Wednesday 18th May 2016Super 8 Does Comedy
It's a running joke about motels and hotels that they are the patron saints of terrible artists. Nothing caps off the perfect cheap room like a terrible painting, whether it features sloppy brushwork, lazy composition or just general bad taste. Often, the cheaper the room, the cheaper the painting, and there are some very cheap motels out there..
This joke has been ongoing so long that one of the biggest motel chains in the United States decided to have a little bit of fun with it as part of their latest rebranding effort. Super 8 is a fairly wide-ranging chain across North America, and they are probably one of the largest purchasers of truly awful art in the world (aside from our elderly relatives) - but that isn't going to work with their newest plans.
WIth all this in mind, they partnered with star comedian and author Amy Sedaris in a joke art show, where the old pieces that graced the walls of Super 8 rooms across the continent will be given away free, first come, first served. Of course, that's assuming anyone would actually *want* them. If so, the comedy/art show will be held in New York City at the Openhouse Gallery.
"That art could not be uglier. The hardest thing I ever did in my life was to come up with names for it all. That was really hard. You're just looking at something, and I don't know what to call it — 'That (expletive) Duck' — mindless art," she explains.
The plan for the new art apparently will be to avoid the generic nature scenes and pastoral hilarity that covered the walls in the past, and replace them with scenes that reflect the actual location that you're in. When every motel room looks like the same, it can be rather disorienting to wake up in a room after a long trip and suddenly lose all sense of where you are.
No matter what you think about the art, it's impossible to deny that they have a sense of humour about it. Wouldn't it be nice if hotels and motels around the world suddenly became some of the foremost patrons of the arts? With the rise of AirBNB and similar crowdsourced accommodation websites, it's possible that an individual proprietor's sense of taste would work in their favour, as good art can help attract clients - rather than just make them laugh.
Posted on May 18th 2016 on 02:00am
Tuesday 13th May 2014Art al Fresco
There is a disappointing trend emerging in the American cultural world. Perhaps not surprising in concept, but the numbers are a bit unnerving: only 21% of American adults have visited a gallery or museum in the past year, but over 80% have visited a fast food restaurant over the course of the previous week (though no word as yet about whether or not there is a correlation between the two ;-) ). While it may be easy to decry the loss of American culture, ditching the Whistler for Honey Boo Boo, a project has sprung up in America that seeks to bring artwork by famous American artists back to the forefront of the American landscape, both culturally and literally.
Based off a successful project that took place in the United Kingdom in 2013, the American version is titled 'Art Everywhere US', and aims to place works by prominent American artists on billboards across the nation. The British project replaced 22,000 billboards around the UK with works by British artists, and the American version is ready to top that this summer, with what will be the world's largest outdoor art exhibition, with over 50,000 billboards converted into artistic masterpieces.
Five museums are participating in the project to help raise awareness: LACMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art have each put forward 20 pieces from their collection for consideration. An online voting poll will determine a final 50 pieces that will be placed all around the country.
"I think part of the idea behind the whole project is to put art in unexpected places and encourage those double-takes," says the CCO of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Jeff Levine, in an interview with Fast Company. "I have this image of driving on Route 66 in a convertible and seeing a Georgia O’Keefe billboard,” he adds. “I think for some of these artists whose work is actually geographically specific, some of the possibilities are really incredible."
Hopefully, it will spur increased interest in the arts, although it's hard to say if the downswing in gallery attendance really marks a decline in interest in art itself, or simply a decline in the interest of visiting a gallery. In an age of choice, the notion of curated content can be a bit off-putting to some, especially those art enthusiasts in younger demographics.
Posted on May 13th 2014 on 08:11pm