Tom Slaughter’s ‘Library‘ pattern was installed yesterday for a temporary exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory. The legendary Sandy Smith is hosting his annual antiquarian book fair this weekend. Slaughter’s pattern makes for a perfect entrance. I’ll get more photos from when the space is fully installed, but here’s a sneak preview of the installation. Thank you Sandy, Tom, Kimberly, Marianna, and Tom Nulty for coming together to make this happen!
Last month I posted about Damien Hirst’s work, and I just realized (via one of my favorite blogs, The Year in Pictures) that he has done wallpaper! I don’t know how I missed it when I was at the Gagosian gallery shop; maybe it’s relatively recent. In any case, talk about graphic wallpaper- wowzer. The pattern seems perfect for a retail or public space; I can’t really imagine it in most home environments. But it’s nice to see digitally printed wallpaper in a high-end context. Well done Mr. Hirst! (And thanks for taking the on-the-sly pictures, James!)
Richard Wright just won this year’s Turner Prize, awarded by the Tate to a contemporary artist under fifty who has shown outstanding work in the last year. Wright’s work exists somewhere on the border between installation art, painting, and wallpaper. His style is sometimes bold, sometimes subtle- always intriguing. Check out more of his work here. Very cool.
MASS MoCA is showing an incredible, highly praised Sol LeWitt wall drawing retrospective. Intern at large Karli Hendrickson snapped these photos a few summers ago when she worked on the projects: she and a a team of artists installed the drawings.
Dramatic walls such as these make me wonder: how can you incorporate such crazy, OFF the wall patterns in your living space? Wall art can look so incredibly cool in the museum, but can it translate to the home? Would anyone be so bold — or so foolish? It seems like you’d be setting yourself up for amazing success or total failure.
Cavern’s terrific and talented intern Hayeon Jang spent a little time at the MET this weekend and sent me these inspiration photos from the French decorative arts wing. Very nice… Thanks Hayeon!
Political themes emerge in wallpaper’s recently history. First, Andy Warhol’s most famous wallpaper depicted Chairman Mao with a purple face, simply repeated. Like his cow wallpaper, the pattern challenged traditional notions of wall coverings with strong color and bold composition. It also created a strange discord between the poppy colors and the unlikeable political figure.
Then we have the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, known for his bright colors and fanciful, absurd renderings. With mushroom, eyeballs, and happy flower characters, Murakami evokes political themes associated with the atomic bombs that dropped on his home country. Like Warhol, he creates an intriguing (even disturbing) effect by matching such serious political themes with such an optimistic, energetic color palate.
Nick Peters picks up where Murakami and Warhol left off. Several of his images mix World War II bomb imagery with innocent, even childish, fruit renderings. He also uses wallpaper to investigate the current political situation in Russia. After meeting Putin for the first time, George W. Bush said, “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Peters patterned those eyes, adding hammers and sickles.
Political wallpapers certainly do not appeal to mainstream taste, but they do provide an interesting outlet for activism. They also serve as yet another example of the thin line between wallpaper and fine art.