Author: jamesonz

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Bright and Personal: the Gouache Paintings of Mogu Takahashi

Japanese artist Mogu Takahashi embodies the best of the outsider art trend. Tilted perpectives, personal subjects, and child-like scrawl burst from the pages of her popular guache drawings. Subjects that seem ordinary — flower pots, pajama pants, persian cats — become sublimely colored compositions that remind the viewer of the excitement only a child (or child at heart) can have about their surroundings. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the self-described self-taught artist’s biggest collaborations have been creating objects for children; including collaborations with Little Red Stuga in Sweden as well as Japanese fashion line Chambre de Charme. Takahashi’s deceptively simple characters and creations find an especially appropriate home in houseware collaborations, decorating the sorts of household objects she frequently studies on paper. Take a look at her online store for a beatiful gallery of ceramics and other household objects brought to life with carefully-placed eyes and subtle brush textures. What’s really captivating about Takahashi’s work is the element of daily practice invoked in projects like her daily journals, which are available in full at her website. For …

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Art Books Under Glass: Paris Photo 2015

PEACE FOR PARIS Due to recent tragic events, the 19th edition of the Fair has closed. Paris Photo is holding its 19th edition this November, with over 147 galleries and 27 publishers presenting both contemporary and historical work within the Grand Palais. Visiting photography buffs and book lovers can expect a feast of the senses beneath the Palais’ high glass ceiling, filled with opportunities to see work from a truly international mix of sources. The wide-ranging collection of exhibitors will feature a mix of current artists represented by galleries including Stephen Bulger, Sprueth Magers and Stephen Daiter. Organizers of the Paris Photo event have pulled some new tricks out of the hat this year, including BOOK MACHINE, an installation of 30 books hand-designed exclusively for Paris Photo through an international call for submissions. We recommend in particular the work of Stephen Shore, a legendary documentarian of American life and landscape who was among the first practitioners of the “diaristic snapshot” style. Also keep an eye out for a compelling series of works by postwar Japanese …

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Around COS: Autumn/Winter Collection in the Round

At the start of the video “Around COS” we see two figures standing beneath a gray dome. The camera is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, exploring the scene in gliding 360-degree arcs. The concepts at play are broad — self-feeding cycles, fugue repetition — yet the presentation feels playful, even warm. Considering the artists are working without music, color, or dialogue, this is quite the accomplishment. Among the creative partnerships forged to celebrate launching the COS Autumn/Winter 2015 collection, artists Lernert & Sander create a particularly pleasing counterpoint to the COS brand. Both groups thrive on at the intersection of art and utility, and both bring to mind a sense of Scandinavian stoicism. “We like to strip an idea to the bone and make the idea shine. So eventually our sets always look simple and monochrome,” explain the artists on the unusual set created for the COS A/W 2015 collection shoot. The space, a self-contained dome designed to allow the cameras to capture the models from all directions, is one of many conceptual …

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Why Are You Looking at Me: Lucky Blue Smith in the Age of Instagram Celebrity

Three blond sisters. All homeschooled, all Morman, and all playing washed out surf rock together in the same band, The Atomics. Yet it’s the drummer, their brother Lucky, who has drawn the legions of fans; and although the band’s music has a snare-driven hypnotic quality meriting attention in its own right, it is Lucky’s celebrity as a model that has propelled the group into the public eye. At only sixteen, Lucky Blue Smith has walked for brands like Levi’s, Versace and Tom Ford and has his sights set on that elusive model/actor/musician combination best exemplified by the likes of Justin Bieber. Similar to Bieber, Lucky’s rise to fame has been with the help of legions of teenage girls, through the channels that celebrity 2.0 knows best; Instagram (1.4 million followers) and the flash-mob meet-and-greets that allow the young fans of young social media heartthrobs to meet their idols face-to-face. Unlike Bieber, the Smith family’s unusual background and modest lifestyle maintains an indie credibility that makes Lucky a rare specimen in the often homogeneous flow of internet celebrity: a weirdo …

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Poetic Computation: The Handmade Computers of Taeyoon Choi

Designers praise Apple for covering their circuit boards in clean, curved skins. Consumers demand software that is unobtrusive and hardware that is small and tucked away. The rising Internet of Things fills the human habitat with computers that are only distinguishable from analog objects by the intelligent behaviors they exhibit when no one is watching. In a market driven by invisibility and utility, the handmade computer installations of New York and Seoul-based artist Taeyoon Choi are more likely to remind the casual observer of “toys” than “machines.” Toys and art have a core value in common, so far as the general public is concerned; no one expects them to “do” anything. Well, nothing productive anyway. While the tasks that occupy Choi’s computers are often inscrutable (animating cutlery at Ikea, conducting measurements of personalised time), it is not their whimsical programming but rather the bright colors and blinking circuit boards that make it challenging to categorize the objects as computers. Apps and user interfaces that feel alive and welcoming are normal in day-to-day life — even expected. However, the general …