Wouldn’t it be nice to stop by a phone booth full of fish on your way to work? Even though you wouldn’t be able to call in late, you could still make a wish and take a few pictures. Thanks to a new art project there are phone booths filled with goldfish, but you can’t get in…
Hundreds of goldfishes in a phone booth tank
A Japan-based, five-member artist collective known as Kingyobu (translation: “goldfish club”) has been installing phone booths full of goldfish on the streets of Osaka, Japan for a second consecutive year. The project is part of the Canvas Art Festival in Osaka, which symbolizes happiness and prosperity. The members of the club are students at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and they have installed goldfish aquariums in several phone booths that are not being used. Visitors compare the artistic monuments to a “sandwich” where the fishes are stuck between two sheets of glass.
Kingyobu installing a phone booth/aquarium in Japan
In the other side of the world, Brazil is playing with phone booths in a different way. Vivo, a phone carrier has taken the initiative to sponsor a project known as Parade, where 100 artists are assigned to transform 100 booths. Each one of them is unique as it represents the artist’s unique character and inspiration. Unlike the goldfish booths, the Parade booths have usable phones, although the attraction is temporal.
Disco ball phone booth in Brazil
One of 100 artist phone booths in Brazil
Whether you’re walking to work or need to call home, it’s always exciting to find art in unexpected places and with these new public art projects inspiration is just a phone call away.
With over 30 art exhibitions at Manhattan’s major museums, who can choose what to see?
Have no fear! The Bare Square is here!
Our must-see picks will jumpstart your personal planning guide of art now on display in one of the world’s art capitals.
Now through September 30th, the Whitney Museum of American Art features a new retrospective of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists, Yayoi Kusama. Showcasing a magnitude of Kusama artwork, spanning her career, the retrospective exhibits a variety of media, including painting, film, and performance installation.
Artwork by Yayoi Kusama (Photos: Whitney)
American painter, Ellsworth Kelly, famous for creating bold abstract works, also had a knack for drawing plants. Now through September 3rd, The Metropolitan Museum of Art features 80 of Kelly’s plant drawings from the mid-1900s, serving as the first major museum exhibition dedicated exclusively to this body of work.
Artwork by Ellsworth Kelly
Now through October 8th, The Guggenheim Museum presents Rineke Dijkstra: A Restrospective, highlighting the remarkable works of the Dutch photographer. Dijkstra specializes in large-scale color photographs that explore the genre of portraiture within a contemporary context.
Artwork by Rineke Dijkstra (Photos: Guggenheim)
During the 20th century, design for children became a modernist preoccupation for progressive design. From July 29th to November 5th, The Museum of Modern Art exhibits Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, including designs like school architecture, playgrounds, and toys and games.
Prototype for Build the Town Building Blocks by Ladislav Sutnar (Photo: MoMa)
We hope you get a chance to see these extraordinary shows and be sure to let us know what you think at The Bare Square’s Facebook page!
All this week (until Monday 3/21) ALL of our profits at The Bare Square Store go to The Red Cross to assist with relief efforts in Japan. Buy art you love AND feel really good about it!!
Desert Silhouette 1 by Michael Baron
We’ve previously introduced to you the breathtaking landscape photography of Michael Baron. A life-long professional photographer, Mike explores serene landscapes that add beauty to wherever room they hang in. Desert Silhouette 1 is no exception. He actually told us this is his favorite sunset photograph EVER. Now it’s exclusively available at The Bare Square Store. Editions are limited so get yours before they’re gone…and right now you can help Japan too!
Night Flights by Gavin Sewell
This week Night Flights by Gavin Sewell joins his other exclusive edition Old Glory (which is a top seller) at The Bare Square Store. Gavin’s brilliant mixed media works offer depth, contemplation and sophistication. Gavin’s work is unique and varied, but his voice is clear and consistent. Night Flights is available exclusively at The Bare Square Store starting at just $20!!
Computer-generated model of tsunami wave heights from Japan's Sendai earthquake. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)
Like many of you, Jen & I have friends and family who are coping with the aftermath of the disaster in Japan. I have distant relatives there. Some of the artists we work with through our art company, nAscent Art New York, have roots, family, and friends in Japan, including Rica Bando and Yuko Ueda.
As we struggle to comprehend the immensity of the catastrophe, The Bare Square today investigates the human need for understanding, and for hope, and how art sometimes can play a role.
Many Americans feel a special empathy for those suffering the repercussions of the earthquake and tsunami in Sendai. America has had a long, friendly relationship with Japan for decades. It’s estimated that over 1.2 million people of Japanese descent live in the United States, the second largest population of Japanese outside Japan in the world. And, as recently as 2005, the US suffered from a disaster of comparable scope: Hurricane Katrina.
Satellite photo of Hurricane Katrina, 2005. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)
After the waters receded from the Gulf Coast, people turned resolutely to the task of putting their lives back together. Contributing in their way, artists helped deal with the emotional toll by creating artwork, stories of loss and hope, of struggle and human resilience.
One notable example included the exhibit, Backyards and Beyond. Featuring the artwork of artist and Mississipi-native H.C. Porter, the exhibit “beautifully weave[d] the faces and voices of diversity with commonalities of loss and hope.” The exhibit traveled nationally in 2008, and a portion of the proceeds went toward rebuilding efforts in the area.
The Bare Square interviewed Porter, and she expressed her goal of the exhibit as “trying to capture the human emotion felt in a natural disaster.”
“Being an artist is secondary,” Porter continued. ”First I am an individual, there to hug, listen and validate their loss… but as an artist I am also able to tell their story. The people of Japan need to know that somebody is listening. By somebody listening, they find the beginning of healing.”
Three years after Hurricane Katrina, Porter saw progress and hope realized. “At the Backyards and Beyond exhibition, as the Gulf Coast residents looked back at the moment captured in their portrait, and they could see their process of recovery. Knowing they had been heard was a large part of their rebirth. I hope the people of Japan have the same experience,” she said.
Meanwhile, the reports continue to overwhelm. “I can’t even imagine the devastation they’re standing in, sifting through what pieces are left. Right now, I imagine they’re in absolute shock,” Porter said.
Art can make a difference, not just for professional artists for whom art is a living, but as an outlet of expression for the everyday person, as a way to understand and cope with feelings of loss, and as a way to remember.
For Japan, the process of recovery will be long and slow. We take solace in the knowledge that the Japanese people are strong and resilient, and that this, too, shall pass.
[Editor's Note: We dedicate this edition of The Bare Square to those who lost their lives, and to those who must now find a way to survive. We will donate all profits from prints sold at The Bare Square Store from now until Friday to the Sendai quake disaster relief efforts of the Red Cross. If you want to donate directly to the Red Cross, you can use the online form available at the Red Cross website. You can also send a donation to the Red Cross via SMS text message through most wireless carriers. Find details for text donations here. Please share this article with your friends.]
Update: The interview with H.C. Porter came after the initial publication. The Bare Square would like to thank H.C. for her comments and work. See her website here.
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