Iris Apfel is a style genius. Her prowess has exhibited itself many times over in the various incarnations of her creative life, from interior designer to HSN darling to the "world's oldest living teenager" — Apfel's penchant to tickle our retinas never fails. It was this lust for life that I drew upon when I created a necklace portrait this larger-than-life personality.
Since I knew that her glasses would be paramount in her recognizability, I started there in my process. Once I was confident that I got the shape right, I proceeded to build out the rest of her face and hair.
As with most large scale pieces, melding the beads took time and patience, something that I had little of since I knew that I would be presenting this to Iris later that day at a screening of her eponymous biopic IRIS. After a little stuggle and alot of deep breaths it all came together.
When it finally came time to show Iris the work, I was excited and hopeful that she would like it.
She did like it and put it on immediately. She even left it on for the duration of the screening!
In the end seeing Iris with "Iris" made my day, and I think hers too.
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“Among Friends” is the title of the Robert Rauschenberg retrospective currently on exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. For me this title could not be more apt since going to the show really felt like a homecoming in sense.
Rauschenberg’s work captured my imagination in a powerful way when I was in art school and experimenting with a variety of media. Visiting this show was like visiting an old mentor who I first encountered at his retrospective at The Guggenheim Museum in the 1997. Twenty years later, my perspective has grown, but the impact of his advances remains evident. Indeed, his incorporation of mundane and non-traditional materials in his work left an imprint in my own thinking and process to this day. Seeing these works again in a retrospective format was a much a journey through time for the artist as it was for myself, the viewer.
A work that I encountered for the first time was the “Hiccups” series. Very graphic and innovative (each panel is connected to its accompanying artwork using zippers), this piece wound up being my favorite in the show. I recommend checking it out for yourself.
Who’s your Daddy?!? I had several of them growing up. Some of them had other kids, some of them didn’t; some adopted, some did it au naturale. Whatever the case, these daddies provided me with the guidance and counsel that every young pup is looking for in a father figure. And like a good boy, I visited them regularly at their respective home networks. I was always good to them, as they were to me. Looking back at pictures, I am reminded of all the good times we had together — me and my daddies. Not to despair, though. They are forever immortalized on Hulu, or YouTube, or Netflix… Miss you daddies! XO – Boy.
Last weekend, while visiting friends in D.C., I got a chance to check out the Hirshhorn Museum for the first time. The collection, curation, and exhibitions were all impressive, but perhaps one of the most striking sights was the collection of Lego portraits that were part of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a collection of portraits of political dissidents, prisoners of conscience, activists, and advocates of free speech — all executed with Legos. The portraits each took on their own color scheme with the palette used for each person loosely derived from the flag of their home country. Moreover, the pixelated quality of the image speaks to the digital surveillance that is ubiquitous in today’s society (a theme the artist himself is familiar with given the constant surveillance under which he lived thanks to the Chinese government’s repeated attempts to silence him). Over 1.2 million Legos were used to fabricate the entire work, with each portrait averaging a few thousand pieces.
Ai Weiwei describes his subjects as his heroes and says that his usage of Legos speaks to his desire to work in a language that is fresh and understood easily by all people. I can see Ai Weiwei thinking and seeing his son’s Lego constructions and plotting out his plan. There is definitely a “Wow” factor that he is aiming for with his choice of medium. The effect is quite graphic and riffs off of political posters, Warhol portraits, T-shirt graphics, and, of course, childhood itself.
Bearing a visual similarity to my own work, I have an idea of how these pieces were executed and the copious amounts of time invested into each panel. It was inspiring to see such a broad body of work created with Lego. If you get the chance, go check it out.