New cafes, galleries, and studios are popping up along the Vltava River in Prague, although they’re not immediately visible from atop the embankment. Tucked inside former storage units embedded within the structure itself are 20 tunnel-like spaces redesigned for public use. Appearing like glass-doored portals lining the waterfront, the multi-purpose project is part of the Czech city’s efforts to revitalize a four-kilometer swath of the riverbank, which previously served as a parking lot, and are the undertaking of architect Petr Janda who helms the Prague-based studio Brainwork.
Each vaulted venue contains concrete walls and flooring and gleaming stainless steel that reflects its surroundings. Spaces designated for shops and galleries feature large, elliptical doors in glass, while the other 14 are marked with a sculptural entrance, hiding the remaining space occupied by private tenants or used for public bathrooms from view. “The interventions symbiotically merge with the original architecture of the riverside wall, into which they naturally fuse,” Janda told designboom. “By using the acupuncture strategy, they re-create a monumental whole.”
Head to Instagram to find preliminary sketches for the redesign and to follow Brainwork’s future projects.
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The United States Postal Service has issued a set of colorful postage stamps that celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), an annual holiday celebrated in Mexico and beyond on the first two days of November. The vibrant stamps depict a family of four calaveras (sugar skulls) designed by Minneapolis-based Chicano artist and designer Luis Fitch who has been obsessed with postage stamps since a young age.
Every year, the day before his birthday, [Fitch] writes a list of things he wants to achieve, asking the universe. In October 2018, he remembered his old dream, designing a stamp, and made it number one, the slot for his most difficult and unrealistic goal.
The next day, the director of the stamp design program called.
He had seen the single poster Fitch wheat-pasted—on a whim, while waiting for his son—near the train exit for the National Mexican Art Museum in Chicago. And then he had gone to the museum, where twelve of Fitch’s posters were included in an exhibition on the Day of the Dead. This was just the style he was looking for, he said.
Fitch’s stamp designs incorporate multiple visual motifs traditionally used during the holiday including lit candles meant to guide deceased loved ones on their annual return journey, and cempazuchitles (marigolds), the most popular Día de los Muertos flower. Each of the four stamps depicts a different family member in the form of a sugar skull: a father with a hat and mustache, a child donning a hair bow, a curly-haired mother, and another child.
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In abandoned sheds, tiny campers, and imposing, hilltop castles, Scottish artist Andrew McIntosh (previously) nestles glowing entryways to mysterious new worlds. The illuminated portals are central to the artist’s ongoing interest in exploration, curiosity, and a never-ending desire to uncover the unknown, and they offer a tiny window into what lies beyond the immediate landscapes. Each of the compositions exudes a ghostly air, with fog or storm clouds hanging above the once-occupied spaces.
Whether the focus of the work or tucked in an enclave, art historical references proliferate many of McIntosh’s oil-based paintings. He positions the renowned works often preserved in institution halls within the context of outdoor settings or dilapidated travel trailers, a subversion that establishes his conceptual framework. In his most recent series, the artist reimagines the “Tower of Babel” as a rugged termite hill and places the catacombs of the Colisseum into a paint-chipped caravan, a vehicle he sees as “the perfect symbol of human hardiness and the intrepid desire to explore, an instinct that exists no matter how small or humble the being.”
Some of the paintings shown here are part of McIntosh’s solo show God Shaped Holes, which is up through October 30 at London’s James Freeman Gallery, and you can explore a larger collection of his works on his site and Instagram.
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One of the most expansive volumes of its kind, African Artists: From 1882 to Now compiles a broad sampling of works from more than 300 modern and contemporary artists born or living on the continent. Within its 350-plus pages, the massive text spans a range of mediums and aesthetics, from Mary Sibande’s sprawling postcolonial installations and Wangechi Mutu’s fantastical watercolor collages to the cotton-embroidered photographs by Joana Choumali. The forthcoming volume follows the publisher’s 2019 book Great
Women Artists, which gathers works from 400 artists from 54 countries across 500 years, and it’s available for pre-order from Phaidon and Bookshop.
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More than 12,000 sheets of delicate Xuan paper form the ruffled exterior of Zhu Jinshi’s suspended “Boat” sculpture. The renowned artist, who’s currently living and working in his hometown of Beijing, is widely regarded for pioneering Chinese abstract art, and this monumental installation from 2015 is a reflection of his conceptual, meditative practice.
Spanning 18 meters long and seven meters wide, “Boat” is comprised of wrinkled paper layers draped around bamboo frames. Countless thin cotton threads hold the individual components in place and intersect the curved, tunnel-like form with straight lines that extend vertically to the ceiling. Bisected with a central space for viewers to pass through, the metaphorical work considers the passage of time and space and is an extension of Zhu’s 2007 installation “Wave of Materials” (shown below), which features a single, halved form anchored to the gallery floor with stones.
The artist is exhibiting at West Bund Art and Design 2021 next month and is opening a solo in Shanghai at the end of the year. Until then, explore an archive of his works at Pearl Lam Galleries and on Artsy.
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In Pat Perry’s Sensemaking, there’s no rubric for telling a story. In quiet scenes framed through roadside vantage points and performances of costumed figures and contemporary symbols, the Detroit-based artist (previously) considers the deeply American tendency to configure the world with single, flat narratives. Perry takes an opposing approach, though, and instead layers his pieces with contradiction, complexity, and unusual details that reflect the current moment.
Rendered in subtle color palettes, his drawings and paintings pull from the visual lexicon of Midwestern life (i.e. children playing on pipe abandoned in a field or a lone figure sitting at a card table on the sidewalk), although they contain imaginative twists and nuanced social commentary: swimming pools sit below an underpass, banners display Craigslist ads, and fleeting social media trends are printed on large posters. “These paintings and drawings offer a joyful glimpse into an invented world; one that’s closely related to the one right in front of us; one that we so often struggle to see clearly and make sense of,” a statement about the series says.
In a lengthy essay published by Juxtapoz back in August, Perry elaborates on the impetus for his latest works, which center around a broad theme of flawed logic. He revists his attempts to understand the world through the lens of his religious childhood in Michigan and later, the anarchic ideologies that guided his early adult years, and the two conflicting narratives profoundly impact the artist’s approach today. “Chapter Three of my life so far has had something to do with recognizing that truly lessening suffering maybe has less to do with understanding the world, or playing an oversized role in it. It may not be about constantly ‘using my voice,'” he writes.
Sensemaking, which features dozens of new paintings, charcoal drawings, and works in acrylic and pen, is on view from October 6 through November 16 at Hashimoto Contemporary in New York, and you can follow Perry’s work on Instagram.
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