Thursday, October 12, 2017

Public Art | Ai Weiwei's "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors"

Central Park South at Grand Army Plaza
The project  "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" by Ai Weiwei is  reflection about immigration; it opened on October 11 in New York with many citywide installations. One of the most prominent installation was a 40-foot cage-like structure placed under the monumental arch in Washington Square Park.

Washington Square Park
Banner in the Lower East Side

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Vernissages | "Arte Povera" in Chelsea, September 12 2017

A comprehensive overview of one most important movements of Italian twentieth-century art opened yesterday at Hauser & Wirth in Chelsea: ‘Arte Povera. Curated by Ingvild Goetz’. Coincident with the  50th anniversary of the movement, the exhibition presents 150 works from ‘i poveristi’, a group of Italian artists, spanning from the late 1950s to the 1990s, including Claudio Abate, Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Giorgio Colombo, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Paolo Mussat Sartor, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Emilio Prini, and Gilberto Zorio.
     The term 'Arte Povera' (Poor Art) was introduced by the art critic Germano Celant in 1967, grouping works by different Italian artists, characterized by the use of common materials including dirt, rocks, rope, paper, neon—or simple ready-made, without the Duchamp emphasis. The 'poveristi' rejected the notion of a unified movement, such as 'minimalism' or 'conceptualism' although several works can be associated to such art discourses.

Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 Total Solar Eclipse | from New York, Hayden Planetarium

The Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History is filled to capacity with crowds of any age gender and ethnicity gathered to watch one of the most spectacular events of nature: the 2017 Solar Eclipse. In New York only a partial solar eclipse is visible, with the Moon covering about 70% of the Sun; nevertheless being part of this event has almost a cathartic effect, especially in my personal situation which somehow is immersed in the total crisis. 
The eclipse timeline in New York:
1:23 pm: the eclipse begins when the Moon is tangent to the Sun circumference, at azimuth 192° and altitude 60.7°
2:44 pm: maximum eclipse with the Moon closest to the center of the Sun, at azimuth 226° and altitude of 53.0°
4:00 pm: the partial eclipse ends with the Moon is tangent to the Sun circumference at azimuth of 247° and altitude of 40.9°. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Exhibitions | A Torrid Summer Night at the Whitney Museum

It is another hot and humid evening in NYC with heat advisory warning and I have just received a cutthroat settlement proposal in my traumatic divorce. The Whitney Museum pay-what-you-wish evening hours are a literally refreshing alternative to my hot and sweaty day—literally and metaphorically. After all, art has always offered solace during troubled times.

Two different seemingly different exhibitions are on view at the Whitney Museum. The sixth floor is filled with "Calder: Hypermobility" a display of mobile sculptures by Alexander Calder (1896-1976). The American sculptor developed in the early 1930s a new kinetic art form, the mobile—a sculptural composition of suspended elements, often made of metal, finding balance in their own relational movements.  

Calder's mobile continued on the 3rd floor with the mobiles "performative" actions activated by Whitney's staff in "Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere" a recreation of the 1932-33 installation. The hypnotic movement of the found objects composition capture the audience for over twenty, eliciting, what I experienced as meditative state, which I greatly welcomed considering the stress of my day cursed by divorce matters. 

The fifth floor instead presents "Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium" a retrospective of the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937—1980). The exhibition spans from the early geometry based drawings and three-dimensional works to film and installation and participatory art, including Parangolés (wearable layers of fabric) and Penetrables (environments). The recreation of the large-scale environments "Tropicalia" and "Eden" are opened to the museum public as walkthroughs. Oiticica’s oeuvre, much involved in a political discourse, encompassed visual art, architecture, music, poetry, theater and film and was greatly influenced by the counter-culture scene of New York in the 1970s reflecting the several years spent by the artist in the city.

Finally the urban views from the museum terrace!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Toward Healing | The Sum of Parts Is Smaller Than The Whole

Aristotle stated over 2300 years ago that "the whole is something over and above its parts, and not just the sum of them all" (Metaphysics, 1045a). Aristotle's statement is one of the most basic observations on both the natural and man-made world and has become the foundation for a multitude of theories and practices based on synergy. As a design theoretician and practitioner I have been constantly experiencing the value of this fundamental observation.
A Menger sponge as visual example of whole and parts. Image from spacetecture © daniela bertol

Unfortunately "the whole being greater than the sum of its parts" is true also in negative destructive actions in personal life. I can be a perfect case study as in the past four years I have been experiencing how seemingly separated events and people have merged together to produce severe damage to my wellbeing. Some of these events are considered major life stress, each on its own: brutal divorce proceedings, betrayal from friends, lack of support from immediate family, the challenging pursue of a doctoral degree caught in the crossfire of academic politics.  Other events are something which anybody can face on a daily basis: e.g. dealing with dysfunctional public and private services, bureaucracy, delayed deliveries, rude strangers, greedy neighbors. Facing all or several of these adversities several at once can become an explosive cocktail for emotional and physical health bringing stress to dangerous levels.

A week ago I had this insight which has become a major life changer in dealing with adversities. If I am overcome the whole of negative people and events encountered in my daily life, why not dealing with each negativeness separately, deconstructing the whole into its parts.  Dealing with each negativity at the time can be accomplished especially when starting with smaller tasks. It is important to start with something we can successfully accomplish without other people—especially when the others are  narcissistic obstructionist spouses and family members. 

Logic is an important component of Greek, and overall, philosophy. Therefore, whenever the whole points to negative actions and effects, why not changing "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" into "the sum of parts is smaller than the whole"?