection. Shoutout to ratchet wall art…

To anyone in Melbourne, there’s a free Shrigley exhibit at the NGV so please go take pictures for me! (I’ve been tracking the instagram tag religiously…)

xo, Syd

NYC in Pictures

For those of you who didn’t know – probably all, seeing as I update this blog about twice a year (sorry) – my parents recently left Atlanta and moved to New York City, thus making it my new “home”(?). I’ve been hanging out here for about two weeks, somewhat alone as most of my friends are back home for the holidays, and while it’s been pretty quiet it’s also been a good opportunity to further define my favourite spots.

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Dumbo ~street art~, gotta get acquainted with the new hood (recs are definitely Brooklyn Roasting for coffee, powerHouse books for a new read, baugettes at Almondines, dinner at AlMar)

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Contemporary exhibit on the top floor of MoMA – really awesome, must-see. Also the Matisse cutouts exhibit kicked ass but I’m super paranoid about gallery photography rules and didn’t sneak any pics 😦

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Richter detail – always an inspiration

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Working on my art humour…

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Robert Gober – (I kind of want to use this as the wallpaper in a future powder room??)

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Robert Gober exhibit was holy shit amazing (not my pic sorry though oops…)

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Some cutlery at ABC off Union Square – I’m in love and so tempted to buy

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ABC detail – want to do this once I actually own stairs lol

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Tom Dixon home-wares – flawless. Ended up buying a gold Tom Dixon ruler for $20 just to buy into the beauty lol

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Some Christmas gifts – @aroma x Monocle diffuser // Dyptique candle in Ambre (my middle name and appropriately, favourite scent)

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Down under the Brooklyn Bridge – super touristy spot but one of my fave walking spots

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Dover Street Market – more like a museum than a clothing store, awesome spot to see what quality user experience feels like (although some of the staff comes off like pretentious VFILES graduates sorry not sorry). Also I touched a $23,000 Alaïa coat so I can now die knowing true luxury.

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Moscot flagship/HQ at 6th and 14th. Classic NYC brand and a good example of strong but non-intrusive branding.

Back to ATL tomorrow!

xo, Syd

New Classics

After years of bitching and whining about being stuck in high school, I’ll finally be headed off to the University of British Columbia this fall. I’m a generally decisive person, so I’m already super set on an art history major (with a commerce minor + grad school planned for job security).

Although this is guaranteed to change, at this point I think I’d love to focus on either Greek and Italian marble sculpture, or international art culture after World War II. Worlds apart, I know, but they’re both areas that I find interesting and more importantly, inspiring to modern day aesthetics.

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x Syd

 

Inked

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted tattoos. There’s something so sexy and badass about having a bit of black ink peeking out from under a bra strap or at the hem of a dress. The only issue is that my personal aesthetic is constantly changing, and although it’s stabilized quite a bit this year, I’m still unsure if anything idea I have is something I’ll enjoy for the rest of my life.

Thankfully, I’ve already got my shop and artist picked out. There’s technically no legal age limit for tattoos in Canada – although good shops usually don’t work on kids under 18 – so I knew I’d probably get it while I was visiting my hometown of Vancouver, BC. After doing a bit of research, the coolest looking was easily Gastown Tattoo in – believe it or not – Gastown. Although all of the artists had amazing galleries, my favourite was definitely Arlin ffrench as his pieces have the most incredible, modern, artistic look about them. I’m still not sure if I’d want to commit myself to something as large as his specialized pieces, but here’s a collections of tattoos and designs I find beautiful and inspiring.

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