Tag Archives: real estate arts

If He Builds It, They Will Come

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I recently stopped by the new exhibit “The Art of The Brick” at Discovery Times Square. It spotlights the works of world-renowned artist Nathan Sawaya, who uses Lego bricks as his only medium. Growing up, I also loved playing with these plastic toys, but Nathan takes his passion for them to a whole new level.

A few of the brick builder’s more notable, large-scale replicas on display right now include the Mona Lisa, American Gothic, The Scream, the Parthenon, and the Statue of David. Also featured are several of his unique 2D and 3D sculptures – some of them made from more than 80,000 pieces.

My love for Legos as a boy is what drew me to this show, but the size and detail of Nathan’s work are what make me want to go back. I highly recommend this exhibit to anyone who considers themselves a big kid.

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Nathan Sawaya is a graduate from NYU Law School, and worked as attorney until becoming a full-time Lego artist in 2004. He’s considered one of the best Lego builders in the world by The Lego Group, and is the only person ever to be recognized as both a Lego Master Builder and a Lego Certified Professional.

For more information about the exhibit visit: www.discoverytsx.com/exhibitions/art-of-the-brick

For more information about the artist visit: www.brickartist.com

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– Brian Keeler, Graphic Designer

Destination: Paradise

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I recently had the chance to visit the big island of Hawai’i. Though the beaches, beautiful weather, clean blue water, breathtaking hills, and volcano were all once-in-a-lifetime experiences, I personally enjoyed our stop at a local coffeehouse on the side of a mountain the most.

It was a small wooden shack with an open-air patio looking directly out onto the island stretching below, and the deep, blue Pacific Ocean farther away. As a lover of coffee and coffeehouses in general, I was excited to try the local Kona coffee, but wasn’t expecting the sweeping views when I walked out onto the patio where locals were enjoying their diner-style breakfast.

Sometimes even the simplest construction can elevate you to a new level — I believe one of the first things I said when I stepped outside was “I feel like I’m in heaven!”

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- Lecia Bushak, Account Manager

A “Do Touch” Display

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Robin Rhode is an artist who’s managed to turn his bullied past into a liberating experience for kids. Growing up in Johannesburg during the apartheid, he was hazed by upperclassmen to draw pictures on the bathroom walls. Roughly 30 years later, Rhode is now sketching similar works – at will – for a good cause. Partnering with New York-based nonprofit Time In – a program that connects kids to the arts, the South African native recently invited 37 South Bronx first-graders to interact with his wall drawings in a Lower East Side gallery.

Essentially turning the space into a giant coloring book, Rhode allowed  the students to shade the walls with life-sized crayons. Working in teams of two, the kids joyfully did what no gallery space or household ever encourages.

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- Brittany Phillip, Office Manager

A Highlight on Fifth Avenue

REA recently completed a barricade for 693 Fifth Avenue, located in the heart of New York City’s busiest retail avenue.  This is one of multiple projects REA is working on for Thor Equities, a leader in urban real estate development with a focus on retail and mixed-use buildings.

693 Fifth Avenue is comprised of seven floors of retail and two floors of office space, totaling 44,500 square feet.  The building is currently getting a “facelift” with a modernized facade.

The purpose of the 3-story barricade was to grab attention and help Thor find a perfect retail partner for the space.  REA Creative Director Irasema explained that the creative process involved developing a design that was unique compared to most retail barricades — so the design team chose bold text and an eye-catching image.  An emphasis on luxury fashion was also part of the equation, to convey the elegance of Fifth Avenue retail.  REA sets a standard in selling retail space by capitalizing on this luxury retail aspect and pushing a bolder look.

The area welcomes up to 11,000 daily pedestrians to pass the 50 feet of frontage. Visit the 693 Fifth Avenue website for more information.

Cosmic Quilt – NYC Design Week 2012

The Principals is an industrial design studio based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and they’ve come up with an interesting project that will be exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) May 19-21.

“Cosmic Quilt” will challenge the design community with questions about interactive environments, including these from ArchDaily: “What would it be like if the environment we inhabit responded to our present in an active way? What if we shift the scale of the way in which our devices operate to the way our buildings function?”

The project is on Kickstarter, so check it out!

Tipping my Fedora to the Mad Men of Old.

Here’s a re-post from our REA Approved Blog! We thought it’d be worth it to share it here too:

4/6 – It’s hard to escape the frenzy of the new season of Mad Men. The captivating ads are plastered everywhere; the talk around the water cooler about the future of Don Draper is plentiful.  Not to mention retailers like Banana Republic are jumping on the band wagon by showcasing Mad Men inspired fashions in their windows. I have to say, I love it all. The visual style is breathtaking and inspiring and seems to be showing up on my radar everywhere I go.

A few weeks ago I attended a field trip with my son Andrew to the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn, which ended up being another unexpected time warp back to the 1960′s. The tour of the old subway cars was interesting in itself, but when I looked up to see pristine ads from the period, I was in heaven.  From the 2012 Madmen to those of the 1960′s: I say thank you. You have left an undeniable mark on the advertising business, and a visual style to be cherished, studied and re-examined. -M.G.

Magazine Cover Designs for Inspiration…

 

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter is considered one of the 21st century’s modern masters of painting.  He is talented in technical skills, as seen in his photo-realist portraits, but in his later years has worked mainly in abstraction.  Either way, his work seems to drift out of the subconscious, as his soft, blurred painting technique evokes a beautiful dreamlike quality.

Woman Descending the Staircase, 1965

Betty, 1988

Betty, 1977

One of Richter’s specialties was portraits.  The two above are of his daughter, Betty.

Richter used this type of “Atlas,” or plan, before painting.  Working straight from photographs, he would collect and place them together on sheets as source material for his paintings.

Self Portrait, 1996

Seascape, 1975

Richter also painted landscapes — clouds, seas, forests, meadows.  Unlike traditional landscape paintings, Richter’s border on the abstract.  Visually they seem to be the bridge between his photo-realist works and his more removed, abstract paintings.

Seascape, 1969

 

Untitled (Green), 1971

Abstract Painting, 1977

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In his later years, Richter — who had always worked closely with photographs — began to use them directly in his work.  Instead of painting from them, he began painting on them.  They are a collision of two forces — the real and the abstract of pure color.

Abstract Painting, 1995

Architect Bits

REA has come across a few interesting architects who integrate fine art and design into large-scale, experimental installations.  Enjoy the images and links below.

John Locke is an architect living in New York City.  Below, you’ll see the mirrored fence he built around the World Trade Center site to emphasize the shape of the sky in between buildings.  Sometimes, it’s the negative space hugging the angles of buildings that is quite beautiful in itself.

Locke also built bookshelves to incorporate into NYC phone booths, redefining the use for phone boots in a cell phone age.  The bookshelves invite people to take a book for free, or leave one for others to find.  This is perhaps the most public a “public library” could possibly be.

Ball-Nogues Studio is an architecture firm started by two friends, Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues.  They “explore the nexus of art, architecture, and industrial design” and have exhibited their work in various art museums around the world, including MoMA, the Guggenheim, and PS1.

RO&AD Architects are another duo — Ad Kil and Ro Koster — who came up with the “Moses Bridge.”  It quite literally parts the water of a moat for a fort in the Netherlands, called Fort de Roovere.  The fort is part of a defense-line that includes other fortresses and cities dating from the 17th century.  Drawing on the area’s historical context, RO&AD decided it was best to create a bridge that would be invisible to enemies trying to cross the moat.

Colors, Concepts and Typography in Mel Bochner’s Fine Art

By Lecia Bushak, REA Intern

Are words objective?  Is language effective in transmitting thoughts and ideas… or is it just as ephemeral as the thoughts that support it?  These are questions that Mel Bochner has explored in his art for the past 40+ years.  After receiving a BFA from Carnegie Mellon, he studied Philosophy at Northwestern and later taught Art History at SVA, as well as served as adjunct professor at Yale University.  He is the kind of guy who exemplifies the artist as both writer and philosopher, and whom you might expect to see with a Thesaurus under his arm (you’ll see why below).

Bochner is one of the most influential Conceptual artists to emerge from the 1960s.  Analytics, seriality, numbers, and language suddenly came to the forefront of art-making during this time.  Minimal works that emphasized the logical, philosophical, and mathematical rather than sensual perception, beauty, and aesthetic pleasure became the ideal form of art.  Bochner explores such arenas in his work–but what differentiates him from most Conceptual artists is his emphasis on color and visual affect.  These things are usually shed from Conceptual or Minimal works to enhance the importance of the idea rather than aesthetics.  But Bochner is able to smartly tie the two together.

In her review of the show for Art in America, Eleanor Heartney wrote: “In Bochner’s work, perception constantly trumps idea, reaffirming the artist’s belief that the sensuous is an essential element in even the most conceptual art.”

Bochner, Split Infinity

Portrait of Eva Hesse, 1966

Bochner seems to be drilling into the heart of what words mean and how they erect our perceptions of ideas/feelings, our relationships with other people, and society.  In Portrait of Eva Hesse, Bochner used words to construct the portrait of fellow artist and sculptor Eva Hesse.  He chose to center the piece around the word “wrap,” referring to the rounded objects often comprising her sculptural work.  The words circling the center are all synonyms of “wrap,” constructing a verbal–yet visual–”portrait” of her.  Each word brings to mind a different concept, idea, or feeling–and we link them in some way to Hesse and/or her work.  Each word is a new perspective, a lens through which we try to define her as a person–yet no one word can fully and accurately encapsulate her person as a whole.

Perhaps Bochner’s fascination with language in art stems from his experience writing for art publications in order to support himself in New York City when he first moved there in 1967.  Back then, artists didn’t write about their work or other artists; fine art and writing were two completely separate disciplines.  Bringing writing into art and vice versa was considered an impure meddling of the arts, so Bochner was criticized by other artists for “turning to the dark side” and producing art reviews, criticisms, and philosophical/conceptual texts.  Now, however, it’s quite normal and actually expected of artists to write–about their work, about other art, and about ideas in general.  Bochner was one of the first to begin that tradition.

Language is Not Transparent, 1970

This leads us to what many consider his “manifesto”–Language is Not Transparent, 1970.  Direct and straightforward, Bochner declares language as being ephemeral, subjective and often inaccurate when it comes to communicating or portraying thoughts and ideas.  Yet even in this earlier piece, Bochner is drawn to an aesthetic approach–the graffiti-esque scrawl on the black block of paint, the paint drips that lead the eye down to the floor, etc.  Where purists might find a problem with mixing aesthetics and concept,  Bochner proves that doing so can actually be quite successful.

Catherine Wagley on the Art:21 blog writes: “[L]anguage isn’t transparent and, if it ever brings you to meaning, it takes a lot of detours on the way.”

Irascible

I find his later works even more appealing than his earlier works, simply because of my guilty pleasure of staring at pretty colors.  His concepts remain just as strong in his later days, as he continues to explore words and their synonyms, but also brings color into the picture: How does color affect the meaning of the word and also our perception of it?  He complicates his original concept by bringing in aspects that both attend to the senses and the intellect (we might have gotten bored rather quickly if he had stuck to the Conceptualist dogma of stark aesthetics).

The later works, on top of being both conceptually provocative and aesthetically pleasing, play with my mood and emotions as well.  The words themselves, such as in Irascible (above) and No (below), somehow pointedly “get” to a certain part of me that’s not quite rational, but which has certainly felt all of those things before: whether it’s listless, crabby, or just plain old “blah.”  Somehow, comparing and contrasting the synonyms for a certain feeling like “lazy” or “irritable” intrigues both my brain and my emotions.  For an artwork to be strong in all three (often conflicting) areas of aesthetics, concepts and emotions, it is, in my mind, a successful piece.

Even if you're not much of a Conceptualist, you've definitely felt like this before. Bochner is almost making fun of that lazy part in all of us--in a sympathetic way.

No